CLINTON HILL — Two men were ticketed Sunday night for loitering and gambling during a dominoes game at the pedestrian plaza on Fulton Street and Grand Avenue in what locals say is part of a larger police crackdown in the area.
Ernest Stroy, 60, of Clinton Hill, and his nephew Waymon Jones, 24, who was visiting from New Jersey, were slapped with tickets for illegal gambling during a dominoes game they said was harmless fun.
Jones, who showed his ticket to DNAinfo, said the group was first playing around the side of the store when police told them the game was over.
"Six of them hopped out of the van and the lady said, ‘You guys can’t play dominoes, you’ve got to wrap it up,’" he said.
"And we're all like, we’re all grown men, we're not harming anybody, we’re not doing any drugs. It’s not, like, dice. So they left us alone for a little bit."
The men moved the game to a table in the center of the triangle, Jones said, but when his uncle gave him $2 to run to the nearby bodega for him, an officer wrote them both tickets.
"Before I even get up, she tells me to 'sit down, don’t move,'" he said of the officer writing tickets.
According to a video shared with DNAinfo by a witness, at least seven officers circled around Stroy and Jones during the interaction, speaking with the men for several minutes before writing the tickets.
Stroy, who grew up on Cambridge Place, said while the price of the tickets wasn't listed on his ticket, the possible expense of the tickets bothered him less than the hassle and "harassment" from law enforcement.
"It’s wasting your time taking a day off of work to go fight it," he said. "And I’m struggling from check to check."
Police officers have been standing watch over the triangle for the last three nights, according to Colin Fittaheyi, who works at the bodega on the corner of Putnam Avenue and Grand Avenue.
Stroy said he and his friends were more hesitant to hang out in the triangle after the ticketing incident, which he thinks was the point.
"I think they just want us, basically, to stop coming around or stay in the house," he said, but added, "We’ve been doing this for years."
While Stroy acknowledged that there are a few people who drink and gamble on the side of the triangle, he said he and his friends were not doing anything wrong.
"We play chess. They’re playing checkers," he said, gesturing to a group of men in the triangle Tuesday night. "They’re not gambling. That’s what they do. We play dominoes, we play chess."
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.