Friday, October 22, 2010
Anonymous has left the following comment on the post "What Happened To Gilbert, The Long-Time Fixture At Carroll Gardens Subway Station"
"When the late United Neighbors Association got together in 1989, there were two orders of business:
protecting the community from the ravages of new sewer lines going in, and doing something about the eyesore of the plaza in front of the 2nd Place subway entrance. (Traffic flow on 3rd Street soon followed). UNA decided, after one or two group clean-ups there, to engage and employ Gilberto to tidy up the area daily. For this, UNA paid him $10 a week. I was the payroll man and got to know Gilberto well.
Over the course of the next few years, Gilberto, a Viet vet who was receiving about $1100/mo from the VA for his disabilities, did a fair amount of cleaning. Things really started to go downhill for him when he was abused and set on fire while sleeping in a car near the Gowanus Houses (at least that was the story). When he returned from his injuries, the agreement he had with UNA was no longer in effect - in fact, UNA may have no longer been in active existence - and Gilberto resumed his panhandling at the subway entrance. A few years later, Gilberto was involved in another "hard to get at the bottom of" event in which he lost his leg and was left in a chair. I frequently saw him manically propelling it and him north on Smith Street.
He was, in his own obsessive way, a very charming guy. Obviously he had a lot of issues
(one local reporter accused him of selling drugs to teens = never proven or prosecuted),
but he was always polite, respectful."