Wednesday, September 27, 2006

2006 Crack Tour

If you weren't able to attend any of the recent IMBY ARCHIVES crack viewing parties held this past month, check out our free homemade amateur video of some of the raucous fun. You may have missed out on the barbecue, but here's your to-go-cup brimming full of ice cold crack highlights. As always. we believe in giving you 10 lbs. of fun in a 5 lb. bag. "You want a straw with that fun? Take these extra napkins dear, something's dripping."

Humpty Dumpty has left the building. Only two of the "original" tenants left now at 1504 8th Avenue as one more has relocated. I think they are barricaded in the rent controlled apartments. I wonder, how long before we see two more tiny white flags waiving from the windows?

Last week the drilling rig and the crane returned to the 406 site. Just to make sure the excavator still worked after sitting around for the last couple of weeks, the crew decided it would be a good idea to start digging a hole Saturday morning at 7:45am. With all the machinery back in place, hilarity should ensue as soon as the Stop Work Order is removed.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Stopped Making Scents

Well it's been almost a year since the Rojas Bakery was sold and then quickly demolished. All that remains of the original single story structure is its cement foundation slab still partially covered in terracotta tiles. Even the rats have moved on to greener pastures. It seems the property will not be part of The Armory Plaza's underground parking garage as no pilings have been installed within its old lot lines. One set of drawings show the bakery's lot as "auxiliary parking" with a curb cut, allowing for access to additional parking spaces behind the proposed building. I guess there will be no backyard garden space.

Recently, however, the sweet yeasty smell of bread baking has returned to our neighborhood. At first I assumed it was just some fanatical bread baking enthusiast, but then I began to have Proustian memory flashbacks. I remember that smell. It had been burned into my nostrils for more than a decade. Ahhhh, the smell of Mexican bread baking.
Don't worry reader. You won't find me unleashing a 3000 page torrent...Not even a tea soaked Conchinito could set that off.

Appearently the Bakery, like a cinnamon-sugar dusted phoenix has risen again. This time the Rojas family may have consolidated part of their business operations into the remaining mixed use three story building (404 15th) sandwiched between the two in-progress construction sites; the 400 and 406 15th Street condo projects. They have filed to install a fire suppression system. The Stop Work Order may be holding up their renovation plans for now. It may be too soon to tell, for the Rojas anyway, if it's possible to have your cake and eat it to.

We will have to wait and see how this last outpost of "commercial/mixed-use" goes over with the future residents of 15th Street. It has always been my belief that over the many years the "old" neighborhood had grown accustomed to the Bakery's odours, and even at their worst they were always tolerated. Certain fragrances define a place. Growing up in Milwaukee, there was always that funky, odiferous scent of cooking hops coming from the Miller Brewery to remind you what really matters in the world.

As for our place in Brooklyn, I always thought that since the Bakery was there first, we more or less inherited their sweet smells when we moved in. Like the roaring sound of the jet traffic heading to LaGuardia Airport, the smell of cinnamon on Sunday mornings became just another ingredient contributing to the neighborhoods overall flavor.

Future mortgage paying residents of both 400 and 406 15th Street may not agree with me. Looking back, selling the cinderblock building at 406 seemed to be a smart business decision. Facing a future deluge of quality of life complaints, inspections, violations, and fines, reopening the bakery might not be so wise. You never know when the smell of baking bread may become illegal.

As promissed, here's some more dusty video from the IMBY archives.

here to play a brief, edited video clip, part of the "Seeing is Believing" IMBY DVD SERIES I sent to Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster and to then Brooklyn DoB Com. Susan Hinkson to protest the unsafe manner in which the demo was performed. Ms. Hinkson and I exchanged phone calls for awhile. Afterwards I received a nice letter from her saying that they were aware of the contractors dangerous practices and she would be turning my complaint over to the B.E.S.T. Squad. I never did hear from the B.E.S.T. Squad. Shortly after, Ms. Hinkson left the Borough of Brooklyn for a new job as DoB Com. for Staten Island . Of course, like some pathetic jilted lover, I still have all the messages she left on my answering machine. I hear her mispronounce my last name every time I check my voice mail. My wife humors me and has agreed not to push the erase button until the wounds have been healed. I understand that she is now on the short-list to waive the checkered flag at any future NASCAR races.

What did I learn from all this? Well, if you want to make a stink at the DoB that sticks, you better be prepared to bring out your big guns. Ever been in the same room when your dogs anal sacs have been fearfully expressed? Ever have someone in your car pool projectile vomit directly into your dashboard heating vents? Ever move into a new apartment where Con Ed has shut off the power and the previous tenant (a Mr. Jeffrey Dahmer) never bothered to clean out the refridgerator? Ever wake up in a full bathtub grasping a 10lb half wheel of cheese wearing Courtney Love's stretch pants? I guess what I'm trying to say is, that It's going to take something more powerful than binge drinking with a slice of domestic limburger to get noticed.

Recently folks at the SouthSouthSlope Community group, neighborhood activists, and their legal representation, forced the developer Isaac Satan to scrap his plans for a 12 story sky craper after providing the Board of Standards and Appeals with, among other eye witness testimony, video footage showing the use of backhoes, ect. to perform what's called a mechanical demolition. For safety reasons, the use of heavy equipment requires a special permit which Katan did not have. The use of this equipment enabled Katan's construction crews the extra time needed to "beat the clock" before new, less generous, zoning regulation went into effect. After seeing these videos (Apparently the use of the video replay has never been used in this "game" before.) the BSA lost faith in the evidence provided by Katans legal eagle Howard Hornstein of the law firm Cozen O'Conner, and ruled in favor of the community and its desire that they now obey the R6B zoning laws. Appeals have been filed.

In my back yard, with the Stop Work Orders in place, for this week at least, everything smells peaceful.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Painting the town red, one street at a time.

DoB Commissioner Patricia Lancaster, avenging angel of death, gets all "old testament" with developers on Brooklyn's 15th Street, unleashing her wrath on all 4 property owners. When she gets done the whole street is going to look like Hell.

Having just jumped from the frying pan into the fire, Jumpin' Pat Flash, instructs her minions to call an official time out until the baby can be found in the dirty bath water.

If this is any indication that she plans on being thorough this time around, adjoining property owners finally received their 5 Day Notices in the mail informing them that construction would begin at 406-408 15th Street. The invitations to the dance came 1 1/2 years too late, but no mind, it's just a silly formality, as we all been partying together since day one.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

IRONY: How long should we wait?

"Please notice that we at IMBY have temporarily disabled our Google AdSense program in order to maintain some air of respectful dignity whilst bringing you this important news from 1504 8th Avenue. Due to the solemn nature of today's post, all references to the words "crack" , "crack whore", and "on the pipe", will be omitted"


Posted on the front door of the building this 12th day of September, 2006.

We are advising all our good and gentle readers to please adjust their definitions of "Imminently Perilous to Life" as of today, 12:01 Eastern Standard Time.

Sincerely, IMBY

NEWSFLASH: 9/15/06 Someone tore the signs down yesterday. Lord of the Land, Arnold Rosenshein, could not be reached for comment as he forgot to include his phone number at the bottom of the notice.

Any readers out there who would like to volunteer to drop this postcard off at the post office on your way home tonight? Please Email me so we can make arrangements for you to pick it up. Oh yeah, I'll be needing a stamp. What's the postage now for postcards? It's urgent we find out what happened right away!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five people, living or dead, that you would invite to a dinner party?

So, I am on the way home from picking up my dinner at Hot Diggity Dog on Prospect Park West when I pass by, what at first glance seems to be some sort of brand new women's day spa.

I am now standing in front of its frameless glass door and huge plate glass window with what appears to be the seductively elongated image of the F-Hole from a double bass violin etched onto its surface. Curious, I see that there are a pair of clear acrylic arm chairs placed inevitably near the front and what looks like an entire high-end residential kitchen installed at the rear of the space.

"Can you squeeze me in for a quick mani-pedi combo'' I ask the young man sitting at the reception desk. "I'm sorry sir," he says. "This is the new sales office for The Simone Condominiums."

"Well then, in that case my kind sir, can I see an offering plan while I finish eating my super slaw chili dog?" I ask, wiping catsup off the end of my nose with my shirt sleeve.

He politely invites me to have a seat in one of the Philippe Starck designed Louis Ghost armchairs while he goes to the back file cabinet. Suddenly, while sitting in that see-through chair, a wave of paranoia sweeps over me. Is there some kind of secret recta-cam strategically positioned in the floor directly beneath my transparent armchair? Will he be able to tell there is absolutely no way in hell for me to pull the $875,ooo asking price out of my ass? I quickly pull my pants up and stumble out the door and into the street before he can return with my prognosis.

Best I go home and check out the web site.

Immediately something rings a bell: 35 McDonald Avenue! Leave it to my arch nemesis!
Bricolage Designs and Corcoran have figured out a way to steal the terrace right out from under Windsor. It's not so much what's in the Corcoran web site slide show, as what's been left out that interests me. Specifically, any reference to the fact that the building site is practically at Death's Door, being located directly across the street from Green-Wood Cemetery.

The fact that the developers have racked up 67 complaints and a big fat Department of Buildings Stop Work Order does not seems out of the ordinary. Isn't it common knowledge that if Bricolage Designs is somehow involved, shit happens. That's just par for the course. What interests me is that Corcoran's own neighborhood map includes the cemetery, but does not bother to label it as such. Why are they trying to 'Simonize' over their proximity to Green-Wood?

Sometimes Art truly imitates Life. I offer you this:
"The world (as humankind has known it) is merely a memory. In its place is the never-ending nightmare existence of us--the living--versus them--the "walkers". What's left of mankind is cordoned off behind the walls of a fortified city while the walking dead roam the vast wasteland beyond. The few wealthy and powerful try to maintain an illusion of life as it was, dwelling high above the city in the exclusive towers of Fiddler's Green, the last bastion of the ruling class. On the streets below, however, the remaining, less fortunate of the city's inhabitants eke out a hard-scrabbled life, seeking what little solace they can in vices available--gambling, flesh trade, drugs--anything that offers even a fleeting respite from the hell their lives have become. Both the lofty heights of Fiddler's Green and the demoralizing lows of the city below are lorded over by a handful of ruthless opportunists, led by Kaufman, who keeps his hands in everything, from real estate to less above-board pursuits."
I bet you're thinking that this describes living in Windsor Terrace to the tee. Is this the opening paragraph from the condominium's prospectus? I am afraid not. This is actually a description of George Romeros's 2005 film "Land of the Dead". Replace "Fiddler's Green" with "The Simone" and you begin to understand why this is more than a coincidence.

Look closely at the artists renderings.

See all your new friends and neighbors enjoying the view from high atop The Simone's abundant glass walled terraces.

You may be drawn first to the hot stylish hipster chick in the lobby. Pay her no mind.

Now, look at all those families enjoying their outdoor living spaces.

Mothers pushing strollers... Lovers, dressed in white, embracing amongst the fall foliage of the roof tops garden.

But wait, something is not quite right--Who is that man in black standing off to the side of that young couple? Zoom in...more...keep zooming....a little more...wait too much, zoom back out a little...There! It's Kaufman!

That explains all that damage to all those adjoining properties! Now pan back down to the ground floor lobby.

FUCK ME!!! ZOMBIES! No wonder Corcoran's Marketing Strategy fails to mention that on any chilly fall evening, there is always the potential for 560,000 uninvited dinner guests 'living" right across the street, who might drop in, unannounced, at any time. I hate that. Call first, it's only correct.

Just imagine, you and your mistress are sitting down for a romantic late night snack, when your front door flies off its hinges. Standing at the threshold are Henry Ward Beecher, Jean Michel Basquait, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ebbets, and Frank Morgan (you know, the wizard from The Wizard of Oz). Heated discussions ensue. Basquait has drank all your wine, and is boring Ebbets with hypothetical baseball "what if" questions. H. W. Beecher is all over your girlfriend and suddenly she's been ripped to shreds. "Please pass the spine", Bernstein politely requests. There's nothing like witnessing your guests being eviscerated and devoured. All the more so, when viewed while hiding below a glass-topped dining table.

Several of the units listed are in contract. I wonder if they even bothered to read the disclaimers. Sometimes it's better not knowing when you buy. Especially new condos in Brooklyn.

Hot Diggity Dog is located at 263 Prospect Park West and has free delivery. Call (718) 499-0008 Try the "WINDSOR WEENIES" with a side of fries and extra bacon. Price $ Service $$$ Food $$$$ "The Real Heartburn of Windsor Terrace".

Bluffs O' Montauk

Break out the slide projector, hand me that carousel, it's time for my Summer vacation photos! Hey, you in the back, close those blinds and dim those lights, and please... unwrap those hard candies and turn off your cell phones.

Sun Rise Over Montauk's South Shore

Hurricanes, Nor' easters, and misguided erosion control efforts have taken their toll on the shoreline's bluffs. Reports claim something like 1 to 2 feet of Montauk's beachfront real estate in the form of sand, is flowing west towards the Rockaways every year.

Homeowner's best efforts at defeating Mother Nature's dynamic forces. Maintaining access to the beach at all cost.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This is my first attempt at vlogging. Here's a short video shot during that freak snowfall last April. You can hear the actual sound of the drilling rig in action. If this works well I will start posting more old video that's been sitting around collecting virtual dust.