McGolrick Park to get more police patrols

Following an emergency meeting called by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Msgr. McGolrick Park in Greenpoint will be getting additional police patrols as authorities attempt to curb shocking incidents of vandalism taking place there.

The New York Daily News reported that the 94th Precinct, which covers the 9.1-acre park, will assign a police cruiser to patrol the park.

There have been several incidents of vandalism by teens in the northern Brooklyn park this summer, including an incident in which someone held a knife to a puppy’s neck, according to website of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning. Teens reportedly destroyed benches and set fire to a building in the park earlier this month. Association members reported that local residents are afraid to enter the park at night.

Alarmed by the rash of ugly incidents, Lentol (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg) requested an emergency meeting with Captain James Ryan, commanding officer of the 94th Precinct. That meeting, which was also attended by Councilman Stephen Levin and leaders of the advocacy group Friends of McGolrick Park, took place two weeks ago.

Lentol said he decided to ask for the meeting after hearing from constituents who complained about feeling unsafe in the park. The meeting focused on finding solutions to the problem, the assemblyman said.

“I thought calling an emergency meeting would be the most effective way to deal with this situation as soon as possible. I am glad everyone in the community is being proactive about this issue,” Lentol said.

The possible solutions discussed included moving up the park’s closing time from 1 a.m. to dusk and installing security cameras to deter crime inside the park. Levin (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg) has agreed to provide funding for the cameras.

McGolrick Park is bounded by Driggs and Nassau avenues and by Russell and Monitor streets.

Holly Fairall, a leader of Friends of McGolrick Park, sought opinions on the camera proposal from residents by posting a poll on the group’s Facebook page. “Councilman Levin is graciously willing to find money for a high-tech camera system for the park, but would like to gauge how the community feels about this,” she wrote.  

Lentol vowed that a solution would be found to end the vandalism. “There is no excuse for the people of our community to fear going to their neighborhood park. These acts are inexcusable and will not be taken lightly,” he said.

“We are going to make sure that the necessary steps are taken to prevent this from happening in the future. But we also need the community’s help, so if you see something, call 911,” the lawmaker said.

Msgr. McGolrick Park opened in the late 19th Century. Its original name was Winthrop Park. It was originally named after James Winthrop, an assemblyman serving the area. In 1941, the park was renamed Msgr. McGolrick Park, after Monsignor Edward J. McGolrick (1857-1938), who served as pastor of Saint Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Greenpoint for 50 years.