‘Boo’ crew! Rowdy teens scare — then attack — 40-year-old in pattern of violence

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

It’s getting scary out there!

A group of teenagers pummeled a 40-year-old man in Boerum Hill after bellowing a blood-curdling “Boo!” at him on Oct. 15 — the latest harrowing incident in a frightening trend of unprovoked attacks that have put some residents on edge.

“[Ever since the attack], I’ve been feeling unsettled,” the victim told us. “I’m not feeling totally at home in my community.”

The victim, a resident of Cobble Hill, and his friend were walking along Boerum Place toward Bergen Street at 10 pm when eight teenagers walked passed them.

“They were taking up the entire sidewalk, so we had to walk single file through them,” the victim remembered.

That’s when one of teens leaned forward and yelled, “Boo!” — less than a foot from the victim’s face.

“He didn’t whisper ‘Boo,’ he screamed it,” the victim said. “He scared the s—t out of me. I must have jumped five feet. I turned to him and screamed, ‘What the f—k are you doing?’ but don’t remember getting any response.”

Not verbally, at least: seconds later, one of the booer’s buds lashed out, slamming his fist into the 40-year-old’s face.

The victim, who was wearing glasses, was hit in the left eye. His lens shattered, damaging his cornea.

“I fell backwards,” he said. “I couldn’t see anything. I was so dazed and confused that I fell against the wall. But the kids just laughed and hurried off.”

Cops are investigating, but assaults like this are not uncommon in Boerum Hill, where historic multi-million dollar brownstones are cushioned between the Wyckoff and Gowanus housing projects and there are cavernous gaps in the neighborhood’s median income level — from $23,900 to more than $108,000, according to the 2010 census.

Earlier this year, for example, a group of snowball throwing teens attacked Andy Campbell, one of our ace reporters. Residents say a handful of similar, unprovoked, attacks have also occurred in the area, including:

• A group of black teens punched a white resident during an argument in Boerum Hill in September.

• Five teens jumped a young man during a September skirmish near the corner of Hoyt Street and Bergen Avenue. The fight was over a cigarette, a witness told us.

“One guy asked if he could have a drag of [the victim’s cigarette],” the resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told us. “When he hesitated, this guy very suddenly punched him in the jaw. There was a loud crack.”

• On September 29, a crew of teenagers struck cars with golf clubs on Pacific Street between Third Avenue and Nevins Street. The teenage terrors then got into a brawl with another group of teens in front of PS 38, a resident said.

• A man was shot in the leg when on Hoyt Street between Baltic and Butler streets on Oct. 9. The 34-year-old victim told police that he was walking to his mother’s house at the time of the 1:15 am shooting.

As a result, some say that Boerum Hill has been overrun by unruly teens.

Mir Karim, the manager of the CVS on Court Street near Pacific Street says he has to kick teenagers out of his store “at least 10 times a day.”

“Two or three out of those 10 times we find merchandise on them,” he said.

The Boo Crew’s latest victim believes he wouldn’t have been attacked if there were more after school and nighttime activities to keep teens occupied.

“One of the fundamental problems here is that we’re not providing young people with the space they need and the sources to engage them,” he said. “If they were engaged [in something constructive], they wouldn’t do these things.”

Yet some residents, including a few teens, disagree with that premise.

“My friends like to f–k with people. They find it funny,” said Tatiana Chambers, a ninth grader at the School of International Studies on Baltic Street between Court and Smith streets. “Some kids are really high-strung, and if they feel disrespected they’ll hit somebody.”

— with Alfred Ng

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at or by calling (718) 260-2525.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

State Street from Boerum Hill says:
It is time to tear down those housing projects.
Oct. 25, 2011, 5:25 am
anaabdui from cobble hill says:
White folks go home!
Oct. 25, 2011, 6 am
anaabdui from cobble hill says:
Tear down the projects? Where are those folks supposed to go? Yuppies take over neighborhoods, marginalize the indigent population, and force Yuppy values down their throats. Ever heard of Pakistan or Afghanistan? Yuppies are getting what they deserve.
Oct. 25, 2011, 6:08 am
UmadBro? from wat says:
I agree State Street. Those project buildings are a breeding ground for criminals. The buildings should be demolished and the people relocated to another part of city. The people who live there don’t work in the neighborhood, and it doesn’t seem that they can afford to shop or enjoy what the community has to offer, so why keep them here?
Oct. 25, 2011, 7:32 am
johnnyboy from windsor terrace says:
anaabdui asked where are these folks supposed to go?
how about rikers island.!
Oct. 25, 2011, 7:45 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Spooks: that's how they roll
Oct. 25, 2011, 8 am
JJ from Park Slope says:
@Anaabdui. "marginalize indigent population"

People in the housing project don't want anything to do with participating in neighborhood affairs, let alone improving their own circumstances. A lot of the people who live there are content with collecting welfare, eating off food stamps, living practically for free. They marginalize themselves.
Also I'd like to hear more about the yuppie values being shoved down your throats.
Gentrification happened; the neighborhood is a nicer place to live. If it’s too 'yuppie" for your taste then by all means please just move away.
Oct. 25, 2011, 8:04 am
Charles from Park Slope says:
Guess what, this is Brooklyn. Not Idaho. Expect crime.
Oct. 25, 2011, 8:56 am
Jason Swinson from Fort Greene says:
I agree that crime happens and you will never eliminate it totally but there has to be a way for people of varying levels of income to still want the same living standards. I work for a security company that handles security for neighborhoods and I believe that an increased security presence while somewhat effective is not the only answer. There should definitely be increased youth programs to give these kids an outlet to channell their energy in a positive way. This can be fixed.
Oct. 25, 2011, 9:15 am
S from PPW says:
Why isn't this filed under "Mean Streets"?
Oct. 25, 2011, 9:32 am
johnntboy from windsor terrace says:
@ jason

they have outlets , these are a few .
i-pod thefts
punching whitey
and sexual assaults between classes ,when they do go to school.
Oct. 25, 2011, 9:41 am
tom from slope says:
these kids should be rounded up, and put to sleep.
Oct. 25, 2011, 10:34 am
Windsor Terrace from peter says:

Where are the cops?
Oct. 25, 2011, 10:36 am
johnnyboy from windsor terrace says:
@ peter

probably fixing tickets, sexually assaulting women or dry humping them at parades.
Oct. 25, 2011, 10:39 am
GD from Boerum Hill says:
The cops are at Occupy Wall St. Getting paid a ton of overtime.
Oct. 25, 2011, 10:57 am
Joey from Clinton says:
why isn't anyone blaming the victim?

1) why didn't he cross the street when he say the kids coming?

2) why did he swear at them when he was in their midst (and outnumbered)?
Oct. 25, 2011, 11:06 am
JJ from Park Slope says:
@Charles. "expect crime"

Why should I have to expect crime? It is 2011 not 1981. Get over your dated notion of "gotta be tough to make in nyc" BS.
Is it impossible to guarantee a crime free neighborhood? Of course it is. That doesn’t mean that we should have to provide public housing and welfare for the people who are committing a majority of the crimes in the area.

Also are implying that there is no crime in Idaho or that people who want crime out of their neighborhoods are from the Midwest?
Oct. 25, 2011, 11:23 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
if all of these criminals are from the projects, like many here say, then put cameras there and show the victims pics and see if they can pick them out of a line-up. if they can't then look somewhere else.

but, yes, programs outside of school will give these kids something better to do. i know i participated in all sorts of hijinx out of boredom, but never hurt or terrorized anyone.
Oct. 25, 2011, 11:39 am
Losers says:
Jail will do the little punks good. Carry a knife. If they eff with you stab them. Maybe then they will stop. Think like a criminal thinks.
Oct. 25, 2011, 11:57 am
UmadBro? from wat says:
I think its safe to assume that most of the criminals in this area of Brooklyn are living in the projects. They sure as hell aren't living in the brownstones. Knock the projects down and bus them out to brownsville.
Oct. 25, 2011, 12:07 pm
manhatposeur from manhatland says:
Time to gentrify and tear downthose projects and disperse those people.
Oct. 25, 2011, 12:47 pm
Paulie from NYC says:
I almost got shot in Boerum Hill. I agree tear down the projects.
Oct. 25, 2011, 12:49 pm
Bklyn mom from Carroll Gardens says:
Why isn't anyone looking at the parents who are raising these punks? Where is there any supervision? What good are programs when the kids probably won't even show up? There is no more respect of authority in this country. We have gotten way to PC about punishing kids for their bad behavior. We're too scared of Social Services and our kids have gotten so bold as to talk back to us and in some case hit back. I read recently that some 15 yr old hired a couple of his buddies to beat his parents to death with baseball bats. How's that for progress? It's disgusting!
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:15 pm
Chris from Sunset Park says:
Boys will be boys. They give you grief be sure to give it back otherwise they will have a grand old time beating your ass down. Now you know why the natives carry weapons and/or know how to fight real dirty. As for "after school activities" what a laugh! Tatiana knows the score. These brain damaged little future pillars of the community are testing the weak for grins and giggles. Too bad common sense is nowhere near as useful as street smarts. As for the hate crime aspect of this, wake up white people! You ain't in Kansas anymore. Apartheid came to Brooklyn a long time ago.... you are eating into their turf. Why do you think you got such a great deal compared to Manhattan? Don't go spilling those mocha grande lattes in your laps okay? Judging from the comments above I will close with the old joke: What do you call a conservative? A liberal who has been mugged. Tear down the projects? Where is all the peace love and kum-bah-yah? Not in your neighborhoods though hmmmmm? It was their neighborhood before y'all came along so live learn and cope like the rest of us.
Oct. 25, 2011, 3:37 pm
Sara from Carroll Gardens says:

Blame the victim? I think I have a right to walk down the sidewalks in my neighborhood without having to scurry to the other side of the street just so a bunch of punk kids who contribute nothing to the neighborhood can feel good about how tough they are, apparently the victim felt the same way. Should he have cursed at them when he was outnumbered? Common sense says no, but regardless, I don't believe it is the victims fault. The kids and their parents are the ones who should be blamed.

After my block was plagued for weeks by muggings, all the work of known teenage offenders from the projects, I have to agree, the projects need to go. Send them to East New York and let them be tough out there.
Oct. 25, 2011, 4:07 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
A white guy apologizing to the black kids who beat him, for not providing enough midnight-basketball.

Tom Wolfe, anyone?
Oct. 25, 2011, 4:28 pm
paasin through from out of town says:
say what you will , but most neighborhoods in Brooklyn are s**tholes. litter,rude ignorant people and no matter where you go your in a tense ugly crowd ....nice place to work but not to live .......
Oct. 25, 2011, 6:07 pm
Sick of skells says:
Actually Brooklyn is a nice place to live. It's too bad skells can't act like civilized human beings and just try to better themselves. Instead they are lazy scum suckers who would rather steal and terrorize than better themselves and their neighborhood. Stop living up to the stereotype and prove people wrong. Stop being lazy thugs and contribute to society rather than be a useless piece of trash that will end up in rikers one day.
Oct. 25, 2011, 6:21 pm
Rich from Boreum HIll says:
There has been an up-tick in muggings for i-phones,ect. plus alot of random vandalism on Warren st. Lots of cars damaged....a sofa out for collection set on fire,charring a car,windows broken,ect. Gangs of rowdy bored teens throwing trash recepacles into the street.
Oct. 26, 2011, 8:54 am
Gerry from Brooklyn Heights says:
I say improve the quality of life in the Projects lets clean them up offer interior design advice and services put in a swimming pool and get all of the residents nice jobs that they enjoy and that will have a ripple effect on Borum Hill give these people everything so that the rest of us may have a quality of life here.
Oct. 26, 2011, 10:05 am
JJ from Park Slope says:

Oh sure Gerry lets do that. I'm sure there are just so many jobs these people are qualified to perform. I suppose we shouldn’t worry about where the money for the job training and renovations is going to come from.
Wake up you dolt.
Most of these people don’t want to work, they don't want educations, and remember they don't want us "shoving our yuppie values down their throats."
You know what will improve the lives of people living in the community, busing those people out and knocking those disgusting buildings down.
Oct. 26, 2011, 1:27 pm
JJ from Park Slope says:

Oh sure Gerry lets do that. I'm sure there are just so many jobs these people are qualified to perform. I suppose we shouldn’t worry about where the money for the job training and renovations is going to come from.
Wake up you dolt.
Most of these people don’t want to work, they don't want educations, and remember they don't want us "shoving our yuppie values down their throats."
You know what will improve the lives of people living in the community, busing those people out and knocking those disgusting buildings down.
Oct. 26, 2011, 1:27 pm
Boerum Hiller from B Hill says:
Following are the Boerum Hill boundaries. Will you please copy this map and have your writers study it before they write yet another story about "Boerum Hill".
The CVS on Court and Pacific Street is in Cobble Hill and Hoyt Street between Baltic and Butler is Gowanus.
Please get it straight before you lose all of your credibility.
Oct. 26, 2011, 2:17 pm
just askin ? from far far away .... says:
Well the liberal creed has always been DIVERSITY IS MARVOLUS. well between the park slope groper and all these muggings,and the third world filth on the subways your getting all the diversity you wanted . enjoy .....
Oct. 26, 2011, 7:06 pm
manhatposeur from manhatland says:
hey just askin, you never hear about this from asian kids or hassidic jews. They got to educate the ghetto black kids in manners.
Oct. 27, 2011, 5:38 am
whats you mean willard
Oct. 27, 2011, 9:16 am
UmadBro? from wat says:
Just get the blacks out of here so we can enjoy the neighboorhood with out the crime.
Oct. 27, 2011, 3:51 pm
gimme from around says:
now where dey ipadz at?
Oct. 28, 2011, 11:53 am
Sara from Park Slope says:
The Boo Crew's latest victim? Last I checked there was one incident- try their only victim. And it makes t seem like the baaad poor kids are terrorizing the nice rich white people. Last time I checked, plenty of teens are swearing at people passing by, arguing and stealing from CVS. Regardless of color or economic status. Yet another good example of how the Brooklyn paper is really just the New York Post in smaller form.
Nov. 1, 2011, 7:21 pm
jay from bed-stuy says:
"Knock the projects down and bus them out to brownsville.
Report abuseOct. 25, 1:07 pm"

folk are out this way with their yuppie steelo too. we dont have a problem with you living amongst us. we have a problem with you changing things and complaining. the same things that take you to Iraq, iare the same ideals that bring you to the hood. but, who ever said we want your brand of "better"? still LOL @ a dog walk in the pj's over a swing set for kids... you proposed in Gowanus PJ's
Nov. 10, 2011, 11:10 am
jay from bed-stuy says:
i keep hearing this refrain of "tear the projects" down. but they are not the problem...

I own many brownstones in bed-stuy, all near projects. tall ones. no issues with the folk, nobody screaming boo and punching me either. no burglaries. its you they dont like. So consider this a pre emptive warning. We have lots of projects in this part of Brooklyn, crime against you too when they can spot you. and we, unlike you enjoy the music blaring from their open windows. We live in the brownstones, and we are happy. Men dont have jobs, and they loiter with pitbulls in front of bodegas, cat calling passing women. We also have a "boo" crew, itching for some of this action. Dont EVER move here and complain. You are being warned, lol. Stay in Gowanus, trust me, we are worst; yet better off without your b.s.
Nov. 10, 2011, 11:19 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: