Bloomberg Visits 19th Precinct;
Cops Hop to Attention, Swoon
Most of the people who visit the 19th Precinct at 10 p.m. on a holiday weekend are either guys in handcuffs or their victims. So it came as something of a surprise to the cops behind the front desk on the evening of Sunday, May 26, when Mayor Bloomberg and his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, dropped by to pay their respects to the troops.
“He said, ‘The cops have to work on this holiday; let me come say hello,'” said Captain James Murtagh, who ran into Hizzoner as he was leaving the station house.
Sergeant Jay Flemming, the desk sergeant on duty, spotted the Mayor the moment he stepped through the station house’s NYPD-blue front door. “As soon as he walked through the door, I yelled, ‘ Attennnnnn -tion!’ because he is our chief executive officer,” Sgt. Flemming said. “The officers thought I was kidding them. He wasn’t dressed in his uniform-the suit and tie. He was dressed in slacks and a shirt.”
Part of the reason for the officers’ surprise may be that nobody could recall Mayor Giuliani visiting the 19th Precinct even once during the course of his eight years in office. “I know he held press conferences outside,” said a police officer. “I don’t think he ever came inside.”
At first, Sgt. Flemming worried that the Mayor might have some sort of emergency. “Is everything all right, Mayor?” he asked Mr. Bloomberg, who assured him everything was. Sgt. Flemming said Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Taylor “said they were in town for the holiday weekend and they thought they’d stop in to say hello to the police and firefighters who were working.” Engine 39, Ladder 16 is right next door to the landmark police station on 67th Street between Lexington and Third avenues.
“He introduced himself,” continued Sgt. Flemming, referring to the Mayor. “He said, ‘Hi, I’m Mike Bloomberg.’ He went into the back-we had some arrests in there. He stopped in and said hello to the arresting officers. He even said hello to the prisoners. They were smiling. They were surprised as well.”
Sgt. Flemming ran to get his disposable camera to record the moment, and Ms. Taylor offered to take the snapshots. “It was all very cordial,” said the sergeant, “He was here about 15 minutes. Then he went next-door and knocked on the door to the station house.”
One good reason for obeying the leash laws became apparent on May 17, when two large dogs took the life of a smaller dog as its owner sat at an outdoor café. The incident happened at about 2:30 p.m. at Frankie’s, a restaurant at 1546 Second Avenue.
The victim, described as a small mixed breed, apparently jumped from its owner’s lap and went after the larger dogs-two Labrador retrievers, one black, the other yellow. “From what witnesses tell us, the dog kept jumping off [its owner's] lap and going after dogs walking in front of the restaurant,” said Sergeant Robert Gibson, who responded to the scene. “[The pet's owner] was laughing: ‘Isn’t it cute! My dog is running after bigger dogs!'”
It probably was cute, until the pet ran under the barrier that separated the café from the street and found itself in the jaws of the two beasts-apparently part of a large group of canines being walked by some sort of dog-walking service, according to Sgt. Gibson.
“It was such a small dog, they apparently ripped him in half,” the sergeant said. “[The owner] was very, very distraught.”
The pet was rushed to a nearby veterinarian, but did not pull through. Meanwhile, the attacking dogs were removed to the Center for Animal Care and Control and their walkers were issued summonses for failure to control the dogs and for not having licenses or vaccination reports.
Sweet Smell of Crime
Right about now, there should be some awfully good-smelling crooks out there. At around 11:05 p.m. on May 17, five men, all of them described as in their teens and early 20’s, visited Perfumania-which, as the name suggests, is a perfume shop-at 782 Lexington Avenue.
One of the men approached the assistant manager with a perfume-related question while his colleague stepped behind the counter and started to help himself to a veritable cornucopia of fragrances. As he made his selections, his companion warned the clerk not to call 911. These were apparently sensitive males (how could they not be if they were stealing Chanel No. 5?) and told the saleswoman they had no interest in hurting her.
With that, the three other co-conspirators slipped behind the other counters and began loading boxes of perfume, cologne and eau de toilette into shopping bags. Their haul included 15 bottles of Bulgari perfume (valued at $744), a couple bottles of Jean Paul Gaultier and three bottles of Eternity men’s cologne that, judging by the price tag ($299.99 each), must have been almost jeroboam-sized.
In the name of tradition, the crooks also made off with five bottles of Chanel No. 5 valued at $63.99 each. And perhaps just to prove that they weren’t above shopping for bargains (even if they were stealing everything), they also loaded up on 12 Chanel No. 5 refills which sell for a more economical $56.99 each.
On their way out, the crooks-who fled northbound on Lexington Avenue-told the assistant manager not to take the incident personally. “The males also stated,” the police reported, “they weren’t robbing her ; they were robbing the store .”
Ralph Gardner Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.