As I mentioned in this post, yesterday I accompanied some visiting friends of mine on a day trip Jackson Heights, Queens. Nary a hipster was to be found when I got off the train at 82nd Street. Rather, I was greeted by this anthropomorphic garbage can and a chap standing directly across from it. He promptly made a rumble in his throat and proceeded to hock up a loogie. “This is going to be interesting” I thought to myself. It was.
My guests are quite the bargain hunters. To this end we perused a number of shops for deals and steals. I found this store on 82nd incredibly amusing. When I hear the phrase “Live it… in leather!” the movie Top Gun does not come to mind. Although the “Iceman” did strike me as possibly having those kind of inclinations.
I’d pay good money to see Val Kilmer in this get up (located just across the street).
Back in graduate school I had to take a course on Constructivist art and architecture in Latin America. Rest assured this class was as boring— probably more so— than it sounds. Looking at architecture reminiscent of that hideous parking lot gracing Queens Plaza is no way to go through life. A classmate of mine agreed, so we’d bring in copies of the Village Voice and HX and review the personal ads. We were always fascinated by the sheer quantity of kinky adverts hailing from Queens. Ten years later on Roosevelt Avenue it all began to make sense.
Hell, even the culinary fare had a certain smuttiness to it.
I don’t think this requires any comment.
But as I stated earlier the purpose of our mission was to shop. And shop we did. This 99 Cent store (America’s 99 Cent Store) at the corner of 78 Street had some of the most interesting wares I have ever seen.
True to its name, patriotism was present.
What’s more American than dogs playing poker? Don’t everyone speak up at once.
And while you’re there, why not pick up a Chador Barbie backpack (or two) for the young ‘uns?
This brings a whole new meaning to the term “sniff test”. All in all, I had a terrific time in Jackson Heights.
I wish I knew about this before I eloped. It sounds intriguing.
But would I pack up and move to Jackson Heights? Probably not. It takes more than fruity underwear, leather men and the Kinng (as cool as he is) to make me feel at home. Some things money can’t buy. For those, I can always trust the G train to deliver.
When I arrived at Court Square the mighty Crosstown Local was waiting to whisk me back to the enchanted village of Greenpoint. Everything seemed normal. Until the train started moving, that is. As if someone had flicked a switch, the rather portly gentlemen across from me started talking. Thinking his conversation was directed to yours truly, I did my best to ignore him. It quickly become apparent I was not the object of his attention after he started rifling through the Chinese laundry bag to his left. (NOTE: if you see someone with a Chinese laundry bag on the subway and said bag does not contain laundry, WATCH OUT).
He pulled out a fifth of Alexi vodka, turned to the right and offered a toot to his “friend”. This would seem unremarkable except no one was sitting next to him. After his imaginary friend declined (I guess he— or she— knows when to say when) he polished off the bottle, put it back and chugged down a bottle of mango juice. DIY screwdrivers. On the G train. At 2:30 in the afternoon.
A Polish woman next to me shot a knowing look my direction. I returned the favor. I speak no Polish whatsoever —and in all probability she speaks little English— but we understood each other:
Welcome to Greenpoint.
I was home.
Filed under: Queens
From 45th Street.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Anyone craving a Polish donut or a little babka before work this morning probably noticed that Jubilatka was shut down by the New York Department of Health yesterday.
Initially I was pretty shocked by this development (I love their apple pies) but when I looked up their latest inspection online what I found was quite horrifying: 45 points*. A maximum of 27 is allowable for a restaurant to pass inspection. Here’s the violation that creeped me out the most:
Plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.
Looks like I might be shopping for another bakery. Yikes!
*As a point of comparison, the shuttered Sunview Luncheonette racked up 47 points.
Filed under: Queens
Four words: This. Dude. Kicks. ASS.
Filed under: Williamsburg
The masterminds at jackheights.com really go for the jugular with this one. Who, while sitting on the BQE waiting to cross the Kosciuszko Bridge, has not fantasized about being somewhere else? Don’t everyone speak up at once.
On that note I must take leave of the Internets for now. The Mister and I have company in town and today I am going to (drum roll please)…
Will I find disenchanted former Williamsburgers? Will this ‘nabe enchant me so much as to make Greenpoint look like chopped kielbasa and borscht? (Doubtful). Only time will tell.
And if it is worth telling, I will write about it here.
In case the tone of my humble soap box hasn’t made it clear: I hate hippies. As a teenager the whole idea of “peace”, “love” and “understanding” made sense. Then I came of age and entered the workforce; many of my supervisors were former hippies. Baby Boomers.
I suffered a Communication Breakdown. First it was the way I wrote the number eight. I did not write the number eight like an infinity symbol. Rather, I scribed VIII by making two discrete circles atop each other. “Cindy” said it looked too much like the number 3. I was written up. I didn’t smile and say “Hi” every morning when “Cindy” came into the office. This too was noted by Human Resources and I was taken to task. As was the (second) time I brewed coffee (given to me by “Cindy” for Secretary’s Administrative Professional’s Day), noting that I would like the office vultures to leave me a cup. Then I was admonished for not fostering a “sense of community”. So much for shiny happy people holding hands.
The age old hippie argument seems to be if people can/will communicate with each other better everything will be hunky dory. I disagree. I am a firm believer in smiles and nod school of diplomacy. When someone screams at you in a foreign tongue (and you’re not standing in front of a moving bus) put on a grin, shake your head and look like you understand. Or feel really bad. Guilt becomes Americans.
Simply put, if everyone— everywhere— was better able to communicate with each other we’d be in a helluva lot more trouble than we’re already in. The U.N. would be a diverse chorus of “fuck yous” in every language imaginable with stenographers running for cover.
What is my reasoning for the previous, you ask? Very simple: 1105 Manhattan Avenue.
El Encanto Mexicano.
More specifically, what graced its front door. In Greenpoint this is tantamount to wearing your aunt Tillie’s 300 thread count white sheets at the Million Man March: highly inadvisable.
Amusingly enough, another missive was scrawled in front of Papasito’s.
Papasito’s fare is very tasty, but I would not call it Mexican. When I want Oh my god where have you been all my life south of the border vittles I go to…
But did I choose to take up the matter of why Poland sucked, Mexico sucked, or Papasito’s being Cal Mex (as opposed to being more traditional) fare? No I didn’t; I simply smiled and nodded.
*Very honorable mention: Taco Bite, right here in north Brooklyn. Not only do they serve up “Jamaica” (sweetened hibiscus tea) but they are the damned nice to boot. Check them out!
Everyone knows that Long Island City has a reputation for being a haven of ladies of the evening. Queens Crap has written about it (on more than one occasion). Mr. Heather has even had the pleasure of riding the B61 bus while a satisfied customer crowed to his buddy via cell phone:
I banged her twice for $300!
Yes, it would appear that prostitutes are to Long Island City what Colt 45 thievery and pageantry are to Williamsburg (or alcoholism is to Greenpoint): a dubious, but highly documented distinction. One which I recently learned merited special mention at 23rd – Ely Avenue.
My parents always impressed upon me the value of getting a good education. While I cannot say that it has netted me much in the way of compensation, I do consider it time (and money) well spent. But I realize not everyone likes to hit the books as much as I do. Some people require slight different forms of motivation: for them there is Keller Business School…
or the Queens-bound platform of the Crosstown Local at Greenpoint Avenue. Shortly after I took the above photograph a man sporting the ubiquitous iPod with earbud combo stopped in front of this poster and roared:
Watch out Long Island City. Your next pupil (or john) just might hail from the Garden Spot of the Universe!
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Erin of Leonard writes:
Tonight we found that Greenpoint IS the end of the rainbow.Â Or is that actually the sewage treatment plant?Â I think it is.
It’s our pot of gold(en water), Erin! Don’t you remember what Emily Lloyd said at the digester tank lighting ceremony? The digester tanks at our local sewage treatment plant will be visible from the observation deck of the Empire State Building! Tourists from all four corners of the earth can gaze upon our “shit tits” and take a dump knowing we are the ones who will receive their offerings. Talk about street cred!
Photo Credits (and big thanks go out to): Erin of Leonard
I noticed the Village Voice linked to me yesterday. It was regarding what I will probably always be known for: bedbugs. I encourage you to read Mr. Edroso’s tome; it’s quite good, if a bit(e) general.
When you’re done with the previous read the following comment from a reader in “East Williamsburg” terrifyandcreate writes:
This is about the picture of the chair with the bedbug sign. I like your blog and look at it every couple of days. Much to my surprise I saw a picture of the chair I put out. I put that sign on it and spray painted red all over it. The upsetting part of this photo is the 3 chairs that are missing! Thatâ€™s right. I put 4 chairs out the night before. The other 3 had seats and also had bedbug warning signs. They were gone the next day. How is the bedbug problem going to stop if you actually put signs on furniture and people STILL take them? Also people that have lived here for 15 years call this area southside. I still canâ€™t figure out exactly where East Williamsburg begins. Or is this Southeast??! Again thanks for your blog I usually smile or laugh when I look at it.
For the record, terrifyandcreate, I’d call your location “Southside”, but I am certain pundits (real estate agents mostly) would call it East Williamsburg. Call it whatever you want, the fact of the matter is bedbugs are a SERIOUS problem in north Brooklyn.
A problem which this city seems unwilling or unable to deal with. People have asked me why I care so much about this given I have not had bedbugs. Very simple: I know people who have bedbugs. It’s horrible. What’s more, I do not want to get them.
I have been asked on occasion exactly what constitutes a “Fedders building”. Even after several months of featuring Fedders Friday here on New York Shitty I have difficulty coming up with a satisfactory answer. It is a highly intuitive process, but I will attempt to put my criteria in writing here and now.
A. It must be a building whose aesthetic concerns have been completely subjugated to the utilitarian. In other words, it must be ugly.
B. It must employ two or more of the following:
- Exposed electrical meters
- Exposed gutters
- Large quantities of concrete
- A decided preference for parking over plant life
C. Fedders air conditioner boxes must be present.
Some have said that I have unfairly singled out the chaps at the Fedders corporation when doling out the dubious distinction that is Fedders Friday. Here is my rebuttal:
All buildings which feature Fedders boxes do not automatically qualify as candidates for Fedders fame. It takes a special mixture of the above-listed points to make the cut. The previous having been said, I have noticed there is a strong relationship between hideous outer borough architecture and the presence of Fedders boxes. Not unlike how a special guest speaker at a Psych of Sexuality class in college corrected an errant classmate of mine so many years ago:
While most lesbians are feminists, not all feminists are lesbians*.
The same goes for Fedders. The product seems to attract developers who espouse a certain philosophy to home building: build ‘em cheap, ugly and as quickly as possible. It should also be noted that I did in the interest of parity try to launch a feature called Friedrichs Thursdays. But experience has proven that buildings sporting Friedrichs air conditioning boxes (on a visual level, anyway) are a cut above their Fedders brethren. Until I walked by Union Avenue and Conselyea Street yesterday, that is.
This building is nothing new.
I have walked by it many times, tut-tutting over the exposed electrical meters and sheer quantity of poured concrete. I do have to applaud the builders for making this structure (somewhat) wheelchair accessible. Unfortunately, lifts do not count for much when they are obstructed by bags of garbage.
But on Tuesday something struck me as being amiss. Something new had been added to this melange of the mediocre. Something— dare I say it— Fedders-worthy!
It has been retrofitted to have central air conditioning. BADLY.
Note the extensive use of foam sealant and thoughtful placement of the air conditioning units. I have little doubt the experience of sitting on these balconies will only become more pleasurable with the added value of being blasted with air conditioner exhaust.
But let’s get back to semantics. Since this building sports Friedrichs boxes it does not qualify to be featured on Fedders Friday. However, it does embody the spirit of the glory that is Fedderism. Therefore, I would like to give this masterpiece a very special award: The New York Shitty Award of Excellence In Abjectecture.
Way to go, guys! I’ll be hard-pressed to top this beauty later this week.
*Which probably explains why I get along with lesbians so well: I am a feminist!