Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Today was the first day of my husband’s vacation. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze and the temperature was nice and comfy. When the weather is this nice I usually open all the windows so as to air out a winter’s worth of accumulated stink from the apartment. Usually. You see, this was not really an option today because Magic Johnson’s crew saw fit to fire up ye olde pile driver at SEVEN FUCKING FORTY in the morning and commenced to merrily pound away until 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon.
Having hit my saturation point (much earlier), at 1:30 I crawled out onto the fire escape and gave Magic’s posse the one finger salute. This was (by my own admission) a pretty futile and immature gesture. However, it was a significant improvement from telling my husband that I wished we had a rifle because I could have gotten off a clear shot and take out the foreman.
Anyhoo, I have selected a special tidbit of Greenpoint history to share with you this week. It doesn’t have anything to do with Magic Johnson, but it does involve an act of defiance in the face of a certain, crushing defeat. Without further ado, I give you this police blotter item from the August 15, 1862 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle entitled “Alleged Secessionists Arrested”:
Officer Read of the 47th precinct this morning arrested a ship carpenter named Thomas Bolan, employed at the Continental ship yard at Greenpoint in the construction of the new “Monitor”, on a charge of treason. It is alleged that the accused has been in the habit of expressing himelf rather too freely to his companions in the yard in favor of the secession cause. Among other things, it is charged that he recently said that “he hoped that Jeff Davis would succeed in annihilating the Northern Army because he (Jeff Davis) was an honest man while Lincoln was nothing but a traitor.” He was sent before Provost Marshall for examination.
Although I do not agree with Mr. Bolan’s politics, I have to admire his chutzpah. Talk about balls. Homeboy probably needed a wheelbarrow to haul those bad boys around!
Filed under: Area 51
Or (to be semantically correct): mothers who bear fruit from being fucked.
My husband and I found this delightfully misanthropic bit ‘o’ vandalism Saturday night on the Brooklyn bound platform of the G at Metropolitan Avenue. After working overtime two days in a row I was beyond being tired; I was fucking exhausted. But mere fatigue was not about to keep me from attending my (insanely talented and very sweet) buddy Mark’s opening at Gitana Rosa this particular evening and having dinner with a(nother) friend afterward. Unfortunately my dining experience was blighted by:
- my husband throwing a tantrum because his cocktail was not up to his satisfaction and (ironically enough)…
- my having the misfortune of sitting next to a(nother) screaming baby.
To the parents’ credit, they did take the child outside to quiet him (in hindsight, perhaps I should have done the same thing with mine?). But I cannot help wondering why a baby should be at Black Betty at 8:30-9:30 ON A SATURDAY NIGHT in the first place. Seriously.
Unlike most people I actually enjoy my job. A lot. But it can be a very physically and mentally demanding one on occasion. This was the case yesterday and I did not appreciate spending my (long anticipated and much needed) ‘down time’ listening to some crotchling scream like banshee. I shit you not, at one point that little bastard’s bellowing made my ears ring.
Bearing the previous in mind, I would like to propose a revised “Take Back the Night” campaign. One whose purpose is not to deter sexual offenders (though this is very laudable and necessary thing), but rather, to retake the evening on behalf of the big kids, e.g.; you must be this tall to ride this ride, snot-monger! And if all you ‘hip’ parents out there don’t like it, too fucking bad! You should have thought about that before you decided to unleash your little busted rubbers on the rest of us (who would just as well not have them).
The way I see it, being a disruptive noisy fuck on a Saturday night is the one (and perhaps only) solace we adults have. This is not just our prerogative, it is OUR RIGHT— and I am not about to let some simpering little shit partake of it prematurely. Little Cooper or Kaitlin will have to wait until they are 21— and their (grand)parents buy them their own goddamn condos— before their entitled caterwauls can/will reach my (hopefully deaf) ears. If I’m not deaf by then I’ll just drink myself into a stupor so as to render the sob stories about some McCarren Park Princess’s mommy forcing her to buy a new couch (to match her one million dollar condo) incomprehensible.
In the meantime I have made it a point to channel my assholic behavior at venues that encourage (or don’t discourage) the presence of screaming little houseapes. This isn’t a threat; it’s a promise. After carefully cultivating 30-odd years of bottled-up rage, I have near endless supply of sordid grist for my mill. Just ask one of my fellow diners at Cafe Mexicano II about the time I feigned crying and wailed:
I lost my virginity to this song!
…when the management (unwisely) chose to play “Rosanna” by Toto one Friday night*. You could hear a pin drop after I dropped that turd— but what really creeped them out was my husband laughing his ass off immediately afterwards. Go figure.
*This is not true, by the way. Although my personal life is my own business, I will point out that if this had happened I would have been in elementary school at the time— and that kind of shit doesn’t fly where I grew up: Texas. We always left that kind of sick shit to our neighbors to the east (READ: the ‘deep south’).
The above image is how I started my morning today. After two days of getting little-to-no sleep (because my cat Bodhi is being a SHIT), I woke up today refreshed, energized and— dare I say it— MOTIVATED. The lattermost is a good thing given I have to go work in an hour.
Anyhoo, I got a cup of coffee, trudged into the living room and, not knowing what to write, sauntered over to The Gowanus Lounge to see what’s shaking. This is where I learned that the Gowanus Canal may be lethal to whales, but the Coney Island Whitefish population is thriving.
Unlike most people who would say Ewwww and scroll down to the next story, I laughed my ass off and thought to myself:
Now THAT’S journalism!
If this is a taste of what the second year of GL holds, I can hardly wait to see what comes next. My buddy Bob is entering some (not so) virgin territory that I (The Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint) enjoy savoring over my morning coffee. I always considered him to be the Pontiff of Pollution, but I may have to rethink this title and start calling him the Coney Island Whitefish King instead.
The way I see it, the presence of discarded rubbers is a good thing because it indicates that the local population might actually be practicing safe sex. Mazel tov! Regrettably, the same cannot be said of my homeboys (and girls) up here in Greenpoint.
The aquatic life in Gowanus may be all but gone, but on Diamond Street the crabs are faring quite well, thank you very much!
P.S.: Maybe the reason behind the recent Coney Island Whitefish migration (to Gowanus) is that Thor Equities evicted them? Sure, I could have made a joke about rubbers and “gag orders”, but that would have been too damned easy.
(Condom photo credit: The Brooklyn Paper)
Filed under: Area 51
Per Larry Schwab, the court hearing mentioned in this post has been postponed to May 18th.
This doesn’t mean, however, that those of us who are (already) sick of this project can’t make our discontentment known in the meantime. As it happens, Magic Johnson will be speaking at Medgar Evans College tonight. The invite reads:
Join me in Brooklyn, together we can make a difference.
Certainly I am not the only person who finds the above statement darkly amusing (and very tempting). I think someone should go down there and give him a big ol’ Greenpoint welcome! And why not stay for the free food and drinks afterwards? Freeloading (and shit throwing) is our god-given way of life, after all.
The last evening of my mother’s visit my husband and I took her to Casa Mon Amour for dinner. Not only can I say that this was the first time in many, many years that I have seen my mother clean her plate, but the sangria was to die for. Seriously, that shit was like crack— albeit in legal, liquid form.
I queried Beatrice (the beatific proprietress of said restaurant) as to how she made it. Understandably, she was a wee bit vague— and I’m not the kind of girl that swills and tells anyway. All I’m saying is that I savored the little bit of vanilla bean I found in my beverage.
Anyhoo, we struck up a conversation and as I suspected, she has a background as colorful as her sangria. And the sangria having done its work all too effectively, I emailed her later to tell me more (about herself). Again. Beatrice writes:
I was born outside of Paris and moved to Douala, Cameroon when I was 15 days old (pity frequent flyers did not exist in those days). My grandparents started the trend of living in Western Africa in 1950 and all their children followed in one way or the other. By the time I was 6, we moved to Dakar, Senegal for a couple of years. Then it was off to Abidjan, Ivory Coast to spend a year with my grandparents when I was 7 (because my father had gotten a job in Akjoujt, Mauritania where there was no schooling, or hospital or much else for that matter).
My sister and I joined them months later to enjoy living in the Sahara Desert for the following couple of years. My father passed away in 1973, forcing the family to return to France. That was quite traumatic. I had already spent a couple of month’s vacation each year visiting my family in Brittany and in the immediate region of Paris, but at the age of 10 I was not quite ready for my first sight of snow, wearing heavy clothing or dealing with French life in general. I did adapt eventually and took full advantage of being a teenaged college student in Paris. For the following 9 years I visited most of my own country and love the differences from one region to the other. My heart still belongs to Brittany… although I have also traveled some in Europe and to this day wish I would have the time to do more of that.
My first trip to the USA was a mixed bag of results, I went there with my French fianceÃ© who wanted to move to Los Angeles; I hated the place. I can’t live somewhere where I need a car to get a pack of cigarettes. (Hee Hee! — Ed. Note). Thinking it was my first and last trip to the US before returning to Paris, I stopped in New York to visit some friends. I met my daughter’s future father on the last week, fell in love and within a year I had crossed the Atlantic to get married. I have spent the following 15 years between New York and my house in rural Pennsylvania, traveling once or twice a year to Paris or the Carribean. It was the beginning of a true love story with the region and its different culture. I realized that I now longer would feel comfortable in Europe but would never quite fit in the Anglo-Saxon culture either.
After my divorce, I spent 8 years with a Salvadoran man, and travelled all over the Caribbean, Central and South America. I was at the time running a Xmas decoration factory in Greenpoint. Unfortunately, we lost our production to the gigantic machine that is China, and that is how I ended up buying, renovating and making Casa Mon Amour the center of my life.
I donâ€™t know what the future has in store for me, but I have always known that despite of my love for New York City, I will not grow old in such an harsh climatic environment. I fantasize that one day they will be a Casa Mon Amour Bed & Breakfast somewhere in the Dominican Republic or Central America. But time will tell… The only thing that is inside of me at all times, for have always lived like a wanderer, is that I donâ€™t belong anywhere but feel happy everywhere.
The last sentence pretty much sums up Casa Mon Amour; the vittles (and most importantly, the sangria) there will make you feel happy everywhere too. Be sure to ask for the salsa, as it some of the tastiest I have ever had (other than my own, obviously). The fact that it is all very, very inexpensive doesn’t hurt either. Check it out.
Casa Mon Amour
162 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 349 1529
P.S.: Oh yeah, once a month she hosts an evening of French cuisine. Word has it (because she told me) food from southern France (my favorite) is slated for June. Gotta remember to make reservations for that one!
Filed under: Area 51
is misery. Or so I read somewhere. I think it was in a fortune cookie.
I do not question the veracity of the truisms tucked away these cookies— especially after my last visit to The Chinese Musician Restaurant about a month ago. Follows is my husband’s fortune:
The greatest danger could be your stupidity.
And here is mine:
Do you want to be a power in the world? Then be yourself.
Correct-a-mundo on both counts!
In the noise-riven hellhole that was my apartment today I put my mother(fucking) misery to work. Somewhere among the metronome-esque pounding of Mr. Johnson’s tool, a couple of medicinal brewski’s, one hot glue gun and my own obstinate(ly persistent) nature a mighty crucible was formed. And thus, out of my personal hell came forth two bad-ASSSSS clocks:
Check out Ganesh’s grill! The mother of excess may be misery, but the fruits of excess (READ: glitter, glam and rhinestones) are fucking FABULOUS!
Although (obviously) incomplete, I felt this one also merited sharing. After a good 2-3 hours of near non-stop pile-driving, this really brightened my day. I hope it does the same for you. The peeps down the block can make my ‘nabe 130 condo units uglier, but that won’t stop me from trying to make it beautiful.
One clock at a time.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
On April 12, I received an email from the woman responsible for filming the YouTube video of Mr. Johnson’s tool at work. She wrote:
Thanks for passing that info along. I have to admit that was one of the worst days (noise wise) thus far…I’m not sure if it could get any worse than that! I’ve hardly noticed anything since then…so maybe that’s a good thing!
Inasmuch as I hate to tell this woman “I told you so!” (because she is a very nice person), I’m gonna do it anyway.
As of 9:59 a.m. this morning it went back to work. Decked out in full patriotic fettle, no less. No act— however stupid, distasteful, annoying or morally ambiguous as it may seem— is wrong if it’s backed up by the good ol’ U. S. of Fucking A.!
Just ask our president.
So when my neighbors ask “What that’s awful noise?” I tell them (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) that it is the sound of FREEDOM— and if they don’t like it they should go to Cuba or North Korea with the rest of ‘dem freedom-hating, abortion-loving, baby seal clubbing commie bastards!
Having made my point, I think I will put together a little care package for my neighbor: a six pack of beer, ear plugs and a bottle aspirin. Fuck the aspirin, make that valium!
UPDATE: For shits and giggles I called my buddy at The Gowanus Lounge on his cell. When his voicemail picked up I held my cell up to my living room window (so he could enjoy the PHAT beats). Here is his (email) reply:
Before you started speaking, I thought you had a Eurohell dance track playing in the background. Boomthwash boomthwash boom thwash. Like you were calling from some club that decided to open in midafternoon. Then I realized what it was. Yipes.
And here’s my reply to his reply:
Until about Â½ hour ago I had ~$10.00 to my name. Now I have $1.00. $3.00 was spent on doing laundry, the other $6.00 was spent on a 6 pack of Budweiser…
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Yesterday I saw— without argument— the strangest damned thing I have ever seen in my seven-to-eight years of living in Greenpoint. Those of you who are familiar with my ‘nabe (or the many fucked-up things I have seen here), know that this is really saying something. I did not get a photo of this item because it was loaded on the back of a moving truck with about 2-3 men in tow. They all had nonchalant expressions on their faces, which was sort of odd given the utter weirdness of the contraption they were watching over. I stood in the middle of McGuinness Boulevard gawking at it… and I seriously doubt I was the only one.
I am not even going to bother describing this thing. Instead, I have drawn a nifty little schematic of it from memory.
Given that this truck was headed towards Diamond Street (which is where this came from) it makes me wonder what kind of sick shit my fellow Greenpointers are into. I think I’d just as well not know…
P.S.: Oh yeah, I’d like to offer up a heaping helping of congratulations to Jen Chung (of Gothamist) for being featured (and looking fabulous) in Wired Magazine. Way to go!
Filed under: 11101, 11222, 11354, Blissville, Blissville Queens, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens, Maspeth, Maspeth Queens, Newtown Creek
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.
Yesterday evening after meeting a buddy of mine for dinner, my husband and I decided to walk home. This seemingly insignificant decision netted me a real prize.
I found this trace of turd terrorism in the barren no man’s land between north Williamsburg and Greenpoint: Berry at N. 11th Street. Moving forward, I would like to suggest that this poster be used as the demarcation point between the two ‘hoods because throwing one’s (or someone else’s) “D’s” into another person’s face is exclusively a Greenpoint avocation. While anthropologists fret over our simian brethren’s ability to make tools, we are furiously throwing the fiercest fucking D’s on the East Coast! Long live the Devolution!
P.S.: Although dung throwing is perfectly acceptable, be advised that Greenpoint has an explicit anti-fart policy, so mind your fucking manners.