It was a full house last night at the in the basement of Capital One Greenpoint Savings Bank. In fact there were so many people in attendance they didn’t have enough chairs so many had to stand or sit on table tops. Before I get to “the main event” (the police’s conduct on Bedford Avenue November 4, 2008) I’d like to mention a few other items of interest:
1. The 50+ pairs “street sneakers” have been removed at the intersection of Kingsland Avenue and Jackson Street. At last inspection only two pairs have taken their place.
2. There were 27 summonses issued for illegal truck traffic this week. There will be a crackdown on illegal bicycling as well.
3. For the year (thus far) crime overall is up but compared to earlier this year overall it is down.
- The rates of robbery and assault are unchanged.
- There have been 13 burglaries (“6-8″ of which took place in residences where the front door was unlocked/open). No weapon was displayed and the perpetrator is thought to be involved in other robberies.
- Someone was shot in the face— twice— during a Halloween Party at the Cooper Housing Projects. He (or she) is reported to be okay.
4. When queried about the Greenpoint Hotel C.O. Fulton knew of nothing unusual going on but noted that most of the activity there involved breaking up “personal disputes”.
5. Not yet reported in the statistics (because it happened 11/16/08): a purse was stolen out of the back of a car (“smash and grab”).
6. There were several complaints about semis parking underneath the BQE at Humboldt Avenue workers unloading the contents of one truck into another. In one case as late (early?) as 3:00 a.m. in the morning.
7. Club Exit has been talked to about their recent gun play.
But let’s get around to what everyone wants hear: Captain Fulton’s take on what happened at Bedford Avenue and North 7th Street the evening of November 4.
And questions there were …and a few surprises as well.
Unfortunately I ran out of memory cards (Dear Santa, please give me more memory cards!)— but my own memory (good ol’ gray matter) can pretty much summarize the rest.
1. Overall it was a pretty ugly meeting. The reason for this had little to do with Captain Fulton. Rather, it had to do with how the “old guard” treated the younger people present. For example: When Aaron Short (of the Greenpoint Courier and BushwickBK) asked if this was “a generational issue” a woman shouted:
I have sons your age!
Another man chimed in:
The issue is order over anarchy!
Others cried that the police were “too lenient”.
2. Another woman (the brunette seen at towards the end of the previous You Tube clip) asked the following question (albeit paraphrased):
How are you going to train your officers to handle crowd control (moving forward)?
A very salient question if you ask me, as all the development the Northside is facilitating an explosion population-wise. There was some back and forth between her and C.O. Fulton, e.g.; Fulton said all police cadets were trained the same and that there was a crowd of over 300 people. To wit she pointed out there were similar crowds in Ft. Greene and Park Slope and neither required a “Task Force” nor making arrests. C.O. Fulton initially disputed her numbers but said he’d look into it.
3. Believe it or not, this is when the meeting took a productive turn. A gentlemen in the back asked (once again paraphrased):
How can we take up this matter other than/in addition to going to the C.C.R.B. (Civilian Complaint Review Board)?
To this end C.O. Fulton offered to have a “sit down” with people present on Bedford Avenue that evening who felt the police acted inappropriately and backed it up by having one of his subordinates get the process started. When details of this meeting become available (to those of you who would like to have your say but were unable to attend this evening’s meeting) I will post them here.
My two cents (it is my blog after all)
A number of factors lead up to this incident:
1. As C.O. Fulton noted noise complaints in/around North 7th Street and Bedford Avenue are a long-standing problem— and what happened November 4th brought this anger to a head. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the increase in/shift of population in the area (in favor of affluent young ‘uns) has lead to a proliferation of bars and other “late night” activities on the Northside.
Bars = drunk people.
A gaggle of bars in a very small area = a LOT of drunk people.
A bunch of people harboring anxiety over Sarah Palin becoming Vice President (given access to the intoxicants at aforementioned bars) = a LOT of VERY drunk people.
Learning Barack Obama won = a collective sigh of relief. And a LOT of VERY DRUNK happy people.
2. Lack of preparation on the NYPD’s part: I cannot fathom how/why they thought this election would notworse culminate into some kind of “activity”. Had McCain won I suspect what the 94th (and many other precincts in New York City for that matter) would have encountered would have been much worse. I find this troubling.
3. An inability or overall unwillingness— on both sides— young and old— to be considerate to each other. Speaking as someone in the “middle” (albeit in my ivory tower in Greenpoint) I didn’t mind the odd gaggle of people wailing and screaming until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning because Barack Obama was elected President. It was (and will be) a page in the history books. One which we were all lucky enough to experience. On the other hand I have experienced many sleepless nights at the behest of drunken hooligans. As was said at the meeting several times:
Some people have to get up and go to work in the morning.
Somewhere between there has to be a balance.
Simply put, there needs to be a greater effort on the part of the police and citizens— young and old— to work together to prevent what came to pass in the wee hours of November 4th-5th from happening again. This entails dialoging, not shouting over each other, hissing “disgrace” or finger-pointing. The fact of the matter is there is more than enough blame to go around: police and “civilians” alike.
Sure the election is over but there’s still plenty of Barack goodness to go around. Here are a few of my favorite bits of Obamarama from Brooklyn and beyond!
Washington Avenue, Brooklyn.
Clifton Place, Brooklyn.
Grattan Street, Brooklyn.
North 4th Street, Brooklyn.
Those of you who like the “FIRST” posters can order one by clicking here.
Photo Credits: Chi-town pix, Mr. Heather
Today I decided on a lark to knock around the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Sensing that there may be opportunities for boobification present at this location I packed the girls and hit the road. My instincts were on target.
Nestled next to the BQE between Flushing Avenue and (what else?) Steuben Street this park is named after a Prussian army officer and who was a general in the American Revolution: Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustus von Steuben. He made a number of contributions to the Continental Army but follows (courtesy of US History dot org) is my personal favorite:
Another program developed by Steuben was camp sanitation. He established a standards of sanitation and camp layouts that would still be standard a century and a half later. There had previously been no set arrangement of tents and huts. Men relieved themselves where they wished and when an animal died, it was stripped of its meat and the rest was left to rot where it lay. Stueben laid out a plan to have rows for command, officers and enlisted men. Kitchens and latrines were on opposite sides of the camp, with latrines on the downhill side. There was the familiar arrangement of company and regimental streets.
I know what you’re thinking:
If this man advanced what it is now known as the “don’t shit where you eat” policy, why are there two boars gracing the park which bears his name?
Here’s the answer per the New York City Parks Department:
In 2000, Steuben Playground underwent a comprehensive $938,000 reconstruction funded by Council Member Mary Pinkett. The improvements included the replacement of an asphalt ballfield with picnic tables and a horticultural area. The park’s open grass area was landscaped, the handball wall and court were reconstructed, new basketball backstops were added, and new exercise equipment was installed. In addition to the two new pieces of boar-shaped animal play sculptures, a new steel fence was added around the jogging area, new concrete game tables were installed, and two animal art sculptures of boars were added. The wild boar, native to Europe, is a reminder of the foreign origins of a great American military leader.
For the record these boars already have teats (go and see for yourself). But for $938,000 they didn’t seem “grand enough” so I augmented them. The cost: $0.00.
Hall Street at Park Avenue
All things considered there wasn’t too much that tickled my titular fancy. However, this bus shelter for the B61 made the grade.
This Bebe advertisement has been getting on my nerves for some time. So I finally decided to boobify this fine specimen gracing a B61 bus stop next to the BQE. My act of art-making was met with the approval of a young man shooting hoops at adjacent Washington Hall Park: he gave me two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Washington Hall Park
When all else fails playgrounds never cease to provide ample fodder for boobification. Just take this seal. Methinks I will have to swing by here next summer with a retrofitted solo tit and get some lactation going.
Unbeknownst to me a parks employee watched me execute this one. He didn’t seem upset in the least. In fact I think he found it amusing.
And this, dear readers, concludes my latest installment of Brooklyn boobification!
1. Be sure to incorporate an iconic image of the “cool hipster dad” in your ad campaign.
2. Your proud hipster papa simply MUST close with a snarky remark.
3. Take care to thoroughly saturate subway stations along Crosstown Local with your advertising.
4. But don’t stop there: saturate the trains as well. That way they will have no other choice than to pay attention to your message. The longer the delay or the later at night, the more likely living in Downtown Brooklyn will seem like a good idea. Right?
5. Oh yeah, and incorporate the word “hip” AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. They love praise!
Now if you don’t mind I need to throw up.
November 15, 2008: Franklin Street, Greenpoint
November 16, 2008: Lafayette Avenue, Bed-Stuy
I don’t know about you but when I go out to strip SUVs on a cold November day I always tote along a fifth of Remy Martin. Nothing says “job well done” like knocking back a little V.S.O.P. after boosting an engine block, some car doors and bucket seats.
Sometimes using mass transit —even the G train— really is the better option.
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bed-Stuy, Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg
bal’ke-ne-za-shen: n. a proliferation of galleries projecting from the front of luxury condominium buildings in gentrifying neighborhoods. While often little more than concealed fire escapes, balconized buildings usually are out of context with surrounding buildings and are festooned with such various and sundry items as laundry, bicycles, and satellite dishes. v. (balconized, balconizing, balconifies) See: Fedderize, crapification, Belvedere Realty, 156 Pulaski Street.
Note the institutional light fixtures. NICE.
Filed under: Bed-Stuy
From LaFayette Avenue.
Last week I received an interesting tip from a reader. xdoobiex wrote:
check out the reveal over the wamu/ wizard electorics.
it looks like they’re finally going to fix the top of the building and is stripping off the old siding to reveal some nice old detail work.. which will be covered up by new vinyl
After the rain finally let up, I went down there and checked it out.
It’s pretty neat.
He failed to mention this classic old advertisement for a roofing and siding contractor. “Everlasting Beauty” indeed!
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
From Green Street.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
AKA: Metallicans 1:3
KNOW YOUR METAL
Oh, Greenpoint! How I do love thee? Let me count the ways… Actually there are too damned many to count so here are two:
- Where else in New York City can you buy groceries on a Sunday morning while listening to “Unchained” by Van Halen? The Garden Spot’s very own Garden, that’s where!*
- What I witnessed last night at a certain wine store on Manhattan Avenue** after meeting a good friend for dinner.
I walked into the aforementioned establishment to hear the Manager (?) and two other chaps (employees???) singing along to the music playing in the store. Suffice it to say it was NOT Lawrence Welk. The fourth gent (rounding out this quartet) then proceeded to make a major faux pas by asking:
Who is this?
The singing stopped. An air of stifling silence (save the music) and breached etiquette overtook the room. I, the outsider, decided to break the ice:
It’s Metallica, isn’t it?
Metallicans #1-3 (in no particular order): (sighs of disgust) DUH! It dates from 1986.
Gent #4: (starts to sputter an explanation —but sensing futility —stops)
Me: I don’t know which album this is, but this is definitely Metallica.
Head Metallican (to me): You know those jokes they make about Polish people?
Me (getting a little nervous): Yeah.
Head Metallican: This man (pointing to Gent #4) is 110% Polish.
I’m not too sure what it takes to be Polish in Greenpoint anymore. My surname, I have been told, is “too Lithuanian” to make the grade. What’s more my knowledge of Metallica is apparently too good.
I had some trepidations at first about posting this incident but then I thought the better of it. If you can’t laugh at yourself and bust someone’s chops in good humor (over Metallica, no less) would life really be worth living? Think about it.
*Which I took great delight in singing along the following passage (with the requisite Diamond David Lee Roth moves— inasmuch as is possible in a grocery store) much to Mr. Heather’s chagrin:
Woo-hoo! Take a look at this!
Hey man, that suit is you!
Whoo-whee! You’ll get some leg tonight for sure!
Tell us how you do! Hoo hoo hoo!
(Come on Dave, gimme a break)
Hey hey hey hey! One break, comin’ up!
**With features a certain VERY phallic vodka bottle in the window.