Hot in the Ass
Last Sunday evening my husband and I took the L train home after knocking around the West Village. Upon entering the car, I noticed that there were a few seats left that no one had not seen fit to take: they chose to stand instead. Shortly after I sat down and the train continued its trek to Canarsie, I found out why.
I plopped my ass down next to an older black gentleman. He was a tad scruffy, but clean and kempt. He was definitely not homeless, just a tad odd. He was rocking some strange mojo and the monologue he gave for the edification of his fellow MTA patrons—from 6th Avenue to Lorimer St. (where we got off)— pretty much proved my intuition to be on the mark. I have yet to decide whether or not this man was insane. I am tilting towards “not” only because he was (a hair’s breadth) too lucid.
I can’t recall everything he rambled about (there was simply too much), but I suspect I speak for most of my fellow L train riders that night when I say we found him quite entertaining. His repartee was a vulgar, rapier-sharp brand of wit seldom found anymore, save unless if one went the local library and leafed through anything written by Rabelais. My favorite part of this man’s diatribe(s) was what I call the “hot in the ass” musings. In a nutshell, he asserted that each and every person riding in our car (and in New York City in general) was “hot in the ass”. He even challenged to us to argue the contrary:
I dare any one of you in this car to raise your hand and say you’re not hot in the ass.
No one did. Point made.
For the last week I have been wondering exactly what it is that makes people feel compelled to ramble endlessly in public spaces (e.g., the rapid transit system). Does New York City simply attract the kind of people who engage in this practice or does New York City drive people to it? I am veering towards the latter because the last few days here at Chateau de Ghetto have been pure, unadulterated HELL.
Not only do the events that follow result in some poor 311 operator getting his ear chewed off, but spending $2.00 to ride the subway and scream at total strangers is starting to look damned appealing to me. When everything comes to pass, it would probably be more effective anyway. I am just a silly idealistic pissant who follows the rules and expects others (landlords) to do the same.
It all started with last Thursday, September 7.
My Thursday morning started at 7:30 a.m. This is when the contractors hired by the MTA to tear up the street in front of our apartment (ostensibly to do something with the G train) fired up the heavy machinery. At 9:30 a.m. I hear yelling. I peer outside to see some goon in an expensive suit getting in the face of one of the contractors because he cannot park his Mercedes-Benz SUV in front of his building. Lovely. I go back to working on the computer.
10:00 a.m.: I hear a very loud sound. Come to think of it, I didn’t just hear a sound: I felt it. “What in god’s name is going on?!?” I asked myself. I wandered to the back of the apartment (from which this din seemed to be originating) to see what’s up. The kitchen floor was vibrating as was damned near everything else that wasn’t nailed down. Not cool. Whilest taking a sip of my coffee, I looked out the window and saw this:
I was aware that the landlord next door was doing renovations to the salon he owns/operates, but never in my wildest
dreams nightmares would I have thought it would come to this. When you live in a building with an incompetent, intransigent, and LAZY Super (hence why I call him the “Stupor”), it simply does not cross your mind that other landlords do work on their buildings. Much less that they would do such work voluntarily. The landlord next door is destroying my “Backdoor Crapstavaganza” and as the day wore on, it only got worse…
The noise was bad. The smell of the roofing materials being removed was worse; it filled our apartment with black dust and a sulphurous odor. But his raising the roof and using shitty construction methods really did it.
Yesterday, September 9, 2006 (SATURDAY from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) I watched, listened and SMELLED this man’s dubious plan unfold. And when the ramifications of this man’s tomfoolery became all too clear, I got (*ahem*) hot in the ass.
This is my bedroom window. It is one of three windows in our apartment that face this man’s questionable ‘renovation’. Three windows that will be partially ‘blocked’ by his new roof. Well not exactly “blocked”; he has been thoughtful enough to cut niches around them. Niches which will probably pool with rainwater that will LEAK INTO MY APARTMENT.
Here is my one of my neighbor’s windows:
I am no expert, but I suspect the FDNY would not like this. The roof is going to obstruct the three windows she has facing this space as well. Three windows which provide the only means of egress from her apartment in the event of a fire other than her front door.
Before calling 311, I had the presence of mind to pull up the Department of Buildings web site and review what (if any) permits this man had open. He has one which allows him to do “Interior Alterations and Plumbing as per PLANS. NO WORK ON FL. 2 TO 4”. I strongly suspect what this man is doing is decidely not what the DOB had in mind when they issued him this permit. A permit, I would like to add, that was issued after the DOB received a complaint that he was operating without a permit. That complaint was dismissed, but that’s okay because now they have a new one: mine.
I was about as nice I could be to the 311 operator (he was very understanding and helpful), given the circumstances. These circumstances included having to shout over all the noise the very people I was trying to report were making. Mind you, I made this call from the other end of our apartment. This did not go unnoticed by the city employee I spoke with.
311 Man (hearing noise): Are they working right now?
Me: Yes, they are. They have been working since 9:30 this morning.
311 Man: Do they have a variance to do work weekends?
Me: Not that I know of.
And then I cited the open DOB permit verbatim all the way down to the permit number. I have also reported this to the Stupor of our building (as I suspected our landlord may find these developments disconcerting). The Stupe didn’t care; this guy is his buddy. Tomorrow I will report this to the Fire Department and anyone else I can think of until I come across someone who does care. This is not a mere matter of inconvenience, it is one of safety. My safety and that of my neighbors are more valuable than the dubious eight feet this man is adding to his roof.