Crime + Community

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Could This Rat-Riddled Lot Become Your New Picnic Spot?

(Photo and rendering courtesy of Gardeners of Hooper Street Park)

(Photo and rendering courtesy of Gardeners of Hooper Street Park)

Could your next kale salad come from what’s currently a trash-strewn, rat-infested lot in Williamsburg?

The Gardeners of Hooper Street Park believe so. The group of neighbors want to turn a .05-acre lot on the corner of Hooper Street and South Fifth Street into a small park, with some vegetable and flowerbeds. “We want it to be both a garden and gathering place in the community,” said Robert Atterbury, who started organizing residents last year.

The park will only be temporary; the city’s Housing and Preservation Department, which owns the lot, plans to use it for affordable housing, though it’s not clear when it will begin developing it. But Atterbury and others think it can still serve as the sort of open, public space that’s rare in this part of Bushwick.

Community Board 1 supported the park’s creation during its March meeting, and GreenThumb, the Parks Department’s community gardening program, is currently considering the group’s application.

In the meantime, Atterbury’s group is looking for more volunteers, planning the park’s design, and fundraising to purchases benches, tables, a tool shed and composting bins. They’re working with El Puente’s Green Light District and Nuestros Niños Child Development, a daycare near the site.

Two challenges the gardeners face is leveling the ground, which is not even with the street and could be a safety concern, and getting rid of a rat infestation.

“Everyone dumps their stuff in the lot,” says Tiffany Frances, another involved resident. “I’ve seen strollers in there. It’s ridiculous – the lot is fenced, so they would have to make an effort to throw their stuff away.”

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Stanley Cohen Says He’ll Appeal ‘Crap’ Conviction of Bin Laden’s Son-in-Law

Stanley Cohen at his Avenue D loft. (Photo: Mary Reinholz)

Stanley Cohen at his Avenue D loft. (Photo: Mary Reinholz)

Stanley Cohen has defended a slew of unpopular clients, including a political leader of Hamas and an assortment of drug dealers, anti-war activists, squatters and hackers. But last weekend he was battling chronic vertigo, an inner ear infection he attributes to “prolonged periods of stress, overwork and lack of sleep — my life story.”
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My Bushwick Ride-Along Ended With a Shooting

(Photo: Kristy Ann Muniz)

(Photo: Kristy Ann Muniz)

My ride-along with Bushwick’s 83rd Precinct landed on a sunny afternoon. I was told the sunny days are the busiest ones for the NYPD — something that rang true when, an hour into the ride-along, three teenagers opened fire on a public park, injuring a 19-year-old with a bullet to the back.

I’ve never trusted cops. I signed up for the ride-along because I was curious to see things from the perspective of a police officer.
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Richard Gere Is On the Streets: 6 Things Homeless NYers Want His Film to Show

Richard Gere today. (Photo: Elizabeth Flock)

Richard Gere today. (Photo: Elizabeth Flock)

We found Richard Gere this morning huddled between two trash containers on East 10th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, where the actor is filming Time Out of Mind, a movie about a homeless man in New York.

Just blocks away, near Tompkins Square Park, a handful of actual homeless New Yorkers pushed carts filled with bottles and cans they had collected for resale. Over on Second Avenue and East Seventh Street, a group of “travelers” sat outside the shuttered May Chan restaurant. We asked both groups of people to share a little bit about their daily life. Here are six things they said the film should portray about homelessness in New York City.
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More About That ‘Small Explosion’ That Left a Man ‘Engulfed in Flames’ On Ave C

Scene of the underground fire. (Photo: Mary Reinholz)

Scene of the underground fire. (Photo: Mary Reinholz)

It seems a manhole fire is what sent a person on Avenue C to the hospital with serious burns Monday, but the exact circumstances of the incident remain unclear.

A security guard at Village East Towers, the Mitchell-Lama complex at 170 Avenue C, confirmed that two men had been working at a manhole outside of the 21-story towers when one suffered burns “over 40 percent of his body.”

Deirdre Sinnott, who lives across the street, posted a comment on our initial story about the fire and said she heard an “explosion” and “screams which drew me to the window.”
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