New York Shitty Day Starter: Live From The Joint 90th/94th Precinct Public Safety Meeting

The turnout at last night’s gathering was rather lackluster. I suspect this was largely due to the rather short notice for said convocation and of course the fact it is seriously, painfully cold. However, what I did find interesting is who did show up. A number of reporters, most of the 94th Precinct Community Council and a substantial number of Community Board 1 members including— but not limited to— Chairman Chris Olechowski, General Manager Gerald “Gerry” Esposito, Lisa Bamonte, Phil Caponegro, Tom Burrows and of course Trish (as seen above and who had a lot to say) saw fit to brave the elements and learn what the respective heads of the precincts under the jurisdiction had to say. I for one found this very encouraging. Without further ado here is my footage along with a general outline.

Part I: Introductions are made and the Question & Answer Session begins

  • The Q & A session kicks off with an inquiry about the sexual assaults on Withers Street and Maspeth (at Kingsland) Avenue.
  • The Maspeth Avenue assault is described at length (very simply put, a woman exiting the L train was separated from her compatriots, got lost and was forced to perform oral sex on her assailant) and has been determined to be an “isolated incident”.
  • The incident on Withers Street was purportedly an attempted mugging.
  • Concerns/complaints are raised about the homeless shelter which is located on the premises of the former Greenpoint Hospital.


Part II: “Trish”, a member of Community Board 1 and East Williamsburg Greenpoint resident, speaks

  • She counters that the “mugging” on Withers Street was also a sexual assault and backs up her assertion with accounts from her neighbors— including the good Samaritan who intervened on the victim’s behalf.


Part III: A question is raised about current crime trends, among other things

  • The head of the 90th Precinct, Commanding Officer Kemper, speaks first. He notes that property crimes are the biggest issue. especially those involving electronics. E.g.; cell phones, i-Pads, etc.
  • C.O. Kemper makes mention of Operation ID. For those of you who are not familiar with this service (which is offered at every precinct) you can get the low-down by clicking here.
  • He also makes mention of the shooting which came to pass New Year’s Day on Manhattan Avenue.
  • When questioned about outreach by an attendee he notes that the 90th Precinct has Community Council meetings the second Wednesday of every month.
  • C.O. Kemper reiterates that he wants to hear from the public— especially anyone who might have information about the perpetrator responsible for the sexual assault on Maspeth Avenue.


Part IV: D.I. Hurson of the 94th Precinct speaks

  • D.I. Hurson gives a general rundown of the stats he gave at the last 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting.
  • He notes that in 2011 three rapes came to pass in his precinct. In all three of these cases the victim knew her assailant. Hence, the sexual assault on Maspeth Avenue was different.
  • D.I. Hurson assures residents who live on the border of his and C.O. Kemper’s precincts (94th and 90th respectively) that they are in constant communication with each other. He cites a recent shooting at the Cooper Park Houses (apparently misconstrued as a shooting at Cooper Park proper) as an example.


Part V: D.I. Hurson, continued

  • Guido, the equally comparable half to Trish, speaks. He makes the case for a more visible police presence. He also notes that the person who identified the Withers Street assailant was afraid to testify and that in his (this being Guido’s) time “We would have taken care of it ourselves”. Guido also defines what constitutes Greenpoint. READ: it ain’t 11222. I like Guido.
  • Guido adds that more lighting along Maspeth Avenue is needed.
  • An attendee asks what, if anything, is being done about policing areas which are saturated with bars (Bedford Avenue, Grand Street and Graham Avenue, for example).
  • C.O. Kemper of the 90th Precinct steps up to the plate. He makes mention of monthly meetings with nightclub/bar owners.
  • An attendee asks a number of very compelling questions. Firstly, she asks if CPR training is still in effect. Secondly, she asks about the staffing level at the 94th Precinct. Lastly she notes with the increase in population in the 94th Precinct there should be a commensurate increase in police staffing.
  • D.I. Hurson notes that the 94th Precinct is currently down staff-wise. However, it is due to get more new recruits.
  • Same-said citizen notes that a number of new residents in north Brooklyn are not from New York City and as such are not acclimatized to the risks posed in such a city (READ: “street smarts”)— and that this may be a source of crime.
  • Interesting fact: apparently 911 calls have some part in officer allocations to precincts in New York City.
  • Questions of surveillance are raised by an attendee. D.I. Hurson notes this has been implemented at the Cooper Park Houses but not the precinct in general. He adds the Cooper House surveillance cameras were largely responsible for apprehending two shooting suspects.


Part VI: Discussion about surveillance cameras continues

  • The aforementioned citizen notes the intersection of Maspeth Avenue and Kingsland Avenue, where the sexual assault came to pass, was also the location of a homicide in 2004. He also notes that the terminus of Kingland Avenue at Maspeth Avenue has a community garden and the Greenpoint Hospital, e.g.; there are very few eyes on the street. He requests a camera be placed there.
  • Another resident reiterates that the area around Maspeth Avenue and Kingsland Avenue is rife with criminal activity, especially drug dealing.
  • The question of Safe Havens is raised (which was apparently put in place as a result of a spike in crimes in Williamsburg ten years ago).
  • D.I. Hurson says this is not something he would oppose.
  • A member of the 94th Precinct Community Council speaks about the proposed homeless assessment center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard. Namely, that work is being conducted there.
  • Rami Metal, Community Liaison for City Councilman Steve Levin, confirms that there is work underway, that the city has green-lighted this facility and a community-based  law suit to fight it is in the works.
  • D.I. Hurson states that he has met the person who is developing the homeless shelter (presumably Muzzy Rosenblatt of Bowery Residents Committee— Ed. Note.) and that this person has assured him that things will be “just fine” and cited the example of BRC’s shelter on the Bowery as an example. 400 McGuinness, as told to D.I. Hurson, will not be a place to simply house homeless men but to (and I quote) “rehabilitate” them.
  • Lisa Bamonte, member of Community Board 1, also states the case for an increased police presence (READ: beat officers).
  • D.I. Hurson notes that overall staffing for police departments is down. Approximately 41,000 in 2001 versus approximately 35,000 currently. He adds that he mostly puts “beat” officers on Manhattan and Bedford Avenue.
  • Ms. Bamonte suggests some be assigned to Graham Avenue— particularly the Graham Avenue stop of the L train.


Part VII: Lincoln Restler Speaks

  • The most notable point Mr, Restler makes is about RightRides. A totally free service which is available to women and the LGBTQ community to ensure they get home safely. NOTE: RightRides, for lack of any volunteers, did not have this available New Year’s Eve/Day in north Brooklyn.


Part VIII: Wrapping it up

  • Trish asks about the guns for cash program. She is assured by both the heads of the 94th and 90th Precinct that any and all tips/information about illegal handguns are welcome. You can view English and Spanish fliers which C.O. Kemper mentions by clicking here and here.
  • Lisa Bamonte inquires as to how parks can be policed of sex offenders/seedy characters.
  • It is noted by a member of the 94th that all parks have signs posted that all adults must be accompanied by children and, upon Ms. Bamonte asking about enforcement of these rules is assured summonses are issued by the Parks Enforcement Police (PEP) for just this. NOTE: unless I am wrong, there is one PEP officer assigned to the entirety of Community Board 1.

After the meeting I informed Ms. Bamonte that I, a child-free woman, was once asked by a concerned mother if I had children while patronizing a playground. I told this person I didn’t and after looking me up and down she determined I was “probably okay”.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: How Do I Complain?

September 26, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Criminal Activity, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A lady we’ll called “Grumpy” (who sent me this delightful image) writes:

Hello Miss Heather.

Happy Sunday!

I wanted to share a lovely photo of what my entrance way (I live on Manhattan Ave. at Meserole)looked like when I returned home around 1:30 AM last night. There were super intoxicated, sluttily dressed, LOUD girls/ladies all up and down my block, sitting on stoops, texting, screetching about men who had ignored them and I am sure one of them was responsible for the disgusting mess all over my stoop. The puke was not only on the street and in my doorway but also in the vestibule into my building!
DISGUSTING.

Every Saturday night, around 4 AM it sounds like a friggin’ riot is happening, right under my window. Men fighting over ladies, men just fighting other men because they are drunk and stupid, people screaming, threatening each other, car doors being slammed, car tires peeling out, glass breaking, etc… it is NUTS! And although the police station is NEXT DOOR to Europa the police cannot seem to control these techno-loving, inebriated maniacs! The ruckus is really crazy and seems to be getting worse, week to week. I have lived in the same apt. for 7 years and although I have been woken up on occasion over the past 7 years, the past 2 months have been intolerable, I get woken up EVERY Saturday night (and some Friday nights) by what I now refer to as the 4 AM riots!

I stopped a police officer when I was getting home last Saturday, around 2 AM, to ask her what to do about the increased craziness of Europa’s patrons and she told me all that I could do was go to a community board meeting to express my unhappiness about the current situation of the streets when the club lets out. I certainly don’t want to be the old crank who wants the kids locked down with nowhere to go but I also feel like this has become SO ridiculous that I should do something! My friend and neighbor (who I think you know) also has similar stories of being awoken by these drunk dummies, who puke in front of her house, and sit on her stoop blabbing incoherently to each other, keeping her up all Saturday night as well.

Her and I think we should go to a meeting, she said that you attend all of them… if we were to go, should we bring evidence of the out of control shit that is happening weekly?

Any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

-grumpy in Greenpoint

First off, there’s no way I could possibly attend “all the meetings” which come to pass here. This is simply not humanly possible— but thanks! Secondly, as some of you might recall there was a rather nasty incident which came to pass at Club Europa weekend before last which culminated in (among other things) two police officers getting injured. This was expounded upon at the last 94th Precinct Community Council meeting by Deputy Inspector Hurson. Those of you who are not in the know can get his take on what happened by clicking here.

The previous having been written, the police officer’s advice is correct. Somewhat. Although I have written more posts about the subject of nightclubs, nuisances they can present; and how to go about complaining more than I care admit I’m going to do it one more time. Please pay attention, folks!

1. You know how the slogan for the MTA goes: If you see something, say something! The same applies when it comes to reporting bars and/or nightclubs which are proving not to be good neighbors. When you see (or in this case: hear) disorderly behavior call 311 and complain. At the end of the call you will be given a complaint number. Be sure to write this down as you will need it to…

2. Email it along with a general description of what happened to your local Community Board. In this case, Community Board 1 Brooklyn: bk01 (at) cb (dot) nyc (dot) gov
3. Meetings: these are an excellent way to follow up on your 311 complaint! Here are a few relevant ones to consider:

Public Safety Committee, Community Board 1 (this body oversees liquor license applications and criminal activity)
Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 27, starting at 6:30 p.m. (That’s tomorrow! NOTE: You must sign up to speak by 6:15 p.m.)
Community Board 1 Main Office
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Community Board 1 Combined Hearing & Public Meeting
October 5, 2011 starting at 6:30 p.m. (NOTE: once again, you must sign up to speak by 6:15 p.m. This rule is enforced with great vigilance)
Swinging 60’s Seniors Center
211 Ainslie Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211

And last, but hardly least: 94th Precinct Community Council Meetings! The schedule for these has been changed to the second Tuesday of every month starting at 7:00 p.m. This would make the next meeting October 11th.

94th Precinct Community Council Meeting
October 11, 2011 starting at 7:00 p.m.
Church of the Ascension, back room
127 Kent Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

NOTE: You must gain entrance via Java Street!!!

This is how to get started, W. You can (and should) also bring your complaints to the attention of your local elected officials. Here are a few to get you started!

1. Assemblyman Joseph Lentol
2. City Councilman Steve Levin
3. Lincoln Restler; State Committee, 50th Assembly District

I hope this has been helpful. Good luck!

Another Attack In Williamsburg?

August 22, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11211, Criminal Activity, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

I have been hearing a great deal of buzz about this today. Thankfully someone on Brooklynian Forum has stepped forward to give a basic rundown of what happened. Without further ado, here it is:

Hopefully the folks at the 94th will tell us more at this evening’s, Stand Up! Speak Out! event. In the meantime, be careful out there folks!

Miss Heather

THIS WEEK: Bicycle Registration!

This item comes courtesy of my friend and bicycle enthusiast Christine. This upcoming Friday, August 26, the folks at the 94th will be registering bicycles from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. As the flier states, this service is totally free and in the event your bicycle is stolen— and the police locate it— this will ensure its safe return to you, it’s rightful owner. Given how endemic bicycle theft is hereabouts those of you who have bicycles really should take the time to get your rides registered. TO REPEAT: this service is totally free!

Bicycle Registration at the 94th Precinct
August 26, 2011 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The 94th Precinct
100 Meserole Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Riot Police Under The BQE?

August 20, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11211, Criminal Activity, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Christine (who took all the photographs gracing this post) writes:

Tons of cops at RUMBLERS car show.

Escorting cars out … Skaters at the other end are fine but cars being guided out

The word is a “hells angel” punched a cop…

Shirt says when in doubt knock out… Maybe not a cop…

UPDATE, 6:52 p.m.: All is quiet…

UPDATE, 10:40 p.m.: I have the 411 about what happened from D. I. Hurson himself! He writes:

Miss Heather I noticed you have pictures of the car show. The event was larger then allowed. They were permitted for only two blocks but it stretched from Union to Manhattan ave. Several cars and motorcycles started drag racing.  I ordered the event closed early and dispersed the crowd we made two arrest and issued numerous summonses. We will not allow them to get a permit next year.

UPDATE, August 21, 2011 12:20 p.m.: An anonymous tipster writes:

Hi, I would like it if you could add the following video to your story of the police shutting down the Rumblers car show on Saturday, August 20th, 2011. In the commanding officer’s statement he said that he ordered the show to be shut down due to “Several cars and motorcycles started drag racing.” Yet in this youtube video clip (Which dates from 2008 —Ed. Note), the police are the ones doing a burn out, and driving recklessly through a crowded street at The Rumblers Car Show.

Miss Heather

LAST GASP: Holy Shit

May 29, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Yours truly has received a number of quite frankly incredible emails over the last seven days. Follows is the latest from a chap named Chris. He writes:

hey- a little birdie told me that while digging in the backyard of the church yesterday on kent street, a priest discovered a human skull!! police came, investigation ensued and upon further excavation a secret buried tunnel was discovered between the church and a neighboring home!! i don’t know how or what is true, but i thought you’d be interested.. hope all is well…

Guess what folks?

IT’S TRUE! Albeit with a couple of clarifications/tweaks:

  1. A skull and finger were found next door the the Church of the Ascension, not on the premises. Apparently the man was doing work on his backyard and made this discovery.
  2. No mention of a tunnel was made by the people I spoke to.
  3. The bones are purported to be “old”. Exactly how old is anyone’s guess. After all, we are talking about an area which was settled in the 17th century.

Interesting archeological find or the remains of some grisly deed from the Garden Spot of old? Only time will tell— but I have been told a New York Times reporter was on the scene today so hopefully he (or she) will dig up something (no pun intended). Otherwise, as I opined to a neighbor when he mused how these remains found their way to 119 Kent Street’s backyard:

Given that we’re talking about fingers I’m guessing they didn’t walk there.

UPDATE, May 31, 2011: I have been told by a reliable source that one Joe Vance (who it should be noted is a board member of OSA) once owned the house where these remains were found and was questioned by the F.B.I. Obviously the authorities are taking this matter very, VERY seriously and leaving no stone unturned. Wow.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Dead In The Water?

March 16, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek 

This item comes courtesy of an anonymous tipster:

On Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 1310 hours in the confines of the 94 pct.  Police responded to a male in the water (Newtown Creek) in the rear of 16 Bridgewater Street.  Upon arrival officers discovered a M/H-W/30-40 floating in the water unconscious and unresponsive.  EMS responded and pronounced the aided DOA.  Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing and the ID of the victim is pending.

First it was a horrific hate crime on the Northside and now this. This is proving not to be a good week in north Brooklyn. It goes without saying I will be asking about this (among other things) at the next 94th Precinct Community Council meeting…

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Benefit For Barie

A gentleman named Michael writes:

Hi Miss Heather –

I was hoping you could spread the word about a hate crime that happened a few weeks ago in Williamsburg.  on the corner of N. 4th St. and Wythe.  A friend of mine who lives in the area, Barie Shortell, was attacked and on the way home one evening.  He was not robbed, but the people attacking him did mock him with anti-gay taunts before they attacked him…breaking his nose, jaw and eye socket.  The attack has been deemed a hate crime.

Barie is doing much better but is not insured and will certainly still have a way to go in recovery…more surgeries are guaranteed.

Any attention we can draw to this would be amazing.  Barie could really use the support and people should know that this kind of shit is happening right here right now?

Duly posted. For what it is worth I heard about this disgusting act at last week’s Community Board meeting. It was described as being “pretty bad”. This is an understatement (he was in surgery for over nine hours to have his face reconstructed). Please be a good neighbor and help spread the word about what happened to Mr. Shortell. Those who are able, please tender a donation to help defray medical bills and/or attend the previously mentioned fundraiser at Blackout:

Gay Bash: A Benefit For Barie Shortell
Wednesday, March 23 2011 starting at 7:00 p.m.
Blackout Bar
916 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Cost of admission: $35.00 (includes three hour open bar)

Let’s show ’em that we north Brooklynites take care of our own!

Miss Heather

Found at the Intersection of Green Street & Manhattan Avenue: Nose Candy

February 6, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Criminal Activity, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

You know the neighborhood is getting downright tony when you find this much white stuff left in the baggie. Back in 2001 this bad boy would have been picked clean. Do these noobs think this shit simply grows on trees?!?

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part III: Calyer is Clogged

December 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

If my inbox is any indication this would appear to be the winter of Greenpoint’s discontent. I can only hope to keep up. Nonetheless, here’s my third (and not final installment from the New York Shitty inbox wailing wall. JBG writes (regarding the above photograph):

I live on the corner of Calyer and Franklin Streets in Greenpoint. While Calyer is not an arterial, and is also not a truck route, the truth is that it plays a very important role, as it’s the first turn off from Franklin St. that connects northbound vehicles with McGuinness Blvd. There is a stalled vehicle in the middle of Calyer St., just north of Dobbin St.  No one has attended to this stuck vehicle. The plow came up Calyer St. but couldn’t get all the way through because of the vehicle. Clearly, they backed out of the street. The street from in front of the vehicle all the way up to Manhattan Ave. is also still unplowed.

I am watching vehicle after vehicle make a turn onto Calyer St., see that it is blocked, and then backing out onto the very busy and not adequately plowed Franklin St. because they realize they can’t get through Calyer St., and they also can’t turn right at Dobbin St., because that road is completely unplowed.

The one-way system in Greenpoint effectively is now shuttling everyone up Greenpoint Avenue. This, combined with the fact that Franklin St. isn’t adequately plowed, is causing traffic backups. It’s only a matter of time until there’s a terrible accident; I already watched an ambulance and a squad car back down Calyer last night because they couldn’t get through.

This street is also a critical passage way to the 94th Precinct and to the Post Office over on Meserole.

I tried calling 311 but they will not take the complaint (if you can even get through, which you can’t any more). The Mayor is on TV right now touting how many stalled cars have been removed (HAHAHA! — Ed. Note.), but yet somehow this one is being overlooked. Could you have someone look into this as soon as possible? I don’t understand how this hasn’t been attended to given the proximity of the 94th precinct, the presence of DOT this morning in the area, and repeated police cars backing down Calyer.

You can read what our City Councilman has to say per Brooklyn Heights Blog. Given that many of the snow plows that are used to clear streets hereabouts are located under the Pulaski Bridge at Clay Street*— and that I am a Greenpointer— I find the negligence here particularly inexcusable.

UPDATE, December 29, 2010: I am pleased to report this story has a happy ending! You can read it by clicking here.

Miss Heather

*A mere 15 feet away from our proposed 200 bed homeless intake center.

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