Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
You might want to watch where you park on Greenpoint Avenue or you might discover that your two wheeler has been converted into a NO wheeler. Missy, a long-time New York Shitty reader and first time tipster writes:
Noticed this endangered bike on Greenpoint in front of The Black Rabbit and thought of your blog… The bike’s gonna get it if we don’t act fast!
While grammatically flawed, the point attempting to be made in the above missive remains pretty clear: remove your bike or it will be removed. Piece by piece. On that note, any bicycle enthusiasts who might be reading this should probably refrain from chaining your bikes to this tree on Calyer Street as well.
Hey, at least they said thank you.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
The following are three phrases I use with unusual frequency in Greenpoint:
- What the fuck?
- Oh my.
- Who the hell did this?
Yesterday I asked myself the above two questions, dear readers. What’s more, they were both answered in the course of a mere thirty minutes. It all started with the following objet de arte on Norman Avenue.
What the fuck?
At 2:30 p.m. I found this tricked-out five wheeler tethered to a steel gate which graces one of Greenpoint’s more interesting edifices: 177 1/2 Norman Avenue.
Obviously the owner of the aforementioned cart (and presumably the decorator of the above window) likes:
- George W. Bush
Especially America and Karate.
Who the hell did this?
I have asked myself the above question many times as I have gazed upon the this building. And on November 5, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. I finally received an answer.
The kind of guy who totes his painfully adorable children in a customized kiddie coach while beating a star-shaped tambourine at the intersection of Manhattan Avenue and Norman, that’s who.
As I was parsing through the brain-numbing labyrinth that is the Department of Building’s record keeping for 30-03 Newtown Avenue last night, I decided to get a glass of wine. Since a bottle was not open, I went into the closet and grabbed me one. Big mistake.
In the two years we have been married my husband has never, ever, left me a nasty note. (And take my word for it, the tone of this note is SUPER PISSED in Mr. Heatherese.)
So off to the dog house I go. Since Mr. Heather spends a fair amount of time in the aforementioned domicile, it is only fair that I take my turn.
Dog Card Credit: Hallmark. This is the card we received from my mother in law for our second anniversary. We were married on Halloween, lest any of you happen to be wondering. Here’s to 30-40 more years of finding new and innovative ways to Mr. Heather insane!
This following email is how I started my day today. It is entitled “114 India Street” and reads as follows:
1) Giant, fairly well-constructed fence. It went up Sunday evening. Work is being done behind it.
2) Sinister, typed note/poem tacked to said fence, sometime over the weekend. I read this and it gave me the creeps.
Check it out if you’re feeling curious.
Well, I got curious and checked it out. Sure enough, there was a crew working there and a poem was posted on the fence. Here it is.
I thought Maggie Moos shut down for good. I didn’t realize they were relocating to Greenpoint. Or maybe this will be the site for Belvedere 666? Who knows… but I am looking forward to finding out!
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
It’s been quite awhile since I have seen me some subway poster goodness here in the Garden Spot. This is because I rarely ride the subway anymore. However, last night I did and I didn’t come away disappointed.
Intrigued by the hole ripped out of this poster on the Smith & 9th Street bound platform, I went in for a closer look.
What is that thing saying?
Oh, of course! I should have known! Pluck my theeth (sic) for freedom!
We Greenpointers might be distrustful of a lot of things, but we pull our share of the load when it comes to protecting god and country. We may not offer up our selves (or sons) as cannon fodder for Iraq, but we pitch in all the same. Our contributions are simply of a more, uh, personal caliber.
And if the smiles I see around here are any indication, we have been very generous.
Last night Mr. Heather and I went to Astoria to dine with the brains (and brawn) behind Bucketman. We had a most enjoyable evening. I hope they did as well.
Many of you probably don’t know I once lived in Astoria. Back in 1998 I lived in an illegal basement apartment for a measly $550 a month (all bills paid!). I am certain such sweet deals (like the one I had) have gone the way of the $850 studio in the Garden Spot. But I digress.
My memories of Astoria are by and large fond ones. In the fuzzy clarity that is my Greenpoint hindsight, I remember it as being a nice family-oriented neighborhood with killer produce stands. My reasons for leaving were purely personal (READ: financial).
As you can imagine I was very curious to see how my old stomping grounds look in 2007. To this end I arrived early so I could walk around and see what’s cooking. What I saw was still more or less recognizable despite rampant construction and destruction. There were still lots of children at play whose parents laughed while watching them and gaggles of old coots staring at me like I have eight heads (and for the record, I don’t— I only let them out for special occasions like office parties and bar mitzvahs).
I searched in vain for a pile of poo that could compete with Greenpoint’s gargantuan doggie dumplings, but none were to be found. Just an anemic nugget here or there, little more. In a fit of poop induced pique, I pointed this out to Mr. Heather and he sagely reminded me:
This is a classier neighborhood, Heather.
How very true. Even the demolition sites have a certain genteel, down-home feel to them.
CASE IN POINT: 30-03 Newtown Avenue, a modest two story structure in the process of being demolished.
Some of you might have noticed that part of the roof is missing. Some sourpuss complained that fine folks at First Class Wrecking didn’t have a permit to remove it. The fact is they do. I am certain it was all a big misunderstanding. Besides, with a door as warm and inviting as this one— a door of superior quality to the ones which grace most of the crappy condos I see here in Greenpoint nowadays, I would like to add— I am certain he (or she) won’t hold a grudge. Unlike many of the first class wrecks I have seen in Greenpoint, this one has a first class door to go with it!
Am I experiencing demolition envy? It is entirely possible. Especially given the painfully polite note affixed to this door. It is a veritable Amy Vanderbilt of construction-related communiques.
Isn’t it nice of them to advise employees (and would be trespassers) to lock up when they leave? Given this house (deceased) received two complaints about being illegally converted into a SRO*, I suppose it makes sense. As Motel 6 likes to say:
We’ll leave the lights on for you.
Filed under: Area 51
The answer would be “to get to Red Hook and depreciate property values” if you were listening to NPR this morning. The show in question was Weekend Sunday Edition and what I heard was a gem of a quote from a Park Slope real estate agent maligning people who raise chickens in their backyard:
…What family in their right mind wants to buy a two million dollar house next to a chicken farm? You know, you think of chickens you think of some god forsaken place, upstate New York or some other country, not Brooklyn.
I’ll be upfront: I detest chickens. The previous having been said, I think the “boutique” rearing of chickens is a wonderful alternative to factory farming. Besides, if it is being conducted on private property in accordance to the laws of the City of New York you can’t do anything about it anyway.
Personal politics aside, I cannot help but wonder how upstate New Yorkers felt about having their stomping grounds referred to as “some god forsaken place”? I doubt they liked it very much. Hopefully one of them will see fit to give this chap (or his supervisor) a ring and make his (or her) feelings known.
On that note I have to run now. I need to go to Noble Street and buy me some chickens.*
*In all seriousness folks, give this story a listen. Contained therein is a morsel of Park Slope arrogance at its very finest. It is not the purpose of this blog to take regular pot shots at Park Slope, but sometimes they make it so damned easy it is impossible for me to let the opportunity slip by.
Filed under: Area 51
East Coast Aliens’s fall movie season continues tonight with the 1953 winner of the Cannes Film Festival The Wages of Fear. Here is a brief synopsis of the film from the fine folks at East Coast Aliens:
In the South American jungle supplies of nitroglycerin are needed at a remote oil field. The oil company pays four men to deliver the supplies in two trucks. A tense rivalry develops between the two sets of drivers on the rough remote roads where the slightest jolt can result in death.
The acting is superb: handsome young Yves Montand’s Mario, a Parisian gangster on the run from who-knows-what, maintains is Gallic savoir-faire. His compatriot , Charles Vanel, is Jo, an older, more burnt-out wiseguy, but still full of macho moxie.
Director Clouzot squeezes unbearable tension out of nearly every scene.
The stripped-down existentialism of the characters, the starkness of their shared dilemma, the grim and grimy scenery, and the superb black-and-white cinematography cannot fail to hold your attention.
This is real 16 millimeter film folks, not video! Doors open at 8:30 p.m. The price of admission is not indicated, but it usually runs either $6.00 or $10.00 per person.
East Coast Aliens
216 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222
Even if this movie does not interest you, do check out their calendar of upcoming events. A trio of Robert Altman films (including the incomparable M.A.S.H.*) are slated for next month and Life of Brian will be screened on Christmas Eve!
*This isn’t Alan Alda’s M.A.S.H., kiddos. This is one of the most darkly hilarious and mean spirited films I have ever seen. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Two words: WATCH IT.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
Last night my husband and I went to Casa Mon Amour for dinner. Before arriving there (and being chided for not going to their SECOND anniversary celebration last night*) Mr. Heather and I saw an assortment of mattresses headed to that Serta Sleeper in the sky.
99 Freeman Street
Note the plastic sheathing on the box springs. I wonder if this mattress has “tenants”?
230 Franklin Street
Hmm. A mattress, box springs and a day bed. I wonder if they bite?
74 India Street, AKA: Bedbug Central**
While not labeled, I bet these bad boys have bedbugs.
A very close friend of mine (who doesn’t even live in Greenpoint, but in north Brooklyn all the same) just underwent the utter hell that is a bedbug infestation. When are our civic leaders going to acknowledge that we, and consequently they, have a problem?
Greenpoint verse, in rhyming terse:
The Pencil Factory and its (remaining) siblings getting landmarked is great.
After a convenient conflagration made landmarking another property too late!
The new bike lanes and trees are all pretty keen.
I wonder why the city gave them to us, was it for developer green?
If the powers that be in NYC would see fit to redirect their attention to the people who actually live in Greenpoint and north Brooklyn (as opposed to the people they seemingly WANT to live here) it would be greatly appreciated.
Contrary to popular belief poor people (and by virtue of being poor, they are also lazy and filthy in the Neo-Victorian mindset most people seem to sport nowadays) are not the only ones who get bedbugs. Ask a bedbug. He (or she) will tell you they don’t give a damn if the blood is red, white, blue, yellow, brown or green. Rich or poor, blood is blood. They’re equal opportunity blood suckers. Unlike our elected representatives (and the developers they pander to).
If these little critters find their way into my mansion of merde, I can assure you, dear readers, the shitty is going to hear about it. Often.
*Beatrice’s birthday is next Friday, by the way.
**Isn’t interesting that Pistilli would go on the record as being against a hotel in Queens being converted into a homeless shelter while they let a beautiful building like the Astral (in Greenpoint) go to shit?
From The Queens Gazette:
Pistilli Realty Group and members of the community agree that the Westway Motel cannot serve as a substitute for a homeless shelter, the letter said in part.
Yet, retaining a Super who photographs topless women in the hallways of one of their apartment buildings while doing nothing whatsoever about a bedbug infestation (in the aforementioned building) is perfectly acceptable? Perhaps the peeps at Pistilli should be be forced to reside in the Astral for a month or two? Who knows, they might even leave with the six-legged gift that keeps on giving.
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic
The biggest fringe benefit I get at the junk shop (aside from yelling at crass customers without fear of recrimination) is first whack at all the goodies that come in. Recently I
scored borrowed this:
It was heavily picked over, but within the remains I found a forgotten Greenpointer!
Her name is Winnie Lightner and here is her story.
Intrigued to learn what happened to Ms. Lightner, I looked her up on IMDB. Follows is an excerpt from her biography:
Winnie Lightner was known as Broadway’s “Song a Minute Girl” because she could belt out a song in less than 60 seconds. Her brassy outgoing style lent itself to Warner’s Vitaphone shorts when sound came in and soon Winnie Lightner was a top Warner star. The missing “Gold Diggers of Broadway” was a triumph for Lightner in 1929, and the all-technicolor “Life of the Parry” was an even bigger hit. Despite the huge success of her first few films, Warner Brothers began to assign maudlin roles to Winnie and by 1933 she was at MGM playing second fiddle to stars like Joan Crawford.
Ms. Lightner retired from show business early and lived out the rest of her life in southern California. Her son, Thomas Del Ruth, is a cinematographer. Some of the more notable films he has worked on are:
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- Myra Breckenridge (a big, BIG fave of Miss Heather)
- The Outlaw Josey Wales
- Motel Hell
- Look Who’s Talking (YUCK —but the previous four films make up for it)
- Stand By Me
- And a slew of television work including Charmed, West Wing and JAG
But back to Winnie. She never became a big star (or got to play Lady MacBeth for that matter), but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve recognition. She was the first movie performer to be censored for something said or in this case, sung in a talkie (once again, from IMDB):
In 1928 she made a Vitaphone short in which she sang “We Love It,” “God Help a Sailor on a Night Like This,” “That Brand New Model of Mine,” and “We’ve Got a Lot to Learn.” A censorship board in Pennsylvania held the release of the film because of the content of Lightner’s songs. According to film historian Alexander Walker, “Warners asked the censors to merely pass judgment on the visuals – the censors refused.”
The more eagled-eyed among you might have noticed IMDB has “Greenport, New York” listed as her place of birth. I suppose only Winnie (or perhaps her son) would have known/know for certain. Then again, getting censored for a singing a saucy song about sailors strikes me as being a very Greenpoint phenomenon.
Regardless of your place of origin, I salute you Winnie. Your accomplishment might have been lost to time, but it hasn’t been forgotten by yours truly. It was a pleasure making your (belated) acquaintance.
If it is any consolation, I have never gotten to play Lady MacBeth either.*
*First by lack of opportunity (before going into art, I was a drama major), now by lack of desire. Life is tragic enough, no need to dwell upon it. I have long since accepted the fact I am a comedienne anyway. Even when dead serious I crack people up.
CASE IN POINT: When I wanted to take home a magazine with a Jenna Jameson interview in it from the junk shop.
Me (to my boss): Can I take this? It looks interesting. Besides, if lays around here some guy will probably take it down to the basement and jerk off to it.
Brad (coworker): It wouldn’t be the first time.
Me: Yeah, I know. Tony had to go down there and mop it up. That was back in 2002.
Boss: Sure, you can have it. But you might want to check it for “man juice” first.
Me: Already have. I realize that is an occupational hazard here. It’s clean.
My boss thought this was one of the funniest things he ever heard.
Maybe I should take my comedy cavalcade to Community Board 1? I have considered it. They need a laugh. What’s more, they could use a primer post-feminist record keeping. Per a Miss Heather mole:
I was looking through the minutes from the September CB #1 meeting and, wouldn’t you know, the male names are spelled out but the female names only use the surname. I discovered this because I remember one woman standing up and explaining the problems she and her family had experienced because of construction next door. When I looked up her name I only found Ms. Bowe, not her full name. Am I being naive here? Is it common not to include the first names of all females? Looking through the doc, I noticed all male names were spelled out at first mention and the majority of female first names were omitted. Hmmm..maybe I’m looking into things too much!
That’s Mrs. MISTER Heather to you, bucko!