Vendor group petitions to continue marketplace in Sunset Park following police crackdown
A group of vendors is asking the community for their support after they were forced out of Sunset Park two weekends in a row.
They collected signatures, calling on the park to designate vending spaces where they can sell goods in a safe and legal manner.
Parks Enforcement Patrol started cracking down on the makeshift plaza two weeks ago. Tensions escalated even more last week when Parks and NYPD officers raided the plaza again, even though the group said they were only celebrating Easter and not selling any merchandise.
The NYPD said officers came to the park after a Parks officer was punched. The group, however, said the officers were the ones who initiated the violence.
One resident said the makeshift plaza is the best part of Sunset Park and the heart of the neighborhood, but not everyone agrees with that.
Some people who spoke with News 12 on Sunday said they are happy that the vendors are gone. They said the makeshift plaza made the park dirty, ugly and drew large crowds.
One resident stressed that the park is for recreation and not for a marketplace.
For many of these vendors, however, selling merchandise at the park is a way to make ends meet.
In a statement, the City Parks Department said, "Our parks enforcement and NYPD are addressing illegal vending at Sunset Park in response to neighborhood complaints."
The group said they will continue to collect signatures every weekend.