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?

New York Shitty Photos/Video Du Jour: Wish You Were Here

Today yours truly decided to take a stroll along the waterfront and see what’s shaking (in addition to the pier).

Unlike my previous visit, the pier was open to the public.

Whether or not it is supposed to be is anyone’s guess.

I’ll leave you, gentle readers, to draw your own conclusions.

I quickly ascertained I was not alone.

Evidence of recent merry-making was spotted.

Welcome to Greenpoint.

For shits and giggles I decided to hang around until the next ferry came by. Sure, we Greenpointers do not have (direct) access to this amenity— but we can wave at it!

For those of you who are wondering Greenpoint has been without ferry service since February 13, 2014. If there were, say, a few luxury residential towers here— more specifically, residents inhabiting said towers who(se wallets) will get the ear of their elected officials— do you honestly think this situation would have been allowed to persist as it has? Really? But of course we do not have luxury towers much less luxury tower residents— at least yet— so we, the hoi polloi, will just have to wait. And wait…

Live From The GWAPP Meeting*

Spoiler: the “vote” was eighteen for and seven against. What I found particularly intriguing is one person purporting to represent three different “member groups” of GWAPP (Barbara Vetell, a veritable “army of one”) was allowed to vote three times. That’s “democracy” Greenpoint-style, folks! It makes yours truly yearn for the “old school” methods of Tammany. E.g.; before election day, you grow a beard. You vote sporting said beard. You go home and shave it down to a mustache. Then, you vote again. Then you go home, shave your face entirely and vote a third time. In the clarity of hindsight (and this evening’s convocation), this is downright quaint— and dare I say “cute”— by comparison. It should also be noted that neither Steve Levin nor Joe Lentol (or their representatives) were present at this meeting. I stand corrected:

Part I:

Part II:

  • The matter of GWAPP’s finances are discussed. Pay careful attention to their anticipated funds. They include GREF grants (remember who is in charge of this, readers?)  and money from Councilman Levin.
  • Christine Holowacz announces that a lease is being procured for the Greenpoint Boathouse. Presumably this would be 51 Ash Street.
  • Barbara McGlamery touts that GWAPP’s website got 2,000 a hits a month as of November 2013 but has fallen since.

Part III:

Part IV:

Part V:

  • Del Teague speaks against the new by laws.
  • Barbara Vetell speaks on the behalf of three organizations (and was rewarded accordingly by giving three votes regarding changing these by laws).
  •  At 5:38 you can watch Jens Rasmussen (who later voted on the behalf of the North Brooklyn Boat Club, an ostensible not-for-profit organization**).

Part VI:

  • Two words: WATCH THIS. (The lady who speaks starting at 1:19 kicks ass!)

Part VII:

  • Dewey interacts with a couple of fellow citizens while the “vote” is being conducted. The question being raised is over the addition of new member organizations. What follows is not pretty.

Part VIII:

Then the “transition “team” comes in: Rich Mazur, Barbara McGlamery (AKA: Mrs. Adam Perlmutter) and Trina McKeever will comprise the “selection committee” charged with picking members for a new board. That’s the bad news. The good news: they’ll have a(nother) public meeting later this month— and I have every intention of filming it. Thanks GWAPP 2.0! And oh yeah: those ostensible “member groups” who voted themselves out of a so-called “community organization”, in one case in triplicate, what are they going to get out of this?

UPDATE, March 6, 2014 2:52 p.m.: Looks likes the North Brooklyn Boat Club received not one, not two, but three “GREF” awards. My oeraonal favorite is as follows:

I know. Shocking…

*Or: Darth Sidious manifests himself.

**The North Brooklyn Boat Club is registered with the New York State Attorney General’s Office Database of Corporations. The address listed is Dewey Thompson’s residence. However, as of 3/6/2014, the North Brooklyn Boat Club is NOT a registered charitable organization per the same-said Attorney General’s Charities Database:

Any/all donations to the North Brooklyn Boat Club are handled via Open Space Alliance. Of which Dewey is a Board member. Can you say eating your cake and keeping it too? At $150.00 a person and a two person minimum for a four hour workshop (which comes out to roughly $72.00 an hour) I cannot exactly say I do not understand Mr. Rasmussen’s “interest”. However, it is a conflict of interest. Some people have a problem with that kind of thing. What’s really interesting is the North Brooklyn Boat Clubs’s applications for Exxon Mobil money (“GREF”: which we have established is being handled by Rich Mazur— who will also be part of GWAPP’s “nominating committee”) money are via GWAPP. Once Again: the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s “fundraising” is handled by Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn. Guess what kids, Dewey Thompson is a chair on both GWAPP and OSA!

Hear me, Conflict if Interest Board? Steve Levin? Joe Lentol? Anyone?

UPDATE, 10:02 a.m.: I love the smell of spam in the morning!

Quicklink: Good Times At 95 Clay Street

gothamistsc

When I saw this item on Gothamist my jaw hit my desk. I can assure you, gentle readers, this was not due to shock. Hardly. Rather your truly’s first apartment in Greenpoint was at 95 Clay Street. That was over a decade ago— and I can assure you it was a total and utter nightmare.* If this latest episode is to believed, things have not changed much. Those of you who are so inclined can read a little more about 95 Clay “back in the day” by clicking here, here and here. As for 156 India, I offer this and this for your perusal. In closing I would like to remind everyone that while Ms. Nealis’s alleged conduct is thoroughly reprehensible, she would not have felt free to behave in such a manner if our enforcement agencies (and elected officials) had nipped this in the proverbial bud. Years ago.

*Including, but not limited to:

  • Frequent hot water outages. Apparently there was not only a residential (think: for a house) hot water heater pressed into service to service an eight unit building. The thermostat was broken so when it would get “hot” the “Super” would simply turn it off.
  • An electrical outage on the apartments on the top floor lasting days. This was probably caused by…
  • Rainwater leaking through the roof.
  • Broken mailboxes. Mail theft was pervasive.
  • An illegal apartment in the basement.
  • Trips to housing court.
  • Harassment— including having my locks filled with glue, verbal harassment and having my mailbox ripped open.

This is the short list. Any and all who have the misfortune of living in this building may want to check and see if a rent-freeze/rent reduction is still in place regarding the mailboxes.

Greenpoint Video Du Jour: Welcome To New York, It’s Happening Now

Only 50 minutes until the weekend’s over, Greenpoint…

Now Coming To The Silver Screen: Joe “373 Scam Avenue” Loiacono

URnotalone

That’s right folks: a mere six months have passed since this fellow was charged with a litany of downright nasty criminal acts and now two brave documentarians have not only decided his is a story worth telling but the Kickstarter community concurred! Follows is Ashley and Arielle’s “pitch”. I have bold-faced my favorite passages and added commentary as I have seen fit. Enjoy!

Set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Joe’s trinket shop symbolizes a fusion of two worlds: where traditional American-Italian ideals meet a new wave of hipsters. (Ed. Note: I am going to go out on a limb here and say if the “Italian Community” thereabouts learned that this fellow apparently represents them they would not happy.) U R Not Alone depicts the evolution of an unlikely friendship between this controversial man and two young women and continues with their dilemma once he is arrested. As they delve deeper into investigating Joe’s crimes and past, they bring audiences on their moral roller coaster ride – questioning the intrinsic societal predicaments he stands for. (Ed. Note: Here’s a “powerful moral dilemma”; you glorifying someone who repeatedly stole security deposits from people, attempted to assault his neighbor with a chainsaw (and as such was hit with a restraining order which he immediately violated) and has an extensive record of domestic violence and sexual assault.*) At a time when cultural and moral values are being re-assessed, Joe’s compelling character demands all who engage with him to challenge what is good, who is bad, what fits in, and what does not. How are those who do not quite fit the mold treated, and is it just?

A LITTLE MORE: In the fall of 2011 we met Joe: an overweight, generally shirtless man – adorned with eclectic jewelry, a fake guitar, and a very large mouth. U R Not Alone follows one man’s struggle with the law and society at large. His story has continuously challenged us with provocative questions and powerful moral dilemmas that will surely stir audiences and confront them in the same right. The film not only has the potential to demonstrate ambiguities, injustices, and manipulations of the American law system, but also highlights and challenges the roles of documentary filmmakers, their subjects, and the responsibility they have to one another as people.

Over the last year, we have followed this man on his path to self-destruction through alcohol, drugs, and false hopes. As we became better acquainted with Joe, we saw a side of him that nobody else seemed to. We watched as an entire neighborhood dismissed, and put away a man that they simply did not understand. (Ed. Note: “not understand” = objecting to being chased down the street with a chainsaw.)

The film depicts the evolution of an unlikely friendship between this controversial character and two young girls trying to capture his story, and continues with our dilemma once he is arrested. How much do we trust this man, and how far do we go for him? What do we see in Joe that the rest of the world does not? Are we being conned?

At a time when cultural and moral values are being re-assessed, Joe’s compelling character demands all who engage with him to challenge what is good, who is bad, what fits in, and what does not. How are those who do not quite fit the mold treated, and is it just?

Follows are a few of yours truly favorite “teasers.” What I found particularly interesting is how this documentary seems to be more about its makers than its “subject”. I love a steaming cup of narcissism in the morning!

Ride to Rikers from Ashley Benzwie on Vimeo.

Kiss the Girl – U R Not Alone from Ashley Benzwie on Vimeo.

casedetails

Any and all interested in learning more about this sterling endeavor can do so by clicking here. WARNING/CAVEAT: Some eye and/or mind bleach might be required afterward— so do not say I did not warn you!

*Special thanks goes out to one of Joe’s neighbors and 373 Scam Avenue for the “moral focus” here.

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: On The Waterfront

December 20, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Fuck This Shit, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This missive was captured today, December 20th 2012 at the Java Street “Pop-Up” Park. Words honestly fail me (please humor yours truly: she’s sick and her site appears to be as well). Methinks “disgusting” will suffice…

UPDATE, December 21, 2012: I have brought this to the head of the 94th’s attention. Deputy Inspector Hurson has assured me they are going to look into it.

Now At 74 Kent Street: Stop Work Order

December 20, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Fuck This Shit, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Many of you have undoubtedly noticed the blog has been quite sporadic of late. I can assure you, gentle readers, there is a very sound reason for this: I have acquired the cold/sinus yuckiness that is making the rounds hereabouts. Nonetheless, today I decided to venture out for a short walk. If there’s one thing yours truly acquires quite quickly it is “cabin fever”. It was during said peregrinations I stumbled upon this freshly issued Stop Work Order. I find it fascinating for a number of reasons. Among them:

1. First you have work without a permit in a landmark district. That’s pretty bad. But wait folks it gets even better— and by better I mean worse!

2. Not even 24 hours before the above-listed complaint was called in there was a presentation given to Community Board 1′s Land Use Committee seeking a variance to convert the above-depicted property from F4 (Factory Industrial) into market rate residential apartments replete with a penthouse! How do I know this you ask? Very simple: I attended the aforementioned meeting!

Given my feelings about commercial/manufacturing space being pressed into service as luxury apartments, dear readers, you can imagine I had a few things to say about this— and say them I did. Nonetheless, I got quite a chuckle when I passed by today only to discovered to see these fellows have proceeded to work anyway. Do what you damned well please, pay the fines (cost of business) and deal with any semblance of civil process later. If there is one thing 239 Banker Street has taught us it is: this is the Greenpoint way!

UPDATE, 4:23 p.m.: It has been brought to my attention that the above-cited structure might actually be legit! It may have been put in place so LPC (the Landmarks Preservation Commission) can get a sense of the visibility of said penthouse. Hilarious.

The Greenpoint Post Office: An Alien Perspective

December 28, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Fuck This Shit, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

As some of you know already yours truly had a rather infuriating experience at our local post office recently. For those of you who are not in the know here’s a general outline:

1. December 17th: my inlaws shipped two packages to Chez Shitty.
2. December 22nd: my inlaws inquired as to whether or not we received said packages. We had not.
3. December 27th: yours truly went to our local post office so as to inquire to their whereabouts. I was told that without a receipt they could not find them. I pointed out that I was not left a receipt— but had been told by the shippers of said packages that they should be here. The employee once again stated that without a receipt there was nothing she could do. This exchange repeated itself at least three times before enough complaining by yours truly merited she look anyway: nothing doing.
4. This I related to my mother-in-law (so she could take up the matter on her end).
5. And I opined on Facebook:

If you love someone— or at the very least doe not HATE them— do NOT make them go to the Greenpoint Post Office.

As of the writing of this post this observation has been “liked” by no less than eleven people. A few have even seen fit to share their experiences with me. For example:

…I never received a package, never got a notice, and went on USPS.com last night to track said package. Apparently, it is at the Greenpoint P.O., but I don’t have a notice. Coincidence??

Curiosity piqued, I decided to see what the “bathroom wall of the Internet” (Yelp) had to say about this establishment. Suffice it to say my experience (and frustration) were shared by a number of my fellow citizens. Here are two of my personal favorites:

You know that expression, “to go postal on somebody?” Just try to get anything mail-related accomplished here – you’ll be wishing concealed firearms were legal. I once stood in line for 30+ minutes, only to have the last remaining postal worker close her window in my face 15 minutes before closing. From the slow-as-molasses lines to the always missing supplies to the sour faces of the employees, this nightmare of a place would make even Freddy Krueger scared to come back.

Breathtaking incompetency, nothing is stocked (pens/forms), and the clerks are beyond rude. I literally have never waited less than 35 minutes at this PO.  They should fire all of the staff and hire some monkeys.  At least then you would understand why s**t was flung in your face every time you went in.

Yup.

To be fair there are a few favorable reviews of this place. There is at least one helpful employee there to my recollection. But the previous are the exceptions to the rule. So I began imagining who would actually like the Greenpoint Post Office. The logical conclusion I drew was a misanthropic, misogynistic extra-terrestrial which savors human misery and is bent on world domination.

I decided to have some fun with this idea (Hey, it’s not like it is going to change anytime soon. If anything after this community is “developed”, it’ll get worse) and authored a “review” on “Zartek’s behalf. Follows is a teaser/snippet:

Salutations Earthlings,

My name is Zartek. I hail from a planet far from your own. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the place you call “earth”. My rationale for this journey is roughly along the lines of what you earthlings call “poverty tourism”. The crucial difference is I am not interested in rest and relaxation inside a fortified paradise protected from grinding human misery. Rather, my ideal vacation is direct contact with human misery.

And after some research via Yelp I deduced the Greenpoint Post Office was just the place for me!

Enjoy!

Photo Credits: The image of the Ark of the Covenant being handled by a “top man” hails from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.

New York Shitty Photos du Jour: HUMBUG!

Isn’t it refreshing to see our Parks Department is taking on the serious issues manifest in our precious few public spaces? Here’s what the tree’s creator, Julian Cole, has to say about this sad turn of events:

Hey Heather,

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for covering the Brooklyn Christmas Tree, I did it as a little side project and your posts really helped it get to a much wider audience. I was sad to learn they took it down but it was good fun process. I am planning to do more small projects about Williamsburg next year so I will make sure to keep you in the loop when I do.
Happy Christmas

So there have you. If I had to hazard a guess I’d say the amount of time and manpower it took to remove this piece of holiday cheer the Parks Department could have, should have (for example) purchased and installed one toilet seat at a women’s comfort station under their care. But there I go employing logic again. Logic as we citizens know it does not apply to our civil servants. Hence why after waiting over a month for our Parks Department to replace a toilet seat at Jaime Campiz Playground, I found it more logical (and expedient) to do it myself.

What makes McCarren Park— and this community in general— worth visiting (in my humble opinion) are the random acts of kindness (and yes, mischief) its citizens choose to bestow upon it. Mr. Cole’s Christmas tree is one such example. I for one (and mind you, I write this as an agnostic) think his was a lovely project. It amused and, more importantly, engaged our community. Yet it was removed— by those who purport to serve us.

On that note it should be Known, gentle readers, that our Parks Department wants your feedback as to what brings you to McCarren Park!

“Others” can make your voice “heard” herehere, and here.