It was originally my intent to focus on the incredibly stupid and fucked-up shit some of the customers at the junk shop say this week, but I have since changed my mind. This is partially due to the fact that I could not understand a damned thing most of them were saying to me yesterday; our core clientÃ¨le du jour Friday the 13th consisted of what my co-worker and I call “bobble-heads”. “Bobble-heads” are people who enthusiastically nod to anything and everything you say. I am certain these individuals are fluent in one language or another, but English it is not among them.
As a matter of fact, I got the idea for today’s post after being praised for my stellar work performance by my boss. He said:
You have yet to make a mistake.
To wit I replied:
Oh I make mistakes alright, but I either cover them up or set up someone else to take the rap for them.
“You are a true product of corporate America.” he replied. He is right: I am. It has been my experience that there is no better place to find a spiteful, incompetent and/or worthless human being than your local cubicle farm. The people who populate these god-forsaken labyrinths make a three-toed sloth seem like howler monkey on crack by comparison. These languid creatures have elevated abject laziness and intransigence to an art form. Over the years I have endeavored to learn their black art.
A fruit of the above course study is my implementation of the “goodie bag”. Better known by some as “grab bags”, these are sacks filled with jewelry or craft supplies which I price at a deep discount. The reason I have elected to add the goodie bag to my arsenal of time/sanity-saving bag of tricks is threefold:
1. There are three types of jewelry I handle: cheap ugly crap, cute vintage jewelry and “nice stuff”.
- The crap goes in the dollar bin where older Polish women detangle and pick through it for fifteen or twenty minutes on end. My logic: keeping these women engaged in the pursuit of some plastic piece of bling keeps them out of my hair. That one dollar string of beads saved me one or two hours of mind-numbing work.
- The “nice stuff” goes in the showcase. My logic: to do otherwise is to facilitate theft. Thieves constitute a sizable portion of the junk shop’s patronage.
- The cute vintage jewelry goes into goodie bags. My logic: after several months I got tired of repeatedly pulling these items out of the showcase, only to have people haggle and waste my valuable time. The goodie bag solves this problem; the jewelry is grouped, bagged and clearly priced, thus eliminating the need to dialogue with these soul-sucking shrews.
2. Sorting all the above jewelry is a very time-consuming task which requires a lot of concentration. Maintaining the required attention to detail becomes impossible when you are being hassled every five minutes by some miscreant raising a fuss over a lot of jewelry that costs a whopping five bucks.
3. The time I save preventing all the previous scenarios can be spent doing other things, like checking my email or working.
The evolution of the goodie bag was not without its setbacks, as you will see. But after a couple months of experimentation I have the process down to an exact science. Here it is.
The first step to goodie bag production is to gather all your tools and place them on the counter.
Next, you select the items to be bagged. Today’s sack stuffers will be vintage clip-on earrings and some craft supplies.
When selecting earrings to place in a bag, group them in lots of 5-7 by color and style. Speaking as a woman myself, I am very grateful when items are grouped in such a manner. That way one does not have to slog through designs and colors one does not like in order to get to “the good stuff”. Follows is an example of a poorly prepared and properly prepared goodie bag.
The bag on the right is consistent in color and overall “feel”, the bag on the left is not. Such a random assortment of earrings is an invitation for someone to to rip it open and/or haggle with you because she “only likes a couple of pieces in the bag”. I shit you not, there are a number of people who see fit to use the previous bargaining tactic on me. I suppose it would work if I actually cared. I don’t.
As you fill the baggies, place them in a bowl behind the counter. Make sure this bowl is out of eye shot or people will try to grab them.
When the bowl is full (like in the above photo) you are ready for the next step: pricing.
Since the items in question have been sitting on the shelf awhile, I am going to price them crazy cheap: $1.00-$5.00 a bag. Upon being labeled, the bags go into a bin. Once again, keep them out of sight or you will be beating back overly enthusiastic bargain hunters with a stick.
Once the bags are priced you are ready for the next step: tamper/theft prevention.
TAMPER/THEFT PREVENTION, PART I
Each bag is folded and stapled no less than three times. This is done to discourage someone’s sticky little fingers from getting into them.
TAMPER/THEFT PREVENTION, PART II
After each bag is stapled, out comes the packing tape. Tear off a three foot long piece and wrap it around each bag.
As I was preparing the above bag my boss commented:
You are the most focused worker I have ever had. You take on a task and do not not stop until it is completed.
I admonished my boss not to mistake malice for due diligence and reminded him about the time I discovered someone had opened once of these bags and placed a razor blade in it. Then I said:
I’d like to see that bitch try to get into this bag.
Once you have wrapped each bag, place them in the proper container for sale. Make sure there is a prominently placed sign advising customers that these bags are “priced as marked” and are not to be tampered with.
Congratulations! You have completed today’s goodie bag tutorial!
Total time elapsed: three hours.
Hours of aggravation prevented: incalculable.
I want to open with a thought-provoking comment that was posted regarding last week’s Greenpoint siding superstar. Fisher6000 writes:
I know that your goal is to be a smart ass and that I may be taking this series too seriouslyâ€¦ but you are pointing to such a poignant truth hereâ€“that surface is the layer that matters.
I have been pondering this over the last week— and not only do I agree with Fisher6000, but I have decided to illustrate her point with this week’s selection. Albeit in a rather circuitous manner.
A number of you are already familiar with this house. While its street address is 198 Green Street, this modest two-story domicile is more commonly known as the Subzero Building. This home received the aforementioned moniker from an extremely vitriolic post yours truly wrote about it over a year ago. Here’s an excerpt:
Iâ€™m guessing this is a light fixture. The first of three to be installed along the top of this building. I for one would like to propose that upon completion these be used as gallows for the owner of this property, the â€˜designerâ€™ responsible for this â€˜design conceptâ€™ and the contractor who enabled it to happen.
OUCH! In hindsight I don’t remember who (or what) pissed in my Cheerios this particular morning, but I certainly had a bug up my ass. I had a point to get across and that point was unequivocally made: I hate this building.
As with most things in life, what goes around comes around. Last month I got my well-deserved comeuppance. Many of you know that I marched in the Mermaid Parade this year, but would anyone like to hazard a guess who I ended up meeting immediately afterwards?
The owner of the Subzero building, that’s who.
Subzero Owner: Hey, are you Miss Heather of New York Shitty?
S.O.: I’m the owner of the house you riffed on.
Me: The Subzero building!?!
I was pretty frazzled at the time (marching around in a dress that weighed ten pounds while slathered in caramel syrup will do that to a person), so I cannot recount exactly what was said between us. But I do vividly remember thinking to myself “Wow, this man is a damned nice guy!” Had the shoe been on the other foot, I doubt I would have had even a tenth of the class this man exhibited.
And that’s the funny thing: since meeting this gent I don’t harbor the rancor I used to have towards this house. In fact, I have kind of grown to like it in a strange sort of way. Sure, sheet metal-sheathed buildings are not my taste— but I’d much rather have a nice person who lives in an “ugly” house as a neighbor than a raging asshole— even if he or she lives in an architectural masterpiece. After all, if I wanted the latter I would have moved to Park Slope.
Think about it.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Those of you who want to see E.T. buggering a lemur can find the above-depicted tableau on Franklin Street immediately next door to the Franklin Corner Store.
The long-awaited second half of my sound-seeing tour of Greenpoint is online and ready for your NSFW listening pleasure. Here it is.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Today is the first day of Alter’s “Serious Summer Sale” which will run through July 15. Per their announcement:
Summer merchandise up to 40% OFF.
Women’s Dresses, Tops, Shoes & Jewelry.
Men’s Tee Shirts, Button Downs & Accessories.
ALL CHEAP MONDAY JEANS $50.00! This Week Only!
Something else Alter currently has— which may or may not be on sale— are some very nice Greenpoint shirts.
I asked one of the guys about them and he gave me the scoop. The Greenpoint Reformed Church made a slew of these shirts (before the now infamous fire, obviously) with the intent to sell them but never got around to it. So the pastor gave them to Alter.
The last time I checked only two men’s shirts were left. However, there are still plenty women’s shirts waiting for the lovely women of Greenpoint to wear them. It’s time to step up to the plate and show your Greenpoint Pride ladies!
This is probably the best Greenpoint shirt I have seen (although Champion Coffee has some nice offerings as well, to be fair).
Now if someone would produce a tank top…
109 Franklin Street
(at Greenpoint Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 1-9 PM
Saturday 12-9 PM Sunday 12-8 PM
This morning it was brought to my attention that Brownstoner has discovered *gasp* a new Karl Fischer building in Greenpoint!
Uh, if my memory serves me correctly, the crappy condo construction site in question (AKA: Fort Apache, the ‘Point) has been creeping along for at least 1 1/2 years. Breaking news this edifice decidedly is not. But I do not want to suggest this feature isn’t worth reading. The comments are friggin’ hilarious. For example:
…I have heard that it no longer is residential project and may be an Orthodox Temple now.
I’d actually wish for taller, more evil buildings along McGuinness if you gave me the chance. Greenpoint has sixteen-story towers going up on well-trafficked side streets, but McGuinness is really a barren place, and is a perfect contender for higher densities. At some point in the distant future, it could be an attractive boulevard people walk down, even — but scattershot small-scale buildings aren’t gonna do it. I’d actually like to see detached six-to-eight-story apartment buildings with retail, or something, like the one they’re building at McG and Driggs.
Um, okay. Anyone who has an idea this stupid and implausible should be forced to live in one of these piece of shit buildings.
On the first or second floor.
Facing the waste treatment plant.
Anyhoo, another (and in my opinion more important) detail Brownstoner missed is what’s going up next door.
Could it be???
YES, YES IT IS!!!
Ladies and gentleman! It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you… BELVEDERE XX!
P.S.: Be sure to check out my updated Meet the Belvederes map! Belvedere V has been added too. It’s big. It’s fug. It’s located in WILLIAMSBURG!
One of the perks of being the Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint is never knowing what will find its way to your inbox on any given day. This morning’s offering was was a dead rat.
The benefactor of this headless vermin (which I have named Marie AntoinSPLAT), “Bucketman”, writes:
So, I was wondering if you could use a pic of a Flat Rat taken yesterday in LIC. Funny thing, I found another one today in LIC but it looked exactly the same. Can you tell where the head was?
Miss Heather likes receiving a nice photo of a steam-rolled rat to savor over her morning coffee. It prepares me for the rigors of the day— and reading stuff like this*.
*I am a big fan of this checklist. In fact, I like it so much I think I’ll print up a stack of ‘em. Any time I experience any form of physical distress I will fill one out and send it to the city. I won’t be stingy with the details either:
Today I woke up and thought I had diarrhea. When I used the toilet nothing but gas came out. Where did my poop go? Can you help me find it?
I’ll even throw in a rendering so there won’t be any confusion as to which turd I am writing in reference to.
Yesterday 11222 was kind enough to bring another extinct Greenpoint street to my attention. She writes:
I think the streets below Franklin all had different names, because Oak St. is not Oak St. between Franklin and West – i canâ€™t recall the name now but itâ€™s got a nice old brick street name block that is beautiful when the light is right.
Immediately upon reading this I threw on a pair of shoes, grabbed my camera and walked down there. She was right.
After a little research I learned that there were (at one time or another) two Madison Streets and two Madison Places in Brooklyn. In fact, the above-depicted street was once known as “Madison Place” as well. Wouldn’t you love to be a mailman in say, 1890? I wouldn’t. Yikes.
The other “dead presidents” of Greenpoint (as I like to call them) are:
- Washington (now known as West Street)
- Lincoln (now known as Greenpoint avenue)
- Jefferson (I am still trying to pin this one down, but it was located in the far southeastern section of Greenpoint)
The only surviving
president Postmaster General we Garden Spotters have top boast of is Franklin Street, and it too came close to getting the ax.
P.S.: On the way home I found another unexpected treat.
As some of your may be aware, the streets of north Greenpoint run in alphabetical order from north to south. This is no accident. Initially these streets had no “names” at all. They were lettered, e.g., “A” Street, “B” Street, “C” Street, and so forth. The above example of the old system can be found at the southeast corner of Noble and Franklin Street.
He comes for me.
As I mentioned in this post, I had the pleasure of assisting the porn man with his never-ending quest for spankerific entertainment again last weekend. I suppose Friday’s offerings were yesterday’s news and he need more, uh, grist for the mill. This time he even brought a female companion with him. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.
First he drifted to the housewares; he picks up a box of drinking glasses. After bantering with my boss and handing another gentleman his business card, he goes back to the clothing. A pair of pants and a tunic are selected. All the while he is yammering away with his female friend. Then, after laying the groundwork, he went in for the kill:
Hey, you guys had a box full of DVDs yesterday. There was one that had a broken case— do you still have it? I’d like to buy it.
My co-worker and I look at each other. We pull the box of porn out from behind the counter.
“This one?” my co-worker asked.
“Yes”, he replied.
It was entitled Buff Bitches. I deduced that this was some kind of bodybuilder fetish flick because it had an image of a rather muscular woman on it. A rather muscular woman having very, very dirty things done to her, I should add. Peachy.
Shortly after this coveted prize found its way into his possession, his female friend wandered back to the counter to see what he was doing. She smiled, said “goodbye” and left. After all, how can a girl compete with that?
When this gentleman finally left my co-worker and I burst out laughing. My manager wanted to know what the deal was, so we told him. The solitary sentence that left his mouth was:
Yeah, the porn freaks are always cheap.
The piece de resistance, however, was when I saw this dude’s business card. After repeatedly asking myself:
- What kind of person would buy this stuff and be so damned cheap about it?
- What kind of person would buy this stuff with a female acquaintance with him?
I got my answer.
The same kind of person whose business card has a picture of him modeling au naturel with a musical instrument, that’s who! “Is this man for real?” you ask. Of course he is. REAL NAKED. You can’t make this shit up folks…
Speaking of shit and people with zero social skills, I have a very special “Dung of the Day” for your edification today. This item hails from 960 Manhattan Avenue, which happens to be the location of a rather large healthcare facility. I found it directly outside the front door.
Warning: Mothers who leave their used cigarettes and their baby’s shit-filled diapers on the sidewalk are hazardous to my health.
Filed under: Area 51
I have been woefully remiss in mentioning L Magazine’s SUMMERSCREEN: a series of free movie screenings at McCarren Park. This started last Tuesday with Bring It On. Whoops. Better late than never, I suppose. Especially since this evening’s selection is a big favorite of mine: Night of the Hunter.
This is a seriously fucked up movie. I highly recommend it. If you can bear the stifling heat this evening give it a shot. You will not be disappointed.
Night of the Hunter
Lorimer Street between Driggs and Bayard Avenue
Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
In addition, Creek and Cave is hosting Tripadelic Pleasure Night every Thursday this summer. Outdoor movies start at 9:00 p.m. and “drink specials rock soul groove tunes exploitation flicks all night at the bar” are promised. Upcoming offerings include:
7/12: Evil Dead II
7/19: Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii
7/26: Death Race 2000 (!!! — Ed. Note)
8/2: Pulp Fiction
To view the entire roster of movies, please visit to their Myspace page.
Creek and Cave
10-91 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City, NY
Lastly, Greenpoint’s very own East Coast Aliens Cineclub is closed for the summer. Movie screenings will resume after Labor Day.
Oh well. As Meatloaf once opined: two out of three ain’t bad…
East Coast Aliens
216 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Art Credit: Miss Heather