Cinco de Mayo (e)Special

May 6, 2006 ·
Filed under: (s)Hit Parade, Dog Shit Signage, Greenpoint Magic 

Like any upstanding red-blooded American, my husband and I went out last night and dined on Mexican food. I had been invited to an art opening this particular evening, but there is no way I am going to listen to some (andro-american) artist pontificate about gifs when my time can be spent celebrating the overthrow of tyrants by guzzling sangria and eating beans. I have my priorities. They may not be good ones, but they are priorities nonetheless.

On our walk down to Cafe Mexicano II, I got an eyeful (and noseful) of Greenpoint goodness…

badmattress

The person disposing of said mattress was not only kind enough to advise potential dumpster divers of this item’s latent defects, but also employed a “Jolly Roger” to drive the point home. I like pirates. Kudos.

rottentomatoes

You could see this from a couple blocks away… and you could smell it from twenty feet away. In case you are wondering, it smells exactly like it looks: BAD.

rottentomatoescloseup

As I was taking pictures of this choice piece of ‘street art’, a local working-class Joe came up and told me the story behind it. This mess was made by the Department of Sanitation and he has been calling 311 for a couple of days requesting that it the D.O.S. pick it up. Let’s go over the previous one more time in case you missed it: this man is calling the city to request that the Department of Sanitation clean up the garbage they dumped in front of his house.

I feel for this guy. Not only does he live two blocks downwind from the smoldering Greenpoint Market Terminal, but now he has a rotten pile of tomatoes in front of his house. That really sucks.

takeyourdog

Looks like I found another work by the Greenpoint dog doo sign-maker (and if you are reading this PLEASE contact me). The arrow is a nice touch; it clears up any ambiguity as to which “asshole” this order (?) is directed to. In a city of eight million+ people (many of whom answer to the moniker “asshole”) such clarifications are necessary.

Having more or less completed today’s Greenpoint (s)hit parade, I’d like to close with this image (from the women’s bathroom at McCarren Park) and an essay…

trashcanbondage

There are a number of people (family mostly) who wonder why the hell I want to live in New York City. Many more people (who reside in New York City) are perplexed as to why I like living in Greenpoint. I ask myself both of the previous questions on occasion— and fortunately when the specter of doubt darkens my soul, I come across something (like the above gem) which brings everything into focus.

I grew up in the ‘burbs. For those of you not in the know, the suburbs are not the restful pastures of refuge they purport to be. No sir; under the veneer of neighborhood associations, SUVs, and each tract home struggling to assert its individuality, lies dark neurosis and rage. This neurosis manifests itself in the maniacal pursuit of perfection and pointing out the shortcomings of others. There is no better example of this phenomenon than the inordinate attention and time dedicated to proper lawn care. I will illustrate this point with the following two anecdotes from my coming of age in Richardson, Texas.

Newton’s Third Law, Suburban Style: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

It was a hot summer afternoon and my father was preening our front yard bereft of sunblock while drinking beer. From the sanctity of my air-conditioned and storm-windowed bedroom I watched the following unfold:

Two dogs cantering down the block towards our house. “Dog #1” (who is roughly 20 feet ahead of “Dog #2”) parked his ass in front of our mailbox (which my father had saw fit to paint like the then West German flag which is odd given that his surname is of Polish/Lithuanian derivation) and took a dump. My dad noticed this and started cursing. This sight was only made more amusing by the fact that I cannot hear a single fucking word he is saying.

Take any Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal, or Jean Claude van Damme movie from the 1980’s and watch it without sound; they’re funny as hell. Once you remove plot and dialogue, the only thing left is an angry white male with veins pulsating on his beet-red temples shaking his fist and yelling. Over and over.

While my father bellowed profanity, “Dog #2” rebounded and ate the butt dumplins’ dispensed by “Dog #1”. After reassessing the situation, my dad (perplexed, but a lot less angry) went back about his work.

Not in my neighborhood: Newtonian Backwash

In any given subdivision that panders tract homes to the (diminishing) middle-class, you will find a trailer park graduate: a family whose financial means have enabled them to leave the trailer park, but the ‘trailer park’ has clearly NOT left them. My neighborhood was no exception. My father developed an unhealthy fixation OBSESSION with a house literally on the opposite end of the development from our own. The offenses committed by the homeowner in question are as follows:

  • The house was painted with the exact same colors used by “What-A-Burger”: aqua blue, BRIGHT orange and beige. It was pretty fucking ugly, but at least they were maintaining the paint job and allowing it to crack and peel.
  • The garden beds on their front lawn were cordoned off with beer bottles. Old tires were used as planters.
  • Their front lawn had (*gasp*) weeds. Lots of ’em.

For approximately six months my father drove by this house each and every time we went out to get groceries, shop, eat, etc. And each and every time, coming and going, my father saw fit to rant about this house for my mother’s and my own edification.

My mother (being the subtle operator she is) started ‘volunteering’ to drive us to and from the grocery store, mall, etc. This was no small sacrifice, as my father is also a verbose ‘backseat driver’. Mysteriously enough, my mother always saw fit to take a less circuitous and controversial route from and to our house. Eventually my father caught on to her ruse and requested that she drive his ‘old’ route. My mother refused. My father pushed, got an earful, and neither my father nor my mother ever drove by that house again.

That’s what life is like in the ‘burbs my friends and it’s time to wrap this up…

Greenpoint is neither praised for inviting lawns nor pleasing aesthetics. There are virtually no front yards here and most that can be found employ old tires, bathtubs, or toilets as lawn ornaments. The buildings here are usually sheathed in vinyl siding.

The primary virtue of Greenpoint is that she is forthright with her ugliness. I like this. There is no race to perfection here: ‘good enough’ carries the day. And ‘good enough’ is exactly what it implies: a simplified, occasionally ugly, but effective solution to a complex problem.

This concept gives one more free time for other pursuits. Sure, this time might be devoted to getting shitfaced, making art, creating a blog about dog shit or other marginally productive activities, but any of the previous avocations are harmless when compared to getting worked into a black rage over (a lack of) lawn maintenance or your neighbor’s ugly-ass house. And while I like the public bathrooms I patronize to have amenities such as running water, toilet paper and paper towels, I distrust any neighborhood whose public bathrooms have bar soap and does not to tether its garbage can to the sink with heavy chains. This is a sure sign of conformity and an overall lack of creativity/mischief in the community at large.

UPDATE 5/18/06: I was patronizing the McCarren Park ladie’s room when I found this:

soap

As you can imagine, I was pretty alarmed by this development. However, my anxieties were assuaged when I discovered:

  • how difficult using the only operational spigot is when both hands are lathered with soap
  • no paper towels

Dung of the Day: Noble Street

May 4, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dung of the Day 

Like most people who have more important things to do and too much time on their hands, I frequently find myself drifting off into flights of fancy. Usually this manifests itself in small ways, such as making art work or researching monkies. Other times I find myself brainstorming about inventions I would like to see created.

Today I find myself wishing that someone would come up with a way to make customized ‘scratch and sniff’ postcards. If the technology was available, I’d make a postcard using the image below and the acrid odor wafting from the Greenpoint Market Terminal (two blocks away from where I found this pile of dog shit).

bigshit

Treasure this way ——–> Code Brown

May 4, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit 

Yesterday evening when I left my apartment to check out what is left of the Greenpoint Terminal Market I discovered that our Superintendent’s daughter had been quite busy decorating our sidewalk with chalk drawings. I am not a person who is big on kids, but I have to admit that the mural she created was damned cute. Aside from writing “I (heart) NY” over and over, she wrote more cryptic messages, like the one below.

Treasure

As I proceeded down the sidewalk towards Franklin, however, this message took on an entirely different meaning: from 143 to 101 Green Street I came across a bounty of ‘sidewalk spuds’. Be advised that this is the short list; I have excluded turds that are already documented (and are still to be found at this location).

greenst1

greenst2

greenst3

greenst4

greenst5

I have never caught anyone in the act, but I have a pretty clear idea of who the offenders are. One need not be Sherlock Holmes (or even Inspector Clouseau) to observe that ALL of this dog shit is localized in front and adjacent to lofts where dogs (and their owners) reside. This is not conjecture on my part; I have seen the owners and their dogs hanging out in front of these buildings many, many times.

I know very little about the people who live in these lofts aside from the fact that most (if not all) are hipsters in their 20’s and are clearly from out-of-state. It is probably not unreasonable to surmise that their rent is being subsidized, if not paid for outright, by their parents.

That said, I seriously doubt their parents (and the community organizations they undoubtedly belong to) back in suburban wherever would look kindly on this behavior. Why should it be any different here?

Perhaps these peeps have always had someone to pick up their shit and wipe their bottoms?

Perhaps they are acting out because mommy and daddy do not love them enough to pony up the money needed to live on Bedford Avenue?

Perhaps they were raised by wolves?

NAH!

I’m chocking this up to LAZINESS and ENTITLEMENT. Wake up and smell the dog shit. It’s time to grow up and assume some shred of responsibility kiddos!

Dung of the Day

May 2, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dung of the Day 

I found this beauty at Franklin Street and Greenpoint Avenue. I gotta tell you, the soiled paper towel (???) serves only to make this sight even more disgusting.

greenpointandfranklin

Been woefully negligent of this blog the last few days— but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing my homework! More to follow soon, but tonight I’ll be following the news regarding today’s fire at the Greenpoint Terminal. (*cough* ARSON *cough*)

Dung of the Day: Huron St.

April 28, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dung of the Day 

I took a friend of mine from out of town around the neighborhood today. Needless to say, I saw my fair share of butt dumplings, but this one took the cake. I found this gargantuan choad on Huron Street between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street. Enjoy!

Huron St.

McGuinness Blvd. Redux

April 28, 2006 ·
Filed under: Chicken Bones, Dog Shit 

Another day, another trek down McGuinness, another bounty of refuse.

Having lived in Greenpoint for almost six years, I am fascinated by the recent surge of condominium construction on McGuinness Boulevard. I have seen a number of developments going up along this strip from roughly Calyer Street northward, and I have frequently wondered to myself: why would anyone want to live there? Thus far, the best answer I can come up with is that these developers are banking on P.T. Barnum: there’s a sucker born every minute.

McGuinness Boulevard (to those of you not in the know) is a busy (READ: loud) thoroughfare. When the Pulaski Bridge is drawn (on a humidelicious hot summer day), the emissions from all the backed up vehicular traffic is thick enough to eat to spread on your toast. The fact that crossing McGuinness is in and of itself a death-defying task does not help matters. It is common knowledge among the locals here, myself included, that speeding cars hit buildings and other inanimate objects regularly. This being so, what chance does a slow-moving, less sturdily built biped have?

If any Hollywood hack sees fit to remake the movie Death Race 2000 —and why not, it’s a better movie than most of the ‘new’ crap the dream factory is churning out nowadays— I wholeheartedly endorse, no, I ADVOCATE, McGuinness Boulevard as the location to use.

Traffic-related concerns aside, there are a host of other reasons not to purchase one of these condos:

1. For starters, these properties are all in close proximity to the Fire Department. This is a good thing if you happen to pull a “Pryor” and set yourself on fire while free-basing, but for the rest of us, the roar of fire trucks at all hours may prove to be an annoyance.

2. Let’s say you purchase an apartment on a higher floor (away from the din of traffic), you can expect one of two things:

A. The view of Manhattan you were promised by your broker will be short-lived (once towers are tossed up on West Street).

B. You will have a ‘scratch and sniff’ view of the water treatment plant.

Lastly, it should be noted that the caliber of person who frequents McGuinness Boulevard is— how shall way put it— a bit lackluster? Don’t take my word for it, go and hang out at the Taco Bell ‘food court’ yourself. On any given (work) day you will find a motley crew of thugs, junkies, old Polish men sucking and grinding away at their dentures like a cow works a wad of cud, and “Joe Dirt” types whose curricula vitae can be found on a Post Office wall, “America’s Most Wanted” or a milk carton.

If you are not up that, simply walk along McGuinness and you will detect their presence: by their garbage and discarded chicken bones, ye shall know them…

chickenbones

Dog shit (at Java Street and McGuinness Blvd.) notwithstanding…

mcguinnessandjava

If I were a fly on the wall, I honestly do not know which of the following I would want to see more:

A. The fool who will pay 1/3 -1/2 million dollars to look at this pile of shit (and numerous other piles of shit, garbage and vomit) every day.

OR

B. The broker/developer pandering these condos and the ‘spin’ he/she will put on the location.

McGuinness Boulevard is decidedly NOT Bedford Avenue— and it never will be— Robert Moses saw to that forty years ago. So, when you see an unwashed, unshaven and mop-headed man on Mickey Guiness rocking an AC/DC shirt, he is not aiming to be ironic or edgy. He attended AC/DC concerts back in the 70’s, got addicted to coke (meth or whatever), and is too shit-ass broke to buy new clothes.

I never knew that drug-addled poverty could be so chic. Thank you, B-Burg ‘Influx’ Hipsters!

A cheap holiday in other people’s misery, as Johnny Rotten put it— a ‘holiday’ made only more piquant when purchased with your parent’s money.

Yeah, that’s tearing the “man” (your old man) a new asshole.

Stupid fucks.

Dung of the Day: Banker St. Between Calyer and Meserole St.

April 25, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dung of the Day 

Here’s something you probably will not find on the Super Value Menu at McDonald’s, although I have seen something that looks suspiciously like this advertised in the window of Yummy Taco…

Yummy Taco

Do you want fries with that?

bankerandmeserole

Code Brown: Franklin St.

April 25, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit 

After several days of rain, I finally ventured out to run a few errands. Being in a terse and rather impatient mood, I walked down Franklin Street instead of Manhattan Avenue. Sure enough, I didn’t have to deal with too many people, but…

franklinstandgreen

Franklin St. at Green St.

franklinathuron

Franklin St. between Green and Huron St.

franklinandindiast

Franklin St. between Huron and India St.

franklinandindiast2

AGAIN, Franklin St. between Huron and India St.

franklinandjava

And… Franklin St. at Java St. makes five!

Signs of the Times

April 22, 2006 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit Signage 

There are a number of reasons I like living in Greenpoint, but if I had to pick my favorite reason (for the purposes of this blog anyway), it would be the homemade signage. Close your eyes and envision some form of socially unacceptable behavior and I can assure you there is an angry missive— scrawled in Sharpie marker— SOMEWHERE in this neighborhood deriding it.

But it isn’t simply the pervasiveness of signage in this neighborhood that intrigues me, as I have seen numerous signs— usually admonishing dog owners to scoop their poop— in many different areas of Brooklyn. For example, I have noticed that the homemade signage to be found in Park Slope, Cobble/Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens is pretty straightforward and polite. Greenpoint signage, on the other hand, is second only to Red Hook (in my experience, anyway) in the use of profanity and threat(s) of physical violence.

The hoi polloi can keep their strollers, therapists, tea lounges, and superfluous civility; drunken Poles, empty Remy Martin bottles, feral packs of children gnawing on chicken bones and hard-hitting opening statements such as “Dear Fuck Mouth” resonate with me. It is this no-nonsense “pull yourself up by the bootstraps so you can pick up the drunk fuck next to you by the shirt collar and kick his ass” mentality that makes this country what it is today. For better or worse.

Follows are a couple of my favorite examples of Greenpoint signage with limited commentary.

dearfuckmouthsign
It’s funny, when I cropped this image it began to look a wee bit like the Polish flag. Very appropriate to say the least.

treepitnotashitpit

Looks like this was written by the same person. I for one would like to meet “Neighbor”. I think we’d get along.

Dung of the Day: Done Dirty Harry Style

A number of people who have made my acquaintance are amused and confused by my veneration of “Dirty Harry”. Those who know me— REALLY know me— understood my glee when my father upgraded to the DVD “Dirty Harry” box set and I got his old VHS box set. The weekend immediately following this windfall was one uninterrupted “Dirty Harry” Testosteronathon replete with many a 12 ounce can of Budweiser so I could exhibit my femme macha by crushing them when the need arose.

One does not watch “Dirty Harry” movies for the plot (they’re all more or less interchangeable). One does not watch “Dirth Harry” movies for Oscar-caliber acting either (though Tyne Daly, Hal Holbrook and Mr. Eastwood are nothing to sniff at). NO SIR.

One watches “Dirty Harry” movies to enjoy some blue-chip ass kicking and the odd nugget(s) of witty repartee to be found therein. Simple as that.

Having established my “Dirty Harry” street cred, it should be known that my tastes regarding memorable quotes from these movies tend to run towards the oblique. Anyone (even those who have never seen any of the movies) knows the ubiquitous “Go ahead, make my Day”, but what about some of Harry Callahan’s more Zen-like words of wisdom?

If you have been kept up at night knocking around “Dirty Harry” quotes (as I have), today is your lucky day: with a little bit of Internet research I found the “Dirty Harry” quote (from “Sudden Impact”) which best epitomizes this blog and I am going to share it with you.

Listen, punk. To me you’re nothin’ but dogshit, you understand? And a lot of things can happen to dogshit. It can be scraped up with a shovel off the ground. It can dry up and blow away in the wind. Or it can be stepped on and squashed. (Or it can be wiped on a napkin and left on the sidewalk at Meserole  Avenue and Diamond Street — Ed. Note) So take my advice and be careful where the dog shits ya!

meseroleanddiamond

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    Brooklyn Sweet Spot Open Sorry for the InconvenienceFort Washington Collegiate Church
  • Ads