Our columnist is bashed by teens

The Brooklyn Paper
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The word “hero” is tossed around lightly these days, but this week, it’s flying around our newsroom for all the right reasons.

Because I’m a genuine hero.

Now, most days, of course, I’m nothing of the sort, spending my time making calls, checking facts, gathering information — then mangling it, after deadline, into something vaguely resembling prose.

But on Monday night, my duties included staring into the maw of Hell — and not only coming back alive, but coming back with a story.

Monday night in Cobble Hill was cold and quiet — maybe a little too quiet — as I did my job by attending a PTA meeting at PS 29. On the way, I couldn’t help but notice about six young gentlemen hamming it up behind me, throwing snowballs at passing cars, laughing and yelping as their weapons of mini destruction made contact.

Then all hell broke loose with one simple phrase: “Let’s run a train! Let’s run a train!” one of the hooligans yelled.

Now, if I had been in Manhattan, I would have panicked, but this was Cobble Hill — the safest neighborhood in the city. Plus, I was carrying my the journalistic toolbox — you know, the one filled with truth, justice, integrity and caffeine suppositories — so I felt invulnerable.

I wasn’t.

I felt a hand smack the back of my head as one of the kids — maybe 14 years old — ran by. Only a moment passed before the second kid, this one older, shoved me into the glass façade of Bocca Lupo at Henry and Warren streets. I didn’t have time to react before a third cretin pushed me to the ground.

“Great,” I thought, “I’m going to get robbed. I’ll be in the 76th Precinct police blotter. And, worse, Gersh will make me write it up instead of sending someone else. That guy is a jerk. Oh, wait, let me get back to this robbery.”

But this was no robbery. Once I hit the ground — taking most of the impact on my left hand — the final two jerks stood above me and pelted me with snowballs. The group fled, laughing.

There I sat, defeated, with a bleeding hand and a group of Bocca Lupo customers staring at me from inside the warm, inviting restaurant (try the veal).

Damn kids.

Now, I could have called my editor and told him I’d been brutally assaulted — then again, he would’ve asked what hospital I was at, so that never would have worked anyway. And given the spate of attacks related to the snowpocalypse, he never would have let me leave the story.

For example, on Jan. 30, four thugs threw snowballs at a 40-year-old man at Hoyt and Butler streets, and then robbed him. Worse, a couple of “rowdy teens” recently threw chunks of ice at a pregnant woman near Hoyt and Bond streets.

It’s a cruel, cruel borough out there. I was injured on the way to a press event — but I had to keep fighting on. I may have been the victim of a crime, but if I had gone home, the only crime would have been my failure to bring you the news.

I am a hero.

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

Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
Aww poor guy. and no one did anything to help a brother out?
Feb. 2, 2011, 2:37 am
G says:
Was this on Bergen st.? I think I was assaulted by these exact same kids on Monday night. I was walking up from Smith st toward Court, and saw a groups of about six kids pushing each other around. Then they shoved a guy at the corner of Hoyt. He yelled something at them, and they shoved him some more. I was hoping they'd lose interest by the time I got there and moved on, but unfortunately, they did not.
I called the cops, but am not optimistic.
Feb. 2, 2011, 2:49 am
Takena from everywhere BK says:
Awe, well this is what happens when you have the bravado to be cute AND sport a Bieber cut in the middle of winter in Brooklyn. Teenage boys will want to pelt you with snowballs. I hope you’ve learned your lesson and will work harder to be less offensively adorable next time.
Feb. 2, 2011, 6:25 am
Matt from Cobble Hill says:
This was on Henry and Warren, 5 blocks from the 76th Precinct.
Feb. 3, 2011, 12:35 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
"I am a hero."

Right. Getting your *ss stomped by three future Rikers Island internees puts you in the same Class as Sgt. Alvin York and Audie Murphy. Your name will be uttered in hushed tones of reverence by the countless throngs sitting in hipster cafes all across the Borough of Churches, regaling apprentice hipsters of your legendary exploits, while quaffing down a caffeine beverage named in your honor.


A group of these yoots attempted the same crap with me at Schermerhorn and Bond, last week. One of them will experience the thrill of his first visit with a maxillofacial surgeon. I introduced his face to the scaffolding on the corner. His little buddies didn't stick around to help him look for his teeth. He needs to find a new wolfpack.
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:44 pm
Cynthia from Clinton hill says:
Im sure their black?
Feb. 5, 2011, 3:42 am
Furt from Fort Greene says:
@Cynthia - Matt says it was on Henry and Warren? How long could the horseplay had gone on on that block if "their" (sic) black? Geez, there's nothing to do on that corner. Group of kids were up to no good and should have been shooed away to Court or Smith St. If you see a pack of teens, no matter the color, cross the street. They're too impulsive to predict behavior.
Feb. 5, 2011, 8:10 am
ignacio from carroll gardens says:
well, at least there was a good show for the customers in the window at bucco lupo.

i've seen kids like that around in the hood, and i've wondered when my time was up for either a snowball bashing or an unsolicited taunt, but it hasn't happened yet.

sorry that you had to go through that, and i'm sure it was a bit of an ego buster, but, ultimately, as i'm sure you know, it had nothing to do with you.

restless, possibly underprivileged YOUTH, ignorant of the consequences of their behavior, but i put the emphasis on youth, as in, they probably don't fully appreciate what they are doing and, ultimately, it's forgivable.... right?
Feb. 5, 2011, Noon
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
Quoting Ignacio:

"restless, possibly underprivileged YOUTH, ignorant of the consequences of their behavior, but i put the emphasis on youth, as in, they probably don't fully appreciate what they are doing and, ultimately, it's forgivable.... right?"

Wrong. These youths aren't ignorant of the consequences. They choose to ignore the consequences because they don't don't care; that's the difference. Seek responsibility; take responsibility for your actions.

Using the "underprivileged youth" argument doesn't excuse their behavior, either. Using one's economic situation as a validation to commit assaults, robberies, etc. is a cop out. Using today's definition of "underprivileged",that would describe how my friends and I grew up. We didn't have much; but, we didn't resort to crime so that we could. Being poor doesn't give you the right to relieve another person of his property, no matter how much you want it. Get a job and earn the money to acquire things. Restless? Focus your energies on getting an education so that you can improve your situation by getting a job. Don't look to the government, through the pockets of taxpayers, to pay your way and take care of your needs.

Re "it's forgivable....right?", no problem. They can get all of the forgiveness they're looking for once they're in General Population.
Feb. 5, 2011, 1:18 pm
john from park slope says:
is it wrong to give away their race, HMMM
May 11, 2011, 10:14 am
m anthis from olympia says:
glad you are ok.
Aug. 24, 2011, 2:31 pm
m anthis from olympia says:
i am glad you are ok. stay safe.
Aug. 24, 2011, 2:33 pm
m anthis from olympia wa. says:
i am glad you are ok.
Aug. 24, 2011, 2:35 pm

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