As I indicated in the previous post, I called into the Brian Lehrer Show this morning. Since I was not allowed to complete my thoughts about blogging (which extend far beyond gazing upon Brooklyn’s fuzzy gentrifying navel) I am going to post them here.
1. I believe blogs are assuming the role that was once assumed by local (INDEPENDENT) newspapers.
2. If I had to liken the proliferation of blogs (be they neighborhood-based or otherwise) to anything it would be the invention of the printing press. Prior to its invention the Roman Catholic Church was (more or less) the sole distributor/gate keeper of knowledge. With the ability to control what people read (or more importantly what people DON’T read) comes a lot of power. And we all know what absolute power does: it corrupts absolutely.
Shortly after the printing press came into being, Martin Luther quickly saw its potential and exploited it. The end result was a little thing called the Reformation. The ability to disseminate and share information is a very powerful tool; the mainstream media (as “gate keepers”) has begun to realize this and they starting to pay attention to the “blogosphere”. Albeit very, very selectively— which of course, is what happened today*.
I suppose I should be content with getting any air time at all and giving a shout-out to The Gowanus Lounge (which was curiously absent from this forum). But I’m not. Here is a list of blogs I wanted to mention on the air today.
Queens Crap: Sure, this is not a Brooklyn blog, but— and this is a big BUT— it deserves attention. Perhaps it may seem paradoxical to some of you, but I do not envision blogging purely as a Brooklyn endeavor. I suppose being located about 15 minutes from this borough gives me a much broader view of things. My neighborhood (and its “growing pains”) have much more in common with Long Island City or Sunnyside than Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights.
To purely focus on Brooklyn is not only an insult to the hard-working and very dedicated bloggers in the other four boroughs, but it also fosters a (somewhat) false notion that Brooklyn bloggers are a smug, clannish and contented lot of well-to-do “white people”. Once again, race was drug across the floor like a red herring and once again it worked.
Confusing race with “class” is astonishingly myopic and naive. One need not be a minority to be poor— but it helps. Contrary to popular belief, poverty is not an indicator of lack of discipline or personal worth. I speak from experience. Even though I was provided a very comfortable upbringing and excellent education, when I started working my lifestyle radically shifted. Downward.
As the incomparable Dorothy Parker once said:
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
Some call me a “gentrifier”. I probably am. But as a person who lives in a rent-stabilized apartment (and does not have the luxury of or ability to buy a condo) in a “hot” neighborhood, I have the presence of mind to know I am in danger of being displaced. Just like my less-affluent (and largely Hispanic) neighbors. Their concerns and mine are one and the same.
Atlantic Yards Report: Norman Oder’s dedication and hard work should not be ignored. While we may not agree on some things, I cannot over-emphasize how important his work is. He deserves to be heard.
Outside.In: They seem to be paying attention to the recent (and ongoing) proliferation of Greenpoint bloggers.
Dave Kenny and Xris Kreussling, of Dope on the Slope and Flatbush Gardener respectively: It is one thing to bemoan the lack of diversity at the Brooklyn Blogfest, it is another to actually try and do something about it. Both of these gentleman were of vital importance in the creation of monthly blogger meet-ups. I mention this because Louise Crawford of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn seems to be garnering most of the credit. Not only is this a tremendous disservice to both of the previous gentleman, it is downright false. I could not have organized last month’s meet-up without their help.
On that note, I have to say organizing the Greenpoint meet-up was very challenging. One of the obstacles I faced was the perception that this meet-up would be a repeat of the Brooklyn Blogfest. While I can understand that some might find “Smartmom” to be good reading over that first cup of coffee in the morning, the fact of the matter is many people do not. For this reason I made a concerted effort to contact people directly and to a certain degree it worked— although not in the manner I had expected. It was much better.
Not only did a lot of number of new faces show up, but they were very talented ones at that! Many of the attendees operate food-oriented blogs. To name a few of them:
In closing, I’d like to say that I am very excited about September’s meet-up in Bedford-Stuyvesant. My only fear is that today’s episode of the Brian Lehrer Show might have scared off a number of Brooklyn (or Queens) bloggers who would otherwise have been inclined to attend.
This post was brought to you courtesy of one 24 oz. can of Coors. Now back to our regular programming.
*This is in no way intended to be critical of BushwickBK or Bed-Stuy Blog.
Filed under: Area 51
As promised, I called in. Instead of allowing me to talk about anything of real substance, they put me on at the end of the show and cut me off. This is hardly surprising. If you want to hear the sugar sweet voice of yours truly say “New York Shitty” on the air go here.
Since I was not permitted to complete my thoughts, I will do so here later. Need to buy beer first.
Filed under: Area 51
Ah the G train, how I love thee! Like any loved one (or family pet) a number of nicknames have been lavished upon it by its patrons. The most common monikers for my subway line of choice are:
- The Gimp Train
- The Go Nowhere Train
- The Gone Train, and as I learned last night…
- The Gay Train
I had never honestly considered the sexual-orientation ramifications of riding the G. “Sex” and “G train” are, in my humble opinion, two concepts that should never EVER be mixed. Of course not everyone shares my opinion. That’s why:
- Two out of three subway masturbators I have encountered chose to beat their meat to the bleak of the Crosstown Local.
- One wifebeater clad felon saw fit to warn his homie about the “faggots” who patronize this line in (were else?) QUEENS.
My husband and I were returning from a wedding last night. It was a slow and congested slog from Corona, Queens to Court Square. We transferred to the G and waited. Thankfully, a chap came along and provided us a little preflight entertainment.
He bore an uncanny resemblance to Mike Piazza, albeit one laden with tattoos, arrest warrants and (perhaps) a restraining order or two. This (and him holding a copy of the King James Bible) made his excessive use of the word “nigga” all the more provocative— especially since his companion happened to be of African American extraction. What got “Mike’s” ball rolling was the arrival of the G train on the opposite platform.
Mike: Yo, check out that dude with the Mohawk. He’s fucking HARDCORE, nigga!
Traveling Companion: Heh, heh.
Mike: You don’t see dudes like that anymore. Look at these other people, they’re all faggots!
T.C.: Yeah, they’re taking over.
Mike: They can do what they want, but if one of them touches me in the shower I’ll slit his fucking throat.
The wedding vows my husband and I attended earlier this evening had a quote from Corinthians in it. That’s what the minister said, anyway. I wouldn’t know. Being an atheist, my husband has a pretty good command of the Bible so I turned to him and asked:
Is that from Leviticus?
He answered to the affirmative. Such is our life— fuck love, respect, commitment and all that slop. Our relationship is a low rent (but high wit) remake of Topper.
T.C.: Uh-huh. I have no time for that shit. I don’t care what they do as long as they keep me out of it. I got a wife and kids and shit.
Mike: Hey, I know that guy in the glasses over there! Hey nigga! What’s up?
(walks over to his bespecticled bud)
Mike: What’s UP? NIGGA!
Four Eyes: (indipherable)
Mike: Yo, I go in for sentencing on the 11th, nigga! I have another hearing at the same time. If I miss that one I’ll get six months.
I have never known what it is like to be so popular as to have scheduling conflicts. Even though my blog gets over 10,000 hits a day, I was not invited to be on the “diverse panel” of “Brooklyn Bloggers” who will be featured on the Brian Lehrer Show tomorrow morning (August 7th at 10:00 a.m.). As Dorothy Parker once said:
I’m never going to be famous. I don’t do anything, not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don’t even do that any more.
I may not bite my nails but I do make telephone calls on occasion. In fact, I will be making one tomorrow. You can bet your sweet ass on that.
Filed under: Area 51
I am awake at 7:00 a.m. On a Saturday.
The cats are fighting. Well, at least four of them are. The fifth one is sick.
The husband is milling about. He is already asking me why I am up so early. Soon he will want a cup of coffee. When he gets his cup of joe he will remember that I drank the last of the milk last night. A tantrum will most certainly follow.
I cannot think of a better way to express the Chateau de Ghetto love I am experiencing right now than to share with you a brand-spanking new Belvedere!
Or at least the site where it is going up: 218 Eckford Street.
As you can see, it is located right next door to a fellow Belvedere. I think this one is XII. Even I have trouble telling them apart sometimes. This is because there are (seemingly) a gazillion of them and they all LOOK FUCKING ALIKE! Sort of like Children of the Damned.
Here is a hallmark of what I like to call The Belvedere Style: a double door entrance awaiting a pretentious— yet cheap-looking— lintel bearing some arbitrarily determined set of Roman numerals. I wonder if the this one will be “XXX”? I can only hope so. If it is, I’ll be sure to celebrate by swilling down some delicious Belvedere Vodka.
What will those crazy folks over at Bridge Realty think of next? I for one would like to see Belvedere: The Musical.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Over the last several months I have become a connoisseur of construction fences. When you see enough of them (as I have) you begin to notice that each of them has its own personality: in this respect they are just like people. Occasionally I will find one that stands out from its peers, like this fence at 140 Newell Street.
Like you, I initially thought it was pretty unremarkable, if ugly. But after watching the tenants of 142 Newell exit their house and pause to glare at their new Fedders friend, I decided to go in for a closer look. I’m glad I did.
Looks like someone decided to engage in a little art therapy. I’m not too sure what those angry lines emanating from the chimney are. Maybe they are RPGs? Nonetheless, I found myself wondering if this exercise in wishful thinking was directed towards this construction site or the rusting black behemoth across the street.
I suppose only the artist knows for certain.
…something has to change…it’s got this really weird neighborhood-y vibe to it, you should see some of the people who live there…
My buddy over at 11222 overheard some Yuppie smeghead on Nassau Avenue utter this into his cellphone recently. I am at a loss, but I find it telling that this asshole thinks the neighborhood should to change so as to meet his (undoubtedly) assholic standards. This man exemplifies a new strain of customer I am seeing at the junk shop with increased frequency: entitled upper-class twits.
Being the thoughtful employee I am, I make it a point to ensure that these folks are treated like the special people they are. My latest stint organizing the store’s pornography collection has been of great assistance in this endeavor. Yesterday we had some fast-talking jerk come in and try to chisel my co-worker on some vintage clothing. He decided the asking price of $5.00 pop for swinging 70′s duds was too expensive; he wanted them for $2.00.
I decided he needed to see a centerfold of a woman shooting a liter of Jergens lotion out of her womb. That shut him the fuck up. I am the ringmaster of this Donkey Show and if he doesn’t like it, too damned bad. Move.
I frequently fantasize about organizing death matches between this man’s ilk and some of the more colorful citizens in this neighborhood. Greenpoint would be my Thunderdome and I would preside over it like Tina Turner. I know who’d win too: the latter.
The main mistake “gentrifiers” make in this neighborhood is employing reason as a conflict resolution tool. Reason does not work with these people.
These are a few containers of mystery muck my manager found recently while unpacking boxes. They were promptly dispatched to the dumpster along with a number of other unsavory items. A reasonable person would not reach his (or her) hand into such a container; last week I had to admonish six very unreasonable people to refrain from reaching and/or climbing into this devil’s casserole to grab stuff. You could probably toss a dime into a vat of toxic waste (Newton Creek) and these people would go in after it.
They do not limit their aberrant behavior to dumpster diving, either. If not supervised like the children/animals they are, they will wander behind the counter and grab you by the arm. Of all the offending behaviors, violating my personal space is the most venal. I really, truly, DO NOT like people touching me. EVER.
Having had enough, I decided to make a sign using something I found recently while unpacking jewelry.
Sure this probably won’t work, but at least I had fun making it. If and/or when that cellphone yammering asshole comes in, this molar may very well get companion.
P.S.: I’d like to give a quick shout-out to a brand-spanking new blog hailing from Windsor Terrace called Icky in Brooklyn. This chap me sent me the nicest email yesterday to which I have yet to send a reply. Will do, provided Verizon does not knock out my Internet and telephone service (again). In four weeks I have experienced as many outages.
Filed under: Area 51
Is this turnout weak or what? I had at least 70 more people at my funeral.
I may be a boozehound, but I am a curiously selective one. In other words, my curiosity does the selecting. Needless to say when I found the following offering last night at Santa Fe restaurant, I had to try it.
I placed my order. The gentleman waiting on us (the owner?) asked “Have you seen the movie Heathers?”
To wit I replied:
Just gimmie the cup, jerk.*
It was quite delicious. Very tart. Maybe this was result of the multi-purpose deodorizing cleaner? In any case, I am alive this morning to tell you about it. Give it a whirl!
366 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
*This chap wasn’t a jerk at all. I simply take great delight whipping out my Heather Chandler impersonation when the opportunity affords itself.
Filed under: 11206, 11222, Crazy People, East Williamsburg, East Williamsburg Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Greenwich Village, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
New York Shitty is a metropolis of pissers and moaners. Crappy jobs/job interviews, crappy dates, crappy landlords: someone has written a lengthy (and usually pithy) missive (or two) about them all. Yet no one has written about a subject that encapsulates all the previous and more: apartment shares and the people who offer them. Until today.
I care not for landlords, first dates or job interviews— but at least I know what all the previous involve: me getting fucked. Be it metaphorically, physically or both. The same cannot be said about apartment share interviews, as I learned several years ago.
The purpose of this post is to showcase the three worst (and/or weirdest) apartment share interviews I have ever had. I have even taken the liberty of creating a handy checklist to track the depths of depravity I endured. Nothing says “you’ve arrived” (in HELL) like PowerPoint, after all.
CASE STUDY #1: THE DUNGEON
Location: Meserole Street and Graham Avenue
Rent: $450 a month
The Catch: It’s a SRO
Truth be told, I was not very jazzed about the location of this share. Sure, it is a beautiful building, but I am a Greenpoint gal through and through. However, when one is dirt-ass broke, she cannot afford to be choosy, so I checked it out.
When I arrived at the front door I was greeted by a young woman. I think she was from Belgium, though it was hard to tell. She was a very pleasant and elegantly dressed lady— which made up for the decidedly NON-elegant setting.
As she led me through the front door (of her section) of the SRO, a man donning a dragon mask and reeking of marijuana popped out of another door and started giggling inanely. “Okay”, I thought “So he likes to party a little on a Sunday afternoon. Who doesn’t? No problem.”
The room she showed me was very spacious. I’ve seen many apartments smaller than this space, which probably measured around 400 square feet. I even liked the shade of lilac the walls were painted. Very pretty. I even told her so and she thanked me. She had picked out the paint herself.
Then I saw something I have never seen in any apartment/share space before: leather restraints, paddles and heavy chains anchored to the wall by mollies. Given that this was a three month sublease, the presence of these implements was non-negotiable. I could honestly not care less what this woman did (professionally?), but I don’t think I could have handled waking up every morning to the sight of Medieval torture devices. I was offered this sublet, but turned it down.
All things considered this experience was pretty mild (as I later would learn). What’s more, she was really likable and clearly not out to rip me off so I give this share a rating of…
CASE STUDY #2: MESEROLE STREET SUICIDE SHARE
Location: Meserole and Leonard Street
Rent: $500 a month
The Catch: Too many to summarize
The only reason I agreed to an interview at this share was because I confused “Meserole Street” with “Meserole Avenue”. After my interview at this hellhole I have never confused the two thoroughfares since.
I knocked on the door, a smallish red-haired man answered and ushered me in. It was dark. It was dirty. It was the bachelor pad date rape central replete with a disemboweled motorcycle in the living area. Although something about the “head roomie” was unsettling to me, I liked the other guy and heard them out. He was nice.
Then the shoes dropped, one after the other.
- Once the “Head Roomie” stood by the bathroom area (which was better lit) I recognized him; this shithead had I.M.ed me on Nerve a month ago. And being a freak (him more so than, me), I dissed him. Whoops.
- After making the previous discovery he showed me the room. It was okay, I guess. Then he pulled out a photo album and pointed to a picture of 20-something brunette chap.
See this guy?
I answered: yes.
He used to live in that space. Really nice guy, always laughing. We didn’t realize he had problems.
Me: Really, what kind of problems?
After not hearing from him a couple of days we went into his room and discovered that he had shot himself in the head hanged himself.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that.
What the hell do you say to something like that? How can one NOT notice a DEAD BODY for TWO WHOLE DAYS??? These are both very good questions. I kept them to myself.
I feel that people need to know about this, you know.
Let’s see: this was either the most diabolical form of revenge ever exacted (Where’s Candid Camera?) or this guy is being honest. Given the lack of overall intelligence he demonstrated on Nerve, I’m leaning towards the latter. I bet he is still trolling the Internets for leg too. My advice: no woman in her right mind is going to put out in a place that reeks of motor oil.
When I took the above the photo a meathead busy recycling beer bottles shouted:
Take a picture of the building across the street, it’s much nicer!
And, inasmuch as I hate to say it, I agree. At least no one has blown his (or her) brains out here hanged him (or herself) there.
With so many different factors at play, I am going to stick with simple suicide on this one and give this share a…
At last! We are down to our last contender from the Universe’s very own Garden Spot: Greenpoint, Brooklyn U.S.A.!
CASE STUDY #3: STONER SPECIAL
Location: Nassau Avenue and Monitor Street
Rent: $600 a month
The Catch: It’s total fucking rip-off… and more!
I slog my ass over to this place. It stinks. Literally. Only a block away from Kingsland Avenue, the corner where this building is situated sports a perfume I like to call Petro le Um #5. Being the eager little domicile hunter I was (because I have a strong distaste about being homeless) I go in.
It is a loft. I do not like lofts. Inasmuch as the real estate industry likes to throw around the buzz phrase “artist loft” my experience has been that “artists” generally do not inhabit such spaces. I write this as an artist. 252 Norman Avenue was no exception.
I look around and note the “stoner special” layout of the living area: three really big, threadbare sofas encircling a very expensive widescreen television set. I am shown the room that is for rent: it is (maybe) eight by ten feet. It has no windows whatsoever. They are asking $600 a month for this piece of shit. In 2001.
I am then subjected to a gauntlet of questions by the residents of this place. I smile and answer them politely. Then I go home.
A weeks goes by and I get a phone call. It is one of the fellows from this apartment.
Me: So did I get the share?
Dude: No, but I thought you were cute and wondered if you’d like to go out on a date.
When I told my buddy Larry about this recently, he opined:
You should have gone out with the guy and moved in with him. That way you will have a place to live and not have to pay rent.
Funny man, that Larry.
That said, there is something so utterly WRONG about using apartment share interviews to pick up chicks. It takes real chutzpah to call someone, tell her she did NOT get the share and then ask her on a date. Truth be told, it gave me the fucking creeps. So I give this jerk a…
In case you are wondering, I ended up putting all my shit in storage and sofa surfing until I found a place of my own. I can honestly say that one month of sofa-surfing wasn’t that bad when faced with my alternatives.
Earlier this week I had an encounter with (yet another) aspiring journo visiting my humble ‘burgh seeking to “get the dirt” on the ‘Pernt. I met him in the most unexpected of places: the local Salvation Army.
The “new influx”of “dumbfux” has provided me a new means of acquiring nice duds dirt cheap. My only wish is that their mothers smoked during pregnancy so there would be more offerings in my size. But I digress.
Who knew the Garden Spot was so newsworthy? I certainly didn’t. The (lack of print) press coverage for my blog and those my fellow Greenpointers (wonderful people all) have seen fit erect makes my inner Dog Shit Queen wonder:
Why hast thou forsaken
The only answer I have come up with that makes any sense is it’s easier to have young college graduates come up here and observe us like the relics we are: to solicit input from the local yokels would lower their employer’s journalistic standards. We are rent-paying Neanderthals in a Homo Erectile world. As antiquities we might be of journalistic or archaeological interest, but our presence and discontentment is
to this neighborhood becoming “hip”.
When I walked into the Salvation Army and saw a clean-cut gent scribbling notes on a notepad while a porcine man pontificated about construction practices, undermining adjacent buildings and legal recourse. I knew I was onto something. I hung around. I eventually struck up a conversation with the scribbler.
He wanted to know about Greenpoint.
I told him I blogged about Greenpoint.
He asked what my blog was.
I told him.
He recognized it.
What got me more than anything was his apparent surprise upon learning that I knew “the system”. And by “system” I mean housing law, rent stabilization law, the Department of Buildings, Department of Housing and Community Renewal and Housing Court.
I have been to Housing Court and I won. Twice.
Sure, I’m probably on a blacklist somewhere, but who gives a fuck? I don’t. Making that asshole eat shit for a collapsed ceiling, no electricity for ten days and no hot water was totally worth it. The judge even complimented me on the thoroughness of dossier I had painstakingly compiled for his edification.
When my landlord retaliated (by dragging me into court to set a date for making said “repairs”) my buddy Rachael tagged along and cheered as I ripped his paralegal a new asshole. The court-appointed moderator thought I was attorney “representing the tenant”. I told him:
I am not a fucking attorney, I am the tenant!
Housing Court is a very entertaining place. Those of you who enjoy gallows humor and/or care to know how miserably your condo-disabled brethren live should go. I mention this because (after a lengthy sojourn in Low Cal So-Cal) my buddy Rachael paid me a visit today and gave me a memento from my litigious past.
This is a water fountain in Kings County Housing Court.
This is a duck made out of a Post-It note.
Filed under: Dog Shit Signage
Today’s example of Park Slope dog shit signage comes courtesy of a coworker of my husband’s, Chris. He writes:
…from our walk to work, between 4th & 5th (Avenue), one block south
of President (Street)…
This isn’t a dog shit sign, it’s fucking instruction manual. Then again, we are talking about the neighborhood that recently brought us a bat-shit crazy bride with an architecture fetish and a vehicular collision with a grocery store, so I guess it makes sense.