Greenpoint Photo du Jour: Don’t Believe The Hype

July 2, 2008 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Thanks to the alarmist article published by am New York today, the guys at Alphabeta have had the pleasure of hosting not one, but TWO television crews. The latter, from WNBC, made sure to interview some neighborhood youngsters before departing. Amusingly enough they didn’t seem the least bit interested in asking me, a boring old grown-up, what I thought. Go figure.

Those of you who have not read this article, please do so. Among other things you will learn that Peter Vallone Jr. (who does not even represent our district) has set his sights on this store and a graffiti artist is described as using spray paint “outside” Alphabeta. While this statement is technically true, it is also incredibly deceptive: the gentleman in questions was using spray paint ON THE PREMISES behind said store.

What’s the difference, you ask? Very simple: the wording of the am New York article insinuates that this gentleman is painting someone else’s property, e.g.; he is committing a crime. Sorry to disappoint all the folks who were put in a dither by this misleading statement, painting one’s own walls is not against the law— and if it ever is, we’ll probably be kissing many more of our civil liberties goodbye. I don’t know about you, but that is not the kind of world I want to live in.

Speaking for myself, I fail to see what the issue is. If someone is going to use spray paint for illegal purposes, (like this delightful example from the St. Alphonsus School I shot today)

…they are going to do it— and I seriously doubt Alphabeta is going to be the either the instigator or enabler*. In fact, by providing a space for artists to create and show their work, this establishment might actually be part of the solution, not the problem. Seriously. The fact this piece of rubbish is supposed to pass as “news” absolutely boggles my mind. It sounds more like a politician doing a little rabble rousing in the hopes of getting some free publicity to me.

Miss Heather

*Back in 1996 I knew a guy who “accidentally” got a pencil stuck up his ass. I was even there when the emergency room doctor asked him how it got there, which was sort of uncomfortable. Does this mean we should go after the business who sold this chap said pencil? If you follow Mr. Vallone’s line of “reasoning”, the answer would be yes.


6 Comments on Greenpoint Photo du Jour: Don’t Believe The Hype

  1. amandabee on Wed, 2nd Jul 2008 3:41 pm
  2. I love the poll on AMNY which has no option for “I think vandalism is bad, but not as bad as commercial advertising in public and PS last I heard the store was about a graphical style that, like it or not, isn’t vandalism if you’re painting your own shoes, walls and backpacks.”

    I used to live in that building, though. Next door, really. It sounds like the shop is in what used to be the super’s apartment. It used to be a lot of families who’d make soup for each other and come over for help with their homework. Looks like Little Duck the shady landlord has emerged victorious in his bid to gentrify the building.

  3. missheather on Wed, 2nd Jul 2008 4:18 pm
  4. I actually spoke with one of the people quoted in this article. She said the writer came in and cheerfully announced she was taking a poll as to what people in the neighborhood thought of Alphabeta My friend asked why she was asking, e.g.; was there was any “trouble”. In return the reporter said there was no trouble; she was simply taking a poll. To wit my friend said “If there is no problem, why are you taking a poll”? She couldn’t give a clear answer to that one.


  5. deadzebra on Wed, 2nd Jul 2008 7:05 pm
  6. I stopped in today, I often use spraypaint and paint markers in my regular fine art projects, it’s good to have a supply in the neighborhood. The guys were very nice and it’s a great space which I sure will have an expanded selection of items and events in the months to come.

    There is a lovely wall by the bakery on Java close to Manhattan Ave (and trailing down Java towards McGuiness) that has been someone’s personal “splatter paint” project for a few years now. I’m pretty sure we should try to close down any and all hardware stores that sell cans of house paint in order to put a stop to this madness.

    Also I can personally verify that “Charlie the mechanic ate a dick” pre-dates the opening of Alphabeta by at least a month. Oh Charlie, when will you learn that dicks are not food?

  7. brooklyn11211 on Wed, 2nd Jul 2008 11:45 pm
  8. I wonder if Charlie the mechanic is Charlie from SG Truck & Auto repair. Now on McGuinness and Java (more or less), but used to be at the corner of North 7th and Berry. Personally, I think he’s a nice enough guy, though the repairs are pricey and not always the best quality.

  9. al oof on Thu, 3rd Jul 2008 12:01 am
  10. hey, dicks can be food! i mean, i’m sure they are somewhere, right? like ox balls.

    that said, my nephew, when he was 8, wrote the first 4 chapters of a superhero book. i thought it was quite brilliant, though colored by his 8 year old sense of the world.

    a synopsis:

    2 boys grow up together. one is named Penn, the other is named Kruddy. Penn only has one hand. Kruddy grows up and gets into a prestigious science phd program, while Penn can’t afford school and becomes a tailor (a costume maker for the gap, actually, which is where his 8 year oldness and suburbaness show through).

    so kruddy is involved in this project where they are trying to develop a liquid that will disintigrate buildings, for easy inexpensive, eco-friendly demolition. i can’t remember why, but kruddy does something wrong and is thrown out of the program. so he sneaks back into the lab to get the potion so he can destroy the school, but he doesn’t quite remember the formula and when he uses it on the small model house, it doesn’t work. he ends up smashing it with his hands, and then he realizes his hands are liquid, but keep their form. he freaks out, falls and hurts himself and ends up in the hospital.

    meanwhile, penn is moving up in the costume making world and is poised to replace the current head of the department. but she is having none of that and decides to sabotage penn. she sets a pencil on his chair, which he proceeds to sit on, and of course it goes directly up his ass (see, relevance!). the pain is horrible, he feints, and he also ends up in the hospital, where for whatever reason, they cannot tell him what caused the problem, only that he now has lead poisoning and is going to die.

    in the last chapter he wrote, titled “Old Friends, New Enemies”, penn and kruddy meet at the hospital but don’t quite recognize eachother. in some as yet unwritten chapter, penn becomes Pencil Man and is a super hero and kruddy becomes “the evil Dr. K.” I’m not sure how having a pencil up your ass would make you a super hero, and i don’t think my nephew (now 14) remembers where he was going with it.

    so that’s it for this edition of al’s family stories on

  11. ShatteredMonocle on Thu, 24th Jul 2008 2:39 pm
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