Following a group fight after school and gunshots fired Monday at Carroll Park, at Court and Carroll streets, the 76th Precinct has assigned a uniformed police officer to patrol the park from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. The police are holding a community meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m., at the Miccio Center, at 110 West 9th Street, between Clinton and Henry (on the Red Hook side of Hamilton Ave.) to discuss community issues including the recent rumble that sent one teen to the hospital.
Stories appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere regarding the fight, which seemed to illustrate the juxtaposition between our ritzy hood and the more low-income kids who come here for school. But many folks who’ve been around for a while held their hand up to say, “Whoa, let’s not make assumptions.” The park has always been a spot where kids congregate and, sometimes, fight.
The fights are “like clockwork,” said one longtime area resident, noting that they occur when school gets out at the end of the school year, at the beginning of the year, and before vacations. The kids involved seemed like regular middle-schoolers, one mom who saw the fight said. It’s important not to suggest they are part of a “gang” just because they’re African-American, she pointed out.
At 3:30 p.m. Monday, a fight broke out along Court Street and on the edge of Carroll Park in increasingly upscale Carroll Gardens, just down the street from the P.S. 58 elementary school, in an area thronged with people and small children. A teen boy who appears to have been an innocent bystander was hit on the back of the head many times and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He is OK. A bystander at the scene said that a group of teens had run down Court Street, in front of Happy Pants Cafe, yelling. They pushed signs over, beat on the teen boy, and ran into Carroll Park before the police came.
Later Monday, around 7:50 p.m., shots were fired near the same location, just down the street from P.S. 58, reports local blogger Katie Kelly, who writes the blog, Pardon Me For Asking. Kelly reports that some of her readers have suggested there is a turf war going on between groups of kids from Red Hook and the Gowanus Houses in Boerum Hill. Pardon Me for Asking was the first to report this story.
This past Spring, at the end of the school year, several loud, rowdy fights between groups of teens broke out in and near the park, which in one incident was thronged with parents and elementary school kids.