An Ugly Incident At Greenpoint’s New Park

June 15, 2009 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 


Some of you no doubt recall how long it took this park (which is located at the end of Manhattan Avenue) to happen: just shy of two years. After an inexcusable series of delays it is open now, much to the pleasure of Greenpointers new, old, or simply passing through.


Like these EMT workers taking a much needed break on a Sunday afternoon.



Unfortunately where are others who not only are treating this sorely needed bit of open space as their own beer garden, but when confronted they became belligerent.


Laura writes:

Mike & I have been going to the new park at Manhattan Ave, practically every day. It’s beautiful. Sunday evening, we were there with some family members. There was a group of young Slavic guys & gals drinking beer and tossing the beer bottles onto the lawn and in the high grass. My son sensed that I was upset and went over to pick up any visible bottles. He said to the group, “There’s a garbage over there, you know.” One of the guys responded with a few sarcastic comments and the group continued to drink and litter there. I was looking at the group, hoping they would feel uncomfortable and leave, but that didn’t happen. I proceeded to call the police. Then the same sarcastic guy hollered over “Are you calling the F%#@@ Police on us, you bitch?”. I replied, “Yes”.

With that, the same guy started to approach us with threatening motions. He was clearly trying to start a physical confrontation with my family. ( My granddaughter was there. ) My son, of course stood up ready to defend us.  I didn’t want a fight to break out so I stood between the guy & my son & continued to call 911.  The guy started to make threatening motions toward my son. He threatened to hit my son & Mike ( cane & all! ). I pulled out my camera. And he moved away. Mike took the phone to complete the call. The others began to scatter. I started to take photos of their vehicle & license plates. One of the guys tried to block the photo. With that, they scurried out of the park ( still holding the beer bottles)…


while I continued to take pictures. One of the guys and one of the girls, came walking back.


The girl was cursing and coming toward me until she realized that I had two daughter in laws with me. They left. There’s a witness… She gave me her name & phone number…

As previously stated Laura called the police— and guess what? After taking an hour to show up they didn’t seem to care!

The police got there over an hour later. The PO ( Ferguson ) said that we couldn’t make out a report. He did however give me the precinct phone number (after some push from me) so I could call in the license plate number when I enlarged the photo. I enlarged it and did leave that message… I don’t believe that I couldn’t fill out a police report just because the offenders left. I feel that I was denied a police report. Technically, there’s nothing on record at the 94th about this incident. And that’s how the precinct likes it. I called 911, so it’s in their system… I’m really tired of not getting help from the 94th Precinct. These youths know my family’s faces. And they are evidently a nasty group. The last thing we need is a nasty group of drinkers at that park. The lack of police interest makes me feel like we’re in the position to defend ourselves…

Welcome to life in the 94th Precinct.

Miss Heather


23 Comments on An Ugly Incident At Greenpoint’s New Park

  1. hurongirl on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 1:53 pm
  2. could you please tell me the cross street with manhattan for the location of this park? i have been searching for it to no avail. thank you and keep up the great blogging!

  3. missheather on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 2:12 pm
  4. Walk north on Manhattan Avenue until you reach Newtown Creek. It is just east of the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center. 😉

  5. AMOJA on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 2:42 pm
  6. A couple of those folks look like kids that have been leaving behind beer bottles in the adjacent parking lot for a couple of years. I suppose I would probably move to the nicer park as well.

    Also, I don’t suppose that Caravan also belongs to them. For a few weeks, around six months ago, a ver similar dark green Caravan would make the triangle of Box, Manhattan and Commercial its own little racetrack. Sometimes they would alter the course, driving down to the creek and back, with high revving engine, squealing tires and wildly unsafe speeds. I hope these are the same folks because I would hate to have two groups of rabble-rousing Caravan drivers in the neighborhood.

    I’ve given up calling 311 or 911 for non-life-threatening but extremely dangerous behavior…driving on sidewalks, etc. My luck in the past, calling about items of interest in the area, has been unsuccessful. I unfortunately have little to no faith in the efficacy of the local Precinct anymore.

  7. mr. belvedere on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 2:51 pm
  8. wow. public intox AND littering in greenpoint!? and the cops did NOTHING!? How are we supposed to live knowing this nasty group is still at large?

  9. missheather on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 2:56 pm
  10. Sarcasm duly noted, mr. belvedere. 😉

    What troubles me is the fact they were threatening people. Not cool…

  11. mr. belvedere on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 3:08 pm
  12. i’m sure these kids are far from “cool” but i also dont think its too cool (and also a bit threatening) to call the cops on said kids just because you dont want to share a park with them. granted i do not know the explicit nature of the “threats” but few people i know (esp drunk teens) would slink away without a word after such a confrontation

  13. missheather on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 3:13 pm
  14. Therein lies the rub: these “kids” didn’t!

  15. bleibtreu on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 3:31 pm
  16. Drinking and littering in a park are quality of life issues. Not something the local precinct is supposed to prioritize (and certainly not “911” emergencies for that matter); short of possibly an eventual assignment of a situations squad you won’t get much response to that.

    Do we really want police cars rushing up Manhattan Avenue to write open container tickets?

  17. missheather on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 3:40 pm
  18. The NYPD seems more than happy to ticket Williamsburg hipsters for open containers— why should these lovely folks miss out on the fun? You know what they say: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    In closing, what seems to be lost here is the fact that when confronted these people behaved in a threatening and menacing manner. This DOES merit a 911 call.

  19. bri on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 3:55 pm
  20. Good for you. If we didn’t have so many doormats like belvedere, if people actually challenged others anti-social behavior, people in general wouldn’t act so selfishly.

  21. mr. belvedere on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 4:26 pm
  22. youre all too right. thanks for showing me the light. i will now, without fail, call 911 at the sight of teens drinking and/or littering.

    anyway, on a more serious note, my main problem with the situation is the constant call for state intervention (in this case the cops) in everyday problems. then somehow people are surprised when the government is all up in your business and harassing folks over stupid shit like taking pictures on the street (yes its happened to me too). this particular situation (from my narrow perspective) it seems like a couple groups of assholes met up and sparks flew. not uncommon. if your hoping the cops will save you in such a situation: good luck! they will only come later to clean up the remains.

  23. SpillConspirator on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 5:13 pm
  24. Dear Mr. Belvedere,
    I’m the person that called 911. I am not a member of a “groups of assholes”. I’m actually one of the people in this community who busted their butt to work for that park as well as the other parks that are being planned for this neighborhood. My family and I deserve to use that park without getting cut on beer bottles or being in the company of drunks. It is my responsibilty to call the police when folks are openly drinking beer in front of my granddaughter and other minors. It is perfectly legal for me to call the police and take photos. It is not legal for anyone to threaten harm. Furthermore, that group of people included minors that were drinking and adults supplying the beer. A person under the influence of alcohol was driving. Not only is it a valid 911 call, but it would be a valid ACS call as well. It is actually your responsibility to call in a situation like that. That threatening individual was no more than a foot away from me while I was on the phone with 911. You should know what and who you are talking about before you call people “assholes”. I have so far seen quite a few people drinking at that park. I didn’t call the police or file a report. If the individual is respectful of the poeple and property around them and they have their bottles concealed, I wouldn’t have a reason to call.
    Laura Hofmann

  25. bri on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 5:35 pm
  26. No, not at all, thank YOU Mr. Belvedere. Your sarcasm, which you probably confuse with wit, paints you as the passive and impotent observer you undoubtedly are and allows us to discount you. But you’re used to that.

  27. missheather on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 5:46 pm
  28. Everybody play nice. I grew tired of this shit HOURS AGO. Nonetheless the question still remains:

    1. Why did it take the NYPD an hour to respond?
    2. Why didn’t they take a report?

    Regardless of your take on this incident the two previous points clearly illustrate there are some serious issues with our local precinct.

  29. mr. belvedere on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 5:46 pm
  30. i apologize for referring to you and youre family as “assholes”. its true that i was over-generalizing and do not know you personally. i do however stand by my overall point of being against the practice of calling the authorities over something as minor as teens drinking in a park (in youre particular case i would have thought that not escalating the situation out of apparent fear for your children would have outweighed your apparent desire to punish the teens)…but again i apologize for any offense i have caused you

  31. Rebecca11222 on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 6:21 pm
  32. Hi, Laura – My 2 cents as to who to also contact at this point: The NYC Parks Department. In McCarren and McGolrick Parks there is a Manager on site. I can say that the fellow at McCarren is very helpful.

    I guess the question to have answered is: do they have a Manager on site at the new park? Find out the name & what his/her hours are. My bet is that weekend availability is patchwork. Report the incident and ask what they advise if you are in that situation again.

    My concern is the threats of violence (albeit alcohol-fueled) with which you & your family were met. I’m sorry that happened and

    When calling the 94th, I’ve found to place the emphasis on behavior that they can either get arrests out of or at least big $. Like “driving while intoxicated” or ” behaving violently around children” You’d think that a nice steep fine for littering would be incentive; but I guess not.

    Personally, I live in a building w/ a junkie/ low-level drug-dealer in the basement. He is the landlady’s son. People who fall asleep standing up around the nabe are his only friends. I see deals going down around my apt building (Calyer at Eckford) frequently. All my neighbors (some of whom have lived in Greenpoint for over 50 years) have seen him make deals around the blocks and in front of the house. Yet she is in denial about his habit and he manipulates her. When we first moved in, we found used syringes an glass vials in the fireplace ashes. The son had been living in our apt before we moved in. When we brought this to her attention, our landlady said “this is a drug-free house.”

    My husband & I asked some 94th officers what we could do b/c people who do heroin or crack tend to steal or fall asleep w/ lit cigarettes (or become violent in the case of crack). They said it was a landlord tenant dispute until “something” happened.

    Well, early this Friday morning, one of the son’s “friends” died in the basement. The landlady told me, “my son wanted to move the body & dump it somewhere else, but I said he couldn’t.” She attributed his desire to move said body to a desire to protect her rather than, oh, say, hide some evidence. The body stayed there until about 8pm Friday & there was a cop posted outside the building. I wonder if this will be enough of a “something” to warrant further police investigation or action. Or maybe someone else has to die.

    Btw: if anyone wants 2 awesome, quiet, responsible tenants, my husband & I are looking for a new place.

  33. mikki on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 7:31 pm
  34. Laura, what a crappy experience! I bet the mothers of those kids are the same ones at the precinct meetings saying “the new people” cause all the problems.

    I do know that if you call 911 from a cell phone, it gets routed nationally so it takes a while for the call to even get to your local precinct. I keep meaning to find out what the right number to call around here is, this will motivate me to get on this and post it on the NAG blog.

    Rebecca–that is incredibly awful. Good luck finding a new place.

    Peace and love,


  35. SpillConspirator on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 9:03 pm
  36. Apology accepted.
    I did get my complaint filed. I attended the 94th Precinct Community Council Mtg tonight. The Captain said he doesn’t know why the officer wouldn’t want to file a complaint. I actually felt like the guilty party filing that report until my firmness warmed him up to my issues. The complaint went in as a “harassment” complaint only for the threat to my husband ( since my son wasn’t present for this report ). Had the complaint been taken that night, my son would have been able to do a report as well. This precinct has a sweet deal. The precinct continues to avoid & discourage complaints. If complaints aren’t made, it never becomes a rate of crime, a rate of incidence or a statistic. Therefore, the precinct produces a FALSE lowered rate of crime and incidences. And they get a shiny gold star from the Mayors office.

  37. neighborhood threat on Tue, 16th Jun 2009 10:26 am
  38. this is not the first, second or third time I have heard of the 94th refusing to take a complaint. this has come up repeatedly at the community councils.

  39. Brian G on Tue, 16th Jun 2009 10:41 am
  40. My two cents: Prior to construction of the park, I’ve encountered the same (or similar) drunk teens on the stairs going up to the Polaski Bridge. Drinking teens I can deal with (although not desireable; however, when one of the teens elected to slap me in the back of the head while his buddies laughed/fake apologized, that really crosses the line. I guess the park is a more desirable local for the teens and also more conspicuous, which is why it should be a little more “watched” by the local police. As a local resident and a former teen, I would think that a new park by the water would be the prime locale for underage drinking/pot smoking, but also the most observed by police for such.

    And by the way, I’ve seen that mini van parked in front of my place on Clay. They like to “hot box” it.

  41. sheesh-kabob on Tue, 16th Jun 2009 12:07 pm
  42. I have a studio in the GMDC building. These gentlemen have been using our parking lot (directly next to the park) as their own bar/toilet for years – which is awesome, because the way the parking lot was constructed, the street cleaners can’t actually clean up the broken corona bottles, which makes parking here a lot more exciting!!! May also be the same group that practices their too-fast-too-furious-drifting-technique (poorly) around the parking lot in broad daylight, nearly hitting several parked cars in the process. No biggie though – give me liberty or give me death! 😛

  43. aperfectbag on Tue, 16th Jun 2009 10:26 pm
  44. i have posted this under another entry but thought i would repeat it here because it might be helpful when dealing with problems in our parks:

    sometimes it works to start with 311 because then there is a record in both systems and you seem to move to the top of list for 911 when it is referred by 311.

    so always call 311 because the both parks department and the mayor’s office receives reports on the calls. parks need to make corrections and report back to the mayor on what has been done for especially when they get multiple calls on something. so call more than once, have others call.

    if it is an ongoing problem or there is a pattern, call park enforcement at 646 613 1386

    and if don’t get satisfaction from those sources, call your city council person or other elected officials including public advocate

    hope that helps, laura, and that is the end of my civic’s lesson for today.

  45. SpillConspirator on Thu, 18th Jun 2009 10:51 am
  46. Yes. That does help. Thanks.

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