What Would Guido Do?

I created a little controversy recently when I referred to the Rat Man’s stomping grounds as being in Greenpoint. Addrobinson, a frequent New York Shitty commenter, noted:

Its funny you know him as the “rat maniac”, because to me & my friends he is “The Pigeon Maniac”. I always just assume that he was feeding the Pigeons and the rats took care of what the birds left behind. I also find it very odd that you consider that area to be “southeastern Greenpoint”, in all the years I have lived here that is the first time I’ve heard anyone even use that term, let alone call that area it.

What constitutes Greenpoint? This is a very contentious question. If you ask an old timer, as another commenter (Zeebah) suggested, he or she will tell you the area in question (Kingsland Avenue near Frost Street) is in Greenpoint. If you ask a real estate agent, he (or she) will call it Williamsburg. It is simply a matter of who benefits. Which brings me to this:

Martone’s Dairy

This rather nifty old photo can be seen at De Stefano’s Restaurant. Note the location where the picture was taken: Graham Avenue between Devoe and Metropolitan Avenue. Now let’s take a closer look at the neighborhood inscribed on this photo, shall we?

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Interesting. My curiosity piqued, I asked the owner of the restaurant about this unusual piece of taxonomy. He explained to me that when he was a kid no one who lived in this area called it Williamsburg. That neighborhood was considered distasteful. Greenpoint, therefore, was used because it was considered to be “more classy”. So there have you.

What do I consider to be Greenpoint? Well, this map should give you a general idea.

What is Greenpoint?

The semi-transparent red line indicates the boundaries of the 11222 zip code. The additional shaded sections are areas I consider to be Greenpoint that fall outside this zip code. The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that the Greenpoint Hospital would be considered by many not to be in Greenpoint at all. It is also very telling to note that the engraved text (which read “Greenpoint Hospital”) which once graced the entrance of this building has been removed. I have little doubt this was done at the behest of a real estate professional. Perhaps the developer plans on having “East Williamsburg Hospital” inscribed its place?

I suppose there is no clear cut means of determining what constitutes Greenpoint— or any neighborhood, for that matter. Or is there? As daskol observed:

Guido, the mayor of Withers Street, will kick your ass if you refer to this area as Williamsburg. He might change his tune when it’s time to list his property.

I think it is time for us to stop bickering and ask ourselves a much more important question:

What would Guido do?

Miss Heather

In Praise of Stupidity

November 27, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Unlike most people who bemoan the downward spiral of human intelligence seems to be taking nowadays, I believe this brain drain to be a positive development. Had my fellow hominids been graced with greater gifts of the mind I assure you most of them would busy themselves by concocting in one dishonest scheme or another. Nobel Prize material most people are not.

Now that I think about it, even those with marginal mental mettle usually employ it in some nefarious fashion. Take my former neighbor (PLEASE). She, a 50-something year old, 300 plus pound, non-English speaking Puerto Rican woman had a novel idea about how to generate some revenue: steal and cash one of Miss Heather’s unemployment checks. Though I am certain she thought her plan to be fool-proof, the reality was it had certain fundamental flaws:

  1. When asked to present identification (in order to cash said check) merely pointing at one’s self and then at the check in question will not suffice.
  2. A person of Hispanic origin is probably going to encounter certain difficulties cashing a check made out to a person with a Polish/Lithuanian surname in Little Poland. It’s just a wee bit suspicious.

Needless to say the woman at the check cashing establishment confiscated the check and I got it back. Hence, why I am pro-stupidity: it makes criminals (like my dip shit former neighbor) easier to catch. In fact, the only thing I can think that would be dumber than what this woman did would be to rob a store and leave your picture.

Well guess what, readers! A pair of thieves did just that right here in good old Greenpoint, no less. From the September 28, 1913 edition of the New York Times, I present to you two of the dumbest criminals to ever grace the Garden Spot.

9/28/1913 New York Times

I wonder why these chaps were “taken aback and annoyed” by this photograph? Was the lighting bad? Did he capture their bad sides? Oh wait, I know: it made their butts look big!

Miss Heather

Shitty Reliquary

November 27, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Cleaning Chateau de Ghetto is not unlike Christmas morning: there’s always some hitherto unknown treat to be found under any given pile of crap. Last week’s pre-parental visit scrub down was no exception. Follows are a few items of New York City interest I (being my own Santa Claus) purchased, forgot about and had the pleasure of rediscovering.

Piece of 3rd Avenue El

A piece of the 3rd Avenue El. It is interesting to note that Hulan E. Jack was sworn into office as Manhattan Borough President on December 31, 1953. In so doing, he became the first African American to hold a major elective office.

History of New York City

A textbook about New York City history dating from 1899 (one year after incorporation). I have started to scan this book into PDF format and plan to make it available (via New York Shitty) to download. While it only has a scant two pages about Brooklyn, I imagine it will make for a nice bit of winter time reading for a number of you.

But enough History 101, let’s have a little fun!

Libby Liberty

The fine folks at Garbage Pail Kids dubbed her Libby Liberty. But I prefer to call her Greenpoint Gertie…

or Newtown Creek Nancy!

Miss Heather

The Queensboro Kitten: ADOPTED!

November 27, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

Final Portrait

I am pleased to announce that not only did Jeff, a cute little fella who was found wandering around on the 59th Street Bridge, get a new home over the holiday weekend, but he is now a Greenpointer! Lisacat writes:

If he wasn’t headed for Greenpoint, it’s too late to change his mind now! He’s living in our lovely neighborhood now with a really nice couple who found him on your blog. They want to remain anonymous for now but said it was ok to post a cropped photo (below). I’m going to post about it later, we got a funny email from the official Jeff Bridges website! Cute story…

Jeff and his new people

I knew it! This little Lebowski wanted to go to Greenpoint all along (because, I suspect, he heard we have a bowling alley). He simply got a little confused and mistook the 59th Street Bridge for the Pulaski. It’s a perfectly understandable mix up for a seven week old kitten to make. Especially one working without the benefit of a map.

On the behalf of my fellow Garden Spotters, I’d like to give Jeff a great big Greenpoint welcome to the neighborhood! Those of you who can’t get enough of the Little Lebowski can click here and read more about his curious homecoming on BARC’s blog.

Miss Heather

UPDATE: Here’s an excerpt of an email I received from Jeff’s (or as I like to call him, The Dude’s) new people:

Hi, Miss Heather —

I’ve been meaning to write you to thank you SO much for sharing the story of Jeff, which led to his eventual adoption into a loving family on Lorimer Street! I’m a faithful reader (and admirer) of your site and once I saw him up there, I just couldn’t quit looking at him. As a matter of fact, I still can’t, which is why I’ve been so remiss in sending the thank-you note I owe you. I tell you, the cuteness is incapacitating. There oughta be a law.

My boyfriend Kevin managed to crawl out of the kitten torpor long enough to post a little something about Jeff (and his new sister, Dreamy, the one responsible for the alarming state of K’s hands) yesterday. Yes, he’s not only joining a Greenpoint household, but a household of Greenpoint bloggers (some of us lazier than others), the poor guy.

Photo Credit: Lisacat


Has Anyone Seen Buddy?

November 27, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

Buddy

A fellow Greenpointer writes:

On Thanksgiving Day Buddy got loose from our house on Humboldt Street between Nassau and Driggs. Buddy is a very sweet and friendly tabby cat – male, about 8 years. He is also deaf, which makes looking for him impossible!!! He may be a bit skittish because he does not usually go outside, however, he can be approached… so if you see him, please try and pick him up. He has been neutered, his shots are up to date, and he was not wearing a collar.

Buddy 2

If you have seen Buddy please contact Caitlin at:

cataspencer (at) gmail (dot) com  or 212-767-9963

Let’s help this distinguished Greenpoint gato find his way back home for the holidays. It’s a jungle out there!

Miss Heather

Nimrod Station: Williamsburg Vs. Greenpoint

November 27, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

One poster, two different worlds on the crosstown local.

My mother dislikes my constant shutter bugging. Usually because it entails documenting things she considers distasteful and takes away from valuable shopping time. I, on the other hand, will gladly spend time (instead of money) savoring the best the G train has to offer in the way of subway poster vandalism. Such things make Miss Heather’s world go round.

Exhibit A: the Queens-bound platform of the G at Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg

Nimrod Nation, Metropolitan Avenue

One restless patron waiting for the crosstown local saw fit to inscribe the above poster with a little political commentary.

Wiretapping?

To wit, one of his teammates, Number 41, replies

Because…

Exhibit B: the Queens-bound platform of the G at Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint

Pussy, HA!

After noting the exposed pudenda on the poster to the left, they got right down to business.

Number Thirteen

Number 13 is date material.

Blue Ribbon

Number 37 placed, but Number 32 got the blue ribbon.

Number 34

Oh wait, it was number 25, not 37. Nimrod 34 might have been deemed as “ugs”,

34 packing heat

but he won Mr. Congeniality.

See what depths of depravity we G train patrons wallow in while waiting for the subway? After tiring of trying to overthrow the government, we take simple solace in cradle robbing.

Miss Heather

Dignified Dog Shit Signage

November 26, 2007 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit Signage 

There are assholes, and then there are ASSHOLES. What’s the difference, you ask?

Cobble Hill Caca Sign

Only the latter would leave their dog’s shit in front of a fucking funeral parlor. Checking out the open casket remains of some doggie’s dinner just before attending your loved one’s funeral strikes me as being one of the most undignified things I can think of— save perhaps letting your dog take a crap IN the coffin. If the above sign and Cobble Hill’s illustrious neighbor’s Yahoo group are any indication, anything goes in this lawless section of Brooklyn.

I have lived in Greenpoint, a neighborhood with quite a dog shit problem, for some time. During that time I have never, EVER seen a “curb your dog sign” posted in the window of any of our local funeral parlors. What the fuck is wrong with you, Cobble Hill? Is everybody calls the Bergen Street stop (of the F or G) home on crack?

Miss Heather

North Brooklyn Speaks Up About Bush

November 26, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Bushwick, Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

On Thanksgiving my husband and I went for a walk. We sort of had to because the sound of assholes beating on metal at 9:00 in the morning renders my apartment uninhabitable. Nonetheless, I mustered up enough holiday spirit to hang out my window and shout:

Happy Thanksgiving, SCABS!

before heading to Williamsburg. When we reached North 11th Street, I found the following.

Anybody but…

I think the intended message here is to elect anyone but a Republican. The Grand Old Party isn’t very popular in my corner of Brooklyn. George W. Bush is even less so (if that is possible).

Exhibit A: Morgan Avenue, Bushwick

Bush Lies

Exhibit B: Kent Avenue, Williamsburg

Fuck Bush

And last, but hardly least…

Exhibit C: Nassau Avenue stop of the Crosstown Local, Greenpoint

NOW!!!

Ryan, the incredibly gracious chap who gave me permission to use the above photo, notes:

None-too-subtle tag that’s always all over the Nassau G station. Usually the grammar is a bit better.

Very true. These rather angry missives usually read “KILL THIS FUCKEN TYRANT BUSH NOW“. They would also be found at the Greenpoint Avenue Station on occasion as well. Sadly, the Garden Spot’s finest Bushwhacker appears to have left us…

Jackass II

but his (or her) spirit lives on.

Seven years down, one to go.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Those of you who crave another morsel of north Brooklyn Bush hating can get a quick fix by clicking here.

G Train Glory Part II: Meet The Parents

November 26, 2007 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Over the last several days my parents have become quite familiar with the infamous Crosstown Local. Well, last night they finally had a true G train experience in all its resplendent and abject glory. Here’s how it all started…

Earlier in the day my father was bemused by something that amused me at the intersection of St. Mark’s Place and Third Avenue: an old man popped out his denture plate, blew on it several times and nonchalantly stuck it back into his mouth. Noting my excitement, Pa Heather laughed and shook his head. My rebuttal was as follows:

Hey, things like that make me happy. Living up here, I see quite this kind of thing pretty often. This is why I am happy most of the time.

Now jump forward to 9:30 p.m. Sunday night. My parents, Mr. Heather and I had just completed a fantastic dinner at De Stefano’s and it was time to hail our crosstown chariot (at Metropolitan Avenue) and go home. After waiting a fair amount of time it arrived and we got on board. I soon tired of watching the man across from me play video games on his cell phone and casted my glance downward. In so doing, I caught a glimpse of G train glory.

Blood with sneakers

I gleefully pointed out my new find to my mother:

Hey, that looks like blood!

Ma Heather: That’s what I was thinking.

The gentleman playing video games paused, took note of what laid beneath his Nikes and moved them so I could get a better picture. When not engaged in pommeling the shit out of each other, G train patrons are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

G Train Gory

Me (to the guy across from me): That had to hurt.
Guy across from me: (laughing)
Me (exiting G train): Thanks a lot for moving your shoes so I could get a good picture of the blood. Take care and don’t let that happen to you.

(Laughter from several Crosstown local patrons.)

From the November 25, 2007 edition of the New York Times:

In the opinion of Gene Russianoff, a spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign, if the G train in its current incarnation were to disappear, its riders in all likelihood would happily let it slip into history. As Mr. Russianoff summed it up: “Writers in Greenpoint and Williamsburg won’t write poems about it.”

I want the G train to stay shitty. The recent media “make over” of my neighborhood has attracted the attention a certain element I would just as well live without: yuppies hellbent on suburbanizing and homogenizing neighborhoods beyond recognition. Unlike the media (or the real estate industry), the good ol’ Crosstown Local train keeps on keepin’ it real. And as long as the blood shed therein is not my own, I do not mind it the least bit.

Miss Heather

A Must Have For The Crazy Cat Person On Your X-Mas List…

November 26, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Crazy Cat Lady 

Today the Miss Heather Clan hit Manhattan. The objective of this trip was triple-fold:

  1. My mother wanted to hit Pearl River Mart.
  2. My mother wanted to go to Ricky’s to buy eye liner. (Alas, Greenpoint appears NOT to be getting one. Those of you needing funky wigs or butt plugs with have to go to Manhattan— though I suppose those who are in the market for the latter can save both time and money by hitting a produce stand and purchasing a turnip or carrot instead*)
  3. To test the limits of my father’s tolerance for shopping.

I will spare you the mundane details regarding points 2 and 3. Not only are they pretty boring, but I have a number of choice “Miss Heather’s parental” stories to relay already. Instead, I will get right to the good stuff: something I found at in the kitchenware section at Pearl River Mart.

Paw Shakers

Salt and pepper shakers shaped like cat paws. Smitten, I happily doled out the asking price of $11.50 for these bad boys. Not only is this a small price to pay for something so cool, but they are amazingly well designed: you fill the shakers by removing the pads of the “feet”. Pearl River Mart’s web site does not appear to sell these, so you will have to schlep down there in person to buy them.

Pearl River Mart
477 Broadway
New York, New York 10013
(212) 431-4770

The above pair of tuxedo paws is going to my buddy Lisacat. They also come in grey and white. Orange and white shakers were inexplicably absent (maybe they sold out???).

Miss Heather

*This is what some of my buddy Rachael’s high school classmates did when they decided to conduct a contest: who can wear a butt plug at school the longest. Participants who didn’t own the proper accoutrements used carrots instead. Teenagers are incredibly resourceful and clever people. I cannot think of a better way to ready one’s self for corporate America than to shove something up his/her ass and keep it there.