157 Green Street: Fedderized!

November 2, 2007 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Greenpoint Magic 

I have been remiss in sharing the following masterpiece with you, dear readers. Thankfully, the international coalition of imbeciles working on the facade of said property Thursday night (they were cutting marble with a saw) was just the reminder I needed!

Question: What happens when an otherwise unremarkable four story building on a less than spectacular block is sold to someone with a lot of money and no taste whatsoever?

157 West Street

It gets Fedderized, that’s what! Over the last year I have watched (and listened to) this building evolve from a mildly tatty, but more or less intact four story tenement to the poster child for the prevention of Fedderization. Let’s take a closer look at its, a-hem, amenities, shall we?

1. A front door better suited to grace the entrance of a topless bar.

Front Door

In keeping with the class the aforementioned adult establishments exude, the first floor of this building is sheathed in…

Marble

2. black marble. Wow, it really spices up this frumpy chateau! So much so you can barely notice…

First Floor, 157 Green Street

3. the rolling steel door to the right. Why can I not shake the feeling that some wise guy got whacked behind one of these doors? Is it the marble? The garish chrome entranceway? The rolling shutters? Or…

Sucko Stucco

4. the two tone institutional gray stucco juxtaposed with a baby shit beige fire escape?

I just can’t pin it down. Regardless, I think this building should win a Lifetime Achievement Award and be inducted into the Fedderist Hall of Fame. Ordinarily one would have to schlep all the way out to Flushing to see a building this ugly.

Mazel tov!

Miss Heather

154 West Street Revisited

October 22, 2007 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Greenpoint Magic 

Wishing to enjoy this weekend’s unseasonably warm weather, I decided to go for a walk. Uncharacteristically, my husband said he wanted to join me. I advised him that I was going to a bunch of places he didn’t care for (clothes shopping), but he insisted upon tagging along anyway. So off we went— with the usual detour or four so as to check out some of the more hideous development “projects” which pock my neighborhood.

I hadn’t checked in on 154 West Street in awhile, so we swung by to see how they were progressing. True to form, there was some kind of activity going on inside. Exactly what it was, I do not know.

154 West Street

As you can see, the Fedderization process is almost complete. I for one find the addition of faux period detailing charming, especially since it is not in proper proportion to the rest of the building. Sadly, the owner went with brown stucco. While in keeping with my prognostication that stucco will supplant vinyl siding in the Garden Spot, it would have been nice if he had opted for a different color. Pink, orange or mint green would have been nice. West Street has enough “brown” as is. Most of it resides on the sidewalk and is of canine origin.

Next, I spied a stray cat through a hole in the fence on the adjacent lot. I like cats, so I took a peek. That’s when I found this.

Garbage on adjacent lot

I have seen the workers jettison garbage onto this lot on more than one occasion. That said, I was still surprised by how much of it has accumulated. Too bad the entity owns the adjacent parcel of property appears to have abandoned it. There are few things I like more than watching two developers having a litigation slug-fest.

As my husband and I were preparing to depart, were heard a man shout:

You taking pictures of my building?

It was the owner of 154 West Street. He was not at all upset, if anything he seemed to be amused. This is sort of ironic given I found something very amusing about his building. It was the placement of the air conditioner boxes he saw fit to install.

Friedrich Boxes

Think about it for a minute: if this building is like many others in Greenpoint (and New York City), the lot for 154 West Street ends at the above wall. If this is true, those A/C boxes are on 150 West Street’s property. Wouldn’t be fun if the owner of 150 finally found the wherewithal to do something with this rather sizable and prime piece of real estate? If he (or she) did, his neighbor to the north would be a prime candidate for a triple Fedderdectomy.

Miss Heather

37 North Henry Street

September 14, 2007 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Greenpoint Magic 

I have cornered “The Worst Buildings of NYC” flickr pool as of the writing of this post. Leonard Lopate had no idea what Pandora’s box he opened when he (or more likely, his staff) solicited photographs of ugly buildings. “You want ugly?” I thought to myself.

I’ll show you ugly!

This was no idle threat: it was a promise. One I am still endeavoring to complete.

The Garden Spot is filled with eyesores development. Real estate shills like to call it gentrification. I call it horse shit.

37 North Henry Street

This is 37 North Henry Street. It is also one of the ugliest pieces of pre-fab shit progress I have ever seen.

Wednesday evening I spoke with a “student” from Columbia University*. He wanted to hear my take on the upcoming Greenpoint Library fund raiser and local “art community”. One of his questions was:

Describe your history as an artist. Is it your profession? Do you make stuff just (for) yourself, family and friends?

Questions like the previous make me stop and take a deep breath. Inasmuch as I like helping students with their projects (and believe you me I felt like the subject of an experiment: gentrification vivisection), his choice of words pissed me off.

My answer:

I am a third generation artist. My mother is a painter; her aunt (my great aunt) was a painter. She’s dead now— my great aunt that is. Both were/are college-educated in this craft. I am not a painter, though I got my BFA is in painting. Magna cum laude, no less. I received my MFA in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design.

I do not make stuff for myself, family and friends. Well, I make stuff for myself sometimes— but I have no interest in galleries whatsoever (they’re no different than temp agencies, real estate brokers or pimps in my book). I am more interested in forcing people to think. And I do— usually without even trying. Which brings me back to above-mentioned turd.

As a sculptress (and Notary Public!) I do not profess to know the vagaries of architecture (or FAR), but I do have a grasp of design principles and three dimensional reasoning. The architect responsible for 37 North Henry clearly does not.

Box Blocker

Describe your history as an architect Anthony Cucich? Is it your profession? Do you make Fedders Friedrich Specials for yourself, family and friends? Inquiring minds want to know!

Closeout

In any case, your craptacular building (located just off the BQE) also offers scenic views of the Kosciuszko Bridge and auto emissions for one’s olfactory pleasure! Only two units left folks, move right in! To repeat myself, this “builders closeout” is one of the aesthetically unappealing pieces of shit buildings I have seen erected in Greenpoint. Ever. This is no small accomplishment.

Mazel Tov!

Miss Heather

*The same guy who wrote this. A week after I posted this. The only good thing about this situation I can think of is at least the de Give got a nice chunk of publicity. Otherwise, I’m glad to see a newbie journo (whose cell phone number is from Minnesota) is doing his homework, e.g.; trolling blogs and tendering his findings to The Brooklyn Paper.

Describe your history as an newspaper? Is it your profession? Or do you just crib from local yokels (and that is clearly what you thought I was) for yourself, family and friends?

Just curious.

If the opportunity afforded itself, I’d use The Brooklyn Paper as stationery. I would pretend to be a journalist and my asshole would be the pen (not unlike most of the people employed at the previously-mentioned periodical). But alas, the inferior quality of this paper irritates my rectum.

I line my cat boxes and junk folder with ’em instead. Although I never signed up for it, I get Brooklyn Paper spam regularly nowadays. Thank you for wasting my time, memory and intelligence.

154 West Street: FEDDERIZED!

August 29, 2007 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization 

I walked by this house last Sunday and was instantly transported to the south of France…

154 West Street

Then the din of weekend construction jolted me back to reality. I am not in Marseilles: I am in Greenpoint. Slather this bitch with some stucco and the process of Fedderization will be complete!

Second Doorway, 154 West Street

Cast concrete. Yummy.

I wonder if they’ll be working this (holiday) weekend as well? I can hardly wait to swing by and find out! I’ll be sure to bring along my trusty camera as well…

Miss Heather

A Little Piece of Fedders History

August 28, 2007 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization 

Sometimes irony smacks Miss Heather’s lovely little face so hard even she feels compelled to give (snarky) props. My good friend Kevin from Forgotten-NY recently brought this article (from the March 12, 2005 edition of The Brooklyn Paper) to my attention. He writes:

Looks like Bay Ridge activist Vicky Hofmo and I arrived at it separately.

Who knew the origins of this dubious piece of terminology lie in Kings County’s very own Bay Ridge? I didn’t; I thought it was Kevin’s creation. I suppose it doesn’t really matter who invented it. The overall effect these buildings have on my person remains the same: a hint of nausea mixed with abject revulsion.

For your dark delectation folks, I present to you the following excerpt from this article:

Perhaps most vocal among the complainants decrying the development of “Fedders houses,” as they have come to be known, are residents of Bay Ridge, whose neighborhood awaits city approval of a rezoning measure that would bar such housing developments.

So ugly and bland are those buildings, say some, that their most striking architectural trait may well be the air conditioner sleeve itself.

“It’s not even on our radar,” Laurent told The Papers, adding that, unlike Fiscal Year 2004, the preceding year was one of record sales totaling $421.7 million. “But I would hope the houses are as well built and as high quality as the air conditioners they’re named after.” (*snicker*— Ed. Note)

The colloquialism, while originating by most accounts in Bay Ridge several years ago, has spread to all corners of the city in recent months, thanks to preservation efforts like the 249-block down-zoning proposal for the southwest Brooklyn neighborhood that, if passed later this month, could reduce by half the potential number of row house-style condos built there.

Eager to fit in, the term has been uttered by no less an authority than Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said it at an Oct. 30 speaking engagement in Dyker Heights.

Do read this article in its entirety— but be careful! I shot Claret out of my nose when I read the following statement from Fedders’ CFO:

I guess it’s a well known name. And we’re proud of the fact that everyone knows it, but I hope in this case people aren’t using it in a derogative way.

BWAHAHAHAHA!

Miss Heather

New is Beautiful

August 23, 2007 ·
Filed under: Articles of Fedderization, Long Island City 

New is Beautiful

If I had to pick a slogan for the Fedderist Movement in Long Island City, this would be it. Every time I cross the Pulaski Bridge I take a moment to savor this nugget of Orwellian glory. Not content with a single sign touting this piece of newspeak, the owner of this splendid example of industrial park chic gave it a couple companions.

New is Beautiful Times Three

NEW is BEAUTIFUL

As I marched through Long Island City like the good little Greenpoint trouper I am this was my mantra. The underlying logic for me doing so was the presumption that if I repeated this phrase enough times I might begin to actually begin to believe it. Unfortunately this experiment failed miserably. My precipitous fall from Big Brother’s grace happened when I beheld the backside of the giant gray monolith that graces Jackson Avenue.

Behemoth on Jackson Avenue

Could someone please explain to me why, in a city with one of the best mass transit systems in the world, people persist driving automobiles? Much less ones that (undoubtedly) consume an obscene amount of gasoline? Perhaps the owner of this vehicle feels it is his (or her) patriotic duty to use as much gasoline as possible to support our regime’s occupation of Iraq? Who knows? I certainly don’t.

That said, I do have a theory about why developers build ginormous parking lots (like the above one on 47th Avenue).

The Doors

To give their neighbors a little scenery.

Ten Inches

I love the smell of automotive emissions in the morning!

I certainly hope none of the owners of these Long Island City Humvees has a drinking problem. One wrong pedal to the metal and someone’s living room is going to get an unwanted piece of new furniture. Sheesh.

Miss Heather

The Fedderist Manifesto

August 14, 2007 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Articles of Fedderization, Long Island City, Williamsburg 

Today I wish to add a new weapon to the arsenal of wretched real estate rhetoric. My buddy Kevin over at Forgotten-NY brought us the oft used and loved term “Fedders building”. What I propose is a modest and simple expansion of his creation:

Fedderize (fed’er-riz) vt. -ized, izing, izes 1. remodeling an old building in order to make it completely and utterly hideous.

Exhibit A
149 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

149 Grand Street

Let’s start with this one. Though it is a pretty mild example several elements of Fedderization are manifest:

  1. The addition of Fedders boxes to an otherwise beautiful facade
  2. Jarring use of stucco
  3. A vinyl awning which has no aesthetic relationship whatsoever with the rest of the building

When I saw this building my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe someone would deface an otherwise okay building by installing Fedders boxes. Whoever is responsible for this should be kicked in the head.

Let’s proceed to the most venal example of Fedderization I have ever seen. In fact, the following turd was the inspiration for this post! Get out your motion sickness bags folks. You’re gonna need them.

EXHIBIT B
1007-1009 50th Avenue
Long Island City, NY 10111

1007-1009 50th Avenue

How-lee Sheeeeee-it!

I remember this building. It was once an unremarkable, if slightly run-down, clone of its neighbors. Now it is a hideous melange of what the fuck:

  1. The first floor and all the window sills are slathered in titanium white stucco.
  2. Two Fedders boxes grace each floor . They look like teats on a sow.
  3. The store front on the right employs the sparing use of marble, which is sort of odd given they didn’t skimp on all the other ugly shit inflicted upon this building.
  4. The store front of the left looks like something one would find in an industrial park. It does not match its companion to the right. One would think the Fedderist responsible for this gruesome twosome would be consistent in his (or her) craptitude. Obviously this was not the case.

Could someone please explain to me why someone would outlay (what appears to be) a lot of money to do this? Although I dislike the practice, I can understand why many developers have seen fit to erect ugly, over-sized, institutional-looking buildings in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Long Island City and beyond: to save money. This, on the other hand, I do not get. Thoughts anyone?

Miss Heather

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