The so-called Columbus of Brooklyn is speaking out after a viral video showed him berating the parents of an infant for allegedly knocking him in the legs with their stroller.
The letter came a day after Metro published the video, which showed a man screaming that the only reason the couple lives in his neigbhorhood is becuse he "settled" it.
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He then went on to say the couple is an example of white privlege, though Brooklyn Columbus is also white.
On Friday, Metro received a letter from a man claiming to be the man in the video. In the letter, the man explains his background, his perspective of the incident and his thoughts on the growing problems affecting New York City.
Here is the entire unedited letter:
I am a native New Yorker, who has watched his mother hang on for dear life and fight endlessly in court for her rent controlled apartment, Growing up, I had to live many winters with the heat turned off on purpose. We spent many freezing Christmas' at the old Thalia mom and I, re- watching old movies all day till we were kicked out, so we could have some heat.
When I was 17 , I felt my mother had too much burden, and I dropped out of High School and moved to Park Slope. I was working in an Ice Cream Parlor. I lived on Saint Johns and 7th Ave. A place no person working minimum wage could live today. I then moved to South Slope on Degraw. The Samba music was so loud at night you couldn't sleep. Next I moved to Prospect Heights into an old wood frame house, owned by a nice Hasidic man, where i had a kind of artists commune. That was sold to an artistic CUNY professor and still stands for artists today.
Finally faced with ever increasing rents, I decided I would never be a victim to the market again, I took my savings and bought a Studio in Fort Green where I live today. Having worked hard to pay off my mortgage I live free and clear.
I was very lucky to be discovered break dancing at the Palladium and went on to have a 10 year career in entertainment in NYC. I was pensioned with Screen Actors Guild by the time i was 28, when many NY transplants were just dreaming of coming here.
Growing up, I spent many nights in the east village of the 70's with my best friend Lamont whose mother was squatting on 7 and B in an abandoned brownstone with other families. Then Ronald Reagan allowed Crack into all of the urban centers...NYC was flooded with Crack cocaine. I lost one of my best friends, Lamont, to Crack in my teens. Another time my friend Jerome was struck by a ricochet bullet and also paralyzed.
I spent so many nights thinking about "white privilege" before it was a term. Why was Lamont dead and I was still alive? Is it because he was black and I am White? Very similar to the classic NY novel by Jon Lethem " Fortress Of Solitude"
So, I owned in Fort Green since 97 ' When I moved here the Supermarket was condemned. We had no supermarket for a number of years. We had a deal with the police department, and during overnights they would send one officer to make a pass of the hallways of our buildings as there had been incidents.
My end of the DEKALB station was LOCKED ! No entry. When I used to go down to the liquor store here on Myrtle..all the brothers would call me 5 - O which is cops...and leave....true. Another time down here, I was walking my dog during off leash hours...and 5 cops in unmarked cars actually surrounded me because i looked like someone...I thought i was going to die! or my dog would get shot. So as for white privilege, I've been discriminated against both ways, for being on the block, many times...my lifelong NY credentials are based in experience and fact.
I want everyone to know, that cutting my leg (which was bleeding) with the stroller isn't what made me lose my temper...it was when pink golf shirt husband came at me with his fists up. I don't want to be threatened with violence, by anyone! Smartass replies are common New York procedure...threatening a violence because your wife pushed your stroller twins into me...well that's crossing the line. And dangerous for you too. If you threaten me be prepared, right?
Actually, just NEVER threaten me.
When his wife pushed into me and I saw blood on my leg, I tried to take it in stride. As I passed by, under my breath I said, "excuse you" immediately , his wifes reaction was to start screaming at the top of her lungs... "Fuck You , fuck you" I was surprised for sure. I said "fuck off , why are you putting your kids in danger pushing them out into traffic?" That is when the husband starts coming at me with his fist up. Be clear..I NEVER went anywhere near his stroller except when it was pushed into me. I had walked well past it.
I screamed at him..do you really want to fight me..i could kill you with one punch....I've witnessed bad accidents of violence many times in NYC , even by a bad fall or accident during a scuffle. Anything can happen. I saw a guy impaled on a fence post once during a fight. I saw a woman partially paralyzed once in Prospect park just because a husky ran into her. For the record , I've never had a street fight in my life, but yes, more than one shoutdown.
When he was coming at me, I was nervous. I have trained in Martial Arts for 30 yrs. I saw his face exposed with his glasses , it all seemed like slo-motion...and I thought, if he swings, and I counter..I might smash his glasses and shatter them into his face. I really thought I would hurt him with one punch as he looked inexperienced.
Inside I was wondering , as a person who has witnessed everything in NYC, why this "DAD" and "Mom" would want to put his kids and wife in that situation. What if I WAS really violent, or crazy? Why not just say "excuse me" ? or "I'm sorry" like any good human being? And any NYer knows, do not push your double long (twins) stroller out around blind corners in the middle of an ENDLESS construction site and maze of scaffolding.
All I asked for was "excuse me" and I got back "Fuck You" and then the man's physical threat. A man marching at me , fists up, and didn't even take off his glasses. Do you know, I repeat, I actually felt scared that if I punched him his glasses would shatter in is eye and i would hurt him. I thought " I really just want to get home for breakfast", I had been teaching fitness on my feet since 6 am.
That is when I started to berate him. Native NYers are the best trash talkers. I told him what I thought of him and his wife's behavior. White Privileged Trash. Anyone who bumps into you hard enough to draw blood in NYC, would apologize and say "excuse me, Im so sorry, are you okay?" Not these two.
Last month , I got into it with some "Friends" transplant...who let her dog kill my Fort Green squirrels, while she sat staring at her cell and drinking her latte. Her dog was ripping a squirrel up, it was screaming...she didn't even notice. Again I see this as a "white privilege" In Fort Green if a black man had a dog ripping squirrels apart here in the park..the white hipsters would be all over this neighborhood with petitions, calling the police etc. ( as well they should be, don't hurt our squirrels )
Yes, I do see it as " white privilege" and a much more serious issue of "loss of humanity" when you wont apologize for hitting someone with your stroller, drawing blood and then threaten them with violence.
We know , if black folks do these things , they might be choked to death. RIP Eric, my mom's 14th street friend Amadou, and so many more.
As I've mentioned, my mom has been fighting for her rent control apartment at 70 yrs old, still. She , was instrumental in the fight to have dog runs in the parks. and she and baby me, marched on city hall many times on the 70's chanting "we want daycare, we don't want welfare" At 60 she was down at Occupy Wall St. She is on social security but still runs her own children's charity in India by sending her leftover money every month to a street children's group she started with a boy on FB...(despite my protestation).
WE have been activists in NYC our whole lives, I definetly have my short fuse for these transplant Elitists and privileged aholes from her. for sure...
The issue of " White Privilege" in NYC runs deep ! I dated a girl , briefly, who lived in the same Condo's as this couple. She was an FBI agent , stationed here in NYC. and she used to walk around Fort Green park drinking wine in a coffee flask...she said to me "I can drink wine in public, I'm the Police" I mentioned " Any Nyer can drink wine in a coffee flask but you cops lock a brother up for a weekend for drinking in public..is that right?" She didn't get it. I broke up with her on 4th of July when we went to Fort Green park and some kids were shooting off firecrackers and she called them "little Heathens" I blew up that day too...I asked her " if some boys are out shooting off fireworks in your hometown Iowa, are they heathens too" Subtle forms of Racism exist everywhere in my city.
An important context I want you to understand is, when I screamed " white trash" that I have a clear understanding of the many transplants who come to my beloved city for Money, use the city like their playground and toilet bowl,leave for the suburbs and never contribute anything to the energy and life of the city. Just take. I said it on purpose, because I know, nothing gets these folks upset more than being called out on their privilege.
When I screamed ' I settled" this area. I wasn't screaming it at someone from the neighborhood. I know so many of the regulars , the shop owners, the Chinese ladies who do Quigong at 6am, the park workers, from the head managers to the ladies who pick up, the subway clerks. The same train conductor drove the 630 am , R, into the city for 10 yrs, we used to smile at each then fist bump as the train pulled in each morning. He finally retired.
I was screaming it at someone who had just moved into a new luxury condo just a few yrs old, in an area, nobody even lived in because it was mostly industrial, and has now been Razed and knocked down ina domino effect, to put up ONLY 40 story luxury condos. Many of which are owned by foreign investors who dont live in them. AND , No schools being built. No hospitals.
I was screaming it at ALL the people who move to the city to live in a "movie" and be "rich" and a "playa" and never understand that what makes the city beautiful is the Community.
When I yelled "white privilege" the wife screams at me...You're white too! As if that was a legitimate answer.
So I guess NO white person can call out other "whites" in this city, if they are committing violence or micro aggression? Its the secret handshake, the wink and turn the other way? No.
As a hippie growing up with a single mom fighting to survive on food stamps..often alone, a latch key kid, living on w 4th street basketball courts till she came home from work ...As a person who has lost apartment after apartment to rising rents, I can tell you 1 million stories of Classism and Racial Injustice. I have lived here my entire life. I can tell you 1 million stories of Class based injustice just watching my single mother beaten down throughout my childhood, humiliated, and now at 70, still trying to hold onto her apartment. Her landlord just praying for her to DIE so he can finally renovate it and rent to NYU students.
But that's not this story.
This story is about basic manners. About each NYer needing, just that "6 inches" of space to walk, to breath, without being hit or bumped or cut and bleeding or cursed or threatened.
This story is about NYers realizing that when we make a mistake or are rude, the simplest thing in the world is to look up and say " Im sorry". " Excuse Me", " Can I help you". And move along.
I will continue to call out "White Privilege" in this case , and any type of needless brutality I witness. I will never tolerate violence or threats toward peaceful people of my city.
We all want to live together and be happy, ; and DREAM. I don't care if a million couples like this move onto the block, just be neighborly folks. Do you dig me?
I believe this city is the greatest "Peaceful" experiment on Earth.