Open Thread Wednesday 3/30/11

What are ya packin’ this week? Comment away!

Flickr photo via ChelseaWa

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  • http://Building Jeffrey J Smith

    One very vital enviormental project which has never been done
    in the Heights is an Electromagnetic mapping of the Heights.

    Such a survey would consist of placing a legal/lab grade
    spectrum analyizer at say, every 20 ft location on every
    Heights street and as many private areas as is possible
    and simply producing a full spectrum DC to high gigahertz
    picture of the EM enviornment.

    The surveys would have to be repeated at several day and night hours over a considerable period of time. Say two weeks. This
    to eliminate short periods of special activity. And BOTH the Radio
    Frequency, Pulsed magnetic and steady state magnetic fields
    would have to be Properly measured.

    But such a survey would produce for the first time a clear picture
    of the EM hazards…and quiet spots in the Heights.

    With all the well based mounting serious concerns about NON
    ionizing radiation (radio frequency, magnetic fields and electro-
    static fields) such a survey should be done at this point.

    Over the years, I have pointed this out to generations of Heights leaders. The only person of stature who took NIR seriously
    was Dozier Hasty who very properly questioned the shift of
    Tv broadcasting from the Empire State Building to the WTC and the effect that may have on the Heights.

    One very, well you judge, incident occured. When one civic group began about ten years ago to attempt to do a limited EM testing in
    the Heights. Using not quite lab grade equipment, which had not been recently calibrated, But they DID discover a huge EM field in Pierrepont Playground. I went to the site with my testing instru-
    ments and indeed there WAS a very powerful RF field of energy AND it was on a frequency AND it was excited with a class type of modulation even at the time was being cited as a significant health concern. AND it seemed to eminate from BELOW the playground according to several of my best directional sensors.

    I called Jud Marsbach at the NYC FCC office and my contact in the governor’s office, Everyone dismissed our reports. Then the
    classic white FCC van was seen at the playground. But the field
    just continued blasing the playground and everyone using the

    But THEN,I called someone I knew in the local DOD office who I knew was involved in EM weapons development…I let him know
    that we really upset about the condition and the possibility of a news conference being held existed.

    36 Hours later the field, which had been on for weeks, TOTALLY
    CEASED never to return…Paging John Newland…..

    Installment two of JS’s secret history of the Heights….

    A properly done really comprehensive EM study of the Heights done by disinterested parties would be a very vital health safeguard for all our residents.

  • Mr. Foodie

    I remember reading a while back that both Shake Shack and Panera are coming to downtown Brooklyn. Does anyone know when these two will be opening? Haven’t heard anything lately.

  • Ari

    I think there are way too many people visiting in the neighborhood on the weekends.

    There. I’ve said it. And I don’t regret it.

    This area used to be a secret, a hidden gem that local residents predominantly got to enjoy. Now the area has blown up. Which I’m sure is great for local businesses. But as a local resident, I want my sleepy neighborhood back.

    Sadly, it seems lost forever….

  • Arch Stanton

    The neighborhood became “lost forever in like 1979.

  • GHB

    Agree with Arch Stanton. If only they’d give us more garbage cans to accomodate all those people!

  • GHB

    With all the recent posts about the tragic loss of Boo Boo, the Wheaton Terrier, I just want to remind people not to allow their dogs off leash (except in designated areas) and to make sure they wear their tags and are microchipped. Just last night around 11, I was out walking my dog on Columbia Heights when another guy with a dog (Black Lab?) came by. The dog was as friendly as could be, but he wasn’t wearing a leash and when his owner called him, he did not respond. He just wanted to play with my dog. This is why no dogs should be out without a leash, especially when the owner really has no control. What if there was traffic? You gotta protect your pets.

  • AEB

    Ari, if the nabe were any sleepier it and we would be narcoleptic. I mean, TRULY so.

  • nabeguy

    Arch, before ’79, it was comatose. After that, it became sleepy, Now, it’s a downright cacaphony of foreigh languages and lost souls. Just yesterday, I had to settle a bet for a visiting Brit whether the American International Building across the horizon of Middagh Street was the Empire State Building. The funniest thing was that he approached me by saying “Howdy”…for some reason, foreigners still cling to the idea that all Americans are John Wayne.

  • RamonaQuimby

    We definitely need more garbage cans! Also, does anyone have any advice on how to avoid tourists asking me to take their picture? I used to just acquiesce, but it triggers my social anxiety and I really don’t want to do it anymore. I’ve tried not making eye contact. I have a large dog so taking a picture requires me to loop his leash around my wrist and prevents me from being able to control him if necessary. For some reason, just saying “no, I’m sorry” politely is not an acceptable answer. This happens to me at least once a week.

  • http://Building Jeffrey J Smith

    Well there’s amount of visitors and demography. But you’re

  • Ari

    I obviously have to yield to the long-timers on the state of ‘hood for the past 30 years or so.

    But in relatively recent memory – I’m talking the past 2 years or so (no coincidence with the opening of the BPP and the huge popularity of local blogs – that are linked to by big time websites – giving the neighborhood a voice to a global audience).

    I can recall things being far less quieter, less congested and overall a lot more pleasant even a mere few years ago. But that’s all changed.

    The disappearance of local businesses, the unbelievable congestion of pedestrian traffic on typically very quiet streets. And yes! the lack of garbage cans! Where’d they go?

  • Big Dave

    Spring foreigh gawkers”?
    Just sport your Brooklyn smile, then
    Steal the camera…

  • Alana

    Are there any little league baseball teams in the area?

  • harumph

    Alana – what about the 78th, that is all I know about in the area:

  • David on Middagh

    RamonaQuimby: I have turned down many “be my human tripod” requests over the years, mostly on the Promenade and the Brooklyn Bridge.

    When you see that person standing with a device in their hand and trying to catch your eye, just ignore! Walk purposefully by and do not make eye contact. Pretend you don’t understand English. If you must say anything, make it, “No, sorry, I take terrible pictures,” or “No, sorry, I have my dog,” or “No, sorry, I’m a professional photographer and I do that all day, and I have carpal tunnel syndrome of the shutter-release finger.”

    Unless you need five bucks.

  • Joe2: The Joe-ening

    I’m one of those people that has moved to this neighborhood in the past two years, so I don’t have the perspective of the long-timers, but it is absolutely quieter by comparison than any other reasonable place to live in NYC. I escaped the Financial District because it was loud, busy, and grimy – the same reason I didn’t want to move to the Lower East Side, despite my habit of going out there on the weekends.

    There seems to be two interrelated issues when it comes to noise and neighborhood character: how much of the noise comes from new residents, and how much of the noise comes from people visiting the awesome family stuff in the area during the day? The streets are visibly more crowded on weekend days than they were even in 2009, but the area (at least in my experience) remains quiet and sleepy past about 8 PM.

  • PS 8 parent

    Alana, the 78th precinct sports program is great and hosts a huge Little League program. Their registration closes in January. You could also try the program at St. Francis Xavier. There is someone named Steve Pisano who also hosts a baseball league, I believe.

  • GivingTree

    Can anyone recommend a good exterior painter to strip and paint the front door of a brownstone?


  • RamonaQuimby

    David on Middagh, thanks. It is good to know that I’m not the only one who says no to these requests. I was tempted to throw some guy’s camera off the promenade a couple of weeks ago when he would not take no for an answer. I am more than happy to give directions or restaurant recommendations, but I do not want to take your damn picture.

  • T.K. Small

    @Nabeguy: I have heard that the parks department is considering introducing tumbleweed to accommodate the John Wayne phenomena.

    @RAMONA: put an orange vest and harness on your dog and pretend to be blind.

    @Ari: I guess this means that the popularity of Brooklyn Heights is all attributable to Homer.

  • north heights res

    Ways to avoid getting asked to take someone’s photo:

    Have headphones in, even if nothing’s playing.

    Pretend to be talking on your phone.

    Look mean and unapproachable.

  • GHB

    “Look mean and unapproachable.”
    Given the tone of some of these responses, that shouldn’t be a problem!

  • Pierrepont

    +1 to Big Dave!

  • Linda

    I absolutely hate it when people ask us to take their picture. My husband usually says yes. He’s a much nicer person than I am.
    I avoid making eye contact with anyone on the Promenade or on the bridge for fear I will be asked to take their picture.
    In my book, No means No. Apologize politely and just keep on walking. Unless someone tackles you to the ground, this should work!

  • Y

    I wonder what all those “No to taking your pictures”-sayers are doing when they travel to foreign places and would like a picture of themselves with the background of David in Florence: “Can you please take my picture?” Yeah, I know you used to do that back in the days where we had film and barely anybody was caring a tripod or had timers in the cameras.

  • David on Middagh

    @Y: Actually, in my tourist days, I was trying to make the best composition possible, given the light, of whatever subject looked interesting. I carried a whole bagful of equipment. And yes, I had a tripod, and a timer on my Nikon. I was not interested in being in the shot.

  • RamonaQuimby

    I am going to work on my mean look. I must look too nice, but normally when I’m on the promenade, I’m happy to be with my dog in this beautiful neighborhood in this great city.

    And no, I have never asked someone else to take my picture. I could care less about pictures.

  • Claude Scales

    Call me a sap, but unless I’m really in a rush I’m always happy to take photos of and for others. I like thinking that I’ve made their visit to my part of the world more pleasant.

  • soulman

    My word, are there some obnoxious people on this blog or what? Personally, I love it when tourists ask me to take their pictures, even when I’m walking my dog. Is it true that there is a geometric increase in curmudgeon-ness relative to the amount of posts on the BHB? Lighten up and enjoy the excitement of those people visiting our city. Talk to ’em, smile at the kids, practice your French, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin or English.

    PS: But what’s up with the disappearing garbage cans? The one by the dead-end block of Middaugh’s been gone for several days and it’s my favorite dog poop depository.

  • Mr. Foodie

    I remember reading a while back that both Shake Shack and Panera are coming to downtown Brooklyn. Does anyone know when these two will be opening? Haven’t heard anything lately.