A New York City attorney who was angered on Twitter after posting that she had called the police to report an unlicensed grocer said she was trying to draw attention to the “rapid deterioration” of life in New York City close.
Sonya Shaykhoun narrated The Independent that she was standing by her viral tweet In it, she described a confrontation with two women selling groceries in Riverside Park after asking for their permit on Tuesday.
Ms Shaykhoun said via email she was unfazed by becoming the “main Twitter personality” of the day and would continue to raise concerns about what she described as a “hyper-left ideology” back to back city government.
The uproar began on Wednesday when Ms Shaykhoun tweeted that she came across an “unlicensed ad hoc food stand” on 99th St in Riverside Park while returning from a game of tennis the previous day.
“They asked people to buy from them and I asked them, ‘Where is your permit?’ because we all know the permit must be shown,” Ms Shaykhoun wrote.
She claimed the stallholder had become “belligerent” and started filming her.
“I gave her a name. Then I called 911,” she wrote.
Ms Shaykhoun tagged an NYPD Twitter account and asked, “What happened to it?” Officers never called me back.”
“We have beautiful parks. If you see people defacing them by setting up illegal stalls, call the police. Time to take back our beautiful city.”
The tweet, which garnered 6.1 million views in less than 48 hours, received thousands of replies from New Yorkers, ranging in tone from anger to mockery.
Yesterday I was coming back from tennis at Riverside Park and came across this unlicensed ad hoc food stand. They asked people to buy from them and I asked them, “Where’s your permit?” Because we all know that the permit has to be shown. Well, the woman in blue has… pic.twitter.com/EWwXnrayW4
— Sonya Shaykhoun, Esq. (@SonyaShaykhoun) May 17, 2023
“It’s petty and vindictive. Leave people alone. Don’t call 911 and post the face of someone selling groceries,” one wrote.
“Please leave NYC. “We don’t want you here,” another Posted.
“Jesus Christ Karen,” wrote a third user. “Take a life and leave others alone.”
“People in this country are struggling to support themselves and they are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and you have decided it is your job to harass these people,” said another.
When one person commented that it was nice to see people still playing tennis, they replied, “The only thing in town that the communists didn’t completely destroy.”
An uncompromising woman, Shaykhoun responded directly to many of her critics on Twitter, trading insults, sharing anecdotes and lamenting what she called the decline of New York City.
A minority also supported her stance.
Ms. Shaykhoun described the incident at Riverside Park The Independent She had seen two women cooking what looked like corn on an open fire.
After asking to see her permit, she said she took a photo of the grocer as they left to upload to the city’s 311, where residents can report quality of life issues.
She claimed that one of the food vendors chased her, became aggressive and began filming her. Ms Shaykhoun said the salesman accused her of calling her “ab****” but she couldn’t remember saying that.
Ms Shaykhoun said police told her they were at the park and would “take care of it” but she hadn’t heard from them.
“A lot of people don’t call the police even if they want to because they don’t want to get the kind of attention I’ve had,” she said The Independent.
“But if nobody calls the police and stops this problem in the bud, the whole of Riverside Park will be taken over by legitimate and belligerent unlicensed traders who will yell and berate you if you ask them why they are there without a license. ”
Ms Shaykhoun said that as a lawyer and the daughter of an Egyptian father and Irish mother, she enjoyed participating in heated debates on Twitter.
She said she and a group of like-minded employees on Twitter formed the Save NYC Working Group in February “to fight corruption and its by-products.”
“One of the things I did was point out the illegal vendors to emphasize that even a small breach like this would affect NYC’s functionality,” she said The Independent.
Ms Shaykhoun said she has received many abusive messages calling her Karen, a fascist and worse since the tweet was posted.
A text message said they were glad their sister had died, along with an obituary. Others tried to target her legal license.
“Like, why are you doing this? It’s unsettling and scary,” she said The Independent.
The Independent asked the NYPD for comment on the incident, but they did not respond.