Tompkins Square Park 'Cop-Stilt' Now Has Its Own Twitter Feed
East Village residents are in an uproar over an NYPD “Skywatch” tower — read: “creepy-ass panoptic cop-stilt” — that was recently stationed in Tompkins Square Park. The move seems to be a reaction to a spate of cruel media coverage from, notably, the New York Post, which has set out to demonize the homeless and make a crisis out of pissing in the street.
The towers are common in less affluent areas of the city, stationed more or less permanently in parts of Harlem and Brooklyn, but they’re not getting a warm welcome in the East Village. Gothamist recently documented the reactions of locals in the park who say the tower is unneeded.
"My kids live two blocks away,” Haraz Scofield, a principal at a Brooklyn high school, told the website. “We come here almost every day, and we've never even seen a police presence where they have to arrest anyone. You see people, they may be a little high, but they'll just sit in the corner by themselves. It's not a problem park."
An editorial in the New York Observer earlier this month warned darkly that the circumstance of people sleeping in the grass on a summer afternoon was merely a prelude to a return to the dystopian days of yore, when Tompkins Square was known as “needle park. They saw some people sleeping and that was scary.
"It may not be violent criminal behavior at first, but the cancer of lawlessness will metastasize," the Observer editorial board said, presumably speaking in an old-timey accent and tapping a silver-tipped cane on the floor for emphasis. "It will get worse." The editorial board went on to use the word “mollycoddled” without irony.
Now, inevitably but delightfully, the tower itself has its own Twitter feed, @NYPDTWEETTOWER, mocking the department and the Post for overreacting to what amounts to anecdotal evidence of increased drug use and a more visible homeless presence in the park.
The Twitter feed is pretty witty. Here’s a sample:
TO WHOEVER CALLED 311 TO REPORT A "PIECE OF SH*T TRANSFORMER" IN TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK: NOT FUNNY— NYPD TWEET TOWER (@NYPDTWEETTOWER) July 22, 2015
APOLOGIES TO THE OLSEN TWINS. WE HAVE A HARD TIME TELLING BOHO FROM CRUSTY.— NYPD TWEET TOWER (@NYPDTWEETTOWER) July 23, 2015
COMPLAINTS TO 311 ABOUT HOMELESS PEOPLE: 0 COMPLAINTS ABOUT OUR 'CURB APPEAL'... YOU GUYS!— NYPD TWEET TOWER (@NYPDTWEETTOWER) July 23, 2015
h/t: EV Grieve
Jon Campbell is a staff writer for the Voice, covering criminal justice, legal issues, and the occasional mutant park squirrel. Tip him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @j0ncampbell.
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