Another reader concerned about safety in Greenpoint wrote in to tell me of an incident in which she was recently kicked by a homeless man on Manhattan Ave:

I wanted to make the Greenpointers aware of something that happened to me today that was concerning in regards to the safety of our neighborhood.  I was standing in front of Champion Coffee on the phone when a homeless man came galloping down the street speaking loudly to himself. All of a sudden her turned towards we and kicked me in the leg so hard that I went sprawiling into the building. Next he pushed another woman down into the street and turned the corner onto Dupont Street where he proceeded, I am told, to hit trash cans, pull recycling bags out into the street sending broken glass all around.

When the neighborhood police showed up about 10 minutes later, they took my statement and told methat the man who accosted me lives at the new homeless shelter at the end of Clay Street.   Fortunately they took him to the precinct for evaluation. They also informed me that the shelter is contributing to other problems in the neighborhood. More cars are getting broken into and if one of the residents does not get back to the shelter by 10:00 p.m when they lock the doors, he ends up wandering throughout the neighborhood all night.

I know that homeless people need to have shelters and I support having shelters in the city obviously, but they also need to be run so that the neighborhoods where they are built are safe. I have lived in this neighborhood for 13 years. I have always felt fairly safe. I no longer feel this way.

 I would like others to know what happened to me, so that they can be aware of one more example of how our neighborhood has become less safe.


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  1. It’s really such a bad idea the way the city handles homeless and the mentally ill. Why do the truck in these men from all over and dump them in a neighborhood like this? Do they have work programs for them? Do they monitor what they do? Doesn’t it make sense to have them spread out more in areas where they may find work? I find it so disturbing that every day I get an alert from the city that another sex offender has moved into Clay St. I don’t really know what the answer is but I wish there was a better one than this.

  2. Sounds suspiciously like a made up fear mongering story based on all of the details supposedly volunteered by the police about the problems with the shelter. Did you verify with the 94th Precinct that this actually happened before reporting on this site? Given all of the NIMBY attitudes in the neighborhood about the homeless shelter it would be worth verifying.

    1. Hi E- Thanks for your comment. As I have presented it, in the form of an anecdotal email from a reader, it is up to you to believe it or not. I do think we need to trust our neighbors and the readers of the blog – which is why I do post these stories – to alert others. I don’t post ALL the emails I get, but in this case, I used my discretion and believe the writer is not making it up in order to scare other people. The homeless shelter is a major concern. I have called the 94th precint but am waiting for a call back, which in recent experience has taken days.
      Same for the story below this one. The police can’t confirm the Peeping Tom on Humboldt, which is why I trust the reader who wrote in – in order to warn others and keep neighbors on the look out. That is what we need to do as neighbors. I’m not presenting this as hard fact journalism, but as a neighbor trying to get the word out for other neighbors.
      Thanks again and I will update when the police department calls back.

    1. I have had my car broken into twice in last 6 months and all 4 tires stolen off my brothers car. That sucks. I think the problem is that while all this crime is on the rise so are rents. I can go live elsewhere and get my shit broken into and still afford to replace it by saving money on rent.
      Hate pointing fingers but been here for 10 years and notice a major change in last 6 months. Crimepoint.

  3. I’d like to know if it is, in fact, true that if residents don’t report to the shelter by 10:00 pm they are “left to wander” for the night.

    If it is true, I would like to ask that the shelter cut that out. It seems a rotten policy.

    1. From meetings I have attended that discussed the McGuinness Blvd shelter – it is true that the shelter had rules and a curfew. If a person is drunk or they are not admitted – which I agree is a policy that protects the shelter but not the neighbors if the only option is to sleep on the street.

      1. I’m not trying to call anyone out here, but as a person with an intimate knowledge of how the homeless shelter on Greenpoint works. This is simply not true.

        If a homeless person is not in by curfew, they lose their bed, but when they return they are afforded the opportunity to sleep in a new bed (albeit with an infraction on their record), or they can wait for Department of Homeless Service transportation to another shelter. Sometimes that can take hours, but the doors are not ‘locked’ and the homeless population are always welcomed in.

        I understand it’s not desirable, but this shelter also has agreed to take any homeless from the neighborhood and give them a place to stay indefinitely.

        I also know that homeless persons NOT from the neighborhood only stay at this shelter for 2-3 weeks.

        1. No call out taken and your insight is appreciated. The meeting I attended was in regards to the church shelter. Kevin said that the reason we need an additional shelter for local homeless men is because they have drinking issues and are not permitted into the shelter if they are drunk. Is that not true? I was not sure how the curfew worked but thanks for clearing that up.

  4. I’ve been in Greenpoint for a little over two years, and the majority of homeless people I notice are neighborhood men with severe alcohol problems. Without a homeless shelter, these men sleep in the park rain or shine, or occasionally in jail for violating a myriad of laws

    1. (sorry iPhone issues) that police use to jail a homeless person and keep them in the system. I’m not sure that the shelter is the problem, only because these men will still be here even if it’s gone. If a person is committing a crime like assault, call the cops, but just being homeless isn’t a crime. It bothers me how disdainful we are about homeless people.

  5. as a resident of Clay street, it has been a completely different neighborhood since the homeless shelter opened. A car is broken into at least once a week on Mcguiness Blvd now, amongst multiple other problems I”ve had.

  6. Just want to concur that this event did indeed happen. Was walking from my apt on Dupont when I witnessed the man yelling and lunging around the street erratically at Clay and Manhattan and then watched him cross in front of Champion and heard the reaction of the female victims. The man seemed obviously mentally ill and/or on drugs.

  7. I also wanted to confirm the incident. My brother called me when it happened as he was coming visiting my sister on Dupont St. and told me he saw this man punch a woman in the face after having done something similar to someone else. I was told the man appeared to be mentally disturbed.

    I would not be surprised if the rape that happened recently was also due to someone from the halfway (orhomeless) house on Clay. I never had to worry about taking late night strolls in Greenpoint and now I feel that’s no longer possible. Something has to be done about this.

    1. Ah yes, let’s hypothesize about where the rapist lives based on this one incident. And according to the always reliable neighborhood watchman “B,” the homeless shelter residents are breaking into cars once a week! Is there a particular day designated for car break-ins or do they like to mix it up every week?

      Jen, you’ve demonstrated a real knack for attracting the fearful NIMBYs out of their little holes today. I look forward to follow up pieces on how the homeless are also responsible for shutting down the G this summer and taking up all of the good tables at Five Leaves.

      1. There are as many defenders of the shelter than those opposed. This article was only to allow a reader to tell a story of a real incident that happened not to talk badly about the shelter.

        1. You included not only the incident, but also accusations about other crimes being committed and observations that the neighborhood is no longer safe because of this shelter.

          There are 50,000 homeless people in this city and they need somewhere to go. The vast majority are not violent or criminals. In Greenpoint, we’ve avoided hosting shelters or major public housing projects for years, so I really don’t think it’s so unreasonable to ask us to house 200 of these needy men.

          Even in Bloomberg’s stop and frisk utopia, this is still New York City and people should expect that crimes will occasionally take place. From these accounts, the police responded quickly and apprehended the suspect.

          Pull your faces away from your iPhones for a few minutes while walking down the street and you may find yourselves better equipped to react to unexpected occurrences.

          1. i did not make any accusations about the shelter. i let one Greenpointer share her story and point of view.

  8. Do you know that at this time the shelter has 4 child molesters staying there ? I have concerns with that, having several schools in the area.

  9. Curious to know how many of you actually live around the homeless shelter. I understand E is playing the role of PC cop and dishing out tired “hipster” zings but as someone who ACTUALLY lives down the block from the shelter, it really has been night and day. Take a walk along McGuiness Blvd. by the shelter and look at the broken car windows on the ground yourself. We can pretend that the rise in crime has nothing to do with the opening of the shelter, but there is an uncomfortable reality at hand here. Just pointing out the facts, sorry.

  10. Jen G. there is a NYS sex offender registry website where you can easily look it up. The so-called “Green Point Hotel” on Manhattan is notorious for housing MULTIPLE sex offenders and the homeless shelter has some as well.

  11. The homeless shelter doesn’t belong here. Plain and simple. I’d wager to say that most of the ‘defenders’ are short term residents, whose focus on a political ideology far outweighs any stake they have in the neighborhood.

    1. Where does the shelter belong, “plain and simple”?

      “In someone else’s neighborhood!” cried the Greenpointer. “I paid GOOD MONEY for my little slice of aluminum-sided heaven here atop the oil spills, sandwiched between scrap yards and the sewage plant! Dammit if some homeless veteran who gave up his sanity fighting for our country so my daddy could stay home and go to law school is going to move into MY neighborhood.” Then he suckled his silver spoon and dozed off under that sweet iPhone glow, secure in the notion that he, and no one else, was entitled to live in this neighborhood.

      Karma’s a bitch, kiddos. Judging by the comments here, if the shelter residents behave anywhere near as bad as you fear, many of you are just getting what you deserve.

      Jen, I hope you keep the focus on restaurants and all of the great events happening in North Brooklyn moving forward. The reactions to these posts have revealed the truly ugly side of some people in the neighborhood.

      1. We have to take the good with the bad. While some people are insensitive, others are not and this is an important discussion to have.

        I personally don’t live by the shelter so I can’t comment on how it has affected the area near my home. While we do need to have compassion for the homeless members of our community and give them a place to stay that is warm and safe, it is important to have compassion for the people who do live nearby the shelter and experience less than acceptable behavior.

        That being said, this behavior, public urination, inebriation, and fighting occur in places like Nassau Ave, Manhattan Ave more southward and ALL of the parks – not JUST by the shelters – And it’s not just homeless people who are the offenders…

      2. What who deserves? Quit trying to preach an inclusive neighborhood while segregating out a group at the same time. A community blog should focus on all aspects of what’s happening around the area, especially topics where safety (on both sides) and policy are concerned. People are bringing up their concerns; you may not find them all valid, but shouting “NIMBY” at their fears isn’t productive at all.

        What’s your solution? That anyone with an opinion should get out of the neighborhood?

  12. My solution: Call the police if a crime happens. Stop in to speak with BRC shelter management if you have concerns about how they are running their facility. Beyond that, mind your business and stay alert. Don’t stumble home drunk, don’t cross McGuinness while playing Candy Crush. Practical stuff to survive on the mean streets of Greenpoint.

    BRC’s facility on the Bowery now shares a building with a John Varvatos store and an art gallery. The building is surrounded by luxury condos and hotels. This organization hardly has a reputation for ruining neighborhoods with crime and violence. So yes, the fears are misguided and the NIMBY attitudes are ugly.

  13. In January my car had a brick thrown through it’s window while parked on McGuiness. While we waited for the police to arrive, two men approached our car and tried to sell us drugs. When we rebuked them, they began threatening us with obscenities.When the police arrived, their first reaction was to blame the homeless shelter. I don’t have a problem with police officers, but I know many people have a serious ax to grind. I don’t see their being any motivation in lying. We had felt completely safe in Greenpoint prior to the shelter. We spoke with the officers at length about the rise in muggings and car break ins since the homeless shelter opened. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but everyone deserves to know the truth. There is nothing admirable about shipping in 200 plus men with alcohol and drug addictions to a small, relatively unpopulated area of Greenpoint.

  14. I cannot believe that people (E) are attacking Jen for making this incident known. She has clearly done research on what has happened. She’s not just flinging random accusations out on her blog. This is a COMMUNITY blog where people are made known to what occurs in said COMMUNITY. Personally, and especially as a young female that often walks alone, I really appreciate someone letting me know what’s happening in the neighborhood that I live in.

    Do you know what journalism is? Do you know what community is? If so, you should have no problems with this blog post. And please, someone, please, just say “NIMBY” one more time, because I don’t think it was said enough.

  15. Iv lived here for over 12 years and crime has gone up – we were robbed at gunpoint! on Commercial St.
    This is not directly related to the shelter but to the area around it and to the rising crime rates in Greenpoint.

  16. This is scary. I looked at the registered online sex offender list for the 11222 zipcode, and a lot of them are mostly living at 400 McGuinness / 146 Clay Street and Hotel Greenpoint.

    Not only is 400 McGuinness a shelter, Hotel Greenpoint which is a very low rent type of a hotel is also basically a shelter/halfway house. How do we petition their removal? I believe there is a direct coorelation between the spike in crime and these shelters. Someone should start a petition or maybe someone knows who we should contact.

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