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September 24, 2004


These cops will soon be getting 'em.

(Thanks to Susannah Nation)


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I used to live in a Brooklyn neighborhood where the local police precinct was known as "F-Troop" because of the line of smashed up patrol cars out front. It was long enough ago that most of these guys would have retired and moved to Florida, which would explain a lot.

Well, an incident on the M61 by Chorley will IMMEDIATELY cause a backup on the M25....

Of course, no-one who hasn't been to London will get that joke..

(The resident Brit hangs his head...)

Reminds me of the old cartoon with the outfielders all colliding and saying, "Which way did he go? Which way did he go?"

I think that these guys will have to repeat this phase of their training. --Frightening thought!

training exercise - no pain, no gain.

"Cars 54, 55, 56, and 57 this is base"
"Breaker 1-9?"
"Um...Rubber Monkey?"
"Just wanted to let you know there are three, repeat three donuts left."

and then they wrecked.

Training indeed.

Hey Higgy,

There's a reason the M25 was affected, as evidenced by Mssrs. Gaiman and Pratchett in Good Omens:

"Many phenomena - wars, plagues, sudden audits - have been advanced as evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man, but whenever students of demonology get together the M25 London orbital motorway is generally agreed to be among the top contenders for exhibit A."

Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, Good Omens

Lairbo, which precinct was it?

Higgy, I got it. Good one.

They're not the only British drivers who should be in Florida, you know. There's also this driving instructor, who apprently could use a refresher course in basic navigation.

Looks like they've got a bit more training to do ...

And none of the drivers were female ... who'd a thunk it?

Is "Keystone" near Chorley in Lancashire?

"No other vehicles were involved, and the police cars did not appear to have been on their way to help out at another accident."

Missing sentence from story:

"A Dunkin Donuts shop was located on the next block, however."

Ithis were a training exercise, there would be a superior officer who said, "Go out on the M61 and do this, that, and the other. Try not to wreck. I'll be watching from the grass." And if there were such a superior officer, he'd have told the spokesman as much, so said spokesman wouldn't say, "We think... some sort of training exercise," but rather, "It was a training exercise."
I said all that to say this: I believe the training exercise in question was called How To Goof Off At High Speed, Wreck Four Extemely Expensive Cars, Completely Screw Up Traffic For The Whole Day, And Not Get In Any Trouble Or Even Have Your Insurance Go Up Because You're A Cop.

I forget what the precinct's number was. The station house was in Carroll Gardens, on (I think) Union Street between Henry and Hicks or thereabouts.

Car 54 meets F-troop. But maybe there was a lot of fog.

Somehow The Blues Brothers comes to mind here.

Sounds like they were learning how to apprehend a perp (I love saying that) in a high speed chase.

Well...It worked!

Good job, boys!

the M25 is ALWAYS backed up.

The cops in Cashville have been reported, though never proven, to have an insider game that is basically hide and go seek, only higher stakes and in cars. I believe this is what happened here.
The concept is that one car is designated the target. They get a head start into the city, and the other cars have to find it using only clues given over their radios. First car to the target car wins, although I don't know *what* they win.
That would explain why three cars were damaged and one was totally screwed. The three were aiming for the fourth.

Bangi - there are people on the M25 who have died of old age in their cars while waiting for the traffic to move.... to call it a bit of a parking lot is an understatement....

It's the road version of a cloud in the sky over O'Hare airport in Chicago - that'll cause delays across the US....

Maybe someone threw a donut in the middle of the road and yelled SCRAMBLE. Or I guess if it was in England, it might have been a crumpet they threw ;-)

Man, yeah. I visited southern Florida twice (second time to commit my mother-in-law!) Scariest driving I've ever encountered, and I've driven in LA and Seattle. Seems like older people go there to retire and commit suicide on the road.

Yes Bangi,

Exactly like chadnee chawk. As a matter fact, I don't think it could be any closer to it if it WERE chadnee chawk.

If you couldn't tell, I just really like saying "chadnee chawk". Dhaka is kind of fun too.

By the way, did you notice the Dave sign at the Y! group?

Lairbo, cool. It's the 76th Precinct. I lived over there for 16 years, on Clinton and 1st Place. What the cops do over there now is park at the bus stop on Union & Henry and at all the fire hydrants. No one ever does or says anything, and God help the neighborhood if there's a fire.

Bangi, the M25 is the ring road around London. It is always extremely heavily travelled.

Brian, forget Lisa (my sister's name, by the way). It's Jeanne that's headed for slowlayne in Jacksonville. Time to gird again.

Yikes! I lived on Sackett Street between Court and Smith from 1990 to 1996 (and briefly in Park Slope before that). Loved the nabe and hated to leave. I just recently returned for a meal at The Grocery, which didn't exist when I resided around the corner. When I moved away, Smith Street was still the dividing line between the "good" and "not-so-good" quadrants of the area. If you have a dog, we've probably met.

The NY Times is about due to run one of their perennial "Red Hook is the Next Soho" articles, don't ya think?

Jeff & Lairbo --

Egad! I too migrated from the Old Country, my place was on President between Hoyt and Bond. Always a great neighborhood - I loved it, especially the Italian delicacies you could find there.

The nabe has been "gentrifying" for a while now. Smith street has been overrun with boutiques and restaurants, and is no longer a dividing line so much as a tourist destination. In fact, the NY Times magazine really ran an article on Carroll Gardens a couple of years back (about 6 years ago, shortly after I'd left for the West, i.e., Jersey), which started off with something like "I knew there was no turning back for the neighborhood when I saw them: Germans." There was in fact a budding trend of tourists checking out the newest trendy district: once-seedy old Smith St!

No matter what, though, I doubt that Carroll Gardens will ever come to be seen as "sort of colonial or something".

*Secondary flashback*:

One thought for MOATies - the MOAT is a floorwax AND a dessert topping. It has a special character owing to the Founding MOATies setting a high bar for wit and caramader...er, camadara....er, bonhomie. And it has room for newbies to go from blurker to blogger, to frolic and add their own spices to refresh the mix. The character will always be there, but the MOAT will continue to mutate in countless ways.

BM & Jeff

When I first began hearning about the upscaling of Smith Street I didn't really believe it. Only subsequent visits convinced me. I guess they had to, but it broke my heart that they paved over the cobblestones and covered the remaining streetcar tracks that made the turn from Smith onto Union Street. I still miss Mastellone's and various other places, the bakeries, especially. MMMMM canoli [Homer drool] . . . I do NOT miss the F train. We used to say that if a butterfly flaps its wings in China, the F train stalls at Smith & 9th.

When they clean up/gentrify the Gowanus Canal (as has been rumored to be in the works for years, now) THAT'll be something.

ps: remember La Scala Motors?

La Scala - Right across from the Red Rose, and down the block from, as we called it, "Joes' perette" because of the missing u in the sign. On occasions where we pass near there, we stop in to get the world's absolute champion fresh mozzarella. (I have now got an official mozzarella jones due to this conversation)

Spot on as far as the F train is concerned.....

Anyone read The MOAT in God's Eye?

I was always struck by how La Scala seemed to carry groups of the same sort of cars all at once and then, seemingly, sell them all at once and be restocked with a different familial bunch. They specialized in mid-80s Cougars for the longest time. Do you remember the tiny storefront on Smith a couple of doors down that didn't seem to actually "sell" anything but always had four or five very large men playing cards at a folding table in the middle of a bare room with a pay phone on the back wall? I'm not saying anything "funny" was going on. Nope. Not me. I didn't see nuthin.

Ah, the Red Rose. Mmmmm, pizza.

Lairbo & Blue Meanie,

Wow, yes! My wife taught at PS 261 (Pacific between Hoyt & Smith) for 25 years. After all those years it amuses us greatly to hear Smith St. is now considered a separate restaurant area. All those years all they had was Helen's, Marco Polo, Red Rose, Sam's and the Arabic places near Atlantic. Now they seem to open a new yuppie restaurant every week, and half the population is from Iowa. (Oh yeah, Mola Pizza on Court St. And Nino's on Henry & Union is still there, but now mob-controlled.)

Still love the world's great lobster tails from Court Pastry and the lemon ice at Monteleone's. But when we moved there (1970!) we were practically the only non-Italians in Carroll Gardens. We left in 1986 for Bay Ridge.

Lairbo: or

"Red Hook: The New Smith Street?"

Yeah, now you're thinking like a real estate baron.

Marco Polo was always especially hilarious during prom season.

I always got Monteleone's name wrong even when I lived nearby and shopped there regularly. Don't know why.

Last bit of neighborhood trivia (sorry everybody besides Blue Meanie and Jeff), part of the movie "Smoke" was filmed on Court just off DeGraw. I saw the film at the Cobble Hill Cinema and the whole audience gasped when they saw the scene since we just across the street from the location. On the way out everybody had the same conversation: "When the hell did they film that? I don't remember seeing any movie crews?"

I see the Keyston Cops are alive and still at it in Lancashire.

When I was in London, I remember constantly finding myself at a place called Spaghetti Junction that was pretty amazing.

I can't believe I posted an item hours ago and ... gone with the wind. Crap. Anyway, to Lairbo I was saying, Mastellone was a real place, sort of a grocery I think, but it closed and is now the site of a discount store (Court & Degraw across from Court Pastry). Monteleone is further down Court St. past Marco Polo, between Union & President. They have excellent lemon ice (no 's' of course). I think what was the union hall on Union & Court is now the Mormons, believe it or not! As for the "social clubs" as mentioned by Lairbo, there is still at least one on Henry St. (not sure about the one on Smith).

Blue Meanie: I went by today and the sign still says "Joe's S perette"! My wife says Joe sold it to the guy (forget his name) who used to work for him and it's still exactly the same as it was. I didn't check the mozzarella.

Yep, I do remember the pretty good food store that's now a discount joint. And, yes, Mormons do now reside in what was the old union hall (merchant mariners, wasn't it?). The "Social Club" on Smith is long gone. It is where either The Grocery or some upscale shop now sits. It used to crack me up that they would occasionally put up some sign for the joint (coffe 'n' donuts, comic books, baseball cards) but never had any stock of anything, although for a while there was a Sabaret street vending wagon out front.

Are Florida drivers worse than Texans?

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