New York Shitty Slideshow du Jour: American Graffiti

November 3, 2009 ·
Filed under: Long Island City, Queens, Street Art, Sunnyside 

American GraffitiNYS

Today I did something I have longed to do for some time: check out a rather extensive mural located the industrial no man’s land between Long Island City and Sunnyside. As I had long suspected, it was a lot more impressive up close. Although I wasn’t too keen on some of the hawkish content I was really happy I made the walk to see it. Follows is a slide show of the highlights. Enjoy!

As I said before: this is best appreciated in person. Go to the intersection of 35 Street and the Midtown Expressway and see it for yourself!

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Starter: Manhattan Ignition

October 8, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11101, Long Island City, Queens 

manignitionNYS

From Davis Street, Long Island City

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Welcome To Queens

BED BUGS

From the Pulaski Bridge.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Everything You Wanted To Know About Those Lines On The Pulaski Bridge

(and I do mean EVERYTHING)

clusterfuck

Rick writes:

I’m a new-ish fan of the blog, 10-year Greenpointer (what I call “outer” Greenpoint — Morgan near Driggs — as opposed to “upper” Greenpoint, meaning along the Manhattan/Franklin corridor), and bike commuter. I’m also a journalist who just finished a year reporting on urban spaces and infrastructure for PBS and public radio.

So after seeing the markings on the Pulaski Bridge path — and reading your posts — I decided to call someone who’d know what was up: Wiley Norvell, Communications Director for bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

I asked him about three things: (1) the “lane” markings on the ramps; (2) the seemingly-superfluous white lines along the main stretch of the path; and (3) the “Stop and Dismount — Walk Bike” signs.

Wiley checked with NYCDOT and got back to me with the following answers:

1. The lane markings at the entrances “are designed to provide guidance,” he said. Every bridge in the city handles cyclists and pedestrians differently: they’re segregated on the Brooklyn and Manhattan spans; pedestrians move counter to cycle traffic on the Williamsburg; and (iirc) they move in the same direction on the 59th. So, Wiley said, “the DOT’s trying to clarify the rules for the Pulaski.”

2. The white lines are an effort to get cyclists to chill out, for lack of a better way of putting it. “That’s typically done for cars,” Wiley said. “They visually narrow the space. That’s intended to get people to slow down and focus. It make it look like the space is only five feet wide, so it’s a visual traffic-calming cue.”

Of course, Wiley says, none of this deals with the underlying problem on the bridge: That the path is simply too narrow for the amount of pedestrian and cycle traffic it’s already handling. And things are likely to get worse: Between the impending completion of the Kent Avenue greenway (which I rode today and is coming along beautifully) and the coming greenway along the LIC riverfront, there’s likely to be a lot more traffic on the Pulaski path. “It’s like the Brooklyn Bridge path,” he said. “We’re running up against the laws of physics.”

The bridge’s roadbed has the opposite problem: It has too much capacity, Wiley said. The evidence: cars routinely exceed the speed limit over the Newtown Creek by 15-20 MPH. “And that behavior continues on McGuinness Boulevard and into Long Island City,” Wiley said.

So there’s a built-in solution that would solve both problems at once: Take a lane away from the roadbed and turn it into a dedicated cycle path. Wiley says Transportation Alternatives supports that idea, but it’s likely a long way off: The Pulaski Bridge was last rebuilt just 15 years ago, so any reconfiguration is likely years in the future.

3. The signs are mandated by a regulation, likely a federal one, Wiley said. That regulation governs how traffic is supposed to behave on drawbridges. The problem, he said, is that the signs are in the wrong place: Cyclists are supposed to dismount and walk their bikes over the expansion joint between the leaves of the bascule (i.e. at mid-span). The signs, however, are hundreds of feet away from the joint. Even so, Wiley said, DOT doesn’t enforce the rule. “They’re planning for the real world, in which cyclists are riding across the bridge.”

Hope this helps… Keep up the good work!

No Rick, thank YOU for taking the time to give us the 411! If anyone has a question for Rick you can leave them in the comments or contact him via email at: rick (at) technopop (dot) org.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Rick was also kind enough to forward me a DOT presentation regarding the Pulaski Bridge. You can view it in jpeg format by clicking here.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Mixed Signals?

clusterfuck

New York Shitty reader, occasional tipster and soon to be ex-Greenpoint resident AMOJA writes (in an email entitled “MTA Hates Pedestrians”) :

Or, I’m guessing it’s the MTA.  They’ve finally gotten around to indicating why they’ve painted white and yellow lines on the Pulaski Bridge walkway.  On the LIC side, at least (I’m not sure about the Greenpoint side…I’m a terrible reporter*), there are pictographs indicating that the bridge is to be used by pedestrians…and mushroom headed bicyclists…

sign

Confusingly, they’ve left the signs up telling people to dismount their bikes.  I feel my head is about to explode. Who is the genius that came up with this idea?  Are things really clearer now?

boxst

Given that this is a pedestrian walkway I would hazard to guess the entity responsible for this exercise in zen is the Department of Transportation, not the MTA. However, I am in agreement with AMOJA about the provenance of this plan; I too want to know who came up with this sterling idea. I also want to know how much it cost.

Miss Heather

*As the above photographs indicate, this has been done on the Brooklyn side of the bridge as well.

Snapshots From Astoria

September 15, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11101, Astoria, Bum Shit, Dung of the Day, Other Shit, Queens 

Yesterday evening the Mister and I ventured to Astoria to support our buddy Kevin Walsh, who happens to have a show of his photography at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.  For those of you keeping count, this is the second day in a row we have ventured to the county of Queens. Anyhoo, it has been awhile I have been to my former stomping grounds (I lived in Astoria briefly during graduate school) so I brought along my camera and took a few photographs. Follow are some highlights. Enjoy!

daves

What Elvira and Marilyn Monroe have to do with shoes I do not know. Regardless I found this display charming.

CHANGE

Change may have come to America but it’s still business as usual at this storefront. Despite his odious politics the man behind this missive is— believe it or not— a very nice guy. I have spoken to him.

boobs

I did a double take at this. Something else the greater Steinway Street and Broadway area sports are really cool old-school storefronts.

WINES

Like this…

dandf

and this.

boston

A little ennui over pizza. And last— but hardly least—

shitphone

my visit to Astoria taught me why I should never, EVER patronize a public pay phone again.

blech

Damn.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Starter: Separated At Birth…

or would that be death?

Colleen writes: not to take away from your own adventures in shit condos, thought you’d enjoy this.

CHEAPSHITviaNYS

Enjoy it I did (although Cheapshit failed to mention vibramassage beds in the above post). I laughed my ass off. Here’s another corker.

Cobrizo-condosCSCniaNYS

Cheapshit writes:

From their website

The Cobrizo @ Lake Union, combines affordability with spectacular views of Lake Union. The buildings trendy industrial exterior flows into the interior where interesting colors, angles and transitions between rooms emulate an active urban lifestyle.

WTF are they talking about?!?

By “emulate an active urban lifestyle” they must mean living directly on one of Seattle’s biggest highways, Aurora. Do not actively run across the highway in front, you will die…

I take issue with this. At least the Cobrizo has nice cement barriers to prevent some hapless idiot from driving into some other hapless idiot’s living room.

another view of the sceneNYS

Last month in Greenpoint, Brooklyn U.S.A. a traffic light and one of Mayor Mike’s 1,000,000 trees “took one for the team”.

Welcome to Huron Street!nys

This little mishap blocked McGuinness Boulevard for hours. I have no idea how the chair factors into this. It has four legs; it could have, should have run. Maybe it did? In any case it does not appear to be very happy.

lofts305

The “305 Lofts” were planned as condominiums but have since been dumped into rental propertywith a few hilarious bumps along the way. I suspect the proximity to McGuinness Boulevard and being located one block away from the east coast’s largest waste treatment plant might have something to do with this. But I digress. Let’s proceed to the supreme grotesque— the purpose of this post.

alfarettaCSCandLIC

In regards to the latter Cheapshit writes:

In these days of Seattle condo market freefall, we don’t build new condos. We almost tear down old buildings that were perfectly livable and leave them undemolished while making web sites about the fancy condo towers that we might build. This near pile of rubble one year later is the site of the “Seneca Towers”. The developer Levin Menzies, living in California, seems to have lost interest in this project. This is also what happens when you let developers run your city.

tochbrosNYS

Same goes in New York Shitty. Who needs history or character when condos beckon?

forsale

Different coast, same story.

behindthefacade

I am certain when the time comes the “Toch” facade will be lavished the same attention to historic and stylistic detail as this Karl Fischer masterpiece on Richardson Street.

the-luminousnys

Or this, his latest turd, 200 Franklin Street.

200 franklin

Both of the previous abominations were built by virtue of “modification” permits that are doled out New York City’s very own Department of Buildings regularly. Slapping obnoxious residential towers atop industrial properties is Karl’s forte. He is a one man race to the bottom.

This is what happens when developers run your city.

Miss Heather

Cheapshit, Queens Crap and I should do a bi-coastal critique of condo crap. It could be fun.


New York Shitty Day Ender: Pep Talk

September 13, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11101, Long Island City, Queens 

ilikeu

From a garbage container on 49th Avenue, Long Island City.

Miss Heather

Citypoint Photos Du Jour: Why?

September 13, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Long Island City, Queens 

Okay— I will be the first to admit that although I know “work” is being done on the Pulaski I am pretty ignorant of the scope of said “work”. Getting “up-to-speed” on this matter has been on my “to do” list for some time but has been sadly lost among the numerous other things I have to do. Today it was cleaning the apartment in anticipation of my brother-in-law’s visit.

After spending the afternoon exorcising our refrigerator, picking up stuff and arguing with each other the Mister and I got a bit peckish. We decided to go to Creek and Cave for dinner. To this end we hopped on the B61 bus* and headed to Long Island City without delay. Afterward— since the evening was nice and cool— we decided to walk home. This is when I noticed something was amiss on the Pulaski.

jacksonave

It would appear the pedestrian walkway has be demarcated into “Queens bound” and “Brooklyn bound” lanes.

whitelines

Or not. It was pretty much business as usual: bicyclists tearing down the walkway shouting at pedestrians to get out of the way.

bordenavestairs

This is what you’ll find at the Borden Avenue stairwell. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Walk at your own risk?

almosthalfway

As I approached the Kings County border I noticed the lines had stopped.

Perhaps this hilarity will be confined to Queens?

I thought to myself.

kingsco

Nope.

ashststairwell

Can someone please explain to me what this is supposed to achieve? Painting white lines along a pedestrian walkway on a bridge strikes me as being redundant. If one is to cross these lines he (or she) will either end up in Newtown Creek or McGuinness Boulevard: a one-way ticket to Woodhull. All the previous strike me as being much better deterrents to stay on the walkway than a pair of white lines.

eaglest

The same goes for dividing the entrance ramps. Does the city honestly think this is going to change anything? It isn’t.

Before all the bicycle enthusiasts reading this tome get their collective panties in a wad I want you to think about the following before you comment (and/or criticize); I am not against bicycling. I am simply tired of almost being run over by bicyclists and/or being shouted at to get out of the way when I walk across the Pulaski Bridge. This is not a matter of bicycles or “green” transportation; it is one of being a good neighbor. What I have experienced on the Pulaski Bridge is anything but neighborly.

Pedestrians are just as entitled to use this walkway as bicyclists— but given the behavior I have experienced on the part of most bicyclists who use this thoroughfare this would not appear to be the case. It’s a simple matter of respect. I respect the right to ride bicycles. In turn, I would like to have my right to walk across the Pulaski in peace respected.

Painting lines on the pedestrian walkway is not going to teach people common courtesy. For this reason I am becoming increasingly of the mindset that dedicating one of the lanes of McGuinness Boulevard as a bike lane might be the most practical (and palatable) solution to this problem.

Miss Heather

*Where one individual managed to break the Metrocard reader by dumping a bunch of dimes in it. So we rode for free. Thank you, idiot.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Gentrification?!?

iwanttolivehere

Interesting things happen when I stay up late. Mind you, they are not usually good things. But this case may very well be an exception: in the wee hours of the morning today the following found its way into my inbox.

Anni Atkinson of Earthsharing.org.au (Yes kids, that’s Australia) writes:

have you ever heard of GENTRIFICATION?

well, not many people have which is surprising as it effects us all.

so, I am attempting to do something about this! well, me and the team at Earthsharing Australia! I work with a not-for-profit called Earthsharing that offers free education services on economics and we focus on economic justice for all.

Currently we are working on an international film competition with the theme of ‘Gentrification’ which looks at issues of gentrification and how such cycles effect creative communities and artists in our cities. First Prize is $3000, with runner up prizes from Madman and Crumpler.

your blog is rad and we would be honored if you could throw a little love our way and mention the film competition to your readers!

Please contact me for more details including a press release or an e-flyer.

In the mean time, check out our website for more details!

The first line of this email made me erupt into fits of uncontrollable (and demented) laughter. Have I heard of gentrification? Feeling more than a little raffish, I wrote back:

You are asking  ME, a resident of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, USA (which is located pretty much halfway around the globe from you), to inform my readership about film competition about  GENTRIFICATION?!? Greenpoint: a neighborhood where a “luxury” condos proliferate in the shadow of the east coast’s largest WASTE TREATMENT PLANT? Where environmental issues the likes of which you cannot begin to comprehend remain unabated. And yet artists are being pushed out because there are people willing to dole out $2,000+ USD rent for a one bedroom/studio for this?

Give me the fuggin’ flier, your creds and press release— STAT.

Well, she did.

earthsharingNYS

I’ve done some poking around and this contest is 100% legit. Let’s show our friends down under how our fair city treats the creative community and everyone else who cannot a condo or $2,000 a month rent? You can get the 411 on how to enter this contest by checking out Earthsharing’s web site or by emailing them at: timmah (at) earthsharing (dot) org (dot) au

NOTE: they are currently requiring that entries be mails. I have suggested they accept submissions via YouTube as mailing matter overseas can be both costly and dicey. They are looking into it.

Otherwise, you can play the Gentrification Game by clicking here. Simply put you are a landlord/speculator and your goal is to kick out tenants. Play it. It’s a fucking HOOT!

Miss Heather

P.S.: Earthsharing also has a number of interesting videos on YouTube. Check ’em out. You’ll find the tales contained therein eerily familiar.

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