A Guide to NYPD's Central Booking: Go for the Urine-Scented Everything, Stay Because They Won't Let You Leave

Categories: James King, NYPD
NYPD's Central Booking Office in Brooklyn is like the Hilton -- if the Hilton smelled like piss and didn't let you leave for several days.
At about 7:45 p.m. on Friday, I was arrested.

My crime was not as glamorous as I would have hoped -- there was no police chase, no explosions, and no hostages were taken. Like an idiot, I forgot (read: declined) to pay a ticket I received in early March for allegedly not wearing my seat belt -- emphasis on the "allegedly."

I spent the next 17 hours working my way through various stages of the NYPD's booking process and discovered several painful -- in many cases urine-related -- realities of the criminal justice system in New York City.

For starters, they tell you the booking process should take no more than 24 hours. That guarantee is even posted on the walls of each holding cell on a poster explaining "what you can expect" during the booking process. However, as an officer in Brooklyn's central booking office reassured one of my fellow prisoners, "that 24-hour shit sounds good and all, but we can keep you here as long as we want. You could be here for 94 hours -- I don't care."

Second, everything -- and I mean everything -- in Brooklyn's central booking office smells like urine. It's pretty remarkable, actually -- it's as if they have piss-scented candles that they burn 24 hours a day to remind you that this is a place you don't want to end up ever again.

Third, don't wear a blazer to central booking. It will only prompt officers to call you "crazy white guy," and invite questions from fellow inmates to which there is no answer that will give you even a shred of street cred -- it's impossible to look cool when someone asks, "What the fuck did you do?" And your answer is "Well, shucks -- I forgot to pay a seat belt ticket I got while driving around in my fuel-efficient, reliable Mazda hatchback."

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"Jews Are Poisoning Dogs With Mushroom Spores" Is an Actual Rumor Circulating in Brooklyn Right Now

The woman who lives down the hall from me in my Crown Heights apartment building is a late-middle-age Caribbean islander who spent months telling everyone in my building that I was an undercover K-9 cop sent in by the feds to blend in and gather intelligence on any potential drug dealers who may live in the building. Having lived in the same apartment for the past 30-plus years, she is the queen of the Crown Heights gossip/rumor scene.

That said, I was surprised but not stunned last night when she hit me with this doozie: Brooklyn Jews are peppering the sidewalks with mushroom spores. The reason: to poison the dogs in the neighborhood. 

You might be thinking, "Ahhh -- the ancient, Hebrew mushroom-spores-on-the-sidewalk trick; should have seen that one coming." But we assure you that Brooklyn Jews are not using mushroom spores to poison gentile dogs. However, this is an actual rumor that is circulating in my neighborhood -- as confirmed by two of my neighbor's friends (one of whom is convinced her dog's urinary tract infection was brought on by the poisonous mushrooms) and multiple Orthodox Jews in the neighborhood.

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I Just Drank 100 Ounces Of Mt. Dew In 90 Minutes. Screw You, Mike Bloomberg

Attention, Mike Bloomberg: you're not the boss of me!
Mayor Mike Bloomberg's dopey "Big-Gulp Ban" was approved by a city health council this morning -- which means one thing: a sophomoric, unhealthy and immature gesture needs to be made on someone's part.

That said, I have just finished my 100th ounce of Mt. Dew in roughly 90 minutes. I'm pretty sure my heart's about to explode and I'm fairly certain I've given myself diabetes -- all in the spirit of civil rights, of course.

Some people (read: no people) might consider my stand against soda-bullying heroic -- certainly Gandhi and Dr. King took similar stands against ruthless oppression. But my intention is not be lauded as a hero, it's simply to point out that Bloomberg's ban is a stupid idea that will do nothing to prevent obesity, which is the mayor's intention.

First and foremost, I don't even like Mt. Dew. Hate it, actually -- it's a color that doesn't appear anywhere in nature and tastes like citrus-y cat piss. But as far health risks go, it's about as bad as it gets.

For further reading on Bloomberg's ban, visit our Nanny-State of Mind Archives.
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Only Three People Shot At West Indian Day Parade. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, Crown Heights

Only three people were shot during this year's West Indian Day parade in Crown Heights yesterday, which -- sadly -- is an improvement from last year. However, two people also were stabbed to death during yesterday's festivities, so don't wave the victory flag in the war on Brooklyn violence just yet.

Last year, at least five people -- including a cop -- were shot at the parade.

The Crown Heights section of Brooklyn is a cultural cross section that epitomizes what makes New York New York. Caribbean islanders coexist with Orthodox Jews in a cultural (ahem) melting pot that just screams "you stay out of our way, we'll stay out of yours." This unspoken agreement has only produced one noteworthy riot.

As a current Crown Heights resident, I can honestly say that it's a great place to live -- assuming you're into guns, gangs, violence, and the occasional sexual assault. Below I will submit to you a few of my favorite tales from the 'hood.

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May Day! The Voice Staff's Live Coverage of Occupy Wall Street's M1NYC

Occupy Spring .png
Hello and welcome to the afternoon shift of the Village Voice's liveblog of May Day 2012, as the Occupy Wall Street movement calls for a "General Strike" and a day of protests around the city. Our reporters and photographers remain fanned out across the boroughs. We'll continue liveblogging their dispatches right here and bringing you the latest news as it happens. We also invite you follow us on Twitter (@VillageVoice) and you can also follow our correspondents from the scene: Nick Pinto, C.S. Muncy, Victoria Bekiempis, James King, Ben Sin, Sam Levin, John Surico, Robert Sietsema, Tejal Rao, yours truly, and, covering the OWS music events for our sister blog Sound of the City, Maura Johnston.

Stay tuned!

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