City bans hangouts in front of stores | Paterson Times

City bans hangouts in front of stores


The city council on Tuesday evening passed an ordinance banning the formation of group gatherings, which interference with local commerce, outside business establishments.

“Police have their hands cuffed so to speak,” said Kenneth McDaniel, councilman at-large. McDaniel explained that because the state has done away with loitering laws local authorities hitherto lacked the power to deal with mischievous crowds outside businesses.

“It gives law enforcement authorities the ability to step in and intervene when there’s large crowds of individuals hanging outside in front of bodegas, liquor stores, bars,” explained McDaniel who sponsored the ordinance.

City residents welcomed the move with several expressing positive sentiments about the ordinance. Some residents want the ordinance to be applied not only to businesses but also to residential properties.

“I would like to ask that not only should this be enforced in commercial and retail, I think it should be enforced in general,” requested Rafael Fontana, a city resident. “What happens is that when you move them away from liquor stores and bodegas, they go to the next corner.”

In an attempt to placate residents’ demand and get the initial ordinance in the book without bogging it down in modifications and changes, Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, commented, “This can always be amended.”

Ernest Rucker, a city activist, also wanted the ordinance to cover homeowners, who often have to deal with groups invading porticos and creating lounging areas. “Our community has been held hostage for quite some time,” said Rucker.

“They sit in front of my house,” added Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman. “I have to yell out the window saying ‘what are you doing?’ you do not live here, you don’t even pay rent here, why are you sitting in front of my house.”

On Preakness Avenue, after students are dismissed from John F. Kennedy High School they set up shop in porches across the block adjacent to the school, said Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, 2nd Ward councilman. “They start occupying all the houses on Preakness Avenue,” said Akhtaruzzaman.

Although residents and council members hopes to address the situation with the newly crafted ordinance, the issue cannot be addressed without enforcement from the administration. In recent years, there have been little will to enforce existing ordinances.

Donald Lynch, a city resident, skeptically mentioned the Danforth Memorial Library on Broadway where drug addicts and drunkards and undesirables of all stripes hangout throughout the day.

“Look at the library, they sit there like it’s their home,” said Lynch. “If they’re not going to stretch this ordinance, it’s no good.”

The ordinance sets fines for violators as much as $2,000, imprisonment for 90-days, or community service for 90-days.

“People are sick and tired of being held hostage in their homes not being able to go to bodegas and stores because people are hanging out loitering,” said McDaniel. “This is the first step towards taking back our city.”

  • Dez

    Just a simple question , are the officers going to just make the crowds move or is this Paterson way or introducing the stop and frisk law ?????

    • Jenny Gyro

      Hopefully they'll stop and frisk anyone found in violation of the ordinance.

  • JazzyJerome

    Good it is annoying to have to find a path though a bunch of jokers standing around smoking Black and Milds shooting dice. Buy what you need and keep it moving.

    • EJ Belton

      These "jokers" are your neighbors. They are the parents of your children's classmates. So you really should stop acting like you are better than them. Because eventually you will have to deal with their presence.

      • JazzyJerome

        Who said anything about being better? They are being dealt with that is the purpose of the law. If you want to hang out go home nobody wants to see you shooting dice throwing garbage on the ground in front of the store. I suppose we should accept any behavior no matter how negative the affects are on the neighborhood now I see why it gets worse all the time. People like you facilitate the nonsense.

        • EJ Belton

          This is AMERICA. You cannot tell people how to behave on public. If you don't like what I am doing then YOU go home. GTFOH

          • Jenny Gyro

            Actually you can. It's a social contract.

  • Dave Gilmore

    My comments didn't make the cut as we attended this meeting as well. It was said that alternative places must be utilized to hang out… I mentioned those alternative hang out venues should be the city parks. Ironically the mentioned location on Broadway is diagonally across and down the street from a notorious hang out destination nearby the library. Unfortunately it's going on two (2) years Barbour Park closed… What good is any ordinance if they are not enforced, a common thread in Paterson.

    • Jenny Gyro

      Time for the community to have a moment if accountability with itself and officially disown the hip hop thug
      Culture that fosters uncivil behavior patterns and criminality.

      • Lester Baptiste

        HipHop culture is parsed by good parents just as any other presumed negative influence!

  • truelove

    I am so glad we are finally moving forward with this.

  • Luis Velez

    I attended previous meetings regarding this ordinance, I even recommended to also applied on front of apartments buildings and residence, because I have received many complaints from homeowners and renters that they want to leave in peace… …. But this is also a preview of the quality of life we must have in our city, especially in the 5th ward

    Estube en el concilio en reuniones pasadas respecto a esta ordenanza, inclusive yo recomende que se aplicara tambien en frente de edificios y residencia la cual muchas ocaciones se reunen a hacer ruido y otras cosas en la noche. porque he recibido quejas de duenos de casa y inquilinos la cual quieren tranquilidad tambien…. Pero esto es un avance a la calidad de vida gue debemos tener en nuestra cuidad, en especial en el 5to Barrio.

  • Lester Baptiste

    My question is how are police going to differentiate between innocence and trouble? Ordinances don't come with training most of the time and in the passed police have taken negative initiative in enforcing, often violating personal liberties.

    • Jenny Gyro

      Human discernment

  • AgIv

    Great no more hoodlums hanging out in front of bodegas. Stop and frisk, all in favor of it

    • EJ Belton

      You don't even know what a hoodlum is. Have a seat.

  • EJ Belton

    Just another way to get young men into the prison industrial complex. Sad how people are the creators of their own destruction.

    Here's an idea: BUY A GUN. That will keep the loiterers from in front of your business.



      • EJ Belton

        Sometimes, yes, I will place an order and go stand outside to smoke a cigarette while they prepare my food. And I would rather not have the police harassing me while I do so. Because, low and behold, I may have forgotten to pay a parking ticket and next thing I know I'm spending a weekend in jail because some citizen was scared of a black guy standing in front of a restaurant.

        You go through towns like Millburn, Montclair, Bloomgield, etc. And there are white people loitering all over the place! No one suspects them of anything though. I guess because they are dressed well and smiley. The racism in this situation is disgusting.

        • JazzyJerome

          LMAO racism? Please what white person enacted this law in Paterson? Not one! The man that pushed the law is black. Your whole argument is nothing but deflection "white people do it too" How much crime is in those towns? Not much I use to ride through MIllburn everyday on my way to work and I never saw a bunch of dudes standing around smoking all day everyday. If you are worried about black men being part of the prison complex help them learn something that will enable them to make some money and go to work.

          • EJ Belton

            Jerome you are right. Racism is not the correct word because skin color really has nothing to do with this. A better word would be ethnocentrism. If you knew anything about the culture in Paterson you wouldn't think these people were troublemakers. And common sense says that if a group of people is around there is less likely to be any major crime, such as robbing store. I don't care who wrote the law. – it's stupid.

            Milburn has benches in front of businesses for people to congregate. If you've never seen a group of white people in front of a store smoking – in Jersey – you need to get out more!

          • JazzyJerome

            Smoking in front of a store while you are waiting on your pizza and hanging out all day and night are two different things I am sure the police know the difference. How much garbage is on the ground in MIlburn? Not much. Common sense would dictate you go to work and not stand around all day, who is getting shot out there? College students? The working man? No it's the guys who stand around all day doing nothing.

          • Lester Baptiste

            EJ Belton brought up the point I was thinking about with this ordinance. First, in this country you are innocent until proven guilty, however in Paterson its ok ften a case of in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not all our police WANT to discern between EJ awaiting on a prepared meal and troublemakers awaiting a customer, so with this ordinance I see harassment problems. Where are the damn truant officers from back in the day who's duty was to check ages and put those lingering do-nothings back in school before they get caught up in the penal systems?

            We DO need our parks back and upkept as daytime alternatives, then closed and heavily policed after dark with no one allowed, adult or child, after 9pm. The park by the library needs to be turned into a city pool to deter the drunks and encourage ALL THOSE KIDS to have better and know better. Its creating a better street culture than what now exists! I'd like benches put outside establishments but policed well so those who aren't ordering a sandwich have to leave. We need to change our street culture with better city planning and a city government providing positive change and not extra punishment. Paterson children need to know their city care about their success. This is often non-apparent, especially in odinances like these.

            And stop blaming HipHop. Jay Z turned it around!!

          • JazzyJerome

            There is always potential for abuse that is part of human nature. The city doesn't have the money for truant officers the parents need to do their job and raise their children. There is a choice in the matter people can raise their children properly or the state will do it for them in the worst way. I had a daily report card that my teachers signed everyday to keep me in line their parents can do the same. There is no excuse for allowing your child to grow up uneducated. People died so that they can get an education and they don't do it that is a crime.

          • Lester Baptiste

            So how do police differentiate between Mr. EJ & the negative element, all standing out there?

          • JazzyJerome

            Since they see the same guys standing around all day every day and he is not one of them it's not that difficult.

          • Lester Baptiste

            Not that easy and Paterson police are not that discerning. Harassment will definitely ensue.

          • JazzyJerome

            If you are making the assumption that they will target everyone and every business I guess not. To my understanding it will be applied to known trouble spots not the local deli. What do you propose they city do instead of the no hangout ordinance?

          • Lester Baptiste

            Place a policeman inside of those places to get to know the business AND clientele so I the client gain a feeling of safety and assurance seeing the same protective face around and he the policeman learns who aren't the troublemakers. Then I'd be more assured that this ordinance was well thought out, not just vigilantes for the state showing up on the scene and broadly enforcing policy without personalization.

          • JazzyJerome

            You basically said the same thing, the police have to make some sort of observation.

          • Jenny Gyro

            Your argument assumes that all these groups of gentlemen posted up outside the bodega have ethics, morals, empathy and a sense of community. Common sense should inform you that groups of people do not all act alike. Some are civil and others unruly. The mob mentality generally has negative results.

        • Jenny Gyro

          Had to racialize the issue huh? It's about socioeconomics not race. Low class street culture has nothing to do with being of African heritage. People in the towns you mentioned are concerned with educational development, the arts, culture, intellectual discourse, global science and personal health. Their diet, mind state and social values are different from yours, but there are plenty of black people living in Tudor mansions with IVY degrees in Essex county. You should broaden your horizons. This has nothing to do with race.

          • JazzyJerome


    • Lester Baptiste

      These days they come up INTO your house and shoot you back!!

  • Guest

    More like these!!