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.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Parkside Playground Loses Innocence w Shooting

Well, that didn't take long. Not two weeks from its official opening and the Parkside Playground already has its own "rap sheet." The below is from Vinny Martinos of the 71st precinct:

On Saturday July 14th at approximately 9PM a 22 year old male
was shot one time in the hand inside of Parkside Playground located on Winthrop Street between Bedford Avenue and Rogers Avenue. The male is listed in stable condition at Kings County Hospital. The victim has a lengthy arrest history including numerous arrests for marijuana. This case is being investigated by Detective Thomas of the 71 Precinct Detective Squad. Anyone with information should contact Detective Thomas at 718-735-0515. All information will be kept confidential.
It was about that time on Saturday that the usual hoodlum crowd on my block mysteriously dispersed in a mad hurry, causing us to question whether something big was going down. Many residents heard the's often difficult to tell where gunfire is coming from, but on this occasion the reports were correct. Likely at 9PM the number of young ones was less than during the day.  But as I'm sure we've all noticed, 9PM is no curfew for even toddlers around here, so it's likely there were children present. This is bad, bad, bad news indeed. Cameras, a regular police patrol, and clearing the loungers at the entrance is in order.

The Q has been pondering whether to make a big deal about the grown men hanging out at the park's basketball court entrance, smoking weed and drinking all afternoon and into the night. But after this, I think it's time local officials keep the space off limits to anyone breaking the law in any manner around the perimeter of the playground. It makes no sense to me to create a safe outdoor recreation space for young people, then allow the worst sorts of "modeling" behavior to take place like a gauntlet as you enter the park. Drinking and smoking hooch might necessarily be tolerated to a certain degree on hot summer afternoons and nights, but not around youngsters. This is a school and a playground. The incident on Saturday shows that some neighborhood residents have no respect for the meaning of those public words.

update: I sent Mathieu Eugene the following email today:

Councilman Eugene:

I saw you last Wednesday at the Woodruff Ave Block Association meeting. I mentioned to you that there was a very uncool group hanging out regularly around the Parkside Playground that you so generously helped bring to life. Sadly, a shooting took place ON THE PLAYGROUND just this past Saturday night at 9PM. I'm absolutely certain this shooting could have been prevented, or the dispute would have happened elsewhere, if there were regular clearings and patrols of the park. 

This is playground for children; the basketball courts are for those playing basketball. And if people are congregating there at reasonable hours, that should be fine too. But the number of grown men hanging out, drinking and smoking weed, and the activity that persists after dark, is simply not a smart way to inaugurate a public space. I urge you to use the power of your office to see that the 71st patrol the area every few hours AND clear the entrances of loiterers. A child should be able to enter the playground without being forced to endure unruly and illegal activity.

Thanks as always for your hard work!


update: response from jonah rogoff, asst to Mathieu Eugene

Hi Tim,

The Council Member asked that I respond to your email on his behalf. We’ve been speaking with Officer Martinos and other officers from the 71st Precinct about increasing the number of patrols in and around the park on a permanent basis. We are really infuriated and troubled by what happened, especially given the fact that this occurred shortly after the opening of the park. The police also mentioned that the park is not being properly closed by the Parks Department so we are trying to see how this can be resolved. Any illegal activities in the park should not be tolerated and we will continue pressing the NYPD to have patrols of the park as much as possible.

I will keep you posted as we get more information from the 71st Precinct.




MadMommaCarmen said...

Sad indeed. I'm glad you wrote to Eugene and I hope his office is able to leverage some much needed police attention to our 'hood.

Anonymous said...

this frankly makes me cry and seriously think about moving.

ElizabethC said...

Why don't we ask our elected officials what they are doing about this? As opposed to what they were doing about crime 10 to 15 years ago.

MadMommaCarmen said...

As per my discussions with Adams, his two cents is that the vast majority of the police foot patrols (I think he said at least 90%) are dedicated to Crown Heights (specifically the Hasidic neighborhoods). Every time we speak about this he acts annoyed by this fact, acknowledges that its unfair and then....nothing happens. I've had this same conversation with more elected officials than I can count and my hands are officially up in the air in exasperation. We OBVIOUSLY need police presence in our 'hood yet we never get it. What gives?????

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I know you've been shouted down before MMC as insensitive for calling the deployment of resources to the Lubavitcher neighborhood unfair. But I think there should be a way to discuss the allocation of officers without making this an us vs. them, or arouse accusations of anti-semitism. I applaud you for keeping the issue warm.

The way it's been explained to me, there are moneys available for potential terrorism targets, and that's where the extra dough comes from for extra protection. It's not a matter of the 71st choosing one group over another, it's a whole separate pot of money. In fact, that's kind of what's going on with the security cameras in Boro Park, where a well-organized constituency has managed to convince its Republican-siding Assemblyman - Dov Hifkind - to use his considerable clout with the GOP to come up with millions for his district's law and order agenda. I just want to repeat that I'm pretty sure this is not about a pile of money being moved from our pot to their pot. That WOULD be a reason for serious outrage, but we should be careful to get the facts straight. I'm working on gaining a better understanding of the money-cops issue myself.

The 71st routinely complains that they're understaffed and underfunded to patrol our neighborhood effectively. But we CAN state emphatically that certain places be off-limits to drugs, drug-dealers and intimidating loitering. In this case, the police need to see the playground as a safe haven, not a thug 'n' drug den.

And for god's sake lock it up after sundown. If they come up with the money for floodlights and midnight basketball, I'd be happy to reconsider that position. In the meantime, it's become unsafe over there even by late afternoon.

ElizabethC said...

They just don't have enough parks staff to make sure the parks are "closed"...Umma park is pretty much open 24-7 for whatever, and I'm really grateful trouble doesn't seem to sprout up there more often.

I'm aware of the machinations by which Crown Heights got their cameras. However, I'm still incredibly unclear on whether Flatbush has ANY cameras and if so where they are. As we both witnessed our elected officials were extremely vague about their ideas for crime prevention in the future, or about how these cameras might come into being.

MadMommaCarmen said...

You're absolutely right, Q. Yes, the money for added police is coming out of a separate budget, but the bodies (the actual officers) that provide this service are primarily coming from the already strapped 71st precinct. Regardless of the many ways we reword or go about it, the fact is that OUR precinct (meaning the entire area its supposed to service, not just PLG & Crown Heights) is having the majority of its resources (the officers) saturating a relatively small part of its whole service area.

Anonymous said...

So what's happening is the Crown Hts community is taking outside money heavily mired in politics and with it are able to purchase the 71st precinct for themselves despite the fact that precinct is supposed to serve other communities too. I understand when a blog owner tries to keep a discussion from turning into prejudiced/racist rants, appreciate that, but the situation is clear and it is what it is and what it is, is unfair. And the rest of us who are concerned about not getting adequate protection that we DO pay for with our property and income taxes totally fully have the right to talk about it here or anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Somebody at some point proposed getting our neighborhood assigned to another precinct. I think it would be very appropriate for PLG to be served by the precinct that covers Prospect Park -- that's the 78th right? There have been ongoing issues with confusion over jurisdiction and getting adequate service due to the fact that we're on the park and affected by the goings-on in the park yet the park is served by another precinct. PLG is small, not sprawling, it's really comprised of just a few blocks along the Eastern edge of the park and like I said very connected to the park and affected by what happens in the park. Especially when Lakeside opens PLG will very much be a park-identified neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Re: the playground, I went with my son for the first time yesterday and we won't be returning. Almost no young children and too many adults and older kids using the space as a hangout and not there for the playground equipment.