A week after the media camped out in front of the splashy re-opening of McCarren Pool after a 30-year closure, this corner of Brooklyn suffered another black eye to it's reputation.
A baseball player was hunted down like an animal by a group of thugs -- the teens looked like they were hellbent on killing him, said witnesses. The victim, who PIX is identifying only by his first name, Carlos, survived survived, and now has 27 stitches and four staples in his head. He spent five days in the hospital.
McCarren pool now gets dozens of NYPD officers daily to keep the peace at the pool and scare away the rampant locker room thieves. Recent pool problems have been reduced to the renegade poop from escaping a diaper.
Not so in the park just across the street. Friday night, a teen nearly played his last game of baseball after what he said was a group of 15 who started their attack on him by bashing him in the head with a brick. Then someone grabbed his bat and went to work on his head and back. The knives were next: a butcher knife and a gravity knife. Those and a broken bottle ripped the teen up from his head to his waist.
Carlos said he blacked out, and woke up at Bellevue Hospital. "The last thing I remember was sitting on the sidewalk with blood all over my head."
His mother didn't want anyone in her family identified, but she did want police to charge everyone in the gang that night. "There's not enough protection in that park," she lamented. "And thanks be to God, it's a miracle from God that he made it."
Three teens, 18-year-old Argenis Zarzuela, 16-year-old Seth Martinez and 15-year-old Kenny Nunez; each have been charged with attempted murder and gang assault.
Neither NYC Parks nor the NYPD have any dedicated officers to patrol the area. The NYPD says there are no park posts; officers can go when they have down time between calls. And the Parks Dept., with its 42-percent cuts since 2008 currently, have no officers stationed inside any park in Brooklyn.
Fortunately for Carlos, an eyewitness called 9-1-1 and yelled at the kids trying to get them to stop. He doesn't want his name used for fear of retribution from the gang of thugs either.
"I had my friend call 9-1-1, and I did the only thing I thought I could do, just yell at the kids to scatter because police were coming."
What's worse is the attack on Carlos is hardly an isolated incident. Park Advocates point to murders and assaults going in the NYC park system; no officers are assigned to McCarren or many other parks as a permanent post.
Geoffrey Croft, who runs "A Walk in the Park" website, points out there are 4,000 acres of parkland in Brooklyn and the NYC Parks Department is only assigning officer to beaches and pools. "Since 2008, Parks has cut the number of officers by 42%; many of those remaining are paid for by public-private parks run in Manhattan. Brooklyn has no officers."