Thursday, September 06, 2007

NYYRC Social - A Hit?!?!


n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. [or when your party is too loud.]

Last night, the New York Young Republican Club hosted our monthly social at Vintage on 8th Avenue and 50th Street. Vintage is a fantastic, Republican owned bar in Hell’s Kitchen, that boasts New York City’s largest selection of martinis.

The night started off like any other typical YR social – we all congregated in the back area on comfy sofas and lounge chairs and eventually, migrated out to the back patio to enjoy the perfect, 70-degree weather. It was another great success for the YRs; we had a nice mix of regulars, new faces and some old friends we haven’t seen in a long time! Jovial conversations of Labor Day weekend adventures, winter vacation plans, the new shoe department at Saks and of course, the 2008 Presidential election, floated among the circles of guests.

Unfortunately, this did not sit well with a resident of the apartment building next door, whose window faced the open patio area. Around 9.15, we heard a man with a thick accent yelling from a third floor window, telling us to shut up. Most people largely ignored the disgruntled individual yelling and carrying on.

At this point, I mentioned to the manager we had a problem, but the man I shall refer to as the “Party Pooper” had stopped. Unfortunately, about 30 minutes later, the Party Pooper returned carrying on again, this time chock full of racial slurs and foul language. Someone in our crowd finally yelled back and at 9.56 pm, the scene turned from late summer social to the scene with the French knights in the castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail...and we were the court of King Arthur. All of a sudden, something was lobbed out the window and then, a horrible, foul, putrid stench emerged and everyone ran indoors and into the two restrooms to wash themselves off. (“Run away! Run away!”) I have no idea what was thrown at us, but let’s just say it permeated everything it touched. Several handbags and suits were ruined by the splatter.

Unfortunately, the drama didn’t end there. The manager called the cops. At least two YRs called 911. No one showed. The manager stood outside and waited and waited and waited. No one came. Finally, an hour later, Eric, our general counsel, and I walked to the precinct on 54th Street. Outside, I spoke to an officer who apparently knew about the situation and told me that a police car had just been dispatched. We decided to walk back to Vintage. No car showed. About 5 minutes later, a car came down 8th Avenue, slowed down in front of the restaurant, and as the manager approached the car, it drove off. Eric and I decided to walk back and file a report, just in time for the 11.30 shift change. We sat there with my belongings separated in two plastic bags, the stench emanating from one, as cops filed in. We heard several, “What stinks in here?”-type comments. A report was taken, but the kind gentleman who took it had no power to help us beyond his administrative duties. Our attempt to talk to the desk sergeant didn’t get very far as we were mostly ignored. One officer who listened actually suggested that the Party Pooper probably threw water on us. To this I responded, “Do you smell something strange in here? That’s coming from this plastic bag. Here, smell it and tell me if water smells like that.” Of course, he refused the offer. He then asked if it was a chemical thrown on us. Looking back, I realize that we were asked by more than one officer if we were sprayed with a chemical. Note to self: next time, call 911 screaming chemical attack.

This is an absolute disgrace on the part of the NYPD. I happen to live in the neighborhood, two blocks north of the station. I have always felt a sense of comfort knowing that in an emergency, the police are nearby. Now I have to wonder. More than THREE phone calls were made to the station and TWO 911 calls and there was NO RESPONSE. Talk about adding insult to injury. I feel sorry for the poor boy who had to clean up the patio with plastic gloves on. What would have happened if it really were a caustic chemical? What happened to justice? A group of 30 or 40 people were attacked with a strange substance and no one showed up to even have a look? How many cops are in this city and are they all too busy to check out a real disturbance?

I ask that everyone who reads this call 311 and complain about the disgraceful lack of response from the Midtown North Precinct under Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector William Matusiak.