Web Stories Thursday, July 25

Open-air heroin use, mentally disturbed homeless people, human waste and troubling spasms of violence have turned a stretch of the East Village into a “s—thole,” locals say.

The area along East 14th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, was a dangerous eyesore even before the broad daylight stabbing on Sunday that left one person dead and two others wounded, according to residents.

“It’s a s—thole. It’s horrid,” Barbara N., who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1980s, told The Post on Monday.

“It has gotten so bad.”

Blood stains remained on an East Village sidewalk a day after the fatal stabbing. William C Lopez/New York Post

Alejandro Piedra, 30, was charged with murder in the stabbing that left Clemson Coxfield, 38, fatally wounded — an incident erupting from a fight between homeless people at the corner of East 14th Street and Avenue A , police said.

He’s also charged with two counts of attempted murder for slashing two other homeless people, a 51-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, during the tussle, which broke out at around 5:45 p.m., law-enforcement sources said.

Locals said the stretch running along the southern edge of Stuy Town has been plagued by regular, open drug use, problems with unlicensed street vendors and urine and feces befouling the sidewalks.

Kirsten Theodos, a former East Village resident, told The Post that the area started to change about 2019, when she noticed the local CVS started locking up deodorant and ice cream.

Homeless people started to camp near her building, “heroin needles” and locals began calling one sidewalk the “Thieves’ Corner,” Theodos said.

“I moved out because the conditions on 14th and First are unbearable,” the mother of two said.

One former local said a stretch of 14th Street near a recent fatal stabbing was known as “Thieves’ Corner.” G.N.Miller/NYPost

Locals who still call the area home told the The Post similar stories.

“This particular block is the worst I’ve ever seen it in my life,” one neighborhood resident said. “And I’ve lived in this neighborhood my whole life.”

“The electeds don’t do anything,” the resident added. “They come and do photo ops.”

The stretch of 14th Street straddles the districts of Council members Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera, who both issued statements after the stabbing that highlighted their long-standing concerns.

Powers called the situation of “out of control,” while Rivera blamed underinvestment in mental health.

Even disgraced Democratic pol and selfie enthusiast Anthony Weiner whipped out some unsolicited advice.

He tweeted that the NYPD should move cops posted in vehicle near Target onto a foot patrol.

“I refer you to the beat cop of yore,” he wrote.

Cops said nearly every crime in the area is down, despite recent high-profile violence. Kevin C Downs for New York Post

Weiner inserting himself into the matter wasn’t taken well by law enforcement sources who spoke with The Post.

One said the local police precinct didn’t have fixed post by Target. Another swiped at Weiner’s sex offender status.

“The solution is so obvious even sex offenders know what needs to be done,” the source scoffed.

The area has seen a spate of high-profile crimes, including a vagrant accused of viciously slashing the neck of a church caretaker who warned him to spot urinating on a car.

Workers power-washed the blood-stained sidewalk Monday where the multiple stabbing took place barely a day before. Few homeless people or illicit vendors were out, likely because of NYPD officers stationed along the street.

Despite the headlines, crime is actually down 30% over the past year in the NYPD’s 9th Precinct, which covers the stretch of 14th Street near First Avenue and Avenue A, police data shows.

“Every single index crime is even or down,” a law enforcement source told The Post. “So, we’re doing the work.”

Another law enforcement source said cops can’t arrest homeless people for being homeless.

“Unless you want a unit assigned there permanently doing only that until the end of time, this will just keep happening,” the source said.

An NYPD spokesperson said police officers assigned to the precinct “have diligently worked to reduce crime and address all community concerns,” while highlighting the dip in crime so far this year.

“Specifically along 14th Street, personnel from the 9th Precinct conduct weekly operations – including on Sunday, July 23rd – to address homeless encampments, vendors, and persons in need of assistance, the spokesperson said. “There will be a dedicated foot post to address quality of life issues and maintain a visible presence along 14th Street.”

Additional reporting by Amanda Woods

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