Sunday was the first day in the better part of a week that the weather was not absolutely miserable so I decided to take a “short walk”. This “short walk” (It was a very beautiful day yesterday after all.) gradually evolved into a trek from Greenpoint to Flushing Avenue. Tired, I decided to take the G train home from Metropolitan. The intersection of South 2nd, Hewes Street and Union Avenue is where I found “Lithuanian Square”.
Perhaps “found” isn’t the right word. “Rediscovered” might be more appropriate. I have walked by this park on a number of occasions. This time, however, I had the time and inclination to see what this monument is about.
“Lithuanian Square” as it is called (and for the record it is shaped more like a triangle but I’m not going to argue semantics) was created in 1935 (the monument came later in 1957) to commemorate the 1933 trans-Atlantic flight of Stephen Darius and Stanley Girenas —Lithuanian immigrants both— from Floyd Bennett Field in New York City to Kaunas, Lithuania. This in and of itself seemed interesting enough (especially to yours truly who is part Lithuanian*) until I got home and did a little research. That’s when I learned this monument is in fact only half correct: Mr. Darius and Mr. Girenas did make it across the Atlantic Ocean in an aircraft they christened (patriotically, if not very imaginatively) the “Lituanica“. They did not, however, make it to Kaunas. Their airplane crashed 400 miles short of its destination in what is now Pszczelnik, Poland. They died instantly.
Despite the grim outcome of the Lituanica’s quest, the story behind it is a fascinating and uplifting (no pun intended) tale. Unlike Richard Branson, Darius’s and Girenas’s intercontinental jaunt was very much a grassroots effort. As you will learn from this article in the July 18, 1933 edition of the New York Times. LinksminkitÄ—s!
For those of you who are wondering, two years later another Lithuanian made a jaunt across the Atlantic Ocean. His name was Feliksas Vaitkus, the year of his flight was 1935 and he too did not complete his itinerary as planned: instead of making it to Kaunas, his craft crashed in Ireland. Mr. Vaitkus, however, was lucky enough to walk away. He was the sixth person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an aircraft.
*As my Polish friends here (upon seeing my surname) in Greenpoint like to remind me. No worries, they’re very nice about it. They reserve their rancor for Russians and Ukrainians.
From Union Avenue.
The one thing I find myself marveling over from time to time are the articles some people consider worth stealing. I’m not talking about iPods, cell phones, bicycles or other items that can be filched and fenced in a snap for cash. Rather, I am talking about items of a more esoteric (and less valuable) nature. To better illustrate what I am talking about follow are a few things that your fellow Greenpointers have attempted (and on occasion succeeded) to pinch from the junk shop:
- Lace hankerchiefs
- An issue of Architectural Digest
- A box of Christmas lights
- A dozen or so old photographs
- An ashtray and my personal favorite…
- A bookcase (When questioned as to why he was carrying a bookcase clearly priced at $60.00 down the street our inventive thief said that he thought that since it was on the sidewalk it was free. No kidding.)
The above-listed point number six brings me to another aspect of the petty chiseler’s chicanery: the utter ridiculousness of some of the ruses they use in order to get something for nothing. For example, The Thing recently got a number of boxes of old Christmas ornaments. Each box contained nine ornaments. In their naivete the price was established at $3.00 a box. Little did the management realize that he had made a substantial error. This was discovered soon enough. I know this because I had the pleasure of bringing it to the Manager’s attention via a customer who had managed to stuff one such box with as many ornaments as it could possibly contain. And then a few. Mind you, no trouble was taken to fill this vessel with similar merchandise. Hands down this was the most simple-minded, flagrant and yes, insulting, attempt at duplicity I have ever experienced.
I cannot wrap my head around the trouble some take to steal something whose value is (for all intensive purposes) negligible. If time is indeed money wouldn’t it be better to pay the asking price of $6.00 for a selection of merchandise instead of haggling incessantly or stealing? Perhaps this is where I am making my mistake; I am employing reason. Which brings me to the purpose of and image gracing this post. This grocery store is called Sunac Food and it is located on Union Avenue just a hop-skip away from the L and G trains.
Let’s play petty thief for a minute. If you were to steal something would you:
- Do so where large numbers of police are present?
- Do it a stone’s throw from your employer while wearing your uniform?
- Elect to boost a single can of Red Bull?
If you are a certain employee of MTA the answer for all the above questions is (albeit allegedly): YES. Yesterday I popped into Sunac Food to purchase a few groceries before hopping on the G train. As I negotiated my way into the store their rogue’s gallery caught my eye.
and my jaw dropped. Lest you are having trouble reading the above missive, here it is:
This shows you that you NEVER trust any city employee. She works for the MTA and had her uniform on when she decided to steal Redbull. She must have been working overtime. If you see her call 911 for trespassing.
Naturally they have documentation of the purloined beverage in question as well.
I don’t know about you, but as a G trainer this act of theft casts the cutting-service-while-raising-fares ploy by the MTA in an sinister new light. Our providers of rapid transit are not interested in balancing their budget: they’re creating a slush fund for the acquisition caffeine-laden energy drinks!
From Conselyea Street.
What is “River Ballel” going to be, you ask? My greenhorn Greenpointer, the answer should be obvious: another bar eating and drinking establishment.
River Ballel (Barrel?)
160 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222
Opening Date: T.B.A.
For those of you who are keeping track this brings the total number of bars on Franklin Street back up seven. The Lost & Found Bar closed recently.
Last year this fella only sported a pair of antlers. I have to say the addition of the golden tinsel is an inspired touch. But how could I honestly expect anything less from a person whose Halloween decorations included dismembered dolls and Teletubbies?
Filed under: Williamsburg
In true Williamsburg form, merely setting this newspaper thingamajig (which was for a real estate or parenting rag if I remember correctly) on fire didn’t deter the local population from stuffing it to the gills with refuse. Adapt and overcome: that’s progress the north Brooklyn way of life!
From Manhattan Avenue.
What do you give the person who has everything? Well, a blood test immediately comes to mind to yours truly but here are a few other suggestions.
Just for Fun has lotto tickets, Polish and American flags, fake butts, elephants, American currency toilet paper and a “Sassy Girl” who drops her top and sings a saucy tune. What’s more they’re open on Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. and as far as I know is the only place in our fair burgh that sells butt plugs. Stick that in your chimney and smoke it!
Just For Fun
982 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222
When I encountered this delightful item at the Thing I couldn’t help but feature it. First I played a round of “Tower to Tokyo” with it. Then I proceeded to use it like c.b.:
Busted Rubber this is Bearded Clam talking. There’s a whole bunch of Tampax ahead. Do you read me? That’s a big 10-4!
If sculptures of hairless hoo-hoos are not your taste the Thing also has this one.
I’m not too sure what the point of this object of art is but if you want to shake up your office Christmas party (if your office has one and you have a job) this is undoubtedly to item bring. Sure, it’ll set you back $70.00 but just imagine the look on the H.R. person’s face! Human Resource professionals are (in my experience) the most worthless waste of human flesh this side of the post-Perestroika world. If they’re going to fire you, the least you can do is make the amount of paperwork they have to file copious and interesting. Professional bureaucrats hate that sort of thing.
And this ought to do it.
Vagina Sculptures ($50.00-$70.00 each)
1001 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
From Clay Street.