Tots, Art and Wombats

August 17, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

St. Paul the Hermit

For someone who is unemployed (and would presumably have a LOT of free time) I am damned busy.

Last night (until the wee hours of this morning) I researched New York State landlord/tenant case law regarding “Estoppel Agreements” and Rent Stabilization Law. I had to do this because our landlord is refinancing his mortgage and gave us an “Estoppel Agreement” to sign (because he wants to prove that people actually pay rent here). I can’t say I didn’t see this coming: I had the pleasure of showing our apartment to a patronizing sleazeball (Read: real estate appraiser) a few months ago. (I have written about this experience, but have yet to post it here.)

After completing this task, I moderated several internal feline disputes that arose from the local tomcat (who I have named “Clarence”, as in Clarence Thomas) making his regular nocturnal round(s). Ironically, Clarence’s hours of choice (for these social calls) are more akin to Dr. Pepper than Coke (or the pubic hairs contained therein): 10:00 p.m., 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.

After that, I tried to go to bed— only to be awakened at 5:00 a.m. by female trouble. In true Miss Heather form, I had no feminine hygiene products whatsoever on hand. Thankfully, my best bud Rachael gave me a new pack of pantyliners recently and these tied me over until the local bodega opened.

For all the previous reasons (and a few more) I feel awful and probably look even worse. It’s easy to pull off that “I haven’t gotten any sleep” look when you are in your 20’s. This is because many will assume you look haggard because were out partying, etc. After you hit 30 however, these very same people will pigeon-hole you (for this very same lack of kemptness and thousand-mile whiskey stare) as being “rode hard and put away wet”. Thankfully, I live in a ‘hood where there is ALWAYS someone who looks much worse for wear than I do.

That said, even when I do not feel so low I tend to be a bit of a hermit. This is due to the fact that I am the “homebody’s homebody” (as opposed to being a hardened misanthropist); it takes a lot to induce me to leave the confines of Greenpoint, much less the demented sanctity of my own home. My apartment is my “comfort zone”. I ventured out today for the sole purpose of purchasing the menstrual essentials: maxi pads and wine.

This meager one block trek netted me treasure, nonetheless. Even though I am terrible at making money (but am very good at spending it), the powers that be see fit to throw me crumbs on occasion. Like today.

I scored this object de arte at the intersection of Eagle Street and Manhattan Avenue:

Art

While I am not usually a fan of this type of art, I think it will go nicely in my bathroom (next to the velvet painting of Elvis).

After picking up my new piece of art, I proceeded to the liquor store. I took my bottle of cheap-ass champagne to the cash register and I struck up a conversation with a sales representative for Wombat Hill Winery:

Me (to Sales Rep): Oh yeah, the wine store down the street carries this stuff. I have not tried it yet, but I think those plush wombats are cute as hell.
Me (to Cashier): When this promotion is over, I want one of those guys. They are so cute.
Sales Rep: Of these three wines, which one would you buy?
Me: The Claret.
Cashier: Claret?!?
SR (to Cashier): Clarets are blended wines. The Cabernet/Shiraz bottle here is a Claret.
Cashier: Ohh…
SR (to me): What would be your second choice?
Me: The Shiraz.
SR: So you like red wines?
Me: Yes. To be perfectly honest, I like wine. Period. But I veer towards purchasing whites during warm weather and reds in cooler weather. This is the general rule as I understand it. My father used to be the Chief Financial Officer for a company that imported wine into Texas— and as a result, I have learned a few things about wine.
SR (pulling out brochures): So do you think selling our Chardonnay here is a good idea?
Me: Yes, I do.
SR: Check out this product. It is probably too expensive to market here (at $30.00 a bottle), but you might find it interesting. It’s a boutique wine from Idaho.
Me: Do you mind if I make a note of this winery, as I’d like to pass it along to my dad?
SR: Sure.
Me: Thanks. I agree that this wine is too expensive to sell here. For now anyway. Soon enough there will be plenty of people living here who will be more than willing (and able) to outlay $30.00 for a bottle of wine. This will be good for you, but not for us (pointing to the Cashier and myself).

*Laughter*

I pick up my wine and instinctively fumble around for my newfound painting, brushing my hand against the Sales Rep’s bag (which happens to contain eight bottles of wine) in the process. The Sales Rep notices this.

Me: Sorry, when I see a bag full of vino, my first instinct is to grab it.
SR: No problem. Here, have a plush wombat.

WOMBAT!

Me: THANKS!
SR: Now I know I sell at least one bottle of wine here.
Me: No worries, I probably would purchase one eventually. (pointing to the cashier) Just ask her.

After expending only ten minutes (and ten dollars) I now have a bottle of champagne (with which to self-medicate myself), a new piece of “art”, AND a stuffed wombat. Not a bad haul, if I say so myself.

In closing, my neighbors have seen fit to throw more crap out their window. My new find can be found here. Happy hunting!

Miss Heather

In Praise of Failure

August 16, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

Whoops

Firstly, I want to thank all you out there for your interest in New York Shitty. In particular, I want to extend special thanks to Jake Dobkin for seeing fit to feature my blog on Gothamist last week, as I strongly suspect this was the reason for my recent windfall of editorial mentions on other web sites. I have failed at many things, so a crumb (or two) of recognition means a lot to me.

On that note, I present to you the following comment “Anonymous” saw fit to post on Curbed regarding a feature about yours truly from August 14.

First off: Who the hell has time to do follow sh**. This blogger must not be from New York.
In New York, DOG doesnt rhyme with LOG or BLOGGER. Its pronounced DAWG, just like LAWENG ISLAND, CAWE-FFE and WAWK.
There are a ‘crap load’ of neighborhoods with this same problem. Why is this of any significant importants over any other ‘crappy’ neighborhood?
SECONDLY: Curbed really needs to stop covering piss and crap stories. Seriously. Who wants to read about crap all over the city? Its a little
immature, dont you think?

And here is my reply:

To answer your questions Mister or Ms. “Anonymous”…

Q: Who the hell has time to do follow sh**.
A: I have time to follow dog shit because I am over-educated and unemployed. I am not ashamed to be in this position: many very wonderful people are on the “same boat” so to speak.

Q: This blogger must not be from New York.
A: No, I’m not. I’m from Texas— and for that reason hell will hold no surprises for me. I have lived in New York City for 9 years, tho.

Q: There are a ‘crap load’ of neighborhoods with this same problem. Why is this of any significant importants over any other ‘crappy’ neighborhood?
A: I emphatically agree. But for the time being, Greenpoint is keeping me pretty busy. Had you perused my site, you would have noticed that I do showcase dog shit from other locales on occasion.

H

I have no problem whatsoever making light of my (numerous) shortcomings: e.g., being unemployed and from the State of Texas.* I suspect the same cannot be said for “Anonymous”, whoever he (or more likely she) may be. How did I come to this conclusion you ask? Very simple.

  1. “Anonymous” wrote a pretty long missive.
  2. This missive was written during business hours, leading me to believe that this person (a woman in all likelihood) is pretty unhappy at her place of unemployment. I’d wager money she is a low-level Administrative Assistant— or worse: a Receptionist.
  3. I deduced that a woman (probably under 30) wrote the previous because:
  1. Men do not make such a fuss about “immaturity”.**
  2. Women over 30 have accepted “immaturity” as part of the human condition.

It is not my purpose to vilify this person; rather I want to give her some personal advice. As a woman over 30 who has been a Receptionist and pretty miserable— both personally and professionally, on occasion— I offer the following thoughts:

  1. If you are unhappy enough to post such a turd on a comment board (especially while you are on the job), you need to make some life changes.
  2. If you are going to rip on one someone (in this case, Curbed.com and myself) do yourself a favor: do your research before you type.*** You clearly did not do this, and as a result you made a jackass out of yourself. I speak from experience when I say this.
  3. Lighten up and get off your high-horse. You are no better (or worse) than anyone else. Nobody likes a busybody lecturing to them about propriety. As William S. Burroughs said:

    Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.

  4. Revel in your failure. You are in good company: there are many more failures in this world than success stories.

Then again, what would I know? I follow dog sh**, after all.

Miss Heather

*If I do not put myself down, someone else (more likely than not, during the course of a job interview) will do it for me.

**For example, here is an excerpt from a recent email my dad (who just turned 65) sent me regarding his latest rectal assault against water-conservating toilets:

… This morning at 8:15 Mr Dick finally managed to stop up # two toilet.

***This is why I require registration in order to comment on this site. I want people to think before they write and have the courage of their convictions to actually attach their name (even if it is just a first name) to what they submit. That’s it. I do nothing with this information.

Empire State Building

August 16, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

Although it is not the purpose of this blog to showcase the treasure(s) I score at local thrift stores, I am making an exception today. I got this wonderful item at “The Thing” for a cool five bucks.

Empire State Building

As I was exiting the store, George Diaz, a local celebrity, asked me what I was going to do with this five foot replica of the Empire State Building.

My answer: I am not completely certain, but I strongly suspect there will be a puppet show*, rock opera— or most likely, a combination of BOTH featuring it.

Miss Heather

*For Example: after a long day at work, The Empire State Building comes home to his modest row house in Secaucus, New Jersey. His wife, The Chrysler Building, (clad in rollers and a muu-muu) has burnt dinner. Ralph and Alice Cramden-esque repartee is exchanged— which quickly degenerates into Punch and Judy violence.

Of Camus and Crap

August 16, 2006 ·
Filed under: Crap Map, Dog Shit, Greenpoint Magic 

His Imperial Majesty, GW Bush II

Some of you who have looked at today’s New York Times might have read Maureen Dowd’s Op-Ed piece, “Camus Comes to Crawford”. The fact that Mr. Bush is trying to wrap his head around The Stranger is probably disturbing enough for most people, but my latest dog doo recon mission casts this development in an even more sinister light.

My route was as follows:

August 14, 2006 Route

Here are the Crap Stats.

August 14, 2006 Crap Stats

And here is a bar graph illustrating an unusual statistic I discovered.

Camus Chart

As you have probably noticed, the block that has a portrait of Albert Camus on it also has a significantly elevated amount of dog crap. It would appear that there is a certain level of attraction between Mr. Camus and dog shit. And if you have read Ms. Dowd’s column today, you can (via deductive reasoning) draw yet another conclusion…

Today’s Crap Map can be found here.

Miss Heather

McCarren Park Bathroom: Imitation of Gentrification*

August 12, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

* Gowanus Lounge called my tale this and I liked it so much I changed the title.

A few months ago I wrote a post which (among many other things) bemoaned the presence of bar soap at the women’s restroom at McCarren Park. I patronized these facilities (again) this week and am pleased to report that this disturbing indicator of gentrification has since been ‘corrected’. In fact, the new developments at this public bathroom are noteworthy enough to merit dissemination to the general public.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

After walking for over an hour and guzzling copious amounts of water and iced tea, I needed to go to the bathroom. I assessed the situation and deduced that McCarren Park had the closest facilities. Upon entering the bathroom I encountered the fetid and dank smell that is the hallmark of all New York City public bathrooms. This was encouraging.

I attempted to enter the stall on the right, but for a number of (very good) reasons I opted for the left one instead.

Right-hand Toilet Stall

The left-hand stall opened more readily, but toilet paper was chained to it as well.

Paper in Chains

After completing my business, I go to the sink to wash my hands.

No soap

No soap whatsoever was to be found, but paper towels were plentiful and the garbage can was still tethered to the sink with chains.

Can in Chains

I relayed these observations to my husband last night.

Husband: God, what kind of world do we live in?
Me: What do you mean?
Husband: A world where you have to lock up toilet paper so people won’t steal it.
Me: The people who steal toilet paper are not the ones who upset me; the ones who see fit to make toilet paper theft-proof do.
Husband: ???
Me: I have been poor (READ: a temp) many, many times. The meager paychecks I got didn’t cover the cost of living. There was no way I could afford rent, student loan payments, FOOD, and sundries like toilet paper on $10.00 an hour. I coped by eating all the free food I could find (Internet start-ups are were always good for that) and filching the occasional roll of toilet paper. If someone steals toilet paper, he/she really needs toilet paper. It is cruel to deny the needy toilet paper and the people who do so are truly evil in my book.
Husband: (nods in agreement)

After getting this crumb of affirmation, I got on my (semi-illucid, but well-intentioned) soap box…

Me: Take the bar of soap I found a couple of months ago at McCarren Park. That really pissed me off.
Husband: ???
Me: First it’s a bar of soap in the public bathroom and before you know it you have concerned parents raising holy hell because there are rats in the park.
Husband: ???
Me: Remember when we went to Cobble Hill (Carroll Gardens?) and saw that group of concerned parents who rented an inflatable rat to protest the presence of rats at their local park?
Husband: Yes.
Me (working myself into a frenzy): That was a load of shit— and a gross misuse of the ubiqitous inflatable rat. I have been to that park several times; the first time I used the women’s room there they had bar soap.
Husband: Uh-huh…
Me: The second time I went they not only had bar soap, but I had to use the women’s bathroom while a nanny/lackey presided over a little boy using the toilet. This child was at least 10 years old. I am certain he was very capable of going on his own… in the men’s bathroom!
Husband: Ok…
Me: The third time I went they had that fucking rat. Do you honestly think the nanny I saw the previous time was “on the books”? Do you think the family (or families) who employ her are paying a competitive wage, social security taxes, etc? I seriously doubt it— and that’s why it pisses me the hell off that they are using the scab-busting inflatable rat to protest the presence of rats in their precious park! Rats, I might add, that I have never seen! Fucking hypocrites.

My monologue went on…

Me: Complaining about the presence of rats in New York City is like going to France and getting angry because it is populated with Frenchmen.* Where people are to be found you will also find rats, it doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to figure that out. If they were so damned upset about rats they should:

  1. dispose of their (children’s) food properly and not let little Lincoln (or Meghan) dribble ice cream all over place
  2. move somewhere that does not have rats (good luck) OR
  3. grow up and deal with it!

And on…

Remember when our neighbors were barbequing and got really drunk last year? It had to be at least 1:00 a.m. when I heard a woman shriek “OMIGAWWWWD, a RAAAT!”** That’s when I pulled you to the window and we watched her (VERY) drunk boyfriend chase it around with a 2 by 4. That was funny as hell.
Husband: Yes it was.

Rats are the foundation for a healthy marriage. Not only did my husband and I enjoy watching this melee (if you’re wondering, our neighbor finally ‘nailed’ it and apologized to us for making so much noise), but after we eloped at Brooklyn Municipal Hall, we announced our marriage by sending out pictures of us standing in front of an inflatable rat that happened to be next door.

There is a point (maybe two) to be found in the previous, hell if I know exactly what it is. But if I had to hazard a guess I’d say that I am happy that McCarren Park bathroom is utterly revolting (and bereft of soap). Because when the inflatable rat shows up here it will mean that I need move somewhere else. Fast.

Miss Heather

*This is/was not intended to be a slur against France or French people; French people live in France, rats live in New York City. Simple as that.

**Gotta love that sexy Long Island honk!

Excusez-Moi

August 10, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

I regret to announce that I will not be a guest blogger on Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. It certainly looked encouraging for awhile, but alas, it simply was not to be.

In 20/20 hindsight, I do not think it was the quality of my writing (or lack thereof) that precipitated my rejection. The content of what I wrote probably did. In spades. Had I known I was submitting material to the woman also known as Smartmom, I might have selected something else to submit— or maybe I wouldn’t have— who knows? But I digress…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this saga thus far, I will bring you up to date.

About two weeks ago Jossip.com ran a little blurb on their Only in New York section stating that OTBKB was having an open call for guest bloggers this month. I checked out the site (OTBKB), and being the fine-ass Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint that I am, I felt had something special to contribute.

I sent an email on Friday, July 28, 2006 at 4:30 a.m. (It has been my experience that nothing else but pure literary glory comes from my person at such an ungodly hour.)

It read as follows:

Greetings,

I came across your solicitation for a guest blogger(s) via Jossip.com. I do not live in Park Slope; the disruption of G train service of late (and my lack of personal upkeep/finances/self-esteem) prohibit me from going there. Nothing personal.

That said, I do live in Brooklyn: Greenpoint, 11222 to be precise. Your blog purports to serve “Park Slope, New York, and Beyond”. Surely my Charles Bukowski-esque musings fit will within your criteria: most likely under “New York and Beyond”. Greenpoint is a very strange place indeed— and that’s why I love it. I’ve lived here for six years, have a rent-stabilized apartment (near the waterfront) and will only vacate the aforementioned apartment when I am carried out (or get a fat pay-off) — if you know what I mean.

I have neither children (they give me the creeps, carry germs and shit their pants— though strangely, I have a husband and 5 cats who do all the previous, and more— go figure) nor do I have anyone remotely “famous” in or around my ‘hood (alive, anyway). I am, nonetheless, civically-minded. Check out my blog: www.newyorkshitty.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Miss Heather

You can imagine my glee when I checked my email Friday afternoon to find this:

Reply

I gave her a date (August 13) and awaited further instructions. Instructions came August 2nd:

Instructions

August 7th (by my standards) is a pretty tight deadline. What should I write? I asked myself this question. Over and over.

And on Friday, August 4th, I had my ‘eureka’ moment: I should write about what I know and love. Greenpoint, like a sick dog with shingles and rotting teeth or an incontinent relative, is what I know and love.

But alas, I never got a confirmation as to when my post would appear.

Follows is the manuscript (and supplemental jpegs) I submitted. I have put back all the profanity I excised because this is my blog, and as 2 Live Crew would say, I’ll be as nasty as I want to be.

Friday Night in Greenpoint
(I just called the NYPD to say I love you)

IheartNYPD

If all the sirens I heard are any indication, I’d say that the 94th Precinct had its hands full last night. Maybe it was a full moon, who knows?

Prelude
The evening unfolded like any other. Around 3 p.m. the neighbors across the street started blasting music I commonly refer to as ‘fornication tunes’. Marc Anthony mostly. I do not want you to be my hero, Marc. You look like the Crypt Keeper. You sound even worse.

Let it be known here and now before I proceed:

A. Firstly, I no longer make any effort to conceal my contempt towards the aforementioned musician or its listeners: I detest them both.

B. Secondly, being forced to listen to this slop (for hours on end, day after day) works me into a black rage.

C. Finally, I dislike the vast majority of people who live in the compost heap that masquerades as the apartment building across the street from my building.

If you walked in my shoes (and lived in my apartment building) the last 4 years, you too would harbor such dark sentiments. Among other things, the residents of that building saw fit to have ‘picnics’ in the public areas of my building, leaving their refuse, chicken bones, etc., for our neighbor cum porter to pick up.

The smooch-a-palooza continued well into the night, blaring from a stereo system whose decibel output was sufficient to make the fillings in my teeth rattle. At 9:00 p.m. Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You played for everyone’s edification. I thought to myself: GOD I hate that song. Seriously, I REALLY FUCKING HATE THAT SONG.

Crisis
I tried to go about my business, but to no avail. Not after I heard the shrill call of one very angry greenpointus slatternous screaming over Stevie’s insipid crooning, anyway. Initially I found this amusing, as her rabid caterwauling echoed perfectly the black rage this song was fomenting in my soul. Curiosity, however, got the better part of me and I peered out the window.

A crowd of gawkers had formed. Hmm. “Let me guess”, I thought, “I bet this incident is the bitter fruit borne of a love triangle and a shitload of alcohol.” I have lived in Greenpoint for about 6 years now and I have noticed that most conflicts hereabouts involve drinking and fornicating.

I couldn’t make out much of what this woman was screaming aside from the odd I don’t give a FAWK and Go ahead, CAWL the police, but she seemed to be angry. Very angry. After she belched forth Go ahead, CAWL the police a second time someone did just that.

The seriously imbalanced woman kept ranting, Stevie kept singing, the world kept turning and four NYPD squad cars came a’ patrolling. The first car, apparently oblivious to the bottle-neck made by construction (courtesy of the MTA), pulled into the only remaining lane and parked straddling the curb.

Bad idea. In the maze of one-way streets that is Greenpoint, this officer just created a major snafu. Anyone seeking drugs from the dealers east of Manhattan Avenue or access to the Pulaski bridge— and I assure you there are plenty of the both to be found on a Friday night — are going to meet a major obstacle.

The officer (a woman) got out of the squad car and put on leather gloves. “Oh mama this is gonna get good”, I thought. If I have to be torn away from reading the latest gossip about Lindsay Lohan’s rumored cocaine habit, Ashlee Simpson’s new nose, or Britney Spear’s newest tribulation, I sure as hell expect to be recompensed for my valuable (lost) time with some serious knuckle-dusting.

My appetite for violence was unsatiated, but I was not disappointed.

The female officer took the rabid chick into the vestibule of the apartment building. The other (male) officer pulled a man and a(nother) woman about 20 feet away to get their take on events. The shouting and gesticulating I saw made it pretty clear that this man was indeed sticking his twig and berries into the wrong bushes. Two to be precise.

Resolution
I elected to call  the Mister (who was out of town). I did not call to say I loved him; I called to tell him about the unfolding circus unfolding outside our living room window. I am no Howard Cossell— or even John Madden— my color commentary (delivered from the fire escape) follows:

Miss H: Oh yeah, the police cut off access to the only lane left. I betcha some fuckwit will pull up behind the parked police car and start honking.

(And lo, one such ‘fuckwit’ did just that! Soon there was a queue of ‘fuckwits’, all of whom were honking feverishly.)

Miss H: Man, now there are at least seven cars backed up— one of them is a police car! These dudes are going to have to back up and turn around. There is no way in hell they are going to get through here.

My suburban upbringing made me oblivious to the possibility that these people may try to pass the parked police car by driving on the sidewalk. Like the petroleum-driven crack monkies they are, this is exactly what they did.

Crackmonkey

Miss H: Now there’s some idiot trying to pass the police car by driving on our sidewalk. Dude, no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Go ahead, try to subvert a widely accepted principle of physics. That crappy sedan of yours does not look like it can make 55 miles per hour, much less the speed of light. Good luck, buddy! He’s going to either hit our fence or the police car. I hope to hell it’s the police car because dammit I want to see someone go to jail.

The first car made it. Barely.

Miss H: Okay, now we have a second one. He isn’t going to make it.

He didn’t. His car door grinded against our fence and pulled the gate off its hinges.

Miss H: HAHAHAHAHA! BRAVO, BRAVO! My god, these people are so FUCKING stupid!

This is when I realized that (in my excitement) I had been speaking quite loudly: a number of onlookers gazed up at me.

Miss H: Uh, I need to go back inside. I’ll call you later.

Post-Script
This incident came to pass a couple months ago. Recently I recounted it to my best friend.

In her sage wisdom, Rachael asked: well, do you like that song any better now?
Me: What do you mean?
Rachael: You said you hated that song. Now that you have an amusing story to associate with it, do you like it any better?
Me: I don’t know. I had never really thought about it.

I have heard this song twice since. I think it was at the grocery store, I honestly cannot recall with any certainty. And it did bring a smile to my face. Rachael was right.

(End of story)

To repeat myself: had I known who I was dealing with, I might have sent something different. I suspect she found a number of passages in my tome disturbing, if not downright loathsome. Passages (for example) such as:

Around 3 p.m. the neighbors across the street started blasting music I commonly refer to as ‘fornication tunes’. I deem music by the likes of Marc Anthony and others of his ilk as such because I strongly suspect the children I see wandering the streets like packs of feral dogs were conceived to it.

Perhaps, as my husband said, “I should have done my research”. I didn’t. Then again, I do not think she did her homework either; how could anyone honestly think a domain like www.newyorkshitty.com is going to have wholesome family-oriented content? Really?

Maybe she thought I was goofing around or bullshitting?

The Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint does not bullshit. The Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint adores Charles Bukowski and truly is “creeped out” by children (and the germs they carry). Big time.

I went to Park Slope last weekend. This is the first time I have done so in at least two years. My husband and I were to meet a coworker of his (and his wife) for dinner. The company was pleasant enough to be certain, but I found the Park Slope/South Slope/Whatever-They-Call-It-Nowadays thoroughly horrifying.

Especially “Maggie Moo’s”.

The coconut sorbet was delicious, but I felt nothing but heartfelt pity for the poor people who had to work there. If I was God and had all the perquisites entailed therein, e.g., having say as to where truly evil people like Hitler, Stalin, Rumsfeld, etc., went after they died; I’d relegate them to slinging ice cream at “Maggie Moo’s”. High-intensity lighting, squirming children, neo-liberal parents and all. Forever.

And ever.

Miss Heather

Chalk Drawing Credit: this work is by my superintendent’s daughter. She is a very sweet girl with loads of “art star” potential. She (obviously) loves the NYPD, but does not like “Elsa” (sic?).

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”

Hardcorn

August 2, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

I start this post with a little thing I wrote a couple years ago…

MANHATTAN AVENUE, BROOKLYN’S GANGES?

I miss my old next door neighbors. Really I do. You see, my apartment (the back of it anyway) abuts an open cul de sac made by the building next door; I use this area as my “backyard”. Albeit one story up and bereft of grass. What is one (wo)man’s backyard is another man’s sewer. This weird nexus provides personal, entertaining— but treacherous insight into the lives of my neighbors. I learned. The hard way.

I have narrowly avoided being pelted with rancid curry, hot dog weenies, and bread that took a frighteningly long time to decompose (the pigeons would not even eat it). But by far, the best spoils came belching forth onto my refuge after a very vocal fight next door: a whole chicken and a fair amount of porn was enticingly jettisoned outside my bedroom window. Being as it was around Thanksgiving, I felt compelled to ‘rescue’ the chicken, stuff it with porn, and serve it up as a feast. If Thanksgiving is indeed about sharing and good will, why not share this new-found bounty with my best friends?

Instead, I rescued one intact porno tape. A BAD porno at that. But as some would say: it is best to have known bad porn, than to have known no porn at all.

Yesterday evening, I read a National Geographic in my lounge chair I and watched a Teeny Tiny Titty Chicks Vol. 3 dvd languidly roll by an unused packet of duck sauce: a pathetic, yet appropriate, sad vestige of days gone by.

July 24, 2006

I could not tear my husband from the television Sunday for love or money. Until I went behind our apartment and discovered a new bounty of porn goodness. He spent the better part of the afternoon/evening parsing through the Raw Meat dvd I found. After viewing five hours of raw footage my husband complained that it “had no plot”. Sure…

Miss H vs. Sam

The point of origin of this (and previous) porn, rotten food, personal effects, etc., found behind our apartment has been a source of heated debate between my husband and I for a long time. If you have ever seen the movie My Cousin Vinnie, you’ll understand the level of debate (READ: arguing) that goes on in my household: any given task (even one requiring 5 minutes of labor or thought— at best) is only completed after at least one hour’s worth of ‘discussion’ (arguing).

Socially-minded folk often mistake our debates for outright acrimony— and nothing could be further from the truth; much like the Methuselah-esque radiatiors to be found in most New York City apartments, our relationship is grounded firmly on a constant release of steam.

My husband takes great pride from being born and raised in Missouri (mizz-or-rah, as he likes to call it). Missouri, the show me state. I was born in Texas and come from one of the best lines of nobility to be had there: Sam Houston. I’m not too sure what Texas’s catchphrase is nowadays (aside from being the Lone Star State), but if I had to assign one it would be Texas: the I’ll show you state.

Sam Houston showed them.
Charles Whitman showed them.
Lee Harvey Oswald (and Jack Rudy) showed them.
David Koresh (there’s a fun one) showed them.
H.I.M., George W. Bush (fake Texan), is still trying to show them.

My (Tejana) rage (thankfully) is of a more gentle nature. But I still like to serve up some “I showed you” on occasion— especially to my husband.

July 26, 2006

I gathered prima facie evidence as to where the (previous) items are coming from. After shouting at my cats for fifteen minutes, two very hyperactive, very young, very unattended, children (in the apartment behind us, one floor up) volleyed a 2 pound barbell weight and several pieces of Tupperware out the window. I have watched enough episodes of Forensic Files to note that this material was landing along the same trajectory as my previous finds. I recount this finding to my husband.

August 1, 2006

I awoke to the sound of my neighbors throwing more stuff out the window. Groggily, I peered out the window to discover an entire piece of corn on the cob. Perhaps it was lack of sleep or cabin fever, but I thought this was one of the most hilarious things I had ever seen. I thought to myself: I’ll go back to bed and venture out later to take a photo of this choice find. Big mistake. When I did go out— TWENTY MINUTES LATER— the squirrels had totally eviscerated it, cob and all. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that I found this very disquieting.

I did. And still do.

There have been movies made about rats, birds, even C.H.U.D.s, why not squirrels? New York City squirrels. I can easily imagine these voracious creatures making off with small children, skidrow bums or little old ladies.

All I’m saying is that I am gonna to carry a baseball bat when I go out there from now on.

Closing on that note, I have created an interactive feature where you too can experience the first-hand joy of discovering the rich bounty of goodness behind my apartment. This will be an ongoing project of mine, so check back occasionally. Enjoy!

Brevity —and Barbarians— are the soul of wit.

August 2, 2006 ·
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

Apres moi, le deluge

In less than two weeks I will be a guest author on Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. This is a very exciting development, as I will be able to send some very special Greenpoint love Park Slope’s direction via the power of the Internet. It’s not like I can do so personally nowadays, with the heat and the ebb and flow of G train service.

Do I plan to use this opportunity to lambaste Park Slopers, you ask?

No, I don’t. If anything, I’ll probably end up ripping on everyone, myself included. Who knows. As Professor Ping said in the movie Barbarella, “genius is mysterious”.

That said, I want to relay something that is probably a literary first. My cover letter (regarding being a guest blogger on OTBKB) was as follows:

Greetings,

I came across your solicitation for a guest blogger(s) via Jossip.com. I do not live in Park Slope; the disruption of G train service of late (and my lack of personal upkeep/finances/self-esteem) prohibit me from going there. Nothing personal.

That said, I do live in Brooklyn: Greenpoint, 11222 to be precise. Your blog purports to serve “Park Slope, New York, and Beyond”. Surely my Charles Bukowski-esque musings fit will within your criteria: most likely under “New York and Beyond”. Greenpoint is a very strange place indeed— and that’s why I love it. I’ve lived here for six years; have a rent-stabilized apartment (near the waterfront) and will only vacate the aforementioned apartment when I am carried out (or get a fat pay-off) — if you know what I mean.

I have neither children (they give me the creeps, carry germs and shit their pants— though strangely, I have a husband and 5 cats who do all the previous, and more— go figure) nor do I have anyone remotely “famous” in or around my ‘hood (alive, anyway). I am, nonetheless, civically-minded. Check out my blog: www.newyorkshitty.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Miss Heather

This has got to be the first and only time I know of that anyone (much less a WOMAN) who openly purported an affection for a literary kinship to Charles Bukowski and actually landed a(n unpaid) writing gig. Then again, admiration for Mr. Bukowski is a pre-requisite for successful living in Greenpoint: he is to Greenpoint what peanut butter is to jelly: indispensible.

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