Greenpoint just got a little bit bigger…

April 21, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

I am happy to announce that Larry Fisher and Dawn Babbush (the husband and wife co-proprietors of The Vortex) had a healthy baby boy this morning. Not only did he arrive on the exact date the doctor projected, but labor lasted was only 10 minutes. If my mood today was any indication, I bet this little fella was jonesing to get out and enjoy some (long awaited) New York City sunshine.

On a related note, Larry and Dawn did not close the The Vortex (which was located on Manhattan Avenue between Eagle and Dupont Streets), they simply relocated (because their landlord got a wee bit too greedy and doubled their rent). You can get your fix for fine vintage goods, knick-knacks, records, Fatty and Champ at:

The Vortex
222 Montrose Avenue (just off the Montrose stop of the L)
Brooklyn, NY 11206

Greenpoint vinyl fetishists, don’t despair: The Thing (at 1009 Manhattan Avenue) is alive and well. And some competition has just moved in a block away at 181 Franklin Street.

Permanent Records

Looks like it will be a little while before these guys are ready to open, but it makes me happy to see that Franklin Street is thriving… AT LAST! Believe it or not, there was a time (not too terribly long ago) when Franklin Street was the main shopping district hereabouts, not Manhattan Avenue. I thought it would be fun to throw out a bit of trivia for youse guys to banter about at cocktail parties (or use as a ‘ringer’ for bar bets— my personal favorite).

Speaking for myself, tonight I will be busy calibrating a new set of KICKASS clocks I am:

  1. going to place for sale on Etsy (provided their ‘thought police’ does not take offense at them) and
  2. cooking up a little something extra special for BARC’s upcoming sidewalk sale.

Miss Heather

Thrift score!

April 21, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

The biggest perk that comes with helping out the local thrift store a couple days a week is that I get first whack at all the new stuff they get. For me, this usually means the occasional piece of costume jewelry or some sorely-needed art supplies. Today, I got the mother of all thrift scores. Here’s how it happened…

As I was sorting through jewelry Franz, my evil cohort, started reading aloud a framed letter he found:

Thank you very much for your most thoughtful note offering your support, prayers and concern for our family. It has often been said that in difficult times we especially appreciate the simple acts of kindness and decency, which touch the soul.

While my decision to announce my resignation has significant public consequences, it was first and foremost a personal decision, which reflected the need to pursue right course for our State and family…

At this point I looked up and shouted:

Who the fuck is this? Jim McGreevey!?!

Give that woman a Kewpie doll!*

I’m not too sure where I am going to hang my newly-acquired and priceless (‘cuz I didn’t pay a red cent for it) piece of New Jersey history, but I am very tempted to bully my husband into placing it on his desk at work. In all likelihood it’ll probably wind up in our bathroom next to the to the toilet (so as to provide reader material for our visitors).

Miss Heather

P.S.: The other perk of working there is that I can drop as many f-bombs as I want and my co-workers have my back. Just today I let one slip much to the consternation of a customer, who I will call “Momma” (as in Throw Momma from the Train because that’s who she looks like).

Momma: I hate that kind of language!
Me: (Silence. There was no way in hell I was going to apologize for using a word whose many conjugations I hear on the street at least 5-6 times day.)
Franz: I think I will put on some Madonna.
Me: Yes, please do put her on. I have been craving her music of late, but simply have not gotten around to listening to it at home.

Although I do enjoy listening to Madge on occasion, I knew the likes of “Lucky Star” or “Ray of Light” was not what my co-worker had in mind. Franz then proceeded to put on a song that is little more than a mash-up of Madonna saying the word “fuck”. Over and over. Momma didn’t like this very much. After plopping down $2.00 for a book she left in a huff uttering some self-righteous bullshit about how ‘the customer is treated last’. This didn’t stop her from coming back 20 minutes later to buy another book.

If you ask me, this broad should have taken that $4.00 and parlay it towards a box of hair dye instead. This woman was rocking some serious ‘bridge and tunnel’ hair, if you know what I mean. Revlon’s Colorsilk only costs $4.00-$5.00 a box, for fuck’s sake! Two inch long white roots with Lucille-fucking-Ball red tips is UGLY! If she doesn’t fix that shit by the next time I see her I am going to stand behind the counter and aspirate f-words until it polishes enamel off my teeth.

*Being a former Dallasite, let me tell you a little something about Oaklawn Avenue. It is the main drag in a section of Dallas called, appropriately enough, “Oaklawn”. “Oaklawn” is Big D’s answer to San Fran’s Castro District— or Chelsea in New York City. Interesting, eh?

Brownfinger

April 21, 2007 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit, Dung of the Day, Greenpoint Magic 

As I was parsing through my inbox this week I came across a compelling question from one of my commentors. Dupreciate’s email read as follows.

While we’re chattin, I was wondering if you’ve seen this short/doc series yet:

http://www.vbs.tv/shows/index.php?show=Toxic%20Brooklyn

Has less to do with dog poop and more with crude oil – interested in your take on the ordeal.

While I could have answered his question in two or three sentences, I was feeling chatty and contemplative this particular morning. As a result, “Dupreciate” got a two to three paragraph missive that eventually degenerated into a balf-baked Socialist/sociological rant to savor over his lunch hour. While far from perfect, I believe this tome merits sharing. Here it is, in all its abject glory…

Hey, I just watched episode #2 of this series and got the general gist. Although I do not make it very explicit on my blog, I am appalled by all the irresponsible development going on both in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Although the previous sentence may sound like some vague bullshit statement, I chose my words (READ: irresponsible) very carefully, as it encompasses a variety of very troublesome issues, not just the oil spill. Here are a few of them:

Simply put, the practice of trusting the developers police themselves needs to stop. If Scarano and the number of properties damaged by shoddy construction practices (like 106 Green Street) does not attest to the need for strong government intervention, nothing does.

If these very people cannot be trusted to erect a building that is in compliance with building code and zoning laws, why the fuck should we expect them to give a damn about the environmental hazards that may or may not be present underneath them? Soil testing (as I understand it) is not mandatory. It should be. Petroleum is not the only toxin that we should be concerned about. For example, there was once a Paris Green manufacturer near McCarren Park. I do not expect you to know what “Paris Green” is, so I will tell you: it is a very toxic paint that was popular during the Victorian era. If my memory serves me correctly, arsenic is one of its by-products. Or it was cyanide? I do not remember which.

If you want to scare yourself shitless, go through the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives and run a search on all the industrial accidents that have occurred in the north Brooklyn area. Mind you, that’s only what merited reporting. This does not include 150 years+ of surreptitious illegal dumping.

About a year ago I read an interesting book about how the slums in Detroit came into existence. Although there were a number of city-specific factors at play (like the demise of the American auto industry), there are others that I find relevant to what is going on not only in North Brooklyn, but in NYC at large. I am talking about the destruction/neglect of affordable rental property. One of the biggest mistakes Detroit made was its (over)development of properties for sale at the expense of rental property. They let the inner city decay as the ‘burbs flourished.

I strongly suspect the ‘luxury housing’ that is being built here is going to make slums flourish as well. Once you render a neighborhood prohibitively expensive to the middle class (which is the backbone of Manhattan’s workforce— and I consider any family whose yearly income is $45,000 – $100,000 as being ‘middle class’), they move further out. This completely undermines the purpose of rent-stabilization— which is largely responsible for PREVENTING New York City from becoming another Detroit. Pardon my pinko thinking, but once a city begins to neglect the core of its worker-force, a whole lotta bad is going to follow.

Speaking for myself, the properties that have been razed in my ‘nabe have facilitated crime. About ¼ of my block has ceased to exist, and the result is my having to shoo junkies from hanging out on my stoop. Magic Johnson’s condos are not going to fix this social problem. If anything, it is only going to make it worse. I find it impossible to believe that they are going to dredge up 130 families to buy into this monstrousity. So, the property (and many others like it) will probably have high vacancy rates. High vacancy rates = high crime.

All the while, the working class and elderly (who sorely need housing and add value to the neighborhood at large) are being driven out in droves. This is more than a little depressing. My husband and I often wonder if/when we’ll be next. I hope this long-winded socialist tome has given you a clear picture of my take on this subject.

H

I am neither a city planner nor an economist, but it doesn’t take a so-called expert to recognize the rapacious land speculation that is going on in north Brooklyn (or all of Brooklyn, for that matter). Not unlike the barons of industry before them, these land jobbers are squeezing our neighborhood down to the last dollar, quality of life (or inadequate infrastructure) be damned. Thus, the finger buildings will continue rise until it is no longer in the developer’s financial interest to build them.

Even Williamsburg’s canines have caught ‘finger fever’. I guess the real estate there has gotten so expensive, even the dogs have to maximize their air rights.

111 N. 4th Street

I found this ‘Turdhenge’ at 111 N. 4th Street. Note the mezzanine on the turd to the right. Not to be outdone, Greenpoint has also gotten high-rise hysteria. As I noticed at 200 Franklin Street yesterday.

200 Franklin Street

I wonder if this ‘product’ is part of the new waterfront (re-zoning) I have heard so much about?

Miss Heather

R & R

April 20, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Having completed my day’s work, I am headed up to the roof for a little R & R. The sunblock has been slathered, the refreshing beverages selected and reading material pulled. My sunglasses are perched atop my head itching to be put to good use.

Sooner or Later…

Those of you who have ever wondered why I put up with sporadic hot water problems, a Superintendent who is a blithering idiot, or the hipster junkies who like to loiter on my stoop, look at the above photo. When you have a view like this (as I do), you learn to let a few things slide.

Off I go!

Miss Heather

Let the litigation begin!

April 20, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Yesterday evening I received the following email from Larry Schwab, the manager of 131 Huron Street:

As promised, I am informing you that 110 Green Street Development LLC has brought an Order to Show Cause against [myself] 131 Huron St Assoc Inc to show why he should be granted a license to enter onto my property. The hearing will be held at Part 16 of the Courthouse located at 360 Adams Street Brooklyn NY on April 27, 2007 at 9:30 AM.[this can change as legal maneuvers take over] In his papers the Petitioner 110 Green Street Development LLC, depicts himself a victim of unreasonable neighbors (! — Ed. Note). He alleges to have acceded to all demands previously set forth. Is that true??

Will keep you posted

Larry Schwab

This is a catch 22 if I ever saw one. Even if 110 Green Street is denied access to Schwab’s property, who’s to say they won’t pull a ‘106 Green’ and let themselves in anyway?

Miss Heather

106 Green Street Redux

April 19, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

After chatting with my (new-ish) neighbor at 106 Green Street my curiosity got the better of me; I wanted to see the (now) infamous 106 Green Street hole. So, with mother in tow, I walked down there and looked for it. Given that the Orwellian wall fronting 110 Green Street is at least ten feet tall (and I’m not), I couldn’t determine where it was with 100% certainty, but this looks a viable candidate.

106 Green Street Image Small

Let me tell you, dear readers, a little something about 106 Green Street: from roughly 1997 to 2002 a couple friends of mine lived in this very building. They would often have barbeques on the roof. Usually on the 4th of July or Labor Day. The one “rule” the attendees had to follow during the festivites was NOT to walk/stand on the southern section of the roof. This was because they had been admonished by their landlord, “Abe”, that he had removed a number of ceiling joists in order to install a skylight. Bearing the previous in mind, let’s take a look where this ‘weak spot’ is located in relation to the above-depicted missing bricks.

106 Green Street Roof Photo Small

I s’pose the folks upstairs got off easy having a mere four square foot hole torn in their wall right before the Valentine’s Day blizzard hit; their whole fucking roof could’ve come down instead! I have been told by a current resident of 106 Green Street that the landlord assured him that he was reinforcing this stretch of ceiling with sheet metal. And maybe he is— but I’ll only believe it when I see it. You see, “Abe” also told this person (before he moved in) that there would be no pile-driving next door…

Miss Heather

Waterfront Preservation Alliance Benefit

April 19, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

WPA Flyer

This morning a commentor brought this benefit to my attention. “Knotslaning” wrote:

I know you love the hood so I thought you might be interested in attending a benefit for the hood. Check this link for more information.

Thanks Candace (aka knotslaning, fellow greenpointier)

I am a little disturbed that this did not come to my attention earlier. I have not seen this flyer anywhere. Then again, I have spent more time outside of my home ‘hood of late (entertaining family and all) than usual.

Speaking for myself, I will probably donate $20 outright and pass on the benefit because holding court with The Dowager of Dog Shit (aka my mother) for entire week has worn my ass out. Not only did she throw the proprietess of Word Books for a loop*, but she was kind enough (after a couple of glasses of wine) to inform my husband that I was conceived in Garland, Texas. Thankfully, my mother was merciful enough not to tell her son-in-law what facilitated this fortituitous event: a shag rug and a bottle of cold duck.

I learned that when I was 16 years old and it has fucked with my head ever since. The only consolation about being conceived in Garland (and being born nine months later in WACO) is the only direction to go after such an inauspicious beginning is UP. And I have: Greenpoint.

Miss Heather

*Her email read as follows:

Hey. I just can’t tell you how much I love the fact that your mother (who’s adorable by the way) asked for FORK ME SPOON ME, THE SENSUOUS COOKBOOK. It must be the meth talking. ;-)

By the way, I’m crossing my fingers that you have hot water again and that you don’t have to be dirty while your mom visits. You are welcome to use the bathroom at the bookstore, it’s got a big sink.

xo C

Missing Monkey

April 18, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

Missing Monkey

I found this poster on Bedford Avenue last weekend when I was playing ‘tour guide’ (for my mother and cousin). This is either a desperate attempt to recover a plush monkey emcee or it is the one of the most brilliant examples of viral marketing I have ever seen. (The fact that he was last seen on the Q train is a nice touch.) If they put “Missing” photos like this on milk cartons I’d be a helluva lot more likely to read them. (Yeah, hell holds a special place for me.) Either way, I felt this deserved dissemination to the general public.

If anyone out there has seen “Mr. Monkey”, please contact the fine folks at The Violet Hour. He is clearly missed.

Miss Heather

Starbuck’s N***a!

April 18, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Starbuck’s C

Now that my mother is safely on her way to the Land of Enchantment (replete with meth and trailer), I find myself woefully behind on my correspondence. Those of you who have emailed me and have yet to receive a response, it is nothing personal. I am simply all talked out right now. As I write this tome I am sipping an ice cold beer and enjoying something I have not experienced in about a week: being alone.

Anyhoo, I received the following email from my Poo Bag Dispensing Buddy:

Subject: I am sure you are aware of this…

but i had to send this to you.

im not sure when it opened since i haven’t been very detailed oriented this past week or so. i’ve been a walking zombie actually, but that is neither here nor there. (Boy, do I ever understand that! — Ed. Note) anyway, today on my way home from the garden with a cup of some delicious soup for lunch, i passed three girls walking the opposite direction. each about 12 years old or so sipping on strawberry mocha frappa-half-caff-with-whip-chinos. the girl in the middle announced, “I am like sooooo happy that we finally have a starbucks near us!”. the other girls like, totally agreed.

then this evening i had to get off the bus one stop early so could take a picture of it. I hadn’t yet seen it all lit up like this. wow.

is it odd that the brand new sign is already half burnt out?

To answer your question, my comrade in the war against caca, I am not the least bit surprised this sign is malfunctioning. I am certain you have heard of places that are reputed ‘hot spots’ for one kind of activity or another. For example, planes and people tend to disappear in the Bermuda Triangle and UFOs are fond of making visitations to Roswell and most of south Florida. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone— human or otherwise— would want to go to the latter, but I digress.

As it happens, our neighborhood is also one such magical place. I call the unnatural phenomenon that exists here “The Greenpoint Effect”. “What is The Greenpoint Effect”, you ask? It is not very easy to describe so I will cite some examples of it ‘at work’.

  1. Any subway poster bearing an image of a person with his (or her) mouth open will eventually (via Sharpie Marker) have a penis inserted into it.
  2. Any person who moves here (by choice) is an eccentric. Anyone who lives here for an extended period of time will only become more so. This ‘nabe is not unlike a terrarium; it is a hermetic environment that enables the careful cultivation of crazy the likes of which makes our ‘nabes to the north (Long Island City) or the south (Williamsburg) wince. Or call the cops.
  3. Any attempt to buck the trend of endemic Greenpoint slack (READ: putting up a fancypants sign or building high-end housing) will eventually be despoiled by mishaps, graffiti or a pile of shit (human or otherwise).

I hope the previous explanation has been helpful.

That said, I overheard a particularly choice ‘review’ of our new Starbucks from a crew of pre-pubescent hoodie macs on the B61 bus yesterday afternoon.

Hoodie Mac #1: What the fuck is that shit!?!

Hoodie Mac #2: Starbucks NIGG-UH!

Out of the mouths of babes comes much wisdom. I am seriously considering making myself a tee shirt with “Starbuck’s NIGGA” emblazoned on it. Rendered in rhinestones, naturally. The way the world is going I’ll probably end up serving sugar-laden drinks to teeny boppers there for a whopping $8.00-$10.00 an hour.

Miss Heather

Photo Credit: Erin, the Poo Bag Bandita

No Hat Water

April 16, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

No Hat Water

Yesterday afternoon the Stupor informed me that we would not have any hot water that evening. Then he uttered some shit about the basement being flooded. At least I think that is what he said; his command of spoken English is about as proficient as his writing skills (or his ability to ‘manage’ this building). Shitty.

It is 9:33 a.m. Monday, April 16th. My hair is filthy (it is standing up by itself), my mother is staying here and we still have no hot water.

Good times.

Miss Heather