Today At The Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch: Four Years

It was four years ago to this day that a motor vehicle crashed through the guardrail gracing the Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch. In the elapsing time this has not been repaired. I felt a “celebration” of sorts was in order and so it came to pass. Follows is footage I shot. Enjoy!

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Introduction/”Never Forget”

Part III: Fellow Greenpointers/Parks Users Weigh In

Part IV: Fellow Greenpointers/Parks Users Weigh In, Cont’d

Part V: Balloons!

Part VI/”Blooper”: The “4” Balloon Pops!

Next up: Jerzy Popieluszko Square!

Next Week: Follow Up Town Hall Public Meeting

December 3, 2015 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

North Greenpoint Town Hall follow up nys

town hall nys

Via a tipster who clearly did not notice or elected to ignore the disclaimer/unenforceable legalese at the end of Ms. Bloodgood’s informative email.

Next Monday, December 7th at 6:00 pm, there will be a follow-up meeting regarding (citing the above-depicted email):

…regarding Northern Greenpoint. When we meet in September we heard from many of you about your complaints and concerns and we have been working hard, trying to bring the community together to address the issues presented. Since our last meeting we’ve met with the Precinct and the Department of Homeless Services as well as Homelife Services (the shelter operators at 66 Clay) and the Parks Department Security Patrol to continue to press for a safe and healthy Greenpoint Community.

Our goal is to keep our community safe for the families that live, work and play here and also to continue to help those in need during difficult times we must work together as a community. So please join us on Monday evening at the Polish Slavic Center on Java Street to let us know how things have gone since we met a few months ago. How has the situation changed? Are things better? Are they worse? Are there any glaring omissions in what the response has been? Anything new we don’t know about?

To make sure everyone is aware of some steps that have been taken since we last met:

· the 94th precinct made a number of drug arrests in October

· DHS brought in their new security team

· Homelife Services has been working on its community building interactions

· Parks Department has stepped up their park patrols

All of this is good progress and we thank everyone that has been a part of those actions in this process. In order to continue to build on this progress, come out and join us next week; we need to continue to hear from you.

What: North Greenpoint Community Follow-Up Town Hall

When: Monday December 7th 6pm

Where: Polish Slavic Center 176 Java Street (downstairs)

Let me know if you have any questions or want to help contribute to the evening’s agenda. Please SHARE this notice, my list isn’t that big!

I did not attend September’s meeting. I had my reasons. Pretty damned good ones. However, instead of simply hitting “reply all” to my tipster’s via email, I felt know hitting “reply all” via this blog is a much better, or at least more efficient, use of my time. Here it goes. I have omitted the names of certain people because those people may not want to be named and/or associated with my person. Enjoy!

I second (excised #1): thanks (excised #2)!

A few thoughts:

1. I found the mention of drug arrests rather amusing. Here’s why. On November 6th at noon I got a bang trim at Hair, which is located on Manhattan Avenue between Green and Huron. While I was sitting in the chair (which is situated right in front), my hairdresser and I watched on as dudes conducted “business”/conferred right outside said window. It really does not get more “in your face” than that. She told me this had been going on since she opened that morning (~9:00 am). When I left I hit the Lorven Pharmacy a door or two down. The “ringleader” of this operation barked at one of his minions/henchmen (clients???) to meet him and I quote “at the hotel”. I took a photo of him. (Excised #2) has it. Anyway, this guy was really brazen. He “worked” this end of the neighborhood and I saw him ply his trade by the McDonalds. I have not seen him lately. Makes me wonder if he was “collared”. What about 177 Huron Street?

Google street view 177 Huron January 2013

It seems to be common knowledge this place is a hub of “activity”. Heroin. Look this building up on the Department of Buildings “Building Information System”. It is quite something.

177 Huron Street DOB BIS nys

2 “The drug situation” in general, some things I learned over my “baggie” project over the summer. Baggie Project: simply put, I canvassed Greenpoint, primarily its parks, and monitored/counted/collected drug baggies. This I did for ~6 weeks ending at/around 9/1/2015.

  • A slew of them were found at Transmitter. Once I found 20 in one canvass. I didn’t put it together until I brought this up with a friend of mine here. She’s a parent and as such takes her children to this park. She once had to take a baggie away from her son. He thought it was colorful/pretty and picked it up. She has found them on the premises of the playground. I have as well.ANYWAY, she also attended a lot of the children’s movie nights there over the summer and in this capacity noticed a number of younger, non-parents attending who elected partake of “substances” (smoking joints, who knows what else). I will put it this way: although my “study” was hardly “scientific”/”structured”, I DID find more baggies after they showed movies.
  • By far the worst, WORST place (in terms of numbers) is the skate park at McCarren. Methinks I found ~40 in one walk-through.
  • The area behind the pool is also bad.
  • I found baggies in the Abate Playground as well. Um, hell-O.
  • McGolrick is also abysmal, but is that really surprising? I’ll go into McGolrick later.

Anyway, what I am getting at is exactly who is being targeted in these drug arrests? I ask this question because it is pretty obvious to me that (at least on the “user” end) it is not just the usual suspects. I mean, really, isn’t the skate park intended for use by children? If so, why did I find so much “paraphernalia”?

Yes, I see they have stepped up park patrols here. I have actually seen this (here) with my own eyes. However, I am not so keen on/satisfied with this being treated/addressed on a “north Greenpoint” (versus, by implication, “south” Greenpoint) basis. The problems here are pretty much the same as they are there.

3. Drugs & McGolrick Park:

Like I said: it is bad. Is this surprising? No. Something I observed is most of the drug baggies and needles were to be found in the outlying areas. Areas which I am guessing are not in view of the security cameras installed at the pavilion. Think: mostly along Nassau, Driggs and Monitor Street. ESPECIALLY Monitor Street. I found a drug exchange hypodermic needle along the Nassau Avenue side within eye shot of the playground. I found a number of (what I learned to be) disposable needle tips along Driggs and just around the corner on Monitor. Right across the street from PS 110. That one netted me a trip to the emergency room because I picked it up and was pricked by it. This came to pass 8/26.

Was this an intelligent thing to do? Pick stuff up in a park? No. However:

  •  I saw and have seen a number of people run around with their dogs, let their kids wander around (and in so doing see a small piece of pink plastic not knowing it sported  a used needle), lay on the grass (SHUDDER),
  • The needle tip I was pricked by is designed for, but not necessarily always used for, the dispensation of insulin. Unless you knew what it was or (as I did) ended up researching and finding out, well…

Let’s just say it could have just as easily happened to someone else. Very easily. At least a used hypodermic needle (as cringe worthy as it is) is pretty easy to see, identify and therefore avoid. “Disposable needle tips” not so much.

disposable needle tip
Were these (I found four) used for illegal drug use? For insulin? Or did someone simply dump them there? Actually the thought of someone dumping medical waste in a park is what I find the most disturbing— and I am not so quick to rule that out. I have seen medical waste dumped hereabouts before (albeit on a derelict construction site, just off McCarren in “Williamsburg”).

Which brings me to…

4. “…Our goal is to keep our community safe for the families that live, work and play here…”

I would suggest that one step, safety-wise, would be suspending “community/volunteer clean-ups” of public parks altogether. Inasmuch as our Parks Department, local parks conservancy group (they are more or less one and the same) and park-specific groups may want to cry “poor” and try to spin services which should be provided by the city into a “community building event” (FUN FOR ALL! BRING THE KIDS!) it is what it is. Forcing the community to do work which they are already entitled to (as citizens), not qualified to do and endangering said community in the process. That’s what (in my opinion) the McGolrick Park Alliance did when they hosted a community clean-up event not terribly long ago. They were made aware “sharps” were found there. (Excised #2) saw to that at my behest. I was not exactly in a “place” to take it up myself when I got home from the Emergency Room. Can you blame me? However, that evening I uploaded photos, made a map of where I found the needle/needle tips, uploaded and blasted them to friends. (Excised #2), of course, being one of them.

My emergency room bill came in at just shy of $15,000. Thankfully I am insured so my/our “co-pay” was a mere $50.00. I am not sure what the follow-up visits with a physician, blood tests (not a fun affair when needles and blood freak you out) and one full month of HIV retrovirals cost. The co-pays for the doctor visits were $30.00 each. I do not think I want to know. I recently found out, after about 2 1/2 months of waiting (and waiting is all you can do— you have to wait until two months after “exposure” for a conclusive test) that I am okay. No HIV, no Hepatitis C, no Tetanus, and, because it can be prevented “post-exposure”, via vaccinations, Hepatitis B. You get three rounds of shots for that one. My last will be in late February/early March 2016.

5. Closing thoughts

Some time ago I worked at a crime victims board, albeit in not in New York. Every state has a crime victim board/commission. Many are (in some part, sometimes mostly) funded by “VOCA” (the “Victims of Violent Crime Act”) or “VAWA” (Violence Against Women Act”). Their purpose is to (keeping it simple) pay for medical expenses accrued/ongoing as the result of being a victim of a violent crime for people who do not have any form of “insurance”. I saw a lot of rape cases and handled many a phone call from a “client” who had a collection agency hired to collect payment from (let’s face facts) her/her family because the agency I worked for did not pay the hospital/”care provider” in a timely fashion.

I am guessing, predicated on the previous life experience, if someone who was uninsured/under-insured hereabouts (I am guessing quite a few)  had undergone my experience (which was not at the behest of a violent crime, thankfully), he/she would end up having to sue the city for “negligence” and, in the interim/upon getting a “settlement”, field a lot of calls from collection agency. A whole lotta unnecessary grief/insult to injury. And that’s only if the person actually knew he/she was pricked by a used needle tip (as opposed to not knowing and later finding out he/she is sick and not knowing why/how).

We have serious problems here. Simply trouble-shooting one area and/or one group of people ain’t gonna fix it.

Get my drift?

taste the rainbowPart of me wants to attend this meeting and bring along a few “visual aids”: a jar with a few items (“sharps”) I found at McGolrick before I ended up getting “pricked” and a 6″ diameter snow globe filled with drug baggies (~180 total) “harvested”/”locally-sourced” from Greenpoint. Mostly from public parks.

However, I suspect my  “locally-sourced””objects” and what I have to say would be inappropriate.

*On the upshot, I did have some very big “takeaways” from my “scare”:

*It forced me to look at how even as a child (pretty damned far removed from the 1980’s AIDS epidemic) I was quietly inculcated/”educated” to think those with HIV/AIDS somehow “brought it upon themselves”. Something “shameful”. Not that I ever thought I was “that kind of person” (READ: bigot) who would preach to that effect on street corners. I wasn’t. However…

*sometimes the worst things you learn about yourself are the (most) insidious. Thought processes, thinking, you never really thought about. Until when faced with the possibility, however unlikely, that “you” may very well become one of “them”. In this respect I am very grateful to have had this “life lesson”.

*HIV and Hepatitis C are no longer death sentences. This is certainly progress, but it ain’t success/acceptable.

*Life can, does and will go on regardless of the results of one’s viral load tests.

H

This one goes out to Tim Murphy. His tome was the only one I wanted to read about Charlie Sheen “coming out” regarding his HIV infection. I read it while waiting to have my (hopefully last) viral load test. Otherwise, the doctor/”infectious disease specialist” I had during my “scare” was the best. I highly recommend him (although I hope I do not have to). Very caring and understanding. Above all when I told him that the “parks group” for the park wherein I was pricked elected to have a community/volunteer clean-up anyway, well, the look on his face was priceless. I should have taken a photo of it.

The Word On The Street: Big White Cock

August 17, 2015 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Dick Basketball Court Vincent V Abate Playground NYS

Big White Cock Basketball Court at Vincent V Abate Playground nys

Anyone who may be in search of one (and you know who you are) swing by the Vincent V. Abate Playground’s basketball court, which is where I found these delightful missives. In closing, during today’s sojourn of our parks/open spaces here in the 11222 I encountered much evidence of merry-making. A great deal of which was clearly not the handiwork of children

Greenpoint Feral Furniture Watch: Special Parks Edition

August 17, 2015 ·
Filed under: 11222, Feral Furniture, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Feral furniture McGolrick Park August 17 2015 NYS

Anyone in the market for a comfy chair take notice: this rather comfy model presently graces McGolrick Park.

Feral furniture McGoltick Park August 17 2015 NYS

Be advised, however, it is a bit of a “fixer-upper”. I am not even going to venture as to what it may sport in the way of “value-added”/”inhabitants”…

 

 

 

Tomorrow: Happy Birthday, Irene!

If you do not know who this amazing woman is, you should. Her name is Irene Klementowicz and this is what she had to say about an “environmental study” presentation a couple years ago.

Tomorrow, January 8th, will be her 86th birthday. If any of you, gentle readers, see her on Manhattan Avenue (always stylishly attired) wish her a happy and healthy one. It is women such as her who keep this community (or at least some of its bullshit) in check. And for this reason I adore her. This one’s for you, Irene.

P.S.: Also of note, “OSA” will be rolling out their vision plan for the Greenpoint Waterfront.

Thursday_ First Look at New Greenpoint Park_Page_1nys

 

Thursday_ First Look at New Greenpoint Park_Page_2nys

Those of you who plan on attending this dog and pony show: please keep Irene in the backs of your minds. After all, what does it say about a “parks advocacy group” when its head is the very same attorney who, under George “Greenpoint Landing” Klein’s hire, stumped for the 2005 Rezone (parks for super-sizing scheme) in the first place?

NYDNscANNO

The fellow in question prefers to see it as “community advocacy”— and I suppose, given his purview— it is.

Urban Fur: Special Parks & Recreation Edition

November 3, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Urban Fur 

Ever had the feeling you were being watched? I experienced just this today at WNYC Transmitter Park. So I stopped, looked around and, sure enough, I was right!

Ben

I am not a rodentologist— but I have been a resident of our fair city (in three boroughs, no less) close to two decades. In this capacity I:

  1. have had one run across my foot.
  2. have seen the tremendous enthusiasm with which our resident pest control experts (READ: cats) dispatch Rattus norvegicus young ‘uns. To cite an example:

    Me (to the Mister): Is that a rubber band hanging out of Tortilla’s mouth?
    The Mister: No, it isn’t. Don’t go into the kitchen.No, gentle readers, I did not spy with my little eye a rubber band. They were rat innards. Actually make that EX rat innards.

  3. patronize the New York City subway system.

Suffice it to say I am not the least bit squeamish when it comes to our furry friends. Quite to the contrary. When I see them scurrying about subway platforms or along the tracks I offer words of encouragement. E.g;

Run, Forrest, run!*

Surely the previous points count for something? You bet your sweet ass they do! As far as rodents go this is one fine specimen: clear eyes, shiny coat and a mite bit— how shall we say— rotund. In fact, he (?) was not much smaller than a couple of canines I saw running (off-leash, of course) fifteen to twenty feet away. I think I will name my new friend Ben

*Try this. I guarantee it will net you a nice, wide berth of passage on the platform.

Southside Photos Du Jour: The “Tipi” Rant

getting ready to barbecue

Today I had the pleasure of showing a buddy of mine, Lisanne, around northern Brooklandia. She’s been quite busy of late kicking ass in her community (“Gowanus”); was kind enough to take me on a tour of her community and I wanted to return the favor. I felt perhaps a walk around Williamsburg would be an interesting juxtaposition to what her community faces. Above all, I wanted to show her what I consider to be one of the supreme grotesques when to comes to developer/community organization “partnerships”. I speak of none other than the Southside teepee tipi.

Havemeyer Park Recliner nys

I have yet to articulate in words how much this thing enrages me. Maybe I’ll get it right this time. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

To preface, a little information about myself:

  1. I am not of Native American descent. I am not a spokesperson for the Native American community. However…
  2. my forbears (on my mother’s side) came from Texas. Well, if you want to get “picky” they lived in Texas before Texas was “Texas”. They were European immigrants and they immigrated to Mexico.
  3. They were not “wealthy” people. They lived alongside and in (relative*) harmony with Native Americans and Latinos (NOTE: I am reticent to use the term ‘Mexicans” because back in the day my forebears would also qualify as such. See point #2).
  4. When one is living on the “frontier”, “poor” and as such bereft the amenities we have in this modern age he/she does not have the luxury of being racist— and I assure you racism is a “luxury”. Instead, you pulled together as many collective resources as you could as a community. My grandmother and great aunt had (as they put it) a “Comanche woman” (“political correctness” as we know it was/is a mite bit too much to ask from two women born in 1909 and 1911 respectively) from a neighboring plot of land/”ranch” as a babysitter on occasion. They had fond memories of her.
  5.  When there was a “feud”, as great aunt put it, between this “Comanche” family and another family (non-native American, I recall) they sided with the Comanches. Like I said: racism is a luxury.

I am not Native American. However— and in large part due to my grandmother and her sister— I have been exposed Native Amercian history and culture since pretty much day one. And that’s why this teepee tipi pisses me off so goddamn much.

bbq pit and teepee

After I took this photo a 20-something fellow, the “fire setter”, clad in overalls, bandanna and a straw hat approached me.

Are you Miss Heather of New York Shitty?

he asked.

I answered to the affirmative. He responded as follows:

I’m Ryan, I used to work for GWAPP. We’ve met before.

Instead of tendering my condolences (I am capable of restraint when I want to be) I asked:

What are you doing?

We’re going to have a barbecue.

He replied and added:

We’re using wood because lighter fluid is bad!

“Oh I know” I replied and added:

Please tell that to my neighbors.** They just LOVE lighter fluid. They can’t barbecue for shit. They’d be excellent arsonists if they wanted to be.

Laughter, albeit of the uncomfortable/awkward variety, followed. “Ryan” went about his business and we went in.

southside teepee

newbalances

Upon seeing this pair of New Balance sneakers outside the “tipi” my companion and I burst into fits of cynical laughter. She noted “NBs” are the footwear of choice among “progressives”.

no shoes in the tipi

No shoes are allowed in the tipi.

people in tipi looking at iphone

But apparently the “tipi” has an open door policy for smart phones.

I do not recall Native Americans having iphones. Hell, I do not recall reading— ANYWHERE— about the Native Americans who once called this land their home having teepees tipis.  This is because they didn’t. Teepees were used by nomadic tribes— generally on the great plains. Teepees were made of buffalo hide. Brooklyn did not have “nomadic tribes” (or buffalo for that matter). There was no need to travel long distances: everything they needed was here.

My travelling companion, Lisanne, put it (more or less— paraphrasing here) very well:

Don’t they see the irony of having a teepee in a neighborhood where a lot of residents (many of whom are Latino and probably “Mestizo”— Ed. Note.) are being forced out?

No they don’t— and that is the problem.

nativeappropriations

Straight up: If you are going to appropriate Native American culture (which you probably shouldn’t do in the first place), at least make it contextually/historically relevant. New York City is not lacking in Native American history. So why I ask, once again, do we have this teepee? I am guessing it is a “nod” to Native American culture.

The problem with this teepee is— however well intended it may be— is the wrong Native American culture. By erecting this you are doing our predecessors here— and probably giving youths the notion that teepees did in fact exist here— a serious disservice. In fact I’d go so far to say one poorly placed teepee in Williamsburg is actually worse than no acknowledgement of Native American presence at all. Wrong information is worse than no information.

This could have, should have been an opportunity to educate people— newcomers and old timers, young and old— about the Native Americans who once lived here. Instead we have a hang-out wherein one can peruse one’s iphone. No lighter fluid, New Balances or Nikes allowed.

Rather sad, yes?

*For example, one time my grandmother and great aunt’s mother placed pies on a window sill to cool. The “Indians” stole them. My great aunt found her mother’s tristesse quite hilarious.

**Who also, thankfully rarely, host drum circles.

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: Java Street Pop-up Park

August 26, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Art 

birds

 

Everything is a lie nys

(Translation: “everything is a lie”)

A greenpoint miracle nys

And now, some good news: this afternoon, August 26th 2014, I bore witness to an actual fence being installed on the premises. Happy days!

East River Picnic table nys

Now if someone would fish the picnic table cum u-boat out of the East River we’ll be all aces!

birdsanduboat2

birds and uboat

AS you can see, the local wildlife do not seem to find it terribly compelling…

From The New York Shitty Inbox: More Ado About The Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch

Thumbs UpNYS

Or: Ten Days & Counting!

June 16 2014 1 NYS

June 16 2014 2 NYS

June 16 2014 3 600

June 16 2014 4 NYS

June 16 2014 5 NYS

(Taken June 16, 2014.)

A tipster writes (on June 6th, 2014)

Hi Heather!

Thank you for your post about the Manhattan Ave Boat Launch. I actually attempted to make an online 311 complaint about it a day or two before your post. However, the 311 website did not accept the complaint since the launch is not listed. Today I attempted to make the same complaint via phone and was again unsuccessful. I ended up making an “agency complaint”. I’m sure many people give up long before this point.  I spent about 15 minutes attempting to make the online complaint and 40 minutes making the agency complaint via phone.  My agency complaint number is C1-1-977259887

It lists the following:

  • Parks Dept does not list the site as a park to enable 311 complaints
  • Broken waterfront railing
  • Broken railing surrounding grassy area
  • Wood chips have not been replaced
  • Grass dry and unkempt
  • Boats moored to kayak launch access gate
  • Dead trees
  • Trees with broken branches
  • Excessive weeds

I found the the first bullet point rather fascinating. The following, gentle readers, should clarify why.

QuestionNYS

 

AnswerNYS

Let’s review:

  1. Permits can be/have been issued for the use of this park.
  2. This would suggest that this piece of public space is in the “Parks” system.
  3. However, when a complaint is to be lodged it cannot be located. Fascinating.

wheres levin NYSI suppose the argument could be made that our local parks conservancy/partnership “arrangement” is more interested in the monetization of our public spaces (via the issuance of permits and hosting events such as the Northside Festival) than enforcement/”upkeep”. I would like to kindly counter that much-needed revenue is being lost by allowing these watercraft to moor for free. I wonder what our City Councilman’s position is on this? Anyone?

In any case I was recently advised to poke around online boating forums regarding free mooring at Newtown Creek. Today I did. It was rather illuminating.

Those of you who, say, struggle to pay rent, property taxes or bemoan the woeful condition of our public spaces— few as they are here— should take a moment, read and re-read the previous. Angry yet?

June 16 2014 6 NYS

You should be.

Trouble No More

“Playing by the rules” is for chumps.

P.S.: It would appear the North Brooklyn Boat Club is now the North Brooklyn Community Boathouse.

NYS DOS Division of CorporationsNYS

Still no listing on the New York State Charities Database. Hmm.

NYS state charities database

Nonetheless it is located on the premises of the “Broadway Stages Boat Yard“, is still “fiscally sponsored” by Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— and they’re having a party!

flyerNYS

 

Um, isn’t OSA’s job to help finance public parks?

danielbrugmannNYS

Flyer credits: the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Dustin Brugmann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Shitty Photos Du Jour: And Then There Were Two

one

two

From Huntington to Greenpoint NYS

three

four

five

six

As taken today, June 4th.  It would appear now we have two rather large vessels “parked” at the Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch. They are neither kayaks nor are they being “launched”. As you can see gentle readers it would appear one watercraft is, how shall we say, “inhabited”?* Isn’t refreshing to see what precious public park space we have in north “Point being pressed into service in such a manner? Of course the “authorities” have their fair share of blame for allowing this to happen (and not repairing the fence for that matter). Straight up: if you can afford a boat such as either of these, you can afford to pay to have it moored legally. It really is that simple.

*Exactly why anyone would want to live where delights such as this

coneyislandwhitefish

are the commonplace is a mystery to me. Anyone?

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