For the children of Harlem’s Frederick Samuel Houses, crime does pay … for a refurbished basketball court

image With approximately $32,000 in drug-trafficking funds seized by the city’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the Frederick Samuel Houses Community Center now sports a new gym floor and an electronic scoreboard. Funding is also set aside for the NYPD’s Police Athletic League (PAL) Cops & Kids program.

“It is my hope this facility can help us in continuing to build a meaningful relationship with the residents of Harlem, both on and off the court,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.

Strengthening collaboration between the cops and the community has been a hallmark of Bratton’s two-and-a-half-year tenure and was on display at the dedication ceremony, with a basketball game between the community center’s team and officers from the 32nd Precinct and Police Service Area 6, which covers the northern end of Manhattan.


Northern Manhattan has been the scene of two major gang take-downs in recent years: one in 2014 in the 26th Precinct and one in April of this year in the 23rd Precinct. The funding for the court came from a set of arrests this February for crack cocaine sales. With facilities like the community center and close police/community interaction through PAL, such actions should become increasingly rare.

“This new gymnasium is a powerful example of how collaboration between NYCHA and law enforcement is making neighborhoods safer and more connected,” said Gerald Nelson, NYCHA vice president for public safety and a former NYPD borough commander for Brooklyn North.

“With this major investment, ill-gotten gains have been re-purposed for the good of the community.”