A Greenpoint Artist was Brutally Attacked and Needs our Help!

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Bryan Osburn. Untitled. Oil on canvas. 14 inches x 12 inches. 2012

Boy oh boy, are things are getting rough on this northern tip of Greenpoint. If it wasn’t bad enough neighbors are having to deal with insane rent increases, head-splitting piling driving , sex-offender rumors, and Superfund sites, now folks need to watch their backs each time they go the to deli. Just ask Bryan Osburn, a 40 year old artist who was brutally assaulted by a gang of 4 thugs all for a cellphone, in front of God Bless Deli 2 on the corner of Clay Street and Manhattan Avenue.

The incident happened last Friday night as Osburn left his studio around 11:30 pm.  According to the Observer, “the artist suffered multiple lacerations and a shattered jaw in the attack.” All four perpetrators, described by a police spokesperson, are believed to be African-American and are still at large. Social media reports from Osburn’s family say the artist doesn’t remember anything before or after the event. He was taken to nearby Beth Israel to get his jaw reconstructed.

For anyone familiar with the area, this awful incident doesn’t come as a shock. Clay Street and the streets surrounding it has long had a history of violence.

Last year a young man was stabbed and subsequently died after protecting a teenage girl from two belligerent men on Dupont Street. The long-standing SRO on Manhattan Avenue and Clay Street has long sheltered convicted criminals and sex offenders while their slumlord allowed the building fall into severe neglect. Clay St is also home to not one but two homeless shelters: The BRIC 200 all-male homeless detention center on Clay and McGuinness Blvd, and the newest kid on the block, a smaller ‘family’ shelter who opened up under the cloak of darkness, which sources say has been a hotspot for domestic violence disputes in recent months. And around the corner on Commercial Street three people were robbed at gunpoint last year.

“It’s surprising how there are more people in the neighborhood and you’d think it would be safer, but there is more crime now than 10 years ago when it was desolated up here,”says Teo Gonzalez, a local artist who lives close by. “I’ve been living here for 15 years and I’ve never seen so much crime in such a small space of time and in such a reduced area.”

It’s safe to say crime on Clay Street just keeps increasing year after year with no end in sight.

To raise money for the Mr. Osburn’s exhaustive hospital bills, 106 Green, a local Greenpoint gallery will host a fundraising raffle on Sunday, August 9th from 4-7 pm. Raffle tickets are $100 each and the proceeds will go towards off-setting the artist’s medical expenses. 106 Green are excepting small to medium-sized donated works from artists and raffle winners will get to take home some great artwork

If you’d like to participate in the donating art work for a fellow artist, please contact 106 Green Gallery for more details.

About Kim M

Kim is a native New Yorker, local activist and writer. When she's not writing books or playing Erin Brockovich with her Save Greenpoint peeps, you will see her whipping around Greenpoint on her bike, chatting it up with folks, and sharing stories about what it is about her hometown that makes life worth living. Follow her on twitter @kimasson or www.kimmassonwrites.com

14 Comments

  1. christina says:

    Is there not something we can do as a community to make that area safer? I have lived on Dupont for a while and I love it but I am naturally not comfortable with the increase in crime. If there is something that is already in the works that I can join or help promote to make the area safer, can someone please point me in that direction? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Kim M says:

      Hi Christina,

      I’d love to feel safer around here too. Like you, I honestly don’t where to start. It doesn’t seem like the normal channels are working as a deterrent since the crime keeps increasing year after year. If anyone has serious suggestions, I’m all ears.

      Reply
  2. Jarrod says:

    We start with our local councilman Stephen Levin. Then we talk to senators. Creating a generic, yet effective, call for action that anyone can sign will started to bring attention to the problems. I have been on Dupont for 10 years and this is the first time I have felt unsafe.

    Reply
    • Kim M says:

      Then please go to this really important community meeting this upcoming Monday evening at 6:30, Dupont Senior Center (entrance on Eagle). Stephen Levin will be there and the main topic will be the Nuhart superfund on Clay St. The more disgruntled voices he hears the better.

      Reply
      • mary says:

        I have emailed Stevin Levin with no response. There was no public notification of the meeting yesterday. I’m so sick of all of our concerns going unheard.

        Reply
        • Kim M says:

          Hi Mary,

          Believe me, I hear your frustration!! The community meeting on Monday night was really to discuss the remediation of our Superfund site, Nuhart Plastics. I find emails get nowhere at the councilman’s office. Try calling. Maybe you might get somewhere. (718) 875-5200. If enough people call, his office will be forced to do something about it. I know this isn’t the best option, but it’s what I’ve got for the moment.

          Reply
      • Erin says:

        Kim –
        How can I stay informed of upcoming meetings? I’m also on Dupont, and interested in participating.

        Reply
        • Kim M says:

          Hi Erin,

          As of now there isn’t a scheduled meeting about the crime situation on Clay St. but there certainly needs to be one! I suggested people make calls to the councilman’s office and voice their concerns. If enough people start badgering, they’ll be forced to do something about it. I frequently post information on Greenpointers about upcoming meetings. So keep checking back. Hope this helps.

          Reply
  3. Spencer says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I live on Clay St between the two shelters and have seen our quality of life plummet. It’s almost unbelievable.
    I wanted to chime in that I recently learned that the City is trying to open a third shelter in the area, specifically at the foot of Manhattan Ave across from the GMDC. The landlord who owns that piece of land also owns the building up the road and rents to a friend of mine. Apparently he’s been approached by a boutique hotel company to build a hotel, and then by the City to build a shelter. The City is lobbying hard for the shelter. I can’t even believe the City would do such a thing to the residents, but because we do not have a school – it’s one of the only places they can propose such a structure. Imagine having ANOTHER SHELTER in this area!!!! Steven Levin needs to hear our voices. Please call his office as often as possible. He needs to be accountable for his lack of response and action in our neighborhood.

    Reply
    • Kim M says:

      Spencer, this is horrible news if true. Are you referring to the 1129 Manhattan Ave building? The red building one directly across the street from the GMDC?

      Reply
      • Spencer says:

        It’s the fenced-in lot opposite the GMDC. Currently there are a bunch of trucks parked there. It’s the lot right beside (north of) the sculpture garden/parking lot. There is currently no building on the property.

        Reply
  4. RL says:

    Same concerns here … please keep us updated on what’s happening and what can be done.

    Reply
  5. Dom says:

    Hi All VERY IMPORTANT!

    For anyone concerned about or affected by the issues with the Clay Street shelter, there will be a town hall meeting tomorrow Wednesday 9/16 at the Polish Slavic Center at 176 Java Street. At attendance will be the Clay Street shelter operator along with the new Police captain for the 94th precinct, Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Councilman Steve Levin. As I’m sure you are all aware, crime has spiked around our building and this is a good opportunity for us to voice our concerns and put pressure on our elected officials to ensure that our neighborhood is safe. There is power in numbers so I hope you can make it!

    Reply

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