On Halloween night, South Williamsburg residents packed into the new community garden on S. 4th and Hewes streets, where neighborhood volunteers teamed up to provide a venue for scary but wholesome Halloween fun.
Presenting Friday’s event were Teen A.C.T.I.O.N. programs from St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation in Williamsburg and I.S. 291 in Bushwick, along with Councilmember Diana Reyna and the Garden Friends of Los Sures, the local group that manages the garden.
These volunteers worked for the better part of two weeks to prepare a state-of-the-art haunted house, which came complete with dry ice and spooky creatures.
Sarah Wooley of the I.S. 291 Teen A.C.T.I.O.N. program said the value of the event was that it enabled city children “to do something kids in the suburbs can do, but not necessarily kids in neighborhoods like Bushwick and Williamsburg.”
Wooley and others said there had been rumors of gang-related shootings and unruly behavior, which making the need for a safe community event all the more acute.
“This is a good way to bring people together in a safe way,” Wooley said.
Southside residents have seen a huge uptick in crime over the past year as gang violence has exploded into a problem.
But according to a police source in the 90th Precinct, Halloween was relatively quiet, despite the rumors. There was one gang-related robbery arrest along with a large gun arrest in an area subway station, but no widespread mischief, according to the source.
The precinct had all of its officers out on the street as opposed to in the stationhouse doing “desk work.”
The community volunteers who set up the garden – most of whom were teens with the Teen A.C.T.I.O.N. programs – provided a compelling counterexample of neighborhood youth banding together to do something positive.
Reyna, clad in a convincing witch costume, was proud of the neighborhood children, saying, “These students were great. They really built everything and showed real ownership of this.”