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From assembling 'coke' on sidewalks to boldly calling out customers, inside Broadway's drug-filled streets

'If dealers are arrested, with all the bail reform, they're not afraid of being prosecuted', says, Former NYPD detective
(Representational Image, Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Representational Image, Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: The situation in New York City has deteriorated to the point that drug dealers are openly hawking what appears to be cocaine on Broadway in trendy NoMad and further north in Times Square, reports New York Post. The outlet also reported that the dealers sometimes neatly assemble the drugs on sidewalk tables.

Some drug dealers actively seek customers by calling out, "Weed, coke. Weed, coke," as people walk by, according to an outraged local restaurateur. On the corner of West 27th Street and Broadway earlier this month, New York Post saw two different customers approach vendors and hand over cash in return for plastic bags containing a mysterious white substance.


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In Times Square, a New York Post reporter saw a makeshift table on West 41st Street with what seemed to be pre-rolled joints; the dealer informed the reporter that they could also buy cocaine there. One Amazon vest-clad man in NoMad on October 7 simply rode off with the merchandise without bothering to get off his bike. Another man approached the dealers a short while later, and he left with a baggie containing something white. 

Hannah Dolin, an employee at Aubi and Ramsa, which sells alcohol-infused ice cream and is close to where the dealers are located said, "They're here before we open and when we close." The transactions happened less than 24 hours after three police cars were parked nearby the previous night. 

According to police, the 13th Precinct had received 41 narcotics-related 911 calls this year, as well as 311 drug-related complaints covering two square blocks flanking Broadway, from West 27th Street north to West 28th Street and from 5th Avenue west to Sixth Avenue, as of Thursday.

Near 28th Street, a jeweler claimed that the dealers were affecting his sales. The shop owner stated, "Obviously it affects our business." He claimed that when he observes aggressive behavior or arguments, he shuts his door and orders the street vendors not to smoke and said, "They made it legal. What can you do?"

In March 2021, New York legalized marijuana for personal use, but the state has not yet issued licenses allowing for the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. Cocaine is still illegal, and it is a felony to possess the drug with the intent to sell it.

Former NYPD detective and adjunct professor Michael Alcazar claimed that legalization, a decrease in undercover officers, and reforms to the criminal justice system have given dealers more confidence. The officer stated, "I think the street dealers are trying to push the envelope as far as they can see how much they can get away with before NYPD starts enforcing these drug laws." If dealers are arrested, he says, "with all the bail reform, they're not afraid of being prosecuted," adding that there is simply no longer any way to equate the punishment with the crime. And believes that is what is fueling the underground economy with drug sales.

According to The New York Post, felony drug busts fell by 28% in New York from 2019 to 2021, while convictions fell by 52% during the same time period. The 13th Precinct, which includes NoMad and Gramercy Park, has seen a 25% increase in major crime through October 9 compared to the same period in 2021, with a 29% increase in burglaries and a 9% increase in felony assaults. 

As of Thursday, the NYPD had issued 41 criminal summonses this year along the two-square blocks bordering West 27th Street, West 28th Street, Fifth Avenue, and Sixth Avenue, including 12 for selling marijuana and five for unlicensed vending. Cops say they've also made 10 drug-related arrests on the same property, as well as another 21 for burglary and assault.

According to an NYPD spokesperson, the commanding officer of the precinct is "aware of the condition at the location and has been working with precinct personnel to address it."