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…

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?

From The New York Shitty Inbox: And So It Goes…

Transmitter Park Buddha 600

April 24, 2014

Fwd: City of New York Auto Acknowledgment Correspondence # 1-1-9

Fwd: City of New York Auto Acknowledgment Correspondence # 1-1-9

May 6, 2014

Fwd: Your Correspondence to NYC Parks

Fwd: Your Correspondence to NYC Parks

Now let’s jump forward to today, June 3rd, shall we?

One

 

Here’s your “enforcement” folks.

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Woman walks into park with dog. Woman let’s dog urinate on a sapling. Dog then proceeds to kick up soil and whatever grass may be present. Those who have children, take them this park and let them play in the grass may want to keep the above images in mind. This is why we do not have nice things, Garden Spotters. Of course, it can always be worse. Yesterday used hypodermic needles were found at McCarren Park.

Oh yeah: lest you are wondering, gentle readers, why Buddha graces the beginning of this post I can assure you it is not an accident. I found the enlightened one enjoying our newest piece of park space hereabouts.

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: On The Waterfront

See that grey stuff? That’s Manhattan.

Yup.

Once again: Yup.

One more time: Yup.

The good news: the feral felines which North Brooklyn Cats (lovely ladies all) trapped, neutered and released appear to be doing well!

The bad news: the park bench* and fence** gracing this piece of much-needed “open space” are still submerged.

What’s more, they now have a most unusual urban artifact to give them company.

A safe.

Make that an EX safe.

Welcome to Greenpoint.

Repeat after me:

Graffiti— not landlord neglect; definitely not a lack of investment and especially NOT enforcement of the law by our fair city— is ruining the neighborhood…

*Aquatic since at least November 3, 2013.
**Wrecked since at least October 8, 2013.

New York Shitty Photos Du Jour: On The Waterfront

December 5, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Hanging Out

Welcome To Greenpoint

Still There

Park Bench With Seaweed and Algae

END

Today while running errands I opted to take the “scenic route” home. I decided to enjoy access to our waterfront! As you can see, I was not alone. Not surprisingly, the park bench— or would that be former park bench— is still in the East River. That has been its location for almost two months. Can I honestly say I am surprised by this? No— but it did get me to thinking. I have reached the conclusion I am looking at this all wrong. This is not an eyesore, it is an opportunity to give a nod to our community’s industrial heritage!

Monitor Launch Site Vs Aquatic Park Bench

This pop-up park is located within eye shot of the USS Monitor’s launch site (as indicated by the top most arrow).

READY FOR ACTION

I propose a metal worker (or two) be hired to retrofit this piece of seating with some armor and a turret. Lo, instant public art! Is anyone with me on this?

Photo Credits: “Ready For Action” comes courtesy of LiveScience.com. They have a nifty array of Monitor photos old and new. Check ’em out!

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: Java Street Pop-Up Park

November 3, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Criminal Activity, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

Geese

geese and barbed wire

Ever had one of those moments when a something— let’s say gut instinct— tells you:

Something has changed here.

Well, I had one such moment today while visiting the Java Street Pop-Up Park.

Java Street Pop-Up Park November 3 2013

No gentle readers, I am not making reference to the fence which has found its way into the East River. That came to my attention on October 8th. No, this is something else.

Something Is Missing

There used to be something here as I recall. A park bench, perhaps?

Park Bench

Why yes, that’s what was there!!! I wonder where it went?

Park Bench Taking A Dip

Oh, I see it has joined its friend the fence for a dip in the East River.

Man Overboard

Impressive. But of course, I doubt this would have been possible had the fence been repaired in a timely fashion. But it wasn’t—- so now we have this vision to greet visitors disembarking from the East River Ferry. I am certain it will work wonders for our burgeoning tourism industry.

gooseandfencecrop

I imagine it is only a matter of time before a goose gets hurt on the barbed wire on said fence. For all I know this may have happened already. It’s not like they have the ability to call 911…

New York Shitty Day Ender: Clean!

On a lark today I decided to see how Java Street’s feral furniture fest (READ: illegal dumping) was progressing. You can imagine my shock and subsequent delight when I beheld this. Not only is everything spic and span (all things being relative), but the much-beleaguered trash receptacle has been divested of its contents.

What a difference a visit from the Department of Sanitation makes!

New York Shitty Day Ender: What’s In A Name?

In this case (as I learned) quite a lot.

Untitled

Conversely, the much-publicized concerts at “Williamsburg Park” (AKA: the concrete lot adjacent to CitiStorage) are set to commence tomorrow. As you can see the stage is facing “inland”. Start drafting your 311 noise complaints now, north Brooklynites!

My advice:

Photo Credits: the photo of “Williamsburg Park’s” stage comes courtesy of Miss Mousey Brown.

 

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