In 2005 I received a ticket for an open container at the intersection of Nassau and Manhattan avenues. It was St. Patrick’s Day. I had been carrying my 24 ounce Budweiser in a brown paper bag when I saw the NYPD cruiser approaching. I stuffed my beer in a garbage can, but it was too late. The cruiser stopped, a cop got out, looked into the trash can and gave me a ticket.

I did not pay that ticket.

In Spring of 2012, I heard about a Safe Surrender day in BedStuy and attended. I, along with hundreds (thousands?) of other – mostly black males – stood in long lines for most of the morning until we appeared before a judge in a local BedStuy church, where our tickets were resolved without fines or other punishment.

The minister of the church, noticing a white face in the crowd, became curious about me asking, “What’d they get you for?” When I told him, he just guffawed and shook his head.

All this to relate that Gothamist recently reported about the New York neighborhoods with the most public drinking complaints as well as those with the most public urination complaints submitted via 311 in the last two years.


Greenpoint is the only neighborhood to top both lists!

Brooklyn Ink follow-up article on the topic assumed that all 311 complaints were solely about the homeless population in Greenpoint, referred to as “drinkers” – but does not verify that the 311 complaints are actually traced to complaints about the homeless population’s public drinking.  The article quotes locals about the homeless – that “they stink” and “are obnoxious and rude” before admitting that “[t]hese people need support.”

Of course 311 complaints could just mean there are more people willing/able enough to complain in that neighborhood than in others, not necessarily that there is more public drinking and urination in those places. Given the recent troubles involving the shelter at Greenpoint Church on Milton Street, perhaps the number of Greenpoint complaints should not be surprising.

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  1. No surprise in a neighborhood ruled by Ninkasi, the goddess of beer.
    If Brooklyn had a predominantly Irish neighborhood, they’d probably get the most complaints.

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