If you’re not familiar, allow me to draw your attention to a free weekly publication called The Brooklyn Paper. I never noticed it much myself until moving back to Brooklyn in 2010, when I realized just how entertaining it is.
The Brooklyn Paper almost feels as if you’re being told the news by a fuhgeddaboutit Brooklyn guy from Bay Ridge. The tone is unapologetic and no frills. A typical headline is “Happy Jew Year!” (The story was about Rosh Hashanah–get it?)
With three decades of history, TBP has at least one foot rooted firmly in that pre-Michelin stars, Fuhgeddaboutit Brooklyn. While it cultivates that readership, it also courts controversy, featuring testy modern-day topics like bikes and hipsters that are guaranteed to bring on a battle of nasty online comments, as old-school Brooklyners and the gentrifiers meet on the same turf. (Reader tip: I prefer the print edition. If you like to avoid racist and other bilious sentiment, don’t read the comments of crime-related Brooklyn Paper articles online. It gets ugly.)
My favorite section is the police blotter, where crimes are described in the parlance of a 1930s pulp fiction writer. The following is a list of the more colorful terms used to describe criminals in the September 23-29 edition of TBP (other than the most common ones: “thief,” “criminal,” and “perp”).
- an evil trio
- a speedy crook
- two prowlers
- a band of marauders
- some oddball
- a sticky-fingered thief
- a ballsy thief
- a sneak
- a conniving older woman (she was 43, by the way)
- two hustlers
- an Oliver Twist wannabe
- a pair of goons (“goons” used 1x more in the blotter)
- a beer-swilling punk (“punk” used 1x more in the blotter)
- a bike-riding bandit (“bandit” used 2x more in the blotter)
- a quick moving jerk (“jerk” used 3x more in the blotter)
- the brazen thug (“thug” used 4x more in the blotter)
Old-timey gangster terminology aside, a consistent warning is evident on that page each week, and it’s summed up in the headline to the crime blotter page in that recent issue: “Criminals love iPhones– yours.” In support of that headline, out of 45 reported incidents, about a quarter of them involved thefts of what blotter writer Aaron Short dubbed “that chichi Jobsian device,” and others involved iPads, iPods, and other smartphones. On the police blotter page, more than anywhere else, the Brooklyn Paper reminds newer residents that not everyone in Brooklyn is part of gentrified Brooklyn.