Elizabeth Murray 1940-2007

August 25, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

Yesterday I discovered a disheartening piece of news as I slogged through the 23rd Street – Ely Avenue hub of the subway.

Elizabeth Murray Obit

I was never a big fan of her work as an angry feminist art student, but her subway murals (which can be seen at 23rd – Ely Avenue in Queens and 59th Street and Lexington in Manhattan) forced me to make a reassessment. If a work of art can make places I find otherwise repulsive less of a chore (and trust me, I avoid 59th Street and Lex like the plague) it is worthwhile in my book.

Thank you for making my numerous schleps through both of these subway hubs a little brighter, Elizabeth. You will be missed.

Elizabeth Murray Mural, 23rd Street and Ely Avenue

Miss Heather

Fettle Fit For A Dog Shit Queen

August 25, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

One of the more vexatious questions a dog shit queen has to address is what to wear. When I am mixing with my people here in Greenpoint a simple tank top and skirt combo will suffice, but what about the occasional diplomatic affair(s) I attend outside the confines of the Garden Spot? Since there are no precedents for me to follow, I pretty much make it up as I go along.

In this solitary respect I envy the office fraus I used to have the honor of calling “co-workers”. The parameters set for them (and myself) were clear cut: take any drab article of clothing you grouse about outlaying money for (and would never, EVER wear on your free time) and presto you have suitable business attire. The one thing I have noticed about people wearing office attire is they rarely smile. I, on the other hand, never wear office attire and usually can be seen smiling. Perhaps there is a relationship between the two? I certainly think so.

Anyhoo, this week I scored a vestment fit for a (dog shit) queen at (where else) the junk shop.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

After being holed-up in the apartment for three days (sick, sleep-deprived and/or waiting for Verizon to install a second line) I went to work. Grudgingly. This was the first day I have felt near 100% and was pretty grumpy about spending quality time working. To bastardize John Lennon:

Work is what happens when I am busy doing other things.

And as I was busy doing other things (at work) a customer pointed out something I found of interest.

Dress Front

I tried it on atop of my clothing and it fit. I liked it so much I found a couple of pink shoe laces with Alpha Kappa Alpha emblazoned on them and strapped myself in. Half of my three hour shift was spent being a Greenpoint Marie Antoinette (or as I would prefer, Madame de Poopie Dour). On a lark I drug my person and my eight foot long train from behind the counter and shouted at my boss:

Let them eat shit!

He was amused. No one else got it— then again, I once wore a pair of fairy wings to the grocery store and no one “got” that either. As was the usual case, my shift was spent dealing with hagglers and hipsters— mostly assuring him (or her) that the jewelry in their hand(s) was INDEED real sterling silver. No one found a blue-haired woman wearing 18th century apparel hawking jewelry the least bit odd until…

a customer from last week came in. I remembered this woman because she was a particularly hard-nosed haggler. Nonetheless, I liked her. Customers with taste are very rare in my line of work: most raise an unholy fuss over outlaying more than $1.00 for some ugly piece of shit or another. This woman had taste, and for this reason alone I would cut her a fat discount on the stuff she wanted.

Our haggling session was a little more contentious than the previous one, but hardly hostile. Once it had been established that I was not going to go lower than $16.00 for the stuff she selected, she relented and shelled out the dough. That’s when she noticed what I was wearing.

Customer: Can I come behind the counter and look at what you’re wearing?
Me: Sure.
Customer (coming behind the counter): Is that a costume piece or is it vintage?
Me: We get a lot of costumes here, so I’m going with that.
Customer (handling my train): Can I give you a piece of advice?
Me: Sure.
Customer: I own and operate an antique store in Los Angeles. This is authentic.
Me: Really? I was planning on wearing it at the BARC Dog Parade this October. Of course I could have someone hold the train up so it doesn’t drag along the street.
Customer: (look of abject horror)

This is Greenpoint, not Los Angeles. I have seen shit here that would make even the fruitiest of Golden State fruitcakes go “Whoa man, that’s weird!” I know this because I once lived in the City of Angels. This dress might be an antique there, but in Greenpoint this here item is Dog Shit Queen duds.

Dress Back

That’s why I saw fit to sell it to myself for the very reasonable price of $10.00.

Miss Heather

P.S.: I’d like to give a shout-out to this customer. I hope you made it back to L.A. safe and sound. It was a pleasure serving you.

Aum Shit

August 24, 2007 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit, Dung of the Day 

Yesterday I had a revelation: Green Street isn’t as shit-bombed as it used to be. In fact, my little corner of Greenpoint has cleaned up significantly. Terrified that the primary premise of my humble blog was rendered obsolete, I made a hasty trip to the liquor store. That’s when I found this and realized that everything was going to be okay.

Aum SHIT!

If you step in a pile of dog shit (at 1055 Manhattan Avenue) and no one sees it, does it still make a stink?

Miss Heather

Upcoming Events in North Brooklyn

August 23, 2007 ·
Filed under: Bushwick, Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

Second Line Promo

Ad Hoc Art is having an opening this Saturday, August 25th from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. The group show is entitled Second Line: Art and Film related to the Gulf Coast and features a piece from a former Greenpointer/neighbor of mine, Deborah Fisher. For more details, click on the above image and you will be directed to Ad Hoc’s web site or give them a call at:

Ad Hoc Art
49 Bogart Street (between Seigel and Grattan)
Brooklyn, NY 11206
(718) 366-2466
www.adhocart.org

In related Bushwick/artistic news, 3rd Ward is having an open call for submissions for an upcoming show entitled Art Ate New York. Those of you who are interested in entering this “renegade art competition” need to:

Create something public, profound and just left-of-legal and you will have a chance of winning loot/fame. We are looking for renegade sculpture, poster-work, performance, spray-can-art or anything else we haven’t thought of. It must be publicly placed.

As you can imagine, yours truly is quite interested in this opportunity. If my $50,000 of student loan debt gave me anything (other than a great education and more than a few gray hairs), it provided me a forum to act out in any manner I saw fit and get good grades for it. Maybe I’ll reprise Miss Heather’s Hunny Hut, a concession stand dedicated to augmenting mixed drinks by adding copious amounts of Ready Whip and beating them into frothy perfection using a Black and Decker Drill with a large rubber dildo affixed to it? Then again, maybe I won’t. As Professor Ping said in Barbarella:

…who knows, genius is mysterious!

Even if I don’t win, if the person who does allows me to use his/her winning prize of a three month supply of Red Bull for cocktail fodder, I would still consider it a good use of my time.

To get the full lowdown and competition specs, click here.

3rd Ward
195 Morgan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11206
www.3rdwardbrooklyn.org

Night of the Living Zedd

As I mentioned in an earlier post, East Coast Aliens is hosting the first of a series of Nick Zedd films (featuring the one and only Rev Jen) this upcoming Sunday evening. For more details, check out their web site or click here.

Green Dome Flyer

Lastly, there will be a fundraiser for Greenburg’s (or Williamspoint’s) very own Dome Garden Monday, August 27th at Enid’s. This garden (just across the street from the universe’s very own Garden Spot) is a lovely respite from the increasingly corporate (and ugly) character of the neighborhood surrounding it. Even if an evening at Enid’s strikes you as being pure hell, please pitch in to this great cause. Donate, volunteer, whatever suits you. Just do it!

Miss Heather

New is Beautiful

August 23, 2007 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Long Island City 

New is Beautiful

If I had to pick a slogan for the Fedderist Movement in Long Island City, this would be it. Every time I cross the Pulaski Bridge I take a moment to savor this nugget of Orwellian glory. Not content with a single sign touting this piece of newspeak, the owner of this splendid example of industrial park chic gave it a couple companions.

New is Beautiful Times Three

NEW is BEAUTIFUL

As I marched through Long Island City like the good little Greenpoint trouper I am this was my mantra. The underlying logic for me doing so was the presumption that if I repeated this phrase enough times I might begin to actually begin to believe it. Unfortunately this experiment failed miserably. My precipitous fall from Big Brother’s grace happened when I beheld the backside of the giant gray monolith that graces Jackson Avenue.

Behemoth on Jackson Avenue

Could someone please explain to me why, in a city with one of the best mass transit systems in the world, people persist driving automobiles? Much less ones that (undoubtedly) consume an obscene amount of gasoline? Perhaps the owner of this vehicle feels it is his (or her) patriotic duty to use as much gasoline as possible to support our regime’s occupation of Iraq? Who knows? I certainly don’t.

That said, I do have a theory about why developers build ginormous parking lots (like the above one on 47th Avenue).

The Doors

To give their neighbors a little scenery.

Ten Inches

I love the smell of automotive emissions in the morning!

I certainly hope none of the owners of these Long Island City Humvees has a drinking problem. One wrong pedal to the metal and someone’s living room is going to get an unwanted piece of new furniture. Sheesh.

Miss Heather

When Special Interest Groups Attack

August 22, 2007 ·
Filed under: Crazy People, Greenpoint Magic 

Whee Doggie!

On a lark I checked out Greenpoint’s page on Wikipedia yesterday. What I beheld literally left me speechless. Here’s an excerpt from the “litigation” section:

In 1950, the predecessor* of the ExxonMobil Oil company is alleged to have spilled 17 to 30 million gallons of oil into Newtown Creek in the worst oil spill in United States history. Oil is believed to have been seeping into the groundwater since then.

Alleged? ALLEGED?!? What the fuck was the person who wrote this smoking? Amazed by the sheer ass that laid before my eyes, I wondered what the Greenpoint Oil Spill page was like. I pointed, clicked and gasped:

…Questions have surfaced about the timing of these lawsuits. Although the community is unanimous in its determination to have the spill completely cleaned up and to reclaim the Newtown creek, some question whether the resurfacing of this nearly 30 year old oil spill story is being used to attack the community after it won its rezoning battle against the wishes of Brooklyn based politicians (and divert attention away from cancer cluster issue in Williamsburg). The media reports have not included the fact that:

  1. More than half of the 17 million gallon spill has already been cleaned up.
  2. The remediation process has been going on, with the blessing of local elected officials, since 1992 and continues.
  3. The spill is almost entirely under the remote western industrial section of Greenpoint near the East Williamsburg industrial park. There are a few residential streets near Kingsland Avenue that are above the spill, but the vast majority of residential properties are not involved with the spill.
  4. The Newtown Creek runs along Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Maspeth and Bushwick, but the news articles only mention Greenpoint.

The Riverkeepers Group renamed the Exxon oil spill “The Greenpoint oil spill”, in what some think was a mean spirited attempt to malign the Greenpoint community. (!!! —Ed. Note) It is curious to name an environmental tragedy after its victim and not the perpetrator. The Exxon Valdez disaster was not called the Prince William Sound’s Alaska Oil spill. The NY Post, in an article on Oct 15th by Angela Montefinise, and Senator Charles Schumer at a press conference on October 16 incorrectly reported that there was a potential cancer cluster in Greenpoint near the oil spill. However, three cases of an extremely rare sarcoma cancer are actually on a single block in Williamsburg (nowhere near the oil spill, not even in the same zip code). One more case is five blocks away and even further away from Greenpoint and the oil spill. In fact, one victim got cancer after residing in the same apartment as an unrelated cancer victim and previous tenant. (What does this have to do with the Greenpoint oil spill? Oh wait, I get it; this is an attempt to “divert attention away from” THE SUBJECT AT HAND! — Ed. Note) Sarcomas are a very rare form of cancer, and as reported in the Post article, “You don’t see three in one block,” Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a California expert on metal detoxification, said. “Someone should be paying attention to this.” Dr. Kanti Rai, chief of oncology at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, agreed that it was “worth an investigation.” Unfortunately, the Senator is calling for a health study with regard to the oil spill and is ignoring a potentially very serious heath (Spell Check: learn it, live it, love it — Ed. Note) disaster in the Williamsburg community. Neighborhood Roots has reached out numerous times to Senator Schumer’s Washington office’s communications director Eric Schultz, and Bret Rumbeck who handles environmental issues for the Senator, with no calls being returned.

Congressman Anthony Weiner stated that Greenpoint has a 25% higher asthma rate than the rest of the city. The only problem is that the two health studies done by the state and city show the asthma rate in Greenpoint to be between 25% and 50% lower than the rest of the city along with a 10% lower cancer rate. The State DEC is aware of toxic industrial sites in Willliamsburg near Devoe Street that could potentially be the cause of these rare cancers, but no one is calling for that study. (Once again, what does this have to do with the Greenpoint oil spill? — Ed. Note) “Instead, there seems to be a no holds barred attack on Greenpoint and a blatant disregard for the health concerns of the Willamsburg community”. (If this is a quote, who is it from? Oh wait, let me guess: NEIGHBORHOOD ROOTS! Looks like they needs them some spell check too.— Ed. Note) One must question whether the recent support of massive residential development in Williamsburg and the historic resistance from Brooklyn politicians (including Borough President Howard Golden) to residential development along the recently rezoned Greenpoint East River waterfront (not near the spill) has anything to do with this dissemination of lies and the timing of these lawsuits.

The previous pedantic pile of horse shit is a textbook example of how Wikipedia can be (ab)used by special interest groups who present themselves as grass roots organizations and/or credible news sources. In particular, I found the absence of the recent lawsuit filed by Attorney General Cuomo on the Greenpoint page very telling. This glaring omission has since been rectified. Needless to say, the previous two entries have been brought to the attention of Riverkeeper and will be edited in a manner so as to present a fair and balanced picture of Greenpoint and its slanderously-named oil spill.

Those of you who have $50 to spare and a desire to see (and smell) this alleged oil spill personally might want to check out the Newtown Creek Alliance web site. September 16, 2007 will be your lucky day!

Miss Heather

*This is Standard Oil. Everyone knows this— save of course the author of this turd.

The Honeymoon Is Over!

August 21, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

No, I am not talking about my buddy and all-around nice chap who operates The Gowanus Lounge. If an email I received this morning is any indication, he is having quite a good time gallivanting in the sun as we are getting soaked:

I have noticed at the bottom of my firefox browser that it’s currently saying 58 degrees with light rain. The temp here has not varied a beat–it’s 85 daytime with blue skies and bright sun every day. Not an overcast day or drop of rain. At least, where we are. Maui has many micro climates. It’s cool and often overcast in the mountains. And tropical rainy on the other side of the island.*

After looking out my living room window, staring at the pouring rain and shivering in my thermal underwear, I rattled off a hasty reply to the above missive. I will not go into much detail (because frankly, it is none of your business), but I will make it known that the following phrase was employed:

Would you like to buy a vowel?

Anyone care to buy a vowel?

Rather, I speak of a lemur I discovered being ravished by E.T. on Franklin Street last month. Inasmuch as it pains me to tell you this, dear readers, it looks like things have gotten ugly. Follows is a photographic time line of our newlyweds’ descent into marital dystopia.

7/12/07

Sure, at first I thought the lemur was uncomfortable with this arrangement…

7/20/07

but by 7/20/07 he (or she?) seemed to be getting into the spirit of things.

8/11/07

Over two weeks later the party was still going strong. Damn, this monkey’s getting more lap than a cloth napkin at a fish fry!

8/16/07

Alas, last week I was shocked and dismayed to find this poor lemur getting jacked up by none other than the Incredible Hulk! Perhaps this little primate is into the rough stuff? I suppose only time will tell.

To each their own, I guess.

Miss Heather

*To he who basks in the sun as I am busily building my ark: this is just gentle ribbing. Have a safe trip back to the Boro of Kings. A bucket of chilled water balloons awaits you.

Just kidding.

I think.

For those of you who have more dollars than common sense…

August 21, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

174 Franklin Street

174 Franklin Street will be having an open house this upcoming Saturday from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. When I first saw this flyer I was like, I can’t fucking believe this shit!?! $1,000,000+ for a 3 story house that is not even located on the “good” side of Greenpoint Avenue? This is almost as absurd as something I saw the last time I swung by the Franklin Corner Store to use their ATM.

ATM with flyers

I occasionally patronize this machine when I am financially “tight” because it dispenses money in increments of $10.00. Given the previous fact you can imagine the expression on my face when I noticed a stack of flyers immediately to my right.

Belvedere Flyer

Jesus H. Christ.

Is it not enough that I:

  1. face certain harassment whenever I walk by their latest project on Java Street? Even on weekends?
  2. have to look at their craptastic advertecture every time I ride the B43 bus?
  3. have resigned myself to the fact that these people are slowly overtaking this neighborhood, making it look pre-fab shit, violating numerous rules and regulations in the process and the Department of Buildings will not do a damned thing about it?

Can they at least respect the solace the Franklin Corner Store ATM provides to those of us who are too poor to buy a condo? Is this really too much to ask?

Apparently so.

Miss Heather

The Greenpoint Hotel, Part II: Meet Mrs. Edwards

August 20, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

No, I am not talking about the wife of certain Democratic presidential candidate. Rather, I speak of the lovely wife of the proprietor of the Edward’s Hotel (which we learned last week is now the infamous Greenpoint Hotel). Petty thievery is not the only amenity this hotel offers: if you are (mis)fortunate enough, you can also win a one-way trip to the pearly gates! Per an article entitled Cheap Rooms and ‘a Drug for Every Floor‘ from the January 1st, 2006 edition of the New York Times:

Even as flophouses go, the Greenpoint Hotel has an unenviable distinction. According to a motion for foreclosure that federal prosecutors filed last month, the hotel has decayed in recent years into one of the most dangerous S.R.O.’s in the city, a Brooklyn version of Manhattan’s notorious Kenmore Hotel, where drug dealers and prostitutes ruled until a federal takeover in 1994.

About 20 deaths have occurred in the Greenpoint Hotel since 1998. Most of these were due to drug overdoses, but at least one was a drug-related murder, according to the motion filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn by the office of the United States attorney, Rosalynn R. Mauskopf.

Drugs may very well be the vehicle of choice for rendering one’s person deceased there nowadays, but back in 1894 casting an amorous glance towards Silas C. Edwards (the proprietor and namesake of the Edward’s Hotel) would have been equally effective. Mrs. Edwards was apparently a woman to be contended with— what’s more, she had a jealous streak a mile wide. Fortunately the recipient of her wrath lived to tell about. From the December 4, 1894 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle I give you a tale of broken hearts, a broken leg and… broken crockery!?!

From a Fourth Story Window

As the previously mentioned New York Times article noted the Greenpoint Hotel now sports:

…nearly 200 rooms, crammed into a maze-like four-story structure… typewritten signs ask residents to refrain throwing bottles of urine out the windows. (A quick inspection of the neighboring backyards suggests the request has frequently gone unheeded.)

One hundred years may have elapsed since Mrs. Edwards (allegedly) flung this woman and her chamber pot out the window, but little else has changed. Inasmuch as the times have changed, everything remains more or less the same. One man’s 45 ounce bottle of malt liquor is another man’s pissoir; life was much more civilized back then.*

Miss Heather

*This is sarcasm.

P.S.: I’d like to give a shout-out to all the folks who braved the crappy weather and went on yesterday’s tour of Greenpoint. If my writing about the Garden Spot has motived so much as one reader of this blog to take a genuine interest in the future of this great neighborhood, I consider it time well spent. Thanks!

Java Street Jackasses

August 18, 2007 ·
Filed under: Dung of the Day, Other Shit 

Saturdays are serious work days for me. As incomprehensible as it may seem to some, I like this arrangement. When the cubicle monkeys are slaving away, I go out to play. And vice versa. Never shall the two of us meet.

This morning was busier than most. After awakening at 7:45 a.m. and trying to:

  1. write
  2. play around with a few photos I took
  3. compose emails
  4. and failing miserably at all the above

I realized it was 10:15 a.m. Time to go. Fifteen minutes ago. The first item on my agenda was checking out the grand opening of the Yard Gallery on Java Street. What I beheld there was a bit disappointing, but they were still setting up. Greenpointers are not early to rise. Greenpointers may not be healthy or wealthy— but we are wise. Unlike these assholes.

150 Java Street

This is the site of soon-to-be Belvedere XII: 150 Java Street. It was featured in this post. Usually when one is engaged in illegal activity he (or she) tries to be discreet. These contractors were not. Their little heads told their big heads hiss and holler at anything wearing a skirt. Or a kilt— which was what I happened to be wearing at this morning.

In hindsight I realize I was asking for it. I should have known better. The thought of bagpipes and log-tossing gives boners. To idiot boneheads.

Apparently someone took issue with their nefarious (and very noisy activity) this morning, called 311 and filed a complaint with the Department of Buildings regarding “off-hours” construction without a permit. He (or she) was not the only one to do so either.

Will anything come of it? Probably not. Such is the cat and mouse game developers play here nowadays. I know this because people like me (READ: renters) usually end up being losers.*

Miss Heather

*Because we are clearly too poor, stupid and/or lazy to buy a condo. My monetary worth is only good for a nail job. Which (of course) reflects my intellectual aptitude and overall worth as a human being woman.