From The New York Shitty Photo Pool, Part II: 5Pointz

September 17, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11101, Gentrification, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens 

Taken by Denn-Ice.

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Vernon Jackson

September 17, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11101, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens 

Taken by autovac.

Long Island City Photos Du Jour: End Of An Era

End Of An Era nys

5Pointz 922014 nys

Taken September 2, 2014.

The Word On The Street, Part I: Sealed With A Kiss

Sealed With A Kiss NYS

Broken Windows nys

5Pointz 8142014 nys

When I walked by the former 5Pointz today (which is where the above photos were taken) and saw what it has become I was reminded of something I saw written on warehouse on the Northside years ago:

Never fall in love with a building, it will only break your heart.

(Taken August 14, 2014.)

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Rush Hour

Taken by autovac.

An Honor Roll Of Restaurants Past…

Thank You nys

Last night I had one helluva time falling asleep. Instead of counting sheep I decided to recount restaurants I liked in this city that are no more. Let’s just say it has been on the brain of late.* Here’s a partial list:

  1. Bleu Drawes: Jamaican food in Greenpoint? Yes, once there was! This was on Commercial Street, now the space is occupied by Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
  2. Oznot’s Dish: Berry Street, replaced by Silent h
  3. Silent h: (see above) , replaced by a French bistro. This was the place which really got me into Vietnamese food.
  4. Barossa: Graham Avenue, replaced by Gwinnett Street whose menu is mildly upscale “artsy” food. (I do not recall the latest name for this establishment, but I imagine part of the reason for the name change was one of the owners being charged with handling narcotics. you can’t make this shit up, folks.).
  5. Kenny’s Trattoria: Havemeyer Street, razed for residential development.
  6. Taco Bite: South 4 Street at Rodney, replaced by a short-lived vegetarian/health food restaurant.
  7. Grand Sichuan: Canal Street, razed so as to build a hotel.
  8. Conos al Pescatore: Graham Avenue. Replaced by Sage an upscale Asian fusion establishment (which I will admit serves pretty good food— but still).
  9. La Vuelta: 45th Road, replaced by a barbecue joint.
  10. Village Mingala: Burmese restaurant whose East 5 Street location is now a Michelin recommended bistro. ASIDE: this leaves one Burmese restaurant in New York City.
  11. El Paso: Houston Street, new tenant TBD
  12. Casa Mon Amour: Franklin Street. They served Dominican food. Now the space is occupied by Vamos al Tequila (which is a fairly good replacement). The folks at Vamos al Tequila have my business for life for simply having the temerity to post the sign gracing the beginning of this post. I can only imagine what necessitated its creation.
  13. Driggs Pizzeria: Driggs Avenue (duh), replaced by Two Boots. This one infuriates me as much as Village Mingala’s closure (READ: A LOT).
  14. Monsignor’s: Bedford Avenue, now Lokal
  15. Rocco’s Ristaurante: Thompson Street, taken over by these guys.
  16. L.A. Ristorante: Manhattan Avenue, now a magazine/cigar store. To their credit, they did retain some semblance of a restaurant— but it really isn’t the same.
  17. Bean: North 8 Street. A nice little Mexican restaurant; now it is Pop’s.

Is it just me or is there an overall trend here? Anyone care to add?

*Thankfully it would appear John’s of East 12 Street has dodged becoming statistic. At least for now, anyway…

New York Shitty Slideshow Du Jour: Newtown Creek Boat Ride

Motorboat Repair NYS

Last weekend, thanks to City of Water Day, I decide to take a (FREE!) boat tour of the creek hosted by the inimitable Mitch Waxman.  As has been the case in times past (this makes my third sojourn up to the creek), it did not disappoint. Not only did I bear witness to a fellow catching a little shut-eye at our very own Nature Walk, but I learned an interesting fact shortly after the above photo (which hails from the Long Island City side of Newtown Creek) was taken. Our fair creek is not just host to Typhus, but also Cholera and Gonorrhea. If this isn’t a trifecta of fun, I honestly do not know what is. I feel compelled to note that this fact was rolled out after a fellow tour goer was observed balancing his child on the rail of the boat so as to take photos with his smart phone. You can’t make this shit up.

In any case, follows are some highlights of my trip to, from and up the creek.* I have even included a photo of a CSO (Concentrated Sewage Overflow) for your late afternoon/early evening entertainment. Enjoy!

*A task which involved going to Governor’s Island. This was rendered more complicated by the fact Greenpoint still remains without ferry service.

The Word On The Street, Part II: Pulaski Bridge

Art We All 600

Taken June 1, 2014.

A New York Shitty Photo Essay: Edward’s Gift

The Queens Way600

Be it ever so humble600

Borden Avenue Bridge

To Infinity 600

Adrift 600

Today, upon awakening to another beautiful day, I threw on a sundress, my comfiest flip flops and went for a walk around the industrial hinterlands of Long Island City. This may not be everyone’s idea of how to spend a Sunday morning— but I think we have established I am not “everyone”. What’s more, I wanted to head back to the Thomson Avenue Bridge to get a better shot of the missive which graces this post. It also graces the beginning of this one:

Spread Love The Queens Way

After my mission was accomplished and on a lark I decided to swing by the Hunters Point and Borden Avenue Bridges. I am a bit of a geek that way. It was near the latter— the former premises of Goldfingers, to be specific— I met a gentleman who was kind enough to give me a present. These:

Present

They should revive if you get them in water quickly enough. I got them (pointing) over there. I picked the nicest ones.

roses

Exactly how these feral flora found their way to the sidewalk in front of a shuttered strip club is anyone’s guess. The same goes for why this fellow elected to give me a pair of them. Nonetheless, it was a cute gesture so I thanked him and continued my shutter-bugging. My activity caught his interest.

Busted

Me (to my curious compadre): Not only is this place closed, but by the NYPD no less. Impressive.
Flower Bearer: This is the kind of place where unusual things can happen.
Me: I can only imagine.

He then asked me if he could join me on my walk as he was headed to the subway (so as to go home). I thought about this for a minute and answered:

Sure, why not?

This may fly in the face of what we are told is “common sense” but the fact of the matter is I like talking to strangers. He then admonished me:

I like to make people more comfortable with me being around. That is why I gave you the flowers. I “smoke” if you know what I mean. I hope that doesn’t bother you.

I am not 100% sure what you mean, but whatever. Fine.

I replied. So off we went— and soon enough it was ascertained exactly what he meant.

If I am walking with you, guys are more likely to leave me alone.

And then he proceeded to show me exactly how he surreptitiously smokes marijuana in public. I will not divulge this chap’s “trade secret”. Suffice it to simply say he is quite proud of it. Nonetheless— being the gentleman that he is— he offered his handiwork to me. I demurred:

No thanks, I was sort of born medicated.

He found this amusing, gave an impish grin and noted:

I have a motorcycle. I have been all over. I have probably smoked grass on every street of this city.

I stopped, laughed and said:

We all have to have something to aspire to.

He laughed at this and, with the ice being broken, began to tell me his story. I got the ball rolling as follows:

Where are you from? You have an accent.

Southern Germany

He replied.

Me: AH! I was going to say Poland— I live in Greenpoint. My landlords are Polish— but I was close!
My new friend: My landlord is Greek. He’s quite a character. He drives a tow truck.
Me: I have had a Greek landlord. I think I’ll with my present one thank you very much!

I stop to take a photo of this…

Time Well Spent 600

and explain to my travelling companion:

I like to take photos of things people write on walls.

He asked if I was a photographer. I said:

No, not really.

He then proceeded to tell me he started taking photos as a child in Germany. His first camera was a Brownie. Still, he gained a passion for photography after immigrating to the United States after his daughter was born. He took photos of her first frolick on the beach at Coney Island. At first she was scared, he explains, but eventually she got into the swing of things with gusto. After that, he was hooked.

I have thousands of photos on my computer at home.

He said.

Ha! So do I!

I replied. We laughed. Spying some rough terrain ahead, I tell him I am going to walk around it via the street.

He noted that said obstacle smelled very nice. I asked him if, since he clearly enjoyed the smell so much, if I could take his portrait. He agreed on the condition I take a portrait of him using his cell phone as well. A deal was struck!

Edward 1 600

Onward we went. I stopped to capture this…

Death Is Free 600

and afterward he continued to tell me his story.

I immigrated to the United States in 1959. I was born in a forced labor camp in Germany. My grandparents were Polish. They and my mother lived in Warsaw. She was taken to a labor camp with me in her belly! I never knew my father. He died during the Warsaw Uprising. My mother did not learn this until six years after the fact from the Red Cross. She later remarried and so I got a half brother.

Me: So I was not exactly wrong when I guessed you were Polish!

(Nodding to affirmative) Germany was a pretty open place after a war. Men would openly approach women and the other way around. A lot of my friends got heavily into sex. They got crazy.

Me: Well, I can imagine people were simply relieved the war was over. A little craziness is understandable.

Some of them never came out of it. I got a little crazy too but went on to marry and have a family. I could never understand that.

Me: I honestly do not know what to tell you.

He then showed me photos of his mother, brother and childhood photos of himself on his “clam shell” phone. After the war his mother got work in Brussels as a housekeeper for a banker who wore a top hat and “tails”. He went to a Polish school and became fluent in not only German, but French and Polish as well) . He finished hs “presentation” with a photo of himself as a young man donning his army uniform. He was quite fond of it— and I can understand why!

I got divorced in the 1980’s. My wife was too strict, I guess. She was Polish. Still, I have a pension and grandchildren so I am happy!

Me (laughing): Yes, it has been my observation that Polish women can be that way. I think it is a generational thing. Those who remember the privation of the war and afterward (Communism). I cannot say I blame them. It’s understandable.

My new friend then asked if we could sit down for a bit. I gladly obliged him.

Edward 2 600

I am going to grab me some water.

He said.

Edward 4 600 2

(whispering)

It’s vodka!!!

(in a speaking voice, laughing)

I got this water at Flushing Meadows Park! I went there on my bike, then up to Astoria and back to Mount Vernon. I do not know if I like this city very much. It’s so crowded. It makes me uncomfortable.

Me: But isn’t that kind of the appeal? Being uncomfortable? I grew up in a part of the country where you had to hop into a car to simply buy groceries. Everyone had their own private houses with their own private yards. They didn’t know who their neighbors were— and probably didn’t want to know. Yes, this city can seem like an “anthill” but at least here folks can and do talk to each other. We’re talking to each other right now. You strike me as being happy.

Edward 3 6002

I am 69 years old. I am old. I may very well die soon. I do not know. Who knows? I donate blood and take my thyroid pills. I am sorry I do not have my teeth in today. I left them at home. I am trying to get them to fit right.

Me: No worries, this is Sunday— and I don’t care! That said, does anyone ever really “know”?

My grandchildren make me happy. My daughter was born with a hole in her heart. Right after she was born they conducted surgery on her to fix it. She was strong. So strong she later gave me a pair of twins for grandchildren!

Me: That’s great. Well, I have to get going It was nice meeting you?

(extending his hand)

Edward. And your name is?

Heather. It was a pleasure taking a walk with you, Edward!

And so on our separate ways we went. Me to the Pulaski and back to Greenpoint; Edward to the 7 train so as to start his journey back to Mount Vernon.  When I got home I promptly placed Edward’s gift in a vase. This did not go unnoticed by the Mister.

yellow roses

Nice flowers.

He said. To wit I replied:

I made new a friend while out walking today.

The Mister: Animal, vegetable or mineral?

A 69 year old gentleman who was born in a forced labor camp in Germany. I met him outside a shuttered strip club.

I replied. Taking this in stride (The Mister has come to understand a LONG time ago that I don’t make this shit up. In fact, the more outlandish the “story” may seem, the more likely it is true.) pointed out:

Yellow roses mean friendship.

I had honestly forgotten this.

I love this town. This one’s for you, Edward!

The Word On The Street: Yo

From Borden Avenue.