From the NY Times:
There, there. It's gonna be all right. Poppa Sulzberger's got it all under control.
By the way, that line about Crips and Bloods wearing blue and red bandanas is misleading, and lifted from, I dunno, a documentary streamed on Netflix or something. Yes, occasionally you see bandanas in pockets, but the colors things is an overused topic of conversation, just ask the experts. The gang guys even switch back and forth these days, and they may call themselves part of a big scary gang but only be a half dozen guys living on a block and acting out a fantasy. Would be nice though if the bad guys DID wear uniforms, wouldn't it?
A commenter has posted on a previous post about the NY Times article, and a commenter on the gangs colors thing. So I'm just going to add:
It gets to my much repeated point that it doesn't much matter after you've been arrested a dozen times what you wear. The cops know you, they know your history. You're basically just trying not to get caught, simple as that. Being in the gang is not a crime. We do have a Constitution after all. You have to actually commit a crime to go to jail. And selling weed and even small amounts of narcotics doesn't usually put you away very long. A plea of guilty gets you even less. The question is...what happens when a kid gets tired of the street life and wants to change? What's available then? And take eight steps back. What happens when a kid is presented with a choice to join the street life or not? Is someone there to offer an alternative? That's really what we're talking about. Right, Duane? Didn't you say the Council for Unity saved you from just such a fate? I'm looking forward to telling your story on the blog. It's so deeply important.
Down my way, the guys have taken to wearing varsity jackets. It's a funny look. One guy also started wearing these very studious looking glasses. The combination with his jeans hanging to mid-thigh is a real head-twister.
Before folks get too riled up about the Times making distinctions between the leafy blocks of the Manor and more hardscrabble blocks around it, I think it's important to remember that it was the perspective of the writers and a couple interviewees, not the neighborhood at large. We all share the same streets, shops, train stations on a daily basis. If you happen to live on a quiet block, that doesn't mean that the dynamics of the larger neighborhood are not important to you, nor does it mean that violence or drugs don't spill out over borders. And it's still a choice - you can ignore all of this if you want, and that's fine. I really mean it. I don't think any of you reading this are particularly unsafe, and if reading this stuff freaks you out too much then limit your intake. I have to do that with politics - better for my health!
The crime that's happened lately is either a) random and anomalous or b) part of a troubling trend. You get different perspectives depending on who you ask. Some like to look at the 25 year slide in crime and shrug their shoulders. That was me, til recently. Two years ago, I identified what I chose to call answer B - troubling trend, and have been working under that assumption ever since. If you agree, let's start being more proactive about neighborhood watches, demanding appropriate attention and services, working with all available outlets (CB9 and CB14, precincts 71 and 70 and 67, PLGNA, block associations, C.O.P. program and most recently - the D.A.'s office). If each of us just took one small chunk and started doing that bit on a regular basis it would add up.
I think Eric Adams' idea of block captains is starting to sound pretty good right about now. A database of people - two on each block - who meet once a month to discuss trends on their block, with presence by the precincts and district attorney, and maybe even social service groups. You have two people on each block so one can make it if the other is busy that night.
Back to work...
The Q at Parkside
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.