Rage Against the Machine

April 30, 2007 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 


Today was the first day of my husband’s vacation. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze and the temperature was nice and comfy. When the weather is this nice I usually open all the windows so as to air out a winter’s worth of accumulated stink from the apartment. Usually. You see, this was not really an option today because Magic Johnson’s crew saw fit to fire up ye olde pile driver at SEVEN FUCKING FORTY in the morning and commenced to merrily pound away until 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

Having hit my saturation point (much earlier), at 1:30 I crawled out onto the fire escape and gave Magic’s posse the one finger salute. This was (by my own admission) a pretty futile and immature gesture. However, it was a significant improvement from telling my husband that I wished we had a rifle because I could have gotten off a clear shot and take out the foreman.
Good times.

Anyhoo, I have selected a special tidbit of Greenpoint history to share with you this week. It doesn’t have anything to do with Magic Johnson, but it does involve an act of defiance in the face of a certain, crushing defeat. Without further ado, I give you this police blotter item from the August 15, 1862 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle entitled “Alleged Secessionists Arrested”:

Officer Read of the 47th precinct this morning arrested a ship carpenter named Thomas Bolan, employed at the Continental ship yard at Greenpoint in the construction of the new “Monitor”, on a charge of treason. It is alleged that the accused has been in the habit of expressing himelf rather too freely to his companions in the yard in favor of the secession cause. Among other things, it is charged that he recently said that “he hoped that Jeff Davis would succeed in annihilating the Northern Army because he (Jeff Davis) was an honest man while Lincoln was nothing but a traitor.” He was sent before Provost Marshall for examination.

Although I do not agree with Mr. Bolan’s politics, I have to admire his chutzpah. Talk about balls. Homeboy probably needed a wheelbarrow to haul those bad boys around!

Miss Heather


2 Comments on Rage Against the Machine

  1. jukeboxgraduate on Wed, 2nd May 2007 9:20 pm
  2. Ah, Miss Heather. Clearly you do not live close enough to Franklin St. to remember the hell that was the YEAR AND A HALF of its destruction, rebuild, destruction, rebuild, etc. I remember jackhammers outside my window – repeatedly – at 6am. I remember flaming man holes (no, really, actual man holes in the street – me calling 911 because everyone outside just seemed to be standing there staring at it).

    When I was working real estate in 11222/11211, I would get people looking at places in Northside and would look at a vacant lot next to a perfecdtly good apartment:
    “What’s going in there?”
    “I have no idea if anything’s going in there. Eventually, probably, this is new york.”
    “I don’t want to live near construction”
    “Then don’t move to Williamsburg, because it is EVERYWHERE”

    We kind of need to start to say the same thing about Greenpoint. We’ve passed that magic moment when our neighborhood was sleepy and no one wanted to live here unless they were a public school teacher (aka broke) and this was the closest place to Manhattan where you could still get an apartment for $1200 or $1000, where people refused to even consider Greenpoint because how terrible the G was (as if the L is any better, at all, in the morning), etc etc etc. The commerce on Franklin is great, but it’s also terrible, because you and I will be priced out of our neighborhood very soon. We are lucky that we are rent-stabilized until 2013, and that’s about the time when we probably won’t want to live in this neighborhood any more, when it looks like Park Slope and anything real about it is gone.

    end rant.

  3. missheather on Thu, 3rd May 2007 6:38 am
  4. God I miss those flaming man holes!

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