Anecdotal evidence suggests a growing problem with violent teenagers in Boerum Hill. Since September, the Brooklyn Paper has counted at least five examples of teens attacking people or property or both, not to mention the time in January that the paper’s own reporter was assaulted; the manager of a local drugstore has to kick out teenagers “at least 10 times a day.” The most recent attack took place on Bergen Street, where eight teenagers surrounded a 40-year-old Cobble Hiller and his friend; the former was punched in the face, even though he was wearing glasses (c’mon, teens), which fractured and damaged his cornea. “The kids just laughed and hurried off,” the victim told the Paper.
Coincidentally, the Times ran a piece this week about Warren Street, between Nevins and Bond, in Boerum Hill, which has two different housing projects on its west and east corners. But, though the Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens are “enduring symbols of danger, social dysfunction and blight,” the block’s unusual geographical position has only slightly affected its real estate prices—properties sell for $35-$55 less per square foot that comparable ones on nearby Bergen Street (which, remember, is where people wearing glasses get punched in the face). Dangers real and imagined are not stronger than the allures of Brownstone Brooklyn.
Longtime residents of Warren Street seem more likely to resent their new neighbors than those in the housing projects.
“I bought this house for $17,000 in 1972,” said Charlie Soule…Back then, she said, the block felt safer because she knew all her neighbors—something that is no longer true…Mike Rodriguez, who grew up in the house a few doors down and still lives there with his family, had a similar take. “You got too much ‘ippity’ folks around here,” he said. “They’re uppity, but I call them ‘ippity,'” he added…”They look at you like you don’t belong here.”