From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Community Notification From The 94th Precinct

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Undoubtedly many who read this site and reside in Greenpoint have been puzzled by the varying accounts of the fatality which came to pass on the G train April 15th and want to know more about what happened. The following email comes from the 94th Precinct (via an anonymous tipster):

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My heartfelt condolences go out to this man’s family and loved ones. They are undoubtedly devastated. In closing— and although I have written this elsewhere on the Interwebs— I feel compelled to post my two cents about this sad turn of events:

I am honestly at a loss as to what to say regarding what has happened in Boston. I guess I am still stunned— like many other people. As for what happened on the G, I’ll put it this way: mental illness in its manifold forms is the proverbial two ton gorilla in the room of this community. We see men and women with this affliction on our streets everyday. This is what we see— or choose to see. The fact of the matter is it is also hidden behind closed doors, so to speak.

In this respect I find it sad that many here elect to call our homeless bums and think (to toss out an example) placing them in work camps (yes, I actually heard someone say this at a 94 Precinct Community Council Meeting) is somehow going to fix the problem. It won’t. If one were to see someone on the street with a broken leg it would unconscionable if no one saw fit to call— or if this city refused to dispatch— an ambulance. Now take someone with a “broken mind”. That’s a different story altogether.

Having emotional problems is construed as a personal weakness. A vice, if you will. It is so stigmatized that many refuse to acknowledge it on our streets or even in our own homes. As what happened today proves all too well this needs to stop. We need to stop blaming the victim and advocate, LOUDLY, for more pro-active/effective mental health initiatives. The sad fact is any one of us could have been this person. All it takes is the right (read: wrong) set of circumstances. That’s it. I cannot stop thinking how completely and utterly hopeless this person must have felt to jump in front of a subway train. Really.

UPDATE, April 19, 2013: although this fellow’s identity remains unknown (and even if I did know, I’d keep it that way) I have learned form an anonymous tipster that he leaves behind a wife and four children. A very tragic story indeed!

Last Gasp: Five

December 29, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

brooklynbureau: 5 Reported Deaths of Homeless in Greenpoint Bklyn in past 15 months: http://t.co/CQlfmNQR

Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/brooklynbureau/statuses/152474257392275457

This was brought to my attention by an anonymous tipster (thanks!). Those of you who are so inclined should take a moment to read Brooklyn Bureau’s piece about homelessness in Greenpoint and the proposed assessment center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard. Follows is a breakdown of the five (I suspect preventable) deaths outlined therein:

…In October, reports of a homeless man hanging himself in McGolrick Park marked the fifth reported death of a homeless man in Greenpoint’s parks in the past 15 months. Two have taken their own lives (the second man in Barge Park off Commercial Street), one man drowned in McCarren Park, another died of hypothermia in the same park and a third died of unknown causes, also in McCarren Park.

“It’s a sick way of thinking because the person could die in the street and then no one’s responsible,” says McDonnell, “is that what we do, do we just let people die and not be responsible?”

Indeed. However, what what this tome overlooks is Greenpoint’s homeless will not simply be able to go to 400 McGuinness and receive shelter. They will have to go through a processing center in Manhattan and then come back here. Given the language gap many of our homeless face (as Polish speakers)— and the fact many of them have serious substance abuse problems— do I realistically see this arrangement working? No, I don’t.

Image Credits: The image at left was taken by yours truly at McCarren Park this summer.

New York Shitty Day Ender: Live From the 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting

Here you go, folks: footage from this evening’s 94th Precinct Community Council meeting! If I had to identify one thing that made this meeting different than its predecessors it would be the rather substantial amount of time spent outlining and discussing the manifold number of quality of life issues posed by bars and nightclubs. Enjoy!

Part I: Two guest speakers and D.I. Hurson commences with the run-down of this month’s criminal activity/trends

1. Two guest speakers: Abby Tuller of the North Brooklyn Coalition Against Domestic Violence and officers from the 94th Precinct’s Domestic Violence Unit.

  • Ms. Tuller outlines two candlelight vigils to be conducted this month (NOTE: October is domestic violence awareness month.) You can learn more about these events by clicking here.
  • Two officers from the 94th Precinct’s own Domestic Violence Unit outlines options/services to victims of domestic violence. these include (but are not limited to): an alternative to shelter program (simply put, they will install an alarm system— this requires an order of protection and a land-line telephone); Safe Horizons (a shelter), and free cell phones (which can only call 911) an order of protection is required for this as well.

2. D.I. Hurson gives a general run-down of the month’s “business”.

  • There was a shooting at the Cooper Park Houses. A man was shot twice in the leg.
  • Hurson touches upon (briefly) the DWI fatality which came to pass on Meserole Avenue and Leonard Street. As it would happen, a patrol car was in the area, heard the crash and got to the scene immediately. The driver of said vehicle has been charged with manslaughter.
  • While overall crime is down, cell phones thefts are on the rise.
  • D.I. Hurson speaks briefly about the suicide which came to pass at McGolrick Park September 23rd. The man was described as being on-again/off-again homeless and they are still awaiting the results of the toxicology report.
  • D.I. Hurson gives the rundown regarding a hit and run which came to pass at Calyer Street and McGuinness Boulevard last month.

Part II: D.I. Hurson wraps up with a couple of less serious topics and the Q & A session begins!

1. The Open Space Alliance Concerts are (once again) brought to the table.

2. The issue of homelessness is (once again) raised and “wet shelters” (Also know as “harm-reduction shelters”) are mentioned.

3. A rather lengthy discussion about bars ensues. This is best listened to to be appreciated. However, I will list a few key points here:

  • The usual trifecta of trouble rears its ugly head: noise, crowd control/overall rowdiness and public urination.
  • North 3rd Street and Berry Street is apparently a “hot spot” for these activities.

Part III: Q & A Session, continued; more dialogue about bars

  • Spritzenhaus continues to be a problem. Per one attendee/neighbor, she tried to speak to the owner of this establishment and he was— and I quote— “nasty”.
  • An attendee asks if these is a way to get access to a log of 311 complaints about bars behaving badly.
  • A question is posed about whether or not motorcycles are required to have mufflers. In addition, some motorcyclists are doing “wheelies” on Leonard Street. The legality of this practice is questioned.
  • In a new development the Warsaw merits a mention.
  • Drug traffic is discussed.

Part IV: Q & A session, continued; miscellaneous

1. A citizen asks if citizens photographing/filming unlawful behavior is helpful. D.I. Hurson answers to the affirmative. “Everyone is a walking t.v. station.”

2. The “find my phone” app is explained by D.I. Hurson.

3. A rather subdued (and downright sweet) Phyllis speaks. She lauds Officers Adamo and hopes that Hurson will be with us for awhile.

Part V: Lincoln Restler speaks

1. Mr. Restler thanks yours truly for filming these proceedings and lauds Hurson for his hard work.

2. He talks about the relocation of the Open Space Alliance concerts to 50 Kent Avenue.

3. He briefly touches upon “Stand Up, Speak Out” and creating safe havens where victims of harassment can go until the police arrive.

4. The recent traffic fatality here in Greenpoint and overall traffic issues are explored.

5. Mr. Restler advises attendees to make their complaints regarding disorderly or simply obnoxious bars known to our local community board.

On a related/closing note, here’s my “advice” as to how to go about the complaint process. Those of you who were present at lst night’s meeting— or have issues with such an establishment and/or its patrons— please give it a read.

A New York Shitty Op Ed: As you will notice I was asked (once again) by a woman to turn my camera off.  I was quite prepared for this eventuality by the head of the Community Council beforehand. It would appear that she has received a number of complaints about yours truly filming these proceedings. In fact, two people left the community council for just this reason.

Here’s the deal, folks: these are public proceedings. I am perfectly entitled to film them— just as attendees are more than welcome to pose questions privately afterward. In other words: there is a system in place which balances my right to film these meetings with others who seek to air their concerns privately. It would appear that this seems to have gone unnoticed or has been simply disregarded by some.

I film these proceedings not because I find them enjoyable (although they can be); rather, I do so because I know a lot of people who consider themselves to be stakeholders in this community and as such are interested in what is going in north Brooklyn. These individuals simply cannot attend due to work schedules, child care; and (as Lincoln Restler mentioned) simply being ill. By filming this footage I am enabling these people to stay informed about the goings on in north Brooklyn.

Thus the question becomes:

Whose rights prevail?

I am more than willing to be sensitive to the rights of others. One woman requested that I not film her face this evening— so I didn’t. I completely understand. It is neither my desire not purpose to cause a “chilling effect” on people speaking out by filming these proceedings.

However, I have very serious issues with any one individual or group who/which sees fit to disallow me from filming these meetings— which is my right— because they do not like it. It is my understanding that the 94th Precinct Community Council meetings are intended as a means for our police department to share information and dialogue with this community. By filming and sharing these proceedings I am continuing this dialogue. To disallow my— or anyone else’s— documenting these proceedings truncates this dialogue and creates a “chilling effect” as well. Just a thought.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Suicide At McGolrick Park?

September 24, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Anonymous writes (in an email entitled “Rumors”):

Heard thru the grapevine that there was a suicide by hanging in mcgolrick dog run last night. Police tape wrapped around the area early this morning.  Have you heard anything?

The truth is I haven’t. However, I asked Deputy Inspector Hurson about it and, true to form, he got right back to me right away (thanks)! He confirmed that a man (who is presumed— but not confirmed to be homeless) did commit suicide in the area. His identity has yet to be ascertained. Inasmuch as the McCarren Park homeless have received much press attention of late, the homeless who call McGolrick their home have gone virtually unnoticed. Something to think about, folks…

UPDATE, September 26, 2011: An eyewitness has stepped forward. Jared writes:

I got to the scene of this before the firemen and police did. A man had already called 911 and we waited for the police to arrive. The man was already dead. It was a hanging, twine wrapped around the fence on the dog run and he was on the ground between the bench and the fence. He certainly seemed homeless with lots of bags on the bench. If anyone has information about this man, please post it. It was a tragic scene and I am at least glad that only a few people had to witness it.

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