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AOC district neighborhood labeled 'Third World' as migrants clog streets and prostitutes overrun every block

An area in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district is being described as looking like a Third World country as migrants block up sidewalks selling items while prostitutes solicit sex.

FIRST ON FOX: An area in Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district is being described as looking more like a Third World country as opposed to a thriving American neighborhood, as desperate migrants block up sidewalks selling food and shilling clothing items while prostitutes openly solicit sex from passersby — reportedly including teens. 

The neighborhoods of Corona, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst — a once-vibrant community in northwestern Queens — has now essentially deteriorated into a large flea market with trash overflowing on street corners, leading to unsavory and unhygienic conditions, as video obtained by Fox News Digital shows.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood’s main strip along Roosevelt Avenue has become so renowned for its prostitution that locals have nicknamed the area "the market of sweethearts," and viral online videos advise prospective johns on how to make use of sex workers' services there.


In exclusive Fox News Digital photos, sex workers were seen on Wednesday standing outside storefronts soliciting men. Residents say the prostitutes usually take their clients into makeshift brothels for sex. These alleged sex workers operate during all hours of the day, even as families walk by with their children in strollers, and often hang out in front of area supermarkets. Prostitution is against the law in New York.

In video obtained by Fox News Digital, one local resident, Ramses Frías, takes a short walk along two streets in the neighborhood, shedding light on the conditions there. 

The video shows an almost endless stream of vendors with piles of clothes stacked along the streets, while others sell sneakers, pots and pans and toys and photo frames.

At the end of the clip, three people can be seen sitting in the trunk of a car. The trio has a stall set up encroaching onto a pedestrian crossing and their used boxes block the path of walkers crossing the road. Only licensed vendors are permitted to sell food or goods in public spaces in New York.

"Like most of my like-minded residents, we see this as a third-world market," Frías, 43, tells Fox News Digital. "Basically, you just see clothes thrown across the floor … the items are stolen from donation bins or stolen from stores, and they just set up shop outside brick-and-mortar businesses. They take away trade from these businesses and don't pay taxes."

"There are no repercussions; they get a free pass," says Frías, who says the streets have become overrun by illegal street vendors while crime has been steadily increasing in the neighborhood. 


The video was taken on the edge of Ocasio-Cortez’s 14th Congressional District. The area is mostly represented by progressive politicians, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assembly members Catalina Cruz, Steve Raga, Jessica González-Rojas and Council Member Shekar Krishnan. Fox News Digital reached out to Ocasio-Cortez's office, but did not receive a response for publication. 

The neighborhood is often touted as the most diverse in Queens and has long been a melting pot for migrants, but a portion of the migrant population there are reportedly in the U.S. illegally and don’t have permits to work, leaving them with no choice but to take to the streets to make ends meet, residents say.

Meanwhile, Frías says that the prostitutes blatantly flaunt their bodies on the streets at all times of the day.

"They do whatever they please, they are open about it and not discreet," Frías says. "They line up all along 90th street in front of a pizzeria, a 99-cent store and just try to pull men. You’ll see multiple women in scantily clad clothing. Now it's cold, they are a bit covered up, but it will get worse in the summer."

In January, the NYPD raided six establishments allegedly engaged in prostitution, which were issued closing orders. The raid was well publicized with New York City Mayor Eric Adams present

"Among these legal businesses, you have these single beds — it is clear what is taking place there and this is really bringing down the quality of life of this community and anyone who says this is a victimless crime, just really needs to see the inhumane conditions," Adams said at the time. "Sex trafficking is real … and we’re not going to sit idly by and pretend that it's not happening."

Adams at the time was joined by Council Member Francisco Moya, who has been a vocal opponent of prostitution and illegal vendors in the neighborhood, often at odds with fellow Democrats.


Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, says that the city has not been aggressive enough in tackling the prostitution issue since police say no arrests were made in relation to the raid.

"When the NYPD finally padlocked some of the houses of prostitution, they did not arrest the prostitutes, johns or the madams," said Sliwa, who was approached by residents last year to get involved in the situation. … They did not fine the landlords who were housing the prostitution. Many of the businesses where prostitutes now openly use their space are once again open for business 24/7."

"The cops won't arrest the Johns and the District Attorney won't prosecute the Johns," Sliwa added. "The area is now a well-advertised red-light district for migrants. The girls are mostly Asian, the Johns are mostly Hispanics … some of whom are migrants.

Nevertheless, Frías, a former Democrat, has become so enraged by the conditions that he is running for the Assembly District 39 seat as a Republican in a bid to reclaim the streets. 

The seat is currently held by Cruz, who tells Fox News Digital that a group of elected officials, separate from Moya, have been meeting with city and state agencies to work on "safe solutions for quality of life concerns." Cruz has previously called for more permits to be issued for street vendors, and she has also sponsored legislation to decriminalize prostitution. Ocasio-Cortez herself has also called on the city to issue more vendor permits.

"Our goal is and always has been to establish solutions that ensure our community’s economic and physical well-being," says Cruz, adding that the January raid was a "city-controlled issue" and that the police and the mayor's office did not inform her about it. 

But Frías says it is time for radical change in the neighborhood and a Republican approach to the matter. He has been endorsed by Sliwa.

"I have lived here my whole life, I've seen the changes go from good, to bad, to worse, and it's at that peak of worse right now, and I don’t want it to go past that," says Frías, adding he is very much pro-immigrant. 

His father is from the Dominican Republic, while his mother emigrated from Haiti and was an attorney who helped people in the neighborhood for years obtain their citizenship.

"I love the hustle of the immigrants in this neighborhood, but people cannot just do as they please, and the area has effectively deteriorated into an open flea market," Frías says. "You literally step in either direction and you're in a different country. Different types of food, different types of culture. It makes me open to everybody's ideals on things because at the end of the day, everybody just wants a safe place to live."

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