Bay Ridge to get our own Jersey Shore reality show. Lucky us.

Posted by Steve on Sun, 03/04/2012 - 5:41pm

If you ask anyone on the streets of Bay Ridge about Oxygen Network's upcoming Brooklyn 11223 reality show you'll get a blank stare.  Nobody's heard of it.  While it's been filming around Bay Ridge since last September, there have been a lot of Hollywood crews around here lately, from the TV shows Pan Am, Blue Bloods and Law & Order SVU to feature films like White Irish Drinkers and Cop Out.  It was easy for it to get lost in the crowd of bigger budget productions.

But when you tell those folks what the show is about, guess what?  Same blank stare.  Nobody really cares, except for the politicians and community leaders that is.  For them, this show is an affront to Bay Ridge and what The Sopranos was to Italian-Americans.  I can't believe the backlash against it, which has even reached the pages of Huffington Post.  I haven't seen outrage like this since William Friedkin's gay serial killer movie, Cruising, back in the 1980s.  Local bloggers are swinging at shadows, protests have been organized by community groups, advertiser boycotts have been threatened... all of which, of course, serve only to increase the buzz for a low-budget show on a lightly-watched network.  To my knowledge, nobody has actually seen the show.

Premiering on Oxygen on Monday, March 26 at 11PM ET/PT, Brooklyn 11223 is supposed be a "voyeuristic look" into the lives of a group of vapid twentysomething girls whose once rock-solid friendships have been torn apart by betrayal. From the early PR sheet, it "follows the story of two groups of girls fighting a turf war to rule Bay Ridge. Who will win is uncertain, but the stakes have never been higher."  Priceless.

My 15ms Of Fame

Posted by Steve on Sat, 02/25/2012 - 12:29am

At the end of August last year, there were reports of the Google Street Views car being seen around the neighborhood.  For the half dozen or so people on the planet who don't know what Street View is, it's a terrific value-added feature that the Google Maps folks created by photographing many if not most of the primary and secondary streets around the world.  Using Street View you can not only see a satellite view of your location but actual cached photos.

It's also rather hard to miss the Google car as it's about as subtle as a Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.

Besides a paint job that looks like a cross between a Peter Max-themed commune bus and a parted-out Toyota Prius Hybrid it's got a six foot mast on its roof with a device on top that looks like it came from War of the Worlds.   It's actually a high-definition camera with 15 lenses and a Class 1 laser range finding device.

Anyway, I was leaving the Owls Head Park dog run with the pooches one morning when I saw the Google car cruising down 68th St in Brooklyn.  I assumed that it would probably hit my street in the next 15 minutes so I hustled home to sit on the stoop and see it close up.  I was trying to think of some clever goof I could do for the camera.   Over the years, Street View's cameras have captured everything from rennaissance sword fights and naked people to arrests in progress and even dead bodies.   It would be hard to top that so I figured I would just bow to it as it passed.  Something completely lame like that.

The dogs and I waited on my stoop for 15 minutes before my ADD kicked in and I decided to change the oil in my motorcycle in the garage instead. 

As I was warming up the engine, an elderly lady stopped on the sidewalk and extended pleasantries with me.  With the motorcycle still idling, I grabbed the leaf blower and started sweeping the sidewalk.   With a 700+ pound motorcycle, I like maximum traction with the sidewalk as I pull that monster out of the garage.

And that was the moment that the Google car chose to arrive.  I gave it a quick wave, but was a little too late I'm afraid.  But she didn't miss it.

Got three estimates? Get three more.

Posted by Steve on Mon, 10/31/2011 - 12:30am

A couple of weeks ago, I did my annual pre-heating season ritual of flushing my 42 year-old Weil-McLain steam boiler in preparation for the ceremonial relighting of the pilot light.  I learned later from a plumber that you shouldn't flush a cold boiler because the fresh incoming water will leave chemical deposits.  It was academic in this case however because the boiler drained dry.

WTF?  The low water cutoff (LWCO)/autofeed should have replenished the boiler with fresh water.  It didn't.  Granted, the LWCO looks like some sort of World War 2-era device and it had never been serviced since I bought the house so I wasn't surprised that it had failed.  I called the most knowledgeable plumber I knew in the neighborhood.  If ever there was a plumbing geek, it's him.  He even collects old boiler doors as a hobby.  But he also has a reputation for both being very expensive and very hard-to-get.  He even charges for estimates.

True to his rep, it took a week to get him to my place.  When he arrived he stared at the boiler and the LWCO for about sixty seconds and said it would cost $1500 to replace the LWCO.  But he didn't recommend it.  He pointed me to several areas of rust and some funky insulation on the boiler and said that it probably wouldn't last the heating season.  Furthermore, if he replaced the LWCO it wouldn't be compatible with any new boiler he would install so I would be throwing away $1500.

He opened a nicely bound, four color catalog of boilers and showed me what I needed: a new boiler.  He showed me the price printed next to it: $6558!  He could see the blood draining from my face and reminded me that that was the installed price.  But I would also need a new autofeed ($700) and $200 to pay an electrician to hook up the existing two-wire BX to the emergency cut-off switch.  The numbers kept building to the final cost: $7400!  If there are no unexpected problems, that is.  Then he handed me a bill for $54.38 for the estimate before leaving me to deal with the same problem I called him about.


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