One more parking complaint to add to my very long list: Filming!
This morning my block, here in Crown Heights, was closed to parking by the NYPD so they could film an episode of Blue Bloods ( http://bit.ly/pbd9Ff) . To add insult to injury, they weren’t even filming on our beautiful block, they were simply using it as a trailer park. The actual filming took place around the corner in front of (Banco) Popular (No me puedo imaginar lo que el episodio es sobre) on Nostrand and Eastern Parkway – GMAP: http://goo.gl/maps/LubtA.
And to rub a little more salt in the wound, according to the owner, none of the crew – actors, extras, directors, gaffers, etc. – had the sense to purchase a local sandwich at Syds Serious Sandwhich shop – http://sydsserioussandwichshop.com .
Extras for Blue Bloods wait outside an equipment truck.
New York Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries has a very promising career ahead of him. He was instrumental in having Cathie Black fired and may have his sights on the US Congress. But Mr. Jeffries latest bill proposal, about regulating up-and-coming neighborhood names, sounds to me like a stunt. Someone needs to advise the Assemblyman that there is actual real estate crime occurring in Brooklyn.
BTW, I’m thinking of telling people that I live in NoCroHisDis.
I like to think the comment below is more representative of my work:
“You’ve been incredibly helpful, and if we do in fact choose to move forward with our home search, we would very much like to stay working with you. In our house-hunting experience over the past month, you, by a long shot, come across as a genuine advisor who wants to be our advocate.”
Well now I’ve heard it all. I mean, I’ve always known that oral sex was illegal in several states, and I was not surprised when the Texas Board of Education erased Thomas Jefferson from their textbooks, but this morning I learned that in New York City it is illegal for more than three unrelated people to live together in an apartment or a house! Don’t believe me? Here’s this morning’s NY Times article:
I think you’ll get a kick out of this. We are refinancing our home through a mortgage broker that shall remain anonymous. Among the mountain of paperwork they asked for, we were asked to provide our most recent bank statement. It had to be an official bank statement with the full account number (like the ones the bank sends monthly) not a download from online banking. So we sent them our February 2010 bank statement. It was rejected…want to guess why? February only has 28 days and the mortgage broker insisted on 30!
Anyway, just wanted to send this your way. We still love our apartment!
Today I took a break from work to pop into one of the artist studios participating in A.G.A.S.T., Annual Gowanus Artists Studio Tour. It’s great, it’s one of a kind, and I highly recommend it over a Fox NFL Sunday. Hurry up though, it’s only a two day festival and tomorrow’s the last day. The tour encompasses 28 different studios in the Gowanus Canal area. My friends Mical Moser and Heather Cox can be found at 295 Douglas St, between 3rd and 4th Avenues. I may be biased, but I think you should visit them first.
Yesterday, I arrived early for an appointment and so decided to take a stroll down E. 17th Street. This neighborhood was once known as Flatbush and is now called Ditmas Park. It was such a nice walk that I had to share it with all of you. This block is full of detached Victorian style homes, all in pristine condition and most with front porches. The sidewalks are pleasantly lined with oak, maple, and various fruit trees. I understand that many of you are familiar with this area, but believe me, even by Ditmas standards, this block is something special.
When you have a moment and before the summer is over, please take in E. 17th Street, between Newkirk and Dorchester…and if you have another moment, let me know how it went. Thanks for reading.
People often solicit my opinion about a given neighborhood. “Is it safe?”,they ask. “How is the area?What are the locals like?”, etcetera, etcetera,… I flat out try to evade these questions and I have my reasons. For one, I’m very fond of the neighborhoods I work in and don’t feel capable of answering objectively (It would be like bad-mouthing a family member to an outsider). For two, other than the number of times I’ve been fleeced by the Department of Finance (see How to Park It), I don’t worry all that much about crime in my neck of the woods. And three, the locals question? I don’t even want to know what people are getting at there. So I don’t answer any of these questions. But this is what I do say. I say, “because everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to these things, you need to explore the neighborhood yourself. That means more than just a cursory look. You need to take five extra minutes with some of the residents and get to know them. Doesn’t matter how you do it, but you need to engage a few locals. Ask for directions or the best place to get coffee. Say good morning or good afternoon. Whatever it is, just talk to people. If you do this, I guarantee, that if you really do this, you will see the neighborhood and you will see the entire city of NY in a very different light.”
I can hear the collective moan coming over the big T1 line in the blogosphere. You are out of your mind Jim. This is New York City! You can’t just talk to people on the street. You’ll scare them, or they’ll be suspicious, or they’ll get mad. My experience has taught me otherwise. When I first started exploring Crown Heights, I would stop random people on the street and ask them what they were paying for rent. If anyone asked why, I would simply say that I was thinking of buying a three family building in the neighborhood and wanted to know what I could lease the apartments for. And you know what? People talked to me. They were friendly. They were nice. They were very helpful. I even got invited into someone’s apartment to have a look. I couldn’t believe it either, but I learned a valuable lesson about my city. Nowadays, I almost always say hello, good morning, and good afternoon and my neighbors usually say it back.
So you want to know about a neighborhood? Take five extra minutes and get to know its residents. Thanks for reading, Jim.