Monday, February 16, 2009

Operation Pressure Point

In the mid-1980's the police swarmed the East Village one block at a time arresting a massive number of drug dealers, users, buyers, dozens at a time. They drove convoys down the street, entering buildings, pulling people out, very publicly. These actions were the first in a series that completely changed the character of the neighborhood and opened the door for businesses to move in that could attract a level of clientele with cash in pocket. Turns out those businesses are mostly bars, restaurants and frozen yogurt stores. Getting rid of the squats, covering up graffiti and other techniques to "clean" the neighborhood were consistent over many years, and largely successful.

Operation Pressure Point was followed by Operation TNT that focused more on the crack trade, and the concept of making buys and busting the dealers. This operation was less visible and outwardly scary than its previous mode.

Koch, and the chief of police, ward, were said to drive along with the raids, hiding in the vans, to oversee the project.

Operation Pressure Point in action. I love that the photo has that heap of garbage that cannot contain itself in the empty lot in the lower left of the photo. That lot is today a fancy rental unit.

Photos of that pile of rubble, then and now:

Reading: NY Times, 1989, Drugs in America, 1998, The Villager, 2009

2 comments:

Bowery Boogie said...

these pictures are sweet. keep 'em coming.

by the way. i think, pound for pound, there's been an increase in garbage on neighborhood streets. in that fierce windstorm the other day, a ton of it was kicked up.

EDDIE said...

I believe that picture with the police conveo is Eldridge street correct me if I'm wrong