Lawless West Village & the Photo Never Awarded a Pulitizer

Former New York Times photo editor Maggie Berkvist, who died this past year, deserved a Pulitzer for her above photo published in West View News. She captured this “Robbery in Progress” in broad daylight last July,  a couple of blocks from Manhattan’s Sixth Precinct in the West Village.

Here’s the caption:

“As West View photographer Maggie Berkvist steadied her camera to photograph her dining companions in the outdoor shed of the Left Bank restaurant on Greenwich at Perry Street, four motorbikes roared up and demanded of the two white-shirted pedestrians their valuables and then roared off.  The photo was given to the police to help trace the frightening thieves who raced away, presumably to their next theft encounter. For more photographs of the recent crime wave, see page 10.”

Ongoing devastation of the West Village, beginning with the de Blasio administration, is difficult to even write about without taking a deep breath and swallowing hard.  A decade or so ago, the West Village was regarded as the third richest zip code in America.  This week with the first heat wave of 2023, the West Village was already experiencing relentless, unrestrained, and unconscionable waves of vehicular traffic blasting music, dragsters, as well as hordes of drunken revelers howling under windows into the wee hours. It goes without saying that it remains dangerous to be out and about in these parts after sundown.

And beginning at 7am, freezer trucks (Baldor, Fresh Direct, D’Artagnan) idle on the neighborhood’s tiny historic streets sending earthshattering vibrations through residential apartments.

Baldor freezer truck
Baldor freezer truck idles for 20 minutes on teeny, tiny Morton Street instead of in loading & unloading zone on main boulevard, i.e., 7th Avenue South, sending earthshattering vibrations throughout residential neighborhood. All to deliver a couple of pieces of meat to a restaurant on the corner of Morton & Bedford.

And then there are the unlicensed e-bikes and motorbikes racing on streets as well as sidewalks, coming from every direction, failing to signal, and ignoring traffic lights—jeopardizing the lives of all pedestrians.

Some West Village shops now rely on metal detectors to screen customers for guns and knives.  Others lock their doors to the general public to keep out desperadoes, buzzing in select customers.

The last mom & pop store in these parts, Cho’s Grocery on Bedford & Carmine Streets, is closing April 30 after 25 years in business.  According to store personnel, the closing is due to West Village violence.

Cho's Grocery

Casa, the Brazilian restaurant on Cherry Lane has recently vacated after 25 years as well, and responded to community requests to remove its road shed.

A now vacant Casa restaurant with one of many tour groups regularly exploiting the neighborhood.

Other restaurants have taken advantage of the city’s failure to arrive at a workable Open Restaurants plan. Greedy for  bucks from Bridge & Tunnel rabble—restaurants refuse to take down their booze sheds with some still assembling them—even though the pandemic is over.

Snack Taverna
Moldy snack shack next to sewer on teeny, tiny Morton Street at Bedford making it almost impossible for fire engines to squeeze through, and when shed full, disrupting the neighborhood.
Snack Taverna garbage & kitchen window
Garbage bins facing same outdoor dining shed & immediately under restaurant’s food delivery window.

A long-time activist who has lived in the West Village their entire adult life has just moved to Harlem.  Might make sense, since a significant piece of the crime wave does seem to be southbound. . .

One thought on “Lawless West Village & the Photo Never Awarded a Pulitizer

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