Now At Jerzy Popieluszko Square: No Vulgarians Allowed

During my peregrinations today I happened upon this rather noticeable* and clearly not Parks Department issue bit of signage at Jerzy Popieluszko Square. Having some working knowledge of Polish (Okay: I know “nie” means “no”. As for “walgaryzuj”, well, I have a very strong suspicion as to what that means!) I inferred this sign is prohibiting something. But what? To this end I inquired of a Polish friend of mine what gives. Without further ado, here it is:

Respect this place
Be civil
Do not litter
Do not drink (NOTE: no specific beverage is indicated)
Do not be vulgar

My interpreter went on to add that the Polish pressed into service is rather unusual. E.g.; this copy was probably drafted in English and translated into Polish (as opposed to using conventional, conversational Polish as spoken in Poland). In any case, mind your manners fellow Garden Spotters… (WARNING/CAVEAT: the following clip contains “language” so do not listen to it at work unless you want a visit from the H.R. Department.)

or else!

In the interest of fair and balanced reporting (and for my friends in Great Britain) you can (READ: should) watch Archie’s retort by clicking here.

*READ: hideous

Reader Contribution du Jour: McGolrick Park

May 14, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Per the tipster who sent me the above image:

(Taken) 4/21, but he was there till 4/22 as garbage piled up around him.  This is just an impossible, totally depressing situation.  And personally, as someone who grew up in a house where substance abuse was present, it makes me relive the anxiety and sadness I couldn’t wait to get away from – that’s why I’m so sensitive to it, and why I HATE that my kids are exposed to it…

Mark Your Calendars: Open Space Alliance Community Committee Meeting April 16th!

Per a tipster:

Did you know that the OSA Community Committee meeting is open to everyone? come on out! For this meeting, OSA CC HAS A very special guest – Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey – OSA CC is honored that he would like to visit and hear from the community he serves, so please come with questions, concerns or ideas for him and the Parks Department. WHERE? Lindsay houses, 30 Montrose Avenue (between Union and Lorimer), Brooklyn, NY 11206, 718.782.9000

Our Borough Parks Supervisor (that being Kevin Jeffries) answering questions at the behest of a not-for-profit Parks Conservancy group (this being Open Space Alliance)? Sadly this is not as far-fetched as it seems. Last month the Manager of Community Board 1 himself, Gerry Esposito, after  being questioned about why Open Space Alliance (a not-for-profit organization) has a moment of his time (as opposed to our local police departments, the 90th and 94th Precincts respectively) explains it all. Start watching the following at 1:10 and hear Mr. Esposito’s words for yourself.

…Basically they are the Parks Department for our area these days… in times past we have worked it through the OSA systembecause of the issues arising from the concert series I felt it was so important to open that door with OSA… So that, you know… so there would be full disclosure and transparency in what they’re doing… I can guarantee you since I sat down with OSA, I sat down with Steve Hindy (owner of Brooklyn Brewery and not a government employee) and Stephanie (Thayer Executive Director of OSA, our Parks “Advocate” and New York City Parks Supervisor) and, and I told them if you agreed to do this, you’d have to be here. You have to be at every meeting and they agreed…

And therein lies the problem. We have to go through a Parks “advocacy group” to get the ear of our Borough Parks Department. Because “public” and “private” have become more or less the same.

Open Space Alliance Community Committee Meeting
Monday, April 16, 2012 starting at 6:30 p.m.
30 Montrose Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11206

UPDATE: I have since been advised of the following via a Co-chair of OSA’s Community Committee:

OSA’s Community Committee is made up of 30+ parks groups (“friends of”and the like…), and this is the membership’s quarterly meeting. The public can come and observe, but only members can participate. The agenda’s always tight, and items are submitted by members two weeks before our meetings.

 

New York Shitty Day Ender: Three Playgrounds

Jaime Campiz Playground, January 22, 2012

The American Playground, January 22, 2012

Barge Park Playground, January 22, 2012

 

New York Shitty Day Ender: Java Street Park

December 31, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This morning it was brought to my attention that someone has seen fit to “add value” to my tar bucket installation. Intrigued, I decided to swing by and see it for myself. Follows are a few highlights from my visit. Enjoy!

People were present.

As were a great many a duck– and of course the reason for my trip.

A sparkling new addition to Tar Bucket #2!

A reviewer on CellarTracker.com opines of this product:

A little nail polish on the nose, with just the slightest hint of citrus. It’s a bit tight. A little more expressive on the palate, but still pretty tight. It has the nail polish and citrus, plus a little yeast at the end.

Just like Greenpoint! Nonetheless I sensed something was missing. So I whipped out my sidewalk chalk.

See you next year!

Greenpoint Photos du Jour: And Then There Were Two!

December 29, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Today since it was a downright balmy 33 degrees I decided to swing by our new waterfront park and see how things were shaking— above all the tar bucket/art installation which was brought to my attention yesterday. Follows are a few highlights from my trip with commentary. Enjoy!

While the rubbish has been bagged as of at least December 24th (which is when I walked by) it has yet to be picked up.

There’s even more rubbish at the end of the street.

Among the assorted detritus greeting our open space lovers is a barbecue grill.

As for the tar bucket, it is much more impressive when viewed against the Manhattan skyline. But the greatest treasure was to be found was a mere 10 -12 feet away…

another— truly magnificent— tar bucket!

I was particularly taken by the value-added book of matches. This got me to thinking about what my informant said:

Art or vandalism – you decide!  I’m leaning to the art side of the fence.

Remembering what my professors taught me about appropriation in art school, I decided to tip the balance in favor of (conceptual) art.

Behold Tar Bucket #1…

and the even more majestic Tar Bucket #2. Both of these pieces I dedicate to our “parks/open space advocates”. Without their hard work on our behalf, we would not be able to enjoy such niceties in the first place!

P.S.: Oh yeah, there are still no benches on India Street Pier.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Now At Java Street Park!

December 28, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

An anonymous tipster opines of the above-depicted item:

Art or vandalism – you decide!  I’m leaning to the art side of the fence.

I’ll leave it to you, gentle readers, (and our Parks Department) to make the call. In the meantime I prefer to see the tar bucket as being half-full— in a manner of speaking.

The long-awaited opening of this piece of public space appears to have motivated the powers-that-be to collect all the rubbish gracing the northern side of this street!

New York Shitty Photos du Jour: HUMBUG!

Isn’t it refreshing to see our Parks Department is taking on the serious issues manifest in our precious few public spaces? Here’s what the tree’s creator, Julian Cole, has to say about this sad turn of events:

Hey Heather,

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for covering the Brooklyn Christmas Tree, I did it as a little side project and your posts really helped it get to a much wider audience. I was sad to learn they took it down but it was good fun process. I am planning to do more small projects about Williamsburg next year so I will make sure to keep you in the loop when I do.
Happy Christmas

So there have you. If I had to hazard a guess I’d say the amount of time and manpower it took to remove this piece of holiday cheer the Parks Department could have, should have (for example) purchased and installed one toilet seat at a women’s comfort station under their care. But there I go employing logic again. Logic as we citizens know it does not apply to our civil servants. Hence why after waiting over a month for our Parks Department to replace a toilet seat at Jaime Campiz Playground, I found it more logical (and expedient) to do it myself.

What makes McCarren Park— and this community in general— worth visiting (in my humble opinion) are the random acts of kindness (and yes, mischief) its citizens choose to bestow upon it. Mr. Cole’s Christmas tree is one such example. I for one (and mind you, I write this as an agnostic) think his was a lovely project. It amused and, more importantly, engaged our community. Yet it was removed— by those who purport to serve us.

On that note it should be Known, gentle readers, that our Parks Department wants your feedback as to what brings you to McCarren Park!

“Others” can make your voice “heard” herehere, and here.

New York Shitty Cares: The No Toilet Left Behind Project

Or: When I learned complaining is futile and did it my damned self.

To Preface: I had initially planned presenting this project after the last of my toilet trifecta was deployed (preferably at a Parks & Waterfront Committee Meeting). But given recent events, this being having it made quite clear to me that our Community Board General Manager and Parks & Waterfront Chair do not give a shit (pun completely intended) I have come to conclusion this is the time. I do give a shit. And what’s more, I want to help my fellow citizens take one. That means YOU. So, here it is.

I am content with being a “Greenpoint blogger”. The perquisites (there are some), respect (next to none); and working conditions (best imaginable— I make my own hours, there is no dress code and sexual harassment is a given) which come with said sinecure reach my level of expectations. However low they may be. A very wise man once wrote:

I’ll remain below and from below I’ll spit on their social ladder. Right, spit on every rung of it. In order to climb it, it’s necessary to be forged steel-assed from head to toe. And this I am not.

As a result yours truly has become quite the connoisseur of crappers in north Brooklyn. Under my rather gruff, steely (if colorful) exterior resides an incredibly soft place: my ass. And it, I personally assure you, is not made of steel. So I pick my privies wisely. This is why I will, for example, avoid McCarren and McGolrick Park. These “comfort stations” are generally repulsive. Cooper Park, on the other hand, is generally well-maintained and clean. My only caveat is the toilet seat in the womens’ lavatory at this location is made of metal and in cooler weather the experience can be quite, well, “bracing”. However, in summer this can be can be quite refreshing.

If I, the self-elected queen of crappers, had to tender a (very general) summary of the state of women’s lavatories within the confines Community Board 1 Brooklyn it would be this: those located in the 34th City Council District are generally nicer than those located in the 33rd City Council District. I will leave it to you, gentle readers, to ponder why this is the so and test my hypothesis for yourselves. At your own risk.

Hence why I made this crapper— located in the 34th City Council District— my “pit-stop”of choice during my peregrinations. Until that fateful day.

This was what awaited my delectation on August 17th. The toilet paper strewn upon the floor is nasty to be certain, but what really bothered me was the absence of a toilet seat. This may seem trivial (and all things considered, it is) but this is a playground. Playgrounds are generally inhabited by children. And despite this being the 21st century most of the caretakers of children— be they mothers or nannies— are (still) women.

As chance would have it, Open Space Alliance (which is headed by the very same person who is also the Parks Supervisor for north Brooklyn) was conducting a “town hall meeting” that very evening. The ostensible purpose of this meeting was to ascertain what we, the people, wanted to see happen with our open spaces. Not since kindergarten (and the iron curtain fell) have I beheld such a bureaucratic attempt at crowd/mind control. Upon entering we had to sign in. Upon signing in, he/she was given a pamphlet documenting OSA’s achievements and member organizations (some of which were highly questionable) and assigned a number. This number dictated at which table said person sat (so as to facilitate “small discussion groups”). Thus family members and concerned citizens were separated.

Did I get a number? No. I exercised my right as a “Greenpoint blogger”. I sat where I damned well pleased.

First we had to sit through a presentation extolling upon the manifold benefits this, our, private/public partnership has bestowed upon my community. Speeches from our local elected officials followed. Then, with the assistance of a minder from OSA, each discussion group was assigned to make a list of ten things we would like to see happen with our parks. After these findings were announced by our respective groups— and noted on poster-board— we were each given three green stickers. These three green stickers constituted our vote towards any given project/idea we fancied and were to be applied accordingly.

ASIDE: The first memory I have of a sticker-based economy is a getting gold star for simply telling my Kindergarten teacher I brushed my teeth on any given morning. I didn’t fancy such micro-management then and I certainly didn’t like it three decades later.

If I am going to be treated like a child,

I thought to myself

I might as well have the pleasure of acting like one.

So I brought the missing toilet seat matter to everyone’s attention. A chap named Joe Garber—  a man, I will add, who is renowned in the Community Board 1 circle — backed me up.

Is a toilet seat too much to ask?
I made the call for a toilet seat. Was it heard? Absolutely. Did it get any “stickers”? No. Should such a modest request— one a reasonable person would presume to be a matter of routine maintenance— require a sticker? No.

Yet, over a month later (and despite our Parks Supervisor informing me after the aforementioned convocation that they had fixed the roof in said crapper and to wit I replied “Yes, and now it needs a toilet seat.”) nothing was done. That’s when I crossed the Rubicon and became an outlaw. You read me right O-U-T-L-A-W.

Fuck this shit!

I grumbled. I noted the make and model number of said crapper…

and proceeded to the closest hardware store without delay.

At Crest Hardware I purchased a top-of-the-line toilet seat— but I did not stop there. I wanted this bequest to be <em><strong>special</strong></em>. I wanted it to be something its patrons would enjoy. I am of the firm belief (as a former and current child) that little things matter. On one fateful evening while strolling along Manhattan Avenue inspiration finally struck:</p> <p><a href=” http:=”” www.newyorkshitty.com=”” wp-content=”” uploads=”” 2011=”” 10=”” biedronka.jpg”=””>

LADYBUGS!

They’re cute, easy to render and are shaped like toilet seats! Who doesn’t like ladybugs? Really?

A “ladybug” I did make. I took the added measure of preserving my “artistry” with coat of plastic resin (which also makes it easy to clean).

This lass’s installation, however, proved to be problematic. I, an aspiring good Samaritan, unwittingly breached said playground’s etiquette. I left the gate open instead of securing shut with a bike lock. For this offense I was questioned:

You have children, yes?

My lady Inquisitor inquired.

No.

I answered. I was then advised that I, a child-free woman, was technically violating the rules of this playground by simply being there. But she added I’d “probably” be okay. Nonetheless, the bathroom was locked and I had to go back to Greenpoint. With my ladybug. On the way I stopped by McCarren Park’s lavatory (so as to relieve myself):

Only to discover it too was lacking a toilet seat!*

So many toilet seats, so little time.

I thought to myself. Long story made a mite bit shorter…

The “ladybug” was installed October 13th. As of the writing of this post (okay, Monday afternoon), I have no idea whether she is still there or not.** This is because the lavatory in question was locked.

My educated guess is the ladies, delightful women both, who staff(ed) this playground were laid off “for the season”. This is a shame as they kept the premises and my “donation” quite tidy (the first photo being the exception to the rule). Conversely, I gave McCarren— our Parks Supervisor’s “Flagship Park”— a heaping helping of love.

By “love” I mean glitter, rhinestones and a melancholic expression. Would YOU want to be a McCarren Park toilet seat?

I didn’t think so.

Deployment Date: October 23, 2011. I am pleased to report that as of December 5th, she’s still there!

A reasonable person would presume the amount of time and effort Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— a “parks conservancy group” which has boasted their concerts (that ostensibly benefit our community’s open spaces) have grossed $250,000 could see fit to allocate funds/manpower for something as simple as a toilet seat. But alas, our Parks “Advocate(s)” (and Parks Supervisor) are not reasonable people.

This is why we have a “pop-up park” on my fair burgh’s waterfront which— while purported to have been “ready” in June (per the Deputy Director of OSA) and available to Nuit Blanche/East River Ferry patrons in October— is still closed to the general public.***

And I had to resort to a life of crime.

In closing:

Usually I’d take someone shitting on my “work” as the ultimate insult. But in these unusual circumstances (and I suspect my college professors will back me up on this) “context is everything” and as such I interpret the above-depicted scat as high praise. It is prima facie evidence my humble creation is actually being used! The same cannot be said about aforementioned “pop-up park” or the benches— city/tax payer property all— contained therein.

If any of you toilet goers (and you know who you are) know of a womens’ “comfort station” lacking a toilet seat within the confines of Community Board 1 Brooklyn please shoot me an email at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. I have a very special treat in store for you(r ass).

A seriously customized/blinged-out Magnolia** “Progressions” juvenile/adult toilet seat with patented “Gent’l Close” technology.**** (READ: it has dual seats for little ones and adults and cannot be slammed shut.)

This hippo’s getting very hungry. Let’s feed her, north Brooklyn!

*This photo was taken by a concerned toilet-goer October 1, 2011.
**It is!
***Which was mysteriously, inexplicably, open to the public the day after this post was published!
****Made in the good ol’ U.S.A. What’s more, they have the prestigious honor of being  “the official bathroom seat manufacturer for the NASA Space Shuttle”!

New York Shitty Day Ender: Waiting

November 6, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Today was the third time yours truly rode the Ferry since the benches have been relocated. And with it came the third time someone complained to me about the disappearance of said benches and the third time I explained, albeit briefly, what happened to them. E.g.; they were lent to the pier by the Parks Department and have since been moved to an adjacent pop-up park which has yet to become open to the public. On that note, I am going to let Julia Morrow of Open Space Alliance (who was kind enough to tender the following explanation via the North Brooklyn Community Group’s Facebook page) clarify further:

Stephanie Thayer at OSA asked that I post this since OSA nor herself can post on this group: Thanks for reaching out to me about the India Street Pier. The India Street Pier is privately developed and privately owned. The pier has not been deeded over to New York City for maintenance and operations. Benches on this pier are the responsibility of the pier’s owner, the owner/developer of the adjacent property.

In June, OSA was ready to open a small waterfront park on Java Street end, with funding secured by a local community group. At the same time, the Ferry was about to start service. The developer borrowed the benches for the start of the Ferry service and opening of the pier. The developer confirmed that they are now ordering their own benches for the pier (emphasis mine — Ed. Note) so that OSA may open the long awaited Java Street waterfront for public use.

And here’s what her boss, Stephanie Thayer, had to say on the matter to a concerned citizen who emailed her:

Orchestrated responses aside, I find the placement of public property (park benches from our Parks Department) on private property— be it a pier or a pop-up park— a mite bit questionable. At least on the pier— which is open 24/7/365 they were being used. Nonetheless, the loaning said benches to this pier when the pop-up park was purportedly ready in June is rather odd.

(Here’s your “long awaited park”, Greenpoint!)

I am of the distinct impression that folks are more apt to enjoy our waterfront— albeit even via a “park” which gives Enver Hoxha a run for his money in terms of outstanding use of concrete— in spring and summer as opposed to (what I surmise will be) winter. This is common sense. But I have long since grown to accept that concepts such as “common sense” and “logic” do not prevail in north Brooklyn. This is doubly the case when our government and public/private partnerships are involved.

Instead, I am simply content the developer has heard our complaints and replacement benches are on the way. Hallelujah!

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