Great Moments In Urban Planning, Volume I

July 17, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Yesterday my buddy Kevin over at Forgotten New York emailed me a question. It was regarding a post on Streetsblog and read as follows:

Is Manhattan Ave the right place for a bike lane, as busy as it is?

And here is my answer: second only to perhaps McGuinness Boulevard or the BQE, Manhattan Avenue is one of the worst places imaginable to have a bike lane. Here is why.

This is the intersection of Green Street and Manhattan Avenue. Green Street is a popular thoroughfare for motorists (many of whom are cabbies) to turn around and head back to the Pulaski Bridge. While annoying, the added traffic is not the problem. Rather, it is the general reluctance on the part of motorists to obey the law. As a result I have seen many an accident come to pass here. If it has legs or wheels you can rest assured it has been thoroughly pulverized by some miscreant-on-wheels running this stop sign. Follows are a few that things that have been hit at this intersection by negligent motorists:

  1. One subcompact car
  2. One tractor trailer hauling construction materials
  3. A dog
  4. A bicyclist
  5. A child

Of incidental interest, here are a few things I have seen transpire where this bike lane will be installed.

  1. One crazy-ass dude being tazered repeatedly by the police.
  2. Some drunk guy passed out in the street. The locals, being acclimatized to this sort of thing, placed a street cone in front of this chap and called 311.

And now we are to have a bike lane here? Why doesn’t the city charge a bounty on bicyclists or host some Death Race 2000-esque type of event at this intersection instead? The end result will pretty much be the same.

I know what some of you are thinking: Why not call 311 and complain about people blowing through this intersection? I HAVE. After almost being hit myself. Once I even went to the trouble of complaining to a meter maid present writing a ticket. In both cases absolutely nothing was done. Until our city decides to enforce the rules of the road (for motorists and bicyclists) I see no viable reason why a bike lane should be installed on Manhattan Avenue. Franklin Street (which already has a bicycle lane)* is a much safer alternative.

What’s more, putting a bicycle lane in the path of a bus route strikes me as being downright idiotic. B43 bus service is bad enough as is, why make it worse?

Miss Heather

*See comments

Greenpoint Photo du Jour: Freeman Street

July 17, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

I would like some leather restraints with my granite counter tops please!

Miss Heather

Construction Site du Jour: Location, Location, Location

July 17, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Anyone who has worked in real estate for any appreciable amount of time will tell you the key to selling a property is its location.

This is why I find the above property (which is located at 214 Green Street) so fascinating: it is located on a corner many would consider less than desirable. Or would they?

If you want to, say, catch a cab or gas up your car this condominium cannot be beat!

What’s more, the tenant of the first floor will not even need to own a vacuum cleaner. He or she can simply reach out the window, pop in a few quarters and viola clean apartment!

Miss Heather

Williamsburg Photo du Jour: The Shocking Difference

July 17, 2008 ·
Filed under: Williamsburg 

From Devoe Street.

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Bike du Jour: Nasty On Noble

July 16, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Wanna sit on this seat?

Miss Heather

Comment of the Week

July 16, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Yeah it’s only Wednesday, but this is a good one!

Seanisthegood writes (in regards to this post):

Wow. Let me first say I attended the public hearing with the intent of speaking against Studio B. I live around the corner at 112 Calyer Street. I am sometimes annoyed by bottles left on the street the day after a big show or party. That’s about it. After hearing the testimony of the six people that spoke I realized Studio B needs some defense. First, I live behind the building. My kitchen window overlooks the back of the building. I could watch them build the roof. My bedroom affords me a partial view of the back. Yes, I can hear a slight base thump, but this “chatter” and roof music have never, ever been loud enough to cause any sleep issues for me. I find backyard get together of people that live on Clifford Place and Calyer street to be louder than the club. Second, the club does NOT operate every night. Usually there are about three shows a week. A majority of nights the clubs doors are closed. This is far from a constant nuisance. Is it not acceptable for a night club to stay open until four on a Friday or Saturday? Third, Studio B is not just a drug haven, it is a world renown establishment that brings in acts from all over the world. Recently the New York Times wrote a on Hercules and the Love Affair’s debut show at Studio B.

Why is this comment so interesting (other than being a backhanded puff piece for Studio B)? Very simple: five people spoke against Studio B, not six. I filmed every single one of them. The previous commenter either attended this meeting and got confused or he looked at this blog and pretended he did.

Maybe “Sean” can tell us how Agnes “I live next door” Piekarska* likes the bidet in her illegal apartment office?

Or how much it rents for because it sounds and looks pretty phat! The above screencap was taken on June 12, 2008.

This one was taken July 16, 2008. Note how the hearing has been pushed back to September 15, 2008.

Miss Heather

*This is disputed. See Comments.

Williamsburg Photo du Jour: Giglio Festival

July 16, 2008 ·
Filed under: Williamsburg 

The Giglio Festival is a rite of passage for neophyte New Yorkers. Like the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building, you see it once out of a sense of personal responsibility and that is enough. When Mr. Heather moved in with me back in 2003 we went to check it out. His curiosity was satiated and we have not gone back since.

The previous having been said, Will Nunziata (of Collars Up Films) was present at this year’s festivities and forwarded me this hilarious photograph.

He wrote:

I took this at the Giglio fest in Williamsburg on Sunday. I still can’t stop laughing. Notice the graffiti. Perfect.

I agree.

Miss Heather

Brooklyn Born & Bred: The Stooges

July 16, 2008 ·
Filed under: Crazy Cat Lady, Williamsburg 

It’s July. It is hot and humid. Nothing is going on and yet we have to work. For the previous reasons I decided it would be nice to kick off this Wednesday with a little light entertainment.

Lisa (of Empty Cages Collective) could not for the life of her name these three kittens. After observing them pommeling each other and generally spazzing out it became obvious to me: Lenny, Moe and Curly. The Three Stooges. After some discussion Lisa and I decided Shemp was out— which is a shame because he is and will always be my favorite stooge*. In any case, here they are in action.

Anyone interested in adopting these fellas should contact Empty Cages Collective at emptycagescollective (at) gmail (dot) com.

Life was much more civilized back then. Make pies, not war!

Miss Heather

*Moe and Shemp were born in Bensonhurst. Curly at Bath Beach!

The Daily Destruct-O-Matic

July 15, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

The one thing that fascinates me about living in Greenpoint nowadays is the sheer amount of demolition work being conducted. Seriously. One week I will walk by a two or three floor walk-up and the next, *poof*, it is gone! Wishing to document this mind-boggling array of destruction in and around the Garden Spot of the Universe I have created a new feature: The Daily Destruct-O-Matic*. Here is today’s inaugural site of interest: 59 Orient Avenue.

On March 2, 2007 (in a post entitled House of the Day: Endangered on Orient Avenue) Brownstoner wrote :

Barring the intervention of a very well-heeled hipster trustafarian, another unlandmarked gem in Greenpoint may be headed for the execution chamber. Its crime? Sitting on a 60-by-100-foot lot in a neighborhood that has been complacent about protecting its architectural heritage. (This block was known as Doctors’ Row in the middle of the 20th Century.) The Victorian-era shingled house is on the chopping block for $2.5 million, more than it would likely fetch were it not for the 13,200 square feet of buildable space that accompanies a 6,000-square-foot lot in an R6 neighborhood. As the listing points out, the addition of a community facility could mean an even larger building. What a shame. Maybe some creative entrepreneur could make this work as a bed and breakfast or how about a Soho House East?

As you can see in the above photographs the grim reaper has commenced doing his dark business at 59 Orient Avenue. I find this curious given the only permit on file is for (and I quote):

ALTERATION TYPE 2 – CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT – FENCE REMOVE EXISTING WINDOWS AND CLOSE UP OPENINGS AT 1ST ,2ND 3RD FLS &ROOF. REPLACE EXISTING ENTRYDOOR WITH NEW METAL INSULATED SECURITY DOOR INDICATED ON DRAWINGS FILED HEREWITH. NO CHANGE IN USE EGRESS OR OCCUPANCY UNDER THIS APPLICATION.PROVIDE TEMP. WOOD CONSTRUCTION FENCE

If the purpose of this permit is to ostensibly seal off the property, why is there a gaping hole in the roof? Just curious.

Miss Heather

*Which may not always be daily, but will most certainly feature destruction. Be it legally sanctioned or otherwise.

Just Another Day In Greenpoint

July 15, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Anyone knocking around Manhattan Avenue today probably noticed there was a lot of filming going on. At Matchless (above) a feature entitled Three Girls was being shot.

Further north I happened upon this motley crew of characters. Curious to know what was going on I asked one of them (the woman in the leopard print pants in the above photograph).

Miss Heather: What’s with all the people sporting the luau get-up?
Woman: They’re filming Lipstick Jungle here today. We’re extras in a party scene.
Miss Heather: Thanks. I was just curious because it is sort of unusual to see people decked out like this here on a weekday.
Woman: It’s funny you mention that. You are the first person who has asked us what we’re doing. We have been walking back and forth from the location (Club Exit —Ed. Note) to the holding area and no one seems to care.
Miss Heather: That’s Greenpoint for you. We have all types here. You can pretty much do or be whatever you want and no one will pay any mind.

It’s true. You can do or be anything you want to be in the Garden Spot. I once wore a pair of fairy wings to the grocery store because I felt like it. Aside from a few bemused looks no one seemed to care.

And on that note I am sad to inform everyone that Greenpoint recently lost one of its more distinctive citizens to a heart attack. Her name was Jessica Cooper, but most of us knew her as that big gal with the pigtails who loved to wear her Catholic School uniform. While some (myself included) may not understand exactly what made Jessica tick, she had a huge heart. She was a frequent volunteer at the Greenpoint Food Pantry and will be sorely missed by her partner of 40 years, Dottie. Rest in peace Jessica, you will be missed by many.

Miss Heather