Have you ever had one of those mornings you wake up and actually cringe at the thought of your previous evening? I like to keep these mornings few and far between. When they do show up, though, it’s nice to think about all the other worst-case scenarios that offer the friendly reminder, “well at least I’m not that guy.”
Recently, I heard a story about a fellow Greenpointer that has become a comfort on any mortifying morning I might awake to. As a writer, I consider it my civic duty to impart this story upon you.
With the proposed ten luxury high rises coming to Greenpoint, adding over 5000 new homes to the area, nearby residents of The Greenpoint Hotel currently live in deplorable conditions. With rents on the rise, are low income residents being victimized by landlords looking to cash in on valuable real estate?
It ain’t the Greenpoint depicted in Girls – that’s for sure.
In 2006, the NY Times described the The Greenpoint Hotel on Manhattan Ave, reporting that the “hallways stink of marijuana and urine; the bathrooms – one per floor – are caked in dirt, and hot water is rare. The front desk is barricaded shut with sheets of plywood. Theft and violence are a constant threat.” Since then, not much has changed.
Last week a public walk thru took place after 30 residents of this Single Room Occupancy (SRO) had their first court appearance to file a law suit to address violations, which were described in a Greenline article in December to include, mold, rats, sporadic heat and hot water and electrical issues. Since then, none of the issues have been addressed by the landlord.
Advocating for the residents, Greg Hanlon of St. Nicks Alliance provided us with photos from the walk thru and the following statement:
The situation at 1109 Manhattan is an egregious and unconscionable example of what has become a common trend in North Brooklyn: Unscrupulous landlords’ forcing out longtime tenants by any means possible, so that they can make more money from their buildings. In some cases, it’s harassment and intimidation; in some, neglect. In this case, it’s both.
These tenants pay around $250 to $350 a month. We’re talking about prime real estate in Greenpoint, a stone’s throw away from the proposed Greenpoint Landing Development, which will have ripple effects on property values throughout the neighborhood. Tenants have told us that the landlord, Jay Deutchman, is trying to sell the building. It’s not too hard to see what’s going on here, and what Mr. Deutchman’s motivations are.
Along with St. Nick’s Alliance, Council Member Stephen Levin was at the walk thru and had this to say:
For years, the Greenpoint Hotel has been a haven for miserable living conditions. Rats, broken toilets, and collapsing ceilings have become a part of everyday life at the Hotel so that the landlord can vacate the building and sell it.
We cannot allow this to happen in our city. No New Yorker should be taken advantage of like this. No New Yorker should be subjected to live in this type of environment. That’s why I have called HPD repeatedly to complain about the state of the building and commend the legal action taken on behalf of the residents to make sure these conditions do not persist.
It’s fortunate that the residents of The Greenpoint Hotel have spoken up and sought help. We hope we can count on our public leaders to help improve conditions there and be an advocate for other Greenpointers in similar situations.
With housing prices on the rise in Greenpoint, will more low-income residents be mistreated like by landlords who want to raise rent? Have you or your neighbors been the victim of such neglect?
Only two things could make me wake up and trek to the Upper East Side: Art and Central Park. This Sunday, I was well rewarded with both.
George Terry, a local Greenpoint artist, has masterfully orchestrated an art exhibit, salon style in a pre-war Manhattan dwelling, aptly named Classic Six, which was steps away from Central Park. “New York I Love You Sometimes” features a unique pool of converging circles of friends in the art sphere. This interesting co-mingling of seemingly disparate worlds: Brooklyn Artists/ Upper East Side Exhibit, was made possible by the generosity of Alison Chace, the owner of the space.
Background on Walls L-R: Lumin Wakoa Paintings, Max Reinhardt and Janelle Iglesias (Constellation) and Carolyn Salas (Untitled). Foreground L-R: Andy Ness (all dressed up and nowhere to go) and Brett Day Windham (Floating Harlequin)
As I walked into 1 East 62nd St., I was formally greeted by the doorman, escorted up and was ushered into this amazing apartment. Large picture windows and pristine white walls were the perfect canvas for housing the beautiful art pieces. George Terry gave me an in-depth tour of the exhibit and sat down with me for an interview. Continue reading →
I was 17 in the snow. It was the winter of 2004, new to college, and new to love. Who knew that I would get stuck in a Greenpoint apartment that winter rekindling a high school love? Beginning with a lost cellphone at the Royal Oak, to his bedroom in his loft apartment on Sutton, to Nassau Avenue, a little 1950′s diner we would call B’s on the corner of N Henry, and the swings in McGolrick park.
So to the Greenpointers who have fallin’ in love if once, if ever, if by chance, let’s scribe our loves into a poem.
And remember: we don’t just fall in love with people. Many of us fell in love, are still in love or fell out of love with Greenpoint.
Due February 10th @ 5pm, send us one of your poems, and let’s make this Valentine’s Day a brim to the hat to the nod toward love.
The winner, whose poem will be published on Greenpointers.com on the February 14th, will be a featured reader at Poetry Teachers NYC’s Monthly reading at Milk and Roses in February.
One last thing. Sometimes the best thing about falling in love is the story. Single or together this year, remember the place that landmarked your love.
WEDNESDAY 1/2 ♫Mondo Generator/Saviours/Wino @ Saint Vitus (1120 Manhattan Ave) 8-11pm $10, RSVP *Ghostbusters Screening @Videology (308 Bedford Ave) 8:30-11:45pm FREE. Watch episodes The Real Ghostbusters and stay late for Ghostbusters II, drink specials
THURSDAY 1/3 *Vol. 1 Brooklyn Present “Rust Belt Chic” Release Party @ Public Assembly (70 N6th St) 7pm, FREE, event celebrating the book’s release. RSVP ♫Country Mice/Slothbear/Treatment & Legs like Tree Trunks @ Shea Stadium (20 Meadow St, Bushwick) 8pm $8. RSVP
FRIDAY 1/4 ♦ Adam Parker Smith @ Storefront Bushwick (16 Wilson Ave) Opening Reception, 6-9pm, an artist whose work mixes cultural critique, ontological trickery, and mordant fetishism to create works of humor, pathos, and irony, RSVP ♦The Order of Things @ NURTUREart Gallery (56 Bogart St) Opening Reception 7-9pm, curated by Jamillah James, Artists: Lisha Bai, Leah Beeferman, Ethan Greenbaum, Elisa Lendvay, Demetrius Oliver, Allyson Vieira, and Joe Winter ♫Math the Band/Backlights/Teen Commandments @ Glasslands (289 Kent Ave) 8:30pm $10, RSVP • Punk Rock Sock Hop @ Gutter (200 No. 14th St) 8:45pm, $5, Shady Hawkins/GLTR PNCH /Amy & the Stiffs, RSVP
SATURDAY 1/5 ♫Hip Hop Dance Party @ Brooklyn Fireproof (119 Ingraham St) 10pm, Third installment of Brooklyn Wildlife’s 12 DAYS OF ART event series, RSVP
SUNDAY 1/6 • Greenpointers Sunday Supper @ Beloved (674 Manhattan Ave) 7-9pm, prepared by a trio called Plate Tectonics, Menu here, Only a Few Suppers Left, Reserve Now
MONDAY 1/7 ♫Trisha Ivy @ Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer St) 7pm, Brooklyn based singer/songwriter from Memphis, TN. Her music is a foot stompin’, vocally driven mix of old country and folk with a whole lotta soul behind it.
TUESDAY 1/8 *PUNDERDOME 3000 @ Littlefields (622 Degraw St, Gowanus) 8-11pm $6, All are welcome but only the first 18 individuals/duos to sign-up at the door will have a chance to compete. Punmasters are determined through a democratic (and slightly tipsy) “human clap-o-meter” system RSVP
* Greenpointers’ Pick ♫ Music ♥ Pheremones likely ♦ Art Event
Don’t you know that “yes” is the new “maybe”? Don’t worry about that lame houseparty you replied to on facebook, because Brooklyn is the new NYC and there are plenty of other things to do on New Year’s Eve!
Things are getting back to normal but the more I look around, the more I realize how lucky we all are here in Greenpoint. Tomorrow we will have a comprehensive list of things you can do to help areas more negatively impacted by Sandy. Our hearts go out to The Rockaways, Red Hook & Lower Manhattan.
We are planning a local benefit (TBA) and will need donations from local businesses for a huge raffle with all proceeds to benefit Hurricane Sandy Relief. Please email greenpointers (at) gmail.com if you have something to donate.
• In lieu of McGolrick Park Dog Halloween Parade, this Sunday 11/4 at 1pm Assemblyman Joe Lentol and District Dog will be partnering for a hurricane relief event to collect goods for Brooklyn residents and animal rescue organizations. Stay tuned for more details.
Updates (via @NYCMayorsOffice)
• NYC Schools to Open Monday 11/5
• Majority of Parks to reopen Saturday 11/4
• Buses Continue to Provide Service to Lower Manhattan While Subways Recover From Flooding
• Check MTA for info on Subway (G train suspended)
• East River Ferry Service Continues but will NOT stop at India St in Greenpoint
Good morning, Greenpoint! Over a year ago when I wrote my first post, I did not imagine how important this website would be in critical times – such as Hurricane Sandy proved to be for New York City.
As a local website, we received an unprecedented amount of online traffic from Greenpointers seeking information about conditions here. We are happy to have been there and grateful that much of the information reported and all the photographs came from you, the readers. Talk about hyper-local, on the ground, real time reporting!
While we wait for things to return to normal, it’s important to think about the lessons that such a huge natural disaster can teach us about life in Greenpoint and New York City.
10 Lessons Greenpoint (and NYC) Can Learn From #Sandy
1. Precautionary Actions Are Critical During Times Of Crisis (And Also Before)
How many of us were saying, “Really? They shut down the subways?”
Mayor Bloomberg would have been ridiculed if Hurricane Sandy had not turned into “a storm of historic intensity.” And if he had not taken such important precautionary actions when he did, like shut down the subways early on, there would have been more emergencies, deaths and damage.
Next time the city government plays it on the safe side, remember we would have been sorry if they had not done so this time around.
2. Evacuate Means GTFO (Get The F$&K Out!) Greenpoint
Evacuation orders are not a minor inconvenience and should be taken seriously. No one wants to leave belongings, impose on family members or move into a shelters, but staying not only risks your own life, but the lives of rescuers when they have to come and save your sorry ass.
In Greenpoint Zone A, there was significant flooding from the East River and the Newtown Creek. The water was reported to have contained raw sewage released from the sewage treatment plant. In places that sustained unprecedented devastation due to flooding and fires, such as Breezy Point, we can see how important it is to take evacuations order seriously.
3. Stay Inside Means Stay Inside; And Don’t Take The Baby To The Park
When winds are over 90mph, there is no reason to leave the safety of your home and unnecessarily risk your own life and the lives of rescuers.
It may seem fun to check out the East River or take photos of downed trees or flooding, but none of those photos are worth the risk of being crushed by a tree or electrocuted by live power lines.
And, I can’t stress this enough: the most dangerous place to go during and right after any storm is to your local Park!
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I witnessed parents wheeling baby strollers through McGolrick and McCarren Parks. That is just stupid!
Entire trees can not only fall on top of you, but branches can kill or severely injure you.
4. Local Businesses Should Think Of Public Safety First
What a great article I could have written about what bars and restaurants were open during the hurricane and what great parties were going on, but I chose to encourage readers to stay inside and not patronize local businesses. I was torn because I did not want to hurt business in Greenpoint but in the end, public safety comes first.
For business owners, it is irresponsible during times of great emergency to expect employees and encourage customers to risk their safety in order to patronize your business. While at first you may feel like you are doing a service to your customers, but you are actually unnecessarily putting them in harm’s way.
We can all go without drinking for one night. (Shake. Shake.)
5. Social Media Is A Great Tool During A Crisis (But Also A Great Liar)
While I found it extremely useful that the @NYCMayorsOffice was live tweeting updates from the Mayor’s regular press briefings, information which I could then pass on to Greenpointers, there was also a lot of noise and a lot of lies.
Just like it is important for drivers to avoid using roadways during times of crisis so emergency crews can move around more quickly, internet users should also think twice about keeping the social media airways clear, but more importantly not put out false information that alarms and frightens people just to get attention.
The toxic state of our waterways, the sewage treatment facility that overflows into them, the under ground oil spill, the hazardous plumes that contain carcinogenic vapors, the garbage processing facilities – these are all facts of life in Greenpoint that potentially pose a significant threat to public health, especially during near catastrophic weather events that challenge local infrastructure.
What kind of affects do such weather events have on public health in Greenpoint? How should Greenpointers safeguard themselves? Is there a specific plan in place to deal with emergency situations that could negatively impact residents with respect to environmental hazards? These are important questions for our local government.
On a global level let us take seriously the state of the planet, how global warming results in such extreme weather, the most extreme I have seen in my entire life living in New York City. At the same time, think about each and every action you take and how that affects the world.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Compost, Eat Locally, Walk, Bike (Drive Less) and Stop Buying So Much Shit!
7. It Takes A Neighborhood To Run A Blog
Without contributions from locals this blog would not have been such a crucial information source for people living in Greenpoint, especially those who were evacuated from their homes and wanted to see photographs of their blocks and find out hyper local information.
Information from the Mayor was very broad, which made it so important that on a local level we could communicate and share information that immediately affected the neighborhood.
Thanks to everyone who contributed!
8. “We Can Judge The Heart of A [City] By [Its] Treatment Of Animals (& Homeless)” – Gandhi, sort of
I found it surprising, relieving and inspiring that hurricane shelters accepted evacuees with their pets. Greenpointers are animal lovers and would find it hard to leave pets behind.
Let’s hope the next Mayor takes into account this great city’s love of animals and realizes that sheltering pets can encourage people to evacuate.
Let’s also really look at the local homeless population we have living in Greenpoint. Many people live in our local parks, the worst place to be during a storm. Outreach to the homeless is very important. The homeless are not problems, they are people, our neighbors who we need to think about everyday, not just during times of crisis.
9. Thank The Mayor And City Employees
You may not like the Mayor, but he did a good job. Think about how f’ing crazy it must be to run this town, especially during times of extreme crisis. He kept calm and took care of business with a team of tireless city employees who worked around the clock and risked their own lives to take care of all of us. And they still have a lot of work to do.
Lesson learned here is that it’s important to have one information source and a strong chain of command. There is a reason why the Mayor is an elected official who is in charge of keeping us safe. Ultimately what he says during these times goes. So listen up and stay out of the way to let his team do their job safely. With Sandy this meant staying inside and keeping roadways clear. The less people out, the safer everyone is.
10. Greenpoint (and NYC) Is the Greatest Place In the World!