It’s getting scary out there!
A group of teenagers pummeled a 40-year-old man in Boerum Hill after bellowing a blood-curdling “Boo!” at him on Oct. 15 — the latest harrowing incident in a frightening trend of unprovoked attacks that have put some residents on edge.
“[Ever since the attack], I’ve been feeling unsettled,” the victim told us. “I’m not feeling totally at home in my community.”
The victim, a resident of Cobble Hill, and his friend were walking along Boerum Place toward Bergen Street at 10 pm when eight teenagers walked passed them.
“They were taking up the entire sidewalk, so we had to walk single file through them,” the victim remembered.
That’s when one of teens leaned forward and yelled, “Boo!” — less than a foot from the victim’s face.
“He didn’t whisper ‘Boo,’ he screamed it,” the victim said. “He scared the s—t out of me. I must have jumped five feet. I turned to him and screamed, ‘What the f—k are you doing?’ but don’t remember getting any response.”
Not verbally, at least: seconds later, one of the booer’s buds lashed out, slamming his fist into the 40-year-old’s face.
The victim, who was wearing glasses, was hit in the left eye. His lens shattered, damaging his cornea.
“I fell backwards,” he said. “I couldn’t see anything. I was so dazed and confused that I fell against the wall. But the kids just laughed and hurried off.”
Cops are investigating, but assaults like this are not uncommon in Boerum Hill, where historic multi-million dollar brownstones are cushioned between the Wyckoff and Gowanus housing projects and there are cavernous gaps in the neighborhood’s median income level — from $23,900 to more than $108,000, according to the 2010 census.
Earlier this year, for example, a group of snowball throwing teens attacked Andy Campbell, one of our ace reporters. Residents say a handful of similar, unprovoked, attacks have also occurred in the area, including:
• A group of black teens punched a white resident during an argument in Boerum Hill in September.
• Five teens jumped a young man during a September skirmish near the corner of Hoyt Street and Bergen Avenue. The fight was over a cigarette, a witness told us.
“One guy asked if he could have a drag of [the victim’s cigarette],” the resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told us. “When he hesitated, this guy very suddenly punched him in the jaw. There was a loud crack.”
• On September 29, a crew of teenagers struck cars with golf clubs on Pacific Street between Third Avenue and Nevins Street. The teenage terrors then got into a brawl with another group of teens in front of PS 38, a resident said.
• A man was shot in the leg when on Hoyt Street between Baltic and Butler streets on Oct. 9. The 34-year-old victim told police that he was walking to his mother’s house at the time of the 1:15 am shooting.
As a result, some say that Boerum Hill has been overrun by unruly teens.
Mir Karim, the manager of the CVS on Court Street near Pacific Street says he has to kick teenagers out of his store “at least 10 times a day.”
“Two or three out of those 10 times we find merchandise on them,” he said.
The Boo Crew’s latest victim believes he wouldn’t have been attacked if there were more after school and nighttime activities to keep teens occupied.
“One of the fundamental problems here is that we’re not providing young people with the space they need and the sources to engage them,” he said. “If they were engaged [in something constructive], they wouldn’t do these things.”
Yet some residents, including a few teens, disagree with that premise.
“My friends like to f–k with people. They find it funny,” said Tatiana Chambers, a ninth grader at the School of International Studies on Baltic Street between Court and Smith streets. “Some kids are really high-strung, and if they feel disrespected they’ll hit somebody.”
— with Alfred Ng
Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-2525.