Operation Pressure Point


Operation Pressure Point

Twenty-five years ago, The Villager reported in a front-page news story on Feb. 2, 1984, about the start of major police efforts to combat drugs in the area today known as the East Village.

“D-Day Hits Lower E. Side Drug Trade; Heat Stays On,” the article was headlined. Villager reporter Brian O’Donoghue wrote, “The old rhetoric about a ‘war against drugs’ became a reality last week, as police launched ‘Operation Pressure Point’ and seized control of the Lower East Side, installing an army of occupation.

“Thursday, January 19th, was D-Day in ‘Alphabetland,’ a blighted neighborhood located between Avenues A and D, where the dope dealers often seem as numerous as pants salesmen on nearby Orchard St.”

In that one day, police reported more than 100 drug arrests, including 32 for felonies.

“More importantly,” the article noted, “nearly 200 police took up position on every corner, block and street in the area.

“‘Our goal is to give the streets back to the community,’ declared Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward on Day 1 of Operation Pressure Point,” the article continued.

Mayor Ed Koch watched the operation first-hand from inside an undercover van equipped with two-way mirrors.

“We’re going to do whatever needs to be done,” Koch announced afterward.