No, Camel isn't making rollies

So, enough local papers, blogs, and e-zines have covered this, that I don’t have anything else to say, but in case you missed it:

From the Brooklyn Paper: Joe Camel- a hipster? R.J. Reynolds markets its smokes to Williamsburg

By Aaron Short

I do have one question.  In 2012 when the FDA starts making cigarette packs feature huge photos of toe-tags and black lungs, will the gross cancer guy be all tatted up on a fixie?

"I'm Waiting for my Man"

The junkies in Williamsburg will have to wait longer, or maybe clean up their act and get a job.  Okay, the job part might be crazy, it is Williamsburg.

The NYPD announced today they have shut down the drug-ring which investigators claim ran the North Williamsburg heroin game.  After a four month long sting officers arrested seven alleged dealers who had sold heroin to undercover narcotics agents over 20 times throughout the investigation.

According to the police, these guys were devoted.  They stood on the corner of Jackson Street and Kingsland Avenue near the Cooper Park housing projects, so much that investigators say they showed up on a Google Earth photo of the intersection.  On a more disturbing note, these guys didn’t seem to care they were selling smack within 1000 ft. of a preschool.  Authorities went on to explain that the ring allegedly had a clever method of peddling dope.  From MSNBC:

The suspects, who range in age from 18 to 32, were seen on surveillance cameras hiding heroin by stuffing it in a magnetic lock-box behind a metal sign on a storefront…The heroin sold was packaged in glassine envelopes and was stamped with different logos including “Fed Ex,” “KFC,” “Powerful Impact,” and the “Monster” energy drink logo.

Criminals beware, the NYPD is on a roll.  In addition to busting these drug dealers, authorities also charged several employees at the surrounding bodegas with possession and sale of untaxed cigarettes.

The new Duane Reade or How Williamsburg is the New Brooklyn Heights

According to the “I’m Boycotting Duane Reade to Save Williamsburg” facebook group, a Duane Reade will be opened on Bedford, directly across from Kings Pharmacy this Saturday.

First off, I need to state that I don’t really give a shit about saving small business in this case.

I do, however, give a shit when urban planning is totally disregarded and services are doubled up. We already have several pharmacies all of which are a stone’s throw from each other, reminding me of the Lewis Black sketch where he declares “the end of the universe” when he discovers a Starbucks across the street from another Starbucks. Duane Reade will be open 24 hours, which will probably end up being the downfall of Kings. This “perk” still does not justify its existence. Space is at premium on Bedford and needs to be utilized effectively.

You know what we could use? A Trader Joe’s. Or a Bank of America. Or better yet, how about some green space? Williamsburg and Greenpoint have one of the lowest people to park space ratios in all of Brooklyn at .06 acres per 1,000 residents, when the city planners recommends at least 2.5 acres per 1,000 residents. It’s only getting worse with the likes of the Domino Sugar development and Duane Reades among us.

Let’s face it, we are maybe 40 baby-filled strollers and one more high-rise away from being a perfectly lovely and totally gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood (read: Park Slope). Corporate outposts don’t spring up spontaneously in neighborhoods. They did their cost-volume-profit analysis and, bingo, Williamsburg looks good. Our consumption habits are bringing them in. But when corporate businesses have to waste our time with their march on independent business, we lose out.

So, instead of the hollow-sounding and vague argument of “Saving Williamsburg,” don’t forget that corporate greed is actually wasting our space for their purposes, not ours.

Williamsburg Owns the "50 Best Blocks in Brooklyn" List, Food, Shopping, and Drinks All Show

The L Magazine’s just published its “50 Best Blocks in Brooklyn” list, and Williamsburg took the cake in a number of categories.

Here are the awards:

  • Best Block For Cheap Eats: Bedford Ave between N. 7th and N. 8th Streets
  • Best Block For Drinking: Bedford Ave between S. 2nd and S. 1st Streets
  • Best Block For Dive Bars: Metropolitan Ave between Union and Lorimer
  • Best Block For Classy Bars: Berry and North 9th Street
  • Best Block For Coffee: Berry Street between N. 5th and N. 6th Streets
  • Best Block for Old Media (although really wouldn’t call Vice ‘old media’): N. 10th Street between Berry and Wythe
  • Best Block For Vice: North 4th Street between Bedford and Driggs Aves
  • Best Block For Vintage Shopping: Grand Street between Bedford and Driggs Aves
  • Best Block For High-end Fashion: Grand Street between Kent Ave and Havemeyer Street
  • Best Block For Books: Bedford Avenue between N. 6th and N. 7th Streets
  • Best Block For Live Music: The City Block Encompassed by Kent, S. 1st and S. 2nd Streets
  • Best Block For Records: The City Block Encompassed By Manhattan, Green, Huron and Franklin (Greenpoint)
  • Best All-Purpose Block: North 6th between Berry and Wythe
  • Best Block For Home Furnishings: Wythe Ave between S. 1st and Grand Streets
  • Best Block for Halloween Decorations: Humboldt Street between Nassau and Driggs Aves (Greenpoint)
  • Check out the full list for descriptions why these blocks made the cut over the rest of the “competition,” if there was any.

    Also, we’d like to issue a quick intern request for someone go shoot along the HTML code for this post that includes Google Maps links to all these spots. Any takers?

    Update: Thanks to the anonymous intern who sent in the HTML — who’d like to remain anonymous, since she took the time to do this –for filling in those Google Maps links! You showed me today that despite all the partisan hellfire raining down on our faces day-in and day-out, and despite the terrible economy, and the two wars, and the crime, that there is still hope in America.

    Another One Bites the Dust

    The New York Department of Buildings is coming down hard on illegal lofts in Brooklyn. The latest shutdown, a building near Lorimer St. on Metropolitan Ave. was home to 40-50 residents. According to reports, these poor fools were given less than 24 hours notice to vacate the premises. From the Brooklyn Paper:

    “[Inspectors] told us we can’t take a s—t, shower or use the kitchen — we just have to go before they padlock the doors,” said longtime resident NAME REDACTED, who lives with a handful of others on the fifth floor. “We’re young, we don’t have savings. We had no idea about the problems here.”

    As G.I. Joe reminded us, “knowing is half the battle,” and in reality, it was probably less than safe for all those young starving artist kids to be living in the run-down building. According to the city, the building is zoned for commercial use only, and there are over 150 safety and environmental cases open against the building, including an improperly working elevator, unsound staircases, and blocked emergency exits. The kicker, is that tenants claim they were on leases. I guess that’s why they’re suing the building’s owners, who are suddenly pretty difficult to reach.

    Sometimes, a  sweet deal on a sick loft really is too good to be true.

    The Truck Project

    No, it’s not that old Chevy your uncle has in his garage.  It’s mobile theater right here in Brooklyn, and they’re taking the show on the road. Touring the East coast, eventually planning to perform at the New Orleans Fringe Festival, Jean Ann Douglass and Eric Meyer are kicking off their trip Nov. 4-9 with shows each night in a different Brooklyn neighborhood.  The idea behind the project is a theater that moves from place to place. An unassuming moving van is actually a stage for installation and performance.   They use the back of a Budget Rental Truck and set up the “theater” to suit each piece, changing the interior, rearranging seating, and shaping the entire experience around the play, and well, the truck. From their website:

    For each work, the truck interior is transformed into a dynamic playing space, based on the needs of each piece. As much an installation as it is performance, one show creates a vaudeville theater…another is performed in a barren, dark space where all audience members are led to their seats with flashlights. Each configuration of the truck can seat 20-35 people, and several short works are performed in repertory each evening.”

    The Truck Project is looking for donations to fund the tour, but buying a ticket for the Brooklyn shows will help too. With limited seating, you should get yours here soon.  The Brooklyn showings feature a play about the inner workings of Amy Winehouse’s mind called “Not Winehouse” and the aforementioned vaudevillian production “The Backroad Homeshow.” The weekend of the performances, try to save any free parking spots you see around town until a moving van drives up.

    The Truck Project Kickstarter Video from Jean Ann Douglass on Vimeo.

    Fun with Maps! Everybody who lives here works here also.

    Image courtesey of Harry Kao

    From the blog Flowing Data, the interactive designer Harry Kao has taken information from the TranStats database of commuting (did you know there was one? I didn’t!) and made these neat interactive maps that show just who’s commuting to and from your neighborhood.

    I plugged in the zip 11211 and, guess what? Pretty much everyone who works here lives here too. Ok, so some people who live here work in Manhattan, and there’s some random dude (or lady!) commuting into Jersey City every day, but I guess we all gotta pay the bills somehow, right?

    Anyways, check it out. And just for fun try typing in your zip and then comparing it with your parents’ or something.

    (H/T)

    Because making fun of hipsters and their love of kale never gets old

    Allison Silverman, Emmy-winning writer from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, offers up an amusing editorial to The New Yorker examining Williamsburg dinner parties, dinosaurs as stars of the Old Testament and the horror of a conventional college degree.

    Et Tu, Brooklyn?