Pa Heather Enjoys His Golden Years

January 30, 2008 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

I rarely write about my dear ol’ dad. One of the reasons for this lack of literary attention is respect for his privacy. That said, some shit is just too good NOT to pass along. Like an email I got from my mother earlier this week. She writes:

This is how I found your Dad’s bathroom this morning.

Gin

No explanation was provided and quite frankly none was needed. If this is any indication of what retirement is like I can hardly wait!

Miss Heather

*Yes, my father has his own bathroom. FOR VERY SOUND REASONS.

Bushwick Photo du Jour: Morgan Avenue

January 30, 2008 ·
Filed under: Bushwick 

Morgan Avenue Pig

I found this pretty little porker outside the Morgan Avenue stop of the L recently.

Pig closeup

Not only is he (?) beautifully rendered, but I was relieved to see that (unlike his unfortunate brother on Central Avenue) his head is still firmly attached to the rest of his body.

Miss Heather

Beware of Dog

January 30, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

One thing I throughly detest is the practice of erecting copious amounts of “Beware of Dog” and “No Parking” signage on residential property. Not only are they an eyesore, but there usually is not a canine on said premises and if someone is a big enough asshole to park in front of your driveway a twelve by eighteen inch piece of plastic is not going to deter him. The previous having been established, I rolled my eyes in disgust when I walked by this house yesterday.

Maspeth Avenue

Knowing a good train wreck when I see one, I went in for a closer look.

Guard Geese

Not only does the flag on the mailbox have handy user instructions on it, but a guard dog is purported to live on the premises.

No Parking

The word on the street is, he (or she) sucks.

Guard Dog

I dunno, he looks awfully cute to me. Isn’t it kind of cruel to keep a dog tethered to the fence like this? Of course the big question is who does one call to report this: the A.S.P.C.A. or F.A.O. Schwartz?

Miss Heather

Bushwick Photo du Jour: The Stockholm Gnome

January 29, 2008 ·
Filed under: Bushwick, Greenpoint Magic 

I love garden gnomes.

Gnome 1

I love them while suspended.

William Jefferson Clinton on Franklin

I love them with Billary’s tool extended.

I love garden gnomes, yes I do. Now I’d like to introduce this garden gnome to you.

He’s from Stockholm…

Stockholm Gnome

STREET, that is. This winsome little guy sure looks happy. Wait. I just made knee-jerk assessment about this gnome’s gender. As a Greenpointer I should know better: in the Garden Spot we have bearded she-gnomes and/or he-gnomes that wear guyliner*.

Bearded Lady

They all live happily together too, painstakingly maintained eyebrows, beaded necklaces and all.

ET and the Lemur reconcile

Just ask E.T. and his formerly estranged lemur. Even Mickey Mouse and the Incredible Hulk give this couple two enthusiastic fists up!

Miss Heather

*And look like Jared Leto.

“Picture Perfect” Is In The Eye of The Beholder

January 29, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

Last week I generated a little controversy when I stated in this post that Cooper Park is “is not encircled by condominiums”. And in the purest sense of the word this is true. Nonetheless a couple readers saw fit to make mention of the Olive Park Condominiums, a monstrosity which can be found at the intersection of Olive Street and Maspeth Avenue. “Ray” writes:

I was walking around there last weekend and did come upon a very large new condo development on Olive Street, about a block from the park:

oliveparkcondos.com

“Williamsburg’s First Resort-Like Lifestyle Condo in a Picture-Perfect Parkside Setting”!!!

featuring a “chic and sexy lobby” and a “full-time concierge”…

Because that’s what the world needs.

You forgot “fitness center”, Ray. I watched them unload treadmills into this bad boy this very morning! I agree this building is atrocious. It is not only ugly, but it is the poster child for zoning law abuse. The previous having been said, I still do not think it is as horrific as the Karl Fischer Experience at McCarren Park.

Hell On Earth

But I suppose that’s just a matter of personal opinion.

Miss Heather

Can Anyone Out There Spare a Lexus…

January 29, 2008 ·
Filed under: Area 51 

55 And Lexington

a wife, an I-Pod, a credit card, the odd bank account or cell phone?

All to me, AMEN!

If so, please leave them in the designated box at intersection of 55th Street and Lexington Avenue so Mr. Kim, Mr. Kang, Mrs. Kang or Mr. Chang can pick them up.

Wish List

Oh, and don’t bother leaving a Lexus unless it is an ivory LS 460L with full options and beige interior. Anything else would be, well, gauche.*

Miss Heather

*But a Rolls Royce “100 FX” might do in a pinch.

Looking For A Place to Sleep This Week?

January 29, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

If so, I have some very good news for you. I discovered not just one, but TWO places you can hang your hat!

First up, the St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation will be hosting a candle light vigil and sleep out at 202 Franklin Street tomorrow, January 30th starting at 6:30 p.m.

Vigil at 202 Franklin Street

For those of you who are not in the know 202 Franklin Street caught fire nearly four years ago. Despite numerous demonstrations, making light of their plight at last year’s town hall meeting and the property being sold several times the necessary repairs needed to enable these rent-stabilized tenants (many of whom have lived here much longer than myself or most of the people reading this for that matter) to move back home have yet to get made. Inasmuch as I hate to get “preachy”, I want each and every person reading this to consider the following: how would you feel if you were driven out of your apartment by a fire and had to wait this long for the landlord (or in this case, landlords) to do the right thing and make repairs?

Not everyone in Greenpoint can afford to simply pick up and move. (Those of us who can should consider themselves very, very lucky.) What’s more, these people shouldn’t have to. As tenants they have rights under the law which should be enforced. If you agree with the previous statement (or simply want to learn more about 202 Franklin Street), please swing by tomorrow’s demonstration and let your voice be heard.

Vigil and Sleep Out
202 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

There are two things I love about Greenpoint (and Greenpointers):

  1. We have big hearts.
  2. We are a very diverse lot this is what makes our community so cool.

And in the spirit of point #2 I bring you today’s second place to get a good night’s sleep. It invites diversity, albeit of a slightly different caliber.

Advert

I found the above flier at The Garden last night. As you can tell, none of the tabs have been ripped off. The reason for this is very simple: asking $1,100 a month for a furnished room (with a murphy bed, no less) IS a rip-off. Not content with merely perusing this printed solicitation, I checked out their ad on Craigslist as well*. Here are some highlights:

Alternative to the Hostel Blues!! Short-Term Furnished Room in House

1 room left, available for move-in February 1st. $1100/month – gas, electric, and wireless internet included. Tired of paying way too much for way too little? Here you can have your own private room, plus shared access to a huge kitchen (vegetarian friendly), living room, bathroom (!— Ed. Note) & backyard for about the same or less than you’d pay at a hostel in one of NY’s most intriguing up-and-coming neighborhoods! Short-term monthly housing OK. Great for English language students or vacationers in New York City for a couple of months or more. International students (Korean, Japanese, European, etc.) all OK…

Great location in Greenpoint! Minutes away from trendy Williamsburg or Manhattan’s Lower East Side. You can find laundromats, eclectic restaurants, video stores, fun bars, and just about anything you want within a few blocks.

House: A beautiful and large (especially for New York) pre-war house. On the first level is the living room, a half bathroom, and a large bright kitchen which is fully equipped. On the second floor are 4 bedrooms and a bathroom with a skylight and beautiful clawfoot tub. There are hardwood floors throughout the house and it gets plenty of light. We also have a backyard! The place is shabby-chic, clean, and a peaceful sanctuary not far from the excitement of NYC.

Room: The last remaining available room (emphasis mine— Ed. Note) is New York-sized (translation = small), but is very well organized and has everything you’ll need for your stay. It is a cozy room with a Murphy bed that folds up into the wall when not in use, to maximize the space. It has a large window and is nice & quiet. There is a built-in closet system.

It also goes on to say your new landlords (inn keepers?) are “laid-back, friendly and responsible people who have full-time jobsand “celebrate diversity and would love to open our home to our friends in the international community”.

Having not met these people I will take them at their word. I do, however, have some very serious issues with their advertisement:

  1. Their ad copy does not sound so much like an apartment share than a hotel or SRO.
    1. A comparison to a hostel was used not once, but twice.
    2. Why the emphasis on “short term”? If one were to rent (or sublet) a room wouldn’t a long term tenant be more attractive? Not only would you have the prospect of sustained monthly income, but you will probably attract a more responsible type of client. Just a thought.
  2. Of course I am assuming this deal is on the “up and up”— and it probably isn’t. Do the people who are soliciting this room for rent own or rent the house in question?
    1. If it is the former, are they reporting the income?
    2. If it is the latter, is their landlord aware of this arrangement? I doubt it.
  3. $1,100/month “rent” is a draconian amount of money to demand for a small room with a murphy bed. Even in Greenpoint.

Do I think someone should be able to rent a bedroom in his or her apartment, e.g.; an apartment share? YES, ABSOLUTELY. Should someone be able to lease rooms in his/her house in a manner more in keeping with a hotel (and in all probability making a tidy profit in so doing)? Absolutely NOT. There are hotels and then there are houses. Hotels are built and operated to manage transient populations, a house is not.

While I am fully aware this neighborhood is becoming less and less affordable nowadays, this advertisement (and what it proposes) is not only ridiculous but it also lowers the quality of life for everyone involved, tenants (be they foreign nationals or otherwise), landlords and neighbors alike. My advice: if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay go to the Greenpoint Hotel. Granted it is a dump, but at $450 a month it is a LOT more affordable.

And legal.

Miss Heather

*Lest this ad has been removed, click here for a screencap.

Bushwick Photo du Jour: Speak Softly And Carry a Big Stick

January 28, 2008 ·
Filed under: Bushwick 

I found this beautiful relic of Brooklyn’s autonomous past recently on Wilson Avenue.

Seal, City of Brooklyn

Being a bit of a history nerd, I could not resist doing a little research. Here is very concise synopsis about its origin and iconography.

Een Dracht Mackt Maght was inspired by the motto of the United Dutch Provinces and means “In unity there is strength”. The rather frightening looking axe this young woman is wielding is called a fasces. Opinions as to what this symbolizes seem to be both varied and contentious, follows is what Wikipedia has to say about it. Draw your own conclusions:

Symbolic interpretation of the fasces suggests that the rods represent the authority to punish citizens whereas the axe represents the authority to execute them: an important concept in the concerns of a Roman ruler, whose authority over such matters carried greater consequences than typically in modern societies concerning capital punishment. For example Cicero, in his condemnation of Catiline and the others supposedly involved in the floridly exaggerated (or perhaps fabricated) “conspiracy“, lost his chances of further consulship for his act of executing Roman citizens without trial. Thus the one wielding the “axe”, ( meaning the power to execute) remained liable to the “rods” of his fellows.

Inventive moderns have also suggested that instead, rods in a bundle become simply harder to break, or harder for the axe to cut. While still a valid outlook, this tends to mislead one into thinking that that symbolism conveys a banal message like that of “united we stand”. The fasces served as the ultimate symbol of executive power and vulnerability in Republican Rome: more akin to the concept of “checks and balances”.

Numerous governments and other authorities have used the image of the fasces as a symbol of power since the end of the Roman Empire. Italian fascism, which derives its name from the fasces, arguably used this symbolism the most in the 20th century. The British Union of Fascists also used it in the 1930s. However, unlike (for example) the swastika, the fasces, as a widespread and long-established symbol in the West, have avoided the stigma associated with fascist symbolism, and many authorities continue to display them.

Either way you cut this find is pretty damned neat. Methinks there should be an Idiotarod team next year comprised of  women dressed like our fair maiden of the county of Kings. We’ll cross the Pulaski Bridge and show those uppity folks in Long Island City what Brooklyn women are made of. Een dracht macht maght!

In closing (and for those who might be curious) this lovely lady is still with us. Both on the Brooklyn Borough flag and at City Municipal Hall.

Borough ot Booklyn

Anyone up for a toga party?

Miss Heather

Matty Franz: R.I.P.

January 28, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

While running errands earlier today I made a most upsetting discovery: Greenpoint has lost one of its own.

Matty Frantz

It saddens me to report that Matty Franz (better known as the “You Will Rot in Hell guy” from Forgotten-NY Tour #30) has left us.

On the behalf of the attendees of the aforementioned tour and all of Greenpoint I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Mrs. Franz. Your husband was a very kind man (he always said “Hi” to me on the street after that tour) and gave many people a reason to smile.

To the person who robbed me

You will be sorely missed, Matty. May you rest in peace.

Miss Heather

How to Spend a Monday Afternoon In Greenpoint

January 28, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

I received an email this morning from a woman named Brittany who has an excellent suggestion as to how to while away the remains of this beautiful day: follow the blood spots! She writes:

I often read your blog and I thought this might interest you…

Brix Picks Blood

It’s not dog shit but it’s just as gross. At the corner of Meserole and McGuinness


thanks

 

Click on the above image and behold the original on Brix Picks for yourself. Be sure to read the accompanying text, as it is equally charming:

I still have no idea what went on at the corner of Meserole and McGuinness, but there appears to be puddles of blood and, reportedly (by friends who saw it), there used to be a plastic bag full of bloody stuff.

You can see little drops throughout the neighborhood, some right outside the police station–they don’t mind though, because when I told an officer about the possibly gruesome site he said, “What do you want me to do about it?*”…

It should be noted that the Pit Stop Bar (home of the bouncing beer kegs) is located at the intersection where this blood was found. I walked by there around lunchtime and didn’t see anything amiss but I imagine the Mobile Wash unit probably makes it a point to clean up this kind of thing stat. but I have been told that as of 4:00 this afternoon it is still there. Check it out for yourself at the northeastern corner of McGuinness Boulevard and Meserole Avenue where it (per a tipster):

…trails all the way down meserole on the north side of the street, then crosses at manhattan goes right in front of Europa, the police station and all the way past the post office.

In closing, a number of you will be pleased as punch to know my trip was not entirely unfruitful: as it would happen, I found another yet to be documented bit of spatter on McGuinness Boulevard and Kent Street.

30 Inches of spatter

THIRTY INCHES WORTH of blood spatter, to be precise.

Hannah says “ouch”

Even Hard Hat Hannah (who as a puppet possesses neither blood nor a central nervous system) noted that this must have hurt.

Miss Heather

*Perhaps he was too busy solving the double burglary that occurred two blocks away from the 94th Precinct’s Headquarters last month?

Photo Credit: Meserole Avenue spatter, Brix Picks