Along with the many people, places and things that have been disappearing at a rapid pace here in our beloved City of New York; it seems our rights as citizens of the United States are disappearing too. Although this is no new news about our current society, which uses terms like “Homeland Security” in order to violate people’s privacy, it hit a bit closer to home yesterday. Well-known Greenpoint Blogger Miss. Heather of New York Shitty was stopped and questioned by the police while taking photographs of Christmas decorations!
Here is what happened in her words:
I just arrived home from one of the most infuriating experiences I have ever had in my life. Although I plan to write a tongue-in-cheek post about it after I finish this email, I want to give you a quick rundown because the implications for anyone who takes the Bill of Rights seriously are NOT good.
Today I decided to go out and take pictures. This is something I have done 2-3 times a week for two years. Today, however, is the first time I have been DETAINED BY THE POLICE for doing so. Was I trespassing? No. Was I told why I was being detained? YES. After demanding to be told THREE TIMES: someone called 311 and reported a "suspicious person" taking photographs.
Now I will be the first person to admit that the intersection of Kingsland Avenue and Herbert Street is NOT located in the nicest neighborhood in the world, but does that bar a person (and anyone who has met me can attest that I hardly look like Public Enemy #1) from walking over there and taking photographs? If you were to hear the line of questioning the police "officer" used, one would certainly think so:
P.O.: If you live in north Greenpoint, what are you doing here?
Me: Taking pictures, is that against the law?
Me: Hausman Street always goes all-out with their Christmas decorations; I just got done taking pictures of them.
My identification was pored over, recorded and shown to (who I was told) a police Lieutenant (who pulled up in an unmarked police car). Obviously I was let go without a citation (I suppose they couldn't figure out what to charge me with), but my personal information will now grace a file folder at the 94th Precinct.
I have a creeping suspicion a contractor on Kingsland made this phone call--- although my recent drubbing of Ms. Lancaster makes one wonder. Consider yourself warned.
In my opinion these cops would be an asset to the Department Buildings Violations Bureau, imagine if they used that energy to question the contractors on what is going on at the construction sites? Just this afternoon I walked by Scarano’s building on Bond Street which has signs all over it, “Workers must Wear Hard Hats, and guess what? Nobody was! Oh well, it’s their head not mine.
I guess it makes more sense to go after a woman wearing a Sanrio hat taking pictures of Christmas decorations.
But I digress, I have actually been a bit hesitant to take photos of that building myself these days as not only does the building look like a bunker, he has loud barking attack dogs on the premises and they’ve recently put up signs that there are surveillance cameras on the premises. (Who was it that the Italians allied themselves with during WW II again?)
So kids, especially you blogger types that like to take photos and do not have the benefit of a press badge, be careful out there.