Long Island City Street Art Du Jour: Dan Witz

March 2, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11101, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens, Queens, Street Art 

From Borden Avenue, Long Island City.

Miss Heather

Now On The Blog Roll Of Gowanus Lounge Dot Com: IDT Energy

In regards to Bob Guskind (to whom they have dedicated a page) they write:

Bob Guskind was a unique man, and his writing will forever stand as a testament to the person that he was.

While we’ve bought the site Gowanus Lounge, we are not trying to replicate or replace his work or his spirit.  We intend to continue to explore issues that are important to the people of New York, while also addressing topics of concern to other markets and communities.

Bob Guskind’s work has been moved to another location where fans can continue to read his prose and benefit from the wisdom that he provided.

Speaking as someone who has had the benefit of Bob’s wisdom I found Gowanus Lounge 2.0’s linkage to “Energy Savings” and “IDT Energy” of particular interest. The Mister and I pointed and clicked. Here’s what we found:

Energy Savings

The IDT Energy Store (You can see the registration info by clicking here). When you click on “Company” here’s what you’ll find:

Yup, the same people who saw fit to plague my community with people hitting our buzzers— REPEATEDLY— stating they were from Con Ed and that they wanted to review our energy bills. Time and time again. This is not purely Greenpoint phenomenon either. You can read other accounts/musings/ranting regarding IDT’s chicanery by clicking on any of the following links:

But I do not want to suggest IDT has plied its dubious trade solely in the county of Kings. No sir, their nefarious reach goes much further. Which brings me to this delightful video submitted from a reader in Harlem.

Needless to say after the aforementioned barrage of negative publicity IDT has seen fit to retool its image. In the 20th century the last refuge for a scoundrel was religion. In the 21st Century miscreants and ne’er do wells go “green”…

and operate blogs: idtenergy.wordpress.com

In closing, I leave you with this choice morsel from Gowanus Lounge 1.0 dating from January 28, 2009. Note the comments (and all caps abuse). Here’s my favorite segment from someone who calls himself IDT EMPLOYEE:

PS: THE PEOPLE WHO CLAIM THEY GOT SCAMMED ARE IGNORANT & NEEDS TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT’S GOING ON AROUND THEM. TO THOSE WHO DID NOT CHOSE THEIR ESCO HAVE FUN PAYING THOSE 3 EXTRA TAXES THAT IDT MEMBERS DO NOT PAY…

Can a leopard change its spots? I’ll leave it up to you, dear readers, to make the call All I ask is please be an informed consumer and do not take this businesses promises at face value. Exercise due diligence!

Miss Heather

Night Smelling Committee

Dept. of Heath(er)?

A weekly feature I have inaugurated of late (albeit irregularly to date) is featuring an odd, provocative and/or strangely relevant chunk ‘o’ Greenpoint history for all to savor.

To steal a phrase from my buddy Judy McGuire, Man, oh Manishevitz do I have a fun tale of “Oy vey” before the l’oi ill’splay to share today. Oil spill or otherwise, Newtown Creek stinks… even back in 1892, when the Mayor of Brooklyn came down to inspect the stench personally. The following article is from the August 27th, 1892 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. I have taken the liberty of condensing this VERY VERBOSE article and bold-facing my favorite passages. Enjoy!

SMELLS FOR THE MAYOR

Two Newton Creek Samples Were Quite Enough
His Honor’s Brief Trip Upon the
Slimy Stream With the Health Commissioner, the Corporation Counsel, Alderman Fitzgibbon and a Committee of Citizens— Relief Promised.

Mayor Boody had cold and rainy weather for his visit of inspection yesterday to the much complained of factories on the shores of Newton Creek. The citizens from the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Wards who accompanied him would have been much better pleased over a heavy and sultry day. The smells would then have been at their worst, so far as the daytime is concerned, for after all it is at night that the vileness of Newton Creek odors is most apparent and oppressive. As it was Mayor Boody in a very few minutes yesterday got quite enough of creek smells and was more than satisfied long before the committee of citizens was.

The mayor, accompanied by Health Commissioner Griffin and Corporation Counsel Jenks, was driven in a carriage to Chapman’s docks at the head of Grand Street. He was met there by the committees of eastern district citizens. The only other representative of the city govenment was Alderman Fitzgibbon, who accompanied the Seventeenth Ward delegation and whose home is within the district invaded by the noxious smells…

Alderman Fitzgibbon and other members of the party welcomed the mayor, health commissioner and the corporation counsel and escorted them to the steam propeller Mascot. It was raining smartly then and a stiff breeze was blowing, but the heavy, sickening odor from the neighboring fertilizing factories and from the filthy creek itself saluted Mayor Boody’s nostrils even before he left his carriage. Health Commissioner Griffin bore the smell like a veteran, but Corporation Counsel Jenkins looked unfeignedly sick from the start. The smell seemed a little worse than he had prepared himself to meet.

Through the slimy waters the boat coursed, while members of the committee sitting in the wheelhouse with the mayor told him they were sorry the tide was not low, for then the smell would be many times worse. Mayor Boody, intimated, with a laugh, that the situation as it was seemed sufficiently atrocious. A stop was made at Cord Meyer’s bone boiling establishment on Furman’s Island, only a hasty and superficial examination was made, but the smell was such that Mr. Jenks turned away in disgust and gasped for fresh air. The mayor tried hard to conscientiously sniff all the odors that were to be caught, but began toshow signs of not relishing the task. When the party re-embarked the boat steamed to Andrew Wissel & Co’s place, also on Furman’s Island. Wissel has the contract to remove offal from King’s County, and out of his unsavory stock he manufactures fertilizing preparations. Wissel’s son in law, a young man of pleasing manners and speech, tried hard to convince Mayor Boody that the atmosphere was not polluted, but the mayor’s nostrils were as wide open as his ears, and with a significant sniff and a still more more significant look he started off towards the boat.

A whole creek full of stench producing establishments remained, but Mayor Boody asked to be taken back to the Grand Street dock, where his carriage awaited him, “I have had enough of this,” he said. “I realize that you have a grievance and I want to live to help you.” “It is a crying shame.” said Corporation Counsel Jenks. The he stopped suddenly and listened without comment to members of the committee who explained that the odors which had sickened him were nightly pervading miles of Brooklyn thoroughfares and ruining the comfort and the health of thousands of people. The health commissioner had little to say, but both the mayor and corporation counsel freely promised to do what they could to abate the nuisance. “We will use all the power possible,” the mayor said in substance, “but it is your duty also to exert yourselves. A nuisance exists here and it is for you to prove it a nuisance. Everybody who suffers from this nuisance should be prepared to come downtown and testify against it. The trouble has been that when two or three citizens came down to testify that these smells were a nuisance the other side invariably presented a greater number of witnesses who were willing to swear that no nuisance existed.”

The mayor and his party were cheered by the delegations as they re-entered their carriage. Afterward some of the delegated sailed the length of Newton Creek and paid a brief visit to Rosenberg’s fat rendering and bone boiling establishment near Calvary Cemetary Bridge. At no time during the afternoon, however, was anything like a thorough examination of the alleged nuisances on the creek shore made.

In the evening an executive meeting Seventeenth Ward citizens was held at 101 Monitor Street. Henry T. Steinhaner presented a report of the mayor’s visit to the creek and also reported, with much detail, the result of several night trips which have recently been made by Seventeenth Ward citizens to Newton Creek factories. This report is not to be made public… the intention being to use it in the courts as evidence. Members of the night smelling committee say, however, that their experiences have been quite stirring at times, and that some day they will make interesting reading.

And they have! It is interesting (and a little depressing) to learn that even in 2007 nothing has really changed. Same shit, different century.

Miss Heather

Britney Epiphany: Oops, I did it Again (and again)

It’s been rainy and I have been combing my wee wittle brain for non-dogshit related infotainment… Enjoy. Or not. Frankly, I do not give a shit either way.

Britney Spears has gotten a lot of flack of late and it is starting to get me a bit angry.

I do not like someone I consider brethren being drug through the mud for ‘being real’. Wearing rollers, eccentric apparel, and/or toting a child in one hand with a beverage in the other (preferably while wearing high heels) in public is, by Greenpoint standards, *quite* real. It’s normal, actually— and that’s why I live here.

If you’re listening out there Britney, you and your loved ones can visit me at Half-ass Junction anytime. I will not judge you. I got laughed at once while submitting art to the small works competition hosted by NYU (in Manhattan) while wearing hair rollers. My art speaks for itself and my person was getting prepped for other things, thank you.

The fact that the person taking submissions and I got into a rather heated debate over whether or not the electrical cord attached to my device (constructed of an old vibrator, pot scrubber and night light) factored into the overall dimensions (12″ or less in ANY direction) is probably inconsequential, but the outcome was funny as hell. A curator was summoned to settle the argument and with Solomon-like wisdom she rendered her verdict: well, if it was a toaster, you would need the cord in order to plug it into an electrical socket. None of my works made it into that juried show, but victory was mine. I won the battle, but lost the war.

When did I get my affection for Britney, the rest of you ask?

My answer is very simple: when that Pepsi ad with her and Bob Dole aired. Eons ago.

That ad made me laugh my ass off because:

  1. (I suspect I am speaking for the general public here) the fact that Bob Dole rectified his ‘droopy hose’ problem (via Viagra or Pepsi) is decidedly not something I wanted or needed to know. No doubt it made Elizabeth work harder to establish her political career (if you know what I mean).
  2. I am very fond of the caveats for such “E.D.” drugs: especially priapism (an erection lasting more than 4 hours) and blurred vision. I have giggled myself silly many times at the thought of Bob Dole trying to dial 911 (with blurred vision) because he’s gotten up and can’t get down. Maybe they should make panic buttons for this sort of eventuality; with baby boomers retiring, the demand is only going to go up (no pun intended).
  3. Slobs knocking wood to the visage of an unattainable woman is par for the course. I know this because I am female, have a pulse, live in New York City and use the subway.

Apparently, the New York Times and MTA have recently caught on the aforementioned point as well.

Speaking for myself, I have had three encounters with subway masturbators. None of them ventured to touch me and for that they can thank their good luck. I take my personal space very seriously; as Jim Morrison would say, “no one gets out of (t)here alive”.

  1. After visiting friends in Greenpoint (back when I lived in *gasp* Kensington), I took the G down to Lorimer St. to catch the L to go to Manhattan. As I was putting on lipstick, I see a man a yard away from acting strangely. Is he scrounging around for change in his pocket? No. He is actively flogging his kielbasa. I caught him in flagrante delicto. Great.In a subway car of thirteen people, men all, I was the Judas Iscariot (replete with albeit FAKE, red hair); I got up and pointed out to every MTA patron in the car that this guy was tossing off. Most ignored me, but a couple of guys chose to help. I am eternally grateful to those men. As politically-incorrect as the following may sound, it is the simple truth: a Polish man jerking off on the G train will invariably find a middle-aged black man laughing at him (and calling him a “Sick Fucker”) a buzz-kill. Joe Tossoffski bolted at the Nassau Avenue stop and my life reassumed its relative normalcy.
  2. Riding the G, Queens-bound: I see this paunchy, middle-aged Hispanic dude staring at me and a couple of teen-aged chicks. He is playing ‘pocket pool’. I tell the girls this and they laugh at him. Nothing happened.
  3. (Strike Three): May 2002. I was coming home from a date in Astoria, Queens. I was riding the Manhattan-bound N train in order to transfer to the 7 and (eventually) catch the G to the mighty Greenpoint. It didn’t exactly work out that way.

When the N train hit 36th Ave., (once again) I see a man acting strangely. Once again, I have managed to cross paths with a man jerking off on public transportation. And (once again), I make the patrons of said car aware of it. Three men (whom I like to call the magi) acknowledged this: one gets squeamish, the second laughs at him, and the third is stone-faced, but watching. 39th Ave. goes by. Nothing.

Queensboro Plaza: the stone-faced man makes sure I exit the train. I did. The giggler and squeamer stay. The conductor of the train shouted something at me— to this day I have no recollection of what he said— but I shouted back “There’s a guy jerking-off on THAT train!”

Conductor: which car?

Me: THAT ONE (while pointing to the second or third car from the front— my memory fails me at the moment).

The N train pulled out (towards Manhattan). Two or three cars, just enough. Then it came to a screeching halt. Sirens go off. Very, VERY, scary. Over a dozen policemen (plainclothes and otherwise) storm the car. I hid behind a column.

They apprehend the man in question and an officer locates me. He tells me I have to file a report at HQ. I tell the officer that I am unemployed and have plenty of free time.

The officers interviewed the masturbator (who claimed he was scratching himself) and then they interviewed me (the man in question was, most decidely, NOT scratching himself). They pat down the perp and he has drugs on him. I did give them probable cause, after all.
So it goes…

The train (finally) pulled away 20 minutes later. As it did, I saw the ‘giggler’. He was jumping up and down, waving, and giving me a “thumbs up”. It took all my restraint to keep from waving back.

I spent the entire evening (until 4:00 a.m.) at the Queens hub of Transit Police HQ. Briarwood, Queens to be exact. And what followed was the most entertaining evening I have ever experienced. Period. The fact that it was financed by tax dollars (my own included) made it only that much sweeter. When you grouse about paying taxes, remember the following…

I was driven by police car from Queensboro Plaza to Briarwood by the head honcho himself. In transit he tried to deduce if I was drunk or otherwise acquainted with the perp: no on both counts. Sure, I had a couple of beers— two to be exact— but that was over 4 hours ago. I had comsumed four cups of Greek coffee in the meantime. The officer grilled me as to what “Greek coffee” was. I told him it was basically the same thing as Turkish coffee (high octane coffee, no alcohol), but don’t tell that to a Greek person— they’ll find that offensive. He asked me why and I gave him middle-eastern history primer.

By the time we got to Briarwood, he knew I was not drunk: a weird chick wired on caffeine with a command of history to be sure, but not a drunk one. A person who is highly unlikely to run in the same social set as the dude they apprehended.

They made sure the perp did not see my face; they put him in lock-down before I even entered the station. I got to hang out in their office space while they negotiated the paperwork.

Clearly these men are not acclimatized to dealing with women who are not perps, e.g., some (hot-ish, heavy on the “ish”) broad hanging around in their quarters who is a plaintiff. Once they got used to me being there they opened up— and we had a shitload of fun.

They asked me why was there and I told them. We laughed.

They asked me who was on the back of my jacket. Mao Tse Tung, I answered. A couple of them knew who he was, but most were puzzled.

I asked them whose cube had the picture of Clint Eastwood in it, but they wouldn’t tell me. Oh well…

If any of you out there are wondering what transit police deal with (and vice versa), I’ll tell you:

  • First and foremost, you should be mindful that anything that goes down on rapid transit falls under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority, a peculiar inter-state entity. And copious paperwork will follow.
  • Secondly, a lot of very weird shit goes down on the subway system. I learned this firsthand, as some dude pre-empted my complaint on their docket by trying to set a token booth on fire with a Mr. Bubble bottle filled with lighter fluid. The officers also told me some of their work stories, and if there is one moral to parsed from the whole lot of them it this: do not fall asleep on the subway. EVER.

    If you’re lucky, you’ll be pick-pocketed. If you are unlucky (and male) you may wake up in the drunk tank and have an officer tell you that a man was administering fellatio to your person while you were passed out. Whole bunch of no fun.

By 4:00 a.m. the police gave up on interpreting the new paperwork from the D.A.’s office and I was driven home. I got home around 5:00 a.m. and was so hopped-up on (free) Diet Pepsi I could not go to bed. I finally fell asleep around 7:00 a.m.

I was awakened at 8:30 a.m. by the Queens County D.A.’s office. I answered her questions. Shortly thereafter, an officer came by my apartment to have me sign a statement. I read it and signed it. The arresting officer would testify on my behalf. Good. I go back to bed. About 30 minutes later my mother calls and berates me for sleeping and not looking for work.

No good deed goes unpunished. But then again, I think I earned my severance pay that day (and then some), thank you.

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