11222 Theft Alert!

September 4, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Criminal Activity, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

keyboard

Although I prefer to refrain from blogging at the junk shop (the above image of the company computer’s keyboard should explain why) this just came to my attention and I wanted to pass it along ASAP. Apparently a gentleman’s car (which was parked West and Huron Street) was broken into (the lock was picked) this morning. Among the items stolen were (men’s) hockey gear: skates and a pair of mitts. These were contained in a blue plastic bag.

If anyone, dear readers, attempts to sell you anything fitting this description (presumably on the street or at one of our local parks) please bear in mind they may very well stolen property.

Thanks!

Miss Heather

From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives: John Alexander’s Fence

Today was the first day of Mister Heather’s two week vacation. Upon waking up I quickly got dressed and left Chez Shitty for a walk. Two weeks is a lot of “quality time” and it has been my experience that such “togetherness” it is best enjoyed in small doses. This ended up being a good decision as:

  1. It gave the Mister an opportunity to play video games and listen to NPR all afternoon without driving me crazy.
  2. I was reminded of a post I have long been meaning to write.

As I was walking down Manhattan Avenue I noticed an older gentleman taking a photograph of the entrance of 905 Manhattan Avenue: one of the many four story, eight apartment tenement buildings that grace the Garden Spot’s landscape. The object of his interest was not the doorway. His sights were set lower. Much lower.

I learned this after striking up a conversation with him; he was interested in iron manufacturing. Among the items on his itinerary (to this end he had an annotated map in hand to guide his journey— one has to admire that level of organization) was a manhole cover on Clay Street and a former factory on Monitor Street. What had attracted this chap’s attention when I encountered him was a cast iron pilaster not unlike these— which can be found on Greenpoint Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street.

DDboyce

atlanticiron

There are a great number of these to be found in north Brooklyn. What’s more, a fair number of them were manufactured here as well!

ED

Take this example at Grand Street. I cannot make out the manufacturer’s name but its place of origin is “Brooklyn E.D.”. In the days before Levitra and Viagra “E.D.” stood for Eastern District— which included what is now Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick. But let’s head a little closer to home, shall we?

171 Greenpoint Avenue, 11222

171gpt

1035 Manhattan Avenue, 11222

1036man

quay-stTHUMBWho was “J. Alexander”, you ask? Well, his name was John Alexander and he was the founder of one of the numerous iron foundries in Greenpoint of old. Mr. Alexander’s facility was located on Quay Street between Franklin and Washington Street (now known as West). This is now the site of the MTA’s (delightfully named) Mobile Wash Unit garage.

It should also be noted that Alexander’s foundry had a pretty famous neighbor: the Continental Iron Works. If this name rings a bell it is because this facility assembled and launched what is now America’s best known iron clad: the U.S.S. Monitor.*

QUICK ASIDE: the next time you walk past Bushwick Inlet, look carefully for the American flag stationed across from the Bayside Tanks. This was where the Monitor was launched.

launchsite

But let’s get back to Mr. Alexander— and the site of one of the Garden Spot’s more colorful land grabs. It’s a classic tale of man versus machine. Or in the case of this article from the April 9, 1878 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: a man’s fence versus a locomotive. The results are pretty predictable but that doesn’t make this tome any less fun to read. Enjoy!

491878BDE

So the next time you walk around the Garden Spot keep in mind that history is all around you. All you need to do is look for it. And sometimes the neatest things can be found not by looking up— but looking down.

Miss Heather

P.S.: This post is dedicated to the incredibly cool dude I met on Manhattan Avenue— and his love of the more esoteric points of New York City’s history.

*Those of you who are interested in learning more about the Continental Iron Works will be hard pressed to find anything better than this great memoir written by the great grandson of one of the co-founders. Check it out!

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: I Shot J.R.

August 20, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

van

JR

…with a camera, that is!

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: Kindness Counts

August 19, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Dog Shit Signage, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It’s been a while since I have hit you up with some blue chip dog shit signage. Well, as it happened today I encountered quite a bounty whilest strolling down Greenpoint’s less-than-gold coast. Here they are.

Calyer Street

pleasecurb

I find this one fascinating on a purely semiotic level. You have a dog shit sign made out of a photograph featuring yet another dog shit sign. It’s like an M.C. Escher paintingalbeit one about crap.

smile

Courtesy coupled with Orwellian overtones… I like it!

West Street

asshole

forlease

Over the years I have become quite the aficionado of this person’s work. He or she has been at for quite some time and although the copy varies a little, e.g.; the reader is usually addressed as “asshole”. The author always goes to the trouble to say thanks. Here’s a pair but goodies from the New York Shitty archives.

asshole1

This one dates from March of this year. As you can see our dog shit vigilante exercises a great deal of resourcefulness when it comes to getting his (or her) message across. And in closing there is the following one, my personal favorite, which dates from April of 2006.

dearfuckmouthNYS

Who can argue with that?

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Starter: A Vintage Siding Slice*

Today I had a moment.

I announced to Mr. Heather when he arrived home from work yesterday.

To wit he replied:

Good or bad?

Good… I think. Although it could be proof I have lived in Greenpoint WAY too long— or my aluminum siding fixation has turned me into an idiot savant of siding.

I replied. Curiosity piqued, the Mister wanted to know more. And I told him.

Well today I found a photo album at the junk shop. Naturally I went through it. (You would not believe the “Kodak moments” I have found at the junk shop dating from the pre-digital age whose subject matter is of such an intimate nature I honestly can’t imagine entrusting it to your local 24 hour photo to develop. But clearly quite a few people did just this. Over the last several years I have amassed quite a collection. Probably enough to start a blog whose sole purpose is to showcase them. Seriously. But back to the subject of this post: my moment. — Ed. Note.)  I quickly deduced the contents were taken in New York City.

Silvercup

This one hit pretty close to home: Queensboro Plaza circa 1982. I dug around some more and found this.

Sidingshot

I showed the above image to Mister Heather:

I knew where this was instantly. It’s in Greenpoint. I identified it by the siding.

Huron Street, Greenpoint, circa 1982 meet Greenpoint 2009.

huronstreet2009

Very little has changed.

Sunflower

There are sunflowers. Which I adore.

west at india ca 1982

And Bloomblight, which I deplore. This photograph was taken at West Street around India Street. Very little of what you see in the above photograph remains nowadays— including the people. It’s a bunch of derelict development sites.

But we have a mural!

HI

mural

It’s particularly fetching when the DOS truck sweeps it up.

concertina

The beach (soccer? volley?) ball caught in concertina wire makes this locale ever more inviting. That’s probably why no onesave the beneficiaries of this project– wants to hang out there. It’s good P.R. for politicos, bad policy for citizens.

onthewaterfront

The above photograph, taken in the 1980,’s is prima facie evidence that Greenpointers had waterfront access— as humble as it was— before the 2005 re-zone. Now we have barbed wire fences. And self-elected intermediaries.

Miss Heather

*This is dedicated to Kevin Walsh of Forgotten New York. Whose “slices”, writings, rants, and person have enriched my life— and inspired me to start this “blog”. This lovable curmudgeon happens to have a birthday this month. Why not send him your regards?

P.S.: The India Street park is being built atop the existing asphalt so as to avoid DEP soil tests. I wonder if Dean Palin, when he razes this mural to build his 40 story testament to folly will test this site for pcbs, etc.?

New York Shitty Day Ender: Has Anyone Seen Tiger Lily?

August 14, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Crazy Cat Lady, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

REWARD

If you have seen Miss Lily or know of her whereabouts please contact her “person” at the above telephone number ASAP. As the above flier indicates she has a purple collar and health problems which require medication. Suffice it to say time is definitely of the essence!

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Starter: Progress

August 10, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

OHGOD

From West Street.

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: HIP HOP

August 9, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Art 

hiphop

From West Street.

Miss Heather

Williamspoint Photos Du Jour: Urban Fur

NO

Java Street

spiral

Kent Street

oakst

Oak Street

couple

small

grapefruit

larry

pasquale

Manhattan Avenue

amelia

Grand Street

weststcutie

West Street

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Slide Show Du Jour: A Garden In The Garden Spot

July 12, 2009 ·
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

Rooftop FarmsNYS

Today at long last I checked out Rooftop Farms* on Eagle Street. Truth be told I had no idea what I was in for: it was nothing short of unbelievable. Per their web site the folks at Rooftop Farms purport to have a 6000 square foot organic vegetable farm. Speaking as someone who lives in (maybe) 425 square feet of living space this is incomprehensible. After seeing it in person it still is. Follow are some photographs I took so you too can share in the joy of seeing some much-needed “green” being put back in Greenpoint. Enjoy!

Ben Flanner and Annie Novak, co-founders of this farm are lovely people. They answered my questions (which undoubtedly were the same questions they have been asked all weekend) courteously and cheerfully. Anyone interested in volunteering should consult their volunteering page. Otherwise you can support their efforts by purchasing their produce (I bought two bunches of cilantro— had I not been in a hurry I also would have picked up some lettuce as it looked delicious) and signing up for their email list.

Heather

*Special thanks goes out to Flatbush Gardener for reminding me to follow-up on this. Thanks! Now that the G is running to Church Avenue you’ll have to come up and see me sometime. 😉

**Annie Novak speaks:

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