Herewith, the final installment (for now!) of our A Lot About a Plot series, diving deep into the histories of storied addresses around town.
(Photo: Gabriel Pintado)
Sometimes he hears them whispering in the halls.
“Horrible things have happened here,” Jean Paul tells me. “There are spirits still lingering here.”
Jean Paul Chatham is a 40-year-old gay plumber from Belize, dark-skinned with a large bush of curly, Creole hair that he keeps brushing away from in front of his face. He’s lived at Umbrella House for about 14 years. When he greets me he is shirtless, wearing camouflage pants and two protective amulets on a chain around his neck. Although clearly physically fit, he keeps apologizing for his appearance. He says his face looks the way it does because the entire building is trying to cast spells on him, or “bless him with negative energy,” as he puts it.
That is not a Mucinex hallucination: I just used the words “quick and painless” about government bureaucracy. Thanks, Obama! Or: thanks, Rosie Mendez. The council member is part of a group of local officials that helped install a temporary ID NYC enrollment center in the East Village.
After finding out about the pop-up at 25 Avenue D and going online earlier this afternoon to discover there was an appointment available in just 10 minutes, I booked it and headed over there. I was in and out in about 15 minutes — no line, no wait, no nothing. All I had to do was fill out a one-page form, present the pertinent documents (in my case, a passport and a utility bill), and pose for a photo. Despite horror stories in the wake of the program’s launch about a year ago, it took me less time than it does to score a pint of Haagen Dazs at my corner bodega when there’s a drunk girl in front of me scouring her Marc Jacobs bag for nickels.
Williamsburg seems to get some shiny new thing pretty much every day, whether it’s a Whole Foods, yet another glass condo, solar-powered trash compactors, or Pat Kiernan. The latest gleaming affront to these once gritty streets: two monoliths that have risen outside of the Bedford stop. We’re not sure when exactly they materialized, but no doubt Lygeti’s “Requiem for Soprano” was playing as European tourists beat their chests and bellowed, “Brooklyn Bowl!”