A section of New York City’s once-bustling Midtown neighborhood appears to have been taken over by junkies brazenly shooting up in broad daylight.
The pedestrian plaza at Broadway and West 40th Street used to see a constant stream of suit-clad professionals rushing in and out of their sparkling skyscrapers.
But when the coronavirus pandemic struck in March, those buildings emptied out and an eerie quiet set in, inviting an influx of addicts that have turned the plaza into a shooting gallery littered with used needles, according to area workers and business owners.
Officials at City Hall have acknowledged the unsettling situation and branded it ‘entirely unacceptable’, but locals say it’s only getting worse as nothing is being done to address it.
DailyMail.com visited the intersection on Wednesday and captured shocking images of a woman injecting a substance into her arm before laying down for a nap on a bench.
A woman was photographed injecting herself with a needle in broad daylight at the intersection of Broadway and West 40th Street in Midtown on Wednesday. The images emerged as locals complain that the area has turned into a ‘shooting gallery’ for addicts
The woman appears to fill the needle with an unidentified substance as she sits barefoot at a table in the middle of the pedestrian plaza once bustling with people in suits
The woman then turns around and appears to inject the needle into her arm
Moments later the woman stretched out across three chairs for a nap
The New York Post first raised alarm about the burgeoning ‘shooting gallery’ on Tuesday and published a photo of the same woman wearing the same clothes as she pierced her arm with a needle.
While it cannot be said for certain whether the woman was using drugs, locals said it wasn’t an uncommon sight in the plaza.
‘They’ve taken over the tables, blatantly using needles and shooting up heroin all day long,’ a local worker named James told the Post.
‘There’s no police action, there’s no reach-out. There’s nobody preventing this, and you know we’ve had multiple calls to 311 but nobody really responds. It’s becoming a real problem.’
The lack of law enforcement attention was highlighted in another photo obtained by the outlet which showed an NYPD officer walking by the alleged junkie without batting an eye.
A third image showed four people huddled around a table with drug paraphernalia in clear view.
The NYPD told the Post that they’ve only received one drug complaint in the area in the past month, and that the suspects were gone when officers arrived.
James said that he’s personally contacted the city’s 311 line, but he referred to those calls as ‘futile exercises’.
The New York Post first raised alarm about the burgeoning ‘shooting gallery’ on Tuesday and published a photo of the same woman wearing the same clothes as she injected herself
While it cannot be said for certain whether the woman was using drugs, locals said it wasn’t an uncommon sight in the plaza
The woman looked around to see if anyone was watching before she pulled out the needle
After appearing to inject herself she was seen walking away with the used needle in her hand. Locals have complained that the plaza is littered with improperly discarded syringes
Construction worker Edgar Rivera, who’s been working near the intersection for the past few weeks, said he’s come to recognize many of the addicts.
‘It’s almost always the same people you see around,’ Rivera told the Post. ‘It’s always the same ones all the time.
‘They are here every day, they start in the early morning. We see them sleeping on the floor.
‘Sometimes the ambulances come around here to help them out. It’s always the same guys.’
Another man named Jeff who has worked for a private sanitation company in the area for about six years confirmed that the situation has worsened in the last year.
‘It’s gotten really bad,’ he said. ‘I’ve been seeing more syringes, discarded syringes, ever since they started coming in.’
The Midtown neighborhood used to see a constant stream of people – tourists and professionals at all hours of the day – but it emptied out when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March
A spokeswoman for City Hall called the situation ‘entirely unacceptable’ when approached by the Post on Tuesday.
‘We will do everything we can to connect these people with drug treatment and help so they can get their lives back on track,’ the spokeswoman said.
She said plans were in place to send outreach workers with the city health department to clean up the area by providing syringe disposal kits, naloxone to reverse overdoses and connecting addicts with treatment services.
DailyMail.com has reached out to City Hall for clarification about when those outreach workers will be deployed.
Locals, meanwhile, don’t sound very optimistic about how effective the outreach will be.
The Post spoke to a security officer with the Garment District Alliance on Wednesday who said: ‘There have been outreach programs out here, but most of the time they don’t accept the help.’
That officer, who was helping power wash the pavement in the plaza at the time, said he’s worked in the area for seven years.
DailyMail.com has also reached out to the city health department for comment about the purported outreach plans.