Ninth Ring of Hell on Franklin Street

February 15, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Greenpoint Magic 

If there is indeed a City of Dis, I am certain Karl Fischer “architect” designed it.

Case in point:

198 Franklin Street

This is 198 Franklin Street.

198 Franklin Street Shitty

This is 198 Franklin on Karl Fischer. (My hell.)

Any questions?

Karl Fischer:

That’s what makes parts of Brooklyn so special. You have all of these rowhouses, townhouses, smaller-scale developments, more neighborhood-friendly developments. You have more open space. The quality of life in this way is going to be preserved in Brooklyn.

Which “parts of Brooklyn” are “so special”, Karl? Clearly Greenpoint and Williamsburg are not among of them. Unless filling your wallet at our aesthetic expense makes us special— in which case Greenpoint and Williamsburg are:

VERY

FUCKING

SPECIAL

If you (or the little wizards under your employ) did any research or “Googled” 198 Franklin Street Karl, you’d know India Street runs eastward— not westward as your rendering depicts. Here’s a primer.

Gawkers on Franklin

The above automobile is using India Street incorrectly.

Petrol on India

The man driving this heating oil truck has the right idea. I’m certain the upscale tenants of 198 Franklin will love the hum of trucks and savor the scenic views of photographic/pornographic indiscretions next door.

Vigil at 202 Franklin Street

From the balconies you designed Karl, the “NEW Greenpoint affluent influx” can sip drinks and watch their neighbors demonstrate and conduct sleep-ins next door. What a deal!

I assure you, Mr. Fischer, it is a minor inconvenience. These displaced people renters only demonstrate quarterly.

Miss Heather

P.S.: The trees and upwardly mobile honkies are a hoot, by the way. Last time I walked by 198 Franklin I watched a bum sniff a gently-used bottle of Smirnoff Ice. It was not up to snuff. At ten in the morning, anyway. I’m certain your condo will make this location (and the local potions) more enticing.

The Ugliest New Building in New York City?

February 12, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bed-Stuy 

Those of you who have a minute or two to spare should check out this week’s Forgotten-NY slice about Flatbush Avenue. Not only is Kevin Walsh in particularly good form, but he also saw fit to give yours truly a nod:

Over at NewYorkShitty, Miss Heather has posted a photo of the ugliest new building in New York City:

Gates and Wilson Crap

It’s at Gates and Wilson Avenues in Bushwick, in case you want to sightsee, but it could be in fab Flushing, it could be in Astoria, Bay Ridge, or anywhere else the Fedders are flourishing. Exposed gas/electric meters? Check. Fedders? Check. No setback or any attempt at privatizing the windows on the bottom floor? Check. Garden variety, everyday architectural garbage, what NYC will look like 25 years from now, if the icecaps don’t melt and we’re all under water using scuba suits or genetically engineered gills and fishtails.

Thanks for the shout-out Kevin! But I have some bad news for you: this is not the ugliest new building in New York City. That dubious distinction (in my humble opinion) should go to this masterwork of half-assed construction from Broadway.

Broadway bunker

Granted, next to the J/M/Z is less than a prime location, but were those exposed aluminum “chimneys” really necessary? Then again, maybe they are not chimneys at all: perhaps they are mail tubes so the residents of this building can commiserate with each other about how much this building sucks? Either way the end result is hideous.

I have seen people lavish more thought and aesthetics on dog houses. If man’s best friend deserves better, why don’t we homo sapiens?

Miss Heather

They’re #1 At Building #2

February 11, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bushwick 

Recently the Mister and I argued until the wee hours of the morning as to whether we should renew our (rent-stabilized) lease for one year or two. His argument was that the housing market was going to collapse, my argument was as follows:

Do you really want to move all the fucking shit we have in this apartment to another fucking apartment in the hopes of getting a better deal?

While not necessarily eloquent, my logic prevailed. We have a lot of shit. We have a lot of cats. But that doesn’t stop us from checking out all the sweet deals north Brooklyn has to offer of late. Like this gem at the intersection of Gates and Wilson Avenue.

For Sale

Miss H: This is exquisite! Just look at the fake keystones, cement, exposed electrical meters and Fedders boxes.
Mr. Heather: We’re upwardly mobile, we should hold out for Friedrichs.

Gates and Wilson Crap

Miss H: You’re right, we need to keep up appearances. My parents wouldn’t be caught dead near a Fedders box. This is not the way I want to greet Pa Heather when he finally sees the light and decides New York Shitty is the place to live.

What’s more, I don’t think the outhouse could withstand his depth-charges.

Gates Avenue Studio

If any of you are looking “high quality housing” on the cheap be sure to call-a-head and learn about this studio apartment just around the corner! They’re #1 at building #2!

Miss Heather

When Bad Things Happen To Good Buildings: Greene Avenue

February 4, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bed-Stuy 

As I mentioned in this post, the Mr. and I checked out Bed-Stuy yesterday. Cameras in hand we documented the best and worst this underrated neighborhood has to offer. I will leave it to your god-given intelligence, dear readers, as to which of the two above categories the following belongs.

883A Greene Avenue

I don’t have the benefit of knowing what this house looked like in its former incarnation, but I suspect its unfortunate neighbor is a pretty good indication. 883A Greene Avenue once had all the charming details this building sports. And the operative word in the previous sentence is had: someone has since seen fit to convert it into the masterpiece of cheap (and not so) chic I now present to you.

The awning looks like something that should be gracing the front of a pizzeria, not a 19th century brownstone. But of course this is simply my opinion. Clearly the person who had the finances and wherewithal to “refurbish” and “flip” this building believes otherwise. It just goes to show money and taste do not necessarily go hand and hand. Just look at Donald Trump.

Miss Heather

Jean-Paul Sartre Meets Knickerbocker Avenue

February 1, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bushwick 

Every time I think I have seen it all (in the way of curious and repulsive architecture) something reminds me I haven’t.

Case in point:

White Stripes

This is by far one of the ugliest things I have ever seen.

Jimmy Legs writes regarding this post:

Bushwick is lousy with da chrome. i especially like it when they pair the shiny gates with a couple of plaster eagles or lions. classy!

No Exit

I like it when they pair chrome with a fire exit fifteen (plus) feet above street level. Break a leg or burn to death? There’s a decision I’d prefer not to make.

Miss Heather

Chrome Fest 2008

January 31, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bed-Stuy 

As my previous post (about discovering a “street Wimpy” tee shirt) intimates, I am rapidly becoming a big fan of Bedford Stuyvesant. Bed Stuy may be a lot of things but one thing it isn’t is boring. My most recent sojourn found me muttering “Wow, that’s really beautiful!” and “Holy Shit!” under my breath every five minutes. The following is an example of one such “Holy Shit”.

Hart Street House of Chrome

As I wandered down Hart Street I saw a number of beautiful houses. Then I found this.

Chrome Gate

When I showed the above photograph to Mr. Heather he said:

That looks like something from East Williamsburg.

I replied:

No way! This is like East Williamsburg on steroids!

I wonder if the owner of this house has a family member in the chrome fabrication business? I ask this question because nary a flourish was missed during the chromification of this house.

Hart Street House of Chrome

Even the (unused) air conditioner holders emit metallic bliss. On a clear summer day I bet the reflection from this house is enough to sear a person’s retinas. You could probably cook eggs on the sidewalk for that matter.

Give it up to good ol’ Bed Stuy for keeping it real: even their houses have grills!

Miss Heather

Introducing the Envers

January 24, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bushwick, Williamsburg 

Today I have a very special treat to share with you, dear readers: the first installment of the Enver Hoxha Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Architecture, or “The Envers” for short. Who is Enver Hoxha and what does he have to do with architecture, you ask? Read on and learn for yourself!

Enver Hoxha (per Wikipedia):

…was the leader of Albania from the end of World War II until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Communist Albanian Party of Labour. He was also Prime Minister of Albania from 1944 to 1954 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1946 to 1953. Hoxha’s rule was characterized by isolation from the rest of Europe and his proclaimed firm adherence to anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninism, which has been dubbed “Hoxhaism”. Albania’s government of the time projected the image that it had emerged from semi-feudalism to become an industrialized state…

And lest we forget, the following are without argument Mr. Hoxha’s most lasting contributions to the field of architecture:

Albania Bunkers Small

Hoxha’s legacy also included a complex of over 600,000 one-man concrete bunkers across a country of 3 million inhabitants, to act as look-outs and gun emplacements. The bunkers were built strong and mobile, with the intention that they could be easily placed by a crane or a helicopter in a previously dug hole. The types of bunkers vary from machine gun pillboxes, beach bunkers, to naval underground facilities, and even Air Force Mountain and underground bunkers. There were over 700,000 pillboxes built and around 500,000 pillboxes were reported to still be in good condition and ready to serve in case of war.

In keeping with his Soviet comrades counterparts, Mr. Hoxha’s bunker fetish spilled over into the civilian sector. The effects of this concrete chic ranged anywhere from a hodgepodge of disharmonious architectural elements…

Hoxha House taken by Jim Rees

to rustic rusting institutional…

Albanian apartment building taken by Jim Rees

and last, but hardly least: downright hideous.

Enver’s pyramid taken by Jim Rees

Now that we have had a primer in Albanian Communist Dictators and reviewed some breathtaking examples of Albanian architecture, let’s get down to business. My criteria for assessing the “Enverness” of a given building are as follows:

  1. The visual aesthetics of said building are in keeping with the Soviet era.
  2. The construction quality of said building is akin to something built during the cold war. Extensive use of cement is a plus.
  3. A combination of architectural styles employed in a manner whose end product is anything but pleasing to the eyes. BIG PLUS.

In addition, I will be featuring a rating system called “the bunkers”. On a scale of one to five (with five being full-blown Tirana), the more bunkers a building gets, the more Enver-like are its qualities.

The previous all having been said, let us proceed with today’s Enver Award for Outstanding Achievement in Architecture:

58 Ten Eyck Street

58 Ten Eyck

This splendid example of the International style (and by this I mean Communist International style) is a proletarian paradise.

58 Ten Eyck detail

Mismatched paint, a masterful knowledge of the manifold shades of gray, windowless sheet metal doors and only five stops from Manhattan?!? That’s like living behind the iron curtain but without all the fuss. You can live in a rusting hulk of Soviet caliber crap and wear your Yankee blue jeans at the same time. What a concept!

58 Ten Eyck fence

The fence polishes off this gulag nicely. I wonder if its underlying intent is to keep people out of this property or to keep them in? If it is the latter, I guess today the prisoners got a furlough.

All in all, this is pretty damned Enveresque. I will, however, have to knock off a point for the relative kemptness of the balconies and effort made to conceal the satellite dishes on the roof. All in all, I give 58 Ten Eyck four bunkers.

4 bunkers

Stay tuned, there are even more cold war beauties awaiting an Enver nod from the very same block!

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: All Albanian photographs save the bunker, Jim Rees.
Albanian Bunker, Wikipedia.

Great Moments in Crapitecture: 11 Ditmars Street

January 17, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bushwick 

As I was walking down Broadway yesterday something caught my eye. It’s sheer crapitutude even impressed my jaded eye. Here it is.

11 Ditmars Street

Nice fence “Dutchy Construction“! It looks like it was constructed after passing a few “dutchies”. The rope is a nice touch.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Per the Department of Buildings this Bushwick chalet is going to be a two-family building. Um, okay.

Lipstick on a Pig Part II: Vomitus ‘R’ Us

January 12, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Bushwick 

Homes ‘R’ Us

Homes R’ Us: I made their acquaintance September of 2007 when I took the below photograph of 100 Jefferson Street. This is one of their “developments”.

Jefferson Street 9/20/07

Despite the fact a stop work order had been issued for this property, men were quite busy working on these promised two family luxury homes.

Jefferson Street Worker

Feeling nostalgic (with the new year and all) I thought it would be fun to see how things were shaking in big bad 2008. So I looped by there this week and checked it out.

Jefferson Street Close-up

The finished product was pretty much what I expected.

Jefferson Street Luxury Homes

Is it just me or does the word “luxury” suggest a measure of scarcity and/or exclusivity? If so, wouldn’t a bunch of cookie-cutter row houses slathered together with stucco be the opposite of luxury? Just curious.

Miss Heather

Word of The Day: Continuity

January 7, 2008 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Dung of the Day, Other Shit 

n., pl. ties. 1. The quality or state of being continuous. 2. An uninterrupted succession or unbroken course.

This little vocabulary lesson goes out to Hunt Architects.

795 Grand Street

The above masterwork (at 795 Grand Street) suggests they could use a refresher course on this concept. I for one am a big fan of the institutional-looking gray balcony.

Enver Hoxha’s Balcony

Nothing says “luxury duplex” like good ol’ Soviet-era construction. For a moment I thought I was in Albania!

Miss Heather

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