I've lived in Williamsburg for 15 years now and only once has someone tried to rob me (knock wood). I believe I told that story elsewhere (he didn't get anything because I am a crazy lady), so I'll spare you. But ever since the condos started going up and the rich people started moving in, the neighborhood has seemed much more violent. You'd think all the Bugaboo strollers and smug couples in their matching athletic gear would make it feel safer, but you'd be wrong.
I used to toddle home at 4am and never worry about getting jumped. Now I get nervous in the afternoon—and it's not just me being paranoid. Other long-time residents report the same feeling. It's a new, nasty, malevolent vibe that must come when you move haves into a neighborhood formerly populated with have-nots. Gentrification's growing pains.
Yesterday I heard yelling out my window and so stuck my head out to see what was happening. I saw a skinny white dude standing outside his truck-type vehicle, screaming at two men. One of the screamees was on a bike and the driver of the truck was holding another bike, while the third guy walked away.
"Why'd you steal my bike!" the skinny guy screamed, as he loaded what was presumably his bike back into his truck. I guess he'd been chasing them for a few blocks. He slammed the truck door and walked toward the driver's side door.
"Fuck you! I see you again and I'll kill you!" the guy on the bike warned, riding off. The skinny guy got in the truck and drove off. If the third guy hadn't just started walking away after his bike was confiscated, I would've thought there was some question about ownership. But it seemed pretty obvious that he and his buddy had been out on a bike "shopping" expedition. So that sucks. But this story I found on the Brooklyn Paper's website is even scarier—and happened just two blocks from my house:
A pair of armed muggers abducted a 33-year-old in Greenpoint and held him nearly three hours while they cleaned out his bank account in a horrifying May 11 robbery.
The terrifying kidnapping began when one of the crooks pulled a black handgun on the victim, who was walking to the L train near the corner of North Ninth and Withers streets at around 10 pm.
After showing off the heater, the thug dragged the victim to a nearby alleyway where an accomplice was waiting in a black four-door sedan — possibly a Dodge Charger.
The thugs cleaned out the victim’s pockets — snatching cash, an iPod, a cellphone, and a debit card — and shoved him into the backseat of the car, forcing him to sit on his knees with a jacket pulled over his head so he couldn’t ID his captors.
The robbers then drove the victim to at least one ATM, where they withdrew money from his bank account before kicking the victim to the curb at South 11th Street and Wythe Avenue at around 12:45 am.
Isn't that terrifying? I mean, once you ignore the Brooklyn Paper's idiotic cutesy spin. "After showing off the heater?" Has someone been watching Dragnet reruns? A guy is kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint and you're trying to be clever? Ugh.
Anyway, very scary. So my fellow Brooklynites, watch your ass. I used a photo of Mabel the Cat to illustrate this post just because she calms me down and I can use a little calming down at the moment.