Filed under: Area 51
I suppose by the time most of you read this last night’s event will be splashed all over the Internets. So be it. This post is not dedicated to blogging about Blogfests or bloggers. It is dedicated to you: my readers. Follows is an excerpt of what I said last night during my speech at the Brooklyn Blogfest III:
Another characteristic of blogs I enjoy is interactivity. This is something not to be found in conventional media. As the proprietress of a New York Shitty I am not merely putting something out in the world for people to read. My blog is not a monologue; it is a dialog with my readership. I cannot overemphasize how much I value the contributions my readers have made to New York Shitty, not just in the way of comments but also in terms of content and tips. In this respect, New York Shitty is very much a collaborative effort. Some of my favorite posts have come as a result of their efforts and I would be sorely remiss if I were not to give them thanks here and now. Thanks guys (and gals). Keep the dead rat stories coming. Those are my favorites.
The previous rhetoric may seem like a lengthy platitude but I assure you it is not. When a picture of a rat with a Heineken bottle cap perched atop its head accompanies my first cup of morning coffee I know it will be a good day. The same goes for reading a personal testimonial about finding a dead rat stuffed into the change slot of a Metrocard dispenser at the Bedford Avenue stop of the L. Either of the previous may not be the normal person’s idea of how to start his/her day but I think it has been established all too well that I am not “normal”.
I get other gifts. This week someone sent me a jpg of her cat posing next to a mouse (or baby rat— hard to tell) it had just slayed. And last night, dear readers, I received this from the proprietress of Brooklynometry.
Having read about my despondency regarding parting with Chopper, she was kind enough to give me a replacement. In a handy baggie no less! Little did she know that I had already secured another “plate” that is just itching to be put to good use. Now I have two. That means double the trouble!
Filed under: Area 51
I noticed this flier while knocking around the neighborhood and felt like passing it along. I am not too sure what a “Zombie Feast” entails, but I cannot think of a better place to host one than the Garden Spot of The Universe. The last time I walked by the Greenpoint Hotel it was teeming with ‘em.
Brooklyn, New York 11222
Perhaps after the festivities we can round up these zombies and set them loose in our subway system to fight the bedbugs*?
*As silly as this may sound, I am fascinated by how much brouhaha this revelation generated. Seriously. So there are creatures living on subway benches? Big damned deal. I for one am pissed off that I have to pay $2.00 to ride the subway while those free-loading son of bitches are getting to ride for free.
Filed under: Williamsburg
I don’t know about any of you, but I cannot wait for summer. There are few things Miss Heather likes more than lazing at the beach or haunting the local swimming pool. The only bitch is access.
Sure, I love Coney Island but the subway ride there is long enough to lull me into an existentialist stupor. The McCarren Park Pool is set to be restored to some semblance of its former glory, but this isn’t going to come to pass for years. I have never been one to have much patience. I want gratification and I wanted it yesterday.
For this reason you can imagine my glee when I learned that this lot at 141 Frost Street has everything I need to enjoy a good summertime dip.
1. A diving plank and plenty of sunshine. I can almost smell the Coppertone now!
2. And lest we forget, WATER!
Perhaps I am simply being a worry wort, but something about this picture just doesn’t look right. Anyone?
Filed under: Williamsburg
From North 4th Street.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Who cannot help but crack a smile when finding this on McGuinness Boulevard?
Filed under: Area 51
That’s right folks! The who’s who of Brooklyn Blogadeering are set to gather tomorrow night for an evening of bloggy goodness.
227 Fourth Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11215
Yours truly is going to be a speaker and the price of admission is $10.00.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Erin of Norman Avenue writes:
Hi Miss Heather,
I suspect you’ve already researched this – but what’s the story with the spectacular, run-down “estate” at the very end of Guernsey Street? It looks like it used to be an asylum or an old folks home, but now it appears to be inhabited by squatters and the grounds are overgrown.
I have been long remiss writing posts about Greenpoint history and I really appreciate Erin of Norman Avenue‘s kindly kicking my butt.
This beautiful (if slightly decrepit) building was the bequest of Samuel J. Tilden. If the name Sam Tilden sounds familiar to you, it’s because he was the 25th governor of New York and ran for president as a Democrat against Rutherford B. Hayes. He lost under very fishy circumstances. And for the record, Florida was a factor. Sound familiar?
In any case at Tilden’s death he had $6,000,000 of assets. His relatives contested the will and got a nice chunk of his estate. Somehow this parcel, by virtue of its less than desirable location (or sheer luck) didn’t find its way into their hands. Per his wishes a home for the aged was built here. It is now SRO. Here’s a little nugget of goodness about this great old building from the August 20, 1886 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Enjoy!
When the people rise the system gets cleansed.
— Samuel J. Tilden
P.S.: I know for a fact a woman on Green Street will be one summer short of a century this month!
And no, it ain’t me!
UPDATE: Check out this way cool message I got from the proprietress of SamuelTilden.com!
I have a google alert on Samuel Tilden and your delightful BLOG came up this morning…This was one property I did not know about and was happy to read that Samuel donated the old house and that it still exists.
This evening I attended the HPD workshop conducted at the Greenpoint Reformed Church. Given the start time was 6:00 p.m. (and thus difficult for many people to attend), I was very pleased with the turnout. For those of you who were not able to be there but want to learn more, I took copious notes. Here they are.
The presentation was given by Edward Brownbear (the gentleman in the above photograph). He is the Lead Education Instructor for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. What’s more, he himself has had bedbugs and provided a number of personal anecdotes as to how he fought them successfully.
The presentation (entitled Bed Bugs On The Move) broke into three components:
- Your rights as a tenant or landlord
- Pest management
INTRODUCTION: What Are Bedbugs?
Per Mr. Brownbear, in 2006 HPD received ~1,000 complaints about bedbugs. In 2007 that number shot up to ~3,500 – 4,000. Some of the hardest hit areas were Bushwick, Ridgewood, East Harlem and Harlem.
There are 91 species of bedbugs. New York City sports three of them. There is the “common” bedbug which is, as it name indicates, the most common. There is also the “tropical bedbug” which is more active in summer weather. I didn’t get the third one. Regardless of species, all varieties of bedbugs:
- Detect “heat signatures” from as far as three feet.
- Prefer to dine upon human blood (lactic acid, body heat and breath attract them).
- Cannot fly, but can crawl very quickly.
- Can carry disease but will not transmit (it has to do with how they feed which is very different than, for example, a mosquito).
- Can be difficult to detect because before feeding they are as flat as a piece of paper.
- Are nocturnal.
- Are attracted to fibers and wood.
- Can hibernate for up to 18 months.
Two reasons for the influx of bedbugs in New York City are as follows.
- Increased international travel.
- Reconditioned mattresses.
What is a reconditioned mattress? It’s probably not what you, dear readers, think. A reconditioned mattress is a mattress that has been dry cleaned and resold. That’s it. Although the law states that these mattresses are to be labeled with a yellow tag, they are often are not. Anyone who suspects that he (or she) has been sold a reconditioned mattress without proper disclosure should contact the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Bedbugs feed for approximately eight minutes, then fall off the human body and find a (preferably dark) place to digest to digest and make bedbug babies for seven days. Mr. Brownbear was reluctant to talk about Bedbug Sex Ed. 101, but the attendees insisted and an entomologist stepped up to the plate and gave us the deets. For those of you who have ever wondered how bedbugs do the nasty, today’s your lucky day!
The male bedbug does not have a penis. It has an appendage designed to stab the female bedbug in a “cleft” on the underside of her body. Underneath this cleft is a pocket— padding if you will— that protects her internal organs. This mating process is called “traumatic insemination”. Try that one at your next trivia night!
Females lay 3-5 eggs a day. The gestation period is ten days and the maturation period is five weeks. In her lifetime, a bedbug can lay 500 eggs. These eggs are 1/36 of an inch thick and are clear, thus they are very difficult to see. Bedbug babies are also translucent and measure approximately one millimeter thick.
Are Bedbugs Dangerous?
As I indicated earlier, they can carry disease but studies have shown they do not transmit them. However, people vary in regards to reactivity to bedbug bites. Even a dermatologist cannot tell the difference between a bedbug bite from that of a tick or mosquito. Those who have high sensitivity or conditions such as eczema will have more reactivity to bedbug bites. Others, however, will have little to no reaction at all.
It was at this point that one of the more terrifying points of this entire meeting (in my opinion) was brought up: bedbugs make good “hitchhikers”, e.g.; they can attach themselves to a person’s clothing and spread. Five different subway stations have turned up positive for bedbugs. Three of them (the ones Mr. Brownbear could recall) are:
- Fordham Road, Bronx
- Union Square, Manhattan
- Hoyt-Schermerhorn, Brooklyn
At the latter most they were found on a subway bench, which makes sense given it is has been established these little critters like wood.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A TENANT
Under New York City Housing Code bedbugs (just like roaches) fall under a level B violation with “A” being the lowest level of severity and “C” being the highest. Mr. Brownbear advised that anyone afflicted with bedbugs should call 311 and report them. However, he conceded that doing so presents a number of problems. Among them:
- The reaction time will be slow. HPD has 600 inspectors.
- Many people work and cannot stay home waiting for HPD to show up.
- The inspector actually has to see bedbugs “at large” in your apartment. Merely showing them bites and/or trapping bedbugs in a jar is not sufficient.
- This is problematic given that bedbugs are nocturnal and inspectors work conventional business hours, therefore…
- He advised that you look for hiding places, such as chest of drawers, under mattresses, etc. to show the inspector before he (or she) visits.
- Regardless if you are responsible for bringing bedbugs into your apartment or not, the landlord is legally obligated exterminate.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A LANDLORD/PEST MANAGEMENT
Not surprisingly, the landlord’s burden is pretty light. All he (or she) must do is provide proof that an exterminator was paid within 30 days of being cited. However, here are a few tips for tenants:
- Do your homework.
- A landlord is not to exterminate bedbugs. Only professional (as licensed by the D.E.C.) is qualified to spray for bedbugs.
- Multiple applications will be needed. Preferably once a week for three weeks.
- Leave your apartment for 6-8 hours after exterminating and come home.
- A non-toxic method was suggested:
This product is readily available at hardware stores and only the “food grade” variety should be used. Simply put, is leeches moisture out of an insect’s (any insect’s) body, thus killing them. While deemed safe for people and pets, be sure to use take precautions for your furry friends (and in the case tonight scaly ones, e.g.; iguanas) and wear a mask while applying. Applications should be made every couple of weeks for maximum effect. Be sure your blankets do not touch the walls or floor, as these creepy little critters will try to take refuge in your bed.
It was at this point that the meeting started to wind down. Here are a few tips/items of interest worth passing along:
- When traveling, do not use suitcases: use soft-sided washable luggage.
- If you suspect you have luggage that might be infested, run it through a dryer at 120-130 degrees.
- Do bedbugs have natural predators? Yes they do, but it would take thousands of them to get rid of an infestation.
- Has the city ever intervened regarding a bedbug infestation? YES. There were two cases of a building-wide infestation in Bushwick. The Department of Health stepped in and tenants were evacuated from the building so it could be exterminated. Mind you, this is a rare occurrence.
- It was brought up by one attendee that NY1 be contacted to do a Q & A about bedbugs on a ‘call-in show”.
- NYC vs. Bedbugs was present with lots of useful information and a handy form letter you can fill out and send to David Yassky (our city councilman) to make known your concern about the bedbug problem in North Brooklyn.
- Someone asked if there was a “bedbug map” of New York City. Bedbuggers is the place to go.
- Ann Kansfield offered to help put together a media campaign to raise awareness about bedbugs and induce more action on the part of out city officials.
- I advised contacting our Representative, Joseph Lentol. I have contacted him in the past about quality of life issues in his district. He is very good with the constituent services. I speak from experience when I write this.
HPD gives a number of workshops. All are free for the asking. Some of the topics they cover (aside from bedbugs) are mold and mildew; roaches and vermin abatement and lead paint awareness. If anyone is interested in learning more about these workshops, Mr. Brownbear can be contacted at:
browned (at) hpd (dot) nyc (dot) gov
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Last weekend a colleague of mine and I discussed over lunch the dearth of new bloggers. I am of the opinion that the sour economy is a contributor to this phenomenon. Think about it: maintaining a web site requires time and money— and that is something not everyone has nowadays. Many are too busy trying to put dinner on the table.
Unfortunately, no amount of hard work is enough for a number of Greenpoint’s families to make ends meet. Hence why I was very disheartened (but hardly surprised) to read that the food pantry operated by the Greenpoint Reformed Church (the host of this evening’s bedbug workshop) is empty! Ann Kansfield writes Sunday, May 4, 2008:
This week we experienced an unprecedented need for food in our neighborhood. As the news continues to report troubling times for the economy (and our pantry was featured in Sundayâ€™s Nowy Dziennik), we are witnessing first hand the effects that higher prices are having on our neighbors. After distributing 150 bags of food in the first two hours of the pantry being open, we ran out of food and sadly had to turn people away. We also fed more than 70 people at the soup kitchen, another record number of hungry folks.
…The church has already depleted its budget for the pantry and itâ€™s only May. We need to raise $3000 to pay for an emergency purchase of groceries from our wholesaler so that weâ€™ll have food to give out for the coming month until we get our next shipment from the Food Bank. Weâ€™re stepping out on faith, and placing the order so that there will be food on Wednesday. In the meantime, if those of us who are able could contribute to this effort, it would be greatly appreciated.
Donations can be made online or in person at 136 Milton St. Brooklyn, NY 11222. In addition, Ms. Kansfield, myself and the owner of Word Books have been knocking around the idea of organizing an arts and crafts fair and/or auction to benefit the food pantry. This idea is still in its infancy and we would love to hear from interested artists, craftspeople and local business owners who would be interested helping to make this happen.
Think of it as an opportunity to rack a up a few good karma points. Ms. Kansfield can be contacted via email at:
pastor (at) greenpointchurch (dot) org
And as always, ideas and/or constructive criticism are welcome via comments here on New York Shitty. I will make sure she gets them.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
From Herbert Street.