Today I had an experience at the Ridgewood Reservoir which made it very clear to me that the local precincts have no intention to address the ATV problem and, in fact, are complicit in the abuse and destruction of New York City Department of Parks & Recreation property.
At 12:15pm today there was a man riding his ATV at Highland Park/Ridgewood Reservoir. He was with three children. I looked around for a patrol car or parks department vehicle. Fifteen minutes later I tracked down an unmarked, dark blue NYPD van in the Upper Highland Park parking lot. I approached the two officers in the van and told them about the ATV riders in the park. They explained that it is "very difficult" for them to pursue the scofflaws "up there" with their van and that the ATV riders always take off. I wondered why they assumed that the ATV owner was in an upper portion of the Ridgewood Reservoir property. I explained that, in fact, they were in the lower park between Highland Boulevard and the National Cemetery. They seemed reluctant to do anything about it, but finally said they'd look into it. I followed them as they left the parking lot heading towards Highland Boulevard. At the intersection, instead of turning left, towards the ATV, they turned right, away from the location and out of the park. They never returned.
By 12:50pm the ATV group had moved their activities higher up into the park, to an area directly adjacent to the reservoir. I called 311. The operator took my information, then transferred me to a 911 operator. At 12:54pm the 911 operator assured me that an NYPD vehicle was being dispatched. By 1:20pm, the ATV party was still in progress and the police hadn't arrived. While waiting for the police I spoke with the only adult in the group, who appeared to be the father of the children and owner of the ATV. He didn't think what he was doing was illegal. I asked if the police ever stopped them from riding in the park. I was shocked by what I was told. They had been told by the police that it was alright for them to ride in that area and to just avoid riding on the running paths and walkways! They also said that all the local ATV riders were given the same information, which would explain the sudden upsurge of ATV usage in the park. I left Ridgewood Reservoir and Highland Park at around 2:30pm. Nobody from the local precinct ever responded to the 911 operator's call.
Here is a video from today.
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