Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Does Paying "Huge Prices" In Carroll Gardens Give Residents More Right To A Safe Neighborhood?

Screen Shot 2012-06-18 at 1.24.43 PM
Screen Shot 2012-06-18 at 1.24.43 PM
Some residents may have been in Carroll Park on Friday afternoon at around 4 PM, when a group of teens from a school on Henry Street got into a fight in the ball field area of the park.   According to one eye witness, the melee started when one girl came running into the park and jumped another. Friends on both sides got involved and the situation escalated.  The police was called and officers from the 76th Precinct showed up quickly and stopped the fight.  By then, the original attacker had fled and the girl who had been attacked told the police to 'mind their own business."
The officers stayed around for a while and only left when they were sure that the situation was under control.

According to Kathleen, NYC Parks Department Recreational Associate, who spends many hours in our park and who, over the years, has gotten to know many kids in the neighborhood, such scuffles are not uncommon the week before school vacation.  Things have a tendency to calm down once summer programs and summer jobs begin.
Apparently, the teens involved in Friday afternoon's fight had taken a Regents exam that morning, had been free to leave after the test and  headed to Carroll Park for a water balloon fight. Kathleen explained that the police arrived quickly after someone placed a call to 911. To her knowledge, there were no weapons involved in the attach, though a little boy in the park had told the police that he had seen a gun.

Shortly after the event, PMFA reader Anne came across the flier above in Carroll Park, took a photo of it and forwarded it to me. She wrote:
"I thought you might find the attached interesting. Of course the fight mentioned sounds less than desirable but what's more interesting is the phrase about 'many of us pay or have paid huge prices' that I find a bit galling. Just because someone paid 2 million for a brownstone doesn't give them more of a right to a safe neighbourhood than any one else in New York??? Anyway it started a debate between myself and the friend I was with and a thought your readers might have an opinion also."

Oh, I am sure there are plenty of opinions out there.
Personally, I agree with Anne that the remark in the flier is a bit out of place. 
No doubt, we all need to get involved in our community, regardless the price of real estate in our immediate neighborhood. (A good first step for anyone interested in keeping Carroll Park safe and clean in to join Friends Of Carroll Park, an all volunteer organization that has done just that for over thirty years.)

Does the price of Carroll Gardens real estate really come into play here? Feel free to chime in.

*Just to note: The information on the flier is incorrect.  The Councilman representing this neighborhood and Carroll Park is Brad Lander,  not Steve Levin.


Anonymous said...

The argument isn't written very well, but I think the author meant 'huge prices' as an encouragement for calling rather than entitlement to do so. After all we're all free to request whatever we want from the government with the 1st amendment out there.

There's nothing unreasonable about insisting on safety. If you're paying a lot to live somewhere, you have that much more of an interest to speak up. It's not a secret that neighborhood safety factors into what people are willing to pay to live somewhere.

The fact would probably better suited to be bundled in a list of bullet points of why to call:

Why to ask the municipality for a safety solution:
- We care about our neighborhood
- We have high expectations for safety
- There's no lack of money being funneled into the neighborhood by the residents to support such expectations
- It's for the safety of the chidden!

Anonymous said...

and, that was meant to be Children on that last comment @11:47

Anonymous said...

That comment is totally out of place! Does that mean that violence is OK in a poor neighborhood, just not an affluent one?

Also, this person is clearly overreacting. Kids will be kids, and they do stupid and annoying stuff, but the vast majority of these scuffles are harmless. This person either has no kids or very young ones and does not get it.

It also seems apparent that the police reacted quickly and effectively, so there goes the argument that the park is not protected.

Anonymous said...

So the opposite of that argument is if you don't pay high prices you don't deserve safety? Somehow I'm not surprised that the person who wrote this doesn't know who their local rep is.

Anonymous said...

I think Carroll Gardens should become a gated community with private security ; ). How much money one paid is irrelevant. I heard about a pretty big fight in front of Smileys in the Slope. Beacon students v. Packer students, so there you go. Funny that this concerned citizen doesn't even know what council district the park is in. CG is becoming a Brooklyn parody.

Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction as Anne and found the sign to be incredibly disturbing on so many levels, not the least of which is that it was unsigned. We have no more right to the park, or for that matter the public school or library or general safety, than anyone else. People don't deserve better protection or education or anything else that is publicly funded simply because they paid more for their home or live in a fancy neighborhood - they just think they do. This is a terribly slippery slope the note writer is heading down. I fear Carroll Gardens is becoming the new DUMBO.

I walked through the park Friday and saw the kids there - they were having water balloon fights and generally getting out their end of school energy. Yes, it escalated but I suspect that were they not young people of color, we would not have seen any fliers the next day. Beyond that, those young people have as much right as the poster's author to "learn and grow" in the park. In fact, with massive cuts to after school programs and other out-of-school time activities for teenagers, perhaps they need the space now more than ever. The author of the flier obviously has the resources to take her child(ren) to some private activity somewhere, she has choice. There aren't many other options than the park for teenagers fresh out of school and before jobs these days. Where should they go? I agree that when it escalated it got a bit chaotic so I chose to leave the park then, knowing it would pass. And it did pass. Quickly. There were no guns or other weapons, just loud teenagers.

As for the "simple uniform presence" she is hoping for, nothing is so easy at a time of massive budget cuts so I strongly agree with your friend that getting involved in the Friend of Carroll Park or some other action which engages people in taking care of their own community is the best action one can take.

Anonymous said...

The children are angry and acting out because there have been so many alterations to historic oll Gardens townhouses and brownstones. Letter should direct calls to Landmarks Preservation Commission to expand the historic district to include all of Carroll Gardens!

Anonymous said...

Next thing you know, people will be complaining about the smell of roasting coffee and demanding charter schools.

Anonymous said...

fights in carroll park have been happening forever. get over it.

Anonymous said...

What's absurd is that we have a police station down the street and once again they are doing little to NOTHING to police our neighborhood. That for me is the real issue. What is wrong with precinct 76? I have seen so much obvious foul play in the neighborhood and it just seems these guys turn a blind eye. Frustrating!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the person who wrote the flier, and who obviously spends a lot on housing, would be willing to pay higher taxes, in this time of budget cuts, to help pay for increased city services (and I would argue, as a homeowner in the neighborhood, that are property taxes are too low.) Of course I also feel that all people in the city are entitled to feel safe in their neighborhoods. Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Real simple tell Mayor Bloomberg to put cameras in the areas around the park and on the streets of our surrounding neighborhoods. easy enough crime is gone.

Anonymous said...

High sense of self esteem on the part of the poster scribe.

Mom said...

I was in the park with my 7 year old at the time of the fight and I was afraid that it could escalate to the point where someone pulled out a weapon and my son or another child could get hurt by accident. But, thankfully it didn't. Instead of letting my son roam independently within the confines of the park, as per usual, I told him he had to stay in the jungle gym/swing area until we left. We live in the city, amidst friends, neighbors AND strangers. Though it would be nice if there were never any fights or crime, sometimes I am glad to be reminded that we are not untouchable, that we do not exist in a bubble comprised of a singular socioeconomic class, race, culture, etc.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it, move to the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

I think the author of that flyer meant that if you pay big money to live in the neighborhood you should take some initiative and get involved and make some noise to get what you wan tin terms of public safety.
It's too bad that poorer people can't really expect the results that wealthier people would.

Anonymous said...

You guys should be happy they were just beating the shit out of each other and not randomly attacking your high rent paying asses in the street like they usually do.

I used to get in rumbles like this in HS every once in a while, it's good for you as it toughens you up.

You CG guys should encourage your kids to go out and start some shit every now and then, punching and getting punched helps prepare you for difficult life situations.

The same lady who wrote this flier probably doesn't let her kids play dodgeball and indoctrinates them into thinking they're allergic to gluten - preparing them to be a future hapless victim if some real shit ever happens.

Amy said...

I was not there at the time of the fight, but I have been bothered in the past by police officers moving high school students along when they congregate on street corners, or in bodegas buying candy and sodas, guiding them towards subway stations. It is a city thing to do this, but teenagers have always grouped and gotten loud -- often happily -- after school and I don't see why they must be criminalized for doing so. I've lived in the area for 15 years, first as a renter, and finally as a homeowner, and actually the neighborhood seems to have become less safe recently. Maybe that is because the hot neighborhoods draw the opportunists.

I think that the flyer writer inappropriately stated that bit about paying huge amounts for their properties. It sounds hostile. It sounds like he or she wants some public reward in return for a personal choice. I agree that joining in with community efforts, such as the park's group, is the better solution. Water balloon fights among school friends is not worth a trip to the park by police.

Anonymous said...

Levin represents parts of the area nearby enough if not the park space exactly.

Katia said...

He represents Boerum Hill, but Brad Lander represents most of carroll Gardens.
Here is a map:

Anonymous said...

I think the wording was alittle wierd! Who cares how much you pay for a rent or building! Many years ago this neighborhood was alot different, and alot more neighborhoodly, and alot cheaper to live in, and it was SAFE!!! Of course you had boys fighting other boys, thats a part of growing up, sometimes girls fighting girls also! Lol, but that really isnt bizarre for teenagers to do! Im not saying its right, im an adult w children of my own who play in the park, but it happens! Whoever wrote that flier, go back to where you came from, you can sell your home that cost "alot of money" and you wont have to worry about teenagers having a fist fight over a basketball game in new york city!! Lol gimme a break!!

Anonymous said...

this all comes down to white people in a semi-wealthy neighborhood being afraid of the lower-income students who go to school there, want your higher prices to equate with more security than move to the heights.

Anonymous said...

a little late in my response, but i applaud this posting:
Anonymous said...
Next thing you know, people will be complaining about the smell of roasting coffee and demanding charter schools.

June 19, 2012 3:45 PM

i have lived in CG since the late 80's, am a home owner, and have raised my kids here. lots has changed over the past years, some for the better, some for worse. still considered a "liberal" on my block, i take great pride living here.
however, i am starting to develop a deep distain for many of the recent inhabitants who have a sense of entitlement on so many levels, and seem not to be "rooted" in CG. such a shame.
that arrogant flier reeked of entitlement, veiled racism and ignorance.
smh, as my kids would say....

C.G. since before St. Agnes said...

To Anon July 3rd -

Thank you! You are correct!!

This remark about "Paying So Much should mean more security" is horrible. It's similar to the lady who didn't want to hear Christmas Music being played by a Tree Seller because SHE had paid so much to live nearby.

The park should be safe no matter how much we paid or pay to live here. EVERY neighborhood should expect that a public playground be safe for our children.

One way would be to insist that the Local Patrol Cars actaully patrol - I ALWAYS see cops in cars with the windows rolled up tight with the driver and the partner on thier cell phones! How about a foot patrol - yes there has been a cop (only lately) that stands on Smith Street just outside the park - OUTSIDE the park. How about the patrol car drop the partner off on the Court Street side of the park and meet him/her on the Smith Street Side? No set schedule - just random.

Another way would be to invite Curtis Sleawai (Angel Guardens)to stop around - he's always in the neighborhood anyway - he has friends here.

Another way would be to have some of all that TV & Movie Money from the filing placed into an account so we can hire secuirty for the park.

Another way is if the Friends of Carroll Gardens were a bit more active between 3:00p/m and 6:00p/m on weekdays instead of early mornings and weekends.

No matter what - keeping our kids & family safe is NOT a money issue - it's not about whoever spends the most gets the most Protection. As a matter of fact, the neighborhood was a lot safer BEFORE these Hipsters started flahing their cash and walking home drunk every Friday & Saturday night.