Live From Community Board 1: Much Ado About Rats!

September 14, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Since I posted this flier on September 3rd I have received a number of missives from residents regarding the rat situation in Greenpoint. Follows is a comment on the aforementioned post from someone who has been personally afflicted by these creatures. We’ll call her “B” and she has killed 36 rats. She writes:

My neighbor put these up–she lives on Calyer near McGuinness. But the problem is rampant for at least a three block radius. There is a network of rat colonies running in between the yards,and it is almost impossible to control since it extends between properties,and goes unchecked in the vacant lots. I live on Leonard btwn Meserole and Calyer–we killed 36 in our yard last summer (we are ok this year, post-an embarrassing Rat Busters appearance, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time). Our neighbor two doors down, next to an empty lot, killed 57 since last summer. The woman who put up the fliers has killed over 20.

At least on our block,ground zero seems to be an empty lot at 689 Leonard Street. Eckford St has a giant lot that is also a problem,and the lovely rat hotel (http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-11-07/news/27080545_1_rats-property-taxes-brooklyn-building As noted by New York Shitty— via a reader— on October 21, 2010– Ed. Note.). I’ve lived here 8 years and last year was the first year we had any trouble–I’ve wondered if some of the recent construction projects kicked up a dormant colony? Not sure,but the strangest thing is the appearance of giant white rats mixed in with the regular Norways (one of our neighbors has pictures).

Despite numerous 311 complaints,nothing changes. I’ve tracked many of my own calls,and they are listed as “resolved,”but I know full well the inspectors never came,or did an extremely cursory job inspecting the property (e.g. if my complaint is about an infestation in a back yard,how can you claim you inspected the property if you never rang the doorbell and don’t have access to the yard??).

But it appears flurries of 311 complaints are our best defense. This is the only thing that the Community Board seems to respond to. So if I might make a plea to your readers–if you do have a similar situation,make many,many 311 complaints. The owners of the property will receive notices and tickets to clean up and seek treatment. Track the numbers and send unresolved/poorly resolved complaints to the community board (info on the flyer above).

And if you have a backyard,please take a look around. I was extremely unpleasantly surprised when I learned that the rats were burrowing underground,with a runway going between our yard and our neighbors,behind some bushes. Look for droppings or suspicious holes and clean up any debris,nesting materials,etc. And whack anyone who puts loaves of bread outside over the head.

Sorry for the long post. Rats make you crazy….

Then came the emails. Most were from reporters wanting to know if I had heard from people afflicted by these varmints. The answer is a resounding “Yes”! A lady we’ll call “A” writes:

Hi Heather,
Thanks so much for posting the rat flyer on your excellent bog New York Shitty.
My boyfriend and I moved to Greenpoint last June. At that time there was no rats that I saw. It was not until August of last year that an infestation began to occur. The problem was so bad that large rats were seen scurrying down the sidewalks—during the day. We caught 28 rats last year–that lasted from late August until the cold hit (October-November). My neighbor caught over 30 last year and the guy two houses down caught over 50–all in the months of (August-November). Some of these “little” fellas have infiltrated neighbors houses. This spring I caught so many I lost count, my neighbor kept a log. I do not recall how many he has caught thus far but the number is substantial. I was away for the entire summer…my boyfriend is scared of rats, so he just kept out of our lovely little yard this summer. We have called the city numerous times.  The response has been minimal at best.
We have been working as a community to try and rid this area of rats. It is difficult though. The beauty shop on the corner of Calyer and Leonard sweeps away daily doses of excrement left behind by these vermin. These lil bastards are smart. They quickly learn how to maneuver traps and are virtually immune to bait. People need to keep the streets clean and dispose of their garbage in receptacles that are rat proof.
Thanks for your post.

Then I received correspondence from a lady named Jeanette Mocko (who provided me the “visual aids” and “rat log” which grace the beginning of this post). She made it known to me that she was going to speak at this evening’s Community Board 1 meeting. Naturally I made it a point to attend. And speak Jeanette did; albeit after providing Chairman Olechowski and his fellow board members with some rather impressive dossiers documenting her Greenpoint rat experience!

So now I suspect you, gentle readers, are wondering exactly what is being done to treat this problem. Chairman Olechowski did— and 50th Assembly District Leader Linda Minucci gave him the low-down.

So there have you. You call the city to complain about rats. They send out an inspector. If the inspector finds evidence of rats on your property you get fined. Nice…

New York Shitty Day Ender: Fowl Play

June 11, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Yes folks, it would appear that the New York Times has (once again*) become aware that there is a poultry slaughterhouse adjacent to a luxury apartment building in Greenpoint! Special thanks goes out to Jen Chung of Gothamist for this reminder. The previous props having been tendered, yours truly is especially fond of this passage:

While I am certain Franklin Avenue is animated (I have walked it) exactly how this thoroughfare pertains to Greenpoint is mystery to me. This is because Franklin Avenue is located elsewhere in Brooklyn. I’m going to take an educated guess that this reporter is referring to Franklin Street. I suppose in closing I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that one of the chaps they interviewed is being evicted because he has not paid rent in months. Whoops. Perhaps moving forward when the New York Times “sources” my site without crediting it they will go to the trouble of actually reading it?

Miss Heather

*The image gracing this post comes from an item I had written on the subject on January 27, 2009. Clearly the New York Times was paying attention because they wrote an item about this very subject on February 15, 2009 and took the liberty of culling a quote from my site’s comments section:

…To some, the juxtaposition of a slaughterhouse and a new residential building where condos sell for up to $675,000 is an amusing effect of gentrification. To others, it is grotesque. Several local residents have complained about seeing blood and bird parts on the sidewalk, along with feathers floating in the breeze. Calls to 311 have been numerous, and on a Greenpoint blog, a commenter described the smell emanating from the slaughterhouse as a mix of “death and ammonia.

Don’t believe me? See here for yourself! Reading is truly believing.

Spotted At 984 Manhattan Avenue: WPIX

Today yours truly decided to take it easy and knock around the Garden Spot. You can imagine my surprise when I spied a television crew on Manhattan Avenue between Huron Street and India Street. It was Greg Mocker from Channel 11, and yes, he was interviewing people regarding the “beeping” fliers yours truly wrote about yesterday. For shits and giggles I decided to hang around and watch him at work. Hilarity ensued. (TEASER: Those of you who are fans of our Community Board’s Public Safety Chair— and you know who you are—  will be pleased to know he makes a cameo appearance at the very end!)

Here’s the deal, folks:

1. Aside from flat-out lying to a chap he was interviewing about the provenance of the story he was “reporting” I find it rather sad that this is the kind of “new item” that apparently merits the professional media’s attention nowadays. There a lot of great stories to be found in Greenpoint. This is not one of them. So much for the media being the “watch dogs” for the people.

2. Those of you who live in the area know (as I do) that the gentleman he is interviewing is not normal. He is very nice, to be certain but I do not know if he is merely learning disabled, has a speech impediment or is struggling with addiction (as many people hereabouts are)— or all of the above. For this reason I find it utterly reprehensible that Mr. Mocker would consider subjecting this man to media attention (and therefore ridicule). This chap cannot help being what god made him. Therefore, it would seem to me that the responsibility falls on Mr. Mocker— as a human being— not to exploit this gentleman’s shortcomings. But this seems to be what he was up to and as such he is putting a “face” on this community that is not only highly inaccurate, but quite frankly also insulting. We come in all shapes and stripes here.

UPDATE, 10:24 p.m.: I have word from my buddy Kevin over at Forgotten-NY that yours truly was given props (albeit as “thatgreenpointblog”) from Mr. Mocker himself! In addition our Public Safety Chair makes a rather amusing appearance. See for yourself:

As you can imagine I am very pleased by these developments. However:

1. I doubt I would have been credited had the above exchange not taken place.

2. I would be really, truly grateful if Mr. Mocker would cover more substantive issues in my community moving forward. And believe you there are plenty of those to be found!

Miss Heather

LAST GASP: All The News Fit To Steal!

I am seriously considering adding this as a byline to my humble blog after having the following turd brought to my attention by buddy across the creek: Queens Crap.

The Crapper writes (in regards to the above colossal piece of crap):

You mean January 25th comes before February 3rd? Damn.

Not according to CBS 2. Follows is a time line of my coverage of this story. Read it and weep.

January 24, 2011: I am tipped off by a reader and compose a blog post to go up at 5:34 EST January 25th. I follow up with Community Board 1′s Transportation Chair, Karen Nieves, to get her take later in the day. She is kind enough to clue me in on the situation and I update my post accordingly. This post was linked to by Brownstoner on January 25th at 8:30 a.m.
January 28, 2011: I am informed of the Community Meeting about said project by Ms. Nieves at 12:38 p.m. I gladly post it at 1:39 p.m.
February 2, 2011: I attend said event, film it and blog it. If you skip to 1:23 in this video (which was uploaded February 2nd) you can see the cameraman from CBS setting up the microphone for the representative of the Department of Design and Construction. The audience asked if it was a public mike. It was made clear this was for CBS. My post was linked to by Brownstoner on February 3, 2001 at 8:30 a.m. and by A Short Story at 10:54 a.m.
February 11, 2011 at 11:37 a.m.: I announce the plan has been tabled and update my post as I learn more details. I made my final update at 3:23 p.m.

And then CBS 2 “breaks” the news (once again) at 7:08 p.m. I have taken the liberty of bringing CBS 2′s “blog amnesia” to their attention via comments.

This has yet to be approved. I doubt it will.

If the wholesale and flagrant editorial vandalism (as coined by Bucky Turco at Animal New York)  of “neighborhood blogs” by mainstream media outlets offends you, gentle readers, I would very much appreciate it if you would follow suit. Seriously folks, this is downright laughable.

Lastly, had CBS 2 actually cared about the facts instead of generating hype (READ: page views) they would have, should have, mentioned the houses on Monitor Street (and the stoops which accompany them) would have been assessed on a case-by-case basis. That’s the general impression I had after attending and filming the meeting on February 2, 2011. In fact, I find most of CBS 2′s “reporting” in this feature questionable. Then again, the truth doesn’t generate page views. Distorting the truth and sensationalism does.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Thanks for reading, CBS 2! I am really enjoying the comments you have seen fit to approve (as opposed to mine). For example, Annie’s charming missive as highlighted below.

It would appear “hate speech” passes muster, but calling your organization out on a crime of the pen, if you will— that being blog poaching— merits censorship. I want to personally thank you, CBS 2,  for providing the final nail in the coffin which contains my contempt for and distrust of televised “news”.

Quicklink: Animal New York Gets Poached!

Many of you who have followed this blog over the years have undoubtedly noticed that a number of stories broken by yours truly have a strange way of finding their way onto the pages of Newscorp’s manifold publications within a matter of hours/days/weeks— often as “exclusives”. As you can imagine I find this phenomenon very interesting. What’s more, I can assure you it is not a coincidence. In fact, one of their own reporters even admitted as much! Alex Ginsberg comments (regarding my reporting about Cutting Edge Fitness):

Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print. Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).

I won’t discuss at length the policy of not crediting blogs (or anyone else). I’ll just briefly explain that as long as we can independently verify every bit of info, we don’t credit.

You will find that the Daily News observes the same policy, but the Times does not. (They often write an explanatory phrase like, ‘The investigation into Mr. Spitzer was first reported in the New York Post.’ That’s not a real one. I just made it up. Although I would note that another Times policy would prevent them from actually printing the name of your blog, presenting them with an unresolvable conflict between two inflexible rules.)

Looking forward to “amplifying” more of your good work in the future.

So you can imagine my dark amusement when I stumbled upon the above item from Animal New York today. A very angry Bucky Turco writes:

While it’s common knowledge that the New York Post often rips off story ideas from local blogs—just ask editors from Gothamist, EV Grieve, New York Shitty, Vanishing New York, Sheepshead Bites and a handful of others—their latest article on the bombing of the Bowery mural, which was basically lifted from several ANIMAL posts, was particularly egregious…

You can read the whole sad story by clicking here. In closing, I would like to leave you with this quote from Newcorp’s spokesperson, Suzi Halpin:

The New York Post credits blogs, bloggers, and other media all the time, as our readers know.

Except when they don’t. If the Post followed the above policy to the letter their readership would quickly comprehend exactly how much of the content they are reading has its provenance from online/alternative/independent media outlets (READ: blogs). Welcome to the club, Bucky— and by all means keep on writing! Dozens of reporters depend on people like you and me for their livelihood!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part III: Deja Vu

December 21, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Eryana writes (in an email entitled “Bayard Balcony”):

was covered on Fox News…just now made the front page of Yahoo! News no less.

as far as i know you were the first to cover this, correct?  nice to see there are some fans of your blog @ Fox News, and that you’re doing their work for them.

Indeed. I take it was a slow news day, Rupert?

UPDATE, December 21, 2010 7:57 p.m.: it would appear Fox News’s video is quite popular.

224,629 319,610 539,111 page views and counting. Impressive. Where’s my cut of the revenue you undoubtedly gained as a result of this, my work, Fox News? Yahoo? Anyone?

Miss Heather

P.S.: I can only hope Suzi Halpin is trotted out (once again) to explain this gaffe. E.g.;

The New York Post credits blogs, bloggers, and other media all the time, as our readers know.

Breaking On The NY Post: The McCarren Park Bathrooms Are Disgusting!

Not that this is really news to me, the readers of this web site or those who have had the misfortune of patronizing the McCarren Park bathrooms, mind you. That’s yesterday’s news. What IS news to me, rather, is apparently the Post finds it not only acceptable to poach from blogs— to which I have regrettably grown accustomed— but now they have kicked it up a notch by actually “quoting” the blogger whose material they “sourced”!

But don’t take my word for it. Look at the following screencap and decide for yourself. It is an item I posted on the Community Board 1 Yahoo group making my friends and neighbors aware of the deplorable state of the woman’s comfort station at McCarren Park. Note the date.

Just for kicks here’s a screencap of what a few other people had to say about the state of our public lavatories.

Charming, eh? If Mr. Murdoch, et. al. is so keen on poaching my material and has now seen fit to quote me perhaps he should just bite the bullet and hire me? Scratch that. Why should he buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?

Miss Heather

Now On NBCLA.com: My Photography

May 19, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

As some of you can imagine, my blog post about the above flier has received a great deal of attention. In fact, the above image has shown up on a number of web sites: Gothamist, Gawker and New York Magazine, to name a few. All the previous were professional enough to acknowledge from whom this item originated: me. Today I learned of another entity that has seen fit to use it: NBCLA.com. Yes folks that is “LA” as in Los Angeles, California.

In fact, they based a whole news item on my find. Did they bother to cite the source for it? No, they didn’t. Without further ado here it is— along with a few annotations by yours truly. Enjoy!

In a day and age when you have such notables as Rupert Murdoch calling bloggers parasites, this act of intellectual property theft begs the question as to whom is feeding off of whom. Just as the above video states the peeps at Channel 4 would like to hear from you. I would like to humbly suggest, dear readers, that you take a moment to remind these professional journalists that using someone’s work without permission (or not even bothering to give credit where it is due) is frowned upon in some circles.

Jerks.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, MAY 21, 2010: I sent a missive to NCBLA making them aware of my “issues”. It read as follows:

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that Channel  4 ran a “feature” about a flier in which a woman berates her former live-in/free-loading boyfriend. Among other things this missive noted that (the— ed. note) chap in question cheated on her with women in her apartment and did not use a condom.

Your anchor person notes that the above-mentioned item was featured “on a lot of blogs”. This, is in fact, true. I know because I am the person who found this item and posted it. I have seen the incoming links from sites which have seen fit to feature it. Gawker, Gothamist and New York Magazine’s Daily Intel number among others have seen fit to give me credit for my work (which is only fair). Your institution, however, did not. This begs a number of questions:

1. Why did you see fit to use— but not credit— my image?

2. Why is a station in Los Angeles featuring a flier which hails from Brooklyn, New York?

3. How, in any manner, can this be construed as “fair use”?

Regarding question #1: I am going to assume your reporters tracked down the source of this flier, winced at the url, deemed it unsuitable to mention on television/online but decided to feature it anyway. If this is in fact the case I find it curious given the subject matter of said flier. If a screed mentioning “nasty sex” (without a condom, no less) is suitable for your audience, I seriously doubt the word “shitty” is going to be an issue. Regardless I have a mirror site with a much less objectionable url (www.thatgreenpointblog.com) for just this purpose. You see, I have heard just this excuse from other media outlets before. A lot.

Let’s presume for a moment that your staff did not do their research as to where this flier originated. That strikes me as being very bad reporting. Which brings me to…

Regarding question #2: As distasteful as I find having my work uncredited (and it happens quite frequently) it would have at least made sense had, say, some media outlet in New York City/the tri-state area “featured” it. Why Los Angeles? I found it of particular interest that no mention of this flier’s origin was made whatsoever on your broadcast. This implicitly suggests it hails from Los Angeles. This is not true. Was this due to a lack of due diligence on your part or was it deliberate? I’d really like to know.

Regarding question #3: Lest the tone of this missive has not made it clear already I am very unhappy. Think about it from my point of view: would you like it if someone used your work without giving you credit and (undoubtedly) garnered a great many “clicks” (which usually translate into revenue) from it? I don’t think so. In fact, I would wager you make a legal issue of it. This is something I— a person who lavishes a great deal her of time on her website for virtually no compensation— am, in fact, considering.

But the fact of the matter is the genie is out of the proverbial bottle. What I want to know is where do we go from here? I have outlined my grievances with your organization. You can do one of two things: either attribute that image to its rightful owner (me) or remove that broadcast from your site. Otherwise I will be forced to seek legal redress. The choice is yours.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you as to how this problem will be resolved.

Heather

P.S.: One last piece of fact-checking for your edification: I was the person who blurred the gentleman’s (?) face on that flier. The creator did not. This was a moral, ethical and legal decision on my part. While— if in fact true— what this chap did was thoroughly reprehensible he need not have his life ruined over it (although this is clearly the mission of the woman who created it).

Here’s what I got in return.

So let me get this straight: they (being NBCLA) sees fit to cull material from a blog in Brooklyn, New York and broadcast it without giving me credit. But since I am not a “local” (I’m a Greenpoint resident and damned proud of it) I am not entitled to give feedback about a photograph of mine— from Williamsburg Brooklyn, New York— being used without my permission or being credited by NBCLA. That’s really cute. I’m sure wherever Franz Kafka is he is laughing his ass off.

UPDATE, 7:23 p.m.: We have a response!