Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Andrew Porter

    It's a wonder to me, Claude, how that building is right next to the overgrown wilderness next door, but except for infrequent visits by people in chairs, nothing is ever done with the space.

    Here's the same building in a 1940 Municipal Archives photo:

  • Tommy Hickey

    It’s a long Byzantine story involving the Revolutionary war fort, a not public park from 1865, the pocket parks created by Robert Moses in 1935, and the BHA trying to preserve river views by adding more land to the park. it would be fun for Jeremy to chime in why this “park” is a fenced of derelict wilderness.

    I once met tourists at Fulton Ferry reading the George Washington plaque who asked me if there were any Revolutionary War locations up in the heights. All I could think of was Fort Sterling but I told them not to bother because I didn’t want them to be disappointed.

  • RickP

    One that captured my imagination was Love Lane's history as a sally port to a fort. And that the building at the east end is built on the original fort's pilings. That's if I recall the story correctly.

  • robertnill

    Got to love that sign. "The Law"

  • Sushi Lover

    Kiwami — anyone been to the new sushi place in brooklyn bridge park? Any feedback?

  • Jasper M

    Does anyone else find it unfortunate how irrelevant Vine, McKenney, and Doughty Streets seem relative to the rest of Brooklyn Heights' Streets?

  • Arch Stanton

    No. Did you forget Everit St and Elizabeth Pl, or do you not consider them Heights worthy?

  • Tommy Hicky

    Is is DOH-tee like “dough” or DOW-tee like “ouch”?

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    The attached video, made 14 years ago, gives Vine Street the attention it deserves.

  • Andrew Porter

    Vertical aerial photo of the area in 1924 (and see reply for same area after they bulldozed a path for the BQE, and Cadman Plaza):

  • Andrew Porter
  • Andrew Porter

    I've always pronounced it "dawty." But I could be wrong.

  • Effective Presenter

    Thank you for posting this history of Columbia Heights.

    The Thomas Wolf house is on Montague Terrace not Columbia Heights.

  • JSMVine

    Has anyone experienced a panhandler on Montague St. usually between Clinton St. and Hicks St. – he's an older/bald man who aggressively asks for money and often curses at the person if they decline? Is this a new trend? Panhandling is nothing new in NY ofc but have not witnessed this level of aggression in some time.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Thomas Wolfe lived in a multitude of dwellings including 40 Verandah Place:

    “Wolfe would hardly recognized 40 Verandah Place, where he once lived for a while in boxlike little house off a mean alley between Clinton and Henry Streets. The house is still there and so are the iron bars on the window of the street, floor.”

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    “ Only a few Steps from the promenade Is 111 Columbia Heights, a dignified, stately, townhouse with a high stoop and black iron work that separates the building from the street. It America. Wolfe occupied there and is now the home of the Italian Historical Society of third‐floor apartment, and it was in that apartment that one of the ugliest quarrels between the novelist and his considerably older love, Mine Bernstein, took place.”

  • Tommy Hickey

    He has been around for a few years and is a scourge on the neighborhood. I just had out-of-town friends visiting that were verbally accosted by him.

    A Reddit post from a few months ago (since deleted) described an assailant on Montague that fit his description. In the comments, everyone is sharing their experiences.

  • Banet

    The assailant was a different person. A photo was posted of the assailant and he was younger and taller.

    The fellow who curses you has become more frail in the last 6 month. He has a cane now and is slower and more bent over he’s rude but I suspect he’s harmless.

  • facepalm

    Harmless… gotta love the limousine liberals of BH!

  • JSMVine

    Thanks for the information. I'm new to the area so was surprised to see that behavior happening consistently. Why do you assume he's harmless? Aggressively cursing at people strikes me as highly agitated behavior.

  • Claude Scales

    Some friends of ours, whom we got to know because our daughters were schoolmates, used to live at 40 Verandah Place, hardly a "mean alley" these days. They used the basement apartment, where Wolfe had lived, as a storage area. One day father and daughter (then about four) were in the living room when they heard a woman's voice speaking loudly below. They went down and found a guide leading a group of Wolfe fans on a tour of places he'd lived, drank, etc. The father invited them to see inside the apartment. Pointing to the tiny kitchen, he said, "This is where Mr. Wolfe made his breakfast." Opening the bathroom door, he said, "This is where Mr. Wolfe shaved," For some time afer, the daughter was afraid to go in there, fearing she'd find Mr. Wolfe shaving.

  • Banet

    I suppose I base my assessment of “harmless” on experience. I’ve walked past him at least 2x daily, sometimes 6x daily, for… 4 years? So I’ve passed him about 5,000 times without violence.

    And I’m just one person. Hundreds of people pass him every day. For years. And he’s never done anything violent.

    Will he one day turn violent? It’s possible. But the odds of you being affected are literally less than one in a million. Not to mention he’s become so frail I don’t think he’d be able to really harm anyone.

    so, should the city remove him and… what? Jail him? Forever? For being rude? Because there’s a 1 in a million chance he might assault someone?

    I think it’s a shame there are mentally unwell people like him that don’t have a place to live but I think we’re all focused on the wrong “danger”. You know what’s much, much more likely to harm you this year? A reckless driver.

    I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. In that time I’ve heard of one panhandler assaulting someone (the aforementioned case linked to on Reddit). In that same time I know of 3 people killed by cars and I personally know 4 different people who were hit and seriously injured by cars. One of them has walked with a cane for the decade since (the driver thought he could “beat her to the intersection”). One was a mother pushing a stroller (the driver said “he didn’t see her”).

    I don’t recall the details of all the deaths, but when it comes to the injuries every single case was a turning car. Why do I mention this?

    We should all be standing in the street, blocking traffic, demanding the city install Daylighting at every single intersection.

    For those that don’t know what Daylighting is, from Streetsblog:

    ”State law requires this, banning parking within 20 feet of intersections, but the City of New York overrides this law — allowing, in many cases, parking right up to the crosswalk. This limits visibility for everyone on our streets, especially drivers, preventing them from seeing people in the crosswalk.”

    A real world example? Go to the southern side of Henry, where it crosses Joralemon. See how the sidewalk bulges outward, taking up the parking space on either side of Henry? This means 1) pedestrians are more visible as they step off the curb – they’re not hidden by a giant SUV and 2) they have a much shorter span of pavement to cross.

    Why does the city override it the state law? Because people demand the right to park their private vehicles on public space. To them, that’s more important than the lives of those that live here. We’re literally trading lives for convenience.

    I don’t like rude beggars either. I too worry that one of them will some day become violent. But I’m much more worried about someone in my family getting hit by a car.

    Email Lincoln Restler.

    Demand daylighting.

  • Effective Presenter

    Thank you we had not known of the multitude of dwellings including 40 Verandah Place.

    We had thought just one home on Montague Terrace had been where T. Wolfe lived.

  • Effective Presenter

    Thank you for the education on daylighting.

    We had no idea of this law and how the law is ignored in NYC.

    We agree that it is dangerous in Brooklyn Heights we see that pedestrians get hit by cars.

    We drive a large SUV; it is difficult to see pedestrians seated higher-up.

    We are extra cautious when driving our car in Brooklyn Heights.

    We encourage all drivers to be extra careful when driving in Brooklyn Heights.

  • NeighboorHood

    Agree that people get too freaked about this guy. On the other point, why is there never an demand to educate/demand pedestrians (of which I am a regular) cross at the crossings only, wait for “walk” and look both ways before and while crossing and heaven forbid, not look at their phones, as well as the traffic measures proposed? Literally have never once heard that said by officials after a fatality even when the pedestrian was crossing mid block or against the light??

  • MaggieO

    The next time a pedestrian looking at their phone or crossing mid-block causes a driver to die, perhaps that will be the message.

  • Banet

    All 4 people I know who were hit by cars were walking with the Walk signal. In every case a turning driver didn’t “see them” (in broad daylight) or saw them but misjudged their ability to turn without hitting them.