The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meet the New Boss

His name is Jack Lewis. He's tall. He's disarmingly friendly and clearly interested in what you have to say. He's got a good sense of humor. He grew up in Flatbush (Beverly Road), and has worked all over Crown Heights and East Flatbush, with a short stint in Carrol Gardens/Red Hook over 24 years in his chosen career. And...he's the new top cop around here. (In this context by "around here" I mean the 71st Precinct, which covers the north side of Clarkson north to Eastern Parkway, w/the 70th covering points west of Flatbush and south of Parkside. Go figya. My friends across the street have a whole different crew serving them.)

He's been with the 71st Precinct just two weeks, having replaced Peter Simonetti, so I got me one of his brand spanking new business cards when I stopped by Tuesday evening. He had invited members of the community board to stop by so I took him up on it, along with Rabbi Nachum Gross of the Lubavitcher community. It was a lively chat (what a funny threesome we made!) and I appreciated his intimate knowledge of the streets around here and he even noted a couple of "hot spots" before I even mentioned them. We shared a laugh about the building at 162 Woodruff which the Q recently outed as home to a cult from way back in the early '80s. He said they'd always wondered what was up with that building, such quiet folks keeping to themselves all locked up like that on a super-tough block, eventually selling their Olde Good Things for a living.

Do I have a point here? Not really, except that I've never sat down and chit-chatted with the C.O. of a NYC police precinct before, a good ol' hombre-to-hombre, with "the Man" before. He's down-to-earth, likes to talk about cop-life, and frequently sees the head of the 70th Precinct Eric Rodriguez at the local grocery store and talks shop. That grocery store? It's in Staten Island of course. Which is in NYC, for those of you without a 5-borough map.

Folks in the neighborhood are looking to sit down with him to discuss troubling trends and community policing and he's looking forward to it. He also told me some intense stories about how the bad guys are often aided and abetted by indifference in the parole system, something I'd heard but never confirmed. And he sounded all the right notes to Rabbi Gross about the recent bias beating of a Jewish man not far from the precinct. I know, I know, "alleged" bias beating. I'm new to this "journalistic integrity" bag. And frankly, any savage beating is pretty biased already.

On a related note, today the steady stream of people entering and leaving an apartment at 35 Clarkson continued unabated despite the calls of many on the block. The thugs ride up and down the street AND sidewalk all day on their scooters and (yes) mini-ATV. They've taken the building hostage, the street too I dare say, and I've been following the progress to arrest and evict these low-level hoodlums by staying in contact with the building's managing agent. that cell phone number Captain Lewis gave me came in real handy.

Welcome Jack! We'll be in touch...


ElizabethC said...

ATV's? yeesh.

babs said...

Sounds like this may be a refreshing change! Glad to hear the new CO lives in NYC (even if it is Staten Island) - I think it really makes a difference vs. cops who live (primarily, it seems) on LI, and whose first response to any complaints or concerns about crime in the area is, "Move." Seriously, the lack of sensitivity to ALL members of the community is shocking in the PD, from racial profiling to treating certain areas, which may have majority minority (I know, total oxymoron) populations, as incorrigible ghettoes, not capable or worthy of their efforts. Fingers crossed on this one!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Babs. I'm really hopeful the new boss's only response to our complaints about blatant, flagrant drug corners and drug buildings won't be to tell us we have to call 911 more often because shucks, how will the police know about these very visible problems that are bafflingly obvious to everybody else but them, if we don't call them on the phone and tell them? To me it always sounded like they were admitting they never patrol PLG.

ElizabethC said...

I've got to say that I can't imagine cops that come from Staten Island as being more/less culturally sensitive than ones that come from Long Island. Aren't there any police officers who live in Brooklyn?

Anonymous said...

I was told by an older, retired (and decorated) cop the old cop neighborhood of Brooklyn was Windsor Terrace. But with houses selling for over a million there now plainly that's in the past.

babs said...

Windsor Terrace was historically, and still is demographically, a (vast) majority white neighborhood. That is why many (white) cops, firemen, etc., lived there in the past. Not exactly a breeding ground for "cultural sensitivity" either.