In 1990, David Dinkins had just begun his term as the city’s first Black mayor, and tensions between the Black and Lubavitch Hasidic communities in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn had started to reach a boiling point.
When Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old Black boy from a Guyanese family, falls victim to a fatal car accident in the summer of 1991, four days of turmoil ensue, leading to two deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of arrests. The riot would ultimately change how New Yorkers think about politics, policing, anti-semitism, and racism.
What actually happened over the course of those four days, and what was left out of the news cycle to make it more digestible?
As a Black, Jewish New Yorker, Emmy award-winning journalist Collier Meyerson has a personal connection to the Crown Heights riot and has set out to uncover the truth behind these deadly days and their impact.
“Love Thy Neighbor,” a new podcast from Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios, opens with the moment Chabad-Lubavitchers and Carribbean immigrants began settling in the Crown Heights area and follows the facts all the way through to the violent policing tactics Americans still see today.
“There’s a little known riot that happened 30 years ago on the streets of Brooklyn, but what came to be known as the Crown Heights riot impacted politics and policing in this city forever," said Collier Meyerson. “Telling this story through a new lens can teach us a lot about how we got to where we are, not just as a city, but as a nation, and I'm glad to do so with Pineapple Street Studios."
The podcast features interviews with Crown Heights residents from both communities, journalists, and activists to get the full scope of this turning point in New York City history - including the election of former mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Beginning February 15, the entire 5-part series is bingeable only on Audacy.