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John Mazzone, shown standing outside his business, Tel-Rad Service, is bothered by the continuing presence of prostitutes on Broadway in Midtown Kingston. Freeman photo by Tania Barricklo.
JOHN Mazzone swears you'll see them if you just look. They're crouched in front of empty storefronts in a two-block strip along Broadway. In most cases, their faces are weathered, their clothes are worn. Many are strung out on crack, heroin or methadone. Some come out in the shadows of the night, while others, desperate for another hit, crawl out of the dark and into the daylight, looking for a customer interested in doing business.
That is how Mazzone and other merchants in Midtown Kingston describe what they see almost daily. The prostitutes who work the streets regularly are, in fact, known by name to many of the city's businesspeople.
It doesn't take rocket science to figure out what they're doing," said Mazzone, co-owner of Tel-Rad Service, a TV repair shop at Broadway. A lot of people don't notice them, unless you're in tune with it, and then you see it every single day. Brian Robertson. And though it doesn't make headlines on a regular basis, the problem is real and ongoing, Robertson said.
Most have roots in the Kingston area, and almost all are addicted to drugs, he said. No doubt, it's been a bane in the Midtown Kingston area for some time, according to police. In , prostitution grabbed the local spotlight when two teenagers were charged with killing year-old Tammy Wilson-Saitch by driving her to a parking lot on Cedar Street and later running her over with their pickup truck as she ran alongside the vehicle, trying to retrieve her purse. Ten years later, the problem persists, even though Kingston police took down more than drug dealers and gang members last spring in a raid they dubbed Operation Clean Sweep.