Subject: Whitey's Passing - a modern day Brooklyn street sageTo all who are wondering why Whitey hasn't been patrolling his usual favorite place, 11th-12th/7th Avenue, I am sad to inform everyone he passed away last week. For many years, almost everyday, Whitey would come to hangout on this part of 7th Avenue in Park Slope. He swept the street, kept an eye on the city's services, and generally helped as he could. He was very helpful to the building owners, and always willing to talk and offer a little wisdom, which he had accumulated from a long and hard life, to anyone. He was rarely not seen in a conversation ... and he always made people smile. So long sir, you will be missed. Charlesbkyln Here is a Daily News article about Whitey from last summer ... for anyone interested. Author: Clem Richardson Cautionary tale from a Brooklyn street Friday, July 13th 2007, 4:00 AM Whitey has been after me. Six days a week, you can find John (Whitey) Glendinning working his hustle on the west side of Seventh Ave. between 11th and 12th Sts. in Park Slope. He keeps the sidewalks in front of businesses on that side of the block clean. Whitey also does other odd jobs, like sitting in double-parked cars to ward off ticket agents while the car owner runs an errand or eats a quick meal. He had more of a work load back when the South Slope was more of a working-class neighborhood and more folks knew him. But many of those people sold out and left. Most residents who care to know Whitey have made his acquaintance - on a good day, when his knees aren't killing him, he'll speak to you if you don't speak first. I can usually tell the new guys standing nearby when I pass him because their eyes get really wide between the time I say "Hey, Whitey!" and he replies, "How you doing, babe!" He knows my wife and daughters well enough to notice when one of them has a new hairstyle. A few months ago, this column profiled another Park Slope resident whom many of the folks on the block knew. The day after the column appeared, Whitey stopped me as I was headed home and said: "Hey, Slim (a variation of my name, no longer a comment on my girth). You write for The News? You should do a story on me!" Now, every reporter, columnist or copyeditor in this business gets this a lot, usually from someone who has no idea how the process works. Most times, though, it's not from someone you have to pass at least twice a day. After four weeks of twice-a-day entreaties, Whitey and I sat down outside Katina's restaurant to talk. I was not particularly moved by the first story. "When I was little, I was always getting inta trouble," Whitey said. "Cops was always picking me up. I had this head of blond hair, and the cops said they could see me a mile away. So I decided to dye it. I had this friend who did it for me, but when he was done, my hair was green!" Funny, but not exactly a column's worth of material. I was rummaging around in my mind for an excuse. I decided maybe we should get a few beers to soften the bad news, but Whitey said he didn't drink. "I've been on methadone for more than 35 years," he said. "I hate this stuff. It's one hundred times worse than heroin." Whitey is now 63 years old. He was born in Park Slope, at Lincoln Place and Fifth Ave. near the old Palace Food Market, to John and Rose Glendinning. His parents and only sibling, sister Emily, have passed away. He went to St. Augustine's School for elementary, middle and high school, but dropped out at the school's request. "I got into a lot of mischief, and they asked me to leave," he said. He already was in the street, running with his neighborhood gang, the Guineas. Periodically they rumbled with other gangs, such as the Bishops, the Apaches or the South Brooklyn Diapers ("They were all little guys," Whitey said.). But for the most part, the roughly 17-member gang played stickball, went to Manhattan to hang out in the West Village ("That's when the Village was the Village! The things you would see down there," he said.) and sang doo-wop tunes on the corner in the hopes of starting a musical career. Four of his crew even cut a demo tape, but it was a disaster. "Everybody kept trying to out-sing everybody else 'cause they wanted to be heard on the record," Whitey said. "We sounded horrible." He got his first heroin high at 16 or 17 - the date, like many, escapes him now - in an abandoned house at Fifth Ave. and St. Johns Place. "It was a macho-guy thing, like, 'Look at me, I take drugs,'" Whitey said. "I wanted to see what it was like." Two veteran junkies mainlined him, shooting the drug directly into his veins. They did the same the next day, and the next. One day when he didn't get a hit, he didn't feel so good. "I thought I was getting a cold," Whitey said. "Someone in the gang explained that I was hooked." From then, on life became about the next needle. Whitey admits he "did everything" to maintain his habit, from stealing to hustling. He visited shooting galleries from Harlem to deep in Brooklyn to get hooked up. He was married for eight years and had a daughter. The family lived in a fourth-floor apartment on the same Seventh Ave. block where he hustles still. His wife left him and remarried. He has seen his daughter, Karen, and his grandson twice since the family split up. You can assume Whitey wasn't that good at illegal hustles because he was sentenced to minimum-security prisons upstate "seven or eight" times. During one visit, prison counselors offered a deal - any junkies who started taking methadone to break their habits would be released after a four-week program. "I was thinking, 'Why spend all this time in prison when I can be out in four weeks?' So I signed up," he said. It would turn out to be a cruel union. "Methadone is good for some people, but it's hard to wean yourself off it," he said. According to the Drug Policy Information Clearinghouse of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Web site, methadone is harder to kick than heroin - something Whitey knows from experience. "Once you're on this thing, it's got you," Whitey said. "All but two of my teeth have dropped out. I don't wish this on my worst enemy." Whitey had a story after all. link mod edited to make link shorter
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Whitey's Passing - a modern day Brooklyn street sage
Subject: WhiteyThank you for that. I was wondering what happened, and when I saw a couple of bouquets of flowers, I feared the worst.
Subject: Re: Whitey
Malingerer » Thank you for that. I was wondering what happened, and when I saw a couple of bouquets of flowers, I feared the worst.Oh, I saw those flowers too! He was a nice guy.Ok, now I'm crazy. Another goal achieved.
FYI, they're taking donations at Naidre's for funeral costs and a memorial plaque for Whitey.
Subject: Further information - Street Naming soughtI believe the block is also trying to get enough signatures for a street naming for Whitey. The city requires 70% of the people in the immediate area. Janice will find you if you live near Naidre's ... Charlesbklyn
Subject: Whitey's funeral servicesFolks are meeting at Neidre's this Saturday, May 17. From there we are all walking over to Greenwood cemetery where Whitey's services will be held. More info about the service and times are posted on the door at Neidre's, as well as many other shops in the area.