Chaos rules in NYC’s SoHo, where residents say they’re in fear
Open fires burning on the street. Dangerous vagrants. Fear after dark.
This is life these days in SoHo — one of Manhattan’s ritziest neighborhoods, with home costs that soar into the millions.
Late Wednesday night, video emerged of an open fire burning on Canal Street and people who live and work in the neighborhood told The Post that crime and chaos has gotten so far out of control, they no longer feel safe.
“I used to be more comfortable letting my children, especially the two older kids, travel by themselves to school and now I don’t,” Maud Maron, a mother of four who’s lived in SoHo for over a decade, told The Post Thursday.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the most expensive neighborhood or the least expensive neighborhood in New York City. Every single New Yorker deserves safety and the ability to walk down the street without open fires.”
Maron, a New Yorker for 32 years, said she used to allow her kids to walk down Canal Street and take the subway to school but these days, she opts to excursion them.
Last Wednesday an open fire in the wealthy Manhattan district of SoHo was captured on video.jacquetnyc/TwitterResidents say that crime in New York is getting out of control, as one resident interviewed said she feels less safe letting her kids travel to school on their own.William Farrington
“The reality is, our city is not as safe as it used to be,” Maron, 50, said.
“It’s unconscionable because we’re also not helping the people who are clearly experiencing. I don’t wish ill on people who are clearly mentally experiencing and dressed poorly in the winter but I also don’t want that person near my child.”
The Post spoke with a half dozen New Yorkers who live and work in SoHo who all said there is a noticeable change in the neighborhood compared to a few years ago.
In the first precinct, which covers SoHo, crime has soared 52.6 percent over the last 28 days compared to last year and year to date, it’s up 48.4 percent, NYPD data show. The numbers mimic citywide crime trends that show an overall increase of about 40 percent so far this year compared to 2021.
The open fire occurred on Canal Street, residents complain that homeless and mentally ill people are engaging in violent and unsafe practices in public.jacquetnyc/TwitterCrime has risen over 50 percent in the last month in the first district, which covers SoHo.Getty Images
John Constantine, who manages a luxury boutique on Prince Street, moved out of the neighborhood a year ago and said he hasn’t looked back since.
“This neighborhood is awful,” Constantine, 34, said.
“I saw a homeless man with a machete fighting with another man with rebar. You can kill someone with that. That was two months ago.”
Recently, a mentally ill man with no shirt came into his store and started dancing, forcing Constantine to “evacuate” his customers.
Local business owners say that rising crime has contributed to a decline in sales and that the neighborhood is in decline.William Farrington
“He started spitting on the cops. He swung at a female cop. When they were taking him down, he urinated on one of the cops to keep them off of him,” Constantine recalled.
“With the crime and the cold weather, we have a dip in sales. We used to do as much as $10,000 a day. Now we do $1,000. This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. It’s exacerbated by how the neighborhood is going down.”
Ana Fabiolo, who works at a Prince Street juice bar, said she used to work the night shift but she switched to days when it got “too scary”.
Crime has increased citywide by 40%. Many who work in SoHo complain that the neighborhood is no longer safe to be in at night. William Farrington
“About three months ago my boss went to get pizza. This guy was following her with a blow torch. He was yelling at her and threatened her with it,” the 23-year-old recounted.
“When I am here by myself, I get afraid. You never know who will come in… It’s ridiculous that this neighborhood is so crappy and rents are so high and you have all these high-end stores around.”
Bruce Lane, who’s lived in SoHo for 50 years, said he avoids walking around after dark.
“You can feel it, there is a palpable thing in the neighborhood. It’s just not safe. I’m alarmed and afraid,” Lane, 76, said.
“I watch my surroundings more carefully. It’s all over this neighborhood. I don’t like when my wife goes out alone.”
Ashley Maynor, a 39-year-old librarian who moved to SoHo from Tennessee five years ago, said she worries more these days than she ever has since arriving in the Big Apple.
“There has been a shift, no one can deny it,” Maynor said.
“I’m definitely ready to see action and change from the new Mayor. We can’t act like nothing happened.
Maron, the Manhattan mom, echoed those comments and had a message for Mayor Eric Adams after voting for him: “He better live up to all the promises that he made.”
City Hall didn’t return a request for comment.
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