On My Way Out of Brooklyn ~ random thoughts

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McDonald’s Ordering Kiosk in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

My last days in Brooklyn, I didn’t feel like cooking, so I went to McDonald’s. On this visit to Mickey D’s my belongings were packed and on a moving van and I would be leaving the next day, lock, stock, doggie and cats.

I wouldn’t have thought anything about it except that I’ve spent a lot of time in Florida over the last two years, especially the last six months. The customer service level in the Sunshine State is so superior to that in NYC it boggles the mind.

I went to the counter to place my order and was grouchily  directed to the kiosk. I placed my order and waited patiently while workers with scowls on their faces trudged back and forth getting food for patrons. In Florida, as soon as a customer walks in the door they’re greeted with, “Welcome to McDonald’s.” It’s not that way only in this fast food chain, but in every single establishment people go into.

I immediately thought of the recent increase to a $15.00 minimum wage in New York State. This kiosk must’ve eliminated one-to-two employees on this shift. But then why pay $15.00 an hour for surly employees?

They’re Shooting It Up In Brooklyn ~ this in a city with stringent gun control

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Everyone’s talking about it. I heard it on the news and on talk radio this morning. The number of shootings has risen dramatically in New York City over the last month. This in a city with one of the most, if not the most stringent gun control laws…and a former mayor, billionaire Michael Blumberg, who uses his money and influence in other cities all over the country trying to get them to ban hand guns.

The rise in shootings has been most dramatic in Brooklyn. The way they tabulate is they have a “rolling 28-day tally” which is updated weekly. The last two 28-day incident and victim tallies increased by 30 and 40 percent, respectively.

NYPD Shield Law enforcement experts explain the recent increase in shooting by citing the warmer weather and a marked increase in gang activity, especially in Brooklyn. Monday night, a 13-year old boy bystander was with his aunt and younger cousin in Flatbush-Ditmas Park when they were caught in the middle of a gang shooting. The boy was shot in the head and sustained an eye injury. The three ran into a pizzeria for cover, with blood oozing down the boy’s face. The shooter was later seen on video tape and the police are investigating.

The 73rd Precinct, covering part of East New York (Brooklyn), accounts for one-third of all shootings and incidents in the city, with 24 shootings this year, compared to 14 at this point in the summer last year. This according to police sources.

It has been reported that the NYPD is looking to put together an over-arching conspiracy case against some of the gangs that run territory in shooting-hot-spots. One police source commented to news media outlets that police stop-and-frisk encounters are down, but the number of guns confiscated increased. However, he did not have stats on the number of guns actually confiscated.

There has to be a good look at the abandonment of stop-and-frisk. Cold, hard statistics must be provided. Questions must be answered. Why is it in a city where law abiding citizens can’t obtain a license for a hand gun, it seems any fifteen year-old gang member can get his hands on a semi-automatic weapon?

South East Brooklyn

Marine Pk Marsh

I abide in South East Brooklyn…I live there.

Most people don’t realize there are marshes in Brooklyn. When they think marshes their minds drift to Louisiana, south Florida, never Brooklyn. The truth is quite beautiful marshes and protected wetlands stretch for miles.  The photo at right is of Gerritsen Beach, not technically part of South East Brooklyn, but nearby.  NETWORK THAN DIE, a contemporary whodunit I hope to release next year, opens with a body on a reedy beach in Gerritsen Beach. Hurricane Sandy kind of messed me up by decimating Gerritsen Beach and I’m going to have rewrite a bit to be accurate about the local scenery and neighborhoods.

Barren Island, Bergen Beach, Flatlands, Georgetown, Marine Park, and Mill Basin are the local communities in South East Brooklyn. It’s a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the Queens border and an easy drive to Long Island.

Out of towners think Brooklynites are rude and don’t speak well. You know…they think we say dees, and dems, and doughs. And you’ll find some of that. There’s even a Brooklyn neighborhood-style walk. The shoulders swing back and forth in opposition to the stride of the feet. Sometimes the head bobs up and down, but only slightly. To get the full effect, it helps a lot if you’re wearing a black leather jacket and dark glasses.

I know the South East Brooklyn where the neighborhoods used to be populated with Italians, Irish, and Jews. The Irish were cops, the Jews were the teachers and accountants, and the Italians were in the construction trades unions, or some will claim, in the mob. Now you’ll see turbans and saris on the streets. Tonight is Rosh Hashanah and I can hear my religious Jewish neighbors blowing the shofar as they usher in the Jewish New Year.

It’s all changed and yet it’s all still the same.