New York Shitty Photos Du Jour: The Word On The Street

McGuinness Boulevard June 4 2015 nys

As spotted today, June 4th, on McGuinness Boulevard. While I am on the subject of dissent I would like to share with you, gentle readers, my latest snow globe project! While not yet complete I think you will agree it is quite wonderful.

DNAinfo Screencap1It was recently brought to my attention that our Mayor had a press event at Rockaway’s brand-spanking new boardwalk. This is in and of itself not interesting. Rather, what is that he/his created a “Free Speech Zone”. This was well removed from said “event” and therein any/all protesters were “free” to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Well, I have a problem with this kind of thing and, more importantly, the NYCLU and New York Press Club did as well. (You can read DNA.info’s article by clicking the image to the left or by clicking here.) I am not an attorney. I do not portray one on television. However, I do not think I am incorrect when I write that by creating a “Free Speech Zone” there is an implied message that everywhere else is not a “Free Speech Zone”. The First Amendment is pretty straight-forward. So much so even a “snow globe artist” can grasp it. So…

last weekend I embarked upon a “Free Speech Zone” snow globe. Today I sealed it. Tomorrow, hopefully I will fill (READ: finish) it.

Sealed Side one NYS

Side one is pretty straight forward: referencing a photo taken of Mayor DeBlasio’s press event, I replicated it.

Sealed side two nys

Side two is the “Free Speech Zone”. For logistical reasons I had to employ a metaphorical brick wall.

DNAinfo crime and mayhem nys

Some of you may recall that Ron Kuby (Yes, THAT Ron Kuby) purchased a “Stop & Frisk” snow globe from yours truly some time ago. Well, a mutual friend brought my latest project to his attention. And Mr. Kuby brought the above article (wherein he is quoted) to my attention. Note the category under which DNA.info has categorized this tome. “Crime & Mayhem”. I have to say the gentlemen featured (and I encourage each and every one of you to read their profiles) do not strike me as being purveyors of “mayhem”— but what do I know?

In closing I will leave you with this (closing) passage from the above-mentioned article.

Lawyer and radio host Ron Kuby said it’s hypocritical of the mayor to crack down on protests considering his crticisms (sic and emphasis mine — Ed. Note) of former Mayor Bloomberg.

“To come into office riding this wave of disapproval at Bloomberg over policing and contempt for dissidence, to be on the crest of that wave that says ‘no more,’ and [then] to banish a couple of people … it’s unconstitutional, it’s bad policy, it’s stupid,” Kuby said. “And it makes the mayor look very very thin skinned.”

He added that public spaces in the city are, by nature, open for free speech.

“We are all free speech zones in NYC,” Kuby said. “I am a free speech zone and so are you.”

BINGO.

Those who are interested in seeing the photo set I have created documenting the creation of the “Free Speech Zone” snow globe can do so by clicking here.

Quicklink: Drawbridge Goes On…

Gothamistsc

Gothamist really nailed this headline (click on the above image for the full “story”). The Brooklyn Barge Bar is about a lot of other things than booze. Thus why I am sharing for everyone’s edification the statement issued by Community Board 1 Brooklyn’s SLA/DCA Committee recommending this liquor license be denied. Enjoy some facts for a change, gentle readers!

CB!BBBnys

Community Board 1 Brooklyn voted against this liquor license being granted.

Sewage Discharge Point, Broklyn Barge Bar

Who does not want to feast upon a $22.00 skirt steak next to a sewage discharge point?

Brooklyn Barge Bar site, 5/13/2015

I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Brooklyn Barge Bar Site, 5/13/2015

P.S.: If Bedford + Bowery is listening: exactly when are you going to approve my comment? Simply curious.

Still waiting

Canal Street Photos Du Jour: Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

February 4, 2015 ·
Filed under: 10013, Chinatown, Chinatown Manhattan, Culture War, Fuck This Shit, Wow 

Canal Street 1 600

Need Money For Chanel nys

Because, as we all know, making light of the homeless situation on New York City (without actually being forced to witness it firsthand) is what tourists want to experience…

Tomorrow: Happy Birthday, Irene!

If you do not know who this amazing woman is, you should. Her name is Irene Klementowicz and this is what she had to say about an “environmental study” presentation a couple years ago.

Tomorrow, January 8th, will be her 86th birthday. If any of you, gentle readers, see her on Manhattan Avenue (always stylishly attired) wish her a happy and healthy one. It is women such as her who keep this community (or at least some of its bullshit) in check. And for this reason I adore her. This one’s for you, Irene.

P.S.: Also of note, “OSA” will be rolling out their vision plan for the Greenpoint Waterfront.

Thursday_ First Look at New Greenpoint Park_Page_1nys

 

Thursday_ First Look at New Greenpoint Park_Page_2nys

Those of you who plan on attending this dog and pony show: please keep Irene in the backs of your minds. After all, what does it say about a “parks advocacy group” when its head is the very same attorney who, under George “Greenpoint Landing” Klein’s hire, stumped for the 2005 Rezone (parks for super-sizing scheme) in the first place?

NYDNscANNO

The fellow in question prefers to see it as “community advocacy”— and I suppose, given his purview— it is.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Coming To 214 Franklin Street…

October 19, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Fuck This Shit, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

gptavetourists

Those of you who cannot get enough folks traversing our sidewalks and subways sporting luggage— or watering holes on Franklin Street, listen up. I have some news which will undoubtedly please you! A person we’ll call “C” writes (in an email entitled “New Hotel On Freeman @ Green Street”) simply:

http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=2&passjobnumber=320576925&passdocnumber=03

Naturally my curiosity was piqued (Freeman Street does not cross Green Street, no doubt a typo on “C’s” part) so click on the above link I did. Follows is what I found awaiting my delectation.

permit 1

permit 2

permit 3

permit 4

As you can see, gentle readers, this plan was approved just over ten months ago. I would be remiss if I did not point out that it is the handiwork of north Brooklyn’s good friend, none other than Robert Scarano. Well, he did not file the permit. We all know this fellow, a poster child for the ethically-challenged, is not allowed to do so. If my memory serves me correctly it had to do with a little latitude/liberties he took on Freeman Street? Why yes, that was it!

214 franklin 10192014

First it was the Box House Hotel. Then it was the Henry Norman. Both of these displaced local, small businesses. Now we have this one which not only does that but is taking out residential space to boot. In a community whose rental market is already “tight” enough as is. Straight up folks: enough is enough. We need more housing— and truly affordable housing at that— for New Yorkers. Not another hotel.

The Latest From The Snow Globe Factory: Let Them Eat Tear Gas

August 26, 2014 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Fuck This Shit, New York City 

Let’s face facts: although the summer in our fair city has been a lovely one weather-wise, I would not exactly call it a good one. The death of Eric Garner ushered in a series of “incidents” involving our “finest” which— and this is being kind— are appalling. Incidents which beg the question as to exactly who our public servants are indeed protecting and serving. It certainly was not Mr. Garner.

It is not my intent to simply blame the police, mind you. They follow orders. No sir: the blame, ultimately should be laid firmly on the doorstep of those who issue those orders. I do not think I need to name them here.

I have been wrestling with how to depict the goings on here via snow globes for months. Then Ferguson happened.

dailykos

This is when I was reminded that this is not a mere New York City issue. It is a national issue. One which is fueled by institutionalized racism, classism, the militarization of our police force* and suppression of or (even worse) complicity of the press to name a few. Simply put: what happened there can and probably does happen here. We simply do not know about it— or prefer to forget about it. Ferguson, I suspect, has changed this.

Thus I opted instead to do a snow globe about Ferguson. Its “official” title is “Salus populi suprema lex esto”. This is the motto for the state of Missouri. It means:

The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law

I suspect a number of people will agree with me when I write that powers that be in Missouri need to be reminded of this rather apt piece of trivia. And sadly trivia is all it is. They do not seem to be comprehending much less following it.

Without further ado here it is. It pretty much speaks for itself.

1

3

4

Don’t shoot.

Police man grappling with photographer

Policeman grappling with a photographer.

man down

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

George Orwell, 1984

Quicklink/A New York Shitty Op Ed: 173 Green Street

Or: Breakin’ The Law!

stonerscYesterday morning I had this article (which is screencapped at left) brought to my attention by my comrade over at Queens Crap. I pointed and clicked my way over to Brownstoner. This is what they elected to say about 173 Green Street:

An unusually shaped building designed by architect Natalia Donskoy is going up at 173 Green Street in Greenpoint. The front of the building is not straight across but angles in four directions.

The Alt-1 permit calls for four stories and seven units. Donskoy, a former employee of Robert Scarano, is becoming known for sometimes mold-breaking designs in North Brooklyn. What do you think of the design?

This, their post, left me absolutely flummoxed for a number of reasons. Follows are two:

1. Although it is clearly discernable in the second photo they elected to publish, no mention whatsoever is made of the Stop Work Orders. Yes, this property has not one— but two.

2. As it would happen I reside in the general area. I have seen the shitshow that is 173 Green unfold. A number of my neighbors/buddies have as well. Aesthetic considerations aside, we all agree on one thing:

These Stop Work Orders issued were well-deserved.

Speaking for myself, the first sign that 173 Green may be a less-than-professional operation was when they commenced demolishing modifying the original structure which graced this lot.

side view

You can get an indication of what it was in the above photograph: it is a vestige of a one story extension of 1020 Manhattan Avenue.

googlestreetview

This extension sported two storefronts and a (questionably legal) studio apartment. I know this because I know the fellow who called it his home. Then the building sold and out he went.

ACRIS 1 nys

ACRIS 2 nys

ACRIS 3 nys

ACRIS 4 nys

Note the address: 543 Bedford Avenue #264. Interesting things turn up when one “Googles” it. This and this to name a couple.

seweryntravelANNO

Anyway, with him went this rather charming Polish travel agency. It was operated by two brothers: twins who not infrequently wore matching outfits. For wont of a better way of putting it, it was vaguely reminiscent of something one would see in a David Lynch movie. But of course this was real life and that is what made Seweryn even more awesome— but I digress. Let’s get back to what I saw which gave me the impression that something may be amiss at 173 Green.

One morning I walked by and beheld three – four men wielding sledgehammers. These they used to break down cinder block walls. The rubble which resulted was taken, on foot/in hand, and dumped into a truck which was idling across the street.  Speaking as someone who has resided in north Brooklyn for fourteen years (and blogged about it for over eight) I have seen more than my fair share of questionably professional “construction”. Bearing this in mind, I feel compelled to note this may well have been the worst. In any case it is certainly in the top three— and given what I have seen I can attest they come out on top of some mighty stiff competition. This is no small accomplishment.

173green7302014 anno1

But why take my word for it? Let’s consult the professionals: the Department of Buildings!

stop work orders

Surely they must have something to say about 173 Green Street since they have seen fit to post not one— but two Stop Work Orders? It has been my observation this is reserved for the most select of scofflaws.

DOBBIS173green1

Hmm:

  • eleven complaints
  • three DOB violations
  • fourteen ECB violations
  • civil penalties due and
  • violating of a Stop Work Order

That’s pretty impressive. Let’s keep digging, shall we?

dobbis173green2

A $5,000 fine. Hilarious. Let’s plow on!

complaint1

complaint2

complaint3

Holy shitburgers!

complaint4

So help me, I think I am beginning to see a pattern here.

complaint5

Wow, this was less than two weeks ago! In any case, it would appear that the powers that be behind 173 Green Street harbor apathy— if not total and utter contempt— for the law.

I for one find this rather ironic given who the architect is for this project. Once again (from Brownstoner):

…Donskoy, a former employee of Robert Scarano…

That name, Robert Scarano, sounds familiar. Oh wait now I remember!

scaranospecial

It was his “Scarano Special” which straddles Tommy’s Tavern (addresses 1037 Manhattan Avenue and 158 Freeman respectively)  which resulted in Mr. Scarano being banned from filing plans in our fair city! You see, he decided to fudge with the facts a bit. He stated 1037 Manhattan Avenue and 158 Freeman Street  were one contiguous lot. He did so in order to build taller than what is legally permissible. Whoops. And now the punchline…

googlemap

This masterpiece of the ethically-challenged is a mere block away from 173 Green Street! This begs the question (in my mind, anyway) if his protege is following in his (rather dubious) footsteps. By all appearances, this would appear to be the case. But it is time to wrap this up— and answer the question:

What do you think of the design?

After I got done taking the photographs which grace this post, I bumped into a friend of mine who happens to live on the same block as 173 Green Street. A neighbor, if you will. A neighbor who informed me that he/she has in fact lodged a number of complaints about 173 Green Street. Among the things this person has observed:

  • Construction in violation of a Stop Work Order— at 6:00 on Sunday morning.
  • Violation of Stop Work Orders has been the modus operandi at 173 Green Street. One time even the police showed up.
  • The adjacent Green Oaks Club property was inadvertently (?) divested of some of its aluminum siding. Those of you who know this community’s affection for the aforementioned product understand that this is probably a hanging offense.
  • The use of step ladders for workers to get from floor to floor. What would OSHA say about this?
  • And a litany of other offenses which generally make people upset and call 311.

Once this person was done giving me the 411, I told him/her that Brownstoner published an article about 173 Green Street yesterday— and the question they were posing was whether or not folks liked the design. Before I tender his/her answer, I will tender my own verdict:

Of course it will be ugly. That is the Greenpoint way!

And now— with no further ado— the most apropos answer: that of someone who calls 173 Green Street a neighbor. It went (more or less) as follows:

Are you fucking kidding me?

Well said.

UPDATE, August 1st 2014: Thanks to Queens Crap linking back to this tome  we have some very interesting advice/analysis from a commenter:

diggin your cross promotion here crappy.

lets start at the top:

#1, it’s four floors and a mezz, the half floor above the 2nd is clearly a mezz.

#2, concrete enforcement is on it. those guys don’t screw around and they’ve got a direct line to the borough commissioner and people with serious leverage. 

#3, CEU is under the umbrella of tim lynch, the mythical god of DOB who will not stand to see the city get embarrassed. he will go there and put a fence up himself if he has to, because he’s a little crazy, but he is not someone you want to see on a job site, ever.

#4, DOB can and will post a vacate on the building, which would subject any violators and the developer to major civil and CRIMINAL penalties. FDNY and NYPD are bound by these, and these things happen.

#4, if they violate the SWO, in addition to $5k per violation, the city will generally walk around and ticket every loose guardrail, every missing screw from the job, every person not in a harness, everything. all of it. write that check for $15k to the city of NY please.

#5, the developer will never get a CO unless all these fines are paid. they’ve got a roughly $20k tab right now.

so what do you do? keep calling 311. 

BIS listed a phone number for concrete enforcement in one of the complaints — 212-393-2730. it’s a cell phone, but you’ll get someone who knows the site and what’s going on. but be aware, many in CEU are very intimidating and they WILL ask how you got the number. it’s on BIS.

-somethingstructural

Crosstown Local Photo Du Jour: Au Contraire

Fuck it NYS

The dissent here was done via Sharpie Marker— as opposed to yours truly’s middle finger)— but the sentiment is more or less the same. On a related note, Airbnb’s advertising campaign (so as to win over the hearts and minds of New Yorkers) has merited attention from the New York Times. This article regarding the “sharing economy” is also quite interesting. Pardon me for asking, but if money is exchanged isn’t that commerce?

P.S.: Am I the only person who is wondering exactly how many of these depicted Airbnb “hosts” are paying the applicable taxes for and have permission from their landords for engaging in this “sharing”? Anyone?

A New York Shitty Op Ed: Conde Nasty

  1. CNscreencap

(Or: How to Spend One’s Time and Money In Greenpoint Like a “Local”)

This tome (as screencapped at left) has been brought to my attention by a number of my fellow Greenpointers. Some would be considered “natives”, others “transplants”— and a few might even qualify as “hipsters” (which seems to be a catch-all for “transplants” of a certain age). Ordinarily these groups are at each other’s throats— at least online. The Internet, after all, is the proverbial bathroom wall for malcontents.

Speaking as a “transplant” (14 years in the 11222 and counting) who, in some circles, would qualify as a hipster but has the honor of counting a fair number of “natives” as friends I have to applaud Conde Nast for enabling something I have long, long wanted to see: unity. No one— and I mean NO ONE— in my circle likes this article. Sure this is not the same thing as, say, all of us pooling our collective expertise, resources and interests as folks are doing in Crown Heights. But community unity, albeit via abject hatred, is better than no unity at all. What’s more, if one wants to see a community adept in the art of anger there really is no place better than Greenpoint. Just like Michelangelo or Leonardo DaVinci, we are the true masters of malcontent.

Before I proceed I would like to make a few things perfectly clear:

1. It is not my intent to malign any one person or business featured in Conde Nast’s feature. I know a few of these folks and have patronized their businesses on occasion. They’re good people.
2. It is not my intent to vilify the “natives” either. Most of them are good people as well. There is no one “demographic” here that monopolizes the dubious honor of being assholes. Trust me.
3. Rather, I would like to present an alternative approach to how to visit our fair burgh “like a local” because…
4. what seems to have been lost on the author of this tome is (by and large) “locals” here do not have the money to spend at the establishments they elected to feature. This is because due to the fact that, just like Williamsburg the cost of living here (Read: RENT) is ridiculously, stupendously, mind-bogglingly high.

huffposc

5. In other words: I am going to get nasty on the Conde for selling this community short. And this they have. BIG TIME. To this end I took a couple of walks today (albeit in north ‘Point— McCarren and McGolrick Heights, you’re on your own) to see what the “locals” are doing.

First stop: the Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch.

Any “local” will tell you that after 1″ of rain (much less last night’s deluge) the “CSOs” discharge sewage into the Creek.

I suppose this would be considered as unseemly to travellers, but to locals it is rather fascinating to see life’s detritus.

Especially when the odd prophylactic(s?) manifest.

Is this “news” to us? No. Do we find it disgusting? Yes. But what really puzzles/disconcerts us (as I ascertained by talking to a few folks enjoying this public space) is this:

This.

A manifold number of boats moored most assuredly without the permission of the owners of said property. Some of these boats are “domiciles”.

And especially this.

I was told by a fellow “local” enjoying a smoke in this “park” this fellow moved his boat so as to clear the path for the recently dredging of the creek (because, as all locals know, it is a Superfund site). This watercraft was formerly “parked” on the premises of 49 Ash Street.

Greenpointers are not the least bit shy when it comes to vandalism.

What’s more, some are downright pithy in their delivery. My inner history nerd squeals with delight!

It can also take on an edgier tone (as spotted on West Street at India Street, also by Paul Richard). This is what happens when “local” population becomes acutely aware that:

  • The “new and improved” Greenpoint is not for us.
  • The greater vandalism— blight if you will— is not the handiwork of “street artists”. Rather, it is the aftermath of rampant speculation and greed at the behest of developers.
  • The 2005 rezone coupled with the 2008 real estate bubble popping did a real job on this once “vibrant” working class community.

  • They raze, someone else writes about (and profits from) it and we live with it.

One more good rain storm and methinks this fence is gonna fall. We’ll see.

Since the East River Ferry is no longer serving Greenpoint, I opted to swing by and see how my fellow “locals” were enjoying the India Street Pier…

This lass had no time for my camera— and apparently my camera had no memory to record the fellow hanging out and scratching lotto tickets.

Java Street “Pop Up Park”! We “locals” enjoy our “open spaces”.

And when we don’t we simply toss a park bench into the East River. Or something.

Spotted at West and Kent Street: a pigeon with a broken neck.

And here’s the cause: big shiny glass windows— but I am getting way too grim here. Let’s swing over to Franklin Street— and my destination of choice.

“Jail Bear” has graced the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Franklin Street for 1 1/2 years. He (?) has become a mascot of sorts.

The “locals” who patronize WNYC Transmitter Park with their children often stop so the young ‘uns can tell “JB” about their day. Or simply say “Hi.”

How do a great many “locals” here eat? Very simple:

Courtesy of our local food pantry and soup kitchen. Perhaps Conde Nast— or its readership— would be kind enough to tender a donation?

How do the “locals” shop? This is best ascertained on Manhattan Avenue (which is also in Greenpoint).

On the way I bumped into Josef in front of Christina’s. Which brings me to a complaint about Conde Nast’s tome:

What about Polish food?

Well, Christina’s is good. Here are a few more recommendations:

Shopping here ain’t as easy as it used to be.

But if what I saw outside our “new” local houseware/general merchandise store today at 3:51 pm is any indication, the “locals” are really excited about DII.

This is because *gasp* despite the glamorous image my fair community has courtesy of “Girls” (never watched it) and real estate/tourism hype the reality is this “cool” neighborhood has an underbelly: it is called the “working class”, addiction, homelessness and poverty.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Conde Nast.

P.S.: I “get” that “Conde Nast” is targeting a certain “demographic”. But speaking as someone— a “transplant”— who just finished a wonderful week as “tour guide” for her parents, there’s a lot more to this community— and New York City— than Franklin Street. Why not encourage folks to go “outside” their “comfort zone” and explore what makes this community truly wonderful?

The “nuggets” of weirdness, if you will.

We’re quite polite.

Yeah, I took the robot.

Want to “eat” like a local? Hit the Acapulco Deli & Restaurant or Casanova.

There’s one thing that does not have a price. It is human interaction.

After I saw my parents off and wound down today’s shutter-bugging I swung by this establishment. Therein I purchased margarita mix. The wonderful lady behind the counter (Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” was playing for the patrons’ edification) wished me a wonderful margarita evening. I corrected her: this will be a margarita afternoon! She laughed.

That’s how we “locals” roll in Greenpoint.

New York Shitty Photos Du Jour: Good Friday Tidings From Union Square

Or: What is wrong with this picture?

Today the Mister took the day off and we opted to take a sojourn into “the city”. Our first stop was Union Square. There we saw a number of fascinating things. Follows are a few selections.

This young lady who— for reasons which do not need to be outlined— elicited a great deal of “interest”.

And this fellow, Felix Morelo, drawing faces (as he is known to do) with sidewalk chalk. They lead to the “Kissing Spot”.

Here he is giving yours truly a “thumbs up”.

And here he is getting a verbal reprimand from this public space’s rent-a-cops and parks staff. They were not amused.

It was explained to Mr. Morelo that he is not to engage in this (clearly) disruptive, destructive behavior because they would have to clean it up.

Once again, gentle readers: he was drawing a “Kissing Spot”. With sidewalk chalk. You want to know why yours truly dislikes public/private parks “partnerships”, gentle readers? You just saw it. Sure, the proponents this arrangement like to extol upon its financial benefits. However, there is a down-side to this kind of thing: “gate-keepers” are brought in to enforce “standards”— and those standards can (and often do) reach this level of utter absurdity. Sue Bee said it best:

Sidewalk chalk. Are you fucking kidding me?