Last week dear readers you learned about me declining a lucrative offer to join the sex industry. Believe it or not, I occasionally regret that decision. Sure, I don’t have the stomach for “adult films” but I probably would have been a good stripper. Or dominatrix. It would simply be a matter of self-discipline and focus.
The problem is I have a notoriously impish sense of humor. The sight of some mousy chap who looks like he slaves over actuarial tables for a living getting used and abused by a statuesque Eastern European woman while strapped to wall gives me the giggles. I know this for a fact because I have seen this very scenario. Twice. In both cases I had to hurry my person out of earshot so as to release my category five case of the sillies.
I should probably just settle for stripping. My buddy Rebecca11222 brought an opportunity to my attention yesterday that might be just the thing. She writes:
From “Kitchen Delight” (which is barely a kitchen and hardly a delight) on N8th btw Driggs & Bedford today. Not actually IN Greenpoint, but I had to pass it in order to walk to Greenpoint.
Don’t ask about the special sauce.
Sir, would you like to super-size that handjob? Is that for here or to go?
P.S.: I’d like to give a shout out to my buddy Bob over at The Gowanus Lounge. As some of you may be aware, he is out of town at the moment. Of all places, he happens to be in Hawaii —which is soon to be grazed by a hurricane. Yikes!
Today I wish to add a new weapon to the arsenal of wretched real estate rhetoric. My buddy Kevin over at Forgotten-NY brought us the oft used and loved term “Fedders building”. What I propose is a modest and simple expansion of his creation:
Fedderize (fed’er-riz) vt. -ized, izing, izes 1. remodeling an old building in order to make it completely and utterly hideous.
149 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Let’s start with this one. Though it is a pretty mild example several elements of Fedderization are manifest:
- The addition of Fedders boxes to an otherwise beautiful facade
- Jarring use of stucco
- A vinyl awning which has no aesthetic relationship whatsoever with the rest of the building
When I saw this building my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe someone would deface an otherwise okay building by installing Fedders boxes. Whoever is responsible for this should be kicked in the head.
Let’s proceed to the most venal example of Fedderization I have ever seen. In fact, the following turd was the inspiration for this post! Get out your motion sickness bags folks. You’re gonna need them.
1007-1009 50th Avenue
Long Island City, NY 10111
I remember this building. It was once an unremarkable, if slightly run-down, clone of its neighbors. Now it is a hideous melange of what the fuck:
- The first floor and all the window sills are slathered in titanium white stucco.
- Two Fedders boxes grace each floor . They look like teats on a sow.
- The store front on the right employs the sparing use of marble, which is sort of odd given they didn’t skimp on all the other ugly shit inflicted upon this building.
- The store front of the left looks like something one would find in an industrial park. It does not match its companion to the right. One would think the Fedderist responsible for this gruesome twosome would be consistent in his (or her) craptitude. Obviously this was not the case.
Could someone please explain to me why someone would outlay (what appears to be) a lot of money to do this? Although I dislike the practice, I can understand why many developers have seen fit to erect ugly, over-sized, institutional-looking buildings in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Long Island City and beyond: to save money. This, on the other hand, I do not get. Thoughts anyone?
This is the Greenpoint Hotel. It is located at 1109 Manhattan Avenue. My buddy over at 11222 has written about it. Recently she and talked about it. Follows is one of the tales I told her.
The year was 2002. The season was spring. I was engaged in a task most people who lost their jobs (due to 9/11) did: running a load of laundry on a Tuesday morning. My neighbor Cat was with me. Bored with Telemundo, we directed our respective thousand mile stares out the window and onto Manhattan Avenue. Our bubble of ennui was quickly and summarily popped by all manner and variety of police officers— replete with meter maids driving glorified golf carts— storming the hotel next door. We looked at each other and said:
I harbor a long-held fascination for this establishment. Any abject aspect of the human condition my mother attempted to protect me from as a child is pretty much a source of fascination for me (as an CONSENTING adult, mind you) nowadays, e.g;
- criminal activity
- sexual deviancy
- all around anti-social behavior
and the Greenpoint Hotel delivers. In spades. I know because I have been researching this place for some time.
This is the “northwest wing” of the Greenpoint Hotel. This plot of land (on Clay Street) once belonged to the Meserole family. It was auctioned by Jeremiah V. Meserole in 1881. Ten years later his son Darwin was brought up on murder charges for an adulterous love affair gone bad. Just like the patricians who owned it before, this parcel of land quickly descended into ill repute.
Before it was the Greenpoint Hotel it was known as the Edward’s Hotel. Before it was known as the Edward’s Hotel it was known as the International Traveler’s Hotel. I think. It doesn’t really matter because regardless of the name, this place has always been a dump. As you will learn.
Which brings me to the first of three installments of Greenpoint crime blotter goodness about this establishment. The inaugural item hails from the January 1, 1899 edition of the New York Times.
Manhattan Avenue was once known as Union Avenue— after the union of American states.
Greenpoint Avenue was once known as Lincoln Street— after Honest Abe.
The Monitor was built in Greenpoint just off of what is now known as Quay Street— hence why there is a street bearing the name “Monitor” here.
Greenpointers are good Americans. Sure, one of us tried to rob a person using chloroform, but at least he was patriotic about it. Mr. Rohr might have been the first person to commit a crime while waving the American flag, but he was/is hardly the last. Thirty five cents is child’s play compared to the shit out current regime has perpetrated. The only difference is Rohr found his way into a jail cell: his most recent criminal protÃ©gÃ©s probably won’t.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
These guys were busy taking a nap as I was running errands this morning. It was 11:00 a.m. I think. The real estate industry likes to package the garden spot as being hip and chic— and that may very be true. If one considers paying $500,000+ for a condominium and turning a blind eye to the serious social issues around him (or her) to be “cool”, Greenpoint is RED HOT.
I do not wish to suggest that my humble burg is the only neighborhood with problems such as homelessness, displacement*, un/underemployment, alcohol and narcotics abuse: it isn’t. Not by a long shot.
Call me naive, but I cannot for the life of me reconcile the glowing rhetoric I read about Greenpoint with this image. It reminds me of something Marie Antoinette once said:
*I love this term. It likens human beings to so much water thrown asunder. Nice.
Filed under: Area 51
Yesterday I had an epiphany. I was walking along Driggs Avenue and stopped to look at Karl Fischer Row. Then it hit me: that building looks like R2-D2. I am not talking about the building with the Son of Samesque symbol on it. I am talking about its neighbor: the one that looks like a trash compactor.
Intrigued, I went in for a closer look. That’s when I found this Adonis basking in the glory that is living in a “young”, “hip” and —let us not forget “ARTSY” neighborhood.
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension, HOW LIKE A GOD.
After laughing my ass off, I looked up.
Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Miss Heather: (with a small wave of my hand) You don’t need to see her identification.
Stormtrooper: We don’t need to see her identification.
Miss Heather: These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.
Miss Heather: She can go about her business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Miss Heather: Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along… move along.
Miss Heather: Oh yeah, put a goddamn shirt on already!
Stormtrooper: (to McCarren Park Adonis) PUT A GODDAMN SHIRT ON ALREADY!
Don’t let the slick advertisements fool you. The above chap is the clientele base for these condos, not attractive 20-somethings. About 20 feet away from this sexy beast was another hexagenarian chap doing Tai Chi or some other kind of Karate Kid shit. Mercifully, he elected to wear a shirt. THANK GOD.
*This is a Butthole Surfers reference. Anyone know what it is?
Like many Brooklynites, I did not grow up here. The reason Greenpoint appeals to me is it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the cookie cutter suburbs I once called home. Dallas, Los Angeles or San Antonio, the zip codes may have been different but everything else was pretty much the same. Be they houses, neighborhood associations or even the people. Except for one.
This house was located on the southeastern fringe of our sub-division. Its owners had an aesthetic not shared by their neighbors. If I had to liken the color scheme of this house to anything, I’d call it Whataburger Chic. Their approach to landscape design was equally unorthodox; the flower beds were lined with empty beer bottles and old tires from sixteen wheelers were employed as planters. This property was quite a sight. One I got to behold often; my father made it a point to drive by it each and every time the opportunity presented itself. Nary a trip to the gas station, mall or grocery store was made without beholding this poly-chromatic spectacle.
Some people like to drive through certain neighborhoods at Christmas time to savor the ornate, if tacky, tableaux the residents have erected to glorify the birth of our lord. My father, on the other hand, drove by this house so he would have the opportunity to repeatedly use his name in vain. My father hated this house and he wanted to make sure both my mother and I knew it. We did, in the most base, profane and explicit terms.
This persisted for a month or two until my mother decided she had had enough. One day she offered to drive to the grocery store and my father agreed to it. She’s very clever that way, my mother. She fired up the car and proceeded along a different route. My father was immediately alarmed and asked why she was not taking “Elk Grove”. She said she didn’t want to. He pushed the matter, she pushed back, and in so doing, made it very clear that she was tired of his ranting ad nauseum about “that house“. My dad never drove by it again.
I mention this story because in many ways I am like my father. One significant difference, however, is I make a concerted effort to avoid rage-inducing eyesores. However, when one is reliant on mass transit things can become problematic. Which brings me to this.
I featured this dubious piece of advertising back in June. As I was riding the bus yesterday I noticed it was still there. I made sure to point this out to my husband.
Can you fucking believe this shit? That sign has got to be fucking illegal. The Department of Buildings is cracking down on this kind of thing, you know. Why hasn’t it been taken down? I AM SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF LOOKING AT THIS PIECE OF SHIT! I HAVE TO LOOK AT THAT UGLY MOTHERFUCKER EVERY TIME I RIDE THE GODDAMN BUS!!!
It was like a flashback to my father— except I had a captive audience of 40 bus patrons. Although no one said anything, I think it is safe to speculate that at least one or two of them probably hate this sign as much as I do. Maybe even more.
On July 25th of this year the Department of Buildings issued a press release announcing their crackdown on illegal advertising. Here’s an excerpt from their tome.
Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, today announced the launch of phase two of the Department’s enforcement campaign against illegal advertising. Expanding upon a crackdown on illegal advertising on sidewalk sheds, this second phase targets illegal advertising signs on building walls, which are generally large in size and mounted by anchors to the exterior wall of a building.
This sign is indeed “large in size”, but it is not mounted using anchors. Whoever is responsible for this masterpiece decided to drill right into the building instead.
This press release goes on to say:
…New York is certainly known for its busy landscape, but not every one of the City’s 950,000 buildings can be used as advertising space. Some zoning districts allow advertising signs on building walls while others do not…
I do not profess to know what the zoning regulations are in Greenpoint. I will profess, however, that this is the only sign of its type (READ: strapped to the front of a building, obstructing windows) that I have seen here. Period. My inner “Nancy Drew” finds this suspect— if for no other reason because if this practice was legal I would probably be seeing a lot more of it. It has been my observation that any means of turning a fast buck at the expense of and/or discomfort to the residents in this neighborhood is rarely left unexploited.
Perhaps this practice is legal? If it is, it shouldn’t be. I am not so simple-minded as to use this eyesore to simply vilify Belvedere Realty. The real villain here are the enablers, be they our fairly (s)elected officials, building and/or zoning regulations and the people who are charged with enforcing them.
P.S.: If anyone from the D.O.B. is reading this, the above photographs were taken today, August 12, 2007. The sign in question is located at 609 Manhattan Avenue. Click here for directions.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
After having dinner this evening at Los Primos (on Grand Street) I decided to walk over to the Metropolitan Avenue stop of the G and start my trek home.
Jesus H. Christ!
My husband said. For some reason waiting a fucking eternity for the B43 bus to arrive makes more sense to him than spending an extra five or ten minutes walking to the subway. I told him I had my own set of keys and he was welcome to take the bus. I wasn’t. And in hindsight I damned glad I didn’t because…
the Baby Lama was waiting for me on the Queens-bound platform when I got to the station. At one point he started dancing and I followed suit halfway down the platform. It was the most fun I have had waiting for the G train in a very long time.
When the train arrived he got on. At Greenpoint Avenue, he got off. It makes me proud to have had the honor of sharing a subway ride with this man, much less to have him as a neighbor.
P.S.: When I got home there was a smallish, balding man pacing in front of my building. To no one in particular he shouted:
Rene, your husband is fucking my wife!
God I love Greenpoint!
Filed under: Area 51
Since my Internet service continues to be as effective as Lindsay Lohan’s recent stint in rehab, today’s post is gonna be short and sweet…
Sometimes I like to indulge in a little social commentary when I arrange merchandise at work. Today I chose to deconstruct ‘N Sync for our clients’ edification.
The chap on the left is Justin Timberlake. He is the straight one.
Most of you can recognize the blond gent on the video box to the right. He is Lance Bass. AKA: the gay one.
The dude brandishing the guitar, well, that’s Joey Fatone. I have taken the liberty of labeling him the FAT ONE. Because he is.
I am very pleased with this installation. I envision it as an updated version of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Or appropriately:
Don’t ask, don’t tell, DON’T CARE.
While scarcely a celebrity, I have noticed that my avocation catches up with me at the most unexpected times. Take yesterday, for example. As I was leaving my friend’s apartment her dog walker, Peter, arrived and the three of us struck up a conversation. At one point New York Shitty was brought up.
Me: That’s my blog.
Peter: It is!?!
Me: The Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint. Yup that’s me.
Peter: I just looked at New York Shitty this week!!! Someone told me about it!!!
Fascinated, Peter walked alongside me as I trekked to the Metropolitan station of the G train. He fielded many questions about dog log blogging to yours turly and I did my best to answer them. Although it had never crossed my mind before, I suppose I would enjoy a certain popularity among professional poop picker-uppers. Truth be told, his rapt interest made me feel like Elvis— which was nice given how utterly depressing and frustrating this week has been for yours truly. I was in dire need of a pick-me-up and Peter provided it.
Before we parted ways he excitedly pointed out some excrement for my perusal. It was located on west side of Manhattan Avenue just south of Grand Street.
“You should post this!” he said “The dog who did that one is really healthy.”
I replied, “It sort of looks like a lobster. Very interesting. I think you’re right!”
Upon closer inspection we discovered that it had a companion!
Thanks pointing out this turdy twosome to me and brightening up my day, Peter. I really needed it!
Filed under: Area 51
I recently got a call from a good friend of mine. She had discovered a litter of kittens in her backyard. Naturally I rushed over and saw them for myself.
The mother scrutinized me as I took pictures of her brood— all of whom are jet black.
The kittens didn’t seem to mind. They continued wrestling and nipping at each other as I snapped away.
After consulting with a friend of mine from BARC, we are mulling over how we are going to trap these kittens. They haven’t been weened yet, but soon they will be. If we do not catch them in time they will wander off to a mean, brutish and short life on the street. And beget more strays. It’s a never-ending cycle.
Please spay and neuter your pets, folks. No living, feeling creature should be subjected to this kind of life.