The 62nd Precinct – covering Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, and Mapleton – has been in the spotlight this week after a New York Post exposé exposed officers had been illegally using a precinct garage as a converted smoking lounge. The Post obtained photos of the garage – a drab space with snow visible on the ground among folding chairs and trash cans – as well as an ashtray full of butts, cigar boxes, humidor, lighters, and a cigar cutter. Smoking has been banned from government-owned New York City buildings since 1995, and since 2002 violations have been punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 each.
Reportedly behind the illegal smoke spot is Captain Anthony Longobardi, who has allegedly been offering cops comp time to spruce up the garage after their shifts. Longobardi plays favorites, according to the Post’s sources, only offering “certain people” lounge access.
Assistant Commissioner J. Peter Donald acknowledged the lounge’s existence but denied its use as a smoking den, despite Roy Richter of the NYPD Captains Endowment Association confirming cops smoke cigars in it.
A single day after the Post published the story, Commissioner James O’Neill announced an investigation into the lounge, to be overseen by Brooklyn South Borough Commander Steven Powers, the Post reported.