Graham Avenue south of Montrose is rapidly becoming one of my favorite places to knock around. This shopping district is in my opinion one of the best experiences north Brooklyn has left to offer. Although presided over by the grim edifice that is Woodhull Hospital (which for some reason reminds of the Lars Von Trier mini-series, The Kingdom) the streets bustle with life. Some of the aforementioned activity is benign, some of it is nefarious but that’s what New York City is about, right? If I wanted to be in a sanitized environment I’d patronize an outlet mall in Jersey.
The shops along this strip hawk all manner and variety of dry goods the human mind can conceive. And in the case of one store, something which even confounds my admittedly fertile imagination.
When I first laid my eyes upon the above claim I was cynical. This is New York City after all. And in this— the best damned city in the world— I have seen a lot of strange stuff. What wares can this store possibly offer that set it apart from its peers?
The toys strike me as being rather pedestrian but I have to admit this Jesus necklace is pretty impressive.
But why would I outlay my hard-earned dough on just Jesus when I can purchase a pendant brandishing the Last Supper just down the street? I know a bargain when I see one: this is like getting thirteen Biblical figures for the price of one!
Okay, they have me on this one. Not only have I never seen an eighteen wheeler emblazoned with Scarface’s visage, I didn’t know a market for such an item existed. Wow.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Yesterday after eating a minuscule grilled cheese sandwich (comprised of the remaining slivers of bread in our freezer) for breakfast I expressed to Mr. Heather the need for us to patronize the local grocery store. True to form, my simple request required some clarification:
What do we need?
He asked. Mister Heather asks a lot of questions. For this reason many (occasionally myself included) fancy him to be an asshole. This was one such occasion. After explaining to him at length what we required and pointing out the odd milk and orange juice run does not constitute grocery shopping I was met with this reply:
Oh, I thought you took care of that.
In Miss Heather’s life context pretty counts for everything. If I didn’t grade my existence on a bell curve I would have lost the will to live a long, LONG time ago. Taking the previous into account, let’s assess his statement:
- I had just eaten a pathetic excuse for breakfast because most of the foodstuffs in our refrigerator were rancid leftovers.
- “Take care of it”: I take care of a lot of things, but when I am hungry and our pantry is bare, I require a little assistance.
Long story made short, when we walked to the grocery store today I not only spied a car from the Department of Buildings parked on Manhattan Avenue (I know, I was as surprised as you) but also a motor vehicle from the Department of Environmental Protection in need of a good washing.
You know we live in desperate times when the citizenry of Greenpoint has to tell the Department of Environmental Protection to clean up.
To use the oft-used refrain of a colleague of mine… Pardon me for asking, but why does the Department of Buildings have hybrid cars at their disposal while the D.E.P.’s vehicles run solely on gasoline?
Filed under: Area 51
This evening I received a most disturbing email from a reader and frequent commenter, Rexlic. He writes:
Like the hippies who carried a coffin through the streets of Haight-Ashbury in the fall of ’67 to mark the “The Death of the Hippie,” we can now mark the death of NYC, as hipster/huppie/yupster/yunnie/bobo life reaches critical mass outside Manhattan.
What precipitated this ominous statement you ask? Well, in a nutshell, this.
When one finds fliers like this in Crown Heights you know the
fat log lady has indeed sung in our fine borough. Don’t take my word for it: point and click you way over to Trip In Brooklyn and read for yourself. The horror.
Photo Credit: Trip In Brooklyn
Interesting things turn up when you run the search terms “Greenpoint” and “bigamy” through the Brooklyn Public Library’s online archives of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Back in the day Greenpoint was quite the swinging place. Anything that could “go” indeed went. Except of course if you happen to fatten a dairy cow in your back yard and try to get it through your front door. In which case you will discover that you have a serious problem on your hands, as you will learn from this article from the August 19, 1899 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Enjoy!
I repeat: I found this story while running the search terms “Greenpoint” and “bigamy”. Think about it.
P.S.: If you’re wondering what “green goods” are, it is a scam which involves selling counterfeit money. Harry Houdini (yes, the famous magician) wrote an excellent description of this swindle. Read it for yourself by clicking here. As for the Barrison sisters, they sound like a pretty fun lot. Here’s a New York Times story about one of them.
Photo Credit: Top Secret
This nifty little “bird house” can be seen above the entrance of Cherry Bomb Tattoo.
Filed under: Bed-Stuy
There is something profoundly wrong with this poster. Is it the fact this woman is smiling at you while gnawing on a chicken wing or is it the gargantuan size of the chicken wing itself? It’s hard to tell. In any case I’m too frightened to eat here.
This establishment just down the street is another story altogether. I’d love to see what the specialty of the house is.
Filed under: Bushwick
I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the advertising brain trust charged with Express Real Estate School’s advertising campaign had their “eureka” moment. In fact, I think I can hear them now…
Ad Hack #1: But we need to reach out to a younger, “hip”, urban dynamic…
Ad Hack #2: I know, let’s trick out some Ice T-looking dude out with a phat hunk of bling. Don’t worry if the dollar sign pendant he’s holding is backwards. Kids are so stupid nowadays they won’t know the difference. Trust me, it’ll be dope.
All Ad Hacks (in unison): BRILLIANT!
Seriously folks, somebody paid a lot of money for this stereotypical schlock. And on that note if you don’t mind, I’m off to give myself a pre-orbital lobotomy with a tire iron. Toodles.
Last night Mr. Heather elected to attend the planning meeting for the India Street Park. Feeling a bit antisocial, I opted to stay home. In hindsight I wish I had gone just to have a Parks official explain to me with a straight face why they are endeavoring to build a waterfront park that will not have a view of the city. Yes, you heard me right. Here are Mr. Heather’s notes from the meeting. Read them and learn why:
It was stressed that the Kaplan Fund and the Borough President’s office is the source of money for this project. This is a temporary park. The man from the Parks Department said they alloted at least $35,000 and it should last at least 5 years. To get around DEP requirements* they can only place on top of existing pavement. They cannot rip out or change any existing structure or pavement. They are going to pave over with colored concrete, remove the chain link fence and replace it with concrete barriers (similar to what is along highways) This might be topped with steel fence. It could be up to 12 feet high. This barrier could very well block all views of Manhattan. All plants will be in planters and will be no access to the waterfront. But we get bike racks and benches that come from either the 1939 or 1964 World’s Fair. Also there is an existing business that has a loading dock which cuts into the planned park space.
The Parks Department is really pushing this. The intend for this park to be completed by July 4th of this year. Why?
There is also going to be a feral cat colony displaced by this project. Some of the ideas presented at this meeting were shot down by the Parks Department because they would encourage “homeless boogeymen to appear“.
After being assured repeatedly by Mr. Heather that the terminology “homeless boogeymen” was indeed invoked by a New York City Parks employee in GREENPOINT, we put our collective heads together and made a conceptual rendering of what this park will be like. Here it is.
You know, I can’t shake the feeling all that poured concrete and a twelve foot high fence is going to make a certain segment of the population here (“homeless boogeymen” notwithstanding) feel right at home. It’ll be like Perestroika never happened.
*because, among other things, a sinkhole is located at this site.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Is it just me or was Greenpoint a little pointier than usual last weekend? I have long grown accustomed to the fact that some very special people grace this neighborhood. In fact, they are one of the reasons I live here. But seriously folks, last Saturday the inmates were running the asylum.
The local homeless cadre was in a particularly festive mood. I shit you not they were singing.
One person, however, was not so mirthful. Or at least that’s what I intuit when a man decides to punch a woman in the face in plain view of twenty odd people. And this is exactly how the porter of my building decided to while away Saturday afternoon. I didn’t see him get cuffed, but he is already back out on bail. Our landlord, inexplicably, decided to fire him. He’s been pretty trigger happy of late. He fired our Super last month.
Deciding to celebrate the fact our building has no maintenance staff whatsoever, Mr. Heather and I went out to dinner. Our ride home on the G train was livelier than usual.
This dude had a voice that sounded like Harvey Fierstein with a dash Jimmy Durante. I couldn’t understand most of what he was saying about except when he sauntered up to a mustachioed woman sitting across from me and exclaimed:
He had quite a floor show. Much better than anything I saw in Vegas (not that I recall much, mind you: I was 8 or 9 years old). I wanted to take him home. Mr. Heather refused.
I suppose none of the previous should really surprise me. I live in Greenpoint, after all.
Even our buildings get loaded.
Filed under: Bed-Stuy
In other real estate-related news, there’s a rather nice corner lot for sale at the intersection of Putnam and Patchen Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant.
I don’t know what the asking price is but I suspect cell phone owners need only inquire.
A taste for energy drinks is also a big plus. Damn.