Filed under: 11211, 11249, Culture War, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Today I had the pleasure of showing a buddy of mine, Lisanne, around northern Brooklandia. She’s been quite busy of late kicking ass in her community (“Gowanus”); was kind enough to take me on a tour of her community and I wanted to return the favor. I felt perhaps a walk around Williamsburg would be an interesting juxtaposition to what her community faces. Above all, I wanted to show her what I consider to be one of the supreme grotesques when to comes to developer/community organization “partnerships”. I speak of none other than the Southside
I have yet to articulate in words how much this thing enrages me. Maybe I’ll get it right this time. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.
- I am not of Native American descent. I am not a spokesperson for the Native American community. However…
- my forbears (on my mother’s side) came from Texas. Well, if you want to get “picky” they lived in Texas before Texas was “Texas”. They were European immigrants and they immigrated to Mexico.
- They were not “wealthy” people. They lived alongside and in (relative*) harmony with Native Americans and Latinos (NOTE: I am reticent to use the term ‘Mexicans” because back in the day my forebears would also qualify as such. See point #2).
- When one is living on the “frontier”, “poor” and as such bereft the amenities we have in this modern age he/she does not have the luxury of being racist— and I assure you racism is a “luxury”. Instead, you pulled together as many collective resources as you could as a community. My grandmother and great aunt had (as they put it) a “Comanche woman” (“political correctness” as we know it was/is a mite bit too much to ask from two women born in 1909 and 1911 respectively) from a neighboring plot of land/”ranch” as a babysitter on occasion. They had fond memories of her.
- When there was a “feud”, as great aunt put it, between this “Comanche” family and another family (non-native American, I recall) they sided with the Comanches. Like I said: racism is a luxury.
It was very much a hand-to-mouth existence— and that’s one reason this
teepee tipi pisses me off so goddamn much.
After I took this photo a 20-something fellow, the “fire setter”, clad in overalls, bandanna and a straw hat approached me.
Are you Miss Heather of New York Shitty?
I answered to the affirmative. He responded as follows:
I’m Ryan, I used to work for GWAPP. We’ve met before.
Instead of tendering my condolences (I am capable of restraint when I want to be) I asked:
What are you doing?
We’re going to have a barbecue.
He replied and added:
We’re using wood because lighter fluid is bad!
“Oh I know” I replied and added:
Please tell that to my neighbors.** They just LOVE lighter fluid. They can’t barbecue for shit. They’d be excellent arsonists if they wanted to be.
Laughter, albeit of the uncomfortable/awkward variety, followed. “Ryan” went about his business and we went in.
Upon seeing this pair of New Balance sneakers outside the “tipi” my companion and I burst into fits of cynical laughter. She noted “NBs” are the footwear of choice among “progressives”.
No shoes are allowed in the tipi.
But apparently the “tipi” has an open door policy for smart phones.
I do not recall Native Americans having iphones. Hell, I do not recall reading— ANYWHERE— about the Native Americans who once called this land their home having
teepees tipis. This is because they didn’t. Teepees were used by nomadic tribes— generally on the great plains. Teepees were made of buffalo hide. Brooklyn did not have “nomadic tribes” (or buffalo for that matter). There was no need to travel long distances: everything they needed was here.
My travelling companion, Lisanne, put it (more or less— paraphrasing here) very well:
Don’t they see the irony of having a teepee in a neighborhood where a lot of residents (many of whom are Latino and probably “Mestizo”— Ed. Note.) are being forced out?
No they don’t— and that is the problem.
Straight up: If you are going to appropriate Native American culture (which you probably shouldn’t do in the first place), at least make it contextually/historically relevant. New York City is not lacking in Native American history. So why I ask, once again, do we have this teepee? I am guessing it is a “nod” to Native American culture.
The problem with this teepee is— however well intended it may be— is the wrong Native American culture. By erecting it you are doing our forebears here— and probably giving youths the notion that teepees did in fact exist here— a serious disservice. In fact I’d go so far to say one poorly placed teepee in Williamsburg is actually worse than no acknowledgement of Native Americans at all. Wrong information is worse than no information.
This could have, should have been an opportunity to educate people— newcomers and old timers, young and old— about the Native Americans who once lived here. Instead we have a hang-out wherein one can peruse one’s iphone. No lighter fluid, New Balances or Nikes allowed.
Rather sad, yes?
*For example, one time my grandmother and great aunt’s mother placed pies on a window sill to cool. The “Indians” stole them. My great aunt found her mother’s tristesse quite hilarious.
**Who also, thankfully rarely, host drum circles.
Filed under: Brooklyn, Gentrification, Gowanus, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad, The Word On The Street
Taken by Axel Taferner.
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Planet Entitlement, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad
Fact learned yesterday evening while crossing Manhattan Avenue: apparently wearing some hybrid of a Mongolian and Viking helmet absolves you of obeying traffic laws. I realize the photographs are not great. I can assure there is a reason for this:
- I was crossing the street in accordance with the traffic signal.
- The above woman (who clearly had no intention of stopping) narrowly avoided hitting yours truly.
- Instead, she veered into oncoming traffic on India Street where she almost hit a motorist (who was following the traffic laws and actually got out of her way).
This is how you become a statistic folks…
*For those of you who are not in the know as to who this fellow is, this should clear things up.
Filed under: 11101, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad, The Word On The Street
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.)
Filed under: 11211, 11249, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Taken by gothamruins.
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad
As spied today on Manhattan Avenue. Baby Fatty has been missing from her stomping grounds (Green and Huron Street between McGuinness Boulevard and Provost Street) since July 29th. If you have seen Baby Fatty (who, is should be noted IS micro-chipped!) or know of her whereabouts please contact her people at the above-listed phone numbers. A cash reward is being offered. Thanks!
Filed under: 11222, Criminal Activity, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad
I had honestly forgotten that the demolition of our local sludge tank commenced yesterday. Thankfully a very nice lady named Bess gave me a reminder this morning. This evening I swung by and took the above photos.
I also got the unanticipated “value-added” of watching our local constabulary take a police report for a BMW sport utility vehicle which had been divested of its wheels. Never a dull moment folks…
Filed under: 10003, 10009, East Village, East Village Manhattan, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad
Taken by Scoboco.
Taken by dwc April, 25th 2014.
It was— and this is being kind— like watching a huckster’s tent at a freak show. They come from near and far to pay a tour guide/a
dime $25.00 a gander at this city’s misery…
Display their patriotism. Conspicuously.
Pose with the police
And then they leave.
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Stuff The Makes Heather Sad
Taken May 21, 2014.