Local pols are calling for increased nightlife safety measures in northern Brooklyn’s industrial areas after two bodies were recovered from the Newton Creek just blocks away from an East Williamsburg club.
Police pulled 27-year-old John Castic from the creek on Aug. 1, days after his disappearance on July 29 after a night out at Brooklyn Mirage on Stewart Ave., as previously reported by Brooklyn Paper.
Castic’s death came shortly after 27-year-old Karl Clemente was allegedly turned away from a concert at the same venue because he had been drinking. Clemente never returned home that night, and his body was found in Newton Creek on June 16.
In a statement, East Williamsburg Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez called the deaths a great concern for the community.
Gutiérrez — alongside U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Assembly members Maritz Davila and Emily Gallagher, and state Senator Julia Salazar — is asking for a detailed investigation to provide accountability and answers to the circumstances of these two deaths.
“These tragedies highlight the critical need for safety measures in our industrial areas. The Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) has seen a significant expansion of nightlife in recent years,” the pols said. “However, it lacks the necessary infrastructure investments and enhancement such as lighting, signage, phone and data connectivity, and accessible public transportation to ensure a safe and sustainable environment.”
Brooklyn Mirage is one of many popular party spots located within Williamsburg, including Elsewhere, a live music venue, and House of Yes, a club and event space.
Each of the venues fall inside or nearby an area considered an IBZ by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
IBZs are set aside by the city as safe havens for manufacturing and industrial firms. Buildings within an IBZ are protected by the city and kept from being rezoned as residential properties, and businesses are encouraged to move into them to promote industrial growth.
Most of the neighborhood surrounding Brooklyn Mirage — and Newtown Creek — is filled with warehouses and manufacturing plants, with few restaurants, bars, or homes. At night, the nabe is often dark and fairly empty.
Gutierrez said her team is working with the mayor and other city officials, businesses and residents to create strategies that would promote the safety of those who live, work and visit IBZ’s.
“We remain committed to enhancing public safety and ensuring that the nightlife community operates and maintains responsible practices that contribute to the well-being of the local community,” she said.
A spokesperson with Avant Gardner, the indoor and outdoor complex the Brooklyn Mirage is a part of, said the venue is working with police to provide answers regarding the deaths.
“Avant Gardner is in communication with the authorities and is assisting with the investigation. We take the safety of our patrons extremely seriously,” the spokesperson said. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends during this difficult time.”
(Update Aug. 4 at 1:57 p.m.): This story has been updated to allow comment from Avant Gardner.