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Stephen Brown really is a tireless reporter

The Brooklyn Paper
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How brazen are the bike thieves prowling the Metrotech office complex Downtown? They just stole the beloved wheels of one of our reporters after it was parked directly in front of the surveillance-camera-equipped security office — the same place where another Community Newspaper Group staffer had his bike seat stolen earlier this year.

“I’m an emotional wreck,” Brooklyn Paper senior reporter Stephen Brown said, moments after leaving work late as always on Oct. 7 to find only a wheel where his Gary Fisher bike had been on Lawrence Street. “My bike and I had so many fond memories together — I remember that time we went swan-spotting in Prospect Park at 6 am.”

Brown pointed the finger at many parties for the stunning crime — himself included.

For one, bike-less Brown blamed the bicycle parking policy of the Metrotech campus.

Metrotech security forces leave notes threatening to seize bikes if they are improperly locked or left overnight. The policy forces bikers to have both a lock and a chain on hand — which Brown did not have on that fateful day. And 1 Metrotech Center North, often referred to as the Community Newspaper Group building, does not allow tenants to store their bikes in their offices.

Cyclists who need better security are told to park their bikes near the Metrotech patrol office, but our staffers have found little comfort from that advice.

To top it off, reported bike thefts have alarmingly increased in DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights and Downtown. Last year there were only 13 reported bike thefts in the 84th Precinct. This year, there have already been at least 73 — actually, make that 74.

The next day Brown reported the crime — and got a tongue lashing from the cops.

“You should’ve reported it yesterday, man,” said the cop taking the report. “Maybe we could’ve caught the guy!”

“You really think you can catch him?” Brown asked.

“Well no, not now!” the cop replied.

That just made Brown feel guilty, as he had locked his bike with only a U-lock … on the front tire.

“You can blame the victim, I’m an idiot,” said Brown, who noted that the thief only had to pop the quick-release on the front wheel to remove the bike frame and then wheelie the stolen ride away from the scene of the crime.

“Jesus, they stole your bike — this is an outrage!” said editor Gersh Kuntzman. “We’ll send a photographer right down.”

Kuntzman’s sympathies were misplaced, however. “This will give me a chance to re-run those photos of my bike seat getting stolen and my other bike getting gershed. Brown — you’re a genius!”

Brown fumed that the security office gave him a false sense of security.

“I’ll admit it’s naïve, but I kind of thought there would be some sort of ‘Green Zone’ of protection at least within 10-feet of the hub of all Metrotech security!” said Brown, who repeated, “I’m an idiot.”

But if Brown had paused before locking his bike, he would have recalled that before Kuntzman had his seat stolen in March, he’d had his entire bike stolen — the third such incident to befall the award-winning editor — from a nearby Metrotech bike rack just last year.

But he had done no such thing.

Broken and dejected, Brown returned to the newsroom and called Transportation Alternatives, the cycling advocacy group that counseled Kuntzman through his wave of bike thefts last year.

Kim Martineau, a spokeswoman, did what any good therapist does: she listened.

Eventually, Martineau chimed in.

“The moral of the story is Kryptonite chains!” she said. “Those things just look like they’re going to be more trouble than they’re worth.”

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Reasonable discourse

Eddie Mazz from Bay Ridge says:
It's easy to thief proof your bike, first invest in a good U lock, chains are faster to cut, even the kryptonite chain locks! I recommend the kryptonite New York U lock it takes 15 to 20 min's to cut even when the NYPD is doing the cutting! Second locking skewers by Pinhead Components! These guys help lock your seat, handle bars, front and back wheels. So even if someone cuts your U lock they won't be able to fix a flat or adjust the seat, the skewers are even tamper proof. Basically the only thing on my bike you can steal are the rear rack. If you want I'll go down to the office to give a bike lock up clinic....
Oct. 13, 2010, 3:58 am
anywho says:
That "officer" in the photo is not NYPD. Looks like a BID security officer. Get your facts straight.
Oct. 13, 2010, 8:11 am
eliot from downtown brooklyn says:
Sigh. Locking a quick-release wheel only is worse than useless. You'll lose your bike in about ten seconds. Bike owners, please take Hal Ruzal's simple advice:

http://www.streetfilms.org/hal-grades-your-bike-locking/
Oct. 13, 2010, 11:05 am
NoLandGrab from Brooklyn says:
Why doesn't "liberal do-gooder" Bruce Ratner allow indoor bike parking at Metrotech?
Oct. 13, 2010, 1:20 pm
Steve Nitwitt from Sheepshead Bay says:
Norm was lurking by the building doing an expose on Atlantic Yards Report about the Paper's lack of coverage on EB-5 Chinagate. Perhaps he didn't have a Metrocard and needed a ride.
Oct. 14, 2010, 3:43 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Stephen -- have you asked your employer to request bike access from the landlord?

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikesinbuildings.shtml
Oct. 14, 2010, 10 am
Eric says:
Isn't this the same paper that wrote repeated articles about the guy who was using crazy glue to jam the locks of bicycles he thought were illegal parked. Consider this a case of karma
Oct. 14, 2010, 10:20 am
MinNY from Queens, NY says:
Those bike racks in the picture are horrible - If you aren't one of the first two there who can lock your frame to the sides of the long rack, you're forced to just lock a wheel, making it very easy to leave the wheel and steal the rest of the frame. Too bad Metro-Tech isn't phasing those out and replacing them with the far more secure upside-down-U racks that allow you to lock your entire frame to the rack.
Oct. 14, 2010, 10:59 am
Steve from Park Slop says:
Another RAT Center Special.
You can park at those Piece of Shitte dish racks mostly securely by lifting the front wheel over the top of the rack and then using the U lock to connect the front wheel, rack pipe and bike frame down tube. If this is the only lock you have, the rear wheel is still exposed.

My city bike has a loopy cable (just loops, no lock) hanging from the seat. It's long enough to thread through the rear wheel and reach the U lock, so the seat and rear wheel have some protection at minimal weight.

What are the odds that one of Rat's Rent-A-Cops took the bike?
Oct. 14, 2010, 4:32 pm
Bryan says:
Its funny because my bike was stolen from the rack adjacent to the one in the picture. I was given hell by the securuty guards when I was trying to figure out what happened. I witnessed this bike being stolen by a guy in a gray hoody, i walked by him and into the bid office and told them. by the time their lazy asses went outside the guy was gone. im sorry to hear it was yours.
Oct. 14, 2010, 7:18 pm
Stephen Brown from The Brooklyn Paper says:
@Bryan,

If you don't mind, give me call. We could use a description of the guy.

Thanks,

Stephen Brown
The Brooklyn Paper
718-260-4505
Oct. 15, 2010, 1:18 pm
Billy from the Block says:
Wow. The barely cloaked racism / classism exposed in the statement "I’ll admit it’s naïve, but I kind of thought there would be some sort of ‘Green Zone’ of protection at least within 10-feet of the hub of all Metrotech security!" is truely disgusting. However it is not surprising coming from one of these transplanted gentrifyers. So what Steven, you're the american military, and you're occupying a hostile country? Does that make native Brooklynites the Iraqis? What exactly do you need the "green zone of protection" from? The brown people? The poor people? The people who don't wear the same sheep costume as all the other recent arrivals to BK???
I wish I could say I feel sorry for you…
Oct. 21, 2010, 11:51 am
Joe from Occupied Brooklyn (outside of the Vichy Green Zone says:
Yeah, JuneBug and Billy!
Oct. 21, 2010, 3:14 pm
observer of justice from queens says:
BIG UP, JuneBug and Billy!
Oct. 21, 2010, 5 pm
SoftPillow says:
Stephen Brown looks like a ——.
Oct. 21, 2010, 9:35 pm
Rabbi Buddy Booth from WhereHipstersGetSpatUpon says:
Who gives a hump about some skinny jean moron crybaby and his bike. Serious problems in the world. Call the Waaaaaaahambulance to pick up this talentless jerk and stick a pacifier in his piehole.
Oct. 27, 2010, 4:40 pm
Jim from Queens says:
This guy is a lame. You got your bike stolen man up. Go back to Penstulsky.
Oct. 29, 2010, 3:28 am
ulyssescale from San Francsico says:
I wish someone would bring this level of Hipster Hate to SF. It is sorely needed.
Dec. 13, 2010, 4:57 am
Steve Nitwitt's conscience says:
Sorry about that. I just exist to post anonymously. So that lets me act like a jerk.
July 16, 2011, 7:48 am

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