Stoop shrimp gross out Dyker residents

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Talk about al fresco dining!

An ingenius Brooklynite cooked shrimp on a 72nd Street stoop — literally, on the concrete — during a hot June afternoon, neighbors say. Seeing the dozens of decapoda roasting on the doorstep between 11th and 12th streets was too much for one Dyker denizen to stomach.

“I thought, ‘Man, that’s dirty if somebody’s gonna eat that,’ ” said Vinny V., who lives nearby on 74th Street and asked that his last name not be published for personal reasons. “What if a dog comes by and pees on it?”

Vinny wasn’t convinced residents were actually cooking the shellfish — rather than just defrosting them — until he returned to the block later that day.

“We came back and the shrimp were on the sidewalk,” he said. “They were following the sun with the shrimp.”

A woman who answered the door at the residence on July 7 said she did not know anything, and did not speak English.

Another neighbor speculated that sun-drying might be a traditional rural cooking method that only appears gross on city sidewalks.

“A lot of these people are right from the countryside, and that’s just what they do there,” said Anthony Ceretti.

Using the sun to cook is not unheard of. Each year kids worldwide roast hot dogs in solar cookers in elementary school experiments. And sea critters don’t always need heat to “cook.” Spanish ceviche is made with shrimp and other seafood cured in citrus juices — no heat required.

The fire code bars grilling with an open flame on within 10 feet of a building, and residents can report their neighbors for blocking sidewalks with barbecues, according information from the city.

Neighbors logged a complaint on June 13 for a “condition attracting rodents” at the location, according to 311 data.

Health department inspectors are due to investigate by July 13, city data shows. But the shrimp are already long gone.

“We saw the woman come out and put them into a basket,” Vinny V. said. “That’s hopefully the first and last time I see someone try to cook shrimp on a sidewalk.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Me from Bay Ridge says:
If you're a POC you can do whatever you want in the city.
July 9, 2015, 6:45 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Celebrate Diversity!
July 9, 2015, 7:32 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Good thing it's raining because I doubt any hosing-off of the concrete was done.
July 9, 2015, 7:37 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Ooops, just realized this was in June.
July 9, 2015, 7:40 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I love the fact that people immediately assume the "chef" was Chinese, despite the fact that no information about ethnicity is in the article. I know that block well (my grandparents lived there for over 50 years, and my uncle's family and a few friends of mine still do), and there are several Italian families on the block, some of whom have older relatives who don't speak English.

Way to go, Brooklyn Bigots! Keep showing your true colors.
July 9, 2015, 8:45 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
The chrome doors, Sean, surely you know that if you really live in Bensonhurst..
July 9, 2015, 9:01 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Stainless steel, actually. And I do know them. My Italian relatives and two Russian neighbors have them, now, too. Not exactly a sure-fire indicator of Chinese DNA.
July 9, 2015, 9:35 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
So an elderly Italian lady, after living there for years and years, suddenly decided to start doing her cooking on the sidewalk? And that Italian last named neighbor who said, "A lot of these people are right from the countryside, and that’s just what they do there,”meant the Sicilians perhaps? Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.
P.S. The laundry hanging all over the stair railings and window grates (not pictured) could be a clue too.
July 9, 2015, 9:49 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I don't know. The article doesn't say, but elderly people of all races and ethnicity do odd things. There used to be an Italian family on that same block who made their own pasta, and dried it outside.

I don't see any laundry on the fence or stair rails. I see what may be a mop on the left, but other than the shrimp, that photo shows a reasonably neat front yard in keeping with most in the neighborhood.

But, again, why make assumptions about things not in evidence? Why should anyone state "Chinese people are truly disgusting" in such a situation?

For the record, my wife is a Chinese immigrant, and her family is seriously OCD about cleanliness. I've always been a neat-freak, but I feel like a slob around my in-laws. "Howard's" all-encompassing statement is demonstrably false. It's that sort of bigotry that we don't need, online or in our community.
July 9, 2015, 10:01 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Cleanliness should include the outside of the home out of respect for the community, not just the inside.
July 9, 2015, 10:38 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I don't see your point. There are plenty of non-Chinese homes in Bay Ridge, Dyker and Bensonhurst that are not kept clean or attractive. The "ghost house" on the corner of 10th and 82nd, for example. There is a whole street of homes owned by Jewish people in the 80s near Bay Parkway with paint peeling off the doors, weeds growing from the sidewalk and foot of the steps, junk in the front yard, etc. Again, nothing that has anything to do with the jump to "Chinese people are truly disgusting". Bigotry is the only disgusting thing in evidence on this page.
July 9, 2015, 10:45 am
Lulu from Dyker says:
Sean F. I live on the block. They are Chinese.
July 9, 2015, 11:05 am
Lulu from Dyker says:
Sean F. I live on the block. They are Chinese.
July 9, 2015, 11:05 am
BevD from Red Hook says:
It's disgusting, unhealthy for instance, if a child picked up shrimp- with heat, it turned- who would be responsible for illness or far worse to child. If a pet, would eat shrimp- severe stomach or movement or be lethal. Tradition or not, public place- for anyone or anything to see them n eat them. It's by an entrance, how the hell does one
step over or alongside of them.
July 9, 2015, 11:14 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:

Thanks for confirming. I never said they weren't. I just said that the automatic bigotry on display was unwarranted, based on the article. I've never understood bigotry in any form, but people who go out of their way to spout bigoted nonsense are even more unfathomable, and frankly, a bigger taint on the community than the people they attack.
July 9, 2015, 11:30 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:

Perhaps there is another Chinese family on the block who might speak to the family about the action, and the dangers to passersby? (I hesitate to call it a "habit", since only one incident was reported). We had a Chinese neighbor who was using rusty buckets to plant vegetables in front of his house. My wife explained the danger to him, and he gladly exchanged them for plastic pots. Sometimes, all it takes is a pleasant approach.
July 9, 2015, 11:33 am
Donna D from Dyker says:
This was one of the reasons my brother (who lived on this very block) moved away. There are a lot of illegal rentals on this block (one house with 20 residents living inside) and my brother said the block was being over run with rats. If you don't believe me ask anyone who lives on that block.
July 9, 2015, 2:16 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I asked my uncle, who lives on the block. He said the block isn't what it used to be, but that "over run with rats" is an exaggeration. He's seen no sign of any rats. Garbage, yes. Rats, no.
July 9, 2015, 3:09 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Deliberate racial baiting by the Brooklyn Paper.
July 9, 2015, 3:19 pm
Boris from Borough Park says:
@ Rufus.

Shrimp are a species, not a race.
July 9, 2015, 3:24 pm
Ellis from Dyker Heights says:
Well at least we know Sean F is anti-Semitic & anti-Italian. So much for his BS call of racism. Look in the mirror
July 12, 2015, 4:13 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I'm not anti-anyone. I just pointed out that the things that some people accuse the Chinese of doing are also done by people of many other ethnicities (including my own Italian paisans). This is what's known as "wearing blinders" - people who try to score point by only noticing "bad behavior" in certain other groups of people, but ignore it in other groups or in their own group.

All people of all races are capable of doing things that their neighbors may find objectionable. But, I'm not actually upset or angry by any of those actions, as Howard appears to be, with his declamatory condemnation of all Chinese people. Race need not be the catch-all objection, and blanket statements of hate need not to be flung about with no evidence that they either apply to the situation, or that they apply across-the-board to all members of any particular race or ethnicity.

A wise man once said, "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Very good words of advice that too few people adopt in public discourse.
July 13, 2015, 3:17 pm
Viola from Bath Beach says:
I can assure everyone here that no Italian would ever ever eat off the dirty pavement. Even in the most remote villages we use a tablecloth and place setting. Shellfish is bought and cooked same day to assure freshness. Its just Not done !! Sorry!! Its not a matter of putting anyone down, but everyone knows fish spoils quickly in heat and can cause disease. The smell must have been atrocious!!! Whoever did it really doesnt understand a thing about being sanitary.
July 14, 2015, 11:08 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I don't disagree with the sanitary aspects of the preparation directly on the sidewalk, but sun-drying shrimp is an ancient practice across many cultures in Asia, South America, Mexico and elsewhere.
July 15, 2015, 8:28 am
MTO from Bay Ridge says:
Now, that's what I call a Pu Pu Platter! I didn't know there were so many hunter/gatherers practicing ancient survival techniques in Brooklyn.Thank You,Sean, for the anthropology lesson! Bon Appettite !
July 15, 2015, 10:07 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
MTO, it's worse than you think.

July 15, 2015, 11:05 am
MTO from Bay Ridge says:
Sean,really ? WOW! Prospect Park ! Oh, I can only imagine what a wonderful array of diverse cuisine could be acquired in that urban paradise ! I hear that the pigeon,if prepared according to the right ethnic recipe tastes like Kung PO chicken, or even Peking Duck !
July 15, 2015, 6:12 pm
Lee from Brooklyn says:
Sean F from Bensonhurst

Is on every web site trying to do damage control about situations like this lol
June 19, 2016, 9:56 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: