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At the Ninth Precinct, It Looks a Lot Like Christmas

Steve Torres, 7 with his familyAnnie FairmanSteve Torres with family, after winning a bicycle in a “Gangnam Style” danceoff

Last Saturday got off to an early start at the Ninth Precinct.

At 2:30am, police were called to Beth Israel Hospital after an 18 year-old man entered the emergency room claiming to have been shot in the hand in Campos Plaza. When the building’s management, as well as Ninth Precinct officers posted to the NYCHA property that evening, disputed the account, the man admitted to having been shot accidentally in FDR Park when handed the gun by a friend. The young man, who lives on East 13th Street but is not a resident of Campos Plaza, was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon.

Jaylynn, 9 and SantaAnnie FairmanJaylynn, 9 and Santa

In the meantime, organizers of the Ninth Precinct’s Annual Christmas Party Giveaway arrived as early as 4am to set up for the event. Local families began lining up in the early morning hours for the chance to receive a gift from none other than Santa Claus himself, on loan from Macy’s.

Three and a half year-old Alicia Pagan waited in line with her mother, Teresa Mojica, for nearly two and a half hours to see Santa, who gave her a doll. Members of the NYPD Explorers youth program served hot cocoa to families as they waited on a line wrapping around the playground across the street and extending down to the corner of East Fifth Street and Second Avenue. Read more…

Daycare Closure Threatens Angel’s Care

DSC_0352MJ Gonzalez Magaly Feliciano and her son, Angel, practice the computer skills he learns at the League Treatment Center.

The holidays took on a bittersweet feeling at the Feliciano household this year, when Magali Feliciano, a single mother of two, received a letter stating that her son’s daycare was closing down.

“We had to get prepared again, it was going to be another battle,” said Ms. Feliciano, whose 4-year-old son, Angel, a special-needs child, attends Duffield Children’s Center, one of the fifteen daycare centers in New York set to shut down as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to close the city’s budget gap.

The day care centers, which provide services to low-income families, including many on welfare, are subsidized by the government and housed in leased properties, where rents have significantly risen in recent years. Officials with the Administration for Children’s Services said that the pricey programs can no longer be funded. The shuttering would save the city nearly $9 million.

Duffield, located on 101 Fleet Place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, was originally scheduled to close last spring, but after protests, marches, rallies, and support from government officials, the day care stayed open. But the reprieve was temporary.

On a recent evening in her Lower East Side apartment Ms. Feliciano had just gotten home, after spending her only day off running around the city, “I was picking the baby up from daycare, and spent the afternoon looking for things for my older son’s birthday.”

Ms. Feliciano is used to long days. She is up at six in the morning, gets Angel ready for school, and takes him outside where a bus picks him up at 6:45. Then, she heads to work in midtown. Read more…