Giovanni is not just a "creepy" dude - a few years ago, he physically attacked me in broad daylight in front of Taqueria on 7th Ave... put his hands around my neck to hold me back, and threatened me and my friends. Honestly, I thought he left the neighborhood, so I'm concerned to see this thread resurface and learn that he might still be around.
A few years back, I kept having these encounters with him. First, in the Met Foods on Vanderbilt - got up real close to me in line, mentioned how he wasn't there to actually buy anything, just to talk to me, followed me out. When I continued to brush off his advances, he jumped in his car and pulled up beside me, hollering out the window that I was a "good sport." It happened again, walking to the subway down Flatbush one morning - I was wearing the same dress as the first time - and again I was told I was a "good sport" when he'd decided he was done. A few months later, in Prospect Perk, back when Mary still owned the place, he followed me in, leaning in way too close to me, hitting on me. When I tried to leave, again, he told me I was a "good sport" and I saw him go into his house on Sterling. I couldn't believe this dude had done this to me more than once, and I told my friends the story and started avoiding the block.
A few months go by, and me and big group of friends are sitting on the bench in front of Taqueria waiting for a table and he walks up and gets in the takeout line. I say to my friend, loudly enough for him to hear, "Hey, that's Good Sport!" and start to tell them all what a charmer this guy is. He walks over to me, and says, "if you've got something to say, why don't you say it to my face?" So I stand up and say, "I am saying it to your face! I'm saying it loud enough the whole neighborhood can hear!" and my partner, sitting a few people away, asks him to just leave us alone. Instead, he goes over to him and makes his hand into the shape of a gun (?) and puts it against my partner's head, saying something about how he should step up. I walk up to Giovanni and tell him to leave us alone, and he reaches out and puts his hands around my neck, sort of holding me, sort of pushing me back.
At this point, with his hands around my neck, we sort of struggled, me yelling at him and yelling at the people in Taqueria to call the police (none of whom did, of course, looking at us like we were two warring gangs, not a woman being assaulted on the street.) Eventually, I had torn his shirt, and we were sort of pinned up against the building and I was thinking of a way to get out of his grip, positioning myself to knee him in the balls - when my partner's fist flew over my shoulder and into his jaw. He let me go and staggered off, yelling how he was gonna come and find my partner. I yelled back something like, "I know where you live, and every woman in this neighborhood is gonna know where you live! Sterling between Flatbush and Vanderbilt, everyone will know!" One of my friends followed him quietly as he walked down 7th, texting me where he was.
One of the people I was with had called the police, and a few minutes later they arrived. Being the ever-helpful NYPD, the cop, upon hearing my story, asked, "What, so he was askin' you on a date, and you didn't like it?" They told me that since my partner punched him, if they went after him they'd have to arrest my partner too. "And if he comes after me, or after us?" I asked. If he did it again, I was assured, then I could file for some sort of protective order. Very helpful to know.
I went into the restaurant and sat down with my friends, very visibly shaken. Two women at the next table, whose names I don't know but who live right there on Sterling, told me that they knew him, told me his name and that he had a reputation on the block for following girls. The next day I went and talked to Mary at Prospect Perk, who told me that if he ever came in while I was there, I could come behind the counter and she would take care of it. And I didn't go anywhere in the neighborhood by myself for months, constantly scared that he'd be somewhere waiting for me, or waiting for my partner. It took months for me to be able to walk down any block in Prospect Heights without looking over my shoulder.
Now a few years have passed without seeing him, and I just assumed he was gone. Ladies, I guess we're not so lucky.