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