Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
All you Greenpointers out there know where this intersection is: Franklin at Calyer Street. In fact, I bet a number of you have walked down this very block hundreds of times without noticing that something is amiss. I know did. That is, until I looked up one day.
Your eyes are not deceiving you. The cornerstone of this house reads “Clinton S(t)”. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
What’s even more interesting is I have not found any direct reference to Greenpoint’s very own “Clinton Street” in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle online archives. Rather, I (might) have found it mentioned in an article entitled Vaccinators in Greenpoint. Here’s an excerpt:
Dr. Robert A. Black, the local health officer, with his associates, is trying to stamp out the present outbreak of smallpox in Brooklyn and the physicians of the vaccinating corps have been kept on the jump for over a week. There were five new cases reported at the office on Clinton Street today. The patients were all taken to the Riverside Hospital on North Brother Island . They were Walter Brush, a boy, age not stated, from 275 Driggs Avenue; Helen McMahon, aged 12 years, and Rose McMahon, aged 9 years, from 275 Driggs Avenue; Emma Schwartz, aged 23 years, from 31 Meeker Avenue, and John Devaney, aged 7 years, from 100 Warren Street. The cases from the house at 275 Driggs Avenue are believed to have received the infection from 273 Driggs Avenue, where there was a nest of cases.
The previous probably sounds like something from the 17th or 18th century to many of you. It isn’t: this article dates from March 11, 1901.
That said, I hardly find it surprising that there was a Clinton Street in Greenpoint. At one time there was both a Washington and Lincoln Street here as well. Naming streets after public officials (especially presidents or in this case, DeWitt Clinton) was a very popular practice in not only Greenpoint, but in Brooklyn as a whole.
This practice resulted in a slew of duplicate street names* which took years to unsnarl. It was a long and very contentious process. One which, amusingly enough, often saw “North Brooklyn” (AKA: “The Eastern District”) in opposition to “South Brooklyn” on a number of occasions.
Could you imagine trying to get your mail if (for example) there were five Washington Streets extant in the Borough of Kings?** In addition, if one happened to be a flim-flam man with a sketchy command of Brooklyn geography, all the name changes (that were eventually implemented) would pose a serious problem.
Keeping your story straight when you’re being interrogated by the cops is hard enough. Especially if you have trouble remembering your own name, as I learned from this article in the December 3, 1886 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Note to self: If I want to blow someone off, tell them to meet me at Tompkins Avenue at the corner of Center Street.
*This list is simply too lengthy for me to feature here. Go to the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Daily Eagle online archives, run a search for “duplicate street names” and see for yourself!
**This was once the case, by the way.
Filed under: Dog Shit Signage
Today I was emailed an example of dog shit signage from Clifton Place that gave me goosebumps. We’re talking about the kind of excitement you feel when you’re in the sixth grade and the cute boy in the class smiles at you (instead of trying to beat you up, which was my experience). Without further ado, here it is.
This guy (or gal) is going to kick both the dog and the owner in the “F?”X” Ass!!!” That’s hardcore. Mike didn’t do that to me on the playground. He was content with humiliating me in front of about thirty or forty of my peers; for reasons only known to him, he kept my dog out of it.
P.S.: Thanks “Mihow” for forwarding this to me. It made my day.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Greenpoint is not a very exciting place. While some people may enjoy the constant hum of activity that comes with living in Manhattan, I like peace and quiet. To use Beastie Boy parlance, “slow and low” is my tempo. Always has been.
That said, there was a flurry of excitement on Manhattan Avenue this weekend. I had just returned to my job (after taking lunch) when a man poked his head in the door and shouted:
Hey, a building across the street is being issued a work order!
I bolted out the door without delay. I was not about to miss this. Miss Heather loves her some Stop Work Orders, but I had yet to see one being issued. When I got outside I noticed a number of my fellow Greenpointers must have shared my enthusiasm because a rather sizable crowd of gawkers had collected on the street.
After arguing with the building inspector in vain, the contractor took a moment to contemplate his new Stop Work Order.
After he was done, a number of this neighbors wandered over to do the same.
Who knew the issuance of a Stop Work Order could generate so much interest? I certainly didn’t. Then again, maybe some of these people were fed up with the illegal weekend construction that has been conducted here for the last four weekends?
Just a thought.
Whenever I start running low on new subject matter to expound upon I go for a walk. I have spent much of the last two days pounding the Greenpoint pavement. And, as always, I did not come home disappointed. Perplexed or downright disturbed? Yes. But disappointed? Not in the least.
This is why I live in Greenpoint. It has long been my understanding that, as a lowly renter* with low class, the “A-list” Brooklyn neighborhoods are well beyond my reach. As I told my buddy Larry yesterday (after dealing with the “Pornophile”, AGAIN):
Not all of us have the stuff to land a porn queen, some of us have to settle for the fluffer.
“The Garden Spot of the Universe” always puts out. They can keep can keep their Park “Angelina Jolie” Slopes and Boerum “Lindsay Lohan” Hills. I like my neighborhoods like my women: delectably wrecked and HARD. Greenpoint is the Amy Winehouse of Brooklyn ‘nabes. This is why I love her so.
July 7, 2007
I was walking along Greenpoint Avenue when I happened upon one of the many languishing development sites my recently designated chic neighborhood has to offer: 189 Greenpoint Avenue.
I go in for a closer look.
“Wow, that’s kind of gross.” I thought to myself. “I wonder if Jessica Simpson’s marital bed looked like this?” After chuckling at my own sordid imaginings I took the above photograph. Not thinking any more about it, I went home.
Today: July 8, 2007
As I am walking down Green Street I find another abandoned mattress.
After taking a few photographs of the above mattress, box spring and shopping cart still life, a gentleman sunbathing next door (whilst reading a book entitled Great Artists) commented:
You’re the sixth person to photograph that mattress.
I told this chap he can expect one of those photographs to find its way onto the hallowed walls of MOMA or the Whitney and proceeded down the street where…
I found this despoiled mattress just as a man was about to load it into his minivan. I asked him if I could photograph it before he took it. Not only did he oblige, but he propped it up for me so as to get a better angle.
On the one hand, I find this gentleman’s eagerness to take a not-so-gently used mattress home somewhat disturbing. On the other, it was uplifting to see Serta Sleeper Samsara in action.
If Instant Karma doesn’t get him, the bedbugs most certainly will.
*I agree with a number of points Mr. Oder makes in this post. The New York Times article he critiques is bad. I’m not saying this because I am sore that I wasn’t mentioned in it either; when I read something as hagiographic and insipid as this turd is it makes me thank the heavens above my name is in no way attached to it.
The Brooklyn ‘blogosphere’, just like real life, has A-listers and fluffers. I know which one I am. Before I end this post (because my hand is tired and I need a glass of water— I wonder if that is how Gregory Beyer felt after writing Crack
er Barrel Vial 2.0?) I will leave you with today’s Dung of the Day, which I like to call Greenpoint Casserole: Miss Heather Style.
Take one dead bird and one large pile of dog shit. Let them roast in the hot July sun until they smell like refried death. Garnish with a cigarette butt and it’s ready to eat.
If this succulent dish makes you hungry, grab your knife and fork, run down to 1043 Manhattan Avenue and get your some!
Yesterday evening my husband and I went to the Creek and Cave for dinner. After we reached the Queens side of the Pulaski Bridge, we happened upon a token of someone’s (or something’s) gastronomic distress.
Why did the Greenpointer cross the bridge?
To take a bigass dump on the other side.
Two Words:Watch This
P.S.: Thanks Steve from Astoria for bringing this to my attention!
I always dread the first Friday of the month. “First Fridays”, as my buddy Rachael calls them, are very busy days at the junk shop. She says it’s because this is the day people get their public assistance checks. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t. If it is, I can tell you what the taxpayers’ money was outlaid on in my little corner of Greenpoint today: PORN.
Before I continue:
- It is not the purpose of this post to malign people who receive public assistance. A person may lack money, but that does not mean he (or she) lacks integrity, intelligence or worth. More often than not all the previous qualities render a person poor. I speak from experience.
- It is not the purpose of this post to malign people who spend their public assistance on porn. Everyone deserves a diversion from the misery of their daily life. Especially those in the throes of poverty. Let them eat c*m— or better yet— watch someone else eat it for them. That sticky substance is catharsis for many a down-trodden person. “What’s that strange taste in my mouth?” you ask. It’s freedom. Spit or swallow. The decision is yours to make. The good ol’ U.S. of A. is a democracy after all.
- Rather, it is the purpose of this post to establish proper etiquette for buying porn, as it became very manifest today that such ground rules need to be set. Here they are.
Rule #1: Do not buy your porn from a thrift store.
Rule #2: If you find yourself in the position of having to purchase porn from a thrift store, don’t be an asshole.
The rest of this post will explore Rule #2.
Porno Pointer A
Any attempt to be sly about perusing porn is a waste of effort.
Today I finally commandeered more space to put out craft supplies and bargain bags of earrings. Immediately to my left was a chap foraging through a sizable container of DVDs. Though a recent addition to the store, we all knew what it contained:
- Four or five DVDs of “mainstream” movies
- A lot of porn, most of which involved inserting large objects up a woman’s rectum
As I was organizing this man hunched over this cache of affordable and no-strings-attached female companionship like a miser. He thought I would think that cinematic flicks such as The Fugitive (which was in said container) were the target of his dogged search. He was wrong. His attempt at subterfuge was pathetic.
This man was a picky poonhound. After much consideration Black-eyed Pees did not make the cut. I immediately brought this to my coworker’s attention. We laughed our asses off. Which brings me to the next titulation tip…
Porno Pointer B
Those of you who are thinking:
Gee, I bet these folks see people come in and buy this stuff all the time. If I want to buy Super-sized Black Booty Butt Plungers #87, they won’t think anything of it. This is normal, right?
Speaking as someone who has gone through boxes purchased at storage facility auctions, I have had plenty of moments when I find myself saying, “Ewwwww, GROSS.” You get used to finding the odd butt plug, cock ring or stacks of Juggs magazines. And worse.
You do NOT, however, get used to seeing a woman with a mop handle shoved up her nether-regions. Consider yourself warned because…
Porno Pointer C
We will talk about you behind your back. Your sexual eccentricities are our entertainment. Learn to live with this fact or:
- acquire some social skills and get a girlfriend
- buy porn made by companies who do not treat women like garbage
- get therapy
- all of the above
Porno Pointer D
Perversion has a price. Asking $5.00 for a gently used copy of Let’s Get Our Orgy On or Big Black Women with Little White Chicks is not at all unreasonable. What IS unreasonable is trying to haggle the price down because “other video stores sell these types of movies for $2.00.”
The previous sentence speaks volumes about your life(style). It is not a very flattering portrait.
Porno Pointer DD
Further attempts to justify a lower price will not work. What’s more, approaching the solitary female employee of the store with the hope of exploiting her lack of adult entertainment expertise might backfire. Which brings me to…
Porno Pointer E
Do not insult Miss Heather
What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here
last weektoday, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it.
Miss H: Yes, I am aware these movies are of inferior quality. Jenna Jameson, they are not.
Pornophile: These movies are nothing more than footage culled from other movies.
Miss H: Yes, I know what “loops” are. I recently read Jenna Jameson’s biography, you should read it.
Pornophile: Did you learn anything from it?
Miss H: I was merely stating that it was interesting book. You should read it. You might learn something. (And being a cocksucker isn’t one of them, this dude has clearly mastered that art already . — Ed. Note)
After taking ten seconds to deduce that he had been insulted by a broad, this dude transgressed…
Porno Pointer F
Appealing to another store employee in order to secure a low(er) price for porn is a futile endeavor. In the above case study this sad attempt at duplicity backfired. Big time. The price went up: $16.00.
And this chap tendered it. He even had the temerity to ask for a bag to conceal his salacious purchases. Had I been alone I would have told him we had none. Asshole.
After this episode I ventured out to forage lunch-time vittles. I was hungry. I was pissed. I needed to vent. So, as I was walking along McGuinness Boulevard with my newly acquired foodstuffs, I called my husband.
Miss H: …Remember that Hare Krishna looking dude we saw on the G train last weekend? The guy with the pants you liked?
Miss H: That motherfucker tried to stiff me! He tried to tell me what loops were versus full length features. Like I don’t know the difference.
Husband: That was dumb.
Miss H: Yes it was. Who the fuck does this dude think he is? I’m not fucking stupid, you know. Give me a fucking break!
It was at this moment I noticed there was a woman walking behind me. A pregnant woman. A pregnant and very horrified woman. She looked like she had seen a ghost.
- I was walking down McGuinness Boulevard shouting into a cell phone.
- I was walking down McGuinness Boulevard shouting into a cell phone while clad in a pair of hip-hugging stretch pants (rolled up to the knee), a yellow tank top with a black bra underneath (need to do laundry) and large sunglasses. My hair is currently blond. VERY BLOND. Long story— let’s just say that I recently had an epiphany: if Britney Spears can (still) dress like Britney Spears, so can I.
- I was shouting about someone trying to “stiff me”.
- Now subtract the previous telephonic exchange from my (previous and lengthy) context.
I am not so egotistical to think I am of professional porn caliber. I am not. Never was. Greenpoint has more, uh, LAX standards for such a sinecure. I know this because I have found “home grown” porn strewn on my block. You could probably stuff a sow in a negligee and get takers. Yes, it’s that’s bad.
When I got back to work, lunch in hand, my coworker was busy helping another customer. This man was— get this— BUYING PORN.
NEXT WEEK: Customers say the darnedest things. AKA; Don’t try to understand ‘em, just rope, throw and brand ‘em.
I came across the above annotated sign at McCarren Park recently. Why do I not find this surprising? Perhaps the fact this dog run is the stomping grounds of the notorious Williamsburg gentile fondler has something to do with it?
Yeah, that’s it.
Filed under: Vinyl Siding
Recently my buddy over at Word Books was in distress. She was perplexed by a rather snarky and peculiar quip Daily Intelligencer made about the sign she made advertising an “Adults Only” Harry Potter release party. She even asked me if I was responsible for this. I told her no. This is the truth.
I’ll be honest; I find the fascination some adults (especially middle-aged adults) have for Ms. Rowling’s body of work a little creepy. Not unlike Star Trek groupies who elect to exchange their wedding vows in Klingon. Both of the previous types of people are beyond my comprehension.
That said, I know damn well that I am in no position whatsoever to judge people for what they read because my reading habits are pretty fucking peculiar in their own right. Sex workers and sideshow freaks are of particular interest to yours truly. Regarding the latter, I recently finished a book entitled “The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton.” I purchased this book from (where else?) Word Books.
Who are the Hiltons, you ask? First off, they are in no way related to THOSE Hiltons. In fact, their actual surname is not Hilton at all. Those of you who have seen Tod Browning’s Freaks have seen them; they were the Siamese twins.
This weekend, as I was giving Mikeypod a grand tour of Greenpoint, I showed him our very own Siamese house.
You can find this freak of architectural nature on Norman Avenue. The best I can reckon is someone took the house on the right (which faces Jewel Street) and grafted its hindquarters to the house on the left. It also appears that they added a little eagle’s nest to the top (for what purpose, I do not know— maybe this is its head?). The solitary Fedders box on the western section of the first floor is a nice touch. It sort of looks like a wart.
The siding salesman probably retired on the profits he made sheathing and Fedderizing this fucker. And that folks is why this frankenhouse merits recognition as a great moment in Greenpoint siding!
Feeling the holiday spirit, I decided to whip up some tasty goodies to nibble on July 4th. My menu du jour was:
- Tomato Salad
- Baked Eggplant
- Sourdough baguette
All the previous were delicious, by the way. But the purpose of this post is not to boast of my culinary prowess. Rather, it is to expound upon an unpleasant task I had to perform BEFORE prepping the above foodstuffs: cleaning out the refrigerator.
Since I have more time at my disposal (and have a lower threshold for abject filth), I perform most of the household cleaning. I do not want to suggest that my husband does nothing; he does some work— just not as much.
I am by no means a poster child for stellar home economics myself; when one of our cats throws up I usually wait a little while before cleaning it up. I do this because more often than not one of our other cats will come along and eat it. This apartment is a little ecosystem and why should I be so presumptuous as to tamper with it— especially since if it means there is less work for me to do? I ascribe to the Tom Sawyer work ethic: why whitewash a fence if you can trick some rube into doing it for you? Work smart, not hard.
The previous having been said, yes I was a co-enabler of the horrors you are about to behold. But— and this is a BIG BUT— I am not the only person in this household to blame. Capiche?
The last 2-3 weeks I have been insanely busy. My husband, however, recently took seven days off.
Question: What happens when Heather is running around like a madwoman because she has to work extra hours and has no Internet or telephone service?
Answer: Nothing. And by “nothing” I mean our refrigerator continues its transformation from a place of nourishment into something more akin to Chernobyl.
Tuesday, July 3rd, 5:30 p.m.
After a whole day of procrastination I finally got the wherewithal to confront my enemy: several months of festering foodstuffs. I was assisted and/or anesthetized by several glasses White Zinfindel. To do such an onerous and repulsive task completely sober was decidedly NOT an option. The following rogue’s gallery of rotten food should help you understand why. (If you have the means, please play “The End” by the Doors while viewing. — Ed. Note)
Estimated Age: Three Months
Getting my husband to eat vegetables is a bit of a task. For this reason I will occasionally put rice in my tomato salad as an enticement. The white stuff in the above salad is not rice.
Estimated Age: Four Months
is was Nigerian Bean Stew. I got the recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian Cookbook. Since I only make this dish during cooler, wet months (because it bears a strong similarity to chili), I estimate its age to be four months.
Estimated Age: Unknown
…don’t you make make brown rice blue…
I have no friggin idea how old this is. When I threw it into the garbage can a puff of blue dust tickled my nostrils. Scrumptious.
Estimated Age: Probably three months
I couldn’t find a “eat by” date on this container. This made me a little nervous, as rotten dairy food makes one helluva stink.
*Whew!* It’s just a bunch of rotten onions. Judging from how coursely they are chopped, I can safely state that this is my husband’s handiwork.
Estimated Age: Three— possibly four— months
Of all the rotten food I sorted, this one by far smelled the worst.
When I was a kid my parents had some friends who had a son my age. These people also had a teenage son who would occasionally be charged with babysitting the two of us. Big mistake.
One time he sat us at his grandparent’s house in California. Both his grandparents had emphysema and would cough up lung cookies into a coffee can. One time, when I was left alone with this sadistic motherfucker, he shoved my face into this can. I mention this story because the above goo reminds me of what I saw.
The previous is only a selection of the revolting substances I handled last Tuesday. There was more. Much, much more. When my husband arrived home I stood in the kitchen, seething. Upon noticing that I had cleaned out the refrigerator he said:
…I had been meaning to do that but I was waiting…
“FOR ME TO DO IT!” I bellowed.
Nothing else was said.
And on that note, dear readers, I too have nothing else to say. Save perhaps that I have left a “present” in the refrigerator for my husband to find. I won’t say what it is, but I will tell you it is six months old.