McGuinness Boulevard


Lest the subject matter of this blog does not make it clear already; I have unusual tastes when it comes to entertaining myself. After busting my ass last week, I finally got some ‘down’ time Sunday. Some people spend their leisure time by taking vacations to such exotic locales as Tahiti, Martha’s Vineyard or even Florida. I for one am perfectly content with strolling McGuinness Boulevard. Your eyes are not deceiving you: you just read McGuinness Boulevard.

The way I see it, McGuinness Boulevard epitomizes what is so wrong, and yet, so right about Greenpoint. Like a whore past its prime, this throughfare is highly-trafficked, noisy, and more often than not, filthy. But (under the right circumstances) it does have its charm.

Have you ever witnessed a 40-something couple who— man and woman alike— bore a strange resemblance to Barry Manilow making out in front of a Hess Station?

I have.

Do you like to watch an old man work his dentures like a wad of cud, pop out his top plate and suck it back in— hands free— while dining at Taco Bell?

I do.

The gentrifiers of this ‘hood can keep their waterfront parks, humvee-sized strollers and triple mocha lattes. The Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint wants entertainment— and Mickey G’s is where it’s at! What’s more, the very namesake of this fine boulevard, the honorable Peter. J. McGuinness, was pretty damned entertaining in his own right. As I learned recently.

When queried about nominating himself as the Assistant Commissioner of Public Works during Seabury investigation, his answer was as follows:

Well, as the leader of the Greenpernt People’s Regular Organization of the Fifteenth District I couldn’t pick a more better person to suggest for for this job than myself. I drove nine gypsy bands out of Greenpernt, as well as three hundred Chinese coolies, and all the cats and dogs that used to run down the streets. I got Greenpernt three playgrounds, the subway, the one-and-a-half million bridge on Greenpoint Avenue, and two million dollars’ worth of paving… I done good. I thank you.*

Not to sound like I condone racism (I don’t), but thanks to Mr. McGuinness’s hard work I have yet to see any gypsy bands or large numbers of ‘coolies’ roaming the streets in my seven years of living here. However, it does beg one to question whether he knew anything about the large number of Polish people reputed to live here. I suppose Pete took that one to the grave.

As for the two million dollars worth of paving, I am certain the seemingly endless cycle of destruction/construction on Franklin Street would make Mr. McGuinness proud. That public works project (if one can call it that) reeks of graft. Or, at the very best, extreme incompetence. Oh well.

Aside from the odd stray cat, there isn’t much in the way of feral animals running the streets now. Not on four legs anyway, but I digress…

Pete may have been the beacon of progress for this fine ‘nabe, but there is one form of blight he obviously missed: dog shit. And that’s exactly what I found during my leisurely stroll along his boulevard. Lots of (sh)it.

A comprehensive photo record of my findings can be viewed on my Crap Map, but here are some hightlights.

Dung of the Day: DEP

Dung of the day

This may very well be the best “Dung of the Day” I have ever found. This ironic pile of poop was located at 381 McGuinness, which is also where one of the finest buildings in Greenpoint happens to be located.

381 McGuinness Blvd.

Or perhaps a better term for this architectural masterpiece is “bunker”. Note the metal slit in the doorway. I wonder if you have to give the secret password to get in? If so, I wish I knew what it is. Not too long ago when I was apartment-less and jobless I seriously mulled over listing 381 McGuinness as my address on my resume. Wisely, I elected against it.

For now, anyway. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Poopy al fresco

Pulaski Bridge Toilet

I found this ad hoc bathroom on Ash Street under the Pulaski Bridge. Not only was it thoughtfully appointed with a magazine, but it had an exciting array of hygiene products necessary for the urbane bum-about-town. I envision the person who patronizes this lavatory to be the Hugh Hefner (or Alistair Cooke) of bums. After awakening in a pool of his own vomit, ‘Hugh’ adjusts his fez, puts on his loafers and proceeds to bathroom to ‘freshen up’ for the ladies.


No post about Mickey G’s would be complete without mentioning the prodigious quantity of condos being built along it. As the Gowanus Lounge indicates in this post, the median price for an apartment in Greenpoint has increased by 65% over the last year. Ouch!

Then again, does anyone (save the developer or a real estate agent) honestly believe that the following turd is going to command top dollar? Really?

Fort Apache, The ‘Point

I call the above exercise in wishful thinking, Fort Apache, The ‘Point. I cannot for the life of me imagine who would want to purchase one of these condos. For starters, the building is ugly as shit. Secondly, the point of having a balcony (as I understand it) is to enjoy a scenic view. Here is some of the scenery that will come with that top corner unit’s (undoubtedly inflated) price tag.


NICE. All you taxi cab and dumpster fetishists out there will have to wait: this building isn’t ready for habitation. Sorry.

But easily the most provocative discovery made during my adventures along McGuinness Boulevard cum Condoland was here.

Blockbuster Condo

I call this monolith the “Blockbuster Condo” because it is located behind the shuttered Blockbuster Video on McGuinness Boulevard. In many ways this building resembles the strip mall in front of it: both are over-sized, boxy and very grey eyesores. In addition, (just like the Blockbuster in front of it) this condo has some added-value the real estate brokers probably won’t tell you about…

BLockbuster Shit

A scenic view of Bum Shit Central!

I cannot tell a lie: if I had the money, I might pay the asking price for this blue chip view. I cannot think of a better way to start my morning than to sip coffee while gazing out my window to sight of homeless people shitting and masturbating. Constantly.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Check out this nifty mug I designed last weekend!

*From Once Upon a Time in New York by Herbert Mitgang


One Comment on McGuinness Boulevard

  1. mentalmodel on Fri, 9th Mar 2007 4:17 pm
  2. Was Christo the architect for that condo? How long will it be up for?

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