Floral Park residents seek protection from dangerous teens

Noah Manskar
Some Floral Park residents are concerned about threatening teenagers who hang out around this pedestrian tunnel. (Photo from Google Maps)

Several Floral Park residents say they’re being plagued by teenagers who are making violent threats and vandalizing their homes.

Residents of Tunnel Street and Stewart Street told village trustees that they have seen teens brandishing baseball bats, breaking a lock on one woman’s fence and defecating in another’s driveway.

Youths have always hung out around the pedestrian tunnel underneath the Long Island Rail Road tracks, but their behavior has been especially bad in recent months, said Vanessa Giovanni, a Tunnel Street resident. Giovanni gave the Board of Trustees a petition with 100 signatures asking the village to address the problem.

“It’s not the quality of life that I expected when I came here, that anybody would expect when they come here,” Giovanni said.

Some 66 incidents have been reported in the area around the tunnel since 2006, the village police commissioner, Stephen McAllister, said. But Mayor Dominick Longobardi said he is not aware of any recent arrests.

The tunnel links Magnolia Avenue, a street south of the railroad tracks, to Tunnel Street, located just a block from the Floral Park Recreation Center.

The offending teens are ages 15 to 17, Giovanni said. Once, one yelled at her husband, threatening to attack her and kidnap her daughter, she said.

Carol Martinez, another resident of the area, said a group of teens broke the lock on her fence with a hammer and “were ready to hurt” her.

Residents on Tuesday criticized the response by village police. Detectives omitted some details of the incident at Martinez’s house from the police report and questioned whether the hammer was evidence, she said.

Some officers told Giovanni the teens would just retaliate if she involved the police, she said. Martinez also said she has seen the gate to the tunnel unlocked at night.

Residents said they don’t want the teens locked up, but want to see them and their parents held accountable.

“We live in a good village. We have to keep it that way,” Jane Stujenske, a resident, said. “We have to be more aggressive.”

Longobardi said he would work with McAllister and the residents to evaluate the problems and develop a plan to address them. Local parents should also be involved, he said.

Another resident, James Nolan, said he has seen the tunnel gate locked and noticed police monitoring the area.

“I don’t want anybody to feel unsafe or that they shouldn’t be able to live in their homes,” Longobardi said.


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