Many residents and community leaders attended the rally against a drug treatment facility. Jewel Webber
Throggs Neck continues to clash
with Miracle City’s drug proposal
BY ALEX MITCHELL
The Throggs Neck community continues
to clash over a proposed drug
rehabilitation and treatment facility
that would occupy 2800 Bruckner Boulevard,
putting the area’s residents at
odds with the local merchant association
In previous months, east Bronx
elected offi cials have formally opposed
Miracle City, the drug treatment center’s
operator, while multiple protests
in front of the property have been
Residents are trying to block Miracle
City from obtaining a state license
to operate the facility.
As an ‘822’ program, regulated by
the NYS Offi ce of Alcohol and Substance
Abuse Services, Miracle City
would be providing counseling services
to clients affl icted with eating
and drinking disorders, and drug addictions.
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto
and Councilman Mark Gjonaj sent a
joint letter to OASAS, recommending
that the agency not approve the license
for Miracle City. State Senator Alessandra
Biaggi has also made her displeasure
known in a separate letter to
the state agency.
Even though a representative of
Miracle City indicated its current business
model will not include dispensing
any narcotics, it could do so at a later
date by fi ling additional paperwork to
the proper regulatory governmental
agencies, community leaders learned.
Taking the words of the drug treatment
operators at face value, that they
do not intend to dispense any narcotics
from the location, Bob Jaen, presi-
dent of the Throggs Neck Merchants
Association, has personally thrown
his support behind the Miracle City
“No drugs should be coming out of
that building,” Jaen said.
According to Jaen, the merchants
association is neither opposing or in
favor of, the drug treatment facility at
“The viewpoint of the (Throggs
Neck Merchants Association) is that
Miracle City is a good standing merchant.
(The merchants association)
is about economics, not politics,” he
Even though he supports the current
drug treatment proposal, he explained
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (l) meets with Egidio Sementelli (c) and other
community stakeholders regarding Miracle City. Courtesy of Egidio Sementilli
BRONX TIMES REPORTER, J 2 ULY 26-AUGUST 1, 2019 BTR
how he and the TNMA thwarted Miracle
City’s earlier attempts to install a
hyperbaric chamber and a pharmacy
at the facility, citing concerns about its
impact on nearby schools and the surrounding
“(Miracle City hasn’t) done anything
wrong yet,” he said.
None of 2800 Bruckner Boulevard’s
current tenants have voiced support
for the Miracle City proposal.
On the other side of the battle, opponents
of Miracle City fear that the
clinic would start distributing drugs
in the future as per its license.
Pelham Bay activist Egidio Sementelli,
who has been leading the opposition
and organizing protests against
Miracle City met with Congresswoman
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez along with
others to share his and a dozen other
attendee’s concerns about the facility.
“It was a very productive meeting,”
Sementelli said mentioning that Ocasio
Cortez is still reviewing the situation.
Federal money would be allocated
to Miracle City if its license is approved
by OASAS, Sementelli explained.
He believes that the selected location
of Miracle City is inappropriate
and will lead to an increase in crime
and other illicit activity in the area.
“Facilities like this unfortunately
bring unwanted and dangerous behavior,”
Sementelli said, noting that
being on the corner of a residential
street, in a neighborhood surrounded
by schools, would only invite such
criminal behavior into the core of the
Throggs Neck community.
“Places like Miracle City belong
on Waters Place where there aren’t
schools close by and no residents in the
immediate area,” he said.
Sementelli also used the example of
Waters Place’s frequent issues of “loitering,
panhandling, drug activity and
shoplifting” to reiterate his stand that
Miracle City doesn’t belong at 2800
“It’s not like our concerns are baseless,”
The next protest he has planned
against the drug treatment facility
will be on Saturday, August 10 at 2800
The Bronx Times Reporter contacted
Miracle City for comment but
did not receive a response by press