Hooker, Line, And Sink

The City of Philadelphia, in its infinite wisdom, spent a quarter million dollars to install three public toilets and sinks in the most drug-infested area of town.

The first of several public toilets and sinks have been installed in Kensington, a move Philadelphia officials hope will stem the neighborhood’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. Installed on Monday, the two restroom trailers and a hand-sanitizing station were activated on Wednesday — and promptly got a warm Philly welcome.

On its first day in action, the soap dispenser at Kensington Avenue and F Street was tipped over into a trashcan and dented.

I’m kind of an expert on this neighborhood, since I spent five years patrolling Kensington. When I first got on the job, Kensington was nicknamed “The Badlands,” and was the most violent neighborhood in the city. I have no idea how many homicides I responded to, but the number was very high.

“15 MINUTES ON KENSINGTON AVENUE,” reads a Facebook post from an account called Juniata News. “New sanitizing station is being vandalized already.”

Juniata is the neighborhood north of Kensington, so if they say it was fifteen minutes, I believe them. My only question is this: if you live in Juniata, why are you surprised? Hell, I’m surprised it took that long to destroy the sink!

Each mobile restroom trailer has three toilets, plus sinks. Here’s where the existing facilities live:

Restroom trailer 1 at Monmouth and Kensington
Restroom trailer 2 at Somerset and Kensington
Handwashing sink at Kensington and F Street, across the street from McPherson Square (H/TJim)

Kensington Avenue runs the length of the 24th District, and I was often placed on 24T9, which was the “Junkie Car.” I spent my eight hours chasing the heroin zombies and hookers off the avenue, and responding to overdoses and shootings. Here are a few lowlights of these sanitation station areas:

At Kensington and Monmouth, we once had a guy shooting at the elevated “El” train as it passed his second-floor apartment. It took the SWAT team to drag him out of there.

At Kensington & Somerset, I received a call to investigate a Porta-Potty. When I arrived, I opened the door, and a man was sitting on the toilet, dead of a heroin overdose. The only good part was it was mid-winter, and the corpse didn’t stink.

McPherson Square is notably nicknamed “Needlepoint Park,” because the heroin addicts shoot up there, toss their needles on the grass, and eventually some kid steps on one and has to be rushed to the hospital.

The city knows full well what goes on in these areas, and yet they wasted $250,000 for toilets and sinks which will only be destroyed by the walking dead. They could have paid me the money, and I would have gladly retired and moved to Texas. At least the money would be well spent.

Philly Cracking Down On Crack Dens

Like most major cities, Philadelphia is a completely different town when you get a few miles away from the Art Museum and the stadiums.

It’s less than a week before the city’s self-imposed deadline to shut down two of Philadelphia’s heroin encampments, where people have been living since last fall — and the camps along Kensington’s Lehigh Avenue are swelling with people.

That tension was clear Tuesday morning at a site that is being closed down, under the train bridge on Kensington Avenue. A half-dozen city workers in bright orange shirts, bearing clipboards, stationed themselves on the freshly scrubbed sidewalk, trying to get camp denizens to talk to them. Some shook hands and asked about treatment. Others dragged their tents back onto the clean sidewalk and hunkered back down on battered mattresses.

Still others decamped to Emerald Street and Frankford Avenue, sites the city is leaving alone for now.

The sad part about this is the areas affected were featured in the Rocky films; including Rocky’s home and the Adrian’s house. The area is now resembles another hit series; The Walking Dead.