Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Convictions for Sandy Incident

I’ve been delinquent in my posting over the past months. And while I started up (yes, for the second time) in March with some fervor, it seemed to fade yet again, as it has a nasty habit of doing. (Perhaps part of the issue is that I give my motivation its own distinct persona which allows it to make up its own mind as to when it feels like showing up for a good day at the office.) In any case, I return with a renewed sense of vigor.

While I’ve been ‘away’, the Michael Sandy case has come to what seems to be some sort of a legal conclusion. Although not all of the defendants have been tried or sentenced, there is a definite inevitability to the remaining procedures. And Michael’s parents have held a vigil at Plumb Beach, mentioned quickly as part of a quiet article in the Times’ Metro section last Sunday.

In summary, the details that came out in the trial are remarkable similar to the initial narrative that rapidly unfolded in the days after the crime. It is a fascinating compact narrative that draws one (or me, at least – for reasons – see here) farther into speculation regarding the lives of the perpetrators as does it lead to viewing Michael as more than his final acts of bravery despite his victimization.

I’ll link to some press accounts. But here’s how my curiosity draws the tale:

It’s evening and three Brooklyn guys are hanging out, drinking beer and talking. Maybe they’re boasting, maybe they’re scheming. And maybe, as Anthony Forunato’s lawyer suggests, one of them (Fortunato) was planning something more personal. So now they’re online, and trying to find a man – to attack, to rob, to rob then attack, or perhaps - under the pretense of violence - a pawn for the purpose of Fortunato's coming out. And while the developing scenario is improbable, with its convoluted presumptions of the actions and conversations that will lead to Fortunato’s revelation, or simply the potential for criminal gain or the expression of building rage, the internal logic of the evening seems to indicate that muddled thinking and conflicting agendas would be par for the course.

-- more soon --

Friday, March 23, 2007

Last October

Plumb Beach is probably too small to be a neighborhood of its own, so when the Michael Sandy incident happened, the 'slug' under the news segment often read "Sheepshead Bay" or "Mill Basin".
Fair enough.
Most accurately, the location should have been considered "Belt Parkway" or, most accurately "Gateway National Recreation Area." If the assault happened on the sandy area behind where the NYPD are standing, it actually would have occurred on Federal parkland. The median between the Belt Parkway and the park, as well as the parking lot are, as I understand it, under the jurisdiction of the NYC Parks Department. And while the city's Parks Department has an armed enforcement department, I think they receive a good deal of support from the NYPD in and around Plumb Beach.

In and Out of the News

If you think the name Plumb Beach is at all familiar, you most likely recall the story not very long ago about Michael Sandy. Michael was chased from the Plumb Beach parking lot onto the Belt Parkway and into traffic where he was hit by a motorist and then robbed by his assailants. This obviously tabloid-ready incident was made all the more irresistible by the fact that he was lured to the spot by several teens who had been lurking in gay chat rooms trying to pick up guys (for the purpose of robbing them) who they thought would be easy marks, afraid or unable to fight back or reluctant to report the assault to the police.
Michael was their (hopefully) last victim.
In any case, this has largely been forgotten (which is an entire commentary in and of itself.) And most folks have let Plumb Beach slip out of their consciousness (if it ever resided there) and out of their memory all together. Plumb Beach has, through the years, developed a significant forgotten history of crime and violence. It also has a significant history which encompasses story lines that wrap around and through the narrative of New York City, and dare I say, our country itself.
Stick around. Let's explore.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006