Wednesday, June 14, 2017





(This is a work of satire.  All names are fictitious as well as all quotes.

Please read through and hopefully get a laugh)

(Wednesday June 14, 2017 Longwood Ave, The Bronx) As the overwhelming majority of Precincts and Patrol Sectors throughout our Five Boroughs continue to see the merits of the decades long decreases in all major categories of crime, some Precincts such as the 44th here in The Bronx have been stricken by a sudden uptick in a new trend on the streets that the NYPD brass is concerned may spread to other areas.  While the NYPD’s concerted efforts to reduce the number of illegal firearms that flow into our City from the South and Midwest,have proven effective, street criminals have adopted new tactics and weapons that may pose a far more serious threat than guns.

On the night of May 29th two assailants committed a brutally heinous assault on two workers behind the counter of the Stadium Gourmet Deli on 161st Street in the Concourse section of the 44th Precinct.  The entire savagely violent episode was captured on closed circuit TV monitors in the deli.  The assailants were reportedly unhappy with a meal they had ordered and a verbal confrontation ensued.  The disagreement quickly escalated to the point that the assailants began to  pitch avocados and bananas at the deli workers.  Initially they pelted the two counter workers with individual avocados and small bunches of bananas.  As the footage shows the assailants rapidly picked up the pace and began bombarding the workers with handfuls of avocados and bunches of bananas.  The ferocious onslaught left both workers with severe blunt force injuries, cuts, and bruises as one of the countermen suffered a broken jaw.  It was not only the ferociousness of the assault that had neighborhood residents shaken, it was the choice of weapons and ease of access to them that has many in this working class neighborhood on edge.

Chico “Pepe” Lopez, a lifelong resident of the block witnessed some of the assault from his vantage point just outside the deli.  “I was like…umm...’oly sheet…those two guys were throwing some heat…I mean like they was throwing fastballs.  I’m surprised the two dudes that work there were not more fucked up and hurt”.  The first two Police Officers who arrived at the scene just seconds after the assailants fled were taken aback by the crime scene.  “Well first we helped the victims but it was hard to determine their injuries since they were both covered by mashed avocados and squashed bananas.  These two guys were basically in shock and the smell of all that exploded fruit was overpowering”.  An EMS ambulance responded and one of the EMT’s commented “I’ll probably not ever again eat guacamole for the rest of my life.  I think the smell of any avocado product will give me flashbacks.  That’s too bad because I always loved a good meal from Taco Bell”, he added as the victims were loaded into the ambulance.  Even some of the most hard-boiled jaded Cops who responded to the scene expressed disbelief by the aftermath of the horrific assault.  “To see all that fruit smashed all over the place, dripping off the ceiling and walls was quite a shock.  I sure hope that assault by fruit doesn’t catch on.  If it does we will be in for a long smelly summer”, commented a Patrol Sergeant.   

Local politicians, City Council Members as well as Community activists, vegans, fresh food advocates, and a small group of protestors from the “Avocado and Banana Lives Matter (ABLM)” movement all reacted with horror.  Cha’qwana Bella Acosta of the nascent ABLM movement South Bronx Chapter was visibly upset by the fruit carnage but urged other more militant members of the ABLM movement to remain calm.  “This is a potentially dangerous event. Once we lived in fear of guns in this neighborhood now we realize any angry person can just walk into a deli or bodega, grab a few potatoes, pears, kiwis, or some form of melon and do some real damage to somebody”.  Acosta added, “People shouldn’t change their attitude towards avocados and bananas or any other fruit or vegetable because of crimes like this.  We all need a healthy diet, some fresh produce that complements our dry cereals, sandwiches, snacks and everything else we enjoy eating.  Eating an apple or orange after a good solid Happy Meal or some tasty Cuban-Chinese take-out is important to our children and elderly who often do not eat good”.

Just as the gun control activists have attempted to hold the manufacturers of bullets and handguns legally accountable for the violence their products are often used with criminal intent, the produce industry has come out strongly in defense of their products.  “While we are appalled and saddened by the violence perpetrated on innocent people by criminals who employ the use of our products, we feel the benefits of a banana rich diet is very important health-wise”, said Thomas E. Phlantz, Executive Vice President of Chiquita Banana North America, the largest importer of bananas that reach grocery stores and other retail outlets across the country.  “You know”, Phlantz continued, “When I was growing up the biggest fear we had of bananas were in the peel.  Nobody wanted to slip and fall on a banana peel but luckily, the banana peel is no longer a common prop in the tricksters’ toolkit.  Remember too, bananas are very high in potassium, a vital ingredient in a good diet”.

A worldwide advocacy group formed in 2016, the Washington, DC based World Avocado Organization to promote the use of Mexican avocados in the United States has issued a strong response to those who are criticizing the avocado.  “First, I want to say clearly that we are disturbed by the assault in The Bronx, NY, and will continue to do everything in our power to defend the avocado”, declared Manuel “Manny” Villalobos, the public affairs officer for the Organization.  Villalobos added, “The only thing that stands between a bad man with an avocado and criminality is a good man with an avocado”.  He also commented that there are many other produce items that can be used in criminal assault far more dangerous than the avocado. “I don’t know about any of you out there who would find items such as the coconut, pineapple, yam, turnip, sugar beet, watermelon, or rhubarb far more dangerous than the avocado.  Frankly, when compared to being pelted in the face by a hurled coconut, the avocado is far less lethal.  I’d much rather be attacked by tomatoes because I would likely not suffer life threatening injuries such as I would from a perpetrator armed with a large cucumber.  That cucumber could be used as a club, a blunt force weapon of opportunity.  Think about that for a few minutes”.

From the Law Enforcement perspective, the use of produce as weapons represents a concerning new trend.  Captain Joseph Patrick Finnerty of the 44th Precinct said in an interview, “For a long time we’ve worked very hard to reduce gun violence and the illicit gun trade.  What we are seeing now is troubling.  We cannot deny the widespread availability of avocados and bananas on our streets.  They are both weapons of opportunity and good food, easily accessible, and virtually impossible to trace.  A thief could smash a cantaloupe over a victim’s head in the course of a hold up. All we’ll have to work with are the squishy remains of the melon; no ballistics, forensics or other investigatory tools can be used effectively.  That poses a major concern to me”.

In an example of the laws of unintended consequences, some Law Enforcement experts are laying some of the blame for fruits and vegetables as street weaponry at the feet of the former First Lady, Michelle Obama.  During her 8 years as First Lady she worked tirelessly on her main initiative promoting healthy eating and lifestyles for our youth.  Generous federal grants allowed for much of The Bronx to “Go Green”.  The grant money was used to create “Rooftop Farming” utilizing the vast open acres of the rooftops of commercial and residential structures as community farms.  The initiative called for the growing and harvest of fruits and vegetables to be sold right in the communities where the crops were raised.   “It was only after we started growing our own rooftop gardens that we were able to ensure the availability of fresh produce to the residents of some of our poorest neighborhoods.  It was a solid investment of time and literally all the delis and bodegas sold the fresh produce.  For the first time in a long time people had healthy choices when it came to what and how they eat”, extolled Magrite Barbosa-Reyes of the South Bronx Urban Farming Board.  She added, “It would be sad to see the Police crackdown on fresh produce.  Our children would be forced to return to their less healthy dietary intakes of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Pork rinds, deep-fried everything, Skittles, chips and snacks of all kinds.  We will definitely see a rise in juvenile obesity rates.  It took a long time for many of these children to begin eating healthy and they would likely slip back into their old eating habits”.

But, at the core of this problem is the surge of fruit and vegetable related crime.  Professor Ronald McDonnell, an expert on crimes against persons using unconventional weapons at John Jay College commented, “Back in the NYPD “War Days” of the late 1960’s through the 1980’s Police Officers were often attacked from rooftops by belligerents who rained down everything from common kitchen trash to soiled disposable diapers.  I recall one event where three Officers were held at bay trapped behind a panel truck as kids threw eggs, Kosher pickles, rotten tomatoes, and corn husks at them until ESU Officers arrived and secured the rooftop from the assailants.  Some of those Cops sustained bad injuries while others never looked at some food items the same again.  It is my sincere hope that NYPD gets out ahead of this disturbing trend forthwith.  The use of fruits and vegetables as airborne weaponry represents a very real and growing problem.  I just hope no Officer is serious injured from a flying kumquat or from the high speed projectile an unripened grapefruit can become in the hands of a criminal with a good arm”.

Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2017 © All Rights Reserved

Copyright Brooding Cynyc 2017 © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 30, 2017






(Revised June 3, 2017)

(Tuesday May 30, 2017, WTC Memorial, NYC) FDNY Firefighter Raymond Pfeifer passed away on Sunday after a grueling 8-year battle with an aggressive malignant disease caused by his exposures to toxins while participating in the recovery efforts here after September 11, 2001.  A 27-year veteran of the FDNY, FF Pfeiffer like so many hundreds of his fellow Members of Service of the FDNY, NYPD, PAPD, legions of steel workers, operating engineers, demolition recovery experts, urban search and rescue teams from across the country, union tradesmen from the construction industry, and other recovery workers and volunteers  of all sorts, is but the latest casualty from that infamous day in 2001.  Many words have been and will be written about this man.  While his story is not entirely unique his own fight with cancer led him to fight on the behalf of others similarly stricken.  Pfeifer along with former demolition supervisor John Feal (who lost part of his left foot while working on “The Pile”) and founder of the Fealgood Foundation, took the fight for medical benefits coverage for “Ground Zero” workers to the corridors of power in Washington, DC.  They had to essentially shame the Congress into “doing the right thing”.  Their efforts paid off in 2016 when the Zadroga Act was permanently extended to provide health care for the approximately 36,000 people suffering from one of the 200 “approved related illnesses” who worked on The Pile until the site was cleared of wreckage in May 2002.

Yes, much has been said and written and more will be reported, said and written about Ray Pfeifer as he is laid to rest and afterwards.  His funeral will be attended by thousands, he will be eulogized and celebrated, respectfully interred and reverently remembered.  His name will forever be synonymous with the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and his legacy will stand the test of time and be measured in lives saved, illnesses treated, as well as his essential role in assuring the federal government’s despicably reluctant fulfillment of a moral contract they actively fought against.

It will be said that “words alone fail”, “no words exist to describe Ray” but there are words, words we are all familiar with, emotions and sentiments we share and can be spoken from a place of commonality; our shared struggles throughout the 16 years since our lives changed.  Our exclusive Community of 9/11 victims grows smaller with each death among us.  For each insidious pathological victory there will be a loss.  The inevitability of death, the fact that the path has been hastened, unnaturally shortened because of what we breathed in for all those months at The Site, The Pile, Ground Zero, by whatever designation one choses to call that hellish but sacred 16-acre plot cannot be denied. 

We were all younger then, perhaps a bit naive’ regarding responsibilities as far as our City and government would see our illnesses.  From the moment on September 12th, 2001 that then EPA Director Christie Todd Whitman declared the air at the still smoldering cauldron of Ground Zero was “safe to breath” and “posed no serious health risks” some of us questioned the validity of such a definitive declaration.  Common sense alone told us that it just couldn’t be, that there had to be something wrong with breathing that particulate-matter laden air.  But we are all far too familiar with that story, the stories of lives cut short, many from exotic, highly aggressive malignancies that initially perplexed much of the NYC medical community.  Sadly, too many of us learned the hard way.  But, from this vantage point as we prepare to put one of our own to rest, that is not the story that needs telling anymore.

If every cause needs a name and a face, Ray Pfeifer became the very public face of the disease ravaged segment of the 9/11 Community.  It was not a role he ever sought nor a cause he initially thought would be so complicated and protracted.  But he allowed us all in for his fight.  From his numerous hospitalizations and treatment protocols he permitted us to see what is normally a very private process.  Along the way our cause became his and his fight ours.  Even for the tens of thousands who never met the man, shook his hand, drank a beer with him, he emerged as familiar as a neighbor, brutally honest, courageous in his struggle, rarely seen without a smile. 

On Thursday and Friday, the populations of the Nassau County communities of East Meadow and Hicksville will soar exponentially as thousands descend to these locales for the Wake and Funeral, respectively, for FF Ray Pfeifer.  It will be, as all FDNY funerals are, a stirring tribute and solemn farewell.  For each attendee there will be dozens more who will pause to remember this man.  Yes, there are words to describe Ray Pfeifer, simple words, no too easily manipulated analogies.  Ray was a fine and decent man.  A devoted husband and father.  A NYC Firefighter.  A Proud MOS of Engine 40. Ray will forever be Honored, Remembered, and Respected for his Service and Sacrifices as well as for all he has done for so many.  Heaven is a better place today.  Be at peace, Sir.  Your work here is over. 

Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2017 © All Rights Reserved

Copyright Brooding Cynyc 2017 © All Rights Reserved