Bensonhurst

Allen and the N-word.
October 16, 2006

This past summer, I was asked to testify as an expert witness in the case of Nicholas Minucci, who was charged with having committed a hate crime. In Bensonhurst, New York--which is notorious for its anti-black sentiments-- Minucci, who is white, had beaten a black man with an aluminum baseball bat. When Minucci initially approached this man (whom he suspected of being a car thief), he reportedly said "Whattup, nigga." Prosecutors portrayed that language as evidence of a racial motivation for the ensuing violence.

The Two Faces of Bensonhurst
July 02, 1990

Twentieth Avenue in Bensonhurst starts in the Hudson River, where it's called Gravesend Bay, only a couple of miles from the Atlantic Ocean. You can see the ocean across the Belt Parkway, but Bensonhurst rarely looks. The neighborhood focuses inland, toward the hub of 86th Street, with its railway track suspended some sixty feet above the road, and beyond all the way down to 50th. On a summer afternoon on 86th, youngsters hang out on the street corners, near clothing stores called Male Ego and Women's Dreams.