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

Greenburg Slide Show Du Jour: Blizzard!

As promised, here is are some highlights of from my sojourn in the snow. It was nice to see kids (of all ages) out having fun. I regret to inform everyone no snow phalluses have been erected in McCarren Park— yet. But hope springs eternal and the day is still young. Enjoy!

And on that note, dear readers, I am off to take a nice HOT bath!

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: Snow White

January 4, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

snowwhite

From Milton Street.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Angry About Idling at the American Playground

December 9, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

thumbNo folks, my anonymous tipster is not perturbed by idle folk (which can be seen at left and are quite abundant at this public space ). She’s angry about exhaust. Among other things. M writes:

Dear Miss Heather,

We do enjoy your blog. Why only yesterday my 7 year old stepped in a doggie ganola bar on Manhattan Ave. while waiting for the B61 aka the bus that never comes–nailed both mary janes and filled the treads up to boot–so I though of NY Shitty.  But enough with quaint anecdotes…

Perhaps you can post some lovely comments about the leaded diesel-spewing vehicles that illegally idle outside our charming playgrounds.  And by all means give a special mention to the kind folks over at the Northside Driving School…

Not sure if you have ever noticed, but trucks and buses idle for hours on end at both the Greenpoint Playground (Franklin & Dupont–scenically situated in the shadow of the poop plant) and the American Playground (Franklin & Noble).  NYC idling laws only allow 5 minutes of idling–then drivers are supposed to turn off their stinkin’ engines presumably to spare tiny asthma-prone lungs to the long term effects wrought by such toxic fumes wafting over the rusting (rustically urban?) playground equipment.  All these diesel-fuled vehicles use leaded gas and we know lead is even worse than Sugar Smacks for growing brains and bodies. Not so good for adults either btw.

A few days ago one of our toddler-toting neighbors (I’m one of ’em too) asked one of the Northside Driving School bus drivers to turn off his engine and he “gave her the finger” and kept the engine going as usual.  Yeah right lady. The Northside Driving School buses generally park and idle for hours right next to the baby swingsets–they are nearly always there all morning.  Often they leave the doors open and come in and out of the buses as they enjoy their coffee and cigarettes. Why save gas? They’re working for The Man and he pays up at the pump.

The other day at Amercian Playground an FDNY mini-emergency vehicle–without flashing lights and without doing any obvious job–sat idling just beyond the fence between the toddler climbing structure and baby swings for over an hour–the driver was snoozing and surely wanted to keep warm but he clearly was not on a job (which would have been an exception).  Food-delivery trucks (ex potato chips and soda for nearby delis) linger near the Amercian Playground as well.  I’m not one to spoil a nap of one of NYC’s “fearless” let alone deny the community the nutritious chips and sodas that surely must come on time just like the toys for xmas in “The Little Engine That Could,” but methinks that turning off the engines while naps and chip deliveries take place wouldn’t put too much of a damper on all the fun.

Frankly I see trucks / buses etc idling at both playgrounds a LOT.

I finally made a complaint to 311 regarding these idling problems at both playgrounds. Also wrote CB1 anf NAG. My thought was that having big bold (read obvious) SIGNS (with obvious fines) posted around both playgrounds– would probably help deter this charming local behavior.

Were all this to happen on the UES for example or in tony Brooklyn Heights, well, nary a nanny would ever have to suffer a noxious nostril-full again but here in Greenpoint, considered to be the armpit of Brooklyn as far as the city goes (let it stink/why shave it), nobody pays attention.  Perhaps they’ll see your blog though?  Thanks for considering either way…

-M
in lovely Greenpoint

Wow. Truth be told I have never noticed this. Of course, it should be noted that I do not have children. Therefore, I have no reason to patronize our local playgrounds— and trust me “reason” is the operative word here. Let’s face facts: both of these parks leave much to be desired. Have any of you, dear readers, had the misfortune of having similar such experiences at our public playgrounds? If so, please share. I’d love to hear them!

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: Crack

December 6, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

crack

From Milton Street.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Homelessness On The Rise?

November 22, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

homelessB (who took the photograph at left) writes:

So, I have found guys sleeping in my foyer (or whatever you would call the space between the open street door and the door that actually goes into the building) two nights running. I feel like homelessness in the neighborhood has exploded in no time at all. It’s like when we moved to the city some time ago. Am I wrong? There are so many people all of a sudden with no way to live. And I feel like I might be one of them soon. I am becoming very worried about the economy et al…

What do you think?

I am very grateful B took the time to bring this matter to my attention. The subject of Greenpooint’s homeless population is something I have written about before and have been meaning to follow up— but alas has been “lost in the shuffle”. Today I will endeavor to correct this egregious over sight.

Last week I (finally) commenced upon getting caught up on my blog/web reading. First and foremost on my list was the Greenpoint Reformed Church. Their latest missive contained some alarming (but sadly, unsurprising) news:

…Thanks to an incredible group of volunteers and the generosity of many donors, between 70 and 80 people are able to enjoy a delicious, healthy hot meal every Wednesday night. The food pantry continues to grow, with the line of people waiting for food often extending down the block to Franklin Street.

I have also been told that the demand on the Greenpoint Food Pantry this month (and last) is the greatest they have ever seen. They are increasingly seeing more and more families and senior citizens on fixed incomes needing help to put dinner on the table. I for one find this not only to be a truly sad occurrence but it is a damning testament to how this city treats its the ones who need help the most: children, the indigent and the elderly. A one way ticket out of town does not fill an empty stomach: it is merely kicking the can. But I digress.

Here are my thoughts/observations (regarding B’s email):

1. Yes, I have observed a noticeable increase of “unhoused” people in Greenpoint. Especially around the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and Manhattan Avenue.

2. There is a difference between being “unhoused” and homeless— at least as far as our fair city is concerned. A substantial number of the folks who are sleeping on our sidewalks, in our parks and foyers have family who live here. These individuals often have substance abuse problems which have made living at home untenable for their loved ones. So they live on the street. Why don’t these guys go to a shelter, you ask? Well, they are precluded from doing so for a number of reasons. Among them:

  • If someone seeking shelter has family in the city he/she is ineligible to stay at a shelter (because they are, in New York City’s eye technically not homeless!).
  • As I mentioned previously, a number of homeless/unhoused people have substance abuse problems. Shelters forbid drug and alcohol use. This deters a great many of them from seeking shelter and/or help— even when he (or she) really needs it.
  • Our city’s homeless shelters are bursting at the seams as is.

3. The previous having been written, I have noticed a lot of new (and often very young) faces nowadays. Individuals who clearly do not hail from here and/or have friends or family who reside here. I often wonder where they are coming from. I have several theories about this:

  • Migration: These individuals have moved here— be it forcibly or voluntarily— from somewhere else. They have elected to stay here because Greenpoint largely turns a blind eye to homeless people. They are not liked, to be certain, but they are for the most part tolerated.
  • To clarify the previous point, some of you may or may not be aware the city homeless shelters in Manhattan are being phased out. They are being (re)located to the outer boroughs. The new(ish) homeless shelter in Crown Heights (for single men) is one such example.
  • There are more homeless (or “unhoused”) people in our city. If the lines at our local food pantry are growing— people who are one layoff or missed rent check from being on the street— chances are a great many more people just like them have already found their way there. This is why I do not disdain SROs (single room occupancy residences). Provided they are clean, well-maintained and managed (for the tenants’ sake/safety). SROs provide affordable housing to people who would otherwise find their way onto the streets. They may not be glamorous or sexy but SROs provide a much-needed service.
  • Drugs: I don’t know what the statistics are. What’s more, I don’t really need to read them. I have been seeing more and more evidence of heroin use, e.g.; people (youths mostly) nodding off on the street and used syringes in north Brooklyn.

syringe

The above hails from a luxury condominium site (designed by Karl Fischer) on Kent Avenue.

I do not profess to be an expert. I am not a social worker. But I have lived here for some time and as a result have the ability to see trends in the making; if the actual number of homeless people in this city is not going up, they are certainly becoming more “visible” in Greenpoint. Nonetheless we should not look upon these people as “statistics” or an inconvenience: they are living, breathing human beings. Just like us.

In closing I’d like to offer some solutions— or at least means to help alleviate the challenges we are facing as a community. Follows are a few things I would like you, dear readers, to consider:

1. Understand & Advocate: homelessness is not the problem. It is a symptom of a greater problem. Don’t get angry at the man sleeping in your apartment building foyer (B didn’t). Get angry at what put him there— and vote accordingly.

2. Volunteer: The Greenpoint Reformed Church has done a stellar job of serving north Brooklyn’s neediest. What’s more they’re really nice ladies. They need volunteers/help for their upcoming Thanksgiving Dinner and beyond. From their web site:

…There are some things that we cannot purchase from the Food Bank, and we have a new wish list:

* Large 12″ heavy duty Chinette paper plates
* Coffee
* Iced tea mix
* Ziplock bags (both freezer bags and sandwich bags)
* large heavy duty garbage bags (preferably big drum liners)
* heavy duty clear recycling bags
* three new heavy duty round garbage bins
* a hand washing sink (and someone who has the expertise to install it)

They are especially in need of additional volunteers with the following special skills:
* Polish language
* marketing and publicity
* web design and maintenance
* electrician
* plumber
* interior design/organization/storage/space usage
* big, strong, burly people who can act as a loving, yet forceful security-type folks

To learn more about how you can help make a real change in the lives of people who really need (and deserve) it email Ann Kansfield at: ann (at) greenpointchurch (dot) org

3. Go to Souper Trivia night and/or donate a prize!

SouperTrivia

Once again, you can learn more about this event (I will post a reminder next week) by contacting Ms. Kansfield the previously-listed email address.

Miss Heather

Williamspoint Photos Du Jour: Eyes

October 21, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Street Art, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

montrose

Montrose Avenue

westst

West Street

kentave

Kent Avenue

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Thrift Sale At St. John’s Lutheran Church

September 26, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Jan writes:

Hi Heather –

I noticed you’ve put a stoop sale event up!  Well, here’s another that I’ve seen a few flyers for [and yes for this one I am a bit biased in favor of 🙂 ]

Thrift Sale
September 26th 10am – 2pm
St. John’s Evangelical. Lutheran Church
155 Milton St.

A lot of things you’d never find anyplace else and for a nice price, stop by and say hi and bring a friend or two or three.

Right around the corner from the Kent St. Festival.

So there have you. If there isn’t enough stuff going on in Greenpoint this weekend to tickle your fancy I suppose there’s always Williamsburg.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Starter: From Greenpoint’s Historic District

September 22, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

My brother in law is currently paying our fair city a visit. Wishing to show him one of the nicer parts of Greenpoint I took him to Milton Street. We gazed and pointed. We ooohed and we ahhhed. Then we saw this.

coozetown

A piece of viral advertising— in a “Historic District”, no less. Is it not the point of preservation to prevent this kind of crap blighting one’s enjoyment of what few blocks of lovely row houses, brownstones and churches my neighborhood has to offer? If it isn’t, it should be.

I never really thought much about Courteney Cox (because there is not much to consider). Until now. Every time I see one of these signs (and I am, increasingly— they are proliferating) her mug puts me in a blind rage. I hope the brain trust behind this campaign will take this into consideration before erecting any more of these signs. It is probably not the reaction they are looking for.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, September 22, 2009: My good friend at Musings on ‘point has a few things to say about the Cougar Town viral advertising experience. Aside from being an eyesore, they would also appear to be illegal. MOP writes:

This is an “advertising sign” as defined by ZR 12-10 and such signs can only be located in commercial zoning districts C6-5, C6-7, C7 and C8. Not only was this picture taken in a residential district, but you’d be hard pressed to find any of the aforementioned zoning districts anywhere in Greenpoint or Willliamsburg.

The offending signs are everywhere and starting to grate; I demand satisfaction.

I want them removed. What’s more, I want to know how much compensation the homeowners who allowed these signs to be posted on their property received. Did they pay taxes on this revenue? Did the agency behind this campaign know that erecting said signs in a residential neighborhood is illegal? Do they care? I, too, demand satisfaction!

New York Shitty Day Starter: Oh Oh Oh!

September 8, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

ithurts

Yes, I realize this is incredibly juvenile, immature, sophomoric, and so forth. But someone has taken to writing this missive of personal woe on West Street between Greenpoint Avenue and Calyer Street. At last count there were four of them: two on the east and west sides of West Street respectively.

OHOHOH

And— at long last— someone has responded!

Miss Heather

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