155 Calyer Street Update

January 20, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It has been some time since I have revisited this property. I have written about it rather extensively and as of the last post it has been served a Stop Work Order. A number of people have wondered what is slated to grace this property. Well, I have the answer: it is going to be a laundromat. I suspect many will agree with me that such a business is sorely needed in this part of Greenpoint.

But this post isn’t about a dearth of goods and services. That is boring. Rather, I am going to write about how I learned this space is going to be a laundromat. This is infinitely more interesting, as you will see.

After pulling some seriously brutal hours, the Mister took last Friday off. Inasmuch as I can deduce he spent it playing around on the computer. This is his usual m.o. when he has down time. In any case, whatever he was doing was interrupted by a phone call. It was our landlord. He was quite upset. Long story made short: he was the author of the work at 155 Calyer Street. After receiving a Stop Work Order his secretary did some research and discovered New York Shitty. Somehow they put it together who is the author of this site: me.

My husband informed me that our landlord seemed to be under the impression I was angry at him and raised a stink about 155 Calyer to take a dig at him. I can assure you (and him if he is reading this) this was and is not the case. Had I known he was responsible for this I probably would have approached the matter a little differently. I probably would have given him a head’s up that the work at this site has come to the attention of a number of people and the absence of any work permits was probably going to net a complaint to the Department of Buildings. But why trifle with what could have been? Here and now my landlord thinks I have it out for him.

I do not. But I (and a number of other Greenpoint residents) do have a “thing” for illegal demolition and construction work. Especially when it comes to landmarked properties. This is the result of witnessing years upon years of watching abuse being heaped upon this neighborhood and my community’s quality of life at the behest of unscrupulous speculators. And this city’s seeming unwillingness to do anything about it.

What’s more, I really like purple aluminum siding.

All in all, our landlord is a swell guy. Although I have voiced frustrations about the living conditions in our humble abode in the past, since there was a change in management— and our former Super was sent packing (that man was about as worthless as they come)— things have been quite good. When things break (and they do, this is inevitable) they are fixed in a timely manner and more importantly they are fixed properly. I would not have a signed a two year lease (sans rider— which was one of the most odious and legally questionable documents I have ever seen and it should be noted was NOT drawn up by our landlord) last month if I was unhappy. Much to the contrary: I am quite happy.

Except for the fact I probably had a hand in getting my landlord in trouble. I feel pretty bad about that.

I am certain when this laundomat is up and running it be an asset— not a detriment— to the community. Foremost and above all (and I suspect I speak for many when I write this) I am relieved that this space is not going to be another bar. We have way too many of these already.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: 155 Calyer Gets SWO’ed

January 4, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

siding

As some of you might remember last year I wrote about the immaculate demolition of 155 Calyer Street. A landmarked property. Well, I have been advised via comments and email the perpetrators, 155 Calyer LLC,  have been served.

new writes on 12/31/09:

DOB dropped by this afternoon and posted a love note in the window..

C writes on 1/4/10:

155 calyer got a stop work order

Sure enough, per the Department of Building’s web site 155 Calyer has been served.

SWO150calyer

Note how the interior demolition is “80% complete”. I wonder what tipped them off?

dumpster

Perhaps it was this hugeass dumpster out front?

noparking

Note how it is placed in a “No Parking” zone. It should also be noted this photograph was taken today, January 4, 2010: a Monday.

If you’re going to break one law, why not break a few more? You’ll get a slap on the proverbial (READ: financial) wrist. That’s the north Brooklyn way!

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Aluminum Siding Watch: 155 Calyer Street

December 30, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Vinyl Siding 

After C raised the alarm about the work going on at 155 Calyer I simply had to behold it for myself. So this afternoon I swung by to get a look-see.

155calyer

By all appearances they are gutting the interiors of both storefronts in order to rewire them. Do they have permits to do this? No, they don’t.

siding

So far they have not touched the exterior. This is encouraging because:

  1. Under landmarking they cannot modify it. At least not excessively.
  2. It sports the only example in Greenpoint— and very possibly all of Brooklyn— of purple aluminum siding. Like it or hate it folks (and for the record, I like it), this IS in keeping with the character of our neighborhood!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: What’s Up at 155 Calyer?

December 29, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

155calyer

C (who sent me the above photo) writes:

Former home of the William Taft, and a perfectly good laundromat. Then became the architect’s studio. Then nothing… until today, when both sides had major demolition going on inside. No permits. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Posted or on the DOB site.

I’m all for this space getting used for some useful commerce – or any commerce or small business – but I smell a rat.

Demolition without a permit? In Greenpoint? Say it isn’t so, C!

In all seriousness, this is hardly surprising but pretty darned disturbing given this building is landmarked. Anyone out there have the scoop on what is happening at this site? If so, please share via the comments. Thanks!

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Laundromat Watch: Eager On Calyer

June 16, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Some of you might recall that a couple weeks ago I walked by the soon-to-be laundromat on Calyer Street. That was where I found the missive at left. It was written by someone who has taken a very keen interest in this establishment and reads as follows:

Dear laundromat,

Please finish construction soon so I can give you all of my money. I have at least seventy pounds of dirty laundry with your name on it!

p.s. if you need help with construction i am good with a hammer

Well, I walked by again yesterday. It would appear this person has been back— and is getting desperate.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, 8:40 p.m.: this missive has since been annotated. Good catch, Caryn!


Found On Calyer Street: True Confession

June 1, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

If the above building looks familiar to you, here is why: I learned it was owned by my landlord after he had been shut down by the Department of Buildings, discovered this web site and elected to telephone me. Needless to say this was a bit awkward. But not as awkward as, say, having seventy pounds of fetid laundry in your apartment. Although I miss the purple aluminum siding, perhaps it “died” for a good cause? I suspect this person’s neighbors or roommates would say so. In closing I would like to advise the person responsible for this tome that am going to print out a copy of this and give it to my landlord lest he is need of anyone who is “good with a hammer”. His name is Nick lest you want to put his name on your dirty clothing.

Miss Heather

From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives: Scandal!

February 11, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This morning was an eventful one at Chez Shitty. After a restless night I finally fell asleep— only to awaken at 7:00 a.m. to the sound of all hell breaking loose. After a thorough examination of the fuse box the Mister quickly deduced there was a power surge. This managed, in turn, to blow out the electricity in our entire apartment. Save, mercifully enough, the circuit which services our refrigerator. The exact scope of damage remains to be assessed, but as of the writing of this post the casualties appear to be:

  • An alarm clock
  • Our humidifier
  • Our telephone (which doesn’t really upset me— I never answer it anyway)

Our Unix cluster was spared due to the Mister’s I.T. prowess (and a surge protector). Our new-ish printer (which was not plugged into said surge protector) was spared courtesy of our cat, Artemis. This pesky cable precluded him from sitting behind said printer in comfort so he saw fit to unplug it. As cantankerous as Artemis is (probably because he has been saddled with female name— FOR 16 YEARS) he has just earned his weight in gold. Or at least tuna.

But I digress.

I shuffled downstairs to tender the “good news”. As luck would have it, our landlord was already on it. He was shouting at someone on a cell phone. This precluded him from shouting at yours truly about last month’s whole “Stop Work Order” fiasco. Some days it is best to view life via bell curved glasses. Today was one of them.

Misery loves company. Which brings me to the above Fedders special and a story I accidentally unearthed via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives. An “implicated” young lady by the name of Libbie Penney once lived at the above location and her story has ties to a bona fide 11222 scandal. Not that it was news to Greenpointers— as you will learn. Enjoy!

This just goes to show what tee-totaling can do to a community. Drink up, 11222ers! The very moral fabric of our humble neighborhood lies on your shoulders (and in your livers).

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Plaques At 80 Franklin Street?

September 12, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

One of the things I love about Greenpoint (and New York City, for that matter) is you can walk down the same street year after year and find some hitherto undiscovered treasure.  This brings me to the above building and an email I received from an eagle-eyed Greenpointer (and friend) Caryn. She writes:

The little building next to mine at 80 Franklin has always intrigued me. I did some research once that indicated that the first house in Greenpoint was built at the corner of Franklin and Calyer, and given the fact that the two buildings on that corner are newer construction than everything around them,
I always assumed that made sense.

This morning I walked out of the building and headed down Franklin St. towards Greenpoint Ave. As I passed 80 Franklin, something on the sidewalk (which is usually obscured by garbage cans) caught my eye.

There are SIX plaques dedicated to the memory of WWI. Not WWII. WWI.

photo.JPG
photo.JPG

I didn’t want to open the gate and get better photos since I was late. But it is a crying shame that these are normally obscured by trash.

The plaques also make mention of a tree.

I wonder if it was a park or a yard? Are these plaques private or public? If nothing else I’d like to highlight them so maybe the people who live/work there don’t put their trashcans on them any longer.
I’d love to find out who I could contact to see what can be done to preserve these.

Needless to say I swung by without delay and checked these out. I found five such plaques. Without further ado here they are:

I (okay, WE: my husband is a World War I maven of sorts) have started to research these plaques but have yet to come up with anything substantive. Their placement is certainly odd— perhaps they have something to do with the gore which is located across the street? If any of you, dear readers, know the story behind these plaques and/or the tree which was planted in these veterans’ memory please share via comments or email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com.

Thanks!

UPDATE, 7:05 p.m.: having arrived home I see some of my readers have stepped up to the plate!

Arthur Rollin writes:

Hi Miss Heather!

I immediately recognized the plaques you posted about recently.  They were originally placed beside Elm trees planted along Eastern Parkway (where I live) in Prospect and Crown Heights after the first World War.  I’m guessing a lot of those original elms have since died and been torn out, but a few of the plaques still remain.  You can read more about them here:
I’m not sure how they ended up in Greenpoint though.  Maybe living relatives of the deceased picked them up when the trees were removed in order to maintain a memorial of some sorts?  It’s probably worth looking up the names in the City’s census records and see if they were residents of the area.
Hope that helps!

Ray Palermo writes:

Just a guess, but it may have had something to do with 80 Franklin having been a funeral home.  It would not be unusual for an undertaker to have a memorial to fallen soldiers from the neighborhood, and the plaques outlived the building and the business.  The attached is from 1885, but it could have still been in business during WWI.

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F40912FD3B5D10738DDDAF0994DF405B8584F0D3

Interesting. Especially since it (somewhat) dove tails with what my buddy across the creek— none other than the Crapper himself— had to say!

Click the link, then click the little camera icon. A menu will come up with dates. Toggle between 1924 aerial and any of the others and you’ll see that 80 Franklin Street was a victim of Banker Street being cut through. A search of the address on the NY Times website shows it was at one time the office of the medical examiner. (In 1885, he was caught keeping dead babies in an icebox for months. !!! —Ed. Note.) Anyway, as this was once a civic building, the memorials make sense. The loss of the space where the trees were is probably due to the road being extended.

More (undoubtedly) to come!

UPDATE, 7:42 p.m.: the historian for St. Stan’s Post 1771, Phil, writes:

Heather,

Once upon a time in Greenpoint, there were trees outside McGolrick park on Monitor Street. These trees were dedicated to World War I veterans who were from Greenpoint that died in World War I. The trees had a plaques with there names on them. They were put there by American Legion post 241, formed in 1919, which was located at the present site of McDonalds.

I found out about the plaques in the 50’s from guy who may have been a member of Post 241. At the time he was putting two small American flags on the tree, it was in honor of Memorial Day or Veterans Day I don’t remember which. Post 241 was closed down after World War II and was absorbed by our Post St Stans 1771. Once I got involved in the American Legion I started to wonder about those plaques and what happened to them. I tried the Parks Department they didn’t have any information as to What happened to them. Could these plaques you found were the plaques at the bottom of the trees, I can’t say for sure.

I did find out the following 4 of them are from Greenpoint:

Nulty Thomas Raymond,
683 Leonard St Bklyn.
Corp., M. G. Bn.165th Inf.
Killed in action, July 28.1918

Foley, Frank J.,
922 Lorimer St.,Bklyn.
Pvt., 1st Cl.Co.C, 165th Inf. Died of wounds, October 13,1918.

Sheehan, .John C.,
212 Java St., Bklyn.
Pvt., 1st Cl.Co.E, 302d Engrs.
Died of wounds, September 17, 1918.

Black, George A.
Private George Alphonsus BLACK, who died of wounds Oct. 5, was the 27-year-old son of John J. and Catherine BLACK, of 87 India street. He was born in New York and when he was very young his parents moved to Greenpoint, where he attended and was graduated from P.S. 126.  When this country declared war on Germany he tried to enlist three times, but failed. He was drafted last February and went overseas with Company D, 306th Machine Gun Battalion.  The last letter his parents received from him, was dated Sept. 2.  The heartbroken mother said last night that in the midst of her terrible grief, she rejoiced that her boy had died for his country.  Another brother, Dr. John J. BLACK, is with the Medical Reserve Corps.

I found a listing for a Frank Foley who lived at 84 Newell St. on the June 18, 1918 Draft Register.

I don’t have any idea on Dan McKenna Korea.

I read some of the replies to your post. These plaques are for men who were from Greenpoint.

UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: Phil (with a little help from a friend) has solved the mystery! He writes:

Heather,

I just spoke to a friend of mine and he knew the history of those plaques. Those plaques were originally located at the foot of the trees that were located around the old Knights Of Columbus Lexington Council building on the corner of  Meserole Ave and Lorimer Street. When the building was sold they came into the possession of the former owner of 80 Franklin. I also found out that there was a VFW post in Greenpoint named for George Black. The post has long since been closed down…

9:13 p.m.: I did some checking and the George Black post 1818 is still listed as being open but maybe inactive. VFW does not give an address.

Miss Heather

Reader Comment Of The Week

June 16, 2009 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

heroinYes I know it’s only Tuesday but I seriously doubt (hope? pray?) Ihave to moderate a comment of this caliber for the next five days. After all, It’s not every day you:

  • ask the police what you can do about drug activity in your apartment building only to be told it is “a tenant landlord matter”
  • have a friend of your landlady’s son, an alleged drug dealer, die in the basement of your apartment building…
  • and there his body remained for over 12 hours

Then again this is the 94th Precinct we’re talking about. Nothing— no matter how crass— surprises me anymore. Even so, I have to confess this is one very special story. Rebecca11222 writes (in regards to this post):

Hi, Laura – My 2 cents as to who to also contact at this point: The NYC Parks Department.  In McCarren and McGolrick Parks there is a Manager on site.  I can say that the fellow at McCarren is very helpful.

I guess the question to have answered is: do they have a Manager on site at the new park?  Find out the name & what his/her hours are.  My bet is that weekend availability is patchwork. Report the incident and ask what they advise if you are in that situation again.

My concern is the threats of violence (albeit alcohol-fueled) with which you & your family were met.  I’m sorry that happened and when calling the 94th, I’ve found to place the emphasis on behavior that they can either get arrests out of or at least big $.  Like “driving while intoxicated” or ” behaving violently around children”  You’d think that a nice steep fine for littering would be incentive; but I guess not.

Personally, I live in a building w/ a junkie/ low-level drug-dealer in the basement.  He is the landlady’s son.  People who fall asleep standing up around the nabe are his only friends.  I see deals going down around my apt building  (Calyer at Eckford) frequently.  All my neighbors (some of whom have lived in Greenpoint for over 50 years) have seen him make deals around the blocks and in front of the house.  Yet she is in denial about his habit and he manipulates her.  When we first moved in, we found used syringes an glass vials in the fireplace ashes.  The son had been living in our apt before we moved in. When we brought this to her attention, our landlady said “this is a drug-free house.”

My husband & I asked some 94th officers what we could do b/c people who do heroin or crack tend to steal or fall asleep w/ lit cigarettes (or become violent in the case of crack).  They said it was a landlord tenant dispute until “something” happened.

Well, early this Friday morning, one of the son’s “friends” died in the basement.  The landlady told me, “my son wanted to move the body & dump it somewhere else, but I said he couldn’t.” She attributed his desire to move said body to a desire to protect her rather than, oh, say, hide some evidence.  The body stayed there until about 8pm Friday & there was a cop posted outside the building.  I wonder if this will be enough of a “something” to warrant further police investigation or action.  Or maybe someone else has to die.

Btw: if anyone wants 2 awesome, quiet, responsible tenants, my husband & I are looking for a new place.

So there have you.

Miss Heather

More Fun From The New York Shitty Inbox

February 14, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

hydrant-on-union

You know what that they say about trouble: it comes in threes. It would appear this holiday weekend (and it ain’t over yet) is proving to be a busy one for our very own 94th precinct.

M writes:

Hey Miss H – I witnessed an armed robbery early Friday morning around 1 AM at the corner of N. 11th & Union across from the Royal Oak bar in Williamsburg. A twenty-something couple that lives in the area got held up at gunpoint for their belongings. The assailants were both wearing hoodies: one grey and one black.  The whole thing happened very quickly of course – when I first turned around to see the commotion, it almost looked as though the group knew each other.  The robbers didn’t take their cell phones so the couple both called 911. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much I could offer other than “one in grey and one in black” from my vantage point across the street. One of the robbers held a gun to the male’s head as they grabbed their bags and told them to “give it up.  I found out afterward that the woman’s bag contained a laptop full of research for her work.  There were several squad cars on the scene within minutes of the robbery and they started scouring the area.

I gave the guy my card in case I could help remember anything more specific, but alas, I didn’t get a view of the two robber’s faces before they took off and rounded the corner onto Roebling.  The couple hopped into one of the squad cars to take a look around, but as I got a call from the police about 2 hours later asking if I had seen the robbers’ faces, I doubt they turned up anything in their search of the area. Pretty scary considering how it wasn’t that late and the area there isn’t exactly bereft of foot traffic. It would seem that criminals are getting bolder in the neighborhood, so people should be extra cautious when you’re walking around late at night in less trafficked areas. It could have just as easily been me on that side of the street with my laptop (which I happened to have on me at the time) so this has me thinking twice about the safety of our area.

Here’s a link to the google map of the corner where the robbery took place .

sorry this isn’t a fun tip to pass on your way, but people should know what’s happening out there after hours.

I agree. While not “fun” it is important that my fellow citizens know about this kind of thing, hence why I am posting this item. Be careful out there G & L trainers. Seriously.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Lest anyone reading this wants to voice their concerns about crime in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area, the next Community Council meeting for the 94th Precinct will be on February 17, 2009 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Greenpoint Savings Bank (AKA: Capital One):

807 Manhattan Avenue (Entrance on Calyer Street)
Brooklyn, New York 11222

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