After a rather pleasant evening outing this week I arrived home to find a disturbing missive in my inbox. The email was entitled “Kill me now” and its author was “Rebecca11222”. She wrote:
Saw this in a coffee shop in Williamsburg today. Enjoy.
Needless to say I was a trifle troubled by this— not so much by the class itself, but the dangerous precedent it sets. The women who will probably attend this class will not fill a sequined halter top as nicely as Fayzah does. They’ll either be anorexic beyond belief (and thus have no belly to ‘dance’) or they will sport an Orson Welles-eqsue paunch that is impossible to differentiate from second trimester pregnancy. Perhaps this is crass and sexist (it probably is), but all I’m saying is only in Williamsburg do I see twenty-something year old women with beer guts.
I shared the previous piquant observation with my buddy Rebecca. To wit she quipped:
The Star Wars bar scene-inspired hair is going to become the new trucker hat.
I fear she might be right. God help us all. Thankfully, we Greenpointers know better. We may not know what “Electric Tribal Fusion” means, but we don’t need to; if it isn’t European techno trash that can be cranked at ear-splitting volumes in a SUV it is not music. Period. As for the “Star Wars” hair…
it looks like someone on McGuinness Boulevard doesn’t care for it either.
Gotta run now. It’s time to get my aura adjusted.
After being awakened by Magic’s Silver Hammer one too many times, I decided to go for a long walk. Being the kind of person I am, Dog Shit Queen and all, my sense of noblesse oblige forced me to consider how I could spend this time productively (in the interest of my people). Then it hit me: why not patronize and review Greenpoint’s public lavatories? I have. In explicit detail. As you will see.
- The American Playground
Location: Franklin Street between Milton and Noble Street
- McCarren Park
Location: Nassau Avenue between Bedford and Driggs Avenue
- McGolrick Park (AKA: The Crapper of Death)
Location: Monitor Street between Nassau and Driggs Avenue
Note: I prepared for my toilet-going
jugger pissernaut by drinking several glasses of water followed by copious amounts of iced tea. It worked. I was downright uncomfortable when I reached my first destination…
#1 The American Playground
Number of stalls: 1
Overview: Not many people seem to know about this one. Even I did not give it much thought until several summers ago when I got sick at a street fair on Manhattan Avenue. I cannot explain the pain I felt in my gut that day save to say that it was like having the Battle of Guadalcanal in my bowels. I trotted double-time with the hope that I would make it to this crapper in time. I didn’t. I ended up shitting (if you can call such an involuntary and violent act of purgation that) in front of the rectory on Milton Street. (Sorry padres, but I suppose it’s kosher given I was raised protestant.)
After several frantic calls to my husband, he bought paper towels and met me at the American Park. Even though I didn’t make it to the crapper, I found the fountain they have there very useful to clean myself. I suspect a number of other people hereabouts have used this fixture for a similar purpose. With varying degrees of success.
Observations: In order to reach this privy I had to pass an Algonquin Roundtable of Polish bums replete with its very own Dorothy Parker. Whether or not this woman’s repartee was witty and cutting as Ms. Parker’s is anyone’s guess. I wouldn’t know because:
- She was speaking Polish. I think.
- She wasn’t really “speaking” as you and I know it. It was more akin to screaming.
As I approached the women’s bathroom, the smell of stale piss hit my nostrils. What I beheld inside wasn’t much better.
By all outward appearances the place seemed fairly clean. The fetid odor, puddle of fluid and swarms of flies seemed to indicate otherwise.
That said, toilet paper was plentiful and the toilet seat was dry. Contrary to what many of my fellow females will tell you, we are just as disgusting— if not more so— than men when it comes to spraying piss in public bathrooms with total abandon. In fact, the crimes my fellow XX chromos commit are much more venal given that we sisters have to sit down to do our business. Any chick who has ever fallen prey to stealth piss left on a toilet seat will know exactly what I am talking about.
Soap was plentiful, but paper towels were lacking.
Nonetheless, a garbage can was on duty.
After my first inspection I did a spot of shopping and downed more fluids. I was hot and my feet hurt so I went to San Loco and had a margarita. I consider this a business expense, as I needed something to stimulate urination and wanted to self-medicate before going to my next destination. In hindsight, this was an excellent decision.
#2 McCarren Park
Number of stalls: 2
Overview: This is arguably the most trafficked public restroom in Greenpoint. For this reason my expectations of it were pretty low. The fact that some weird dude was malingering nearby whilest rolling a joint didn’t assauge the prejudices I harbored regarding this public pissoir either.
Observations: Unlike the American Playground, this bathroom didn’t smell. Not any worse than Greenpoint in general, anyway. But it did have a lot trash laying about, despite the presence of a garbage can.
You will notice that this trash can is tethered to the sink with chains. I suspect this was done not out of fear of theft, but rather the likelihood that this recepticle would try to flee from the disgusting people who use this bathroom. I say this because as I was pulling out my camera to take pictures of this public crapper, a rather staturesque and VERY ANGRY parks employee popped out of a door whilest ranting to her co-worker.
Like most heavily painted and ancient doorways I have seen in New York City, I thought this one was no longer in use. It is. And behind it resides some very pissed off civil servants you do NOT want to fuck with. This woman passed by me like I was not even there and yelled:
They throw trash all over the place, don’t even flush the toilet and then complain that this bathroom is dirty. These people are disgusting!
She then punctuated her outburst by throwing a wad of trash in the toilet, flushing it and going back from whence she came. I was more than a little spooked by this, but proceeded to do my duty.
Here is the stall I patronized.
Both the floor and toilet seat were wet. But after I flushed the toilet I noticed that this was probably due to the tsunami-esque water pressure these toilets sport, not errant pee. These toilets are fucking fierce. If there was ever a Kings County Crapper Rumble, these bad boys would win.
Hands Seats down.
Otherwise, I think paper towels were present. I did not document this because frankly I wanted to get the hell out of dodge before that woman came back.
DAY TWO: The Reckoning
I collected my senses, got hydrated and returned to McGolrick Park.
#3 McGolrick Park
Number of stalls: 1
Overview: I have a deep-seated hatred of this bathroom and its employees. Unlike McCarren Park, this one is not patronized by legions of hipsters and bums: its clientele base is mainly the stroller set.
Observations: I had to wait to use this one. This is because “Mommy” was entreating her young ‘un as to whether or not she was “finished”. Clearly she had, or I have would not have had the chance to use this particular toilet. But there was some ‘unfinished business’ for me to contend with nonetheless…
There were bleach puddles on the floor. I had to roll up my pants so they wouldn’t get soaked. The entire bathroom reeked of Clorox— perfect for a humid 80 degree day.
Although I found toilet paper to be plentiful, I found evidence that this is (was) not always so.
The faucet is still fucked up, there was soap, but no paper towels and someone (else) left a gift on the sink. Probably…
because there was no trash can to be found.
What I am to make of the previous data, you ask? Well, Miss Heather has made a handy chart for you.
Statistics aside, here is my advice to fellow Greenpointers regarding our public lavatories:
- Always carry anti-bacterial wipes with you.
- Don’t fuck with the employees at McCarren Park.
They will kick your ass.
When I got home this afternoon I discovered a select morsel of goodness in my inbox. “Begonia44” writes:
Hi Miss Heather!
I wanted to share my poop finding with you and also vent if thatâ€™s OK. But first of all, I just wanted to say that I am a huge fan of your blog. Thank you for adding giggles and laughter to my day.
So, here is what I have today.
Place: 89 Eagle St. between Franklin and Manhattan. Our back yard. In our garden.
Time: This morning. May 24.
Mood: Nauseated and pissed
My poop isnâ€™t from a dog, rather a cat. These are the cats who have been having sex in our back yard, tearing up my garden, and taking dumps on my newly planted seed bed. In the beginning, the squirrels dug up all of my planters and hid peanuts and other nuts in them. It was a war. I caught a squirrel in the act of destruction one day and ran outside like a crazy woman on crack and he actually came running at me (Holy SHIT! — Ed. Note). I went running back into the house. Crazy little things. Now itâ€™s the cats shitting on my flower and herbs. Gross. I came home last night and my boyfriend Adam said he has cleared out a giant pile already. And now, I wake up to this nasty yellow piece of shit. I give up. Seriously.
Thank you so much!
I hope you are well,
And thanks again for your great writings.
No, thank you! Not only for your kind words but for seeing this sickly pile of poo and thinking of me.
Filed under: Area 51
A question I am frequently asked is why I do not try to earn a living by teaching art. My answer is always as follows:
Have you ever taught a college art class?
I have. It was one of the most depressing experiences I have ever had. Here are a few reasons why:
- Grade inflation: out of a class of 30 people, half of them will expect to receive a passing grade for simply showing up.
- If you are a student in a foundation drawing class, I honestly couldn’t give a fat rat’s ass about the ‘conceptual statement’ you are trying to make. Leave the sophistry for your senior year, all I want to know is if you can render the fucking still life I have set up in front of you. That’s it.
- Unlike most of my fellow teaching assistants and teaching fellows, the bored housewives who were in my classes didn’t bother me. In fact, I liked them. Unlike the entitled rich kids (talented and otherwise) I had to wrange, these women actually wanted to be in my class and their work ethic reflected this. These women not only busted their asses but a number of them also had talent.
The previous having been said, today I found a work of art that left me speechless. Well, not exactly ‘speechless’ —I did manage to get out an “OH MY GOD!” before being overtaken by its sublimity.
Needless to say, this masterpiece now resides in my home. I have no idea where it will go, but I will MAKE room to hang it. Perhaps it should grace my husband’s new
Why couldn’t this person have been one of my students? I would gladly PAY for the honor of mentoring such a genius.
Filed under: Vomit
I saw this sign as I was leaving for work this morning; it was posted on the inside of my apartment building’s front door. It has since been removed.
What the author of this sign doesn’t realize is the foul odor permeating our building is not vomit. The Stupor finally got around to cleaning out apartment 6 a couple of days ago. This apartment has been vacant since last November.
Among the items removed were (six month old) rotten food* and
used vintage cat litter. As a result, our hallways smell like a combination of homeless person ass-crack and limburger cheese. The Stupe, in his infinite wisdom, attempted to conceal this malodorous perfume with some generic form of Pine-Sol. The results of this futile attempt at ‘damage control’ are truly eye-watering.
*He also threw out the refrigerator, which I could smell from my own living room 20+ feet away!
I’ll be the first to admit that Manhattan Avenue between Eagle and Freeman Street is not especially pleasing to the eyes. A number of the buildings there are run down, the huge construction fence (that swallows up much of the sidewalk) is hideous and the sheer amount of litter to be found there is can be astonishing— even for Greenpoint. That said, yesterday I discovered a new and more disgusting addition to this urban landscape: two enormous mounds of dog shit.
One at 1049 Manhattan Avenue…
and another, older escarpment of caca next door at 1043 Manhattan Avenue.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Jack O’Neill’s pub at 130 Franklin Street is finally open for business…
and the interior is every bit as nice as the exterior!
They have a patio in the back too. Very nice!
The Parish Diner at 218 Richardson Street is open for business as well…
as is the North Henry Eatery one block away on Meeker.
I haven’t tried either of these yet, but I am looking forward to the experience. Anyone who lives in this part of Greenpoint will probably agree with me when I say that this area has been under-served on the restaurant front for way too long.
Permanent Records (at 181 Franklin Street) is slated to open this week too!
And last— but hardly least— my homegirl over at 11222 has brought a new vegetarian restaurant to my attention: The William Taft Vegetarian Diner.
Filed under: Area 51
Last weekend I had so much fun ‘degentrifying’ the Northside Piers I have decided to do a series of architectural mash-ups. Call it a Renovation Roadshow from Hell where I virtually visit buildings throughout Brooklyn* and give ’em the “Greenpoint Touch”.
Today’s target: The Williamsburg Savings Bank
Target location: One Hanson Place, Brooklyn, New York, 11243
Today’s ingredients (from my Greenpoint arsenal):
- Pink Stucco
- Lilac paint
- Cell phone transponders
- Satellite dishes
AThe defining characteristic of all Belvedere buildings and…
- THIS (which defies description)
Mix ’em all up and what do you get?
Belvedere XXX! Conveniently located just off Flatbush Avenue!
Photo Credit (sans stucco): Bridge and Tunnel Club.
*I am taking requests, by the way.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
The recent discovery of “Belvedere 28” made me (finally) realize exactly how many of these buildings blight the Greenpoint landscape. To apply cold deductive reasoning, if there is a “Belvedere 28” there must be a “Belvedere 27”, “Belvedere 26”, etc., etc. The previous gave me an idea; why not track down all these buildings, document them and place them on a handy map? Last weekend I commenced my quest. Here are my findings.
Location: 137 Java Street
Location: 150 Java Street
Sure it hasn’t been built yet, but the sign clearly (if illiterately) indicates this will be the location of “Belvedere 12”. It should be noted that I found something rather unusual at this site.
Looks like some type of portal. Does the Belvedere Empire employ an open door policy for felines or is this the worker’s entrance for non-union elfin employees? I for one hope it is the previous, not the latter.
Location: 636 Leonard Street
They were having an “Open House” when I took this picture last Sunday. Didn’t see any takers, though. Perhaps noise from the illegal weekend contruction being conducted inside kept potential clients at bay?
Location: 116 Calyer Street
Arguably, this has got to be the ugliest of the lot (so far). Its location (near McGuinness Boulevard) isn’t exactly stellar either.
Location: 114 Calyer Street
Immediately next door to “Belvedere 8”, #6 makes one wonder where “Belvedere 7” is located. Miss Heather will find this phantom condo. Next time…
Filed under: Vinyl Siding
Last week “Dupreciate” left a compelling comment regarding my first installment of Greenpoint vinyl siding goodness. He wrote:
This past Sunday I noticed a building on Nassau getting a nice vinyl siding upgrade, as the original siding was dry-rotted and falling off the building. Rather than replace the offending layer, these dudes were just throwing up new siding over the old. I like to think that this building (and others like it), are only going to get bigger and bigger as the years pass as more layers are tacked on.
For the last week I have been unable to get the previous image out of my mind. What’s more, this weekend I found evidence that what “Dupreciate” saw is not an uncommon practice. Here’s a couple of pictures of a house getting a makeover on Nassau Avenue.
I envision vinyl siding gradually swallowing all its non-sheathed companions like a python. Fedders buildings, Belvederes, 110 Green Street and tasteful residences alike will be easy prey. Resistance is futile. Eventually Greenpoint will become one giant conglomerated mass of mismatched siding. Sheltered from the elements we will dwell within this dark labyrinth like a tribe of Morlocks.
Or would that be Polocks?