Greenpointers have a lot to be proud of: we have some of the best public schools in the city, property owners are seeing their real estate skyrocket in value, and our vibrant nightlife is the envy of city dwellers throughout the boroughs. Unfortunately, we can also now officially tack one more superlative to the Garden Spot: we have the most public drinking and urination of any neighborhood in New York.
As first reported in the Gothamist last week, Greenpoint (defined here as blocks pertaining to zip code 11222) has had 77 complaints of public drinking or public urination over the last two years, or just over two dozen per year. (20 were for public urination; the other 57 were for drinking.) Compare that to Wall Street (zip code 10004) and the two citations they reported during that same time (one urination, one drinking).
Despite the obvious correlation between the drinking and the peeing, there’s actually less overlap than you might think regarding where the two complaints were most often registered. 8 of the public urination complaints occurred around the perimeter of McCarren Park. Public drinking, by contrast, was most often reported around McGolrick Park and the surrounding blocks, east of McGuinness Boulevard (13 citations). The two activities overlapped most heavily on Greenpoint Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street, with some trickle-down to a few blocks south.
So what is it about Greenpoint that attracts so much public alcohol consumption and then public release? Well, first off, that question might be based on a false premise. These statistics are from 311 call-in complaints, meaning we might just be more vigilant about reporting the offenses when they happen. Furthermore, any comparison to a spot like Wall Street is inherently unfair, because that’s a business center, whereas Greenpoint is mixed commercial and residential. People probably work in Wall Street work during the day, then go pee on the lawns of their neighbors, in whatever neighborhood they happen to call home.
In all seriousness, public urination – like public drinking – is an indicator of more serious problems: homelessness and alcoholism, both well-documented issues that our community faces and is working to eradicate. However, unlike homelessness and alcoholism, it’s possible to find a straightforward solution to our public urination problem: more public bathrooms! There are only two stalls at the public bathroom at McCarren Park, and one at McGolrick. Perhaps if we give people more private space, they’ll take their business indoors.
Until that day, Greenpointers can take some solace in knowing that it’s the offseason for the offenders. Over the last two years, no public urination complaints have been logged in the winter, and though things pick up in the spring, complaints only really start flowing in come the summer and autumn. Until then, hold your head up high and tell your friends in other neighborhoods about all the other things Greenpoint is best at. Just remember, on your walk around the ‘hood, to also hold your breath.