Vigilante or hero? You decide.
Like 19th-century London, a mysterious ripper is roaming through Park Slope, committing what some believe is a crime almost as bad as saucy Jack’s: he’s tearing down stoop sale, lost pet and house-cleaning fliers.
Unlike his historic counterpart, the Park Slope Ripper operates in broad daylight. Of course, he has good reason to conduct his mission in the open: it is illegal to hang fliers on public property like lampposts.
But that hasn’t ensured the Ripper’s popularity.
“Hero or villain? He’s a villain!,” said Heidi, who declined to give her last name. “Those signs are put up by parents who want to get rid of stuff or people having a stoop sale. They don’t mean any harm.”
Sean Williams, who was on Seventh Avenue walking his dog, got philosopical about it.
“He’s a villain because he’s ruining dreams,” he said. “If I have a lot of stuff in my crib that I don’t want, I have the right to sell it. Don’t hate on my signs.”
Of course, one man’s villain is another man’s freedom fighter.
“I love that guy,” said one neighborhood neatnik, who declined to give his name because he sensed that his opinion was unpopular in the neighborhood. “He’s fighting to keep Park Slope clean — how could you be against that?”
Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman certainly isn’t — after all, he was a Slope Ripper years ago (though he claims he’s retired).
“That was me years ago, ripping down people’s illegal fliers,” he said, adding that since hanging up his X-Acto knife, he’s been working within the system to get more bulletin boards posted so that people don’t have to resort to random fliering.
“We asked the city to make it a requirement that the bus shelters include bulletin boards, but we were rejected,” he said.
Several people are fashioning themselves as would-be Ripper hunters, using the Internet to broadcast a description of the supposed villain.
“He’s white, got a slight build, knobby knees, usually wearing a large gardener’s hat [and has] the sort of weasely little face that makes you immediately dislike him,” posted “Pastoralia” on the Web site, Brooklynian.
Pastoralia said that he was most bothered by the Ripper’s vigilante sense of justice.
“These were for stoop sales that were currently happening! What gives him the right? If a cop comes and rips a sign down because it’s illegal … that’s one thing, but when some one man army thinks he knows what’s better for all of us, that’s f–d up.”