Residents: Homecrest Playground literally going to pot

Residents: Homecrest Playground literally going to pot
Photo by Steve Schnibbe

A Sheephead Bay playground is quickly becoming a den of debauchery where teenagers sell drugs and smoke weed while homeless people sleep near by, neighbors claim.

Parents and grandparents who spend days at Homecrest Playground near the Belt Parkway, and the E. 12th Street overpass say police are not enforcing the law at the park and things are started to get out of hand.

“Teenagers are smoking pot and selling drugs,” said Yulia Golubev, who moved to the neighborhood a year and a half ago and wants a safe playground to visit with her young daughter. “Everyone hear knows that this is happening, but the area is being neglected by the police.”

Golubev also said that the playground smells like urine because of the homeless people who stay there, and that she has noticed adults drinking alcohol in the playground.

“It’s really disgusting,” Golubev said. “I understand that it is a free country, but it is kind of dangerous for kids to be in this kind of environment.”

She joined a small Facebook group founded in April called Save Homecrest Playground, where other locals have voiced their concerns. Posts on the group’s page include complaints about the age of the play equipment, the cleanliness of the area, and funding that elected officials have prioritized for Manhattan Beach parks and playgrounds instead of Homecrest.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) said his office has received noise and loitering complaints about the playground, and claimed he went to the playground spoke to some teenagers last week, but sensed the odor of marijuana emanating from another group of young men leaving the playground at the same time.

Deutsch added he subsequently notified police of the problem.

On Aug. 16, police officers from the 61 Precinct pulled over a vehicle that failed to signal when leaving a parking space a few blocks away from the playground and ran a stop sign on E. 11th Street and Shore Parkway. The officers found drugs including pills and marijuana in the car. The driver and four other men, all between the ages of 17 and 23, were arrested.

Deutsch said he learned the men had been hanging out in the playground just before they got in the car.

Reach reporter Eric Faynberg at (718) 260–2508 or by e-mail at efaynberg@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericfaynberg.