Herkimer’s Historic Crack House Keeper

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by Stephen Ames Berry

Herkimer New York now proudly numbers among its historic gems a reputed former crack house, complete with a crack house keeper.

Fomer Herkimer crack house at 318 Pleasant Avenue. It has a crack house keeper
Reputed former crack house at 318 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer, NY, empty now except for its caretaker.

318’s a big dilapidated multifamily house, sold this past June and   emptied of all, or so we thought–until the crack house keeper emerged during one of our recent morning walks and belligerently tumbled into our camera lens. One of his roles is apparently to serve as a still-living example to visitors and passersby of the destruction caused by drug addiction. (Apologies for the video quality–I was holding an 84 lb Chow with my free hand. Bear’s always juiced by the scents around 318. It’s her favorite sniffing spot in the ‘hood since suddenly-vanished Douglas Barton’s garage at 333 Pleasant Avenue burned down.)

The crack house keeper abuses one of us with “Dance for me granny!” He seems to be accusing us of photographing “us.”(?)  (We weren’t photographing that morning, but were delighted to do so. Our cameras are always thirsty.)

The keeper’s speech is rambling and sometimes slurred, his cognition and critical thinking skills seemingly impaired. He’s either a drug addict or superbly playing the role. With our next door neighbor Curtis Cool gone, Herkimer’s street harassment’s fallen to him.

Herkimer’s Crack House Keeper Brags of his Criminal history

The lad brags of his criminal history and having foiled the law. He appeared to blame us for the long overdue scrutiny Herkimer is receiving from federal and state counter-narcotics authorities and their surveillance drones. And for our having a video-centric, crime-focused Herkimer website. At first he says he doesn’t believe in drones. Then says you can buy them at Walmart. (Yeah, but not the type watching over Sparky here and his chums.) The source of whatever pathetic money he may have once made hustling drugs from Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue has been snuffed out by ongoing state and federal law enforcement operations. (He does shares my perception of the efficacy of the Herkimer Police. )

crack house keeper’s camera-shy Woman

Not shown in the clip is a stocky gray-hooded figure, who carefully kept off camera–she’s one of neighboring Melodie Schulze’s associates. She may have stiffened the lad’s desire to harass us. Melodie Schulze herself, strangely absent from the street she usually haunts, was our first Pleasant Avenue neighbor to greet us after we moved to Herkimer.

We wish 318 Pleasant Avenue better times under it’s new owner, whose name we’re unearthing. Under all that grime is a capacious 19th century house that could again serve as a home for Herkimer’s hardworking, law-abiding families.

Looking up

A few hours after we parted from the crack house keeper, I heard helicopters. Lots. Looking up, I saw 5 identical gray helicopters in close formation passing over Herkimer Village, headed quickly north. If you’re unfortunate enough not to live in our pastoral village, all that’s north of us are a few smaller villages and then the Great North Woods of the Southern Adirondacks. Some of our more prosperous local criminals relax at their “camps” up there: nice rural acreage with one or more permanent structures. (A camp with a babbling brook is preferred.)

Hard to believe, but none of the helicopters looked like this:


“Some people have no chance.”

As for Herkimer’s crack house keeper, he reminds me a bit of Nick, after he’d become a drug addict, in and out of jail. One of my high school behavior students, Nick was a gifted artist and a fine poet from a horrific home who bested all of tony Sarasota’s entitled older teens to take first prize in the county’s annual poetry contest. Nick died of a fentanyl overdose a few years ago. He was 24.  As my old friend Crazy the Spy once said in a very different context, “Some people have no chance.”

Author: herkimerblog

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan