Deli at Joralemon and Clinton Robbed; Suspected Thieves Caught

The Eagle reports that, on last Thursday evening at 7:00, a group of twenty or so young men and teenagers entered the Sunny Gourmet Deli (photo), on Joralemon Street just west of Clinton, and, in the words of owner Joe Kim, “they were grabbing candy and sodas, stuffing their pockets and book bags.” Not all of the youths stole; one, according to Kim, paid for an Arizona Iced Tea. On the way out, one of the group smashed the glass in the deli’s door (note that, in the photo, the open door is sheathed in plywood). A shard of glass hit a woman; fortunately, her injury was slight enough that she was able to accompany Kim to help identify the thieves.

According to the Eagle story, Judy Stanton, the then soon to retire executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, was instrumental in apprehending the thieves. A witness called her at 7:30 and said she was having trouble contacting the police. (The story notes that, at the time, “911 was triaging backlogged calls.”) Stanton called 84th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Sal Ferrante, who dispatched police to the deli. One witness had tracked the thieves to Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park, where they were playing basketball. Ferrante radioed cops at Pier 2, and Kim and the woman witness went there to identify four suspects, who were arrested.

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  • Willow Street Watch

    Twelve years ago, when “the park” was proposed this EXACT scene was completely PREDICTED by many of the best, most responsible Heights citizens of the day at NUMERIOUS public meetings:

    Those raising the insanity of drawing THOUSANDS of residents from the worst most violent high crime neighborhoods in this city, around and THRU the Heights, were first ignored, then ridiculed, then when the best of them would not fall silent, they were blasted with the charge of racism.

    Now the (first) bitter fruits of our “leaders” actions are here for all to see! This incident shows the degree of real danger we are in….

    I am glad that Mary Frost reported on this. The story ran noticibly below the fold under a haunted house story(!). The story has a comforting under tone of neighbors/BHA/Police cooperation. This is good. But the reality that if four were arrested there are sixteen bums are now back in their “neighborhoods” crowing to every other mutt they can, how they acted out/ripped Brooklyn Heights and easily got away.

  • Jorale-man

    Ugh. I hate to say it but that deli is a real magnet for trouble-makers. I go in there occasionally if I need something in a pinch and there’s either a rowdy group of kids picking up candy and sugary drinks or older people buying 40s and lotto tickets. The guys behind the counter are very nice – it’s a shame that the place is what it is.

  • MaryT

    So sad, stupid, and senseless. We all lose something here.
    Mr. Kim – wishing you and your family a speedy recovery. And hats off to Officer Ferrante and the 84th precinct. They’ve got a LOT on their plate these days.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I suspect that by “the best of them” you’re referring to yourself, so for the record I’ll state that I don’t think you’re racist. Classist, maybe, but in the States classism and racism pretty much dress alike (thanks to the prevailing legacy of colonialism and slavery). I hope you can excuse people for making that honest and easy mistake.

    The thing that really bothers me about this is that these kids are fueling this class division. Those who try to look at various populations with compassion and understanding (or as WSW might call them, bleeding heart liberal apologists) are put in the situation of having to become or remain hostile to visitors to the neighborhood, especially when they don’t look like the majority of its population.

  • memeadjuster

    The article from the Brooklyn Eagle (linked to above) does describe lots of awful stuff occurring on Joralemon St and vicinity regarding visitors to the park.

  • GHB

    Although I miss it, maybe the North Heights would be better off if the bouncy bridge never reopened.

  • Bornhere

    I have lived in the Heights my entire life: 30 years at Clark and Willow, and 30+ on Henry and Joralemon. There are those who harken back to the “days of murder and mayhem” (and let’s not forget the “rusty piers”); but until now, I was neither unhappy nor felt threatened in the Heights. Again, unless you live on the magical minimile that is Joralemon Street, you really have no idea how much fun it is to have a 50+ people running up the block at 1 AM, screaming and bouncing off cars, taking up the sidewalks and the street, and sparring with cars trying to drive through — and this is NOT a rare occurrence. This year we have had vandalsim, purse snatchings, and thefts — not just once in a while but almost weekly. So call me a Rusty Pierist if you want, but the Park has not brought a whole lot of joy to MBY.

  • Bill3042

    It’s to bad that the basketball courts can’t be removed to make space for more family activities.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Are you suggesting that all the would-be basketball players who aren’t also committing crimes in our neighborhood should be punished?

  • BH Resident

    While I agree that the influx of transient users associated with the park is having a negative impact on the neighborhood, I don’t think the problem can be attributed to one single aspect of the park. Focusing specifically on the basketball courts as the principal problem is heavy handed and risks undermining the seriousness of the issue by shifting the discussion to a racial issue rather than how the park is holistically damaging the fabric of the surrounding community. Comparing the racial and economic demographics of Brooklyn Heights residents to those who use the basketball court reveals a stark contrast that would be easy to misconstrue. To suggest that the courts be removed all together will likely result in a backlash from minority groups who will decry that such an action would be prosecuting an entire group over the actions of a few “bad seeds”. I can easily see advocates arguing that the basketball courts provide a safe space for underprivileged youth to escape potentialy dangerous environments and that the mostly white, affluent residents of Willow town and the greater Brooklyn Heights area are simply anxious about the large influx of minorities into their neighborhoods. Citing tangible evidence of increases in vandalism, violence and disturbances and how these events correlate with the large volume of users passing through a residential area later than 11 pm would be a useful in advocating that greater restrictions in the operating hours of the park be implemented. I think that other solutions which regulate the duration of use and capacity of the courts would be seen as more conciliatory and potentially a better starting point. Generally, the issue is not as much about who or how the park is being used as it is about the users demonstrating a lack of respect for the residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Joralemon street is being treated as a defacto extension of the park and thus used as the main thoroughfare for entering. Pointing to similar precedents where existing residential neighborhoods were threatened by commercial and public development would also be useful in persuading public advocates and city officials that something must and can be done. As a community the residents of Willowtown and Brookyln Heights need to move beyond identifying different aspects of the same problem to finding potential ways of offering a tested solution. Some additional ideas:

    -Phased closing of Pier 2 beginning at 10 PM (with half of the basketball courts / an roller rink to be shuttered at sundown).
    -Closing pedestrian and vehicular access to the park via Joralemon Street at 8 pm.
    -Controlled evacuation of the park where by all exits other than Atlantic Avenue and Middaugh are closed.
    -Permanent police presence / surveillance cameras installed at the intersection of Joralemon and Furman during park evacuation
    -Closing access to the Borough Hall subway entrance from Joralemon Street after 11 pm (entrances on Montague to remain open)

  • TeddyNYC

    Yeah, it would definitely would help if they closed the basketball courts and roller rink early in the evening and increased the police presence in the park with surveillance cameras at Joralemon and Furman, with possibly more cameras at other intersections along Joralemon.

  • Concerned

    Oh shut up StudioBrooklyn. It’s people like you that create Donald Trump supporters because your views and opinions are so unforgivingly PC. Everyone can see that the basketball courts attract young adults who are poor, lost and victims of a system. It is racist to think that the color of the young adults’ skin is the cause of their issues. But it is ignorant and foolish to ignore that many of these youth have to grow up in a system where a large percentage will end up imprisoned. It is sad and not fair. What’s also not fair is attracting this problem youth to our neighborhood without checks to ensure our safety and OUR rights to pursuit of happiness.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Aside from your first two sentences I don’t take issue with anything you wrote. So I’ll offer you the chance to redact your “shut up” remark, as it is unbecoming of a person who clearly possesses intelligence. As for being PC, I try to look at this more scientifically and in a less reactionary way than “oh now we should just close the basketball courts”.

  • mlcraryville

    “don’t look like…” or accurately, move in gangs, vandalize at random, seek to instill fear by menacing peaceful citizens, and other forms of anti-social behavior. What color are they? What difference does that make?

  • Concerned

    I redact it. My apologies for the first two.

  • StudioBrooklyn


    Just because I don’t agree with collective punishment in this scenario doesn’t mean I’m some kind of PC enforcer by the way. If you were to know me or at least see more of my comments you would see that this impression couldn’t be less accurate.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Yes, clearly a subjective metric, but one that inevitably begets unfortunate and often inaccurate prejudice.

  • Concerned

    I apologize, again. I’m embarrassed by my attack. I don’t know you and never fully could from your posts. This is a good blog and we need civil discourse. My frustration at the threat I perceive to my family got the best of me.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Hey no worries! I’m far from being “on” 100% of the time. Thanks for expressing that, it’s really good of you.

  • Joe Dudas

    Truth. I’m on Joralemon, and between late-night soccer leagues, basketball, etc., it’s like listening to a concert get out every night of the week.

    Last year I defended (on here) the benefits of BK Bridge Park, but damn, the constant nuisances of this summer make me dread when it gets colder and the hum of my A/C no longer drowns out the 11p-1a throngs.

    I still love having close access to a wonderful park, but I sure do like midnight quiet, as well.

  • mlcraryville

    Perhaps another go round in a sociology class might sharpen your thinking. Labeling is not the problem. What difference does it make?
    Let’s keep focused on bad and threatening anti-social behavior often enhanced by young people traveling not as individuals but as parts of gangs. Sort of like the famous brownshirt gangs of Hitler youth, menacing and tormenting ordinary citizens.
    Either get them off the streets or make sure they know they are being watched by stronger forces.

  • Jorale-man

    Some sensible solutions here. I feel like there’s eventually going to have to be a point where park authorities enter into a greater dialogue with Heights residents. Until now, they’ve acted as if whatever happens on their doorstep isn’t their problem, but as the park continues to expand, it will be necessary to reign in some of the problems that are surfacing.

    Clearly, Joralemon Street has become a much noisier, rougher place this summer. I see it every day and frankly, increasingly avoid the street in favor of Remsen. But it shouldn’t have to be this way. BH must keep the pressure on the park to come up with some solutions to all of this.

  • petercow

    >poor, lost and victims of a system

    And yet wear $150/pair sneakers.

  • petercow

    So the law-abiding shopkeeper is the villain here?

    Sweet, merciful, crap.

  • guest

    Both the baketball courts and the soccer fields close at 11. I highly doubt that the “throngs” of people walking your down your block at midnight have anything to do with courts that had closed an hour earlier. Also, with 5 soccer players on each team, 3 fields, you are looking at approximately 30 people walking down the block. That is a far cry from a concert letting out. It is undoubtedly true that at some times (particularly weekends) there is increased pedestrian traffic on joralemon from the park, but there’s a strain of exaggeration on this blog that is out of control.

  • Heightsman

    The funny thing tonight was my daughter on the way home from dinner asked me not to upset but asked “Why has the neighborhood changed and all these people show no respect for our home?” I was floored by the comment thinking back to this blog and this very thread. She’s 12 years old. We are an open family who are accepting of all.

  • Bornhere

    And, with your reasoning, those “30 people walking” and spaced over two hours would be about 15 people per hour. It’s a wonder I even notice…. But I am curious — do you live on or near Joralemon Street?

  • Sen. Bob Forehead

    “… tracked the thieves to Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park, where they were playing basketball…” That’s a shocker!

  • Sen. Bob Forehead

    ^ next victim of “Classism”

  • Sen. Bob Forehead

    Don’t know where you are “guest”, but certainly it’s not on Joralemon or Atlantic Ave.