This is the intercom system for my building. As you can clearly see, this fixture has seen better times. The sweet salad days of its youth, e.g.; when this appliance was not only wired in a coherent fashion and allowed the residents contained within this building the luxury of “buzzing” people in are, alas, no more.
What was once a facilitator of convenience to others has become my nuisance. The only people who bother using this “intercom system” are drunks, junkies and fools. A motley crew that god (for reasons only known to him) has seen fit to protect. In Greenpoint. With a particular emphasis on my block.
Unless of course one of these ne’er do wells takes to hitting my buzzer repeatedly at 2:00-6:00 in the morning. You see, I quit going to church at a very young age. Being pontificated at like a child by children and hypocrites of all ages did not sit well with me. But I did a learn a thing or two during my indoctrination. For example: it is much better to give than it is to receive.
On a hot summer morning/night who would not like a nice cold cup of water (or two)? I know I would. Especially if I happened to be shit-faced drunk and/or high. That’s why I see fit to “water the plants” whenever someone sees fit to pummel my buzzer when most people (myself included) are asleep. The problem is (at such odd hours and being very sleepy) my aim isn’t very good; most of the water I pour finds its way onto the stoop below. Exactly where the “buzzer-pusher” is.
To those of you who I have accidentally showered (and we both know such an attempt at hygiene on your part would come to pass by accident), please accept my sincerest apologies. My hand and eye coordination are not what they used to be. If I was not enfeebled by old age (READ: being in my 30′s) I assure buckets of boiling oil would find their way to you.
That said, I recently found a buzzer “fixture” in Bushwick and it inspired me. Not only was it out of the reach of drunks, mischievous children or ornery little chicks like me, it was also a test.
Speaking as someone who has taken oodles of tests, I am familiar with the logic of “multiple choice”. From Kindergarten to the grave, one’s worth— be it financially, personally, sexually, etc.— is decided by such examinations. The first of many inquiries about my worth as a human being came in Kindergarten. The fact that I used scissors with my right hand and could not write with the same said hand was troublesome to my teacher.
Was Miss Heather retarded?
That was the issue my teacher brought up at an urgent meeting with my mother. My mother (not being a elementary education professional, but being my mother) made the presumptuous suggestion:
Did you try to let her write with her left hand?
It worked. But I digress…
When faced with a question I couldn’t answer on one of the many standardized tests I took— be they in junior high school, high school or college (each designated to highlight the defects of the previous institution and my person) I rarely picked “none of the above”. Perhaps if I label my buzzer as such the luck will rub off?
Hope springs eternal. In the meantime I’m keeping a pitcher of ice water ready.
Filed under: Area 51
I cannot tell a lie; until recently I turned my (not so little) nose up at Bushwick.
Yes, Miss Heather was guilty of arrogance. Fortunately, I have since seen the light. Today’s offerings on New York Shitty will be dedicated to sending this oft-maligned and disparaged neighborhood a little Greenpoint love.
Bushwick has a certain je nais se quoi, if you will. While Park Slopers may get in a dither about some crazed tart hanging
out above someone’s doorway, the peeps in this no-nonsense ‘nabe are engaged in heated political discourse.
Case in point: a polemic I found at 232 Meserole Street yesterday.
Some may bemoan the fact that our fearless leader is:
- A religious whack job
- A liar
- A lying religious whack job
- A lying religious whack job who has managed to get this country into a geopolitical situation whose (negative) consequences will be felt for a very long time
But such people are merely trifling with the symptoms of a larger (or in this case, smaller) problem. Leave it to the Bushwickers (or Bushwickians) to cut the crap and get right to the point.
Filed under: Area 51
Tonight a vigil against tenant harassment will be held at 202 Franklin Street (between Huron and India Streets) by the Saint Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation. Here is a flyer with all the details.
I strongly recommend that those of you who have the time attend this function. The story behind 202 Franklin Street is a very interesting and (unfortunately) very common one to be found in gentrifying areas around Brooklyn nowadays.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Good fences make good neighbors
-Robert Frost, “Mending Wall”
One of the biggest learning curves for me after moving to New York City was getting acclimatized to having a lot less space. When people are stacked chock -a -block (as they are here) concepts such as “personal space” and “privacy” become a much more relative thing. In fact, I have occasionally amazed myself with what I have managed to tune out, e.g.; street noise, music, noisy neighbors, a PILE DRIVER, etc.
People are, contrary to popular belief, a pretty tolerant lot here. That said, when the reach the breaking point things can get interesting. Anyone who has lived in New York City must (in my opinion) have a rite of passage called the noisy neighbor. You know; some cretin who is either unwilling or unable to understand what impact his (or her) actions have on others and persists in making ungodly amounts of noise (usually at ungodly hours of the night). Many try to entreat these people by employing reason. Sometimes this works.
Usually it doesn’t.
Of course, if one is willing to get his hands dirty redress can be had, as in this case of today’s tale pf Greenpoint hooliganism from the October 13, 1902 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The issue at hand: a fence. Enjoy!
FAMILY FEUD IN COURT;
A GATE CHOPPED DOWN.
Sequel to Wright-Jackson and Jackson-Wright Complaints to Health Board
A COP VS. A REAL ESTATE MAN
Latter Comes Out Ahead in the First Round Before Magistrate— No Proof to Convict Chopper
The cause of it was a plain, long, high, unpainted gate. The gate isn’t to blame, but it has divided two families, caused a great deal of trouble and finally involved the principals in court proceedings. As is usual in such cases the sacrificial offering was an innocent victim of circumstances. He didn’t know and of course didn’t understand.
Patrolman Charles Jackson of the Greenpoint Avenue Station lives in 160 Calyer Street. Next door, in 162, is the home of George Wright, a well known real estate dealer. In his employ is Thomas Sharp, a laborer. In the side of Jackson’s house is a gate, which swings into the alley, and, incidentally, strikes against the house of Wright.
For two years this gate has been the primary cause of the friction between the families, The Wrights didn’t like to hear the banging of the gate against their house. Little things tell and the bangety-bang so worked upon the nerves of the Wrights that finally the friendship between the families turned into enmity.
Wright fumed and Jackson defied. Jackson determined to get even. Wright has two bantam roosters. They know how to crow at the most unreasonable hours. Mr. Jackson, or somebody else, sent word to the Board of Health that the crowing disturbed the slumber of the neighborhood.
The war was on. Mr. Wright, or somebody else, then complained to the Board of Health that Jackson’s yard was in unsanitary condition and that he should be compelled to have it drained. On the day this complaint was made Mrs. Wright became ill. Her illness was attributed to the constant banging of the Jackson gate.
Wright, in wrath, again complained to the Board of Health. The next day Jackson, or possibly someone else, complained to the Boards about the condition of Wright’s yard. It was in unsanitary condition, it was alleged, and threatened the health and happiness of the neighborhood.
Hearing of this Wright got “mad clear through” and when an inspector from the Board informed him that his yard should be drained in compliance with the law, the real estate dealer said that he was in financial straits and couldn’t afford to have the work done.
“Why don;t you look after Jackson’s yard,” said Wright.
The inspector told Wright that Jackson’s yard was all right.
When Jackson heard that Wright had talked about his yard the pot of his temper boiled over and the Wrights say that subsequently the gate was banged with greater force than ever. Wright became furious. Mrs. Wright and her family talked about nothing else but that gate and Wright may be pardoned if the constant reiteration caused him to forget the virtue of patience. There was a family council. In anger Wright declared to his admiring family that he would end it all and forever. Alas, poor Sharp! Wright, Jackson claims, got his laborer to chop down the gate. He did, but for the time being, at least, that was the undoing of Sharp. Jackson, in a rage, had Sharp arrested.
Before Magistrate O’Reilly in the Manhattan Avenue police court this morning Sharp was arraigned. The Wrights and the Jacksons were there. They glared and glared, but the justice was calm. Nobody had seen Sharp chopping down the gate. Sharp grinned. Wright looked elated. Jackson frowned. Sharp was discharged and the Magistrate told Jackson that he should not have had Sharp arrested. With a merry ha-ha the Wrights, followed by faithful Sharp, left the court room.
Jackson and his friends marched out as if there were in the wake of a hearse— but the end is not yet. The Wrights and the Jacksons still live in adjoining houses and new gates are easily constructed.
You know, this story reminds me of the lovely Pre-Perestroika fence Magic Johnson’s crew erected on my block earlier this year. A fence that was, not surprisingly, built without a permit. I hate this fence. What’s more, I hate the fucking surveillance cameras mounted atop it. I have quietly wished someone would destroy those things for months.
Thankfully, I did not have to lift a finger. Magic Johnson’s crew did all the work themselves.
My husband and I noticed that something, uh, happened when were walking down the block a couple of weeks ago. I noticed a couple staring at the destruction and struck up a conversation with them.
Me: Yeah, Magic’s crew managed to knock out their own cameras and electricity.
Man: I know, I helped wire the lighting. I was pretty bummed out when that happened.
I smiled and proceeded down the street.
The cameras have since been re-wired. Last week I called the 311 to report that 110 Green was doing after-hours work without a permit. Again.
The bleak goes on.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
This evening I walked by Cafecito to see how arepa night was going. That’s when I realized it was a private party and that I probably needed to RSVP in order to attend. Whoops.
That’s okay because Greenpoint has plenty of vittles itching to be eaten. You may not want to eat them, but they are available for the delectation nonetheless. Like something I discovered at Toluca La Bella recently.
The more seasoned Greenpointers among you probably call this restaurant San Diego. I do; that’s because this restaurant went by this very name for years. Since the name change very little has, well, changed. But a few adjustments in the menu have been noted. Such as the tortas they are offering.
For those of you who are not Spanish savvy Wikipedia states:
A torta is a Mexican sandwich, served on an oblong 6-8 inch firm, crusty white sandwich roll, called a bolillo or telera. Tortas can be served hot or cold.
Some of the most common ingredients to be found in a torta are ham, marinated pork, beef tongue and steak. But this being Greenpoint, the mere “common” will not suffice.
Thus the invention of the hot dog and egg torta. Being a vegetarian, I have to say this foodstuff sounds pretty repulsive— which of course virtually assures that my husband (and other colon-cloggers like him) will love it. As I often ask my husband (while he is eating a hot dog):
Hey, what are hot dogs made of?
“Snouts, lips and assholes” he replies.
Then comes my bon mot:
You are what you eat!
Hence why I am featuring this item on New York Shitty today: that joke never gets old. To me it doesn’t anyway and that’s the only thing that matters.
If any of you, dear readers, decide to give this culinary creation a whirl let me know what it’s like. Seriously. My curiosity is killing me. Call me unadverturous, but I am going to stick to the nachos. They’re pretty good and most important of all: CHEAP.
Toluca La Bella
999 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222
One week after having yet another remnant of my childhood completely and utterly destroyed I have not been able to get that lemur off my mind. “I wonder how they are making out?” I thought to myself this morning. So I threw on some shoes and headed to Franklin Street to find out.
This looks encouraging. In fact, I think I detect a smile on that lemur’s face. No wonder; the good thing about getting ravished by E.T. is he can use that magic finger of his to do a little sexual healing on your ruptured colon or prolapsed rectum. He may bust you out, but he can also make your naughty bits all shiny and new again. Or, as Madonna would say,
Like a virgin.
From the look of things I’d say E.T. is pretty content too. Maybe he is basking in the afterglow of his one week ‘honeymoon’? My husband thinks he’s doing a little post-coital cuddling, but I have my doubts.
The gesture E.T. is making with his left arm reminds me of something a salesman pitching time shares on late night television would do. The eye contact is also disquieting. It is almost as if E.T. is trying to say You’re next! or
If you lived here you’d be fucked by now!
P.S.: Speaking of things E.T., I found this most remarkable turd on McGuinness Boulevard this week.
Last weekend I endeavored to purchase a Metrocard from one of the machines located at the Driggs Avenue entrance of the Bedford Avenue stop of the L train. I pushed the requisite buttons, tendered my ten bucks and a new card popped out. Then I got a message stating there was an “error” and that I needed to take my person, my card and my receipt to the token booth attendant. I waited.
Getting edgy because I thought I had been gyped out of ten bucks, I went to the token booth in a huff. They tested it and everything was okay.
Now jump forward to a comment I got today. Thenextstopwillbe writes:
…exited the L at the Driggs end one day to discover that someone had stuffed a dead rat in the change chute of the Metrocard machine. It fit in there sideways perfectly.
Perhaps this is what I did wrong? Instead of anticipating a piece of paper, I should have waited for the dead rat to be dispensed. Silly me.
This dead rat concept has legs. Four of them to be exact. If New York City wants to become greener, why not start with its copious use of paper? Take parking tickets for example. I find these discarded on the street constantly. Presumably by scofflaws. Jane Q. Doubleparker might blow off a piece of paper, but I seriously doubt she’ll be very nonchalant after finding a dead rat under her windshield wiper.
The same goes jury duty summonses, Stop Work Orders, arrest warrants, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses or unemployment insurance questionnaires. Save a tree and utilize one of New York’s greatest and least utilized natural resources: rattus norvegicus. Deceased.
In fact, why not bring this revolutionary movement to the private sector as well? Someone in Greenpoint already has; a few days ago I found a dead rat doormat at 294 1/2 McGuinness Boulevard. I think it was a dead rat, anyway. It could have also been Marv Albert’s toupee* after a rough night in Long Island City. Or both. Who knows?
I wonder where the bones went?
*No women or rats were bit, forcibly sodomized or coerced into threesomes during the writing of this post.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
As many of you have read, the much anticipated and long-overdue law suit regarding the Newton Creek oil spill has been filed! To celebrate this most auspicious occasion I am going to share a little piece of treasure I acquired recently: a map of Greenpoint from the 1939 July issue of Fortune Magazine.
Hmm… Greenpoint isn’t looking too, well, green. Let’s check out the key and find out why.
Obviously this is but a section of this map. It encompasses all five boroughs of New York City. Greenpoint is pretty easy to find at a casual glance though: just direct your attention to the blackest section of the map.
NEXT UP: An article about Newton Creek from this same issue of Fortune Magazine.
Filed under: Area 51
Of all the subway lines in New York City, the G train without argument has some of the best graffiti to be found. As a matter of fact, when I exited the Broadway stop yesterday I came across a little known diet I feel compelled to share with you. I call it The Bushwick Challenge.
Step 1: Take a fist full of peanuts and two blunts in your right hand.
Step 2: “…beat your shit with the other hand”.
I wonder why Jenny Craig doesn’t offer a program like this?
Filed under: Area 51
As a number of you are undoubtedly aware, The Vortex (which was located on Manhattan Avenue between Eagle and Dupont) has since relocated to Bushwick. Naturally Fatty and Champ, the resident shop cats, were transported to their new place of employment as well. I know this because I was the one who did the transporting. Champ was a real trouper; Fatty was ~20 pounds of hell on wheels.
Champ took to the new accommodations immediately. Fatty, however, was non-plussed and very vocal about making his dissatisfaction known. One day he finally decided to do something about it, as I recently learned from Fatty’s former keeper, Larry.
Fatty has always had a thing for hanging out in front of the store. When The Vortex was located on Manhattan Avenue he could usually be found laying on the sidewalk watching the world go by. Unfortunately this wasn’t an option at the new location whose cross streets have a lot more vehicular traffic. Fatty was put into lock-down.
Two weeks later, Fatty escaped.
After chastising his employees for enabling this to happen Larry pretty much wrote off ever seeing Fatty again. “He was probably hit by a car or somebody took him home”, Larry thought. Until one day when he went into a local bakery.
Fatty gazed up at Larry with a knowing look and went back to sleep.
I think Fatty likes his new job.