The Columbian Cartel

September 17, 2007 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

The Rack

It would appear that my post about 37 North Henry Street hit a nerve. You know, when I reread the previously-mentioned post the following day there was a brief moment when I thought to myself:

Perhaps I was a little harsh?

Now it has become apparent I wasn’t. What’s more, this less-than-professional piece of correspondence serves as proof they are paying attention. Even on a Saturday night —which is when I received this turd. Now if I could only manage to piss off all the spammers pitching me penis enhancement pills, I’d be all aces.

Fortunately, I also received a very nice (and very funny) email from the Co-Pastor of the Greenpoint Reformed Church. As the following excerpt indicates, she too has been under siege by the Columbian Cartel. She writes:

Dear Miss Heather,

First off, thank you for the wonderful public service you provide with your blog. You make me proud to call myself a Greenpointer. Of course, some of the locals may call me other things…

I write to you today with an idea. For years, we here at the one-time smallest church in North Brooklyn, have been a part of the autumn-migration pattern of the Columbia University Journalism School student. Originally a novel experience, it has grown to become a minor nuisance. Jesus, of course, commands us to welcome the stranger, so it is difficult to refuse to sit down with a clueless fresh off the U-haul grad student. Nonetheless, it does take a significant amount of time and often ends with being misquoted at that. I gather that as our neighborhood-webdiva-extraordinare you, too, have become a part of this graduate school rite of passage.

Now, on to the idea…last week my clergy colleagues (yes, there are actually four mainline Protestant clergy in GP, though you might not have imagined this) and I gathered for coffee and discussed the fact that each of us had spent significant time that week with one or more j-school kids. Perhaps, we thought, we could organize one giant meeting of all of us with all of the j-students and then be done with them for the year. Seeing as you are now a part of this illustrious group of Greenpointers targeted for interviews, perhaps you would like to join us as we organize such an event. I’m not sure it would benefit us to do it this year, perhaps we’re already interviewed out, but we might definitely manage to get it done for next year. Any thoughts?

Thanks again for keeping tabs on the neighborhood.

WOW… and thanks! You know a situation is totally out of control when church leaders convene to discuss it. Imagine that: the Garden Spot’s very own Council of Trent. Who knows, maybe an Auto de Fe will be next? Get out your marshmallows, fellow Greenpointers! It’s time to roast us some heretics!

Miss Heather


3 Comments on The Columbian Cartel

  1. abracadabra on Tue, 18th Sep 2007 8:46 am
  2. As a humbled member of the “Columbian cartel,” I regret that we have become a nuisance to all of you! And worse, to the pastors!

    You could probably form a group across the boroughs; I’m told there are plenty of ice cream vendors in Red Hook and superintendents in Harlem who are similarly annoyed.

    Indeed you should band together and meet with us all at once, to be rid of us once and for all (while, unfortunately, you brace yourselves for the next year).

    To all the people who have deigned to waste their time on me, console yourselves thus: maybe you’re contributing to the development of a good journalist, helping a person who will someday make the world a better place. Or maybe you’re just feeding the tumor that is Columbia. As they teach us there, every story has many sides.

  3. missheather on Tue, 18th Sep 2007 8:57 am
  4. Understood.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I (and the Co-Pastor of the Greenpoint Reformed Church) found one of your compatriots a pleasure to speak with. In my case she had clearly done her homework ahead of time and her line of questioning reflected this.

    Conversely, myself and others have had moments when we found ourselves wondering if the person positing the questions to us had done any preliminary homework at all. I for one don’t mind giving you guys a hand, but please— do a little research first and address us/use our time in a respectful fashion.

    I do not think that is too much to ask. The unfortunate fact is the less than professional conduct of some tarnishes the reputation of the whole. Good luck on your studies. I mean this in all sincerity.

  5. pastor on Tue, 18th Sep 2007 7:34 pm
  6. As the co-pastor who made the suggestion for a group forum, I just want to reassert that we’re more than happy to help out Columbia j-school students. Hey, it’s not like I’m going to be able to donate hundreds of millions of bucks to construct a new building for Alma Mater. It’s one of the ways I can give back for all the time, effort and energy that people gave to me when I was in school. In fact, I view taking the time to speak with y’all as a part of the ministry if the church. But, having to tell the same story over and over again to each of you gets a little boring. And, quite honestly, the story that most of you want to hear from me is one that involves a certain amount of personal pain as well as some wonderful moments of God’s grace (see for further explanation if needed). Even so, telling it three times in one week isn’t the best use of the 20 hours or so per week that I have to devote to ministry in Greenpoint.

    I would like to add that the majority of students we’ve met with have been delightful. Several of you are going to make amazing contributions to the field of journalism. A special shout-out to David Cohn who landed his first piece in the NY Times when he wrote about our church. David is totally great and we’re honored to have been a part of his j-school journey.

    And yes, before you meet with us, it would be a swell idea to read that Times article, maybe do a Google search on the church, and read one of the pastor’s blogs. There’s a good deal of info at your disposal. Find it and then write about what heretofore has been unwritten. That’s the mark of a great journalist – uncovering a real story, not rehashing an old one. There are real stories that are waiting to be told both at the Greenpoint Reformed Church and in neighborhood as a whole. I’d hope that you’d see it as both your calling and your future job to uncover them.

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