Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: Wintertime Sun

February 24, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This scene hails from Milton Street and is dedicated to Christine Holowacz, a stalwart Greenpoint advocate and co-founder of GWAPP. She lost her husband to cancer the day this image was taken.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Bedford Avenue Blight

October 12, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, Bloomblight, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

sixgun

it’s through this world I ramble
I see lots of men
some will rob you with a six gun
some with a fountain pen

Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd by Woodie Guthrie

Amusingly enough, shortly after I stumbled upon this find I encountered a (poorly attended) press conference regarding 1015A.  All the north Brooklyn notables were present: Steve Levin (he’s really short), Rami Metal, Stephanie Thayer (the Executive Director of OSA and north Brooklyn’s Parks Poobah), a member of GWAPP was present, and so on and so forth. Sadly, I missed meeting Yassky (so as to tender some of my readers career advice to him).* While they had their face time with the media here’s what I found two blocks away:

ROEBLING STREET

roebling

NORTH 9 STREET

DOA

I fail to see the “logic” of 1015A. But then again, I am not lobbied, wined and dined by real estate interests. Simply put: 1015A seeks to “encourage” speculators/Bloomblighters (who have raped north Brooklyn six ways to Sunday) to “maintain” their fences in return for renewing their building permits. In true “fox guarding the hen house” tradition, the Department of Buildings will be entrusted to make sure these developers comply. Given what happened at 493 Myrtle Avenue earlier this year this is cold comfort.** In essence, the very people who are the biggest offenders to our quality of life will be rewarded for not breaking the law.

What is wrong with this picture? Does this mean if I have enough influence/lobbyists I can jaywalk whilst sipping a 40 for the next four years?

Miss Heather

P.S.: This one’s for you, Uncle Kent.

*Whose fashion malfeasance was not unnoticed by Aaron Short. My recommendation for a Yassky makeover: Tom of Finland.

**Whose incompetence enabled a three story building to be built (and occupied) on 95 Clay Street without permits.

New York Shitty Day Ender: Results

When Laura Hofmann asked Mister Heather to sign a petition to get Evan Thies on the ballot a couple months ago he gladly obliged.

thies

As a result we have been receiving his campaign propaganda ever since. Like this postcard…

vomit

…which our cat, Bodhi, saw fit to annotate with his vomitus. As his name indicates, Bodhi is a very wise tabby. Greenpoint born and raised. This is what I call “results”!

I mention the previous anecdote because this evening I received a call from one of Evan Thies’s merry elves on my landline. This is curious for a number of reasons, among them:

  1. Chez Shitty’s landline is under Mister Heather’s name, not mine.
  2. It is unlisted.
  3. The caller/shill asked for me specifically. How did this chap know this phone number, indeed, belonged to me? I’m guessing OSA or GWAPP gave it to him.

In any case, this chap asked me what my feelings about Evan Thies were. I replied:

Negative.

To wit he asked:

Why?

I replied:

Among other things the fact he resigned from CB1 before the Broadway Triangle vote. He should have stayed on, voted and explained why he voted for or against this plan. As distasteful as the choice was either way.

Then I got a song and dance about how Thies’s resignation was ill-timed, e.g.; he didn’t know it would coincide with the Broadway Triangle vote. How he was against the Broadway Triangle plan, etc. I made it known, albeit politely, that I thought his argument was bullshit, he was not going to change my mind and I have other things to do. That brought this unsolicited phone call to a merciful end.

Closing thoughts (for Evan Thies’s campaign wonks/worker bees):

  1. Touting your years as David Yassky’s “Chief of Staff” is a minus, not a plus.
  2. I don’t care who you got my phone number from: do not call me. Especially in the evening. Per *69 you called from 1 (646) 594-4545 at 7:32 p.m. I have every intention of calling this number tomorrow— you have wasted my time, I want to return the favor. It’s better to give than receive.
  3. With Thiesisms like this (regarding campaign contributions he received from Dean Palin and family, who plans to build a 40 story tower at the end of India Street. Dean can be seen hamming it up for the camera with the Executive Director of OSA and David Yassky here):

Thanks for your email–I’d hate for you to think that I was keeping anything from you.  I do not support a 40-story tower there and I said as much at the last debate and during community board discussions on the project, after which, as you probably know, we approved the proposal unanimously with suggested changes.

I do, however, think that the affordable housing component of the project is good, and that a smaller version of the development would be the best case scenario.

I’ve known Dean for a while now, and I think he will work with us on this–but we have to keep at it throughout the land use process.

I cannot, with clear conscience, vote for you Evan. You’re David Yassky 2.0. What’s more, when I get unsolicited phone calls from your campaign workers at dinnertime it pisses me off. Big time. Hence why I wrote this post and relegated you to the “asshole” category on my humble site.

Mazel tov!

Miss Heather

P.S.: The Mister and I are still for Jo Anne Simon. There is no perfect candidate in this race. At least Ms. Simon was frank and didn’t bullshit me when I met her last week. I liked her. What’s more, her workers don’t call me while I’m having dinner.

UPDATE, August 14, 2009; 12:20: I just received a prank call from Mister Heather. As soon as I picked up the phone he said “This is the David Yassky campaign”. I hung up.

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: Dude, Where’s My Park?

May 12, 2009 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Some of you may or may not be aware that I am on the steering committee for what has been dubbed “WNYC Transmitter Park”.

bestparkinbrooklynnot

But most people, my fellow Greenpointers included, better know it as “that vacant lot at the end of Greenpoint Avenue”. I mention this because GWAPP in cooperation with NAG (Neighbors Allied For Good Growth) will be conducting what can best be called a “Park-In” protesting the lack of open space in Greenpoint promised under the now infamous 2005 re-zone. I’ll let the folks from NAG take it from here:

Remember the 2005 Greenpoint-Williamsburg Rezoning? In it, we were told that in exchange for enormous buildings along the water front we would receive a number of parks and open spaces to relax in, to get up by the water, to play soccer, to do whatever we please!

Not one park has been completed, not one has been opened.

So while the rest of New York City is celebrating “It’s My Park Day!” on May 16th, NAG and GWAPP will be instead asking, “Where’s My Park?!?” in an act of community awareness and civic action.

Bring your kids and your grandmas to the NAG Office (N 8th and Kent) at 12:30p to make some pro-park crafts and picket signs, and then join us at 2:00p at Bushwick Inlet (N 14th and Kent) as we march down past several of the promised parks’ locked gates. The day will end with a block party full of music, games, refreshments, and community… in a parking lot.

Come help us make a scene! It’s the only way we’ll unplug the City’s deaf ears across the river.

What NAG’s press release does not mention specifically is WNYC Transmitter Park is one of the “promised parks”. I have been assured the money has been set aside to build it. And by “it” I mean the park, not the pier and water taxi.

deckwithplanters

Still, when I walk by this site (as I did May 9th which is when the photographs gracing this post date from) to discover a newly built deck, tires and oil drums being employed as planters it makes me wonder…

deckwithplanters2

what’s going on? If the Parks Department (who owns and occupies this land) can enjoy this space why can’t we?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Bushwick Inlet Park (where the Monitor was built and as such is a historically significant site) and 65 Commercial Street (which is currently occupied by the MTA) are also on the itinerary. The previous should be a park. The latter leaves me with certain trepidations. David Yassky’s lackeys have seen fit to spam a great number of neighborhood groups in north Brooklyn with a petition addressed to Mayor Bloomberg demanding the MTA vacate 65 Commercial Street:

formletter

Particularly frustrating is the fact a few months ago the MTA decided, seemingly of it’s (sic) own volition, to remove the buses that had been the main obstacle for leaving the site.

What’s particularly frustrating to me are the manifold ways David Yassky has failed north Brooklyn as a City Councilman and seems unwilling to admit it. Sure, I like the fancy garbage cans with his name emblazoned upon them (for reasons I will not go into here) but I cannot shake the feeling David “I’m running for Comptroller” is simply using us for votes. I have learned over the years that the key to deciphering David is to follow the money. His maligning of the MTA is merely a crass exploitation of popular sentiment against their malfeasance. So as to direct attention away from his shoddy record in our community (take 184 Kent Avenue, for example).

Those of you interested in participating in this event (and I encourage you to do so, you can get more details by checking out NAG’s blog) please do not confuse Mr. Yassky’s recent interest in Greenpoint or financial involvement in its “parks” (READ: India Street) as being genuine concern. Ask him why a parcel of land ostensibly owned by the New York City’s Parks Department has yet to become a park for its own citizens.

March For Parks
May, 16, 2009
Preparations start at the NAG Office at 12:30 p.m.:
101 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn 11211
March starts at Bushwick Inlet at 2:00 p.m.
The odds David Yassky will be soap boxing/shilling for votes when you reach the promised “party”:
let’s just say I wouldn’t bet against it.

Miss Heather

P.S.: This the most vomit-inducing plea for money I have seen. EVER.

The Waterpod Cometh

January 30, 2009 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic, Newtown Creek, Queens 

waterpodThis item comes courtesy of Laura Hofmann of GWAPP. What is the Waterpod, you ask? Here’s a description from its brand-spanking new web site:

Waterpodâ„¢ is a floating sculptural living structure designed as a new habitat for the global warming epoch. It is currently scheduled to launch in New York in May, 2009, from the Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens, navigate down the East River, explore the waters of New York Harbor, and stopping at each of the five boroughs it will dock at several Manhattan piers on the Hudson River, then beyond.

As a sustainable, navigable living space, Waterpodâ„¢ showcases the critical importance of the environment and serves as a model for new living technologies. It illustrates positive interactions between communities: private and corporate; artistic and social; aquatic and terrestrial. Built from recycled and found materials, Waterpodâ„¢ is structured as a triple-domed island for: (i) community and artistic activity; (ii) eco-initiatives including food grown with purified water from the Hudson River; and (iii) living space…

You can read the rest by clicking here. Those of you who have ever wanted to live on Newtown Creek* (and you know who you are) this might be your golden opportunity!

Miss Heather

*albeit briefly

Image Credit: thewaterpod.org

NEXT WEEK: Tree Care Workshop

June 5, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

So now Greenpoint has a bevy of new trees that have been planted by the city. That’s all well and good, but what next? I suppose you could post signs on them calling your neighbors “slobs” and “sluts” (as this property owner has done*) or you can attend the tree care workshop being hosted next week at the Green Oaks Club.

Per the notification I received, in this workshop you will:

…learn to care for young street trees, receive free tools, and get a Parks Volunteer Permit, which will allow you to care for street trees and greenstreets. Advance registration is required; space is limited.

There are still slots left, so if you are interested in attending please register by sending an email to channaly.oum(at)parks.nyc(dot)gov or call (212) 676-1929. Be sure to provide your name, email address and/or phone number.

Tree Care Workshop
June 11, 2008 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Green Oaks Club
179 Green Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

This workshop is being hosted by GWAPP’s North Brooklyn Tree Project and will be conducted by the New York Tree Trust.

Miss Heather

*This property is for sale as a “development site”.

Given its prime location— and by “prime” I mean McGuinness Boulevard facing the Pulaski Bridge, one can only hope it is razed to build (more) luxury condominiums.

News On The Public Bathroom Front!

May 13, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Last night I attended the Steering Committee meeting for Transmitter Park. There is little in the way of news to report other than we’re going to try to get someone from the Parks Department to give us a presentation of the revised park plan (which is slated to roll out next month) and yours truly is acting co-chair of said committee.

The one nugget of newsworthiness from this gathering came from Mike Hofmann of GWAPP. It doesn’t pertain to Transmitter, but the Greenpoint Playground on Dupont Street. This park used to have public lavatories. When the sludge tank was installed the water lines were cut (to these privies) so they were removed. Per Mr. Hofmann, $850,000 has been secured to install some high-tech replacements! These comfort stations will be “modular” —in other words more can be added later if the uh, need, arises and are to be built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard!

I do not know about you, but speaking as someone who lives in north Greenpoint I find this to be a tremendous relief. In more ways than one.

Miss Heather

Transmitter Park Meeting Notes

April 15, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

I attended last night’s meeting of the “Friends of Transmitter Park”. There wasn’t much in the way of news, but I’ll relay the highlights.

The concept for this park was formed by a “Community Vision Meeting” in 2005. Per Rich Mazur, the point person for the park that is Transmitter, three points were particularly germane to its design:

  1. It should have a pier with waterfront access…
  2. so people can fish.
  3. It will be a “low impact” park, e.g.; no concerts, noise, etc. It should be a place for relaxation.

As I mentioned in this post, the final schematic should be released by the Parks Department June of this year. That said, a few items have been excised from the above rendering:

  1. The bird islands, because they are bad for fish.
  2. No climbing wall for children. (DUH)

Here’s what is in:

  1. Fishing piers (!)
  2. Bird gardens

At this point in the meeting a woman voiced her concerns about “security*”, e.g.; will it be a gated park?

Per Jeff Sandgrund, the newly appointed Parks employee deemed with overseeing parks development in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, the answer is yes.

The aforementioned woman then asked if the community can be charged with opening and closing the park.

Mr. Sandgund advised against it. (I agree. This should be left to the city, not citizenry.) He also pointed out a few more changes that have been made to the original plan. They are as follows:

  1. The pier will be straight and bereft of “pods”.
  2. The schematic closest to what might be approved is this.

Note the annotations my fellow meeting goers saw fit to make on this map. They are a wee bit off.

One gentleman asked about the time table/financing for this park. Here are the answers we received:

  1. The “schematic” is to be rolled out June of this year.
  2. Ground-breaking will come to pass 2009. There was some debate as to whether this would be the beginning or end of 2009 .
  3. It has a budget of “10-12 million dollars”. Per Stephanie Thayer (of the Open Space Alliance) it will be “fully funded” and there is a “contingency amount”.
  4. It will be finished in 1-1/2 years (2010)

Then it was asked if the above funds included the pier. Answer:

It includes park.

Apparently the state has to approve the pier.

Then questions were raised about the India Street Park pier. There will be no pier because:

  1. With the new zoning the developer will get FAR for building a pier.
  2. What does this mean, you ask? Simply put: under discretionary zoning this developer can build over the alloted limit of 24 stories. How high can they go, you ask? FORTY stories.

Objections were made to calling this park “Transmitter Park”. Some thought it should be called WNYC Park. Mr. Sandgrund pointed out that the name of the park will be determined by the local community board.

And that’s when things wound down. Here’s a few points to close with:

  1. The next “Friends of Transmitter Park” meeting is tentatively slated for April 28, 2008 at Word Books.
  2. There will be a GWAPP meeting this Thursday, April 17, 2008 at the Warsaw (261 Driggs).
  3. Word Books is building an “Independent Business Alliance”
  4. There is talk of having a Bedford Avenue “Promenade” Saturdays from (and this was disputed) North 3rd Street to Metropolitan Avenue OR North 3rd to North 8th/9th Street.

Miss Heather

*Apparently there are concerns that this park (which will be located at Greenpoint Avenue west of West Street) might attract certain elements that see fit to hang out at the American Playgound (which is located at Franklin Street and Noble Street). Empty crack vials were discussed.

NEXT WEEK: Transmitter Park Meeting

April 10, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Next week, April 14, GWAPP will be hosting the first meeting regarding Transmitter Park. For those of you who are not in the know, this is the park slated to grace the western terminus of Greenpoint Avenue and several million dollars has reputedly been earmarked towards its creation. The purpose of this gathering is to give “interested community residents” to an opportunity to “discuss the park’s design, construction and timetable, and create a park ‘friends’ group for this new soon-to-be jewel on the waterfront”.

I strongly recommend that any and all who have the time attend this meeting. I have do doubt it will be very interesting and am personally very curious to see an up-to-date rendering of what this park will look like.

Transmitter Park Meeting
April 14, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
Red Star Bar
37 Greenpoint Ave (between Franklin & West Street)
Brooklyn, New York 11222

To RSVP, please shoot GWAPP an email at info (at) gwapp (dot) org.

See you there!

Miss Heather

THIS WEEK: United Friends of McCarren Park

April 2, 2008 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Thursday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m. the newly formed United Friends of McCarren Park will be meeting at the Automotive High School Library. Some items on the agenda for this event are as follows:

1. The “group structure” subcommittee will present a proposal for an ongoing structure and format for the group. It is going to change the way you think about democracy.

2. If the structure proposal is agreed upon, UFMP will vote on members of a Steering Committee. Those interested in taking a leadership role in this new group will be asked to introduce themselves and say a few words about their interest in the park, etc.

3. Ideas for continued outreach to other park users, etc.

Those of you who are not familiar with U.F.M.P. is about will find this synopsis from their latest announcement informative:

The best way to get the parks we deserve is through persistent community attention to each park. GWAPP (Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning) wants to help kickstart a big (and sustained) Push for Parks all across our North Brooklyn neighborhoods by helping to create (where one doesn’t exist) support (where one does exist) and unite (where, as with McCarren Park, several active groups co-exist) park-specific Friends Groups.

The purpose of these groups will be to gather information about the way the community uses the park, the issues and needs of each park and, most importantly, establish a community representative (or two or six or twenty) of that park, acting as a watchdog and persistently (key word) pushing for improvements – whether from the city, the Open Space Alliance (www.openspacealliancenb.org), neighbors, local businesses, grants…

We have an opportunity, with this particular Mayor and the promises made regarding the McCarren Park Pool, Ice Skating Rink and Skate Park, to push for real improvements in McCarren Park. We need to make sure we have a unified and coherent voice in the way the park is maintained and plans made for future developments. With the Pool reconstruction underway (design-wise at least) it seems the various user-groups of this potentially wonderful park have a shared purpose. Let’s use it to make the park better

Anyone who is interested in attending April 3rd’s meeting, has suggestions for the meeting format and/or agenda or wants to suggest other park user-groups who might wish to participate should contact Dewey Thompson at:

dthompson (at) pickerelpie (dot) com

In closing, I will leave you with some materials I recently acquired that hail back to the McCarren Park of yore. I am not too certain when they date from (my guess is the 1980s), but they bear testament that to the fact that the only way we, as residents of North Brooklyn, are going to effect any real and lasting change regarding our public spaces is to unite and hold our public officials accountable for the promises they have made.

The more eagle-eyed among you will notice closing Driggs Avenue to vehicular traffic is not such a new idea after all.

Comfort Station– in disrepair

Despite the radical changes Williamsburg and Greenpoint have undergone the last ten years I find it perversely comforting (no pun intended) that some things remain the same.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Be sure to check out the enlarged rendering of the old park plan which graces the beginning of this post. It is quite interesting.

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