Parks cop raids Ridge chicken coop in major pluck up

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call it fowl play.

Acting on a tip, a Parks Department officer smashed the locks at a Bay Ridge botanical garden and seized six chickens — only to later discover that the cluckers were part of a kid’s program, not a pack of pests.

“She made a horrible mistake, but how could I stop her?” said Jimmy Johnson, a garden landscaper, who was at Narrows Botanical Garden for the raid. “It was tragic.”

The chicken caper began after a neighbor — whom workers say has it out for the Garden — complained to the city that the hens were “kept improperly” and are diseased.

Rather than investigate, the Parks officer swiped the “big, fat beautiful chickens” with no cause, explained Johnson, then took them to an animal shelter, where they were adopted by a family in Red Hook.

A horrified Johnson then phoned Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey to demand his babies back. The commissioner reviewed the case and decided that the garden had good reason to cry fowl: The city had plucked up.

The lock-clipping cop was reprimanded, and Johnson got his hens back three days later.

The four-acre parkland on Shore Road — where green-thumbed workers grow herbs, keep bees and feed fish in a small pond — isn’t a likely setting for a shakedown.

Schools and day camps tour the lush community garden, along with the chicken coop, which gives city kids a rare glimpse at nature.

“It’s great to see them connect what’s on their plate with how it gets there,” said Helen Bruno, a teacher at Bay Ridge Preparatory School, which has brought students to the garden.

Johnson has calmed down a bit, but he’s still annoyed at the complaint-prone neighbor.

“I’m not going to take this any more,” he said. “This man is just plain vicious.”

But Jeffrey had a more live-and-let-live approach to the hen-tastrophe.

“There was a misunderst­anding,” Jeffrey said. “The lock has been replaced. The chickens have come home … to roost.”

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Soledad from Bay Ridge says:
Wow, Bay Ridge is filled with some happy people! If only they could act so fast on curb cuts and valet parking as they do with a chicken disaster!
March 16, 2011, 9:12 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
you should publish the name of the agitator that set this in motion. Down with bad neighbors!
March 16, 2011, 9:52 am
smiley from bay ridge says:
Pluck up?? Shouldn't it be "cluck up?"
March 16, 2011, 1:59 pm
aqua12 from Bay Ridge says:
I love the NBG! It's one of the nicest spots in Bay Ridge. I suggest the sour neighbor spend more time there relaxing and maybe he will loosen up a bit.
March 16, 2011, 4:26 pm
Phil from NYC says:
The chicken in the photo who's "happy to be home" is 'she' not 'he'.
March 16, 2011, 6:22 pm
Drop Deadneighbor from BayRidge says:
The neighbor should be arrested & fined for filing false report— whom workers say has it out for the Garden — complained to the city that the hens were “kept improperly” and are diseased= As this was not true why isn't the neighbor charged ?
March 17, 2011, 9:10 pm
Harry Englsih from Bay Ridge says:
Jimmy Johnson is a lunatic. He planted a few flowers and thinks he saved the world. The ego on this guy is truly unbelievable.
March 18, 2011, 9:25 am
JTO from Bay Ridge says:
It's a shame some people have nothing better to do with their time than harass people who work hard to improve the world around them. Everyone who volunteers at the NBG should be commended for their hard work. It's a jewel of the community!
March 18, 2011, 8:09 pm
richard from bayridge says:
wow harry really? jimmy johnson a a group of bayridge neighbors took over a weed an trash filled park of shore road park which people in the area content walk in at nit an transfer it to a 41/2 acre community run botanical garden planted with others over 40 trees an over thousands of plants created a native flora an animal garden that has a pond a bog an native turtles an fish an frogs thats open to the public an for tours free movies in the summer a halloween dog contest a adopt a pet event received bonze apple award from this mayor an well as the pass mayor was made volunteer of the year
March 18, 2011, 8:16 pm
brooklynmom77 from dyker heights says:
One of the nicest places in Brooklyn - my family loves going there - thanks, Mr. Johnson, and all the other workers at the garden!
March 18, 2011, 8:23 pm
Italiagal from dyker heights says:
I go there with my kids too! The man in the photo took us to see the chicks last summer - my kids still talk about it:) It is such a nice place and the workers are so nice too!
March 19, 2011, 8:04 am
DWM from Bay Ridge says:
Harry, how SAD is your life.
NBG is a special place in Bay Ridge, and to think it is totally maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers is extraordinary. Harry, I think you should say Thank You to Jimmy Johnson.
March 19, 2011, 1:51 pm
HMB from bay ridge says:
Glad the chickens are back, Jim. Looking forward to bringing the students there again in then nicer weather. It was so funny how some of the little ones didn't know where eggs came from! I guess it's a result of our living so removed from our food sources. Thanks for enlightening them. They too still talk about the chicks!
March 19, 2011, 5:11 pm
Harry English from Bay Ridge says:
Jimmy Johnson has done great things, yes. But his ego is mammoth. He needs to be tamed.
March 19, 2011, 6:39 pm
Ronald from Bay Ridge says:
The article seems to be clearly one sided. Written to convey the complaintant nieghbor as evil and the Gardener Johnston as a victim....There is a lack of credibility since the writing/tone is biased, replete w/ impact statements & impact photos.....just my opinion
March 21, 2011, 7:28 pm
Milk Farm/ 4th&Marine from Bay ridge says:
I've heard that the Gardens were nice years ago but Johnson has alienated many in the community with his arrogance........and ego.
March 21, 2011, 9:38 pm
Jack Swift from Bay Ridge says:
It's about time someone complained about that situation there, the fellow who reported that coop should be given a medal.
March 21, 2011, 11:14 pm
teacher from bayridge says:
to jack swift an other neg people this is a great place for all of the community received awards from this mayor as well as past mayors was showcased on animal planet as well as local t v about the great work an beautiful place for all to enjoyed
March 22, 2011, 12:13 pm
president from bayridge says:
milk farm an jack im the president of the garden would love to meet with both to walkabout how an what needs to change so that you both will feel like the bayridge community that its a great place for all contact me if you are really interested in talking about it oh the native garden is open ever sat for free tours
March 22, 2011, 12:17 pm
report from bayridge says:
ronald the person was tried to reach him on a few try an refused to comment on the issue an was rude about it
March 22, 2011, 12:20 pm
love the garden from bayridge says:
i moved here a big reason was the lovely garden my twins always want to go see jimmy the plant guy as they call him to see the fish turtles frogs an the bees but they love feeding the chickens jimmy takes the time to talk to my kids an teach them so much jimmy an the garden is the best reason to live here where else do you have an open community garden thats so many people work at to make it a gem for all to enjoy an all are so welcome to share an use
March 22, 2011, 12:42 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Folks, when comments are made one after the other it's pretty clear they are being written by the same person. ( Teacher, Pres & Report as well as love the garden are very likely all the same person, examine the writing structure/spelling for proof),
With that said,
I like the park but not the men who seem to hang out there and act like they own it!
March 22, 2011, 5:14 pm
Balmer Cadillac from Fort Hamilton says:
Ed, You are right. The misspellings are in each post as well as each post being from "Bayridge"- one word. Look at each post, 113, 117 120 & 142,in each one "and" ="an".
March 22, 2011, 5:35 pm
Joan from Park Slope says:
What's the purpose of the chickens being there?
The person maintaining them sounds very self-absorbed, using the chickens as attention getting mechanisms rather than respecting them as the intelligent animals that they are.
Entertaining 'the children' should not be a talisman for abuse of non-human species.
March 24, 2011, 10:29 am
Rodney from Boerum Hill says:
Is it some sort of Zoo? Why are animals being kept in a Park?
March 24, 2011, 8:07 pm
Adeline K. from Dyker Beach says:
Isn't that garden park adjacent to the Belt Parkway? Why is there a chicken farm near a major local highway?
March 24, 2011, 9:50 pm
Shawn from Crown Heights says:
Rodney -- "Why are animals being kept in a Park?"... For the children! So they can get an understanding of nature, &, as their teacher pointed out, so they can understand how what's on their plate gets there... Works for me [he said oh-so-sarcastically].
March 25, 2011, 9:14 am
Shawn from Crown Heights says:
JTO -- Re: "It's a shame some people have nothing better to do with their time than harass people who work hard to improve the world around them."
*** It would be fascinating to note how one equates encouraging animal abuse with improving the world around them.
March 25, 2011, 9:18 am
Richie from Mapleton says:
How can it be safe to raise birds near the highway. If one gets loose it can easily cause a Major Accident on the Belt Parkway and result in the innocent animals death......Why would the Parks Dept. sanction a potential problem like this?
March 25, 2011, 5:19 pm
Nell Sondi Maria from Bay Ridge says:
Wow, all these people with so many negative things to say about Jimmy. And yet his full name is the only one actually revealed. I guess this feedback page has become a way to anonymously insult a person. How noble.
March 25, 2011, 9:36 pm
Raj from Bay Ridge says:
NS Maria, yes, I also would like to know the name of the hen photographed in the article!
March 26, 2011, 1:06 am
love our garden from bayridge says:
jimmy is one person but the membership to the garden is well over 400 people that respect it an protect the garden an all it has to offer i read that the president which i know wrote an ask for any of the people that have issues with their garden to contact them but not one person email them abbot the issues they have an the garden invites all the people to check out the garden
March 29, 2011, 3:49 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
I would hope all would be invited since the Garden is located in a PUBLIC PARK! lol
March 31, 2011, 3:09 pm
Nell Sondi Maria from Bay Ridge says:
All you critics sitting at your computer screens slinging insults - why don't come and volunteer at the NBG? You have a lot to say about the gardens but are you willing to actually go there and get your hands dirty with the rest of us? Easy to criticize, a lot harder to actually do something positive about it. It's your choice, though I am not expecting much - I imagine you will have many excuses as to why you will not do so. Maybe you will surprise me and I will see you rolling up your sleeves at the garden this spring. Wouldn't that be a lot more satisfying as well as healthier for your body and mind than sitting at a computer screen eagerly awaiting the next posting? Hope to see you at the garden, and if not, good luck in finding something else more fulfilling in your lives than this...
April 1, 2011, 6:16 pm
Richie from Bayridge says:
I remember that park before it was "taken over" by those so called "Volunteers"....those were the days, now it's just a memory because a collection of dull witted local Kooks dedicating trees to each other seems to control the old park...they even had locking gates put up there a while back... how the ridge has fallen.
April 7, 2011, 10:28 pm
ricky from bayrige says:
the gates were installed by parks an offer to lock the park at sunset an open it at sunrise the garden people fought to keep it open so rich should should get to know the people who fight to keep it open for a great many to enjoy
July 23, 2011, 4:08 pm
ricky from bayrige says:
an by the way you are so wrongabout the trees they are planted by many an the signs are put up with the name of the people who keep the tree pit clean planted an removes the litter an dog —— that alway collects in the pits not a single person has ownership of any tree but you wouldknowthat if you took the time to chat within of the people who care for the park
July 23, 2011, 4:12 pm
Lars from Bliss Park says:
That Garden seems to be a gathering place for social deviants, I;m not surprised, it has been going down hill for years, I once walked by and overheard a few volunteers talking, it was like hearing an old Belle Barth record, only much worse...
Oct. 13, 2011, 12:03 am

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