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Rabid Commenter Strikes it Big

You can read all about “The What” and a little about Brownstoner in a lengthy New York Magazine article about the booms and busts of real estate in Broker. Er, Brooklyn.

Speaking of which, almost two-thirds of my lease has expired. I’m enjoying my life here at the Yuppie Spaceship, and it’s definitely been easier thanks to sites like Brownstoner, Bed-Stuy Blog and

Since the weather has been nicer I’ve been getting to know the area on foot a little better. What a treat!

The neighborhood is changing before my eyes with or without the help of Myrtle Place LLC. The promised Duane Reade, coffee shop and day care have not yet arrived, but there’s a new Family Dollar on Nostrand and Cafe Naico is plenty fine for my tastes. I’m not sure about child day care in the area, but I’ll bet there’s some close by.

I am astonished at how much things have changed since I have moved in, and I cannot imagine how it seems to people who have lived here all their lives. What do you think? I’d love to hear from those who live between Bedford and Tompkins, DeKalb and Flushing (or anyone near who’d like to comment). What do you think of the changes in the last year or so? Where is this neighborhood headed? What will change in Bed-Stuy?


Here’s a haiku about the subway. It’s pretty obvious, but I like haiku so there.

  • Do not lean on doors.
    • Stand clear of the closing doors.
      • Do not hold the doors.

New Bus B38 Limited

Today the MTA lovingly deposited a service change notice in the mailboxes of everyone’s favorite yuppie spaceship.

To speed your trip, NYC Transit is introducing B38 limited-stop weekday service along DeKalb and Lafayette Avs between Flatbush and Seneca Avs.

Toward Downtown, Brookln [sic] (along DeKalb Av)

Limited-stop service operates from 6:45 AM to 6:25 PM.
B38 Limited-Stop Bus Stops
On DeKalb Av at: Seneca Av, Wyckoff Av, Knickerbocker Av, Wilson Av, Myrtle/Central Avs, Broadway, Malcolm X Blvd, Lewis Av, Marcus Garvey Blvd, Nostrand Av, Bedford Av, Classon Av, Vanderbilt Av, Flatbush Av Ext

Toward Ridgewood, Queens (along Lafayette Av)

Limited-stop service operates from 8:05 AM to 7:35 PM.
B38 Limited-Stop Bus Stops
On Fulton St at: Flatbush Av Ext, Lafayette Av
On Lafayette Av at: Vanderbilt Av, Classon Av, Bedford Av, Nostrand Av, Marcus Garvey Blvd, Lewis Av, Malcolm X Blvd, Patchen Av
On DeKalb Av at: Myrtle/Central Avs, Wilson Av, Knickerbocker Av, Wyckoff Av, Seneca Av

This is effective Monday, April 7, 2008. For your reference, here is the Brooklyn bus map from

Has this been on anyone’s wishlist? I’d like to know how big a difference this will make for those riding this route every day. If it was on yours, congratulations, it’s a bus!

Bedford-Stuyvesant Sunset

Edit: Ninja’d by bedstuyblog‘s alexa11221. You and your fancy, great, ever-expanding blogging team.

Short and sweet

I’m obviously not the most prolific blogger in the world, I hope you weren’t expecting me to be.

I’m sure that there’s far more local information I could be bringing to your attention, dear reader, than I currently am, but sometimes my ability to portray my experiences here on the corner of Myrtle and Nostrand is simply nonexistent.

The purpose of this post in fact has nothing to do with this predicament, I just wanted to share something a friend of mine said. It made my day, I thought it might make yours as well. However, I could not in good conscience fail to acknowledge my lack of new posts.

Grok and enjoy:

People sometimes say, “One day we’ll look back on this and laugh.” My response: “Why wait?”

I love the subway.

It’s one of the primary reasons I moved to New York. It is definitely one of the things that makes New York City the greatest city in the world. Having the G train less than a block away a great advantage. It’s far and away better than having to pay car insurance, even if it cannot always be trusted, kind of like Snidely Whiplash.

Snidely Whiplash

Reasons to love the subway.


  • Free information: A paper copy of the map is available for free at any station with a booth. This is a necessity to be able to navigate a system as big as the New York City subway. Not only that, the MTA website will calculate directions utilizing the entire NYC public transit system.
  • Consistency: I know what you’re thinking, consistent? Well consider this, in every hour during the week not considered ‘late night’ the trains run as stated on the map. I’m impressed that such a large system can be run in such a predictable manner.
  • Night Construction: I’ve mentioned this before, but this is especially important on the subway. The subway is a high capacity people moving system, and in a city of 8 million, no matter when you put it out of commission, people are going to be inconvenienced. But by working at night and on weekends, this inconvenience is limited to as few people as possible.
  • Highly connected: No subway ride needs to take more than two line changes (that is, color to color, not local to express). This is because the A line touches every other line including both shuttles. The L line also touches all but two (the 7 and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden shuttle) which are both accessible from the L by the A.
  • MTA employees: Every MTA employee I’ve talked to on a platform has always been very nice and knowledgeable, particularly about service changes. The only times I have ever felt affronted by an MTA employee is when they are in the booths or driving busses.
  • Almost free transit: Unlimited Metro Cards allows for the freedom to move anywhere in the city at any time with the lowest cost per mile possible. For a month, $76 is cheaper than any other form of motorized transportation.

What’s not to love?

New York City subway, you’re my Valentine.

Vexed Yuppifiers

In my six months in New York City I have learned, seen and tasted many things new and wonderful. I’ve also had other not-so-wonderful experiences. I have partied with people I barely knew at birthdays for people I never met, gone from homeless to gentrifier, touched a new layer of snow and been a sucker a time or two. I love this city, but there are things I can’t help but miss about Texas. Among these are

  • Cheap Cajun, Mexican and Catfish
  • Country music radio stations and Dave Moreland
  • The Lone Star Flag

However, there are some things I am glad to be rid of, like mosquitoes and driving.

These differences are more like trade offs than disadvantages. For instance, instead of being able to get tacos and refried beans any time I want, I can enjoy Massaman curry. There’s not a lot of Thai in Texas. Lacking country stations? Well, I don’t like listening to the radio anymore anyway, so I can just listen to it over teh internetz. As for the flag, the I ♥ NY campaign is a fine substitute. Ok, so nothing can take the place of the Lone Star, but I digress.

The Texas Flag

Six months of life in NYC means I’ve spent four months in this yuppie spaceship here in Bedford-Stuyvesant at 756 Myrtle.

This means I’m already a third of the way through my lease, crazy! Although I have to admit

I’ve been shafted.

Yeah you heard me Myrtle LLC. You FAIL. Epically.

Here is what you promised:

  • Laundry
  • Gym
  • Duane Reade
  • Coffee shop
  • Day care
  • Medical Office

The reality?

We did get the laundry around November. Alright, but four washing machines and dryers doesn’t seem like enough for the whole building. The gym is still M.I.A., much to the chagrin of my neighbors who considered it the selling point (fortunately for them, I did see the equipment and a new door has appeared in the lobby). I know what you’re going to say Myrtle LLC, “gym to be provided by outside operator; additional fees apply.” That is unacceptable. Where I come from, someone says something, they mean it and do it. When money is involved, you have a legal obligation to carry through on your promises. Otherwise it’s called bait and switch. What about the Duane Reade? Same song? Sorry, I’ve already tuned into an internet station to listen to the songs I actually want to hear. The other stuff? Pipe dreams. I haven’t even heard one rumor that any of this will happen in the next eight months.

Do we, my fellow yuppifiers, have any recourse? Probably not. You see, conveniently none of this is in the lease, at least not mine. I’m not sure about the legal issues surrounding bait and switch, but I know there are a few lawyers under our roof who could find out.

Yes it’s a rant, but someone had to say it.

Misunderstanding Art

There’s a lot of great art in New York City.
Much of it is in the Subway. I generally am unable to comprehend exactly the message that most of it wants to convey (especially in the Lorimer station, WTF?)

In the category of art I marginally understand, I don’t have to venture far from my yuppie spaceship. Consider the following two pieces on the northwest corner of Myrtle and Nostrand.

New York Will Overcome!

New York Will Overcome!

Underground Murders

Underground Murders

From Bedstuybanana, I gather the second is a memorial.

The first to me is more interesting. What will New York overcome? A friend of mine suggested terrorism, but then I pointed out that the World Trade Center isn’t featured.

This particular phrase reminds me of one you see periodically in Texas. That of, “The South will Rise Again.” This phrase has also bewildered me throughout my youth. Rise to what? For what purpose? To reinstitute slavery? To diplomatically isolate ourselves from the United States? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Whatever its message, this art is certainly a less aggressive and more uplifting one. It’s nice to see when you walk out the door.

Now, from Beyond Bed Stuy, more crazy art!

A Japanese Racoon
Kenka, the Japanese raccoon on St. Marks. Can you conquer the Curry Challenge*?This is art from Matt Siren. Some of his work was mentioned in New York magazine recently. I think it’s cool how the girl is featured on the helmets of the robot pharaohs.

Matt Siren door

*Possible? Yes, I have seen it done. Believable? No.

This post is not about Ron Paul.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it is because he‘s too red state.

No, this post is about Hillary


and Obama.


Why Hillary and Obama you ask? Well ‘h’ is before ‘o’ in the alphabet.

But seriously folks, the immediate area around everyone’s favorite yuppie spaceship is polling in favor of Obama.

Obama at Cafe Naico

Cafe Naico apparently likes Obama. The first Obama photo was from the convenience store on the corner of Myrtle and Nostrand. For those keeping score, that’s

  1. Obama : 2
  2. Hillary : 0.

Where’s the Hillary love y’all?

Hillary with a sad expression on her face

In any case, the scene at Union Square today was more interesting, with this guy (apparently unaware he is preaching to the choir)

Your signs are corporate!

and the Obama

Obama Supporters

and Hillary


pep rallies going on.

This is a serious, not rhetorical question: Would you be swayed by some merry men (and women) yelling louder about their candidate than another slightly softer group yelling for their candidate?

You don’t have to answer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t, but it’s a serious question nonetheless.

I do have to admit, the Obama camp did have better cheers, but the Hillary camp had the experience, so it’s really a beautiful microcosm of the whole race set right here in Union Square.

I’m not saying any more in this post because this mission is too important for me to allow myself to jeopardize it.

There is still time to choose.

In this week’s iteration of New York magazine, we get a look at the crime in 2007 and how it has changed since the early nineties. And yes, they point out that Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the places where crime is moving contrary to the city-wide trend. But! But, it’s not the worst Brooklyn has to offer, which from my understanding is a move in the right direction. Some say gentrification is to blame, others say it is the solution. One thing that is certain is that we have a chance to make a difference in 2008.

I believe in free will. Hence it is my opinion that my choices control the universe. Your (if you indeed exist) choices shape yours. The more you let other people make choices for you, the less the universe will look as you like it. With this in mind, I feel the best part of the entire series of articles is the following quote:

Now is a very good moment to consider the kind of city New York should be in the future, and the kind we don’t want it to be.

As I’ve said before, it’s hard to understand people even when they speak the same language as you. So if something someone says offends you, choose not to engage him. Think about if he really meant it as an offense. If they didn’t, you have saved yourself a lot of trouble by not engaging them. If he did, well he’s a jerk, but here you have an opportunity to reveal how much less of a jerk you are. Imagine what your girlfriend would think about that. If she doesn’t appreciate it, well maybe she would rather be with a jerk in which case I suggest you introduce them to each other.

I would also like to repeat some advice once given by Benjamin Franklin. He proposed it as a way to become wealthy, but it is versatile enough to be applied to more than just monetary gain. That is, cut your bad behavior in half. Want to kill that guy because he disrespected you or your girlfriend? Think twice. Choose to forgive. Save it for the next guy. Hopefully not many people will get to the next guy, but even if they did and followed this advice, there would still be only half the murders there would have been otherwise.

Let’s do good and make dying less of an option in Bed-Stuy 2008 together. Happy New Years!

Do good in 2008 Bed-Stuy

Open 24 hours*

I would like to share some information which may potentially be useful to people living in this neighborhood in the future.

In most places I have been, if a business claims to be open 24 hours, it means that you can transact business at any time, day or night. Often in the wee hours of the morning, you may have only one person running the place or be otherwise inconvenienced, but actually doing business is not hindered. On days which this is not the case notification is prominently placed on points of entry.

Today I realized that in Bed-Stuy, this is not what is meant by ‘Open 24 hours’.

Most of the places in the area surrounding my block close pretty early, but a few convenience stores claim to be open 24 hours a day. Today I put myself in the unfortunate situation of testing this claim. Sadly for me it turned out to be false.

At around 4:15 AM I went looking for an ATM. I had called a car to take me to the airport at 4:30 (I’m writing this on the plane going back to Texas for Christmas) from Myrtle Car service, but I had spent the last of the cash I had on me a few hours earlier. I think that when I arrived at the yuppie mothership around 2:00 my bodega of choice was still open. At that point I assumed I could get some cash out of the ATM just before the car arrived and all would be set. I went to open the door to find that sadly, it was locked. At this point I sprinted to the other end of the block to check the other stores which also claimed to be open 24 hours. They weren’t open either. So I ran back to the first one just to see if anyone was in there, and I saw a cashier counting money, but I determined he wasn’t opening up at this hour.

Then the hue of my fortune changed. I was approached by ‘Tiger’ who had seen me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. He was a really nice beggar who said that in life you have to take it easy and calm down once in a while. He then proceeded to lead me through a breathing exercise. I wasn’t terribly frustrated, and I only half-heartedly did what he said (the car had just pulled up so I needed to check with the driver about finding an ATM), but I really appreciate what he was trying to do. Whenever you feel anxious or frantic, breathing helps. A lot.

After the breathing, he told me his obligatory sad story with the faint scent of beer on his breath. He indicated that he was recently laid off, gets nagged by his wife and has four kids. Clearly this combination is not easy to manage financially. His knowledge of methods of finding inner peace was beginning to make sense.

But, we both knew the score, he wanted money and I am an easy mark. But unlike most other people I meet that fit this description, he wanted to help me and actually had information that I needed — the location of an available ATM.

He was very exuberant and helped me with my bags. I packed light, but just the same it’s the thought that counts. Incidentally the Myrtle Car service driver was cool with taking me to an ATM to get the cash I needed, so there will be no need for running around crazy-like next time. Tiger got in with the driver and me and directed us to the nearby gas station’s ATM. Now my fortune seemed to be brightening, the ATM was working. The driver offered to give me some change and I gave Tiger some dough and he went through the also-obligatory thanking Jesus for my “generosity”. Tiger is a nice guy and lives in the neighborhood and he told me that I will see him around more often. That’s fine by me.

After this, the cab driver told me that he too resided nearby and that having a good report with men like Tiger was a good thing. He also mentioned that there were fewer bad guys around these days. I then enjoyed light mariachi music all the way to the airport.

So what did I learn?

  • 24 hours should come with an asterisk on nearby shops.
  • The gas station is open 24 hours.
  • The Myrtle Car service is great and operates at a consistently high quality 24 hours
  • Don’t spend all your cash two hours before going to the airport, nimrod.

I hope this helps you in the future when you are in Bed-Stuy at four in the morning, in need of cash and not fortunate enough to run into Tiger.

Merry Christmas Internet. Merry Christmas Tiger.