“It is a big city, ” said Glenn Kelly, 57, who has lived in the neighborhood for 36 years and helped found Friends of Carroll Park, which looks after the park. When he first led the group in the early 1990s, graffiti and vandalism were common, he said; now the playgrounds are crowded with young children.
“I don’t mean to dismiss what has happened, ” Mr. Kelly said, “but we don’t gain anything by getting all bent out of shape. This is not unusual in human history — even though it is unusual for our park.”
News of the episodes spread after Mr. Kelly’s wife, Katia Kelly, wrote about them on her neighborhood blog, Pardon Me for Asking. A local resident had e-mailed Ms. Kelly to say his teenage son had spent several hours in the hospital after being knocked unconscious during the afternoon fight. “Tell your kids to steer clear, ” he wrote. No one was hurt in the shooting.
Though the park was full of children on Wednesday afternoon, the recent violence was not far from parents’ minds.
“This is where they play before we go to dinner, ” said Maria Lozada, holding her toddler daughter. She said that she would be more cautious when teenagers seemed to be gathering in the park, but that she would not stop coming.
City Councilman Brad Lander, a Democrat who represents Carroll Gardens, said the local police inspector had assured him that the precinct would be sending more plainclothes and uniformed officers to the park area.
He said there was a “reasonable likelihood” that the afternoon fight and the evening shooting were connected.
Rubbing up against the brownstones and cafes of Carroll Gardens are the Red Hook and Gowanus housing projects. Several teenagers in the park said the fight had broken out between a gang from the Red Hook Houses and other teenagers.
“I feel like there’s such a divide in this neighborhood, ” said Sophie McKane, who was sharing a cup of frozen yogurt with her young sons on a park bench. “It’s so wealthy and gentrified, but there’s real deprivation alongside incredible wealth.”
But many of the teenagers who come to the park after school are not from Red Hook or Gowanus, instead living as far away as Harlem, the Bronx, and Crown Heights and Brownsville, both in Brooklyn. They commute by subway every morning from neighborhoods very different from Carroll Gardens.
To T. J. Smith, 17, a senior at Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies who said he rides three subway lines from his home in Brownsville to get to school each day, the contrast can be surreal.