Tuesday evening the police blocked off the Bushwick Ave to traffic, a firetruck sprayed water to wash Erica's blood off of the pavement, and a riderless bicycle lay against the curb looking deceptively unharmed.

On Tuesday Erica Abbott was returning home on her bike from a job interview. She only had a few blocks to go when she died. On a stretch of Bushwick Avenue where speeding cars love to run the light at Anslie, potholes converge to form the roadway, and a soulless construction company is in such a big rush to complete a luxury condo development that it blocks the street with debris continually, Erica was crushed to death at around 7pm. She was obeying traffic laws and wearing a helmet.

She was from my community. We brought our dogs to the same dog run. We lived within blocks. We biked the same streets. I have to bike the same portion of Bushwick Avenue where she died to make a legal turn onto my block whenever I return home.

Wednesday night I lit a candle in her honor. I attended a memorial for her in the Cooper Park dog run. I met her inconsolably grieving parents and had nothing to offer them but tears. They already had plenty of those. The man who attempted CPR on her was there holding her tiny bearded Brussels griffon, banjo. Banjo seemed to be the only dog at the park not frolicking. It was a good night to be a dog. As the dogs ran, and wrestled, and had epic tugging wars with knotted ropes the people awkwardly approached Erica’s parents with condolences or milled around in shock.

I learned that she was a dancer. And that many of her friends are my friends. I learned that I knew someone who had a crush on her and would be both elated and intimidated to talk to the pretty girl when he would see her walking her dog. I learned she had two sisters out on the west coast. I learned she was a Buddhist and that she babysat for 3 local children who loved her.

When I returned home from the memorial service the police were out in force on Bushwick Ave. They were hassling every cyclist that came by. They demanded to see ID. The pile of rubble that killed Erica was still blocking a portion of the roadway. The NYPD had missed the point yet again.

This pile of garbage was upright on Wednesday but hadn't been cleared from the roadway. Irene blew a portion of it over and it stayed there for days and killed a cyclist.

On Thursday the construction debris that killed Erica was finally moved out of the street. Now it blocks half of the sidewalk. Last Saturday during Irene it had blown over into the southbound lane and remained there for three days. The neighbors had called 311 about unsafe and illegal practices on the work site several times to no avail. As recently as Sunday a report to 311 was placed to report the site for flooding the basement of the house next door. Nothing was done. And now a woman is dead.

Hey, NYPD, if you wanna hassle someone please hassle these folks. Their negligence killed someone.

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