Heights residents demand Bridge Park get crowds under control after police shut Pier 2 again

Day in the park: The large crowds in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Tuesday forced NYPD to shut part of the green space.
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Brooklyn Bridge Park is in foul trouble!

The corporation that runs the waterfront park must finally do something to keep hordes of rowdy kids from flooding a residential Brooklyn Heights street on their way to and from the green space, demands a local leader after cops shut part of the meadow for the second time this year on Tuesday, sending hundreds of teens down Joralemon Street.

“It’s insane … the park doesn’t take any responsibi­lity,” said Linda DeRosa, president of the Willowtown Association, which is comprised of residents living in the southwest pocket of Brooklyn Heights. “They’ve done the same procedure time and time again, and it doesn’t work. It’s time for the park to re-evaluate how they operate.”

Police closed the entrance to Pier 2 — which houses basketball and handball courts and a roller rink — around 4:10 pm on Tuesday due to a “crowd condition” according to a police spokesman. They subsequently closed off the adjacent greenway and entrance on Old Fulton Street once they were filled to the brim, too, he said.

Neither police or the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation gave details on why cops closed part of the meadow, but one kid told the Brooklyn Eagle that multiple fights had broken out.

And a 15-year-old girl alleged that several people punched and kicked her as she was on Doughty and Furman streets by Pier 1 around 3:03 pm, knocking her to the ground. While she was down, a female acquaintance stole her phone and MetroCard, according to police.

The closure sent hundreds of kids out of the park and onto Brooklyn Heights streets such as Joralemon Street as they walked back Downtown — an episode that neighbors say has become all too familiar.

Residents demanded last year that the park get its act together and do something to alleviate the heavy foot traffic of kids — some of whom they say vandalize property and harass locals — after cops shut the pier five times in less than a month. The issue was revisited when authorities had to close a slice of the park during an unseasonably warm February day this year.

DeRosa and the park’s Community Advisory Council ultimately came up with a crowd-control plan for the brownstone-lined street, including dispersing kids to other entrances such as Atlantic Avenue and hiring a youth coordinator to oversee activities on the pier. It was supposed to go into action at the beginning of the month but hasn’t, according to the group’s leader.

“We put forward recommendations that could avoid this sort of thing and they haven’t been put into place,” said Peter LaBonte, who is president of the volunteer council. “Unless they put this stuff into place, it’s hard to say how bad it’s going to be this summer.”

Borough President Adams has gotten in on the action too — he allocated taxpayer dollars to fund security cameras along Joralemon Street, though that deal has not been finalized. The 84th precinct also added 23 more cops to the park beat last summer to help tackle the problem.

Kids are off from school this week and the community centers at the public housing complexes are closed to coincide with the break, leaving kids with nowhere else to go, according to LaShawn Doyle, who helps run the Ingersoll Houses recreation hub and sits on the advisory council.

On Tuesday, the park was hosting a three-on-three basketball tournament when police stepped in.

Honchos at the corporation say they are aware of the issue, but are just waiting for new president Eric Landau to come aboard next week to hash out a plan to fix it, according to a spokesman.

But conversations up until now have had little impact, said DeRosa, who says it’s high time for the corporation to finally take steps to deal with the disruptions at the park that regularly prompt the police to shut it down.

“I know my group goes down there, we have a dialogue, and they don’t care, they don’t want to make changes,” she said. “If my house is on fire every five months for three years, and I have to keep on calling the fire department, after three years, it’s like maybe I should fix my house or something,” she said.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

you wanted a Park from Brooklyn Heights says:
Now you have a Park.

Be careful what you ask for!

Brooklyn is in alarm and loosing it's charm.

Overpopulation everywhere!!!
April 13, 2017, 5:45 am
Bob from Joralemon Street says:
Let's face the truth here. Unless the City closes the projects and moves their residents elsewhere, Brooklyn Bridge Park will periodically be overrun by violent thugs. The streets that serve as pathways to park entrances will suffer regularly from vandalism, muggings, loud noise, and thefts.
April 13, 2017, 7:46 am
Mrs. Clinton Hill from Fulton Street says:
Bring these super-predators to heel.
April 13, 2017, 9:43 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
There is, I believe, enough public support for any politician who would propose that the city simply raze the projects and pull the plug on NYCHA. It's too costly and just bad for the city.
April 13, 2017, 11:44 am
Sid from Boreum hill says:
No one excuses the conduct that caused this. But the PD and the Brooklyn Bridge park people should have been prepared. They had a similar experience last year during spring break. Schools out and the centers were closed. We should expect adults to act adult and teenagers to act like teens.
April 13, 2017, 11:48 am
Bull Connor from Alabama says:
Kids in a Park

Time for the Fire Hoses
April 13, 2017, 1:22 pm
Anon from Bklyn Heights says:
This "Park" can't even install a good dog run surface let alone learn from the safety mistakes of its past! (BTW, the NYC Parks Dept decided to install dog turf in Prospect Park but these jokers said it was unproven for dogs. Huh?!) The fact that these idiots are waiting for the new leader to come on board to tell 'em what to do with a situation long a problem, basically proves they have been rudderless and incompetent the whole time. And these are the people you trust to decide to put another two towers inside the park in a flood zone?
April 13, 2017, 2:50 pm
Warren Whelm from Park Slope says:
Just remove the basketball courts and roller rink.
April 13, 2017, 4:29 pm
queen teen says:
"Violent thugs?" "Super-predators?" Attracted by social media, a whole lot of teenagers went to the park at the same time and a couple minor fights broke out. Are y'all just trolls or do you really have no perspective?
April 13, 2017, 4:40 pm
Jake says:
Kids are off from school this week and the community centers at the public housing complexes are closed to coincide with the break?
This doesn't make any sense.
April 13, 2017, 9:07 pm
Bob from Joralemon says:
@ queen teen

Once you personally witness the parade of barbarians racing down the street you pay hard earned money to live on, you'll be entitled to comment. The park serves as a thug magnet. I don't see any workable solution to this problem. Nice things attract thugs, an age old problem.
April 13, 2017, 10:36 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Thing has gone total ghetto. Just like the movie theater on Court St... I don't set foot near either of those places.
April 14, 2017, 8:23 am
queen teen says:
Sorry, Bobby, but I don't have to buy anything to point out hyperbole. Real estate values are at an all-time high in Brooklyn. Perhaps you would feel more comfortable in Scarsdale.
April 14, 2017, 10 am
VLM from Brooklyn says:
Y'all are a bunch of racist NIMBY jerks.

Let's have a face-to-face, Bob from Joralemon. I'd love to hear how tolerant you are when you can't hide behind a computer.
April 14, 2017, 10:55 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
The racism on display here is terrible. People are loud on your street as they go to and from a park? Move to a suburban gated community and seal yourself off from the world.
April 14, 2017, 11:24 am
K Bill from The Waterfront says:
Check out these entitled racist scumbags. What they're proposing is banned by the 13th Amendment. That's right - the one that outlaws slavery, and all its badges and incidents - including prohibiting people from walking down a public street.
April 14, 2017, 11:48 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Change the basketball courts to tennis courts, and voila, problem solved.
April 14, 2017, 11:52 am
lAdaYy BedFordd $tuYvEsAntt from Yoyo! NOStrAndd AvEE says:
I hate racism too.
April 14, 2017, 12:34 pm
John from Furman St says:
Close the God darn park to all.
April 14, 2017, 4:33 pm
GhettoBentley from East New York says:
Brooklyn is ghetto, best be ware of yo surroundings. i aint never get robbed o jumped cuz i got my head on a swivel
April 14, 2017, 8:58 pm
Tyrone from DaBronx says:
Thats what ya get for moving into multimillion dolla homes surrounded by the ghetto. ya think these youths will behave an respect your property?
April 14, 2017, 9:22 pm
Kay says:
The kids need to be schooled in how to respect public space (and themselves), by a figure they admire. And areas that are intended for large group activities need better planned, you know... fire exits.
April 16, 2017, 9:19 am
Aaliyah from Fort Greene says:
Better a group of raucous city kids than a pile up of SUVs
April 16, 2017, 10:30 am
Nikki says:
There use to be room to live freely, but everyone kept shttng babies.
April 16, 2017, 11:02 am
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Maybe they could have some uniform cops walk around the park and get to know who the troublemakers are. LOL
April 17, 2017, 3:27 pm
Steve from Red Hook says:
"Move to a suburban gated community and seal yourself off from the world."

They already have. This is what Brooklyn Heights is.
April 23, 2017, 11:07 am
Concerned Residents from Brooklyn Heights says:
Like anyone else who remembers “the bad old days” of NYC, we can all recount some harrowing experiences with crime over the years. Despite crime in our city (and country) dropping every year since 1991, when you or someone you love is hurt (or even just feels unsafe) it’s still infuriating.

Which is why we agree that safety in Brooklyn Bridge Park (and in all of our parks) is a legitimate concern. It’s important to have community dialogue around it. We applaud our local organizations, police, and electeds who are engaged on this issue.

However, the race-baiting that is unleashed every time there’s a minor incident at Brooklyn Bridge Park is counterproductive at best. Here are some quotes from the comments section of your most recent article on the issue:

“Once you personally witness the parade of barbarians racing down the street you pay hard earned money to live on, you'll be entitled to comment. The park serves as a thug magnet.”

“Thing has gone total ghetto. Just like the movie theater on Court St... I don't set foot near either of those places.”

“There is, I believe, enough public support for any politician who would propose that the city simply raze the projects and pull the plug on NYCHA. It's too costly and just bad for the city.”

We could go on. And if it were just some Internet trolls, we would leave it be. But what brought us to write this letter is when the print edition of this article’s headline described the group of mostly black students as a “horde”. Questions of political correctness aside, the article presented our overwhelmingly innocent Brooklyn kids who frequent the park as a menace to the community.

Brooklyn Bridge Park was created (and publicly funded) with the understanding that it would serve ALL of Brooklyn, not just the residents immediately adjacent to it. Those who have read (or lived) the history, will recall the alternative to a park was going to be a massive high-rise development without any public space at all.

Not everyone who expresses concern about crime is racist, and it’s unfair to brand them as such. Then again, it’s also unfair to assume that every black teenager headed to Pier 2 is plotting to mug you. Calls to “close the basketball courts” are both unrealistic and transparently bigoted.

Brooklyn Heights is not a gated community, and we are not in the midst of a crime epidemic. Moving forward, we would ask that your publication (and the local community) find the courage to try and do a better job of engaging on this issue-- in our minds that means we must forego alarmism and demeaning language in favor of accurate reporting and thoughtful discussion.

Brooklyn Heights Residents:
Quinn Raymond
Gail Wiese
Alexander von Reventlow
Geneva von Reventlow
Rupa Bhattacharya
Gene Perelson
Meg Gleason
Jeff Gatrall
Cecily Cook
Heather Norton
Kristen Wicklund
Alexis Barad
Gabrielle Rubinstein
Holly Chase Foran
Annie Greenberger
Namrata Tripathi
April 26, 2017, 9:22 pm
Thomas Brieger from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Where do the violent teenagers live?

Are there any security cameras within the park?

Have BBPC officials and/or police officers shown pictures from any security cameras to other teenagers or school officials who might be able to identify the offenders?
April 28, 2017, 9:44 am
Xeony from America says:
I cannot believe the blatant racism that is present in these comments. This goes against everything that America stands for. Just because the teenagers are black, or because they may not come from very wealthy backgrounds does not mean that they should be banned from the park. People associate young african americans with violence. Also, I do not think that you rich white people understand the idea of a public street. They have the right to walk along the street in order to go to the courts or to go home. Changing the basketball courts to tennis courts is also blatantly racist. It is targeting a specific group of people--young black teenagers. Would you rather this park be private and no one who is poor or has the "wrong" color of skin be stopped from entering? I have to ask Bob from Joralemon street why he believes that black teenagers are more likely to rob someone than a white person. Just because of the color of their skin, or the fact that they don't live in Brooklyn Heights, does not mean that they are any less human than the rest of us. They have the right to have fun in a public area and the right to walk freely without being demonized as "Super-Predators" or "violent thugs". Shut your entitled rich white @3$ up and start respecting others who are from different backgrounds. You all have to stop hating on the teenagers and start trying to understand them. Yes, they may have been disruptive in a public space, but that does not mean that they should be kicked out, or that the public space should be removed. Some of these teens come from poverty, where their courts do not even have nets. Think about all the times when they came to the courts and just had fun with nothing bad happening. Understand them and try to share the space so that both sides can live better together.
Aug. 17, 2018, 9:18 am

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