‘Tis The Season: El Blablazo

December 4, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

christo1

christo2

When I received the above photographs from Christo this evening I knew I had to see what the guys behind El Blablazo were cooking up in person.

It is nothing short Greenpoint glorious!

1074

peace

tinsel

The gentleman responsible for this masterpiece have assured me that they will resume decorating El Blablazo tomorrow. In addition, they told me anyone was welcome to come by and add decorations because this tree is (and I quote) “a public tree”!

El Blablazo Community Christmas Tree
1074 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

LAST GASP: Community Pride is Contagious

November 18, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

seating

First came the infamous bench/newspaper stand/tree protector at 1071 Manhattan Avenue. This has been since retrofitted with a more comfy back rest.

blablazo

Then 1074 Manhattan Avenue stepped up to the plate with “El Blablazo”. This tree pit now sports a wind chime!

And today my buddy Laura (who took the following photograph) advised me that 1086 Manhattan Avenue has joined the fray!

1036manhattanaveHOFMANN

She writes:

Apparently, tree guards are the in thing! Cool!

I for one am touched how the folks of north Greenpoint have (literally) taken matters into their own hands. It just goes to show that one need not rely upon “community groups” or the Parks Department to make a difference. Community pride is the new black: it never goes out of style.

Ingenuity, moxie and elbow grease; that’s the north Greenpoint way. It’s your neighborhood folks: make it yours before someone else decides to make it for you.

chickenwire

FAIL.

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Tree Pit Watch: 1074 Manhattan Avenue Kicks It Up A Notch

October 15, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

There’s no two ways about it: today was (and still is) a nasty, cold and wet day. This afternoon (after some serious procrastination) I bundled up and started my “commute” to the junk shop. Sort of. As I was crossing Manhattan Avenue I saw something in the corner of my eye that so piqued my curiousity I simply had to go in for a closer look.

blablazo

The guys at 1074 Manhattan Avenue (who as some of you may recall were inspired by their neighbors at 1071 to create their own tree pit seating) have spiced things up with a fresh coat of gray paint, some red tinsel and a sign reading “EL BLABLAZO”. Naturally, I had to get to the bottom of this.

Me: Hey, what up with the tinsel and the sign?
Group of Dudes Hanging Out: ?
Me: I really like it— but my Spanish isn’t as good as it used to be. Could you tell me what this means?
GoDHO: (after some conferring one speaks) It means someone who talks too much. You know, as “blah blah”.
Me: Oh, I got you. That’s the story of my life.
GoDHO: (laughter) You see, this bench is a place for people to sit and talk…
Me: and sometimes they talk too much, right?
GoDHO: Exactly!

This, dear readers, is yet another reason why I live in the Garden Spot of the Universe.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Starter: Manhattan Avenue Is The Pits!

September 28, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

welcome

Last weekend was a busy one for yours truly (hence why today’s postings are delayed: I slept for twelve hours last night. I suppose I was tired.) However, I was not so harried as to fail that something is afoot with north Greenpoint’s tree pits— such as this faux stone and tulip number as seen above (and can be found north of Eagle Street). This suspicion was confirmed when I patronized the local liquor store at 1071 Manhattan Avenue.

1071ma

I wrote about this, a most amazing tree pit, back in June. In the elapsing months it would appear my tome came to community’s attention.

liquorstore1

liquorstore2

I have known the proprietor of this store, Ada, for years. So you can imagine her surprise when I told her I was the person who wrote this. She immediately grabbed the man who made this and gave him the good news. He did not want me to publish his name, but agreed that I could call him “Anonymous Plumber”. Follow are a few things “Anonymous Plumber” had to say about Greenpoint’s most famous tree pit:

  1. He was the one who designed and fabricated it.
  2. It is constructed entirely of wood he and his neighbors had laying around. He stripped it and varnished it. How’s that for resourceful!
  3. He didn’t understand what the big deal was— but did note that after his pit garnered so much attention the bodega across the street decided to follow suit.

1074ma

Could this be the beginning of a Greenpoint tree pit war? Although our newest tree pit protector/street seating is more Spartan (Modern?) than its predecessor, it is a most welcome addition to the neighborhood. Inasmuch as I rail against the pervasive sense of apathy which plagues my community this is a (very welcome) reminder that some people do in fact care— and are willing to invest some time and elbow grease to make the Garden Spot a nicer place. Way to go guys!

Miss Heather

North Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: Bodega Daze

March 30, 2009 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

The following photographs may not necessarily depict bodegas per se but they do represent the way north Greenpoint has changed, for better or worse.

eaglestbodega

R.I.P at Eagle and Franklin Street.

joses

Renovated, empanadaed and in demand down the block.

sanda

This was my bodega of choice when I lived on Clay Street.

acapulco

This is not a bodega. However, Acapulco Deli & Restaurant resides next to the S & A Deli and is one of the most underrated diners in the Garden Spot. What’s more, now they’re sporting a fancy new awning!

donedeals

Greenpoint Furniture formerly (and possibly currently)  known as “DONE DEAL$”.

minimarket

I was never too big on this one (too much emphasis on meat) but the “presentation” is nice. Good place to buy soda, though.

oldandnewoneaglenys

Such is the life nowadays in north Greenpoint. Of all the people depicted in the above photograph who do you most identify with? More importantly, does it even matter?

We’re all in this together for better or worse, Greenpointers. Best to direct our angst or get a collective chuckle out of people who write stuff like this:

I have to say that all of the places in Brooklyn and Manhattan that I considered moving to, I did not consider Greenpoint at first.  Then I saw the posting for the 305 McGuinness Lofts in early February. I am a huge sucker for apartment porn, as I call it, and the new condo-turned-rental developments are great for that.  This was a Craigslist listing for a brand new triplex: 3 BRs, 2 BAs, brand new appliances, loft like ceilings, on-site parking and a gym. Shane and I quickly agreed: Yep, going to see that. Per the broker, Baris, these had just hit the market and so far they had curious locals coming to see the building.*

So we went on a cloudy Sunday. Getting off of the G train at the Greenpoint Ave stop and seeing the Starbucks warmed the cockles of my heart. We had a lot of time so we went to see the open house that was posted on Craigslist for 110 Green St.  The road itself was desolate but on the right-hand side there was this huge building. It had no sign (later discovered it had been called the Viridian, and was very famous for having Magic Johnson as an investor, and even more famous for going bankrupt last month) and it was very clearly still under construction. We checked out the model apartment, which was extraordinarily tiny. They were, and still are, charging $2,900 for a 2 BR and $3,600 for a 3 BR, so I was curious to check them out. There were many potential tenants and only 1 sales rep. He took us to see the area where there supposedly will be a huge, olympic sized swimming pool (suuuuuure), and then this enormous atrium, which was supposed to have had a fountain, but then explained that the original plans had already been downgraded to now include a simple lounge area instead. At that point, we ran out of time, so we left unimpressed, thinking they needed a reality check.  With those prices and 138 new units to rent, each with limited space, it seems to be a daunting task, indeed.

After that disappointment, we headed off to 305 McGuinness Lofts. McGuinness Blvd, for those who don’t know (and I didn’t) is a very noisy, busy road with traffic gunning to and from Brooklyn and Queens via the Pulaski bridge. The apartment building was under heavy construction (and still is), with wires dangling and walls unfinished. We were shown the triplexes and duplexes. The triplexes were cool: 1200+ sq feet in each, with 2 entrances, 2 bedrooms & 1 bathroom on the bottom floor, kitchen with huge windows and decent living/dining space on the 2nd floor and then the third floor mezzanine with another room that will (one day, in theory) have sliding glass doors overlooking the living/dining area, and another bathroom. W/D comes with every unit, as does central air, lovely new appliances and huge windows. I wasn’t crazy about the bedrooms, which were small, and the limited amount of closet space in each, but overall, it was a nice place for a relatively decent price.

But nice floors, beautiful appliances, kitchen, huge windows and only $3,000 with a free month thrown in. Add in on-site parking and the gym? Awesome! Duplexes with 2 bedrooms plus an area for an office space, had a nicer view but the 2nd floor/mezzanine had a ridiculously low ceiling, barely clearing Shane’s head, and they only had 1 bathroom. Additionally, the mezzanine/2nd bedroom shared a huge window with the master suite, and the two rooms were not completely shutoff from each other due to that window, so we figured, if we lived here, it’d be the triplex…

Yes, this was ostensibly written by a “real person”. While gloating over the “lovely new appliances” and “huge windows” our wannabe/soon-to-be neighbor didn’t notice the rather fragrant and enormous waste treatment plant one block away.

Real estate shill or simply clueless?

I’ll let you make the call. A triplex overlooking the Shit Tits, anyone?

Miss Heather

*This is true. We stare in dumbfounded amazement at this edifice wondering why some dumbass, a bankrolled one at that, would build such a turd on McGuinness Boulevard. Daily. It is a constant source of amusement.

P.S.: The 184 Eagle Street post is a HOOT:

When we were first heading over to Greenpoint to check out 305 McGuinness I also put in a call to check out the listing for a luxury 2 BR, 2 BA with mezzanine place (pics above), complete with on-site parking.  Was told by the real estate agent that it was for 184 Eagle Street but that tenants were in the place so I couldn’t see it that day (Sunday).  Weekdays weren’t good for me so I passed.

Then a few weeks back Brownstoner picked up on a story posted by New York Shitty about 184 Eagle St doing hostel duty on the side.  Apparently a tipster found the Craigslist posting.  So…while they wait for a real rental, they’re making money by renting out the place on a weekly basis where you can get either a bunk bed ($28 per night) or a private room ($78 per night).  Um, ew?

Um, welcome to my reality lady. I have seen a number of my neighbors— renters all— “displaced” by development. It happens like this: a developer purchases 1,2,3 lots in a row— usually because the landholder cannot afford the real estate taxes— and the tenants are forced to vacate. And in the place of their former homes are erected testaments to gentrification such as 110 Green Street, 184 Eagle Street and 305 McGuinness. Their target demographic: people like you.

But the locations are deemed “too crude” by people like you (greed and easy credit makes developers do silly things) so they have to find more creative ways to meet their loan debt like skipping over the whole Certificate of Occupancy thing.

184eaglepart2

Or employing a dead condo (“nondo”) as an illegal hostel/hotel. Thus generating what is my opinion one of the most hilarious complaints I have ever seen on the Department of Buildings web site.

184eaglepart1

Who says gentrification/displacement can’t be funny?

Feel Good Dog Doo Sign Of The Year: Yes We Can!

January 21, 2009 ·
Filed under: Dog Shit Signage, Greenpoint Magic 

Despite the odd burned out car and verbal altercation, spirits are high in the Garden Spot since Barack Obama took office. You can see the spirit of hope and aspirations of good citizenship in people’s eyes. It can also be found in our dog shit signs.

youredog

This  delightful specimen hails from 1074 Manhattan Avenue. I for one find the addition of a blue bow and bunch of grapes downright inspired. Can we scoop our poop? this sign cheerfully implores passersby. It’s time for us Greenpointers to step up to the plate— as good citizens— and answer the call:

YES WE CAN!

Miss Heather

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