Williamsburg Construction Watch: The Blair Witch Project?

Some of you might have noticed that I have a category on this site called “Area 51”. For those of you who are not in the know this is a reference to the mysterious military installation in Nevada. Many theories abound about this establishment but no one really knows what goes on there. But back to the point of this post.

When I awoke this morning my head felt like Keith Moon’s hotel room after a bender. I don’t know why. I’m guessing the weather, not alien abduction, was to blame. I decided to shake the cobwebs out of my mind by taking a little walk around Williamsburg. What I got in return was a colossal mind fuck which could fall under a number of categories. Among them:

  • Bloomblight
  • Construction/Destruction Porn
  • Gentrification
  • Culture War
  • Halloween

This is the reason I created the category “Area 51”: it is a repository for things that defy easy description. On that note, here they are.

#1 5 Roebling Street

5roe

These monolithic slabs of King’s Crap sit atop the space formerly occupied by the now deceased “Giant Fart Cloud Building”. It was at this site that I found two items of interest.

NRA

I cannot for the life of me figure what this missive means— much less to whom it is directed. Perhaps the following artifact (which is located approximately 20 feet away) has something to do with it?

blairwitch

Truth be told this gave me the creeps. Big time. Thankfully I got some good mojo shortly thereafter on North 10 Street. Which brings to…

#2 178 North 10 Street

N10

What could I possibly find uplifting on this block, you ask? The first and only use of Feng Shui at a construction site I have ever beheld, that’s what!

bagua

A bagua presides over 178 North 10 Street.  Having some knowledge about such stuff, baguas are usually employed to redirect/deflect bad “chi”. In the case of this block one has to wonder what is the source of said bad vibrations.

bloomblight

This?

thetoiletbuilding

Or this?

Miss Heather


Williamsburg Photos Du Jour: Separated At Barf?

When I was an undergraduate in art school my teachers frequently pestered me for not signing my work. I didn’t engage in this practice for two reasons:

  1. Over the years it had come to my attention that the size/elaborateness of the signature on a piece of art work was inversely related to the quality of said work.
  2. I had the presence of mind to know that 10-15 years down the line I would be appalled by my student work and destroy it. (And that is exactly what came to pass.)

Which brings me to this.

Driggs Avenue & North 9 Street

KBJ

Kingsland & Skillman Avenue

skillman1

Skillman2

I’m not in a particular chatty mood today but I couldn’t resist passing along these baby shit-hued beauties from the ‘burg. I fear this trend of going green (albeit via stucco) might be gaining momentum. Inasmuch as it pains me to write this the latter may very well be the least unattractive addition to what may very be one of the ugliest blocks in Williamsburg. Meet 253 Skillman Avenue’s neighbor.

skillman3

skillman4

Who wouldn’t want a balcony with scenic views of this?

Miss Heather

Viridian Death Watch: Another One Bites The Dust

September 8, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Abjectecture, Asshole, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

sidewalk

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Jay Lombard of Dog Habitat brought the above little fella (and two of his equally deceased feathered friends) to our attention? He had ascertained that the glass windows of Greenpoint’s favorite nondo, the Viridian, was to blame for their demise; the reflection cast from them was fooling these cedar waxwings— which should be noted are currently migrating south— to fly into them. Well, it is with heavy heart that I inform you 110 Green Street has claimed another victim.

RIP

And this time— instead of picking his (or her) fragile little body up— Magic’s funky bunch simply swept him along with all the other “trash” (gracing the western end of their property) onto their neighbor’s lot.

108green

You’re a real class act, Viridian.

Miss Heather

Construction Site Du Jour: 211 Huron Street

July 28, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Abjectecture, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

You know how the saying goes:

All’s well that ends well.

Well, I would like to update this adage with a distinctly Greenpointian twist:

Anything that starts out this badly will probably end up being even worse.

Which brings me to this.

SPLAT

I have seen a lot of shoddy construction work in my day. So much so that I have become somewhat oblivious to it. That is until I beheld 211 Huron Street. This site is in a class all its own.

site

This is without argument one of the most fascinating construction fences I have ever seen.*

door

The use of a residential door gives it a “cozy” feel lacking in this day and age of mega-development and glass boxes. If you lived here, you’d be homeless by now!

signs

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign— but these missives pass muster as such only in the most academic sense of the word. It should be noted, however, that although they do not score points for relaying information they do create an interesting montage!

cement

As you can see no expense has been spared on cement. In fact, they even went to the trouble of repaving part of the street. I have no doubt this will work wonders for our already beleaguered sewage system.

panes

Need a place to store your stuff? That’s what your next door neighbor’s property is for!

The more eagle-eyed among you probably noticed there are no permits whatsoever to be found at 211 Huron Street. This is because they have no valid permits (those expired in April**). Not that this formality appears to have deterred them from working anyway.

splat2

Whoops.

Miss Heather

*Note the absence of a sidewalk shed. It would appear they really need one.
**What is slated to be built here is as follows:

211huron

Don’t believe me? Click here and see for yourself!

New York Shitty Day Ender: Build More

luxurycondoms

From Frost Street.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Karl Gets A Pair

July 1, 2009 ·
Filed under: Abjectecture, Williamsburg 

04.nfourthKEVINWALSH(…And Then Some!)

On June 29, 2009 my buddy Kevin of Forgotten NY wrote in his latest “slice” entitled The Four Corners of North 4th:

This new condo on the NW corner of Driggs Avenue and N. 4th is Nforth by archiect Karl Fischer, who has worked extensively in Montreal and NYC. He has perpetrated a traves … er, muscled the old LIRR/Pennsy Powerhouse in Hunters Point into residential units and has also designed Schaefer Landing on the site of the old Schaefer brewery on Kent Avenue.

I actually like the building — it features very large windows — a trend in residential architecture — and a throwback look with actual brickface…

I have to respectfully disagree with my colleague: this building, along with its numerous (and seemingly exponentially proliferating) siblings is simply awful. What’s more, I learned today I am not the only one who harbors this sentiment.

nforthpenises

At a casual glance I counted at least twenty penises (penii?) gracing this edifice. Whoever was responsible for this amusing (and it should be noted, NON-permanent) act of vandalism didn’t stop at NForth either: the Karl Fischer next door got four of its own.

Miss Heather

Image Credits: Thumbnail of NForth comes courtesy of Kevin Walsh.

The Return Of Fedders Friday?

June 5, 2009 ·
Filed under: Abjectecture, Fedders Friday, Greenpoint Magic 

Now that the housing market has tanked I am aimply not seeing as much Fedderstecture as I used to. Sure I find the odd finger building here and there and many a vacant lot but scarcely a new Fedders Special can be found be found in the Garden Spot nowadays. For the previous reasons you can imagine my glee when I stumbled upon this beauty on North Henry Street just north of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

fedders-1

No sir, they don’t build ’em like this anymore!

driveway

As you can see no expense has been spared on concrete.

balconies

Fedders Boxes: Check
Balconies: Check
Decorative Key Stones: Check

And as if the previous enticements weren’t enough I have saved the very best for last.

forrent

It’s available to rent!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: I Asked For Ugly…

June 3, 2009 ·
Filed under: Abjectecture, Brooklyn, Williamsburg 

and well, I got it.

babyshitvintjames

I have christened the above King’s Crap “The Gruesome Twosome” but I’ll let the contributor of this craptastic combo, Vintage James, take it from here:

You want ugly, I’ll show you ugly. Since I know that you have a thorough understanding of the true meaning of fugly, I submit this for your viewing displeasure. These turdbits sit side by side on E. 19th St. Between Quentin Rd. and Ave. R in Brooklyn, an area that is correctly called Homecrest but may be referred to as Midwood, Madison or Sheepshead Bay, depending on which ethnic group the condo market is trying to lure on any particular day.

The Baby Shit Building on the left may have been inspired by the Ex-Lax Building on Atlantic Ave., with some Nathan’s mustard thrown in. As for the Cyclops Building on the right, I’m afraid to guess. But we should not overlook the real benefit of these architectural misadventures–they are right next to each other, so we can pause and shift our focus from one bad idea to another.

I accept your challenge for the ugliest, and issue a throw-down–show me two or more adjacent buildings that are fuglier than these.

I have to admit these bad boys are pretty ugly. But somehow I find myself drawn to the one to the right. To quote Darth Vader:

I sense something. A presence I’ve not felt since…

well, I took a walk on the Southside yesterday afternoon! “Midwood” Mini Me, meet your long lost (and much bigger) brother.

275s1st

I initially thought 275 South 1st Street was a Karl Fischer creation by virtue of its sheer ugliness and lack of context. I was wrong. This beauty comes courtesy of Leonid Krupnik, P.E.

275s1st2

The filing agent for this abomination was, amusingly enough, Sergey Drabkin. How very drab indeed!

drabkin

Cold war ambiance in the heart of Williamsburg. Before Perestroika one would have to patronize a high-end government-owned and operated hotel in Eastern Europe (preferably Albania or Bulgaria) to savor something this gray and depressing. Now you don’t have to.  The workers’ playground of yesterday is yours today! Right here in New York City and at very capitalist (READ: Manhattanesque) prices!

Brooklyn: 4
Queens: 1 (the L Haus)

Bring on the crap, Crappy! I’m beginning to think you’re getting soft. What’s more, I don’t want to go head on into this race to the bottom alone. 😉

Miss Heather

It’s a Go!

June 2, 2009 ·
Filed under: Abjectecture, Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Queens, Williamsburg 

the-luminousthumbOne June 2, 2009 Queens Crap wrote:

Miss Heather is holding a contest between the ugliest buildings in Brooklyn and Queens:

We need a real contest. A Brooklyn versus Queens smack-down of fug infamy— or outer-borough barfchitecture. To this end I have created this flickr group and will get the ball rolling with my nominee: The Luminous.

I have to admit, that may be tough to top. But send your photos to me and we’ll try.

Let’s show our friends in Queens what Brooklyn is made of: CRAP! You can also tender submissions to yours truly via email at:

missheather (at) newyorkshitty (dot) com

Let’s get it on!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: The Horror Of 200 Franklin Street

May 6, 2009 ·
Filed under: Abjectecture, Greenpoint Magic 

Many of you who have read this blog over the years are all too familiar with my fixation on an architect named Karl Fischer. There reasons for this are manifold but they all essentially boil down to the fact he is responsible for some of the more hideous (and enormous) structures that now pollute north Brooklyn’s landscape. Enough so that my good friend Bob Guskind named a strip of Bayard Street (which features a number of his “creations”) Karl Fischer Row.

Unfortunately what some seem to have overlooked is Mr. Fischer has also left an indelible imprint upon Williamsburg’s less famous sister: Greenpoint. 305 McGuinness Boulevard and 130 Diamond Street are two of the better known pieces of Karl’s handiwork to be found here. And then of course you have 200 Franklin Street.

198 Franklin Street Shitty

When completed this— one of the most woeful examples of modification permit abuse and one of the ugliest things mankind has ever concocted— will be what the residents of the Astral, a landmark building, will have to look at every day. Lest I have not made myself perfectly clear already: I loathe this building. And this morning as I perused my inbox I learned I am not alone.

200-frkln-demise-web

What’s more he (or she) decided to make his/her feelings known to this building’s creators.

Odin writes:

Dear Miss Heather,

I thought I would share something of my own pursuits as it is particularly relevant to the Franklin St. development discussion. Attached are images of a poster I made in response to the building going up at 200 Franklin St. It is disheartening that something even more gargantuan could be erected at 60 Commercial St which is now such a tranquil post industrial setting.

The screen printed posters were not received well and were quickly painted over. Not as many people saw them as I had hoped, but I may do a second run.

Your fellow neighbor

Follows is what the folks at 200 Franklin Street did not want you to see.

200 Franklin

It came… a lurking twelve story behemoth that sought to devour the surrounding skyline. Can any force keep this monstrous edifice from casting its shadowy pall over the neighborhood or will this building become another…

ARCHITECTURAL DISASTER!!!

Excellent question, Odin. You can read more about how this poster came into being by clicking here.

Miss Heather

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