Saturday, September 10

Multi-User Blogging

You can add yourself as an author to this blog with your personal email address. Log into journalism262 and go to the blog's settings and under permissions you can invite yourself. Unfortunately, it only works with gmail accounts.

Wednesday, September 7

McKibbin St.

The McKibbin St. lofts are nestled between the Montrose Ave and Morgan Ave stops on the L train. The proximity of the lofts to Williamsburg, and their easy L train access have turned their Bushwick block into a haven for 20-somethings. The lofts notorious status has led them to a wikipedia page and a New York Times article.

A warning outside of 255 Mckibbin St.
248 McKibbin St.
Morning delivery of cabbages outside of 255 Mckibbin St. The two famous lofts, 255 and 248, share the block with work shops, warehouses, a bodega, and a marketing firm.
The woodshop next to 255, where you can see people saw wood and drink beer at the same time.
A private residential court off of Mckibbin St.
Residents of 255 drinking and playing guitar in their stairwell.
A used condom found on the ground in the 5th floor laundry room of 255.
The buildings managers have long since given up on covering the "graffiti" that litters many of the hallways.
While the Mckibbin lofts were made famous for their parties, landlords have made an effort to reign them in with security personnel.

links of the day

mayor on goldsmith:

keller's mea culpa (not):

the 9/11 flag:

williams 'detention':

foy video:

Saint Marks Place

Saint Marks was named after the Saint Marks Church erected in 1795-1799.  The Greek revival steeple, however, was not erected until 1828, finally finishing the church construction with an Italianate protico completeing the structure in 1854.
Saint Marks Place is know for it’s unique artistic features.  Here is a telephone pole that has been covered in mosaics just at the entrance of Saint Marks.

Though newly renovated, Saint Marks Hotel is a historic hotel at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Saint Marks Place.  Formally the Valencia Hotel, the present St Mark’s Ale House used to be one of the city’s leading jazz venues.

Japanese food is a very large component of Saint Marks Place.  Composed of mostly Japanese restaurants, Saint Marks offers and array of Japanese dining, including a handful of sushi restaurants. 

Gem Spa is the local resident's corner store, selling the usual necessities bodega's all around the Manhattan offer.   Known for their fountain egg creams, Gem Spa appeared on the back cover of the New York Dolls' CD case.  The band is pictured standing in front of Gem Spa.
Saint Marks Market is the official grocery store of Saint Marks.   Somewhat cheaper than rest of the grocery stores in Manhattan, Saint Marks Market sells a lot of the same things Whole Foods sells but is significantly cheaper.
Gift shops and tourist stores are a major part of the Saint Marks experience.  Come here and you can buy anything from sunglasses to pipes in nearly every store you pass.
"Trash and Vaudeville" seems to be the official store of Saint Marks Place, selling clothes in the style of many of it's regulars.  There is never a shortage of black clothes in this punk rock/rock 'n' roll/goth boutique of the East Village.

Tattoos and piercings are also a popular reason to venture to this side of the East Village.  There are over 10 different tattoo and piercing parlors on a single block all trying to get your business.  "Piercings and tattoos?" the artists repeat waiting outside their parlors for any tourist looking for just that.

Living in Flushing (Barclay and Bowne)

My superintendent, real estate agent and two maintenance men were all standing in a semicircle on the sidewalk in contemplative silence.
“See, I didn’t know you moved in until just now when you told me,” my super Louis Carrero, tells me again.
“Right, because I just signed the lease this morning. So can I get into the apartment now?” I explain a third time.
“It’s all Monica’s fault. If she had only just…” Pearl, my real estate agent from Apartment Management Associates, mutters.
Supposedly if Monica had done whatever it is she was supposed to do, I wouldn’t be waiting outside my future home with all of my possessions sitting in a truck double parked across from it.
The day I moved into my apartment in Flushing, about seven minutes walk from the train station, I learned that my entire block is under the ownership and supervision of a management company whose way of dealing with tenants is voicemail. Whenever I called Pearl while in the process of applying for a studio I would most often be redirected immediately to leaving her a message. I’d leave one and she’d get back to me sometime later that day. Only a problem if you have other things to do. It’s now the same procedure to reach my superintendent. The repairs and maintenance service hotline actually works much better. However, something puzzles me. No matter where I live that the Apartment Management Associates controls: Shorehaven, South Hampton, Falkon, Flushing, Astoria—I have the choice of addressing a Russian speaker. How many Russians live under this management company’s purview?
Four identical buildings take up two thirds of Barclay Avenue between Bowne Street and Parsons Boulevard. They’re each two separate apartment buildings making a total of eight apartments in this area. Since the exteriors are identical—red brick, simple two frame windows with guards in them, a small park in front, and two pathways leading to the main entrances—I assume the interiors are identical as well. They’re probably all small to medium sized apartments in fair to good condition and inhabited by a non-Caucasian family or a non-Caucasian couple or a non-Caucasian young professional. The one Caucasian I have seen so far was a senior citizen, which puts him in two minorities on this block.
Though trying to get something fixed or reaching the superintendent can be tough, the Flushing apartment lifestyle suits me. Three supermarkets are close by, delicious food is always to be had and my neighbors are generally quiet, but pleasant. If you’re considering moving though, I’d only recommend my own situation if you’re good at leaving messages and—if you’re white—don’t mind sticking out.—Charis Poon

Arion Place

The block along Arion Place is lined with houses with mostly gated sidewalks where the inhabitants line up their lawn chairs, open the gates and sit throughout the day, communicating with the variety of people walking past.  Some of the homes are single-unit, single-family residences while others are divided into multiple units, but everyone shares a sort of communal back patio – communal in that the general sentiment is if you’re having a party, despite the walls and fences apportioning off sections to each respective home, anyone in the surrounding area is considered welcome.
            On the corner there is large, chain-link-fenced off area resembling a scrap yard if it weren’t for the above average condition of all of the vehicles parked within; including an antique New York City Fire Truck.  A group of men prop the gate open forty-five degrees and sit inside under a large tent and barbecue and drink twenty-four ounce cans of Coors and plastic cups of Evan Williams bourbon and smoke weed all day every day.
            Every Saturday around mid morning the music begins. The house isn’t always consistent but the quality and the volume are and it will last – depending on what kind of weekend they are having – for anywhere from three to six hours, and it can be heard from virtually anywhere within the surrounding area, including interior rooms with all the windows shut.
            Around the northeast corner is a Laundromat who charges fifty-five cents per pound for drop-off laundry next to a bodega with a mediocre beer selection but a proprietor willing to negotiate. Besides these two storefronts and a few small apartment buildings with large metal exterior doors, that side of the block is empty.
            To the southwest the block is packed. There are two bodegas, one on each corner but only one of which sells beer (one is owned by a religious family) at which you can also buy most anything, including a rabbit from a few fellow patrons for the price of a cigar wrap.  Between lie a nail salon, a bar with two-dollar pint cans, a Mexican grocery and a mobile phone store.  The street lies in a patched shadow cast by the overhead subway line running its length.
            The side streets are quiet – except when the music is playing – and friendly, neighbors smile and nod and then continue along with their days.  A few homes have a car parked within their gates but mostly only walkways to the doors are behind them and all of the buildings, with the exception of two are only two stories tall.

Shorewood Drive by Lauren Valenti

A modest street in the village of Sands Point, which F. Scott Fitzgerald referred to as “East Egg” in The Great Gatsby, Shorewood Drive boasts one of Port Washington’s most serene areas. A long, straight street which eventually slopes down as you go towards the water, Shorewood has no sidewalks and is perfectly paved. The majority of the houses on Shorewood Drive are large 70’s style ranch houses with sprawling flat front lawns and woods in the back.  However, as you travel further down Shorewood towards the sound, the houses tend to have been rebuilt to be larger and more modern. Great, towering old trees are scattered throughout the street and are very important to the Shorewood aesthetic. The residents of Shorewood Drive are typically older couples who tend to keep to themselves, besides the occasional stroll. Although, there are a few families with children who liven up the street and serve as a reminder that Shorewood Drive is not no-man’s land.  While it might not provide that  quaint neighborly feel, what Shorewood lacks in sociality it makes up for in its tranquility. At night, it is virtually silent and completely dark as there are absolutely no streetlights.

Without question, Shorewood’s best feature is the beach that lies at its end. Always vacant, the shoreline against the Long Island Sound is pebble ridden with large climbing rocks. Not for your average beach-goer, the beach is more fit for someone looking for a scenic walk or an explorer willing to venture. Aside from the assortment of rocks, occasion liter, and horseshoe crabs, there are smorgasbord of things to find washed up on the shoreline. Anyone who frequents the beach often knows that there are many “treasures” to be found, especially after a storm. It’s important to pay attention to the tides in correlation with the moon. If it is high tide, the beach is nearly impossible to walk on unless you’re willing to have your legs drenched by the sound. If it’s low tide, you can walk a very long distance down the shoreline. While this might be tiring, it is well worth the trek, as your journey will end at “Lands End”, otherwise know on the North Shore of Long Island as The Great Gatsby house. Whether you are taking a walk or wandering by the sound of Shorewood Drive, it’s easy to recognize why it makes for such a lovely block to live on. Shorewood is silent but if you give it time, has a lot to say.

A Celebration Of Culture On Eastern Parkway

            Crowded streets, blaring music and barely there costumes--this past Labor Day September 5, 2011 marked the 44th annual West Indian-American Carnival Day Parade. The parade has been a mainstay celebration on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood since 1967. 

On this day Eastern Parkway becomes a sea of sights, sounds and movement. Flags denoting the different parts of the Caribbean group cheering bodies together in blocks of color: yellow, green, blue, black, white, red, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago to name a few. Calypso, Soca and Reggae beats announce themselves loudly from all directions passing with each new float, street vendor, or personal boom box. Glitter, feathers, beads and ornate detailing adorn the bodies of dancers who march, shimmy, and shake their way down Eastern Parkway.

In 2001 it is estimated that 4 million people participated in the West Indian-American Day Parade; yearly it is known to attract between 1 and 3 million participants making it the biggest Carnival celebration in the United States.
The earliest known Carnival Day Parade took place in Harlem in 1947 and was organized by the Trinidad Carnival Pageant Committee; Harlem was home to the Ca parade until 1964 when the permit to hold the event was revoked. Starting in 1967 the parade became known as the West Indian-American Carnival Day Parade and has been put on by the non-profit West Indian-American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) ever since.

Crown Heights Brooklyn with its historical legacy of a strong Caribbean community (70% of its 155,000 residents in 1994) situates itself as the natural home for the Labor Day Parade and demonstration of cultural pride. The Labor Day Parade is the final event in the West Indian-American celebration. The WIADCA started the week with concerts featuring soca and reggae artists, a gospel fest, a junior parade and a raffle held at the Brooklyn museum.

Flashes of skin, the waving of flags, the merging of voices and music, The Labor Day parade is indeed a Carnival of festivities. Historically Carnival is a season of celebration characterized by parade, street parities, extravagant costumes and gluttonous foods; it marks the countdown before lent. The presence of Carnival in New York takes on a less traditional meaning situating itself mainly as the acknowledgment of culture and a day for fun, music and dancing.

“It’s a good opportunity to see how people from the other islands party without visiting the islands themselves” said Paul Carmichael, 32, a native of Barbados.

(Photo credit WIADCA)

Williamsburg-N3rd & Bedford

N3rd and Bedford Avenue is a strip so hip it even has a palindrome for a zip code (or, it did): 11211. It has since been changed to the less than palatably pleasing 11249, one that many residents have yet to acknowledge despite its formal, brisk throat-clearing arrival on July 1st, 2011. The lines that divide 11211 and 11249 are barely discernible, and it is almost considered an affront to be a part of the 11249 crowds, as if one has been exiled. "I still put it on my Fresh Direct orders, without a problem so far", said Douglas Berman, a resident of Williamsburg and frequent visitor to the N3rd walk-up apartment stoops. " We're one neighborhood".

A bagel store across the street  ('The Bagel Store') displays actual bagel- homage graffiti; colorful, too. A group of androids are marching, one carrying a 'Williamsburg Walks' sign that is a harbinger for N3rd as the beginning of Bedford strip, and another android eagerly carrying a stack of bagels for the trek. The Bagel Store is the kind of friendly place where you are called 'boss', and residents of Williamsburg have been kind in return.  In recent years The Bagel Store has seen a steep increase in tax rates, and Starbucks has expressed an interest in the location. This has raised the ire of most Williamsburg residents, but perhaps no one can match the ire of Reverend    Earthallujah (a veritable veteran of the campaigns to retain Williamsburg's authenticity. Ten years ago, Starbucks was to have a supposed takeover on N5th and Bedford. On July 15th, 2001 the Reverend pioneered a protest, until it was learned the new space would actually be taken over by "Fabiane's Pastry and Cafe: an Independent Pastry Experience:): In an March 5th, 2010 interview with The Gothamist, the Reverend stated, " The definition of Billyburg is that it is the defiant, complex, always surprising birth of new culture. The definition of Starbucks is that it imitates cultures that are original and uses images of cafe society back when it was dangerous, i. e. Cabaret Voltaire, Paris, the beats... to sell its non-Fair Trade bad coffee. Williamsburg should break the windows every morning and surround the landlord with shame. Bring back the Bagel Store!"

Across the street from The Bagel Store is a Duane Reade; a chain that has the omnipresence of Starbucks but not the omnipotence. Faced with initial opposition, Duane Reade has taken account of their young demographic and become a valued member of the community. A state of the art beer bar was an integral part of Duane Reade's overture to the neighborhood, and in keeping with Duane Reade's receptivity to meeting the needs of it customers. According to the NYtimes, "In some residential areas of Midtown East in Manhattan, for example, the stores sell cut flowers and, over the holidays, they sold fresh-baked pies. In the Bronx, Duane Reade carries more items from Goya, a brand of Hispanic food..." It is precisely Duane Reade's delicate attentions that have kept it from going the way of Starbucks in public opinion. An interplay of reciprocity and reserve exists between the residents and the chain; an interplay not unfamiliar to the beginnings of a long relationship.

On a right diagonal from Duane Reade is an empty parking lot. The parking lot is its own little island, and its shape is that of a plump arch. A lone Puerto-Rican man drives near the lot each summer Saturday, propping up a blue and white lawn chair and a stereo box that plays bomba melodies. The lot is an aberration, a remaining remnant of old industrial Williamsburg that most residents have all but ignored. Occasionally, however, a passerby will momentarily abandon their walk and dance with the man.

Wyckoff Avenue

When exiting the Dekalb Avenue subway station from Stanhope Street and Wyckoff Street, a group of people, which includes my superintendent and his father, sit down and hang out around the corner near the restaurant franchise, Subway. Other Bushwick residents make up the rest, with a large golden retriever also partaking in the everyday event.Visually speaking, the scene looks like it could be a family past time, like a suburban household sitting outside their porch on rocking chairs. If you past by them, they would gently nod and wave. They are just one prime example of the close-knit community seen throughout the neighborhood. 
Apartment buildings, delis, restaurants, and stores occupy the small block of Wyckoff Avenue, nestled in between Stanhope Street and Stockholm Street. Its frequent customers include those that live on the block, and those who live around it. Most of the residents are Latinos, from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Honduras, just to name a few. Since nearly 80 percent of Bushwick’s population is Hispanic, many small businesses in the area were created to support the various traditions. But, with the rise of real estate prices in Manhattan, Bushwick has attracted artists and young professionals to the neighborhood, slowly changing the area, which can be seen through the commercial businesses throughout the neighborhood. 
The 24-hour Subway attracts nearly, if not everyone. During the day, men and women in medical uniforms grab a 6-inch or foot long sub sandwich while on their lunch break from working at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center across the street. During the evening, couples and small families occupy the establishment, as they were most likely not in the mood to eat at Inca Chicken or the Claribel's Mexican deli restaurant just a few doors down. From midnight and on, college students grab a late night snack to help them get through a long night of studying, or maybe cure the munchies they developed after a few hours of drinking and smoking. No matter what the case is, the men who seem to always be behind the counter, welcome everyone with open arms, in their monotone voices, which can sometimes cause people to turn their backs and diagonally walk across the street to the 24-hour Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.
At the corner of Wyckoff Avenue and Stockholm Street, the newly renovated New Way Supermarket has everything anyone could ask for. A deli and a small market selling fruits, vegetables, and packaged goods, the family-run establishment is the place to go for quick pick-me-up. Here you will see anyone and everyone. From children buying a 20 ounce soda to grandfathers drinking a cup of coffee as they sit on the seats facing the glass window. The friendly atmosphere unconsciously makes everyone create small talk as we wait in line to order a sandwich, or even the cashier asking how our day has been as we pay for our items. Everyone probably leaves with a smile, or at least, a small grin on their face.
In all honesty, there is not much to see here. You won’t be running into any tourists, but rather a slew of families and students, comfortably living and socializing with one another, like one big happy family.

W. 38th Street

It may not quite be Times Square, nor is it quite Herald Square. Not West enough to be the Garment District, but not North enough nor Italian enough to be considered the Theatre District. Located exactly five blocks southwest of Grand Central and five blocks southeast of Port Authority, 38th street between 5th and 6th avenue is an odd combination of tourist’s hotspots, commuter’s checkpoints, and the fashion world’s factories and studios.
More than half of the Northeast side of the street is dominated by the perfume and accessory ground floor of Lord and Taylor’s Department Store. During the winter, the windows are a huge attraction for tourists and natives alike, as the interactive Christmas displays move and dance in the vein of classic New York department stores. One storefront down sits Hymen Hendler & Sons, a Jewish family-owned button and trim store with beautiful ribbons and notions sitting in the windows. To the left is veteran New York designer Yeohlee Teng’s only store location. Out of solidarity for the garment district and its workers, she opened her store here underneath her own design studio and blocks from her manufacturers, forsaking the streets of Soho or Madison Avenue. Occasionally she comes down to greet her customers: a practice virtually unheard of outside Paris or Milan. 
A hidden Cuban restaurant one storefront down is a favorite of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s, who rents a studio apartment across the street. On the south side of the street, an Edible Arrangements store that sells “floral” arrangements made from assorted fruit sits next to an Olympic Pita restaurant that advertises sushi in its window.  On the 2nd floor of this self-proclaimed Mediterranean-Japanese hybrid restaurant lives a psychic that palm-reads from her living room space. From the palm reader’s sofa looking down, a curious visitor may see a tiny hotel named Americana with no lobby and a singular forest- green door. It is a one-room per floor hotel that can hold a maximum of 16 guests at any given time and seems to be a favorite among European travelers. From the tiny forest-green windows, tourists face the giant, skyscraper-like Atlas apartment complex made famous for housing the Project Runway contestants during their time in New York.
Four weeks out of the year, the street is littered with stick-thin models, frazzled designers, and hustling interns working fashion week. Most weeks out of the year, tourists pass through between the New York Public Library, Times Square, and the Empire State Building, only to find themselves on a less-than interesting street. If there’s a cultural parade, a pride parade, or a march regarding Obama or the bible, it will undoubtedly pass 38th street on either its 5th or 6th Avenue side, if not both.
              Seemingly the only unification of the street’s various businesses and homes is their Newmark Knight Frank emblems signifying the real estate company’s monopoly over the street’s property. The supers of these various buildings, wearing khaki-green work uniforms and hats with their names in red, walk up and down the streets, collecting mail, cleaning up trash, and working nine to six to meet the bizarre mixed-bag needs of an easy-to-forget street.

Tuesday, September 6

E 48th St

Tucked between Midtown and Murray Hill is a small neighborhood called Turtle Bay. The neighborhood is known for its commercial real estate, proximity to the United Nations, and its plethora of hotels.

Blocks away on Park Avenue sits the prime commercial real estate in all of Manhattan. As a result of this center of business, a large amount of hotels are located close by, providing a luxurious living option near the business hub. E 48th st, between 3rd Avenue and Lexington, is home to more than a few of these very nice hotels, including the Roger Smith Hotel and the East Side Marriot.

Mornings on 48th are more than a little busy, with hundreds of new guests checking in and out every morning. The bellhops stand at the corner of 48th and Lex with their whistles, hailing cabs to make the turn onto 48th to shuttle the hotels’ guests. “I would say I hail about one hundred cabs every morning for our guests,” doorman Juan Barrea said, who has been working for various hotels in the area for over ten years. “I’ve been hit by more than a few cabs, but I guess I hail over two hundred a day.”

Working down 48th towards 3rd avenue, there are a plethora of small shops and restaurants, working towards the large apartment complex on the corner, 160 E 48th St, The Buchanan.  The Buchanan is a high-rise apartment building outfitted with fifteen stories, two entrances (one on 47th, one on 48th) elevators, and a garden courtyard in the center of the complex.

After being let in by one of the many doormen, the courtyard has the potential to impress. There are well cared for gardens, fountains, and ample benches and tables for the residents to utilize during the nice weather. It offers an extremely tranquil place to relax, and for many, smoke. “A few years back, the super said we weren’t going to be smoking in our buildings, so the only place for us to really smoke is out here,” said long-time resident Janice Cheung. Cheung and a few others can often be found sitting at the tables smoking, doing a crossword, and enjoying their morning coffee.

The courtyard is also a very sociable gathering place.  Residents often gather for evenings of wine and cheese and social drinking. More than one child’s birthday party has taken place in the courtyard, and the super’s kids can often be seen riding scooters and throwing balls during the middle of the warmer days. “The courtyard reminds me of Europe; I love coming down here after I get back from work,” said new resident Stephanie Wells.

Roebling St

On a warm September afternoon, Roebling Street is quiet. Summer is stretching its last moments before autumn takes over and the people who are out to enjoy it calmly stroll along. Located in the heart of north Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the street has witnessed all of the recent changes in the neighborhood that have been widely and publicly discussed. Worries about rising rents and gentrification, however, are notably absent in the everyday life of the area. On a small block between North 4th and 5th Streets, the residents seem pleased. “I’ve lived on this block for a couple of years and I really love it here”, 29-year-old Aimee Hunt says. The block, with its orange bricks and little shops, is typical for the neighborhood – comfortable but exciting at the same time. A short train ride from Manhattan and a few blocks’ distance from the hustle of Bedford Avenue are enough to create a homely but metropolitan atmosphere that so many of the new New Yorkers have learned to love. Roebling Street is a prime example of what Williamsburg is today – a constantly growing neighborhood that attracts young movers but is not free of problems. “You can definitely see how everything around here has evolved”, Aimee Hunt says, “but not everything has changed.”

For years, residents and passers-by have been getting their coffee fix from Oslo, the café situated on the same block as Hunt’s apartment. In 2003 a couple that had recently moved into the area decided to start their own coffee shop and due to heritage named it after the Norwegian capital. Oslo blossomed with the neighborhood and is now widely considered one of the best coffee establishments in the city. This kind of local entrepreneurship is appreciated and encouraged in Brooklyn, where the residents pride themselves in being part of a community seemingly more than in Manhattan.

Recent rumors about Whole Foods opening a store location in Williamsburg have caused uproar from the locals, who could more likely be seen carrying as Oslo cup instead of a Starbucks one – not that you could find Starbucks this side of the L train. Some would – and have – called this new wave of so-called hipsters irritating and bad for the neighborhood, while others have applauded them for putting Brooklyn “back on the map”. However you look at it, Roebling Street and the rest of Williamsburg continue to grow. New waves of hipsters will pour from Manhattan, new coffee shops will thrive and even Whole Foods might become a local. Through all this, the orange block of Roebling Street will remain a great spot for an afternoon walk.

My Block

I've never seen a business without a door. On the corner of Thompson and Prince sits H&H Kim. A typical bodega; overcharging for almost every item and giving attitude to almost every customer. On one side fruits and vegetables. On the other flowers. No matter what they are always open.Just down the block going south towards Spring Street sits Puerto Rico and Sons Coffee. It's a rare occasion to find people sitting outside with their dogs, talking with friends or reading the paper. They seem to only be open once a week.

Newcomers Make Nests in Bushwick

Bushwick or, in the Dutch, ‘town of woods’ is not so shady anymore.  In the 1970's this little neighborhood in the Northern end of Brooklyn was only known for its gangs and spurts of violence that could leave apartments burnt out in a night and the streets were a vicious hub for drugs.  The area was populated by African Americans as well as a very high density of Hispanics, that, according to P.h.D Astrid S. Rodriguez, was the highest density in New York State in the 1990's.  Throughout the and 90’s the average annual income in the neighborhood rose to a mere $23,104 according to the 2010 Census. 
However, the feeling has been significantly changing with an influx of young professionals who come from financially stable and educated backgrounds looking for cheep, accessible places to live.   Along with the artists and new college graduates moving into the neighborhood, cafes, bars and health food stores stand side by side with hispanophone establishments, creating a patchwork of cultures.  However the landscape has not changed, many of the same buildings are staying the same, while renovations are occurring inside to cater to the needs of young working professionals.  Very often these apartments are in renovated warehouses.
Troutman Street runs parallel to Flushing, stopping on the boarder of queens at Metropolitan Avenue and going down as far as Evergreen Avenue.  The northern end of Troutman is lined with former warehouses, though some are still empty, most are renovated and have become lofts.  Unique from the landscape of Manhattan, as well as other stretches in Brooklyn, the buildings are low, fat and chunky.  These are buildings made for work, not for luxury.  But, young people have begun to find this place attractive, specifically for it’s large windows and it’s spacious apartments. 
467 Troutman was renovated in 2005 and has since then become residential.  The rent in this building ranges from 2-4,000/month.  Young people have been getting creative about how they divide space.  Though the apartment does not look like what a typical New York City apartment looked like in the past, Isabel Piazza, 21, an FIT student and tenant on the first floor enjoys its unique qualities.  “I like the industrial feel to the area and  [the apartment’s] exposed pipes and brick…an artsy feel is up everyone’s ally these days because there are all these young artists living here.” Jon Barachowitz, 25 is one of four roommates who moved to a warehouse loft off of the Morgan stop in 2009 after they graduated from SUNY Purchase.  Out of a single space, the group, with some help from their father’s, built four rooms.  Their apartment is used in tours as an example of what a warehouse apartment could look like.
Rachel Poccia, 26, originally from Long Island, lived at 467 Troutman in 2009 on the 4th floor.  She lived with a couple, and they made their, originally one room apartment, into two bedrooms.  Though she has moved since then, Ms. Poccia says that a curtain cordoned off her space.  “It was cool, because whenever we wanted the space bigger, I would just open the curtain.”
 “People want… to make their own forts to live in.”  Says Ms. Piazza.  However, this is not always legal.  Tenants are not allowed to build walls in the apartments as it is against the Loft Law passed in 1982 stating that a loft must pass a number of fire safety inspections before it becomes residential.
Bushwick lofts have become popular in their accessibility to the city as well as offering a big space for many to share.  Lynette Leblanc, owner of The Leblanc Organization, real estate agency, moved with her painter husband to Brooklyn after rent in TriBeCa became too expensive.  Mrs. Leblanc sees common links in the great move to Brooklyn.  “No one could do anything with these spaces until rent went up in Manhattan,” says Mrs. Leblanc.  A similar phenomenon occurred in Williamsburg, though Williamsburg is now much more expensive, as the lofts are being renovated by the owners.  The future of Bushwick, however, may not follow the same path. “It all depends on the economy,” says Mrs. Leblanc.  Legal loft apartments are becoming more available in Bushwick.  However, the building owners are having a hard time raising the rent.  “Bushwick may stay the funky place that it is,” said Mrs. Leblanc.

Broadway at 89th Street

Broadway at 89th Street embodies many dualities. Pedestrians can be seen relaxing on benches on the island separating the uptown and downtown-bound vehicles. The daunting, inanimate concrete high-rise buildings are juxtapose by colorful flowers in full bloom, and dogs of all breeds, shapes, and sizes parading down the sidewalk.  On this block, the old and the new coexist together: from the 65-year old Murray’s Sturgeon Shop to the 7-year old Georgia’s Café, from the Mister Softee ice cream truck that has been appearing at the same curb, year after year, every afternoon at three o’clock to the UNIQLO that opened two weeks ago. A stately synagogue, along with majestic lion head fountains and friendly doormen with bright smiles, uphold the security of the neighborhood. Whether one lives in one of the high-rises or simply passing-by on a tour bus, one can’t help but notice a sense of tranquility in the air.
Broadway at 89th Street, a two-way street that goes uptown and downtown.
On a nice day, pedestrians can been seen sitting on the benches positioned on the island.
Flowers planted on the island by the Broadway Mall Association add color and beautify the street.
Bella, a mixed maltese, takes a drink of water after having walked from 137th Street to 89th Street with her owner.
Murray's Sturgeon shop has been serving the Upper West Siders delicious smoked fish and gourmet salads since 1946.
Murray's Vegetarian Chopped Liver is scrumptious, made with sweet peas, string beans, eggs, walnuts, and sauteed onions.
Georgia's Cafe, which serves Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, has live music every night at seven o'clock.
Mister Softee (truck) vs. UNIQLO (red flag): an example of the juxtaposition of the old and the new, the indigenous and the foreign.
A woman walking her dog outside the Congregation B'nai Jeshrun, a synagogue at 257 West 88th Street.
A regal-looking lion head fountain outside the apartment building at 250 West 89th Street.
The doormen of 250 West 89th Street who always greet passer-bys with bright smiles. 
Photo taken from my 19th floor window of the street with a tour bus passing by.

Monday, September 5

Veda Keech, Mornings on 75th

Six and seven-story brick apartment buildings with rusted fire escapes climb up from every sidewalk. Most windows have bars stretched across them, locked from the inside, others just have dirty blinds and occasionally, flower pots. A parrot in its cage pokes out of one saying, "Good morning," and "Have you been a good birdie?". Later, "Dang." I try to whistle back and a wrinkly woman with a little dog gives me a dirty look, and I stop. Pigeons schlep along the few ledges without spokes, some teeter across the electric wires spanning between complexes—others peck at their feathers down below, and all of them SHIT everywhere, including, just a moment ago, upon an old mustachioed Armenian—who, while watching his portable television on a balcony, leaned back in his Adirondack chair and swatted at the white blob plopping just then onto the back of his collar. 

There are a surprising number of tasteless "luxury" cars lining the street today (see baby blue BMW convertibles) for the (boring) white, lavender shorts wearing mid-life-crisis types. The sports bars are visible from here with signs that all read "Ladies Night!!", which apparently occur every night, but I only ever see the same type of beer bellied oaf and his hairy, sweaty friends standing around, all tucked and stuffed into slacks and polos and tennis shoes, huddled around the game or rarely, a desperate female. There are a myriad of spas on the block (I’m counting four from here), advertising such amenities as massages and waxing and manicures and pedicures and microdermabrasions and laser hair removals and one other thing that starts with “anal” but the text is blurred and I cannot make out the rest.

Brunettes with bleached hair scurry out from beneath awnings on a rainy Sunday, shifting their weight between cork wedges, screaming incoherencies into their blackberries, motioning for their drivers and rolling their eyes at each and every annoyance the rain and inanimate objects steadily generate for them. "Rosie is fine, no really, she's really fine, she’s so sweet, it's just--oh my god, when on Earth will I find time to train her, doyaknowwhat I mean I'm just like, UHHG!! Okay so put things back where they go, feed the kids, it’s not rocket science amiright? You know I would do these things myself if I had the time, I mean, we can’t do it all the way you do" and so on. Jamaican nannies walk in pairs and push strollers and scrunch up their faces at their phones, a greasy man with bright red suspenders pulls a cart filled with newspapers, a red head in a Starbucks apron drags the trash across the curb. A man with a long ponytail on 1st Ave stands outside a locksmith smoking a cigarette, and later, falls asleep in the denim sofa dropped by the corner, his fly open. 

Construction workers—permanent fixtures on every street, never working, always leaning against their trucks, laughing, grabbing their crotches, holding beers with sweaty hands—they puff up like monstrous, repugnant birds of paradise, trying desperately to get the attention of a girl in a skirt who rushes past them with her head lowered.


On most nights there are only two men on the block: the quiet homeless man, who sleeps adjacent the Baruch College freight entrance, and the stout, uniformed security guard, who, at midnight, kicks the sleeping bundle of rags awake in anticipation of miscellaneous goods.
But this 26th street block isn’t always a sleepy no-man’s-land buffering the bustling and bussing 3rd Avenue and Lexington.  Weekend mornings provide for it pedestrian traffic from the neighboring cities of Kipps Bay – yes, home of the movie theatre New Yorkers journey to when Union Square Regal runs out of showtimes – and Murray Hill. 
The typical passerby is the modern New Yorker: well dressed, well-groomed, well fed, and well on his or her way to work.  Most of them will walk to the 28th Street, Met-Life subway entrance and take the 456 downtown.  Later, they will take the same route home and disappear into their respective homes until the next morning. 
Some of the passersby, however, don’t take the train on most days.  The tiny neighborhood of Rose Hill is home to a thriving community of Indian families.  Their presence gave birth, many years ago, to what is known to most New Yorkers as Curry Row, or the Real Curry Row and not the one on 6th Street with the bright lights.  The variety of foods from almost every region of India draws a hungry lunch crowd, and a more local, family friendly dinner crowd.  “These places are famous, and people travel from all over the city for a taste,” says Miles McDonald, 26th Street resident.  

Just southeast of this pocket of India lies the only business on the 26th street block: a small, family-run Thai restaurant whose main source of business is the extended members of that very family.  The New York Times reviewed the restaurant almost a decade ago when it opened and described it as “…a little pocket of Thailand,” (NY Times need a proper citation).  But today the place is near derelict and without the charm of its early years; if there is even a threat of rain, the owners will be seen breaking down the modest window display and shutting its doors to the world. 

Regardless of the weather, after the sun falls behind the tall buildings of Madison Square, the same man in tattered clothes will make his way from Lexington to the freight entrance and resume his position for a few uninterrupted hours.