New York Shitty, as the name implies, started out as a modest, amusing way to document the trails left by the neighborhood dogs. But, as webmistress Miss Heather says, the blog has moved to cover the more “metaphorical shit” of the neighborhood, rather than the literal. Since the web logs inception two years ago, it has become a reliable hub for information on development issues, community events and general observations of Greenpoint and the surrounding neighborhoods. Heather’s daily average of four posts per day keeps the blog as a resource for the most up to date information in the area.
Heather moved to Greenpoint as part of the first wave of artists looking for an affordable refuge from Manhattan. Though the neighborhood was the third choice on her list, the $850 rent for a studio was enough to draw her in. “A lot of eccentricity is tolerated here,” she says and this acceptance has kept her in the neighborhood for the last ten years. Throughout her time in the area, she wanted a place to document these Greenpoint eccentricities, and so, the blog was formed. “For what I wanted to do – photos, writings, artwork – the medium was perfect.”
There is an over abundance of personal blogs tracking the diary details of bloggers, but New York Shitty is one of the few blogs in the North Brooklyn area covering neighborhood news. The blog has become a resource for in-depth coverage on the real estate development in Greenpoint and the outlying neighborhoods. Though Heather herself does not have professional experience in real estate, her own personal housing battles and a crash course tutorial from her friend, a former Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) inspector, has helped her navigate the many details of city housing issues and development.
“There are reasons to whine,” she says, after she was asked about Greenpoint’s status as having the densest concentrations of residential complaints through 311 on file. “They violate the law here…it’s an illustration of what’s wrong with modification permits.” “You could literally keep just one brick,” she says of the practice of developers using this loophole to obtain modification permits for existing structures and completely rebuilding the buildings. She is not in opposition to developing the area, but rather to the ubiquitous, cheap materials that are being used in the rapid construction projects.
Heather has a sturdy grasp on nearly every issue affecting the community. One meeting with her is a quick lesson in the politics of Greenpoint and a checklist on the state of the neighborhood: McCarren Pool – “…good idea. I’m only disappointed that it wasn’t done earlier.” Waterfront development – “I’ll see it when I believe it.” Park development – “They should be cleaning up what they already have.”
Heather’s reach expands beyond her virtual network and into the community. She is working with HPD and the Greenpoint Reform Church to publicize a Bedbug workshop, where myths of the bug will be dispelled and effective solutions will be discussed. She believes that this issue, along with all others, can only be solved if there is collaboration between the separate groups that reside in the neighborhood. The HPD bed bug workshop in Greenpoint will be conducted May 6, 2008 from 6pm – 8pm at The Greenpoint Reformed Church (136 Milton St.).
Heather will participate in a Brooklyn Blog Fest conference in the spring, which, according to the blog Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, tries to “spread the blogging gospel beyond the confines of brownstone Brooklyn.” In the meantime, Heather is doing her part one blog at a time.
You can find Miss Heather’s coverage of the neighborhood at www.newyorkshitty.com.