My Neighborhood Police State
Two months ago I was walking home from the subway one night about 11 o'clock and walked into a crowd of cops taking up the sidewalk for an entire block. Probably 40 cops were there, not in full riot gear, but near enough. I watched them from my window for about half an hour, and as near as I could tell all they did was sweep up a couple of kids with pot in their pockets.
At night they put floodlights up on three corners and raise this crane- like thing up in the air, so they can video-tape everything happening 360 degrees around the thing. The first night I came home and this thing was going on, I thought they were shooting a movie on my block (which they do do from time to time). They kinda were, I guess, but I'm much happier to see the Teamsters who come with those other movies than the FOP members working on this reality TV episode.
For a bit of perspective, consider the fact that Housing Here and Now, a group pushing for more affordable housing in the city, is fighting to get a billion dollars in new funds over the next decade. According to them, this kind of cash could finance more than 10,000 new affordable housing units and preserve a minimum of 5,000 existing units throughout New York City.
Sounds like one pretty obvious solution to New York's housing crisis is taking "just" a quarter of the current NYPD budget and putting into something more useful than occupying my block with this crazy robotic bullshit.