A drug bust at a popular Fort Greene bodega last week has reportedly "rattled" the neighborhood, reminding residents that while the media might paint a picture of Brooklyn as the land of "artisanal food-and-drink playpen[s]," sometimes old school Brooklyn still cuts through that delicate veil of gentrification.
The bodega (located next to the Zagat-praised Stonehome Wine Bar at Lafayette Ave and South Portland Ave) has been around since the 1970s, handed down to owner Ralph Jawad, 48, by his father. Last week, Jawad and two other employees were arrested after selling marijuana to an undercover cop, and a raid on the deli produced hefty contraband like assorted prescription pills, marijuana, a couple guns and $21,000 in cash, according to narcotics officers. And some Fort Greene residents are pretty shocked, especially long-time residents who remembered buying candy from Jawad before the boutiques moved in: "He was a real long-standing anchor in the community," Robert Perris, the district manager of Community Board 2, told the Times. "I never once heard an allegation that drugs were being sold there."
But a few newer transplants say they were totally wise to Jawad's alleged second gig, with one woman telling the Times that it was "a well-known neighborhood secret" that the bodega was dealing drugs, and Houston native Lauren Wills (who moved into the 'hood in 2004) noting, "No way that place is selling enough sandwiches to pay the rent." So no matter what your broker tells you, a yoga studio and a titanic Nets arena won't necessarily cancel out Brooklyn's, um, grittier side. But that just means it's easier for you to keep it real.