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.

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!

Billy Mays (The Oxi Clean Guy)

August 12, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Area 51 
I'M BILLY MAYS

Over the last two months I have developed a certain fascination with Mr. Mays. If I ever became famous enough to require a spokesperson (or a Greenpoint dog shit tour guide), I would hire him. Money would be no object. Few things would be finer than a group of turistas (clad in walking shorts, Rockports, and customized ‘spin art’ tee shirts) ambling down the streets of Greenpoint, asking where the closest public bathroom is (heh, heh) and listening with rapt interest while Mr. Mays (and his 200+ decibel voice) pontificates about dog shit. My eyes actually tear up at the mere thought of this scenario, to be perfectly honest.

Being an inquisitive person, I went onto the Internet to see if anyone else found Mr. Mays as intriguing as I do. I discovered that he not only has a listing on Wikipedia, but some have actually seen fit to erect fan pages in his honor. It was on this page that I found the following *ahem* enthusiastic praise for Mr. Mays:

Did you ask, “Do you wanna LICK Billy Mays’ Ass?” Well, in any case, the answer would be, “YES!” He is one of the hottest BEARS on the market. I love watching his informercials and every single short commercial that they put on during regular programming. Every time one of his commercials comes on, I make everyone shut up and focus on the Bear God that sits before us. Although I’m not physically able to have his baby, I wouldn’t mind trying for an infinite amount of time. I don’t care what he’s selling as long as the commercials show a lot of him and that gorgeous body. I hope he never shaves that fine beard. I also hope that he’ll start wearing less clothing…at least wear shorts to show off those legs. Maybe they should invent a product for your skin so he can take off his shirt to show us how it works. For anyone who disagrees, “Don’t hate!”

– kybearlover

Thank you “kybearlover” for searing a mental picture onto my brain that will require at least a 6 pack of beer (tallboys) to erase. Dear reader(s), if I have to live my the rest of my life with the knowledge that…

  1. there are people in this world who harbor erotic sentiments about Billy Mays and
  2. are motivated enough to let it be known to total strangers,

so should you!

Miss Heather

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?).

I’m in a fightin’ fuckin’ mood

I didn’t wake up in a bad mood this morning, but I sure as hell am in one nasty as fuck mood now. The first day of decent-ish weather to be had in about a week— ruined. Courtesy of the MTA jackhammering up the street…

MTA

this dude doing god-only-knows what

shitsucker

while these asshats watched.

sitting ON IT

Foolishly, I opened up the windows of my apartment to get some fresh air (HA!)— and shortly thereafter was assaulted by a noise that sounded like 1,000 chalkboards being scratched by Freddy Krueger amplified through Satan’s very own asshole (with Pete Townsend controlling the volume).

The melee that followed was not unlike something from Mutual of Omaha’s Animal Kingdom: a herd three very freaked-out cats bolted out of the living room en masse to get away from the noise. One of them saw fit to molest one of our female cats in order to make his displeasure (via displacement) known. I close the window and then spend five minutes placating everyone. Except myself.

After experimenting with different music* (to conceal the noise), I finally gave up and went for a walk. This walk netted me (ample) content for my very first Greenpoint crap map and a second-hand encounter with the very kind of person I do not need to be exposed to when I am in a mood: a clueless hipster chick wasting a cashier’s time (and as a consequence, my own, as I had to wait behind her in line).

Clueless Hipster Chick (to clerk): Can I park my bike in here?
Clerk: Uh. Sure.
CHC: Do you have, like small clothes for a dollar? (Behind her is a rack of children’s clothing in plain view.)
Clerk: (?)
CHC: Like doll clothes, you know, cheap?
Clerk: Maybe, try that bin over there.

This was the bin I happened to be going through. As a result, now I had a smelly-ass chick hovering behind me, looking over my shoulder. I went to the back of the store. Eventually I got bored and brought my selections to the register only to discover… she’s still there!

CHC: How much for this?
Clerk: (Utters a price)
CHC: What about this?
Clerk: (Utters another price)
CHC: Can I like, get a discount, if I buy a lot of stuff?
Clerk: (Utters an answer)
CHC: What about this wig?

(Aside: buying, much less wearing, an old wig is gross. Then again, it was probably cleaner than her hair. It was oily and matted. Nasty.)

Clerk: $10.00 for everything.
CHC: Do you take credit cards?
Me (thinking to myself): So help me god I am going to throttle this woman!

After several minutes of negotiation and inanity, the bitch pulls out a wad of bills and pays in cash. I get my turn.

Me: one picture frame (priced at $4.00) and one set of buttons (priced at $1.00)
Clerk: $2.00
CHC: (Throws one nasty look my direction.)

I have worked in public service.
I have worked in sales.
I have also worked in hospitality.

My resume is a patch-work quilt with one common theme: interfacing with the public. There is nothing that a public servant/salesperson/PR hack hates more than some idiot wasting his/her time by drifting into a stream-of-consciousness line (?) of questioning. ESPECIALLY if the transparent (if illucid) motivation underlying it is chiseling away at the price of something.

CHC (and her brethren) are blissfully unaware of the fact that “X” number of people (many being idiots, just like herself) are in line behind her. In my experience, this is the type of person also operates under the (erroneous) assumption that the clerk enjoys conversing with him/her— or finds him/her interesting. We don’t. We are paid to expedite business and be nice— and when the day is over, we stick pins in our ‘troublesome customer’ dolls with extreme prejudice.

Hopefully this squeaky wheel learned that she will not get the grease by being an annoying twit: she’ll get the shaft instead. The quiet, patient, non-haggling customer (with daggers in her eyes) is the one who gets the discounts. While neither asking for nor expecting them, I might add.

Eventually I came home. Upon arrival, I beheld the latest incarnation of our apartment buzzer ‘system’…

Fucking retarded

I’m speechless. Fucking speechless. When I see shit like this (and in my building/’hood I see it with disquieting regularity) I ask myself: at what point does the exertion required (X) to cover up/avoid doing a task (Y) prove to be more effort than actually hiring a professional to fix the problem (Z)?

When (in New York City apartment physics) does X-Y (prove to be) >/= Z? If Stephen Hawking is still asking/fielding questions on Yahoo, I’m gonna ask him.

Otherwise, if this cutesy arrangement proves to facilitate theft (of anything I happen to have delivered to my apartment), I will invoke a force neither Mr. Hawking nor god himself would dare reckon with: the United States Postal Service.

*ELO, Public Enemy, Pearl Jam**, Guns-n-Roses (which worked)

**To their credit, “Go” (from the album Vs.) came very, very close.

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.

Greenpoint just got a little bit uglier

May 19, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Dog Shit, Dung of the Day, Greenpoint Magic 

The recent torrential downpour(s) have made “Dung of the Day” pickins’ pretty slim. But “dog shit” isn’t merely canine effluvia, it’s a state of mind. Which brings me to this steaming pile of shit my husband and I happened across last night at 198 Green Street…

hvac

Who the? What the? OH MY GOD!!! As if the facade’s strong resemblance to a sub-zero refrigerator isn’t bad enough, check out the front door…

And exactly who (or what) will live behind this door? Frau Blucher immediately comes to mind. This isn’t a house, it’s a fucking fortification— which may not be such a bad idea given that some neighborhood (wannabe) toughs hurled an object in my direction as I gawked at this atrocity. Frankly, it makes me want to hurl something at (or my dinner on) it too.

gallow

I’m guessing this is a light fixture. The first of three to be installed along the top of this building. I for one would like to propose that upon completion these be used as gallows for the owner of this property, the ‘designer’ responsible for this ‘design concept’ and the contractor who enabled it to happen.

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
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