I received an email tonight from reader Vanessa and it’s something that should definitely be passed on.

Dear Greenpoint frenz,

Last night (Tues), at 3am, someone very close to me was assaulted here in Greenpoint, right outside the C-Town grocery on Manhattan Ave (btw Java/India). The assailants were two white males, probably in their 20s, both with accents (Polish or Czech, possibly). They were both very drunk. They followed her off the G train, and pinned her against the metal gate of C-Town (slamming her head and body), and one of them groped her. She kicked one in the balls and screamed. Luckily a very nice man coming out of the India St deli (Almohamdi or whatever) ran towards them (hearing her screams), and the two dispersed in opposite directions. She seems to be doing fine now (though obviously shaken by the experience), but this was scary, as the two did not demand anything (money, etc.), and it was not clear where this would have gone if the nice man did not intervene.

I’ve been in a couple other sketchy-feeling situations recently in GPT where nothing happened, ultimately, but I had a strong “vibe”…

So people, be safe and don’t let your guard down, especially when you walk at night (try not to walk alone!). Greenpoint for some time has been assumed to be one of the safest neighborhoods around here, but as the recession continues, people get wiley and desperate. If the economy is still in the shitter once the weather warms, that is traditionally a key time to watch for spikes in crime!

I want to get her something for protection — any advice? I think pepper spray is illegal here, no? Do you know where we can get some? Any other safety devices you can recommend are much appreciated!!

Be safe, friends!

First off, my utmost sympathy to the woman who was attacked. This is a horrible, horrible thing to have to have happen and I know that although she is physically fine, the truth is that it’s not that easy to shake off a scary thing like that.

I’m going to assume that they were indeed Polish and since they didn’t try to rob her, it wasn’t about the money or the economic climate. The young thugs of the neighborhood are no longer the local kids that I grew up with who were terrorizing the Polish drunks, it’s now the Polish drunks kids who are the thugs of the block. When I was younger it was all about the money and the need (not that that made it right).

These kids upbringings are more skewed towards men being more powerful than women and I’ve seen it with the way that the Polish men in this neighborhood leer at young girls and even how the younger generation treat their girlfriends. As ridiculous as this sounds, with the locals all leaving the Polish kids are taking hold of the petty crimes in the area because there’s no one to threaten them back. Back in the day if one of these kids would have done this to a local girl – there would have twenty guys searching the Avenue for these fucks and beating their heads in.

Now it may sound like it’s not the answer but the truth of the matter is, things like this are never taken care of the cops. The things that made Greenpoint a safe neighborhood were the people IN the neighborhood. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the newer influx of people in this neighborhood are easy targets. It’s a fucked up situation.

Greenpoint is relatively safe, but you have to be careful anywhere walking late at night and alone. It gets pretty desolate around here and I just cross the street when I see a group of two or more guys who are drunk. Better to be safe than sorry. I can kick ass if need be, but against two drunk guys I don’t really have chance to leave unscathed.

And props to the guy from the India St bodega. Those guys are awesome and pretty much one of the only places in that area that are open 24/7. And I’m glad to see that people still get involved when something like that is going down. You can’t just act like you don’t see things like that happen, you need to speak up or get involved.

And yeah, get some pepper spray!

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  1. I’ve had a few incidents of late, coming off the 61 at calyer and manhattan, and walking the 1.5 blocks to my house has been met with young drunk polish kids saying things and one throwing a bottle of water on me when I ignored him. Yes – I grew up here and it wasn’t uncommon for local youth to “roll” the passed out polish men in the park. This isn’t about money. Its intimidation in a neighborhood I grew up in. There was a time you knew the kids harassing you (or a sibling of theirs) This is too common a trend.

  2. If anyone does follow the advice to “get the pepper spray,” it’s important to understand its limitations and know when to use it and when not to.

    In this case, what would she have done with it? Pepper spray doesn’t instantly immobilize a person even if you are able to aim it properly while being attacked… and she was up against two guys. Drunk guys, likely making them even less susceptible to the spray.

    My concern here is only that using something like that could be an escalation; could provoke only a more violent response. I wouldn’t say that it’s a bad idea for a woman to carry it, but it’s a bad idea to think it makes you invulnerable.

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