Yesterday morning I received an email with the words WATCH OUT in big bold letters. Sitting in my inbox, like a sack of rotting onions, was a link to a New York Post article with this headline: Sex Offenders’ relocation to Greenpoint Infuriates Residents.
I blinked a couple times and continued reading as my shock and horror mounted with each sentence.
“More than a dozen sex offenders were living in a Manhattan shelter prompted city officials to react—but all they did was move most of them to residential Greenpoint, sources said on Wednesday…The rapists, pedophiles, and other convicted sex criminals had been bunked up near schools and playgrounds at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter on East 30th Street in Kips Bay. They included serial sex offender, Rodney Stove, who was busted for a Manhattan bar rape…”
OH. MY. F-ING. GOD. I literally choked on my poppy seed bagel. Was what I was reading–an unwanted side effect from binge-watching season 3 of The Wire last night? This article could not possibly be true, could it?
Following up in a harshly written letter, our State Assemblyman Joe Lentol blasted the Department of Homeless Services for doubling the BRC shelter’s registered sex offenders under the cloak of night.
“As of this morning, the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services website has nearly 20 registered sex offenders listed as residing in the BRC shelter. If the figures cited by the Mayor’s office in the New York Post article are correct (16 sex offenders) this shelter has nearly 40 forty sex offenders…While many residents of the Bowery Residence Center (BRC) are law-abiding citizens in need of assistance, the fact the that the number of sex offenders at this shelter has doubled overnight is outrageous.”
Instantly, I took to my keyboard and began hammering out a massive warning because naturally this is sort of thing every Greenpointer should know about. From my megaphone I wanted to scream from my rooftop, “Listen up Greenpoint! Lock up your kids. Stick that mace can in your purse ladies. And goddammit, make bloody sure that black belt you picked up for your Mr. Miyagi costume is tucked on the OUTSIDE of your shirt when you’re walking home tonight!”
But in a moment of clarity, I thought to myself, “This is far too insane of a story. This is the New York Post we’re talking about–not exactly the most reliable of news sources as of late. Perhaps I should do some fact-checking before I fire off a warning that would scare a neighborhood which already has a lot of scary things on its plate.”
So I grabbed the horn and got nowhere at the BRC and the run around from the Department of Housing Services. Then I put in a call to our City Councilman, Steve Levin. As the Chair of the Committee of General Welfare, surely he’d know what was happening in his district. Thankfully, he picked up.
He told me the New York Post story was bogus, and that as the Chair of the Committee of General Welfare, he received a call that morning from the Department of Homeless Services regarding the inaccurate article.
“The DHS told me the Post story is not true. The sex offenders were relocated, but not to the BRC at 400 McGuiness and not in Greenpoint,” said Councilman Levin.
When I asked where the foul cysts of society had been relocated, I was informed the Department of Homeless Services doesn’t give out that information due to confidentiality rules. He suggested checking with the NYC Registry of Sex Offenders in a few weeks to track which shelter addresses the men ended up registering.
After breathing a sigh of relief that I no longer needed to carry around a cattle prod every time I left my house, I reached out to one of the reporters of the New York Post article to get some facts straight.
As of writing this, I am still waiting for a reply from the New York Post and have yet to see another city newspaper pick up the story. If there are any new developments, you will be the first to hear about it.
Stay safe and sleep tight Greenpoint.