More Shit

August 10, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Dog Shit, Dog Shit Signage, Dung of the Day, Greenpoint Magic 

I had such a tremendous sense of release* creating the pie chart for this entry, that I set out on a(nother) reconnaisance mission this morning to gather enough data to create another one.

Here is today’s selected area…

August 10, 2006 Beat
and here is a statistical break-down of where I found dog shit.

81006 Crap Stats

Here is today’s “Dung of the Day”…

August 10, 2006

and this. (Words fail me, a picture works better.)

The Citadel

If a dog manages to volley a loaf into this fortification, he (or she) should get a medal, not a “$100 Fine”.

AND

If you have ever wondered (as I have) where talent-free trustifarian art students go after graduation (or when daddy’s money runs out) I found it today: the north-western corner of Greenpoint Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard.

Slipster's Paradise

And without further ado, here is today’s Crap Map!

Miss Heather

*A long time ago I was a “graphic designer” at a management consulting firm in midtown Manhattan. I created PowerPoint presentations for the early twenty-something Ivy League graduates which constituted 90% of the staff. This was a very unpleasant experience. My being the only female staffer who was not a receptionist, secretary, HR hack, or (insert position that entails fluffing the male ego here) put me in a rather tenuous position; when these 20-something-year-old shits with entitlement issues didn’t speak to me like I was mentally-retarded, they would try to pick me up.

It was hell and I got fired for having “an attitude problem”.

Yorkville Vs. Greenpoint = No Contest

August 5, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit, Dog Shit Signage, Dung of the Day, Greenpoint Magic 

My mother came to visit about three months ago. After one of our shopping jaunts in Manhattan, I took her to where my husband works: Rockefeller University.

Before I continue, I want to point out that there is a certain irony to be found by my (our) living in Greenpoint and my husband (the primary solitary breadwinner) working at Rockefeller University. John D. Rockefeller I is, after all, the reason there is a rather large oil spill under my community. Thankfully, we live in the more industrialized (READ: less desirable) part of the neighborhood. This area happens to be bereft of underground oil, the ‘nicer’ areas are the ones affected. (All our ‘pollution’ is above ground, if you know what I mean.) Nonetheless, my husband and I live off the largesse of Mr. Rockefeller. Life is funny that way.

I had mentioned to my mother that Yorkville is a pretty reasonable place to live (rent-wise) and she got very jazzed when she saw how nice the area is. This was when she asked (the inevitable question): would you and your husband consider living here for “the long-term“?

Me: No. We’re not ruling out future possibilities, but we are very happy in Greenpoint. Thanks.

Ben Franklin uttered something once about New Jersey being a valley of humility between two giants. The same can be said for Greenpoint, a working-class enclave nestled amongst three giants: Manhattan; Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. Living in Greenpoint (and riding the G train) will make you humble. (And very angry— Ed. Note)

My mouth and attitude (both inherited from my dear old dad— a man so utterly uncool that he is on the cutting edge of ‘hip’) housed in my feeble female body were two major contributing factors to my seeking refuge in New York City. After 30-odd years of service in this mortal coil, knocking through Texas, New Mexico, California, and yes, New York City (Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn— in that order) I finally feel at home. I can flaunt my mastery of the “f” word (and all its numerous conjugations and subtle nuances) with total abandon in Greenpoint. Frequently, Loudly, and with a measure of appreciation/admiration/ affirmation from my peers. In an uncertain world, this very comforting indeed.

That said, why would/should I unfurl the solitary pearl that is my truly creative and innovative vulgar style of language before unappreciative swine? Swine, I add, who may very well call the police because they may (mis)take my joie de vivre (in its copious, robust and abject glory) a wee bit too seriously. No way Jose. They can have their side of the East River, I can have mine and we each can do as we see fit.

My latest trip to Yorkville July 31, 2006 netted my first example of Upper East Side dog shit signage. This can be found on the west side of York Avenue at 64th Street.

The Amy Vanderbilt of Dog Shit Signs

I am not one to let my two art degrees, indoctrination in semiotics (a hip art fad in the late 90’s), and draconian student loan payments go to waste. My critique is as follows:

Someone put time, money, but alas, too little thought into this. He/she went to the trouble of having the sign made professionally and the execution is nice. Too nice. The same can be said about the wording; this is the Amy Vanderbilt solution to a dog doo predicament if I have ever seen one.

The person who saw fit to have such a sign manufactured clearly thought (mistakenly) that slick presentation and polite chiding would move intransigent dog owners to “do the right thing”. If the sheer amount of dog shit I saw walking on York Avenue from 68th Street to 60th Street is any indication I’d say it ain’t working.

Rating: 4 (out of 10)

Now I present this gem found on Greenpoint Avenue between Franklin and West Street.

Sharpie Marker + Flat Surface = Effective Signage

This sign does not pertain to dog shit per se, but this does not diminish its relevance. What we have here is a solid, no-frills, no-nonsense sign. The metaphorical Honda Civic (or Yugo) of signage: direct, utilitarian and inexpensively executed (save perhaps the odd police citation for vandalism). This appeals to my plebian sensibilities. I like it.

Speaking as someone who is familiar with this person’s body of work, this is a pretty standard example:

  • Medium: Sharpie marker on (any) flat surface
  • Message: “Pick up your (insert word/s here)”*
  • Enlarged and inappropriately capitalized “k”s

Per the book Handwriting Analysis by Karen Amend and Mary S. Ruiz, this graphological eccentricity is characteristic of a person who is prone to “impulsive outbursts” and is “rebellious to authority figures and traditional values”.

The previous example is remarkable in one respect: lack of profanity. While I applaud the author’s use of restraint, the virtuostic mastery of foul language and threat(s) of physical violence are what make his/her oeuvre truly noteworthy. Regardless, there is a decided absence of litter (and dog shit) in front of this sign, so it must be working.

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

After writing all the previous pretentious and sophistic bullshit, I am worn out! I’m going to take a very hot shower to clean off the smarm. Before I do so, I will leave you with two “Dung(s) of the Day”: one is from Yorkville, the other is from Greenpoint. I am not going to bother indicating where each came from, as it is (painfully) obvious.

Dung of the Day #1

Dung of the Day #1

Dung of the Day #2

Dung of the Day #2

*Frequently closing with “Thanks” or “Thanks Asshole”

Syntax: 97 Green St.

You know you have either hit a very high or a very low point in life when you ask yourself: where’s a pile of canine diarrhea when I need one?

I have been asking myself this very question for the last month. Sure, I have found dog shit. (Lots of it.) I have even found homemade pornography right outside the front door of my building recently. But diarrhea was not to be had. That changed today.

After getting a sandwich at the Franklin Corner Store (and waiting behind a dude who was so drunk he didn’t even remember the cashier giving him back change for the beer he bought at 1:20 p.m.), I walked by 97 Green Street.

I have featured this location a number of times in the past, and once again, it didn’t disappoint.

dogbombs

And “dog bombs” were indeed to be found, along with some diarrhea…

hooray

…and some edgy ‘street art’ made by our local (and ever increasing) corps of artsy hipster types….

fuckdapolice

This kind of shit never ceases to amaze me. Seriously.

Was this to be found in East New York? No.
Bedford Stuyvesant?? No.
East Flatbush??? Once again, no.

I found this missive in front of an artist’s loft in a rapidly gentrifying section of Greenpoint (a redundant phrase, I admit). In what manner has this person been oppressed by “the man”? Did he (or she) get admonished by the police for playing music too loud? Drinking beer out of an open container? Not cleaning up their dog shit??? I’d really like to know.

I do not always agree with the tactics or mentality employed by some of New York’s Finest. That said, in a civil society, the job of the law enforcement is probably the hardest to be had (I couldn’t/wouldn’t stomach it). And we are (still) a civil society, despite the efforts of some of our leadership, but I digress…

I would not bite the hand of an organization which is saddled with responsibilties as various and sundry as defending public safety and personal property (the latter of which includes keeping a registry of i-pods so they can be returned if/when reported stolen). Such protestations by people who (for all intensive purposes) have the world on a string mock the very real and aggregious problems had by those who are not equally served by law enforcement.

‘Nuff said…

texas

Hmm. I am guessing the message here is “Texas Sucks”. While hardly original, I imagine very few people (hereabouts, especially) are likely to disagree. It’s sort of like saying “I hate people who burn puppies, what about you?” No sir. No disagreement here.

I do wonder, however, about the motivation which underlies the creation of such a work. Has this person been so scarred by Texas that he (or she) had to make it known via a sidewalk chalk drawing… 1,377 miles away? That’s some serious shit. And I thought being born in Waco sucked. (It does— especially since that whole Branch Davidian thing.*).

In closing, I would like to say this post was long, long overdue. And I would like to thank BARC for featuring my blog on their blog. I strongly support their cause and encourage you to do the same (I am anti-dog shit but 100% pro-dog). I am so inspired by what I have seen today (and want to share the Greenpoint love), I will leave you with this…

mr. shithead

*If you are wondering, and want to learn from somebody truly ‘in the know’: the worst thing about Texas are Texans.

Shits Ahoy!

May 10, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit, Dog Shit Signage, Dung of the Day 

A few days ago I put up (yet another) post about the all the friggin’ dog shit on my block. The following is the closing line from this post:

But the question that nags at me is this: do these people simply not notice all the dog shit in front of their buildings or do they not care?

The check my mouth cut to kismet May 8th was cashed May 10th, dear readers. So much for ‘float’. Anyhoo… today around 12:30 p.m. I headed down to the Greenpoint Coffee House to get some iced tea. When I reached 93 Green Street this is what I found:

dog

1. an unattended (lonely and unleashed) dog and…

dogdoo

2. a bunch of dog shit.

Now jump forward to 8:00 p.m. this same day…

My husband, a friend of ours from out of town and I were walking down Green Street (again). We reached 97 Green Street and this is what we saw:

may8dungoftheday

1. May 8th’s “Dung of the Day” kicked into the street and…

papersign

A SIGN!

I am happy to know someone (other than myself) gives a damn, but he/she should consult this guy for sign-making tips.

***UPDATE 5/13/06*** The sign is gone and so is the dog shit. HOORAY!

Cinco de Mayo (e)Special

May 6, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Dog Shit Signage, Greenpoint Magic 

Like any upstanding red-blooded American, my husband and I went out last night and dined on Mexican food. I had been invited to an art opening this particular evening, but there is no way I am going to listen to some (andro-american) artist pontificate about gifs when my time can be spent celebrating the overthrow of tyrants by guzzling sangria and eating beans. I have my priorities. They may not be good ones, but they are priorities nonetheless.

On our walk down to Cafe Mexicano II, I got an eyeful (and noseful) of Greenpoint goodness…

badmattress

The person disposing of said mattress was not only kind enough to advise potential dumpster divers of this item’s latent defects, but also employed a “Jolly Roger” to drive the point home. I like pirates. Kudos.

rottentomatoes

You could see this from a couple blocks away… and you could smell it from twenty feet away. In case you are wondering, it smells exactly like it looks: BAD.

rottentomatoescloseup

As I was taking pictures of this choice piece of ‘street art’, a local working-class Joe came up and told me the story behind it. This mess was made by the Department of Sanitation and he has been calling 311 for a couple of days requesting that it the D.O.S. pick it up. Let’s go over the previous one more time in case you missed it: this man is calling the city to request that the Department of Sanitation clean up the garbage they dumped in front of his house.

I feel for this guy. Not only does he live two blocks downwind from the smoldering Greenpoint Market Terminal, but now he has a rotten pile of tomatoes in front of his house. That really sucks.

takeyourdog

Looks like I found another work by the Greenpoint dog doo sign-maker (and if you are reading this PLEASE contact me). The arrow is a nice touch; it clears up any ambiguity as to which “asshole” this order (?) is directed to. In a city of eight million+ people (many of whom answer to the moniker “asshole”) such clarifications are necessary.

Having more or less completed today’s Greenpoint (s)hit parade, I’d like to close with this image (from the women’s bathroom at McCarren Park) and an essay…

trashcanbondage

There are a number of people (family mostly) who wonder why the hell I want to live in New York City. Many more people (who reside in New York City) are perplexed as to why I like living in Greenpoint. I ask myself both of the previous questions on occasion— and fortunately when the specter of doubt darkens my soul, I come across something (like the above gem) which brings everything into focus.

I grew up in the ‘burbs. For those of you not in the know, the suburbs are not the restful pastures of refuge they purport to be. No sir; under the veneer of neighborhood associations, SUVs, and each tract home struggling to assert its individuality, lies dark neurosis and rage. This neurosis manifests itself in the maniacal pursuit of perfection and pointing out the shortcomings of others. There is no better example of this phenomenon than the inordinate attention and time dedicated to proper lawn care. I will illustrate this point with the following two anecdotes from my coming of age in Richardson, Texas.

Newton’s Third Law, Suburban Style: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

It was a hot summer afternoon and my father was preening our front yard bereft of sunblock while drinking beer. From the sanctity of my air-conditioned and storm-windowed bedroom I watched the following unfold:

Two dogs cantering down the block towards our house. “Dog #1” (who is roughly 20 feet ahead of “Dog #2”) parked his ass in front of our mailbox (which my father had saw fit to paint like the then West German flag which is odd given that his surname is of Polish/Lithuanian derivation) and took a dump. My dad noticed this and started cursing. This sight was only made more amusing by the fact that I cannot hear a single fucking word he is saying.

Take any Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal, or Jean Claude van Damme movie from the 1980’s and watch it without sound; they’re funny as hell. Once you remove plot and dialogue, the only thing left is an angry white male with veins pulsating on his beet-red temples shaking his fist and yelling. Over and over.

While my father bellowed profanity, “Dog #2” rebounded and ate the butt dumplins’ dispensed by “Dog #1”. After reassessing the situation, my dad (perplexed, but a lot less angry) went back about his work.

Not in my neighborhood: Newtonian Backwash

In any given subdivision that panders tract homes to the (diminishing) middle-class, you will find a trailer park graduate: a family whose financial means have enabled them to leave the trailer park, but the ‘trailer park’ has clearly NOT left them. My neighborhood was no exception. My father developed an unhealthy fixation OBSESSION with a house literally on the opposite end of the development from our own. The offenses committed by the homeowner in question are as follows:

  • The house was painted with the exact same colors used by “What-A-Burger”: aqua blue, BRIGHT orange and beige. It was pretty fucking ugly, but at least they were maintaining the paint job and allowing it to crack and peel.
  • The garden beds on their front lawn were cordoned off with beer bottles. Old tires were used as planters.
  • Their front lawn had (*gasp*) weeds. Lots of ’em.

For approximately six months my father drove by this house each and every time we went out to get groceries, shop, eat, etc. And each and every time, coming and going, my father saw fit to rant about this house for my mother’s and my own edification.

My mother (being the subtle operator she is) started ‘volunteering’ to drive us to and from the grocery store, mall, etc. This was no small sacrifice, as my father is also a verbose ‘backseat driver’. Mysteriously enough, my mother always saw fit to take a less circuitous and controversial route from and to our house. Eventually my father caught on to her ruse and requested that she drive his ‘old’ route. My mother refused. My father pushed, got an earful, and neither my father nor my mother ever drove by that house again.

That’s what life is like in the ‘burbs my friends and it’s time to wrap this up…

Greenpoint is neither praised for inviting lawns nor pleasing aesthetics. There are virtually no front yards here and most that can be found employ old tires, bathtubs, or toilets as lawn ornaments. The buildings here are usually sheathed in vinyl siding.

The primary virtue of Greenpoint is that she is forthright with her ugliness. I like this. There is no race to perfection here: ‘good enough’ carries the day. And ‘good enough’ is exactly what it implies: a simplified, occasionally ugly, but effective solution to a complex problem.

This concept gives one more free time for other pursuits. Sure, this time might be devoted to getting shitfaced, making art, creating a blog about dog shit or other marginally productive activities, but any of the previous avocations are harmless when compared to getting worked into a black rage over (a lack of) lawn maintenance or your neighbor’s ugly-ass house. And while I like the public bathrooms I patronize to have amenities such as running water, toilet paper and paper towels, I distrust any neighborhood whose public bathrooms have bar soap and does not to tether its garbage can to the sink with heavy chains. This is a sure sign of conformity and an overall lack of creativity/mischief in the community at large.

UPDATE 5/18/06: I was patronizing the McCarren Park ladie’s room when I found this:

soap

As you can imagine, I was pretty alarmed by this development. However, my anxieties were assuaged when I discovered:

  • how difficult using the only operational spigot is when both hands are lathered with soap
  • no paper towels

Signs of the Times

April 22, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit Signage 

There are a number of reasons I like living in Greenpoint, but if I had to pick my favorite reason (for the purposes of this blog anyway), it would be the homemade signage. Close your eyes and envision some form of socially unacceptable behavior and I can assure you there is an angry missive— scrawled in Sharpie marker— SOMEWHERE in this neighborhood deriding it.

But it isn’t simply the pervasiveness of signage in this neighborhood that intrigues me, as I have seen numerous signs— usually admonishing dog owners to scoop their poop— in many different areas of Brooklyn. For example, I have noticed that the homemade signage to be found in Park Slope, Cobble/Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens is pretty straightforward and polite. Greenpoint signage, on the other hand, is second only to Red Hook (in my experience, anyway) in the use of profanity and threat(s) of physical violence.

The hoi polloi can keep their strollers, therapists, tea lounges, and superfluous civility; drunken Poles, empty Remy Martin bottles, feral packs of children gnawing on chicken bones and hard-hitting opening statements such as “Dear Fuck Mouth” resonate with me. It is this no-nonsense “pull yourself up by the bootstraps so you can pick up the drunk fuck next to you by the shirt collar and kick his ass” mentality that makes this country what it is today. For better or worse.

Follows are a couple of my favorite examples of Greenpoint signage with limited commentary.

dearfuckmouthsign
It’s funny, when I cropped this image it began to look a wee bit like the Polish flag. Very appropriate to say the least.

treepitnotashitpit

Looks like this was written by the same person. I for one would like to meet “Neighbor”. I think we’d get along.

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