By Warren Talbot
---- — In years past, MacDougal Street in New York City’s Greenwich Village attracted the likes of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, novelists Ernest Hemingway and Jack Kerouac and celebrities such as Marlon Brando and a young John F. Kennedy.
It was once even home to Eleanor Roosevelt, who lived in a townhouse there after the death of her husband, President Franklin Roosevelt. A cafe on the street was featured in the move “The Godfather.”
Today, MacDougal Street is a trendy destination for people, mostly the young.
“It’s a huge bar area ... a major night life spot,” Steve Brown, a reporter for The Daily News, said yesterday. He is among New York City reporters covering the savage beating of Kevin McCarron, 24, of Andover, early Sunday morning.
It’s not unusual for groups of people to be out at all hours of the day and night on MacDougal Street, which is also near the New York University campus.
That was the case about 5 a.m. when a group of nine people including McCarron, left the Artichoke Pizza at 111 MacDougal St., and crossed paths with some young people from the New York City area and got into a quarrel, according to New Y ork police.
Amateur video apparently shows McCarron on the street being severely beaten. A passerby recorded video of the beating that appeared on YouTube, The Daily News and other media. It has since been taken down from YouTube.
New York police say McCarron was beaten unconscious with a bat, tire iron and blackjack and stomped as he lay on the ground. He suffered a fractured skull and serious internal injuries. His brother, Patrick, sustained less serious injuries, according to reports.
The NYPD arrested two men — Hatem Farsakh, 24, and Sherif Rizk, 22, both of Brooklyn. They were charged with attempted murder, assault and gang assault.
Farsakh is free on $5,000 bail and was interviewed by The Daily News yesterday. Reporter Brown said Farsakh appeared “at ease” even though he was facing serious charges.
Farsakh told The Daily News he works as a process server for a living. He said he was acting more in defense of his cousin and friend and believes the other guys started the fight.
“I was eating a falafel sandwich at Mamoun’s, you guys know Mamoun’s? Great sandwich. So, I was eating there and then I come out and then I see a crowd of people like pushing and shoving and screaming. So, I go out there, right and I’m trying to break it up and I’m like grabbing these white boys and I’m like slapping them on the face,” Farsakh told The Daily News.
Mamoun’s is at 119 MacDougal St.
Farsakh said “absolutely,” when asked if he thought the others started the clash.
“And then I guess we just started brawling. We started fighting,” Farsakh told The Daily News.
Rizk was scheduled to be arraigned last night in Manhattan.
His father, Ahmed Rizk, told The Daily News his son was out celebrating his recent graduation from Brooklyn College as well as a friend’s birthday.
He said his son was trying to defend himself in the melee.
“First, he was trying to defend himself. Sherif was on the floor and everybody was punching by his foot, his face, his legs,” Rizk said at the second-floor Bay Ridge apartment he shares with his son.
“They went to Greenwich Village. He said there was like 20 guys, mostly drunk, they were beating up his friend,” the father told The Daily News.
“My son just finished college one week ago,” said Rizk, who said he works as a limo driver. “He never was in a fight before. He never drank; he never did drugs. I’m shocked.”
Ahmed Risk said his son was picked up by police Tuesday after connecting his license plate number to the scene.
“Yesterday the police came to me here and they told me what happened. I gave them his telephone number and his place of work. They went over there and they arrested him. That’s it, that’s all I know,” he told The Daily News.
Rizk said his son, who works part-time at a cell phone store, was planning to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs.
The NYPD was working yesterday to identify others who joined in beating McCarron, and charge them.