A Day in the Life of Greenpoint

October 13, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Greenpoint Magic 

If it is possible to get “spring fever” in autumn, I have it. There’s something about the first wave of cool weather that makes me restless and reduces my attention span to zero. Shit, it took me a few tries today before I figured out that the Glad “ForceFlex” bag I put in the kitchen garbage can was not defective: it stretches to fit the can. DUH. Anyhoo…

I love taking walks around this ‘hood because I find so many fascinating things. Sometimes they even seem to tell a story, like the photos I am featuring on today’s post. I found the following items in this exact order on a recent Saturday morning…

Asswipe and lotto ticket

Cigarette, asswipe and a lotto ticket…

It's gross

A new work by my favorite Greenpoint ‘sign-maker’.

Idiot Proof Love

Some seriously mixed signals. I’m guessing this person’s love interest did not withstand the test of time.

Slipster Still Life

A Slipster Still Life:

  • Partially consumed latte: check
  • One empty fifth of Vodka: check
  • Dirty panties: check

Miss Heather

P.S.: Be sure to check out my new stuff on flickr. I have a created “Miss Heather’s House of Pain” for your viewing pleasure. In a nutshell, this is a photo documentary of how truly ghetto my apartment building has become. I am also in the process of creating a photo “set” of nifty pix I have taken around Brooklyn. Enjoy!

Green Street Blues

October 10, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Greenpoint Magic 

Exactly one week ago I came across this via The Gowanus Lounge. Not only do I (more or less) agree with the guy, but I have a few thoughts to add…

Green Street has never been a terribly nice place. The fortress (built by the MTA) at the end of the block has made matters worse:

  1. I am awakened by construction crews moving containers out of this pit at ALL HOURS. 12:30 and 5:30 in the morning seem to be pretty popular. I am of the understanding that this will be going on for another two years.
  2. This ‘fortress’ has also created a haven for criminal activity because it limits visibility of the block from Manhattan Avenue. Since that thing went up, tagging has increased AND the druggies have moved in. Don’t believe me? Click here and check out the two dudes I called the police on yesterday because they were shooting up in BROAD DAYLIGHT.
  3. I have come damned close to being run over trying to cross Green Street and Manhattan Avenue because motorists blow through the stop signs at this intersection. I have called 311 about this repeatedly and nothing is being done about it.

None of the previous items are good for ‘curb appeal’, if you know what I mean. Anyone who would buy into one of the glass boxes o’crap being tossed up here would have to be a certifiable moron. Shit, the only reason I am here is for the cheap(ish) rent.

That said, even I have no idea if even I will be around the next year or two because our landlord is getting greedy. He is attempting to (illegally) evict all three of the Section-8 tenants from our building. These people are very nice and actually help make this building a safer place to live. They are older (one is disabled), have lived here for 15+ years, and as a result, really care about the place and the people in it. It makes me sick. The only thing that is more depressing is the fact that one of the families is not even fighting back.

To summarize, ‘development’ (and the sheer greed that comes with it) is destroying this block— and probably this ‘hood as a whole. It is also destroying the lives of a number of people here whose only vice is being poor or disabled. There will be other consequences down the road, e.g., pushing an already-taxed infrastructure (public transportation, grocery stores, public schools, etc.) past capacity, but the human cost I am seeing (and experiencing) here and now is what really gets to me.

At first I wondered how these people can sleep at night, but then I remembered: they have no conscience. After they turn a fast buck in this neighborhood they will simply go on to the next one.

Miss Heather

Ho(ly) Shit

October 10, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

I am a recluse. One of the many things I like about Greenpoint is that people leave you alone. I have always been a weirdo. Big time (I document dog shit and make burqas for Hello Kitty dolls, after all). But unlike anywhere else I have ever lived, I can fly my freak flag with pride here without fear of retribution or ridicule. I cannot adequately convey how grateful I am for this privilege.

My interactions with the outside world have also become much more interesting as a result: in Greenpoint people just say “That’s Miss Heather, she’s like that”, everywhere else people say “What the fuck!?!” Or worse. For example, I am thoroughly confounded by the fact that when my (whiter-than-driven-snow) honky highness wears a t-shirt with Angela Davis on it, very little is said. But when I wear this…

Mao Jacket

I get an earful. And then some.

Of all the things I have made, this jacket is the “Holy of Holies”. I wear it with pride and guard it with a ferocity not unlike how a tiger protects her young. Lest any of you harbor any confusion whatsoever as to who this guy is, click here before you continue reading.

Am I a Maoist? Absolutely not. I like to think that my jacket is a Mao inhibitor that features a shiny happy pink man with a twinkle in his eye. Would this guy start a Cultural Revolution? Probably not— except perhaps if it involved fairies, bunny rabbits and a bubble machine a la Lawrence Welk.

Around here people are pretty used to seeing this jacket. Some are amused by it, a few get confused by it, most simply do not care. This is “Little Poland” after all. It’s not like I am walking around with a jacket with Stalin on it, after all.

Here are some of my favorite questions/comments regarding this article of clothing:

  1. Middle-eastern store owner: Isn’t he the guy who went crazy and killed a bunch of people? (He’s not that far off the mark— ed. note)
  2. 50-something year old Chinese food delivery man: (Chinese) MAO ZEDONG! (Chinese) MAO ZEDONG! (Repeat four more times).
  3. NYC Department of Transportation employee: Is that Reverend Sun Myung Moon (Uh, no— ed. note)
  4. Two 20-something year old Chinese dudes waiting for the E train at 23rd-Ely Avenue: (laugh their asses off).
  5. A few people: Is that Chang Kai-sheck (Wrong side, kiddos. If I was Taiwanese I’d probably beat the crap out of you— ed. note)
  6. Several people: Is that Pol Pot? (Close, but no cigar— ed. note)
  7. Even more people: Is that Kim Jong Il? (If only. Kim Jong is seriously Illin’ with that Elvis-esque pompadour. Too bad he is a nut job with nuclear technology— ed. note)
  8. 50-something year old goon smoking a cigarette outside the 53rd Street stop of the E (to his buddy): Looggit DAT! Dat chick has fuggin’ Ho Chi Minh on the back of her jacket!

*A-hem*

No, I do not have Ho Chi Minh on my jacket.

The number of Vietnam-era men (and one can safely assume veterans of this ‘conflict’ are in the group I am talking about) who get Mao confused with Ho is absolutely mind-boggling. Here is a picture of Mao…

Mao Portrait

and here is a picture of Ho.

Ho Portrait

Not exactly dead-ringers, huh? I was not old enough to remember any of this shit when it happened; I was too busy toilet-training and shoving crayons up my nose. Perhaps hindsight helps in this respect, then again, maybe the reason the whole this ‘conflict’ got as fucked up as it did was because these dudes had no idea whatsoever who they were after? Anything Asiatic goes.

(Come to think of it, the previous scenario is not dissimilar to our fine country’s current cluster-fuck in the middle east, but I digress…)

Last Friday I had the mother of all Mao jacket incidents. In Greenpoint, of all places. I had just got off the train. I passed by a liquor store, and as I did an older man exited and started walking behind me.

Old Man: HO!
Me (to myself): What the fuck?
Old Man: HO!
Me (to myself): Fucking pervert!
Old Man: HOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Me
(getting mighty pissed, I turned around): WHAT?!?
(The old man points at my jacket and asks in broken English if it is Ho Chi Minh.)
Me (please kill me now): No, it’s not Ho Chi Minh.

After a weekend’s worth of reflection I can safely say that the old man wasn’t doing anything wrong. Rather, my vanity got the better of me. Scrawny broads aren’t terribly popular here, much less those who are (clearly) over 30 and married. To skirt-chase me would be like hankering for some man’s leftover potato chips: crumbs. Greenpoint men want the full four-course meal.

If this post (my 101st!) is good for nothing else, consider it a public service announcement. All the previous dudes are dead now save two: Rev. Moon and Kim Jong Il.

  • Reverend Moon fancies himself a savior and fancies money-laundering and tax evasion (among other things).
  • Kim Jong Il has the atomic bomb. He tested it today.

Take your pick.

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Kids Rule (Park Slope Kids Drool)

October 5, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Greenpoint Magic 

Just in case the url of this blog (www.newyorkshitty.com) and the content herein have not made it clear already; this is not a child-friendly publication. It is a belief of the Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint that there is already WAY too much bandwidth wasted on children and their parents’ vanity. Having made my stance on this issue known, I am willing to be flexible when the mood strikes me. Hence this post.

Today I went to the Franklin Corner Store to get some tea. The only upshot of gentrification here I can think of is that my tea of choice, Ito-En green tea with jasmine, is available almost everywhere now. The Franklin Corner Store started carrying it a few months ago and I have been eternally grateful ever since. A day without fragrant green tea buzz is a day that never was for Miss Heather.

I selected a chilled bottle of delicious tea from the cooler and proceeded to the register. The store owner asked if I was ready to check out. I said “Yes” and handed him $2.00. That’s when his young son popped up from behind the counter giggling maniacally. This kid is probably seven or eight years old and today he was hyper something fierce. I can only imagine how much sugar the lad had consumed to get himself worked into this state.

He kept bobbing up and down behind the counter, playing some demented version of “Peek a Boo” with me. All the while giggling his ass off. I enjoyed this tremendously, especially after I noticed that he had a price tag affixed to his forehead.

Me (to the store owner/father): How much does he cost?
Store Owner (without missing a beat): $2.25

We both laughed and after four attempts (the kid could NOT stand still if his life depended on it) I got this pic.

Franklin Corner Kid

It might be a good idea to move the candy out of this child’s reach. As Cindy Adams might say:

Only in Greenpoint folks, only in Greenpoint!

I can only imagine what unholy furor the previous exchange may have precipitated had it transpired in Park Slope. Any ‘nabe laden with mommies who take make the time (and have the lack of a sense of humor needed) to bicker over the gender of a hat on Craigslist is a very scary and dangerous place in my book. I cannot state this with 100% certainty, but I’d wager one (or several) of the following scenarios would have come to pass had this child been found with a price tag on his head in Park Slope:

  1. A humorless dowager calls child protection services to accuse the store owner and me of human trafficking.
  2. Well-meaning Woman “A” (whose sole sense of purpose in life— because she does not have one— is poking her nose into other people’s business) cries racism because Latino children cost less than white children.
    1. Concerned Woman “B” points out the plight of trafficked women in Europe and Asia and calls Woman “A” racist and sexist.
    2. A debate ensues over what constitutes being ‘Latino’, as there a number of children in The Phillippines (which is in Asia) who are of Hispanic descent. This in turn…
    3. Starts a vitriolic exchange (on Craigslist naturally, high-minded virtue is only plausible if it can be voiced for free) as to what constitutes being “Hispanic” and what constitutes being “Latino”…
    4. And on.
    5. And on.
    6. And on into infinity… or when Craigslist.org crashes due to all the traffic. Whichever comes first.
  3. A brigade of lactating mommies start a “Suckle-In” in front of the offending store while chanting “We Will Overcome”.
  4. Edgy moms start putting tags on their children’s foreheads like…
    1. “Kaitlin, an Empowered Wom(b)yn Production: Priceless”
    2. “Max @ $2.25: an act of solidary for the oppressed child at the corner store”

Readers: Please shoot me an email if you think I missed anything in the above list. Outraged mommies are also encouraged to give feedback; I understand that your humvee-sized strollers (and the kids in them) would be irrevocably damaged from riding the G train.

That’s why Greenpoint kids rule and Park Slope kids drool: Greenpoint parents have a sense of humor. They let their kids act like kids.

I have always liked the Franklin Corner Store because their Cuban sandwiches are unbelievable*. Their kids are damned cool too. They can count on my repeat business for a long, long time.

Miss Heather

*Just try their “New Mexico” or “El Mexicano” sandwich. Vegetarian Heaven in a mouthful.

Dung of the Day: Poopi the Clown

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

As it happens, one of my best friends works at the Key Food on McGuinness Boulevard. A few weeks ago she advised me to check out Newel Street south of Greenpoint Avenue because “it can get pretty funky back there”. She went on to tell me that she saw a Starbucks cup full of dog shit there recently. I suspect I speak for all of us when I say that I am gravely disappointed that she didn’t have her camera with her when she made this discovery.

Yesterday I snooped around Newel and it is quite “funky” indeed. Dog shit is only one of the many ‘treaures’ to be found there. I saw a dead pigeon, a television set from the 70’s, numerous beer bottles, and an array of electronics (computers?) that had the living daylights smashed out of them. Right there on the street. Fascinating.

After some thought, I made my selection for “Dung of the Day”. This little guy not only has character, but he is also situated near the rear exit of the Key Food. This is where my friend takes out the garbage from the deli. I left a little something to say “Hi”.

Poopi the Clown

Everyone give a big warm welcome to Poopi the Clown!

Miss Heather

Pulaski Day Mischief

October 1, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

I am surprised that the creations I featured in this post got any attention, much less an edit mention by The Gowanus Lounge and some nice words from Judy McGuire. Moving forward, I will showcase more of my OJAY-DE-ARTAY when the mood suits me. That said…

I woke up today in a strange mental state. My husband can attest that I have been in a decidely agitated, drinkin’, fightin’, ‘fuck authority’ kind of mood. ALL DAY. I had almost forgotten that October 1 is Pulaski Day; thankfully my ‘inner-Pole’ always manages to remind me just in time.

I will not suffer 30+ years of listening to my Polish/Lithuanian last name being butchered by mere simpletons quietly. Today is my DAY and goddammit I will celebrate!

In keeping with my “fuck you imperial tyrants” spirit, I offer this link to my online store. Be sure to read the product description, as it is rather piquant.

Enjoy!

Miss Heather

Vomitorium

September 19, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

I just took out the trash. As I was completing this task I noticed that my shoes were sticking to the floor. This is because someone has seen fit to vomit in our foyer, up the stairwell and outside our front door. This person was even thoughtful enough to leave their used puke rags for me to savor and cherish.

Miss Heather

P.S.: If you are wondering, I still do not have a working telephone. It is 11:00 a.m.

Critical (m)Ass

September 19, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

Just when I think things can’t get any more shitty around here at “Half-assed Junction”, the universe throws a couple more turds my direction.

Among the numerous items on my agenda for today, I get to wait for Verizon to repair our telephone. We have not had phone service since Sunday. I spent all day yesterday waiting for Verizon, to no avail. I suspect the work the MTA was doing yesterday (READ: a 8+ story tall crane occupying our street), has something to do with the phone company not showing up.

I am not necessarily angry about having an inoperative landline: I have worked enough Reception desks to harbor a dark hatred of telephones and most of the people who use them. Rather, I am getting very tired of this full-scale assault against the peaceful sanctity of my home. As I write this (at 9:00 a.m.):

  1. I have been awakened at 7:00 a.m. by Clarence the Tom Cat making his morning visit. This worked our cats into such a frenzy my husband had to intervene before they beat the living shit out of each other.
  2. The construction crew out front fired up their machinery at 7:30 a.m.
  3. The landlord started work on his new roof behind us at 8:30 a.m. Hopefully the Department of Buildings will pay him a visit today. God only knows I have waited long enough for this to happen: OVER A WEEK.

If I have managed to achieve anything during the 30-odd years I have been in this mortal coil, it is the cultivation of anger management skills. I was quite the ball of piss and vinegar in my teens and twenties; I am still as angry (if not more so) now, but I channel it in a more constructive fashion. This newly-developed ability of mine is being pushed to the absolute limit right now. The recent revelation that our landlord is refusing to accept rent checks from one of our neighbors isn’t helping much.

Over the last month or so I have noticed that the garbage in our building is not being handled like it used to be. Instead of being sorted and bagged on a regular basis, now it piles up into an uncontrollable heap. When this matter is (finally) bagged, all the contents (recycling and household waste alike) are being thrown together.

The is happening because the landlord is no longer allowing our neighbor (a section-8 tenant whose husband is very ill) to work as a porter in our building in exchange for a nominal reduction in rent. Her rent checks are not being accepted either. Apparently this has been going on for two months, but we only got wind of it last night. I am not certain what else is going on (with our nabe), but I imagine it can’t be good.

While I cannot offer many details as to what is happening (with this neighbor), I can give a compelling reason as to why it is happening: our landlord recently refinanced the mortgage on this building. One of the stipulations of this mortgage is that the rent collected from this building goes against the balance (of said mortgage). If an apartment turns over, he can raise the rent*; if he raises the rent, it means more money to throw against the mortgage payment. I wonder how many of the other long-term residents of this building he is doing this to— or if my husband and I will be next?

Miss Heather

*and we’ll get more neighbors like this.

Ghetto-gate: September 17, 2006

September 17, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

The landlord next door has done no new ‘renovation’ work the last two days (that I know of anyway). Had he done so, I bet he’d get really pissed about what happened to his roof. Literally.

Clarence the Tom Cat has seen fit to ‘spray’ copiously upon his (new) plywood domain (much to our cats’ displeasure) and the neighbors next door have reverted back to throwing food/garbage out their window. The landlord can gentrify the building, but he can’t gentrify the residents contained therein. The Crapstravaganza continues!

H

This is why I live in Greenpoint

September 15, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

I found this piquant piece of social commentary at the Greenpoint Avenue stop of the G train on September 11, 2006.

Jackass number two

‘Nuff said.

Miss Heather

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