Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FCR is a crap landlord

I have had some crap landlords. Once, my apt. flooded with sewage and it took three days for my landlord to react. It was my own private Katrina. That was awful. That landlord just opened a pizza shop in Carrol Gardens. I'm sure it's great. Tell him he still owes me my $700 deposit.

My current landlord hasn't been faced with a similar disaster, thank goodness, but I am confident that were one to arise, FCR, the owner of my apt. building, would do terribly. I have been trying to get in touch with our property managers for three (3!) months to handle a couple of repairs. My kitchen is falling apart and my bathroom requires a plumber. I have called or emailed just about every week, sometimes several times per week and have either been blown off or ignored each time. The management company is Esquire Management, and they can only be described as negligent.
The photos to the left are of our front steps, which have been gradually falling apart. Recently an attempt to keep the steps from crumbling was made. See that hard foam that was sprayed into the cracks on either side? Looks nice don't it? Why stop there? There are a lot more cracks on those steps that could use a good foaming.

Sometimes I feel like FCR is doing the bare minimum to keep this building standing until it comes time to take it down. The problem is that my rent remains the same even as they shirk their responsibilities. Given that FCR is in the business of acquiring tenants I shudder to think what it would be like should AY get built.

When I suck at my job I get a demotion, yet when FCR sucks at theirs they get more city funding.
Posted by Picasa

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: communityliaison@atlanticyards.com . 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.