Quicklink: Animal New York Gets Poached!

Many of you who have followed this blog over the years have undoubtedly noticed that a number of stories broken by yours truly have a strange way of finding their way onto the pages of Newscorp’s manifold publications within a matter of hours/days/weeks— often as “exclusives”. As you can imagine I find this phenomenon very interesting. What’s more, I can assure you it is not a coincidence. In fact, one of their own reporters even admitted as much! Alex Ginsberg comments (regarding my reporting about Cutting Edge Fitness):

Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print. Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).

I won’t discuss at length the policy of not crediting blogs (or anyone else). I’ll just briefly explain that as long as we can independently verify every bit of info, we don’t credit.

You will find that the Daily News observes the same policy, but the Times does not. (They often write an explanatory phrase like, ‘The investigation into Mr. Spitzer was first reported in the New York Post.’ That’s not a real one. I just made it up. Although I would note that another Times policy would prevent them from actually printing the name of your blog, presenting them with an unresolvable conflict between two inflexible rules.)

Looking forward to “amplifying” more of your good work in the future.

So you can imagine my dark amusement when I stumbled upon the above item from Animal New York today. A very angry Bucky Turco writes:

While it’s common knowledge that the New York Post often rips off story ideas from local blogs—just ask editors from Gothamist, EV Grieve, New York Shitty, Vanishing New York, Sheepshead Bites and a handful of others—their latest article on the bombing of the Bowery mural, which was basically lifted from several ANIMAL posts, was particularly egregious…

You can read the whole sad story by clicking here. In closing, I would like to leave you with this quote from Newcorp’s spokesperson, Suzi Halpin:

The New York Post credits blogs, bloggers, and other media all the time, as our readers know.

Except when they don’t. If the Post followed the above policy to the letter their readership would quickly comprehend exactly how much of the content they are reading has its provenance from online/alternative/independent media outlets (READ: blogs). Welcome to the club, Bucky— and by all means keep on writing! Dozens of reporters depend on people like you and me for their livelihood!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: What’s Up At 16 Eckford Street?

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

I have received a number of questions about the above establishment. Most of them run more or less as follows:

Hi- I wanted to point out this new gym I passed over the weekend.  Is this the local gym scammer?  Not sure as I saw actual equipment in the place.  Wanted to call the new establishment to your attention, as you tend to know all things Greenpoint.

In light of what happened at Cutting Edge Fitness I too have been very curious about this establishment. Today I decided to swing by and see what gives.

Gym Source was on the scene.

And men were very busy at work. Including Quick Fitness’s General Manager and Personal Trainer, Michael Losardo. He was kind enough to talk to me for a few minutes. Follows is a general rundown of our conversation:

  1. Mr. Losardo’s former career was being a recruiter. He was unhappy so he made a career change. He is now a personal trainer and the General Manager of Quick Fitness.
  2. He has been queried by a number of people about his establishment. He understood they were understandably cautious given some of the scams that have come to pass in North Brooklyn.
  3. Quick Fitness is to some degree a joint venture between Mr. Losardo and the building’s owner (whose name eludes me at the moment). The latter has invested heavily in converting this formerly industrial space into a fitness center.

In other words, Quick Fitness (inasmuch as I can ascertain) 100% legit. In fact, a number of people have already signed up for memberships. Those of you who are wondering (and I am certain you are) the peeps at Quick Fitness, while offering one year memberships, understand a lot of people (in light of our uncertain job market) are not able or willing to make this kind of obligation. For this reason they are waiving membership fees and offer month by month memberships. In other words: there are no contracts to sign. The monthly fee to join Quick Fitness is pretty reasonable too as well: $65.00 a month. Other amenties this establishment will be offering is onsite day care Mondays – Fridays 1:00 -4:00 p.m., Yoga, Spinning, Kickboxing classes, “Mommy & Me” classes and much, much more.

Those of you who are interested in learning more about Quick Fitness should consult their web site. Oh yeah, they’re set to open June 1st!

Quick Fitness
Opening Date: June 1, 2010
16 Eckford Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Cutting Edge Fitness To Close?

May 6, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

It’s been awhile since I have heard anything about Cutting Edge Fitness. As some of you might recall (among other things) the owner of this establishment, one John Suarez, was barred by the General’s Office from operating a gym for life. He also clocked a New York Post photographer. But I digress. Today I heard some long overdue news: they’re being shuttered. Follows is an email I received from a tipster in the know:

I haven’t chatting with you in a while, but I wanted to tell you that Cutting Edge went to court and they are being forced to close. Don’t know they exact date, but when I get it from the courts I will let you know.

Hope things are well with you.

I don’t know about you but I can hardly wait to see these court papers!

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: C’mon In, We’re Open!

January 26, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

It’s been awhile, but today I walked by Cutting Edge Fitness.

Not surprisingly, this establishment is (still) open for business. Despite a Stop Work Order, the owner of said establishment being barred from operating a gym— for the rest of his life and ordered to pay restitution by the Attorney General’s office and a rather pesky ECB violation: #34754765Y.

Looks like it is business as usual in Williamsburg.

Miss “eagerly anticipating this post’s amplification” Heather

Behold The Power Of The Interwebs!

September 4, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, New York City, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Not surprisingly my latest post about the New York Post has garnered a great deal of attention. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York has given it a shout out. As has EV Grieve and Bowery Boogie. Before I continue I would like to take a moment to tender my sincerest gratitude to my friends in the East Village; their tribulations at the behest of the local print media have shown time and time again that this is not purely a “Brooklyn blogger” problem. The practice of claiming material from a blogger as one’s own is much more pervasive; if Maureen Dowd has been caught doing just this it begs the question as to how many of her brethren are also guilty— but simply have not been caught. Or called on it.

I mention the previous because over the last 24 hours I have noticed a number of incoming links that come from web sites whose subject matter is not “neighborhood bloggers” or “blogging”. Rather, their focus is on the institution of journalism itself. Among the previous— much to my amazement— is a journalism “think tank” at Harvard University.

Neimanscreencap

What’s more, they have contacted one of the reporters who lifted my story and the New York Post’s public relations firm: Rubenstein Associates. Not surprisingly they have yet to hear back from either of the previous. You can read the rest of the above tome by clicking here.

Miss Heather

UPDATE: Snapper Patter, Techdirt, Gawker, Media Metamorphosis, Superpunch, FAIR.org, Citoyen Michel (click here to read in English) and Gothamist have thrown in their respective two cents! Thanks!!!

UPDATE, 9/10/09: Boniknik, The Desert Lamp, Manga Verdes, Mary Turck, Blogografia have joined the fray.

Reader Comment Of The Week: A Reporter From The New York Post Speaks!

September 3, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

GYMRAT

I suspected I’d get a response from someone from the New York Post after I wrote this screed. I did. It was much more reasoned, lucid and intelligible than this one. I was pleasantly surprised, but found it disquieting nonetheless.

CommentNYS

Although you can read this comment in its entirety by clicking on the above image or by clicking here (see comments). I will post it here:

Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print. Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).

I won’t discuss at length the policy of not crediting blogs (or anyone else). I’ll just briefly explain that as long as we can independently verify every bit of info, we don’t credit.

You will find that the Daily News observes the same policy, but the Times does not. (They often write an explanatory phrase like, ‘The investigation into Mr. Spitzer was first reported in the New York Post.’ That’s not a real one. I just made it up. Although I would note that another Times policy would prevent them from actually printing the name of your blog, presenting them with an unresolvable conflict between two inflexible rules.)

Looking forward to “amplifying” more of your good work in the future.

Alex

Gee, thanks… I think. It is not the purpose to malign Mr. Ginsberg in this post (though it invariably will). Rather, I found his comment telling about the state of print journalism in general:

1. Not citing blogs is “company policy”. As Ginsberg wrote: You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).

2. Ginsberg writes  …Although I would note that another Times policy would prevent them from actually printing the name of your blog…

I have erected a mirror site with a much less objectionable url (www.thatgreenpointblog) for just this reason. Yet the plagiarism persists. It has become all too clear that “offensive” blog urls are a red herring.

3. Looking forward to amplifying more of your good work in the future.

So this somehow makes it “right”? Inasmuch as I riff on recent journalism school graduates (which are what staffs many of the papers here— as “independent contractors”— nowadays) I do not think they are by and large dishonest. They need to eat and have a roof over their head just like the rest of us— so they abide by “company policy”.

I do not blame them for doing what they have to do to earn a living; I blame the institutions which employ them. As contractors, these reporters are paid chump change for stories and thus have to churn out a lot of material (usually for numerous publications) in order to make ends meet. Given the workload they shoulder I am hardly surprised they troll blogs for leads. What bothers me is the fact their employers are profiting from their, my and many others hard work.

There was a time when New York City had “beat” reporters. They have since been replaced by contractors— to cut costs— and neighborhood coverage has suffered as a result. “Bloggers” as you call them— I prefer to call them citizen journalists— have made up for this, among them:

Amusing The Zillion
Atlantic Yards Report
Bed-Stuy Banana
Bed-Stuy Blog

Best View In Brooklyn

I care not to recite the whole list in its entirety— much less alphabetically. They can be found on my blog roll— although I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention Sheepshead Bites or my friends in the East Village:

Vanishing New York
EV Grieve
Neither More Nor Less

And last, but not least: Queens Crap.

If my memory serves me correctly the latter four have been “amplified” by the New York Post and the New York Times recently. Much to their respective chagrins. Call us ungrateful, but we’re not content with being “amplified”; we want recognition for our work.

The sad thing is in the absence of neighborhood reporters bloggers and newspapers could forge a mutually beneficial relationship, e.g.; exchanging leads, tips, information and so forth for the betterment and edification of our mutual readerships. I do not see this happening— especially since a reporter from the New York Post has pretty much admitted to cribbing my content and “making a few phone calls” to write a story.

A story he was, no doubt, paid for writing. I wasn’t. Very few “bloggers” are.

Miss Heather

P.S.: You can read an email string between Mr. Ginsberg and someone who took issue with his plagiarism by clicking here.

New York Shitty Day Starter: Two Week Old News On A Blog = New York Post “News”

September 1, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Criminal Activity, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

117s3st

On August 19, 2009 I wrote a little post about Cutting Edge Fitness on my “blog”. It was at the behest of a concerned citizen and started like this:

Hi Miss Heather,

I enjoy reading your blog from time-to-time and especially appreciate the news on the developments around the neighborhood.

I’d like to share with you some information about a building on the Southside, in hopes that it can get out to others who deserve to know. So, here goes:

The building has a retail space in the bottom which is currently owned by the developer and being rented to a John Suarez, who is running it as a gym, called Cutting Edge.

Well, there are many problems here:

1) The space isn’t zoned to be a gym
2) He is occupying space in the basement and using it for classes and workout space when it is only supposed to be used as storage
3) There’s no proper emergency exit from the basement
4)He’s illegally (i.e., with no work permit) installing showers/bathrooms in the basement

The biggest problem of all is that John Suarez has been forbidden by the Attorney General to ever operate a gym. A few years back he had advertised the opening of a new gym in the neighborhood, called Core Health and Fitness. He never opened the gym, even after taking people’s money. He was ordered to pay back $172,000 in restitution, but I know for a fact (a neighbor was a victim of the scam) that people did not get their money back.

You can read my post in its entirety by clicking here. After I hit the “publish” button, August 19, I turned to the Mister and said:

I lay odds 80% in favor of this being ripped off by the “print media”. I’d give it 90% except this actually helps people.

On August 20, 2009 my tome was linked to by:

On August 23 I took up the matter with Queens Crap and Forgotten NY. We agreed this item would be cribbed— but by whom? My knee jerk reaction was the New York Post. And as of August 31, 2009 my prognostication came to pass.

The Post one-upped my lowly blogger person by sending out a professional “photographer” to document said premises (which I had done already); he was assaulted by Mr. Suarez. I learned about this via Gothamist:

gothamist

And here’s a here’s a slice of the Post’s take:

GYMRAT

Compare my fact-finding with Ms. Sutherland’s and Mr. Ginsberg’s “scoop”: they dovetail. I was more specific (because my source and I did our research). But am I cited? Of course not. Amber and Alex claimed this discovery as their own.

Yesterday’s (or two week old) news— gleaned from blogs— with ample sensationalism thrown in is the Post’s modus operandi. If the chronic practice of “print journalists” plagiarizing “bloggers” and touting their (my) fact-finding as their own bothers you, dear readers, you can contact Alex Ginsberg at:

alex (dot) ginsberg (at) nypost (dot) com

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Much Ado About Edge

August 19, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

edge

No, not that Edge, this one!

cuttingedge

117s3st

Anonymous writes:

Hi Miss Heather,

I enjoy reading your blog from time-to-time and especially appreciate the news on the developments around the neighborhood.

I’d like to share with you some information about a building on the Southside, in hopes that it can get out to others who deserve to know… So, here goes:

The building has a retail space in the bottom which is currently owned by the developer and being rented to a John Suarez, who is running it as a gym, called Cutting Edge.

Well, there are many problems here:

1) The space isn’t zoned to be a gym
2) He is occupying space in the basement and using it for classes and workout space when it is only supposed to be used as storage
3) There’s no proper emergency exit from the basement
4) He’s illegally (i.e., with no work permit) installing showers/bathrooms in the basement

The biggest problem of all is that John Suarez has been forbidden by the Attorney General to ever operate a gym. A few years back he had advertised the opening of a new gym in the neighborhood, called Core Health and Fitness. He never opened the gym, even after taking people’s money. He was ordered to pay back $172,000 in restitution, but I know for a fact (a neighbor was a victim of the scam) that people did not get their money back

As you can see my anonymous friend has a lot to say. Let’s take a break for a moment and evaluate points 1-4.

1. The space isn’t zoned to be a gym

nocofoNYS

This is, in a manner of speaking, correct. You see, 117 South 3 Street has no Certificate of Occupancy on file. None. Zero. Zippo. Therefore, the fact this building is occupied at all— be it by tenants or businesses— is an issue. Then again (and this is where it get really interesting), this depends on which 117 South 3 Street you look up. You see, for some inexplicable reason this building has two Building Information Numbers (BINS): the latter has a Certificate of Occupancy on file. Not that it allows the basement to be used as a commercial space: it doesn’t.

Point numbers 2 & 3:

He is occupying space in the basement and using it for classes and workout space when it is only supposed to be used as storage… There’s no proper emergency exit from the basement…

Okay, I haven’t actually been in this building so I cannot verify this. Which brings me to to point number 4:

He’s illegally (i.e., with no work permit) installing showers/bathrooms in the basement.

Now this one I can prove! You see, the Department of Buildings paid 117 South 3 Street’s basement a visit last month.

resolved

In fact, it even netted him a Stop Work Order.

SWO

Not that this appears to have done much, mind you:

complaint

How this tale end? Will Mr. Suarez get caught— and if so, by who:

  • the Department of Buildings?
  • the office of the Attorney General?
  • The Edge’s trademark infringement attorneys?

Or:

I suppose only time will tell. In the meantime, caveat emptor.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Those of you harboring any doubts as to whether or not John Suarez is behind this business (and is at large at 117 South 3 Street), Google the phone number on the below flier.

flier

Here’s what you’ll find.

screencap



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