Thursday, June 6, 2024

After 25 Years on Avenue A, Juicy Lucy will move following vandal attack

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

After 25 years at 85 Avenue A, René Henricks is ready to pack up and move Juicy Lucy. 

According to Henricks, on Tuesday morning around 11, a man carrying a shovel and another tool walked up to the juice and coffee shop, smashed its front window, and menaced the counterperson before continuing north on Avenue A toward Tompkins Square Park. 

Henricks shared an image from the surveillance video...
... as well as a low-resolution video of the attack...

 

Henricks (pictured below) told me in an interview yesterday that "that's it, the last straw," and she's relocating her business from here between Fifth Street and Sixth Street in the days ahead.
Tuesday's incident aside, she has noticed an uptick in unhinged behavior and a general menacing undercurrent in the area since the pandemic. 

She has pleaded with the landlord to install a gate to protect the area where people camp out in front of Takahachi and DROM next to her storefront but to no avail. Henricks mentioned a fatal overdose in the nook a few months ago. She also said that she has to clean up needles and personal belongings daily.
The unnamed employee of two years working during the attack said that the man "seemed angry with the world and frustrated by the world" and noted that neither she nor Henricks had seen him before. He didn't say anything to her during the incident. 

"I'm angry too! It's my responsibility to keep my staff safe, the landlord's responsibility to keep the building safe, and the Mayor and the city's responsibility to keep us all safe," Henricks said. "We have a good business, a quiet business, a family business."

I contacted the 9th Precinct, which confirmed the report and said that the detective's squad was investigating the matter. The perpetrator is, at present, unknown. The charge listed on the police report is felony criminal mischief. 

Henricks, a longtime East Village resident, said she loves the neighborhood and plans to relocate nearby. The Juicy Lucy kiosk on First Avenue and First Street will remain open with extended hours.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear this happened and understand why she feels like she has to close this location. The employee must have been terrified. The East Village was rough when I moved here 35 years ago but these random attacks in recent years are different and scarier.

NOTORIOUS said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I also work in the neighborhood and have to deal with this element on a daily basis. It's very scary because these incidents are random and all too frequent. The NYPD do the best they can to keep clear encampments and move people along but they come right back. This is 100% the Mayor's problem and he's doing a miserable job at keeping us safe.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Back in the "crack head days" of the 80's, it was easy enough to keep an eye open for anyone not acting "normal" and just avoid them as best as possible. Today, it seems as though society has reached the expiration date for sanity with all of these bizarre incidents popping up all over the place.

What's worse, there's no clear cut way to identify these folks or protect one's self from them.

I'm so sorry for Ms Henricks who has been a model business person all these years.

Anonymous said...

I work on the same block. The last few years have gotten way more violent and scary. Very sad to see them go. Hope they move nearby so I can still grab my juice on the way to work.

Anonymous said...

That is just a shame. It just shows the downward spiral our neighborhood is caught in. Having lived here for 65 years, it’s sad to watch this. Hang in there Renee

Anonymous said...

We love you Juicy Lucy and are so sorry to hear all this. Please remain nearby - do you really have to relocate?

Anonymous said...

This is unfortunate news as they are a beloved part of our community. So many walking about are mentally ill and without proper access to professional therapeutic services, and in some cases, intervention. Businesses are now feeling the weight of this growing issue. Our city needs to do better. Wishing Rene and her staff the best in their new location.

Anonymous said...

Another wonderful consequence of our revolving door justice system that is too busy claiming social justice wins to think about all the violent reoffenders getting put back on the street again and again. Maybe Alvin Bragg should work at an Avenue A storefront for a month or two and see how safe he feels.

Anonymous said...

I live less than half-a-block from this Ave.A Juicy Lucy, and I'm a regular customer. The juice is expensive, but fantastic! Rene, pls. reconsider the move~! I'll patronize your store even more if you stay, I promise.

I hope this crime wave will pass. I'm afraid the police need to be more vigilant; I disagree with the comment (8:53) that the "NYPD do the best they can." They should get out of the cars and do a lot more old-fashioned walking-the-beat.

Coincidentally (I hope): As I said, I'm a neighbor, and (believe it or not) the one and only East Village street crime I've been a victim of actually happened...in this same Juicy Lucy store!

Several months ago, I had just gone shopping at Key Foods, and I stopped at Juicy Lucy for two bottles of juice (I prefer the juice there over juice from Key Foods). I put my grocery bags down on the little bench on the right inside the tiny Juicy Lucy store. As I was doing my transaction at the counter, a thief slipped in behind me and snatched my big, swag-logoed canvas tote bag full of (heavy) groceries -- right off the bench in Juicy Lucy!

I didn't see it happen, because it happened behind my back and the thief was being fast and stealthy; the women at the counter didn't see it, either, because her sightline was blocked and she was busy with my purchase.

But it happened. I had to go back to Key Foods with another bag, and replace the stolen groceries.

I'm still keeping my eye open as I walk around the East Village, watching for that tote bag.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, we had "beat cops". They knew the neighborhood and the locals. Maybe it's time to go back to patrolling the neighborhood.

XTC said...

@10:25- Sorry, but this is not a Police matter (more cops). It's a deep rooted societal one. The EV has always been a magnet for creeps, junkies, petty thieves, and the mentally ill. Short of bloody murder people don't go to jail anymore. Nutjobs can't be incarcerated either and as far treatment they can't be forced to take meds if they don't want to. Probably since the mid 1900's the LES has been kind of like a Petri dish for cultivating creeps and lowlifes. Maybe be thankful it's not even worse than it is.........

Anonymous said...

Mental health issues are what's going to sink NYC.

Mental health "care" is an oxymoron. The subways and the streets are the de facto "mental health facilities" these days. Watch your back, always.

PS: I have lived in this neighborhood for over 50 years, and NOW is the worst I've ever seen, in terms of absolutely unpredictable crazy behaviors. The streets are one big open-air psychiatric ward.

Anonymous said...

This whole stretch is a crap-hole. Goes hand in hand with the drug activity in the park.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, 10:25. Sorry that happened to you. How awful. I would have screamed. Trust no one is what I say. You can't leave anything unattended for even a second in NYC unlike Japan where trust and respect is paramount amongst neighbors and the public alike. No one takes anything. Even wallets or purses or bags or bikes which are unlocked. They are always returned to the owner if lost if everything intact.

I am a long term resident of alphabet city. It pains me to admit that our beloved neighborhood is rapidly changing into a virtual hell on earth. Ever since Adams reduced funding for sanitation and maintenance in parks and trash bins, there is a lack of decorum. And again, in Japan, there are no trash bins on the streets, which is why it is so clean. Residents have to dispose of garbage in offices, businesses, and homes. Respect and decorum, which is sorely lacking in the US, especially in NYC. Perhaps this is a bit off topic, but it encapsulates the inequities of a broken system which doesn't seem to look after tax paying citizens who want to co-exist in safe spaces, especially when some of the mentally ill who are either off meds or who aren't seeking treatment wreak havoc upon others in malicious or violent ways. This is just one of the many detriments to living here aside from soaring crime.

I also hope Rene reconsiders her decision to remain. There is such a thing as strength in numbers. I do happen to notice a larger police presence, especially around the migrant center. Too bad they were not present during the act of crime in your shop. Hope things get better, Rene. Take care and reconsider. Best smoothies in the EV.

Carol from East 5th Street said...

Not the fault of the NYPD (already on overtime dealing with Palestine protests- we need more cops) or Mayor Adams (not that I'm a big fan).

We need to do away with bail reform. More arrests would not help. There are no consequences for practically any crime short of murder.

And we need federal help to fund hospitals for the mentally ill. Most people are too young to know that Ronald Reagan cancelled federal help to the states to fund these institutions.

Anonymous said...

I find it pretty sad that some people say "oh what can we do its a mental health crisis".

You arrest these people and lock them up. And most importantly, stop voting for judges who release these people back in the street. The safety of law abiding citizens needs to take priority overall the comfort of mentally ill criminals.

Anonymous said...

They* say that there's a lot of P2P meth going around for the last three years.

*I dunno, really.

Anonymous said...

VERY SAD!

First time I ever had fresh juice was there.. as a long term resident of the immediate area.. I can say very bad right there.. we need sweeps of the mentally ill and they need treatment not jail.. we cannot just leave people to rot on street!

Seems a little better post covid but still so many Junkies/Mentally ill .. so over it! ready to leave .. been here 30 years

Anonymous said...

I worked at the poster shop French Kisses on St. Marks back in the 80s during the crack wars. Addicts would come in and steal posters all the time, but they never targeted ME. The street level mayhem we’re seeing happen post-pandemic seems to me to be very much up close and personal, and I’d hate to have to face the public for a living these days. It’s so much worse.

Brian said...

Problem is, it takes a lot of resources to help mentally ill people. If they don't want help, then it is like flushing money down a toilet. If they do want help, it is going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars just to treat one person.

Anonymous said...

What drugs are these people on ?
CRACK? METH?

do not think heroin makes you violent right?

Anonymous said...

Just a couple weeks ago a woman who has suddenly appeared on that stretch over the last months, who is always clearly high, was pacing erratically up and down the block, screaming and talking to herself, going in and out of the corner store, just generally disturbing the peace. Cops were called. They rolled up to her in their car, didn't even get out to talk to her let alone go into any of the stores on the block or talk to passersby. She mumbled something incoherent for a few minutes, the police drove off, she went back to her public display of inebriation. It's so frustrating when people are hurting both themselves and others and it seems we as a society cannot and will not do anything productive about it.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry the comments on this post are ridiculous. We have one of the highest paid police departments in the world. (And this is not “worse than the 80s” just look at the crime stats. ) it’s a crisis and it’s SCARY especially because of how random it is but it’s not crime the same way, and can not be solved in the same way. these are people who have no clue where they are or what they are doing . These are extremely mentally ill people . This is because we have crumbling health care infrastructure and almost non existent mental health care help in this city. We funnel everything into one of the highest paid police forces in the world. Even interviews with the police talk about how this is a failure of mental health system. Just look at other countries that do not have this problem and what they spend their money on vs America. And sorry what the fuck are people bringing up the Palestine protests for? How can you believe that people being upset that 50k people being killed with American tax payer dollars in another country relates any way to this? Other than the fact that people SHOULD be upset that this is what our money goes to vs basic health care and housing

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Thank you for shedding some clarity on a very complicated but obvious issue.

Anonymous said...

I’d be interesting in hearing what the Mayor can do better.

Anonymous said...

We predicted a breakdown of societal order post pandemic and it is proven true.
There's not much that humans and governments could do, unless they breakout from political correct norms.

Anonymous said...

It's not just in the EV, it's a problem citywide. I was on the M34 bus one morning last fall when a guy got on in the back, sat down next to me and suddenly punched me square in the face, screaming gibberish at me. This was the fourth such incident since the pandemic started but the first where actual contact was made with me.

People nearby just scattered to the front of the bus, terrified. The guy got off and walked down 34th St. I called 911 and waited for the police for an hour before I just went home. AFAIK, they never showed up.

That was enough for me. 20-year resident of NYC but I'm too old to put up with that kind of bullshit. I left in January and I'm glad I did.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reporting on this. I'm so sorry this has happened to Juicy Lucy -- a mainstay of our (mostly) great neighborhood. I have to say: All of New York is becoming more and more hostile to regular folk just trying to live their lives. The other day on the subway, a deranged man got in my face for no reason and started threatening me. It was terrifying. It's so disrespectful for people to bring up "crime statistics" in trying to gaslight those of us who feel unsafe. Murders and rapes and serious assaults, etc., all show up in crime stats. They're obviously extremely serious crimes and should be taken seriously. But! This type of thing isn't logged on a police blotter. So stop telling those of us who have experienced such things (and I've got to believe that's nearly everyone who lives in New York) that we're not seeing what's happening in front of our own eyes.

Christopher Pelham said...

I also am so sorry this happened. I walked by there to/from the dry cleaner just minutes before that. I hate this. I really hope Juicy Lucy does not move or moves close by.

I agree with the other posters who have noted this is largely a mental health crisis, not a matter of bail. The point of bail reform was that many people who were unlikely to be convicted (who were arrested by overzealous NYPD) were having to stay in jail for weeks and months awaiting trial because they couldn’t afford bail. If someone is convicted and is deemed dangerous, they can be sentenced to time.

Likely many of the shoplifters are repeat offenders and that’s a separate issue from mentally ill homeless with woefully insufficient social services and housing options attacking people randomly. It’s more they are off their meds than because of taking heroin or something, although I believe the attack on Ray was by a junkie who needed money to buy drugs.

Anonymous said...

This is 10:25 again (victim of tote-bag-snatching in Juicy Lucy):

6:30, I'm very sorry about your bus-punching -- outrageous and intolerable. I hope there was no lasting damage.

To all you saying the EV post-pandemic crime epidemic is due to underfunding of or decline in mental health/social services:

That argument doesn't hold up, because NYC/NY state government funding of, or quality of, mental health/social services was not notably richer pre-pandemic, or in earlier years/decades.

I don't have the statistics (surely there have been peaks and valleys over the years/decades in government funding of mental health/social services, and surely someone can point to some short outlier period of richer funding) but: Over the long haul, government funding of mental health/social services hasn't been cut, post-pandemic, by any significant-enough order of magnitude to make your case.

If, inflation adjusted, NYC & NY state are spending roughly the same now on mental health/social services as the average spending over the 50s,60s,70s,80s,90s,00s,10s, we'd still be in the current crime wave. Government funding on mental health/social services hasn't dropped enough to make your causation case (funding's probably stayed about even).

Obviously you advocate for more government funding, now, of mental health/social services. But advocating that doesn't prove your causation argument. If you argue the underfunding is the cause of the crime epidemic, then you have to explain why we didn't suffer this crime epidemic pre-pandemic, when government funding of mental health/social service was of the same general order of magnitude as it is now (I think).

Anonymous said...

I agree with many posters here that the root cause of this is a lack of adequately funded mental health care. Because NYC is more of a pedestrian city, we especially see it out on the street, I think, than your average less urban place.

I'm unsure why we are seeing more of this or feels like we are as of late, as I'm less knowledgable on all the policies and history items that more well versed posters say above. But as others say above, sounds like the seismic shifts of major cuts in funding mental health facilities, bail reform, and the huge investment that's needed to truly reach those who need the mental health care AND convincing them to take it, is part of this.

What would it take to adequately tackle it in NYC? Bloomberg & Bezos giving like 50% of their net worth?

Lasirenanyc said...

Wow Rene, so sorry to hear. Sending healling, abundant angels 😇 on your journey.

Concerned Citizen said...

I hope everyone commenting here also takes the time to vote in the election that counts, the NYC primary in a couple weeks June 25, 2024. We need competant council people. We need people that care about all of us in the East Village and wants to help reduce crime and are not worried about decreasing the number of people in jail by keeping them on the streets

Anonymous said...

Also just want to say its very easy to say "more money for mental health care". but we lack the facilities and the laws to make any of the funding actually make a long term impact. Talk to San Franciso about this and how they changed their tune and leadership.
Mental Health is a broad term with no simple solution. Its easy to diagnose it as an issue and say more funding but that doesnt change people or the laws. The reality is people need to be forced to take their meds in institutions. Yeah that is a nightmare in the past but so is bail reform and the lack of caring about these quality of life issues for the average person.

Anonymous said...

I grew up here and yes there were some scary and depressing aspects but it was mostly predictable and we knew what to avoid.
Now the scary stuff is everywhere .
Even on buses which used to be reliably peaceful.

Another difference: in the “old days” there was some community ethos, most people were in the same situation,

Now things are super gentrified- wealthy have their luxury apartments and cool restaurants.
Everyone else is struggling - and dealing with loss of neighborhood plus pervasive crime, menacing people everywhere, trash etc

M said...

Anon @3:57 you are so right. So very sorry René Henricks. You have a great business and such good quality. I walked down A from 7th to 3rd last night around 9:30 and the juxtaposition of mentally ill, homeless and junkies in need of social services to kids out dining was striking. I have lived in the neighborhood for decades and seen social services deteriorate and more mentally ill on the streets than ever while this mayor just keeps taking away more services and handing money to the cops at the behest of his donors (who also pay his legal defense against corruption charges). The neighborhood used to have beat cops and even cops on horses who would really patrol and have a presence. (Heard about the cop city Adams is building? Costs over $220 million.) By the way, it was much more dangerous in the 70-80s so have some perspective folks. This is all due to politics and lack of political will. Pay attention, become activists, and vote the next election. Mayoral election 11.4.25.

Anonymous said...

It's convenient to label all of these people mentally ill and maybe it makes people feel better, but most mentally ill people do not commit crimes. In fact, it's rare. Also, even if in some cases these men are mentally ill, it is impossible to force them into long-term treatment.

elyse said...

I've been in the East Village over 30 years and never wanted to leave until now. What can we do to stop the violence? I do not feel safe.