“I don’t want a repeat of last year,” Deputy Inspector, Georgios Mastrokostas, told the 61st Precinct Community Council during a meeting this week. “I need to get parents involved,” he added.
The deputy inspector was referring to a bunch of incidents on Gerritsen Avenue last Halloween involving eggs, shaving cream, potatoes and even bricks….that left the windows on three buses shattered….and a couple of people hurt. In one instance, a local resident and blogger named Dan Cavanagh told PIX 11 a man in his 60’s was pelted by eggs, when he got out of his car on Gerritsen Avenue to complain to a crowd of about 50 teenagers. Some witnesses said the troublemakers then started throwing chunks of bricks at the man. Police later found a hammer at the scene.
Yet 17 year old Tina Natole told PIX 11 the circumstances were exaggerated, “Nobody threw rocks, and nobody threw hammers. The guy came out of the car with a crowbar and went to go hit the kids. That’s when they called their parents. One parent came to the scene and brought a hammer.” Yet Dan Cavanagh remembers things differently. “The old man got out of the car to yell at the kids. I didn’t see any crowbar at all.”
Cavanagh took a lot of heat for publishing photos of the teens, along with their facebook boastings, on his blog-- GerritsenBeach.Net. He said police didn’t turn up for a long time, possibly because Gerritsen Avenue sits on the border of two precincts, the 61st and the 63rd. “There were a lot of 911 calls made that day. It took police four hours to show up,” Cavanagh recalled to PIX 11.
Cavanagh recounted how the trouble escalated near Seba Avenue Park. “They ran out of eggs, and they were just throwing whatever they could at buses and people. Even if it was a mother and baby, they just threw it in the direction of whoever was there,” Cavanagh told PIX 11.
Some of the five thousand people who live in the tiny enclave of Gerritsen Beach think cops—and the media—are overreacting to what happened. Dennis Klaus, who was walking his golden retriever, said “How big of an incident in today’s world?” When PIX 11 observed that a tossed hammer could kill someone, he responded, “Yes, but we don’t have killings here, or muggings, and the crime rate is low here.” 34-year old Larry Gugliara, the owner of a pet store on Gerritsen Avenue, remarked, “I grew up in Bay Ridge. We threw eggs at buses; we threw eggs at everything.
We hit buses; we hit trucks. “ When PIX 11 asked him if he thought that was alright, Gugliara responded, “Now, I don’t think it’s alright, but a bus ain’t gonna lose control.”
Yet the MTA, in recent years, has refused to let its buses into Gerritsen Beach on October 31st, Halloween Day, making their last stop near Avenue “U” and Gerritsen Avenue in Marine Park. Dan Cavanagh hopes police will sufficiently get a handle on things this year, so public transportation can return to Gerritsen Beach on Halloween.
“That’s actually my pass/fail moment for this year. Because if they shut down the buses this year, we’ve failed.”