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City Removed Phone Booth That Attracted Crack-Smoking 'Zombies'

By Gustavo Solis | September 4, 2015 1:45pm | Updated on September 7, 2015 8:33pm
 Residents say people buy crack on 114th Street and smoke it near Eighth Avenue on a daily basis. 
Phone Booth on 114th Street
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HARLEM — A Frederick Douglass Boulevard phone booth used by crack-smokers as a smoking area and public toilet has been removed.

A crew started removing the booth between West 114th and 115th streets at roughly 7:30 a.m. Friday and by 10 a.m. all that remained was wet cement and an orange cone.

"I couldn't believe it," said Randi Klein, who has been trying to do something about the crack smoking for two years.

Every morning crack-smoking “zombies” would buy drugs on West 114th Street and use them at the phone booth. They often also used it as a bathroom, Klein said.

She has been calling 311 and tweeting out photos of people smoking from glass pipes to the local precinct and elected officials for more than a year.

Deputy Inspector Olufunmilo Obe, of the 28th Precinct, contacted Community Board 10 after DNAinfo wrote about the phone booth.

“The phone booth was removed with the help of CB10,” she wrote in a statement. “I sent a letter to the District Manager, Mr. LaSalle, and he reached out to the city agency responsible for the removal.”

Klein called the removal of the booth a victory, but still plans to continue to speak out against chronic drug-use on 114th Street.

“It may not seem like a big deal but one person can make a difference,” she said. “The next thing to do is continue to tackle the problem that everyone knows exists on 114 Street which is the drugs.”