A New York Shitty Op Ed: Conde Nasty

  1. CNscreencap

(Or: How to Spend One’s Time and Money In Greenpoint Like a “Local”)

This tome (as screencapped at left) has been brought to my attention by a number of my fellow Greenpointers. Some would be considered “natives”, others “transplants”— and a few might even qualify as “hipsters” (which seems to be a catch-all for “transplants” of a certain age). Ordinarily these groups are at each other’s throats— at least online. The Internet, after all, is the proverbial bathroom wall for malcontents.

Speaking as a “transplant” (14 years in the 11222 and counting) who, in some circles, would qualify as a hipster but has the honor of counting a fair number of “natives” as friends I have to applaud Conde Nast for enabling something I have long, long wanted to see: unity. No one— and I mean NO ONE— in my circle likes this article. Sure this is not the same thing as, say, all of us pooling our collective expertise, resources and interests as folks are doing in Crown Heights. But community unity, albeit via abject hatred, is better than no unity at all. What’s more, if one wants to see a community adept in the art of anger there really is no place better than Greenpoint. Just like Michelangelo or Leonardo DaVinci, we are the true masters of malcontent.

Before I proceed I would like to make a few things perfectly clear:

1. It is not my intent to malign any one person or business featured in Conde Nast’s feature. I know a few of these folks and have patronized their businesses on occasion. They’re good people.
2. It is not my intent to vilify the “natives” either. Most of them are good people as well. There is no one “demographic” here that monopolizes the dubious honor of being assholes. Trust me.
3. Rather, I would like to present an alternative approach to how to visit our fair burgh “like a local” because…
4. what seems to have been lost on the author of this tome is (by and large) “locals” here do not have the money to spend at the establishments they elected to feature. This is because due to the fact that, just like Williamsburg the cost of living here (Read: RENT) is ridiculously, stupendously, mind-bogglingly high.


5. In other words: I am going to get nasty on the Conde for selling this community short. And this they have. BIG TIME. To this end I took a couple of walks today (albeit in north ‘Point— McCarren and McGolrick Heights, you’re on your own) to see what the “locals” are doing.

First stop: the Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch.

Any “local” will tell you that after 1″ of rain (much less last night’s deluge) the “CSOs” discharge sewage into the Creek.

I suppose this would be considered as unseemly to travellers, but to locals it is rather fascinating to see life’s detritus.

Especially when the odd prophylactic(s?) manifest.

Is this “news” to us? No. Do we find it disgusting? Yes. But what really puzzles/disconcerts us (as I ascertained by talking to a few folks enjoying this public space) is this:


A manifold number of boats moored most assuredly without the permission of the owners of said property. Some of these boats are “domiciles”.

And especially this.

I was told by a fellow “local” enjoying a smoke in this “park” this fellow moved his boat so as to clear the path for the recently dredging of the creek (because, as all locals know, it is a Superfund site). This watercraft was formerly “parked” on the premises of 49 Ash Street.

Greenpointers are not the least bit shy when it comes to vandalism.

What’s more, some are downright pithy in their delivery. My inner history nerd squeals with delight!

It can also take on an edgier tone (as spotted on West Street at India Street, also by Paul Richard). This is what happens when “local” population becomes acutely aware that:

  • The “new and improved” Greenpoint is not for us.
  • The greater vandalism— blight if you will— is not the handiwork of “street artists”. Rather, it is the aftermath of rampant speculation and greed at the behest of developers.
  • The 2005 rezone coupled with the 2008 real estate bubble popping did a real job on this once “vibrant” working class community.

  • They raze, someone else writes about (and profits from) it and we live with it.

One more good rain storm and methinks this fence is gonna fall. We’ll see.

Since the East River Ferry is no longer serving Greenpoint, I opted to swing by and see how my fellow “locals” were enjoying the India Street Pier…

This lass had no time for my camera— and apparently my camera had no memory to record the fellow hanging out and scratching lotto tickets.

Java Street “Pop Up Park”! We “locals” enjoy our “open spaces”.

And when we don’t we simply toss a park bench into the East River. Or something.

Spotted at West and Kent Street: a pigeon with a broken neck.

And here’s the cause: big shiny glass windows— but I am getting way too grim here. Let’s swing over to Franklin Street— and my destination of choice.

“Jail Bear” has graced the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Franklin Street for 1 1/2 years. He (?) has become a mascot of sorts.

The “locals” who patronize WNYC Transmitter Park with their children often stop so the young ‘uns can tell “JB” about their day. Or simply say “Hi.”

How do a great many “locals” here eat? Very simple:

Courtesy of our local food pantry and soup kitchen. Perhaps Conde Nast— or its readership— would be kind enough to tender a donation?

How do the “locals” shop? This is best ascertained on Manhattan Avenue (which is also in Greenpoint).

On the way I bumped into Josef in front of Christina’s. Which brings me to a complaint about Conde Nast’s tome:

What about Polish food?

Well, Christina’s is good. Here are a few more recommendations:

Shopping here ain’t as easy as it used to be.

But if what I saw outside our “new” local houseware/general merchandise store today at 3:51 pm is any indication, the “locals” are really excited about DII.

This is because *gasp* despite the glamorous image my fair community has courtesy of “Girls” (never watched it) and real estate/tourism hype the reality is this “cool” neighborhood has an underbelly: it is called the “working class”, addiction, homelessness and poverty.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Conde Nast.

P.S.: I “get” that “Conde Nast” is targeting a certain “demographic”. But speaking as someone— a “transplant”— who just finished a wonderful week as “tour guide” for her parents, there’s a lot more to this community— and New York City— than Franklin Street. Why not encourage folks to go “outside” their “comfort zone” and explore what makes this community truly wonderful?

The “nuggets” of weirdness, if you will.

We’re quite polite.

Yeah, I took the robot.

Want to “eat” like a local? Hit the Acapulco Deli & Restaurant or Casanova.

There’s one thing that does not have a price. It is human interaction.

After I saw my parents off and wound down today’s shutter-bugging I swung by this establishment. Therein I purchased margarita mix. The wonderful lady behind the counter (Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” was playing for the patrons’ edification) wished me a wonderful margarita evening. I corrected her: this will be a margarita afternoon! She laughed.

That’s how we “locals” roll in Greenpoint.


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