Sunday, December 7, 2008

Brooklyn at Eye Level

It's been somewhat quiet over here, both on this blog and on this block. The two are not unrelated. Also I've been in and out of town. Now I'm in town, and I just engaged in the surreal experience of watching a play about Atlantic Yards put on by community theater group The Civilians at the Brooklyn Lyceum. As the lights dimmed and the show began, the significance of what I was watching began to dawn on me. Is that actor portraying Daniel Goldstein? Was that Patti Hagan? And holy crap, is that Cheryl, Kima's partner on The Wire, playing Tish James and Bertha Lewis? What the hell is going on here? Sitting there, watching these actors portray my neighbors and telling this story I've known so intimately the last few years was deeply surreal but also emotional and validating.

The play is a work in progress and at times that showed. But what came through was the scope and complexity of this saga, and the story's tendency to evoke strong emotional responses from the community. This is a "which side are you on" kind of issue, and it made for a natural transition to the stage. From the project's website:

"BROOKLYN AT EYE LEVEL is a project of the acclaimed theater company The Civilians in collaboration with Urban Bush Women and Michael Hill’s Blues Mob, along with local youth from the Atlantic Terminal Community Center, Brooklyn Tech, Hip-Hop Theater Festival’s Affiliate High School Brooklyn Community Arts and Media and more."

The run at the Lyceum is up but my understanding is that the company will continue to interview the community and build upon the performance I saw this weekend. They've encouraged people to be in touch with them to be interviewed. Find that info on their website.

As the Atlantic Yards saga plods on, it will be interesting to see what gets added to the next version of this piece. Now that the construction has halted, leaving the neighborhood much more in the "destroyed" category than the "developed" one, a new list of concerns has arisen. The Carlton Ave. bridge is closed indefinitely and where I once had neighbors and neighborhood shops, I now have vacant lots. See this slideshow by AY photographer Tracy Collins originally posted on NoLandGrab to see what we're facing:

So, kudos to The Civilians for their work. And I hope everyone who didn't get a chance to see their production this time around, gets to see it the next...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Here's what happened to The Footprint trees...

Today Norman Oder posed the question: "What happened to the footprint trees?"
As it turns out I snapped some pics and took a vid on the day the trees came down in early April. Here's what happened:

The good news is that there are signs of regrowth. We may not have trees, but The Footprint is now officially home to a shrubby weed:

Monday, September 15, 2008

No Escape

You may have noticed it's been pretty quiet around here, on this blog that is, not the neighborhood. The neighborhood is still pretty noisy, and the block looks like ass. When the green wall was removed, evidence of the pounding our block took for months on end was revealed in the form of cracks in the sidewalk. My fiancee awoke one morning to find that the front tire of my car, parked in front of my apt., had fallen into a sink hole in the hastily paved over street.

Which brings me to my latest grievance. First some history: Ratner owns my building, Ratner owns the construction mess going on outside. Ratner does not own the street, Ratner does not own me. The reason it has been quiet on this blog as of late is that I've been away on the west coast a-workin'. Yet the early awakenings and construction nonsense native to The Footprint somehow managed to find their way to my hotel in California.

I got a phone call at 4:30am PST from a construction worker:
"Hey how ya doin' buddy? It's the construction workers outside on Dean St. We need you to move your car ASAP. Thanks."

Apparently my super thinks it's OK to give out my cell phone number to construction workers who are in the process of dismantling my community. There a many levels of inappropriateness here. FCR has introduced a brand new way to harass the people whose homes they are bent on destroying by not only making a mockery of their block and the civic process, but now they'll give you early morning wake up calls with things they need you to do.

Anyhow, my car stays put.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First they came for Dean St.

First they came for Dean St., and I did not speak out -
because I don't live on Dean St.

Then they came for the Carlton Ave. Bridge, and I did not speak out -
because I don't really use that bridge too much.

Then they came for 6th ave, and I did not speak out -
because I am not into avenues.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

Why so poetic today FoGazy you ask?
Well, things have actually started to quiet down a tad on my end of the block. The din has a distant quality. The tremors less trembly. The trench all sealed up. The beeping of the backhoe backing up is still loud as sh*t. That is of course my end of the block. On the 6th avenue side things are different. They are now where I was many months ago and I look at them sadly. I know what lays ahead as the green monster travels up Dean St. I know of the diesel dreams and earthquake shakes that will define their autumn.

So I urge you all to speak up now, because it's coming towards you. And it's taking out your neighbors in it's wake. And they may not be around when it's your turn.

Here's something you can do. Send an email to FCR's community liaison Sheldon McCray: . Ask them to halt the construction until your needs are met. After all did you hear that carbon monoxide levels around here rival the levels that set off alarms and headlines in Beijing? I'm not kidding, it's not just the sleep deprivation that'll send you to the sick house.

EDIT: Just a few hours after taking that top photo and writing this post, the workers are in the process of dismantling the wall! Oh the things that I will see!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Unintended Affordable Housing

This wall here isn't all bad. It was able to offer shelter to this homeless woman while she went through the dumpster in front of the Union hall on Dean St. She then laid down for a rest in it's shade.

The affordable housing originally promised by FCR may not come to fruition but in the meantime all these walls they've erected are at least providing shade to the city's homeless.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Alternate Revenue Scheme? or just plain pretty.

Someone, perhaps Bruce Ratner, has taken it upon himself to gussy up the Dean St. Wall with artificial flowers. Maybe the developer was feeling some remorse for blighting up an unblighted neighborhood for so many years. Or maybe to coincide with the recent announcement that the arena won't be built for at least 4 years, FCR has decided that they should try to make some extra bucks by renting out the footprint as a wedding venue.

Either way, it's a welcome addition to our local landmark and I appreciate them finally taking a little pride in their work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Locals Shocked by Brooklyn Paper Headline!

People all around Brooklyn were shocked this week when they opened their copy of The Brooklyn Paper only to discover that this year's soapbox derby had been canceled!

As it turns out the organizer hadn't secured all the necessary paper work to put on the event, so local officials from the mayor's office and beyond acted swiftly to shut him down.

Thank goodness we have such an attentive and efficient local government or this might have been a disaster that plagued the borough for years to come.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What They’re Thinking

I am still here in Mexico. Still enjoying the relative tranquility, when I got this insight posted on one of the videos I have made:

sg1920 wrote:
My brother is a head foreman on the Nets stadium project, so its gonna be funny when he knocks down your apt. and is bangin chicks from the Big Pimpin' video with Jay-Z and Lebron James and slamming Krystal with massive amounts of cocaine spanning both three point arcs


And here I thought that the reward for the people involved in this project was strictly monetary, or in the case of Markowitz, to fulfill the hole left in his heart when the Dodgers skipped town. But as it turns out, the people in charge of this project also get joy from knocking down homes, partaking in orgies with video chicks (from 8 years ago), rappers and basketball stars, slamming rather than sipping Krystal champagne, which I can only assume is some sort of bathtub version of Cristal champagne, and doing massive amounts of coke.

No wonder the project is moving along so slowly and is being so badly managed. At least they aren’t wasting money on high end champagne.

I also recently had this comment posted on a different video, which I can only assume was written by the brother:

mcpeakpw wrote:
"Haha! Eminent Domain Rules!"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mexico City - The Land of Peace and Quiet

I´m sitting here in Mexico City. I woke up this morning, and my first thought wasn´t "Holy Shi*t! My building is falling! They´re tearing us down with us inside! We´ll be buried alive!" Instead the quiet soothing cleanliness of Mexico City pervaded the bedroom. The building wasn´t shaking. There were no billionaires around to harass me. ¿Why must I return home to a city where politicians care only about $$, and not about the citizens? ¿Why can´t Brooklyn be more like Mexico City?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Soaped Up And Nowhere To Rinse

You know what I love? Showers! Nice cool showers on a hot day. I spent all morning on the job doing carpentry. I worked up a nice sweat, and came home excited to feel fresh and refreshed 'neath the cool stream that flows forth from my shower head. Just as I was letting my imagination run wild, picturing myself frolicking in a tropical cascade and lathering myself up with soap, the cold hard truth returned. The water was shut off. Again. Again, with no notice.

A neighbor, also frustrated with the daily harassment and clear disregard for the people who still live here, taped that sign on our front window. "No Water Right Now. Guess Why?" it reads. The question is of course rhetorical. The "why" is evident when the sign reader turns around to see the whole street in ruins.

The water was off for roughly two hours and I ended up wiping the soap off my body with a towel. We got an apology, just like the one we got the last time this happened. I'm done with apologies. I want accountability and solutions. This will happen again, and again we'll be apologized to. That's not good enough. Either FCR does their job better or they should be penalized and we should be rewarded for bearing the brunt of their shortcomings. If they can't even get this pre-phase 1 part of a 12 year process right, how's the next stage going to go? That folks, is also rhetorical.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Green Wall Goes Up To Conceal Blight

Nope, this time I'm talking about Beijing. Turns out their local government treats them as disrespectfully as ours does us.

An article titled "Before Guests Arrive, Beijing Hides Some Messes" appeared in today's New York Times, and it portrayed some pretty striking parallels to what's going on on our block:

"A veil of green plastic netting now covers Ms. Sun’s restaurant. Mr. Song’s house and several shops that he rents to migrant families were surrounded by a 10-foot-tall brick wall last week, part of a last-minute beautification campaign. The authorities deemed his little block of commerce an eyesore."

A green wall erected to deal with blight? Sounds about right.

"Now a wall conceals a little cove of entrepreneurship"

If Freddy's isn't a cove of entrepreneurship, then what is?

"Zhao Fengxia, a neighbor who owns three shops, said she believed that officials and developers were using Olympic beautification as a pretext to strangle their business and put pressure on them to leave."

Officials and developers are using pro basketball as a pretext to pressure us to leave. What is it with politicians using sports as a weapon against the poor? Give the poor sneakers, then evict them, then watch them compete from your sky box. That is sooo lame.

"The developers want him to go, but he is holding out for more money."

ahem. Pony up boys. Destroying a neighborhood don't come cheap.

"The city has bullied her to leave. One night last year, a bulldozer slammed into the building. ...Her building is falling apart."

Falling apart you say?

"“For those of us who have lived through the Cultural Revolution, this life is like heaven.”"

My thoughts exactly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Notes from the Underground

Dear Diary,
Its day 844. My walls are beginning to crack and lately the ceiling has been showing up on the floor. I'm worried for our safety. Sleep has become a luxury, so frequently interrupted by the clanging of metal and the pounding of earth from what I remember fondly as 'outside'. We're blocked in now. A large wall has been erected in front of our shelter. I fear that the people outside, if there's anyone left, have forgotten we're here. I tried getting a hold of Markowitz, but he never came. Ratner! Zlotnick! What's going on? There's a man with a chainsaw outside my window. I think he's angry at me. He keeps sawing. I think he saw me. There used to be more of us here, but our numbers are dwindling. Many have fleed. We who remain suffer quietly in the shadows of the wall, counting the days. Counting the days until it'll be safe to open our windows.
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

One Mystery Solved, One Mystery Remains

See that lil nubbin there in the photograph? That's new. That wasn't there in the time before AY. That was just installed last week or so. What does it mean? It's not a button. I know cause I pushed it. I think it's a magnet or some sort of tracking device. I think it's there so if we folks who live here decide to uproot our building and transplant it out of the way of the construction, FCR will be able to find us.

I wish it was one of those things near store entrances that "bings" when someone walks in. Maybe it is actually. Maybe some FCR base command unit gets a "bing' when we come and go.

Maybe every time we walk out Marty Markowitz gets a little less sad about the Dodgers leaving.

Maybe it's a slow release blight capsule. Since everyone knows that Prospect-Heights-is-blighted story was total BS, maybe that thing is slowly degrading the building. Too slow for the eye to see, but as soon as we're blighted they'll condemn us.

Sometimes a man in a uniform comes and touches it.

Well, that mystery remains. But a different mystery was solved! The mystery of "why is my apartment always filled with dust and why does it constantly shake and vibrate and reverberate with clanging" was solved!

I made a video that shows the nasty culprit:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Marty's On The Block

Recently I was leafing through a copy of Brooklyn!!, the free newspaper distributed by the borough prez's office that tends to show up in our apt. building foyer, and as I was gleefully perusing the various Brooklyn vignettes portrayed on its pages I came across the section called "Marty's On The Block." Now there's a headline I was excited to find! Finally we'll get a little attention from our borough president.

Full of hope, I scanned all the little pictures trying to find the scene where Marty Markowitz is explaining to Bruce Ratner how he had made a terrible mistake in facilitating the misery of so many nice people in and around the proposed site of the Atlantic Yards project. Well I couldn't find that shot, so maybe there's a picture in here somewhere where he's asking the utilities companies to please stop shutting off the water and gas of the tenants in the footprint. Yikes! That shot's not there either. Well jeez, there's like 25 pictures here, there must be one where he asks the construction workers to refrain from harassing the good people of Prospect Heights by slamming their backhoes into the ground so early in the morning.

What gives? It's like he's on every block but ours. Is he avoiding us? Is it possible he's scared to show up for a photo op amid the rubble he so enthusiastically wrought upon this town? I mean, sure we don't have fun things like parrots for him to pose with. But we have lots of other cool stuff, like mud and construction worker piss. Heck we've gone through the trouble of editing his name into famous speeches. Seems like he should at least include us in his little slide show. It's the least he could do. Literally.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cracks in the Facade

I know I voice a lot of complaints on this blog about the way the long term residents of this neighborhood continue to get harassed and demeaned by Bruce Ratner, Marty Markowitz and every other complicit sell out involved in this boondoggle.

But the real victim here is the structural integrity of a good strong building. One built the way they used to build them. Not like these bland Home Depot jobs that are so common. Here are some photos of some of the more recent cracks that are showing up in our building. It don't take no sleuth to recognize that that ain't good. There are also cracks extending from floor to ceiling in my apt. and I've been told by other folks in the building that they have the same cracks in theirs.

But you know what, I take it back. The real victim is us. This morning I woke up to find the gas had been turned off in our building. Earlier in the week it was the water. No notice, no nothing. Last week when they turned our water back on my toilet filled with dirt leaving it unusable for most of the long weekend. I had to have a super unlock a vacant apt. so I wouldn't have to hold it in in celebration o four nation's independence.

These utility shut offs are becoming common place. And Marty Markowitz, I blame you. Ratner is a businessman and he's going to make his money anyway he can. If he wants to conduct his business by collecting our rent while we suffer, then so be it. He's not the first sheisty developer this town has seen. But you are our spokesman and you sold us out. You act like you have Brooklyn pride, but you don't give a Ratner's ass about us so long as little Marty gets his dream of having sports in Brooklyn. Shame.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fat and Sad and Caught in a Fire

I'd like to take this opportunity to familiarize those of you who aren't Dean St. regulars with what it means to live on this block. See these photos over here? That ravine (moat? maybe it's to protect us from invaders. oh wait, too late for that) is just a few feet from where we lay our heads at night. It now extends the entire length of the street and then some. It poses an annoyance in the form of making me walk farther every time I have to go somewhere and an extreme fire hazard in the form of preventing any convenient access to our building should it catch on fire. The walking further I can deal with. My work requires me to load and unload a lot of heavy gear into vehicles, and now I have to carry that stuff a good distance further, which sucks, but that's just me, and I can deal.

The fire hazard issue is of greater concern. As it turns out, our building almost never catches on fire, which is great, but we have had a few gas leaks in the last couple years where firemen did have to rush into our building to take care of business. I am pretty sure if we had an emergency now we'd have to fend for ourselves. Fancy that, our building at risk and city agencies can't help.

Also in the hazardous to our health category is the fact that at 7am sharp every weekday morning our building starts shaking and echoing with sounds reminiscent of a Jurassic robo-battle. My work also requires me to work late many nights, so sleeping in is how I get my z's. The ruckus makes that difficult so I consistently sleep less than is optimal. According to a recent NYTimes article sleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure, depression, being over-weight and diabetes. Meaning I'll be too fat and sad to get out my building when it catches on fire.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In the news.

We did it. We became part of the story. It's every bloggers dream.
In today's Daily News (BK edition) our post with the remix of Letitia James' speech gets a nice little write up complete with quotes from Ms. James, who announces "Now it's official - I'm the coolest council person" Glad I could help in making that official. And it's nice to get a little recognition for my work. You know what would be even nicer? Having access to running water when I wake up.

Daily News:

Ready to go viral

The revolution will be downloaded.

A local blogger has created a minor sensation by mixing a rousing anti-Atlantic Yards speech by councilwoman Letitia James with a guitar riff and drums.

Since Thursday, "The Letitia James Remix" had been downloaded more than 3,000 times from Prospect Heights blog The Footprint Gazette and other sites.

The buzz, however, wasn't enough to knock councilman James Oddo from his perch as the most linked-to city politician.

"Now it's official - I'm the coolest council person," said James (WFP-Prospect Heights), before remembering Oddo's foulmouthed YouTube rant last year in which he chewed out a Borat-like fake reporter who requested an interview with the Staten Island politico.

"I think he got way more hits than I did," said James, who joked that her "CD was dropping any day now. It's called the Atlantic Yards dance. You stomp really hard and put your fist in the air."

Monday, July 7, 2008

You know you live in The Footprint when...

-Your toilet fills with dirt and then stops working right before a holiday weekend when no plumbers are available.

-A hairline crack appears from floor to ceiling in the center of your apartment.

-Your computer hard drive dies at the end of a long day of dust and vibration from construction. (ok maybe that one is just a coincidence. Then again, maybe it ain't)

-The green wall in front of your apartment keeps getting longer

-Taxis have to drop you off a block away, because you aren't agile enough to scale said wall.

-You messed up your good pants learning that you aren't agile enough to scale said wall.

feel free to add your own...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Get The Hell Off My Lawn

Get The Hell Off My Lawn
Welcome to The Footprint
Where you can’t hear yourself think
Cause folks from Jersey needed jobs of their own
They’re building our arener
But I know what’d be keener
If you would get the hell off of my lawn

Oh get the hell off of my lawn
You boys just don’t belong
We’ve been here years, cracking jokes and drinking beers
Oh get the hell off of my lawn
Didn’t wanna write no country song
But you left me no choice, now go on git goin’.

Pro basketball is lame
As would be the teams name
Brooklynettes ain’t gone get no respect
So quit spending all my money
On something so dumb it’s the last thing this town needs, get the hell off my lawn

Brooklyn don’t need no stadiums, shopping malls or Canadians
This neighborhood been coming along just fine
So put your project elsewhere like somewhere out in Delaware
And leave us nice city folks behind

Friday, June 27, 2008

This just in...

Two graffiti can't be wrong.

Do we really want a penis toucher responsible for our neighborhood's future?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ratner's Relocation Plan Revealed!

One of the multitudinous reasons that Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards Project has lost it's momentum is that the tenants currently living in the proposed construction site have not been offered any clear options for what's to be done with them. There was vague talk of a relocation plan, but that plan never had any kind of details associated with it.

Well the details have finally surfaced and I was lucky to get a shot of where the tenants are to be relocated. If you take a look at this photo you'll see that FCR has managed to secure some prime real estate very close to where the tenants live now. He's promised that they will be able to maintain their affordable housing (because that's what he's all about), so their rent-stabilized leases will be honored at the new location. The only catch is that they all have to live together in this pen. On a positive note, there is a rumour that it will be carpeted at no extra cost to the tenants.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pissing on the Footprint Pt. II

Aw geez. It's officially an epidemic. Brooklyn we have a urine problem. AY workers insist on peeing in cups , then pouring the pee on the street. Hey Bruce! Get these guys an outhouse! It already smells enough like butt due to the sewer pipes that have been exposed for the last month. Now add fresh pee to that olfactory cocktail.

Maybe we should take a page from the Henry St. playbook and give these guys something in return.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Glimpse Into Our Future?

My fears regarding my own apt. were realized this weekend for a number of families in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Construction alongside their building caused long cracks to it's foundation. The tenants were told to grab only a few light items and then vacate. 'Light' because anything heavy might cause the building to shift.

See the vid here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Letitia James Gets Remixed

Council Member Letitia James has been championing the cause of Prospect Heights residents that would be affected by AY from the outset. I appreciate the fighting she has done on our behalf and was moved by her fiery speech at the Time Out! rally a few weeks back.
I hope she doesn't mind that I've taken some creative liberties with it in the remix posted below.

edit: Thanks to everyone who linked to this post! The MP3 got over 2000 downloads and ate up my bandwidth. Which is great. The momentum is shifting folks. I've uploaded the MP3 again here: Photo by threecee

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dean St. Block Party

Every day is a block party on my block. Ride the swaying building! Play who can withstand the diesel fumes! Mud fight! And other block party classics are the norm over here.

If you wish to partake in even more exceptional block party fare, then the other kind of Dean St. Block Party might be for you. Dig it this Saturday between 6th and Carlton. There will be a that clown.

I now join Gowanus Lounge in their appreciation of this photo by Tracy Collins. GL's post is titled: "Always Best to Have a Block Party While the Block’s Still There" which is a joke that I get. But I don't want anyone to be misled into thinking that our block is going anywhere. It might be having a tough year, but we shall not be moved. See Monday's post.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Footprint Gazette Exclusive!

We have managed to secure this shocking photograph from the future! Taken in the year 2009, this photo shows what the current area known as The Footprint in Prospect Heights Brooklyn will look like just 1 year from now! Apparently the final tenants who refused to bow to Bruce Ratner's massively deep pockets were simply dug around in an effort to continue with construction while community lawsuits were pending. The developer, mad with power, refused to be shown up by the long time residents and went ahead with his demolition.

One tenant was heard saying "It's not great. Getting to work is kind of a pain, but it beats the hell out of having a basketball arena in the neighborhood. That would be just awful."

Another tenant snapped this photo of Bruce Ratner, who was reportedly riding around the neighborhood singing "Bruce wanna dig! Bruce wanna dig!"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Make Decent Sandwiches Not Controversial Slogans

Originally uploaded by eater_ny
I take no joy in posting about the failure of a mom and pop sandwich shop. In fact there are few things I root for more whole heartedly than mom and pop sandwich shops. But this one always had a little bit of baggage associated with it in that it aligned itself with the controversial arena. At some point they took down their "Shoot Hoops Not Guns" sign from the store front but it was clear from talking with the owners when they first opened that they were looking to cash in on the impending onslaught of hungry sports fans that would soon be streaming into the nabe. Well soon wasn't soon enough and their OP-UT* cheese steaks just couldn't pay the bills in the interim.

What bummed me out more than the fact that I would no longer have access to a mediocre $8 cheese steak that takes 20 minutes to make, is the fact that this is what this neighborhood is starting to look like. Closed shops. Empty homes. Most of the apts. on my street are empty. The gas station is gone. That dance wear place sits empty. The commercial space up on Pacific and Carlton sits empty. The U-Haul lot is empty. The JRG Fashion Cafe lot is empty. New businesses don't want to open up here, even in the places that aren't in the footprint because there is so much uncertainty in the air. And even if this arena does get built there will be years of noise and dust to contend with.

I don't know what the rents are in these vacant stores but I'm guessing it got jacked up at the mere prospect of the arena, so now unless a Bank of America swoops in to claim it, it's just more blight.

So what then when this arena does finally fall through? Who will come get my neighbors to move back in? Who will help reinstall the community of artists that lived on Dean St. who had the funky array of door buzzers on the front fence. Remember those? That was cool. Who will get my mechanic back? The one it took me years to build a relationship with. Will the Carlton bridge be rebuilt? What about all these lots that dot our neighborhood? I tell ya, if anyone had asked the community for suggestions before this plan was approved, these things would have been brought up. Or maybe they were. Anyone know what the plan is?


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mr. Markowitz Tear Down This Wall

I put up a contact email recently thinking that maybe someone would have something juicy to send my way and boy payoff was quick. But before I get to the payoff allow me to give a brief history of walls.

Great Wall of China- Built 6th century BC to help fortify northern Chinese borders.
The Green Monster - Built in 1912 to prevent home runs.
Berlin Wall - Built in 1961 to keep East Germans from fleeing to West West Germany
The Tortilla Wall - Built in the early 1990s to keep Mexicans from crossing over into The U.S.
Israel West Bank Wall - Built in 2003 to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorists
Dean Street Wall- built in 2008 to dehumanize and hide the residents of the controversial Atlantic Yards Project site from the outside world. And also maybe keep them from wondering drunkenly out of Freddy's and into a ravine.

Ok, so avoiding hyperbole is not my strong suit. Point is, the world's latest controversial wall led one local to create the following audio clip by substituting relevant names into Reagan's famous "Tear Down This Wall" Speech". He asked I don't post his name, but I shall post the audio. Enjoy..

edit: here is a new link to this mp3:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Footprint Heat Wave Haiku

It's Too Hot Inside

A Ha! Open The Windows!
Now It's Too Loud, Crap.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Manholes - And What They Can Teach Us

Did anyone else hear those manholes exploding up and down Dean St. yesterday? Did you hear what they were trying to tell us? Three manholes did their inaugural summer dances early yesterday evening prompting the fire department to take what must have been one of their shortest drives down to the end of their block. It also prompted the regulars at Freddy's to take the short trip outside to see what all the commotion was about.

I'll tell you what the commotion was all about. The city, the streets of the city, were trying to tell us something. They are ill and they angry. They are upset that on the other end of the block the sewer pipes have been exposed to help expedite the flushing of your tax dollars. Millions of your bucks are heading down that there exposed drain to prep for an arena that stands as an emblem of civic dysfunction. Meanwhile the city's infrastructure requires those dollars to keep things like manhole explosions from halting day to day life.

I don't know if the manholes popping were directly related to the construction blighting up the block, but I do know that the juxtaposition of the two painted a pretty precise painting of why this project stinks.
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Friday, June 6, 2008

Video of FCR Mistreating the Elderly

This video of footprint demolition as seen from the apartment of an elderly woman who lives there has been floating about. Pretty outrageous. It speaks for itself:

From YouTube: Video shot from the window of a sweet old lady living in the proposed site of the Atlantic Yards Project. FCR has been trying to get her and over a dozen other residents of the area to leave.
This type of "work" begins as early as 7 am and lastst until the evening. Email Marty Markowitz at and ask him to stop the construction until the needs of the residents there are met.

How Not To Celebrate Brooklyn

Originally uploaded by threecee
Happy Belated Brooklyn Day Everybody,
I didn't get a chance to make it to FCR's "Fun Day" yesterday because I was too busy partaking in FCR's "Misery Day" being held at the same time here in the footprint. They need to schedule better. Norm Oder was there and had this to say:

"Despite decent weather, free t-shirts, a full-page ad in the Daily News, an E-newsletter, requests from union bosses to attend, and promises of free food, free transportation, and “international recording artist Maxi Priest,” the disparate and soon-diminished crowd was often subdued, even bored, and a passel of Forest City Ratner operatives monitoring the event looked somber, despite the billing as a “fun day.”

Oh well. Guess you can pay a Long Islander to dig a hole but you can't pay him to enjoy himself. At least they were giving away the most famous of Brooklyn sandwiches, the "Subway Sub". Nice one!

To recap how FCR celebrates Brooklyn:
Convince non Brooklynites to show up to a rally supporting the displacement of Brooklynites. Give them sandwiches with no relationship to a borough filled with great sandwiches and invite a non-Brooklynite musician who then doesn't show up. Shame I missed it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pissing on the Footprint

Before today I may have made the case that Ratner was metaphorically pissing on this community. Well, now it's not a metaphor. I saw this guy take out his shvantz, piss in a giant styrofoam cup, then pour the piss out on the street.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why build a stadium when you can have a swamp?

Ah summer. Laying out in the park. BBQs with your friends. Free concerts every weekend. There's much to love about NYC in the summertime, but don't forget to empty those containers in your back yard. That's a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes!

Good thing I reminded you. Now someone should remind these guys. Nope, these aren't more terrible pictures from tornado ravaged sections of the midwest. This is just another day in the footprint, where mixing dirt and water on the street is a full time job helping to put food on the table of fellas from Long Island.

A Voice From The Occupation

Why blog about it? What good can anonymous words have against wealth and power? My neighbors, I'm not quite sure. But I need to know that the good people of this neighborhood are fully aware of the war being waged against us.

For the last few years there has been an escalating occupation of the area unendearingly referred to as "The Footprint" by Forest City Ratner with the blessing of Marty Markowitz and his friends. Much has been written about the false promises and back room deals that have become synonymous with Atlantic Yards, so this blog aims to tell you what life is like on the ground, amidst the dirt and the rubble. These are the whispers within the thunder of backhoes. This is a reminder that people still live here.

They paid our neighbors to shut up and leave. They closed our bridge, uprooted our mechanics, and our laundromats, and now they want our bar. They put port-a-potties in front of our windows, track mud on our stoops and wake our babies. They can't look us in the eye.

For what? So Brooklyn can have a pro basketball team? The Brooklynettes? They're a joke and they have nothing yet but a proposed site. At least they're giving the kids around here basketball shoes. Cause that's what they need. Racist insults from Ohioan billionaires. Real classy Bruce. Good for you Marty. You sure got your finger on the pulse of Brooklyn.