Once one of the hottest neighborhood in NYC, the Financial District is now simply a dumpster fire, residents and workers told The Post.
In early September at least four trash fires were set along Cliff, William and Water streets. They were quickly extinguished, but the crime and filth blighting this once-sleepy neighborhood, bound by Chambers Street, the West Side Highway, the Battery and the East River, have only worsened.
Emboldened crooks and vagrants have been robbing and assaulting locals without restraint while businesses are regularly looted by brazen shoplifters.
“It’s gotten more outlandish,” Keith Ruiz, 29, a concierge at 71 Broadway, said about criminal activity in the neighborhood. Perps “come down to Wall Street because they know where the money is. … It’s all money-driven crime.”
NYPD data for the 1st Precinct, which includes the Financial District, shows major crimes have increased 50% this year, compared to 33% citywide. Burglary is up 70%, robbery 15%, felony assault 16%, and rape 55%.
Crimes in the past year include:
- A Queens woman randomly slashed an 82-year-old doorman in the head with a machete on Stone Street and Broadway before blinding him with bear spray in September.
- A 19-year-old slashed and robbed an 84-year-old man on Exchange Place near Broad Street in August, taking off with his watch and cell phone.
- A man unsuccessfully tried to steal a woman’s French Bulldog worth thousands of dollars and in the process slammed her head into the revolving glass door at 61 Broadway in July.
- A man swiped the cash in the register at Pisillo Italian Panini at Nassau and Ann Streets while the staff was in the back of the restaurant in April, causing co-owner Antonella Silvio to store a baseball bat below the counter.
“I’m hoping that the new mayor can do something more for the police, but it seems that nothing’s moved yet,” Silvio said.
Even some luxe buildings have become hotbeds of drug deals and other unseemly activity.
Ashley Weil, a 28-year-old beauty buyer, said a neighbor in her John Street building was pistol-whipped for telling new tenants operating an unlicensed tattoo parlor on her floor that their music was too loud. After more than a year of complaints from several neighbors, the raucous residents were finally evicted this summer.
“What happened in our building was alarming,” Weil said. “I never imagined anything like that would happen in FiDi.”
At the TJ Maxx on Wall Street, where racks can be stocked with $250 Balmain t-shirts and $600 Gucci sweaters, one employee complained about a surge in merchandise theft during the pandemic, often by the same crooks. Police data shows 911 calls to the location are up to 40 through Sept. 22, compared to 20 in 2021 and 14 in 2019.
“There’s a homeless guy who sings on the street,” said the 57-year-old employee. “He comes here and takes T-shirts and underwear — free!”
Lawyer Thomas Kenniff, a Republican who ran and lost against soft-on-crime Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg last November, attributed the spike in crime to lower foot traffic in the neighborhood alongside lax bail laws.
“The office buildings in Manhattan are less than half full from everything I’ve observed, and that creates fertile soil for homelessness or criminals who feel that they have an area of operation,” Kenniff said.
Unhinged hobos in particular have been terrorizing locals throughout the neighborhood.
Masud Khan, 22, who works at a Dunkin Donuts on Fulton Street, said that an angry beggar smashed a co-worker’s nose earlier this year with the store’s plexiglass protector, while resident Anthony Sabella, 37, said that he witnessed a man masturbating “onto the emblem of a Mercedes Benz.”
“It’s becomes a free-for-all,” said Adam Weiss, president of AMW Public Relations. “I don’t remember this neighborhood before having such bad presence.”
An NYPD spokesperson declined to comment on the surge in crimes in the neighborhood, except to say that numbers are up citywide. The department noted that in the 1st Precinct, all arrests are up 28.1% this year, including 12% for robbery, 43% for grand larceny, 100% for burglary, and 7% for felony assault.