LAST GASP: & Now A Word From Christopher Olechowski

As it would happen, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with two individuals canvassing for this fellow earlier this evening. Initially I was content with simply recounting the hilarity on Facebook* and letting the subject go. However, when the above missive found its way to my inbox, well, I felt it was worth sharing. What I found particularly interesting (aside from the items I have seen fit to highlight and/or annotate) is Mr. Olechowski’s emphasis on safety. It reminded me of what I saw while walking by the McCarren Park Pool this afternoon. You see, he in his capacity as Chair of Community Board 1 this fellow was present at that (not so) “secret” meeting about the pool recently.

All in all, I counted ten police vehicles total. Yours truly almost shit her pants beholding the law enforcement at hand— and mind you, I was not even IN the pool! Numbers “1” and “2” were from the 94th Precinct. “2” and “5” were from the North Brooklyn Task Force (READ: The fellows who are called when serious shit hits the fan.). But what I found most interesting was in front of the pool’s entrance.

For those of you who are not in the know:

  1. “Impact” vehicles (and the officers who man them) are assigned to chronic high crime areas.
  2. The 75th Precinct (whose assistance pool-goers apparently require) is located in a high crime area: East New York, to be precise.

As some of you might recall, I spied a NYPD vehicle from the 83rd Precinct, which also has its fair share of problems, last week. And once again I’m asking myself:

Why are we allocating police manpower to this facility when it is clearly needed elsewhere?

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s compare CompStat numbers.

It is not my intent to criticize our Finest. They are simply following orders and I for one think D.I. Hurson has proven the be the best Commanding Officer we have seen in years (really). But is this the best possible use of their manpower? I for one do not think so.

I wish Mr. Olechowski would dedicate more time to addressing, say, the dearth of affordable housing here for ALL citizens rather than fear-mongering. In closing, I’d be remiss if I did not point out that while a purported proponent of “public safety”, I have not seen Mr. Olechowski at any Public Safety Committee meetings of Community Board 1 (over which he ostensibly presides as Chair) since the town hall meeting regarding the proposed homeless assessment center at 400 McGuinness. This came to pass in 2011.

* A few highlights:

Friend of Christopher Olechowski: Good evening, are you a registered Democrat?
Me: Yes.
FOCO: We’re spreading the word about Chris Olechowski.
Me: I know who he is. I’m voting against him.
FOCO: Are voting against him or for the other candidate.
Me: A little column a, a little column b.
FOCO: Why are you not voting for him?

(I give rather extensive feedback which ends with “This is highly questionable from an ethical point of view if you ask me”).

FOCO (while parsing through paperwork, presumably that of registered Democrats): Do you happen to know what apartment (Mr. Heather) lives in?
Me: As a matter of fact, I do. He’s my husband— and he is not voting for Mr. Olechowski either. In fact, I am telling everyone I know not to vote for him.
FOCO: Have a nice evening.

And of course there are these videos to consider:

Which comes via this web site (which does not, anywhere, disclose Mr. Olechowski’s party affiliation).

New York Shitty analysis: If Mr. Olechowski (or his hired guns) cannot even spell the sinecure in question correctly, he should not be elected to it.

Quicklink/Op Ed: Turdpedo Shuts Down McCarren Park Pool?

Yes folks, it would appear this is indeed the case. Or was an errant piece of feral furniture in need of a dip to beat the summer heat to blame? In this respect CBS’s account is rather ambiguous.

In all seriousness: why is this news? Sure, I’m always open to Caddyshack/Baby Ruth jokes (as the video opening this tome attests). But really?

We all know how the adage goes: shit happens.

And occasionally it happens in our public spaces. This is nothing new. I have seen all manner and variety of effluvia in our subways, streets, stoops, etc., over the years. However, any and all incidences involving our newly re-opened pool seem to merit media scrutiny. Why is this so? I can assure you, gentle readers, there are much more pressing matters here. I do my best to cover some of them on this site.

Nonetheless since this site is— albeit in petite form, media— I feel compelled to direct some scrutiny of my own to the matter of our pool. Without further ado, here it is.

Last Thursday when I walked by there were to my recollection no less than two squad cars, a “meter maid” vehicle; a van commandeered from the 83rd Precinct (which I can assure you has problems of its own*), and a North Brooklyn Task Force vehicle. Given there were no crowds to control, simply a family of four peaceably entering this facility and an entrepreneur who had set up a table selling locks for $5.00 and (amusingly enough) diapers I have to wonder if this presence was a mite bit excessive.

But then again, our Finest follow orders. Their mandate is to protect and serve. My question is exactly who they are protecting and serving?

No one seems to be the least bit outraged that a “secret” meeting was organized to discuss the matter of our pool. One in which our City Councilman, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, the head of the 94th Precinct, and Christine Quinn were involved (among others). You should be. Among the manifold number of things I learned were:

  • Mayoral candidate Ms. Quinn seems to have organized this meeting. The sign-in sheets had her name on them. She does not reside in this community. This raises an eyebrow.
  • D.I. Hurson noted that all of the individuals apprehended had extensive criminal histories. He told me personally that one of the men involved in the “tear gas” incident (in which he himself was shoved) had been arrested— but not prosecuted— for a shooting at the Cooper Park Houses. The reason he was not prosecuted was because the victim (or witness) would not cooperate (probably because he/she was scared out of his/her wits). Given the number of 94th Precinct Community Council Meetings I have attended I am hardly surprised by this. Representatives of the Cooper Park Houses attend and speak at them regularly. They do so because they are tired of the violence and want it to stop.
  • Parks Enforcement Officers (who should be the “first line” of defense, if you will) were not allowed to attend this meeting (but the Lifeguards’ Union apparently was). I find this quite troubling.
  • The matter of registration cards was posited by our City Councilman. Apparently this practice is employed at the pool on Metropolitan Avenue. While it might— might— deter “evil-doers” from patronizing the pool, it would probably also discourage otherwise law-abiding citizens as well. For example: those who are not fluent in English or are uncomfortable filling out such paperwork (because they are recent immigrants, be they legal or otherwise).

Let’s assume for a moment registration cards do deter “bad guys (and girls)” from using the pool. This will simply send them somewhere else. Preferably from hence they came. If some the really ugly commentary** I have seen on Facebook and elsewhere is any indication this what a great many of my neighbors want. Not me.

The conclusions I have drawn, albeit with what little information I do have, are as follows:

  1. The real issue with the pool is the fact that crime (and the criminals which engage in them) which have become commonplace elsewhere in our community have made themselves manifest in an affluent, “hip” area.
  2. The pool is simply a new location for an already extant problem. (Although Parks/OSA made a number of mistakes and for these they should be held accountable.) Had, for example, the fellow who was involved in the tear gas incident been actually tried for the shooting two years previously would that “fight” have transpired? I think this is worth considering. (As is this woman’s take on what happened, which differs greatly from all other accounts of what happened— but I digress.)
  3. Thus, it would only be logical (if not politically expedient) that attention be paid to law enforcement in general as opposed to a small army being posted at the pool. It clearly was not needed when I walked by.

Like I said: I have little information from which to work. Most of the people reading this tome are in the same proverbial boat. Hence why the matter of the pool should be explored in a public/town hall forum. One in which our elected officials, police department and community board members are present to ask and answer questions. And most importantly of all: listen to us, the public.

Some semblance of transparency and dialogue is going to do a hell of lot more for this community than yet another tome about turds. CBS and their ilk have no vested interest in what happens here. Their sole concern is clicks (READ: revenue). Shit sells. (I should know.)

*These stats are from 2010. Note the asterisk point about the 81st Precinct.

Here’s a comparison of the 83rd Precinct’s CompStat numbers to the 94th’s.

And for the simple sake of comparison here are the 90th’s (which, it should be noted was recently rated as #5 in the entire city regarding the use of “Stop and Frisk”).

**Which can be, at best, politely described as thinly veiled racism.

Quicklink: Registration Cards?

July 26, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Officials from the City Council, the State Assembly, the NYPD, the Brooklyn DA’s office, and the lifeguards’ union joined community leaders at the McCarren Park Pool last night for an under the radar meeting concerning the violent incidents that have marred the $50 million facility’s grand reopening. A well-placed source tells A Walk in the Park that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Assemblyman Joe Lento(l), and Councilmember Steve Levin convened the meeting, during which a proposal was floated to require registration cards for all those who would use the pool… (You can view this article in its entirety by clicking here.)

I wouldn’t exactly call this meeting “under the radar”. I got a tip about it the evening of the 24th. After doing some asking around (and not getting any answers) I decided to email the 94th Precinct yesterday morning.

I never received an answer. Hey, I understand the police have a lot on their plate— but wouldn’t a little transparency on the behalf of our elected officials and public servants be nice? This is a public matter and such a forum should have been, well, public.

UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Apparently our Community Board 1 Public Safety Chair was present— among others. Mr. Burrows (chair of said committee) writes:

There was a meeting that started with Steve Levin and Joe Lentol chairing and then Chris Quinn arrived. The sign in sheets were from the Speakers office. The Community Board was represented by the Chair (Chris Olechowski who, it should be noted, is running against Lincoln Restler for 50th Assembly District Democratic Leader), the District Manager (Gerry Esposito) and the Chairs of the Parks (Phil Caponegro) and Public Safety Committees.

Apparently the 50th Assembly District Democratic Female leader, Linda Minucci, was present as well. Notably absent were representatives of OSA (Open Space Alliance), the pool administrator and our Parks Administrator, Stephanie Thayer. The latter was apparently fired from OSA last week. OSA, as well as the Parks Department, are in no hurry to announce this. Perhaps this is because the previous’s contract with the latter expires this fall? Hmm…

Quicklink: No Shirt, No Shoes, Horrible Service

Choice quote:

I’m not sure I would ever recommend anyone go to the McCarren Park Pool unless you just got out of prison.

That might be a bit of an overstatement. However, the anecdote about the lock and link to the unofficial McCarren Park Pool’s web site (which features some pretty amusing stock photography, including a fellow holding a bottle of beer)— among many other things— make this tome worth a moment of one’s time. Enjoy, gentle readers— or not!

Now if you don’t mind, I am off to acquire a slew of locks and white t-shirts to sell to pool goers at 300% mark-up. One woman’s misfortune is another’s business opportunity!

Props go to Miss Mousey Brown for bringing this to my attention!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Dispatch From The McCarren Park Pool

A person we’ll call “E” writes (in an email entitled “McCarren Pool/Hot Tip!” at 6:33 p.m.):

the pool is lovely. up until the lifeguards tried to get someone to stop doing something. lifeguard jumped in the pool. another got pushed in. fracas! punches were thrown, not too many people involved. they kicked everyone out and closed the poop an hour early. 2 squad cars and 2 unmarked cars were on the scene. alas, no photos.

Interesting/relevant fact: We used to have a Parks Enforcement Police “PEP” Officer in our district. The powers-that-be got rid of him. Happy Friday.

UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Here’s the 411 per 94th Precinct’s Community Affairs office:

No riot… Just a fight involving 3 people and then a lifeguard tried to intervene (and) got hit by accident (no injuries).

Thus, the person witnesses saw taken away in an ambulance was a lifeguard— and the above missive from the 94th intimates his injuries were not severe. Does this mean this incident isn’t worrisome? It is. What transpired today raises (in my opinion) a very important question:

Exactly what IS the protocol at the McCarren Park Pool for handling emergencies— be it a fight, a medical emergency, accident, etc.?

Unlike McCarren Park (or any park here, for that matter) pool users probably do not have cell phones handy to call 911 if /when an emergency arises— so who does? Thoughts/information, anyone?

P.S.: While I am fairly certain “E” meant “pool” in the third sentence, it gave me an opportunity to share one of my favorite parts of Caddyshack (and there are many). Such is one of the perks of being one’s own editor.

P.S. #2: Why is it whenever something bad happens at McCarren Park it is located in Greenpoint?

I’d really like to know.

 

New York Shitty Day Ender: From The New York Shitty Inbox

May 31, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A lass named Gina writes:

Dear Miss Heather,

I am a Brooklyn-based photographer (and long-time reader of New York Shitty). I’m having a show on June 8th, exhibiting my images of McCarren Park Pool before the the renovation. The images capture the decaying pool after 28 years of abandonment. I chose to show the photos the same month that the pool is re-opening to draw attention to the structure’s interaction with the changing neighborhood.

I have included a press release as well as a description of photographic series.  I think it would make a great post on  your site!

The opening is June 8th at the One Well in Greenpoint (and it’s free!).

Please let me know if you have any questions.

If the above sneak peek is any indication, I’d say we’re in for a treat. Check it out!

Where They Swam/Other Relics: Photography by Gina Pollack
Opening Reception: June 8, 2012 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. (NOTE: Show runs until July 8th)
The One Well
165 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222

New York Shitty Day Ender: Simulated Emission

Stimulated Emission

Rounding today’s post (because I have just returned from four hour photo walk with the fabulously talented and equally nice Noah Devereaux— I’m beat and have over 200 photos to sort!) I present to you another nifty light sculpture by Justin Mair. Great stuff!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool, Part II: Creature Of The Pool

Here’s another delightful light drawing from the McCarren Park pool courtesy of Justin Mair.

Miss Heather

From The New York Times: Vindication…

(Or at least proof)

The ‘Burgificaction’ of McCarren Park pisses me off in a big, BIG way. I was reminded of this yesterday. So as to clear up any confusion as to the provenance of the McCarren Park Pool I offer you this: an article from the August 1, 1936 edition of the New York Times. Our city’s ostensible newspaper of record.

Political bosses in Brooklyn are a dime a dozen. History (thankfully) forgets most of them— but not the  “Prince of Garden Spot of The World” AKA: Peter J. McGuinness! A well known (if reviled) thoroughfare hereabouts bears his name. If it wasn’t for Mr. McGuinness’s chicanery, political savvy* and charm Williamsburgers wouldn’t have a pool in which to party (or piss).

In, I repeat,

Greenpoint

Miss Heather

P.S.: How can you not love a guy who says this (about a brief sojourn in “the south”):

I don’t like that Jim Crow they got or their goddam white crow either.

*His career survived the Seabury hearings.

Post Blizzard Wrap-up Part II: A Walk Around The Garden Spot

March 4, 2009 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

As promised here is a slide show featuring highlights from my jaunt around Brooklyn’s one and only 11222 yesterday. Enjoy!

Inasmuch as I gripe about the snow I have to admit it has does have its charm— as does Greenpoint!

Miss Heather

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