Who is Joey Crack? I was on my way to the subway a few days ago when I heard all this honking behind me. I turned around to look and there were two hearses. But the honking was coming from the vehicle behind the hearses, an SUV. And behind that was another SUV, blasting music, with a woman hanging out the back seat, driver side window, shaking a Yankees shirt that said Joey Crack at me and this other dude walking down the sidewalk. The other guy was going the opposite direction down the sidewalk and we passed one another just as the woman slowly drove past me. She ignored me (perhaps because I am white, perhaps because I looked nervously away) and shook the shirt at the other dude and said "pick it up!" He sheepishly shook his shoulders at her, a "what do you want me to do" sort of gesture, smiled and kept on walking. The funeral entourage drove past me and I made a mental note to look Joey Crack up on the internet.
What I found on the internet is an article published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on July 2, 2007 which says that Joseph Vargas, known around the neighborhood as "Joey Crack", whose last known address was 353 Stockholm Street (I used to walk down that block all the time, for years, it's right by the DeKalb stop on the L train), Bushwick/Ridgewood, NY, was shot in the chest by Dandre Yelverton (of Hempstead, LI). Jaquan Petty was driving the car. All this happened when Joey Crack was at the car wash getting his 2007 Land Rover cleaned. Apparently he took his vehicle there every day. The article says there's a memorial for Joey Crack on the side of the car wash garage. It also says there is one on the corner of Stockholm and Irving, about six blocks from where I live.
My favorite part of the article is this: "A car wash customer who would not give his name added, 'No one’s going to talk. It’s Bushwick.'" And this: "Like many others in the neighborhood who did not want to speak about Vargas, Will said silence is a form of protection in the neighborhood. 'It’s a Bushwick thing,' he said." Will, according to the article, is known around the neighborhood as "Chill Will."
Chill Will and Joey Crack. I wonder if anyone who knows them will ever come across this? I was just walking down the street and using internet search engines...
(And if anyone tells you Bushwick is the new Williamsburg kick them. At best it's the new Williamsburg if you're talking about Williamsburg, circa 1991. In terms of what they mean, the person who says "this is the new that", Greenpoint is really the new Williamsburg. I know what I'm talking about, natch.)