Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Long-time Fort Greene Locals Fret About Arrest of Beloved Bodega Owner; Hipsters Can't Wait for New Yoga Studio

Photo: Google Maps
Ralph Jawad’s bodega (officially named South Portland Market, with the old Meat Corp. sign, above) has been a reassuring presence on Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene for decades, the NY Times reports.

The shop, known locally as Ralph’s, is "the kind of place where local residents left an extra set of apartment keys, or could count on running a bit of credit." Mr. Jawad is called "Mayor of the Block." Fort Greene Patch describes how Mr. Jawad chased down a teen thief who stole a girl's iPhone last year. (He got the phone -- but the thief was just a kid so he gave him another chance.)

Now the neighborhood is electrified about the arrest of Mr. Jawad, after police said an undercover officer bought marijuana from him. They also said they found pills and at least one gun, and arrested two employees with him.

Recalling times when Jawad helped them out, neighbor after neighbor left messages of support for him on another Fort Greene Patch post.

"I could care less about selling weed out of the store, and the gun is typical for a bodega owner. What I do know is that he is one the nicest guys in Brooklyn. I'm happy to have known him," said one.

"It's almost as if someone with political clout was calling the shots on this one," said another. "This is after all a prime real estate corner."

"When I was mugged at gun point and by knives in the 90's Ralph fed me and loaned me money. I have known him for decades and WILL TELL YOU ALL he was the Mayor of Ft. Greene," said yet another. "He never denied food to a person who needed it and nor did he raise his prices for senior citizens. Coffee for them cost the same as it did 20 years ago...and he made a great cup of coffee."

"To imagine when no one cared about the neighborhood... He was there keeping it together. Now, when money is available to be stolen from it... He suddenly became a problem and is arrested," mused another neighbor.

Yet 20-somethings new to the neighborhood called the store "sketchy" and joked about the arrests, reports the Times. “No way that place is selling enough sandwiches to pay the rent,” said Lauren Wills, 26, an interior designer.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More love for Ralph here: