LAST GASP: From The New York Shitty Inbox

(Or: A Case of Mistaken Identity)

A few thoughts:

  1. For someone who wants his/her park “back” stating he/she is a new resident to Williamsburg is rather audacious. If for no other reason because McCarren Park is technically in Greenpoint. That’s right: 11222.
  2. I am neither the head mistress of Red Gate Garden nor a hair dresser. However, my hair dresser— whom this person seems to have confused me with— is both!
  3. Not being a hair dresser is probably one of the worst career decisions I have ever made.
  4. But given the “tone” of this person’s missive it would appear that a mere hair dresser (and long time resident of Greenburg/Williamspoint) should not have a say about what is going on in her proverbial “backyard”. And that a garden that has been in existence for over 10 years should be removed because a new Williamsburg resident wants his/her “park” back.
  5. Nonetheless, I have brought “Iwantmyparkback’s” missive to the head mistress of Red Gate Garden’s (AKA: my hairdresser— the woman mistaken for being Miss Heather.) attention.

Here’s her response:

Greetings Miss Heather,

Although it was disheartening to read the email that you forwarded to me sent to NewYorkShitty about Red Gate Garden; thank you for letting me read it. I am flattered that someone might think that I am you. I think that you contribute a valuable point of view to so much of north Brooklyn, and beyond. Whether it be candid photography or frank opines on local stuff; you say it as you see it.

I, personally, don’t feel that I need to agree or disagree with your opinions. If I didn’t want to see it I wouldn’t look at it. I appreciate that you have brought something to my attention that might concern, interest, or enlighten me.

I would like to respond personally to the sender of the email, and I did email via that address. I don’t think that it will ever make it to them, since I don’t think it is a “real” address. “I want my park back” as an email address from a new resident along McCarren Park is confounding. Back from whom or what? From McCarren 10 years ago? 5? The email address and content implies that this individual wants their park back from what they perceive as a misuse of public space, and that the garden is an eyesore and trash dump. I can only defend that with photographs that show that it is not an eyesore or a trash dump.

That the garden is somehow exclusive or selective in its ability or willingness to engage a greater number of volunteers is erroneous. That Red Gate needs more volunteers is a fact. Red Gate (aka Nick’s Garden) has actively promoted and tried to solicit more volunteers. No one that has shown interest in helping has ever been discouraged or excluded. That there is only a small group that are active in the garden is a fact. That 2% of the people that come by or email and then follow through with getting involved, is also a fact. Instead of taking shame in that, we actually commend each other for hanging in there, and working hard to contribute to something as wonderful and beautiful as a community garden. An oasis in the middle of what has been our only big open public space to do so, for so many years.

Aesthetically the garden could use some improvements. The fence is ugly to many regardless of what is inside the gate. I could only hope that more people would want to get involved in helping to sustain and elevate the garden to its full potential, instead of ridiculing it. It belongs to all of us. Anyone that wants to partake in all the joy, back-breaking labor, planning, purveying, and tender care that is needed to sustain it is so very welcome to come and join us.

Lastly, I wanted to add that I am also one of those annoying tax paying citizens. I work hard. I pay my taxes. I have provided two service industry establishments to Williamsburg over the past 14 years that have paid revenue taxes on a multiple of millions in sales. I feel the pain that most of us do. I am involved in my neighborhood, and try to help better it wherever I can. I do not write a blog. I am not Miss Heather. If you have some constructive ways to improve things or wish to be a volunteer in the community garden, please contact us at Red Gate Garden via twitter. Since your email makes reference to my business at a hair salon, and some of my past contributions to NewYorkShitty’s photo posts are attributed to Miss Mousey Brown’s photo stream; I wanted to clear up any confusion.

Meredith Chesney

If there is a lesson to be learned here it is this: before you send a nasty missive to someone from a bogus email address (which I am tracing, by the way) at the very least do enough fact-checking to ensure your insults are (somewhat) salient/relevant. Nice try, troll. Or as Nelson put it best.

Miss Heather


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