Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Per Wikipedia:  Sing Sing Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison[2] operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services in the town of Ossining, New York.  It is located about 30 miles north of New York City on the bank of the Hudson River.

I lied.  In an earlier blog, I painted my life as being (one reader observed) "Rockwellian" in nature.  And, for the most part - it was.  But, for whatever reason, my parents couldn't wait to ship me off to my Aunts every weekend, to Ossining N.Y.

Though it was only ten miles away, it may as well have been on another planet.  My Aunts' house was right on the bank of the Hudson River, actually a tributary to it - and across from Sing Sing Prison.  It was the epitome of the word: 'Ghetto'.  Though omnipresent, we rarely talked about the prison itself.  It was like the proverbial elephant in the room;  We were taught that if we heard the siren sound, it was signaling that an inmate had escaped, and we were to drop whatever we were doing, and run home - only to remain in the house, under lock and key, until the prisoner (s) were caught.  As a child, I didn't know how to feel about that.  I guess I was supposed to think it was normal, like the garbage everyone dumped behind her house.  Like the stench which permeated her property because of what people poured in the 'river' behind her home.  Like how we could never go to the store alone, we always had to travel in groups (preferably with boy escorts, and not to flirt with, either).

I guess I know this is wrong (my current living conditions), because I've already endured it - in an earlier life.  And, I remember how much I dreaded going to my Aunts house, and how grateful I was to return home Sunday night - no matter how dysfunctional it was.

The funny thing is, now Ossining has been gentrified somewhat, enough for my (white) step-sister to feel comfortable living there, and raising her kids there.  Life is funny.  30 years ago, you couldn't have paid her to visit Ossining, yet now she lives there.  That's hilarious to me.

Ask her - and of course she'll say it doesn't matter, nothing matters.  She makes enough money to insulate her from the horrors of Sing Sing, and the stench and fear it evokes.  I guess it also helps that there are plans being finalized as I write this - to convert the prison into a museum.  Aaaaahhhhhh..... Capitalism at it's best......

And so, yes - we've come full circle to money, and the fact that if you have enough of it - you can see things you want to see, and you can afford NOT to see the things you don't.  That's what I want - the luxury of having the choice NOT to live next to a swamp, or across from a landfill - or down the street from a prison - if I don't want to.    That's what I want.


  1. Karen Jutkiewicz 7:12pm May 15
    To whom it may concern:

    I am a tenant at the old Colony Housing Development Here in South Boston. I am writing to you with a story that I feel should be Publicized to the Public and in hope that you could assist us.

    I as a tenant live in a Handy Cap Building along with a tenant who is bed ridden, and another in a wheel chair. I am an 80 Year old lady who walks with a cane and in sever pain all the time. This Development is supposed to be low income Public housing Federally Funded as well as state and city. And it is sad to say us tenants here in the Development are going without heat, Hot water and Security. we live on the first floor in a brick Building right over the Maintenance department with Cement floors and no insulation in the walls . we have no heat under us or inside the apartment. our Apartment is right by the main entrance of the Building that other tenants leave wide open at all times so we get a draft from the main entrance as well as from the Basement when the maintenance department have the doors open the cold gets in and the floors get real cold. we are unable to turn any heat on to get the chill out of the Apartment because housing keeps shutting the Boilers down leaving us without any access to any heat at all. we still have cold nights and mornings along with rainy damp days and nights which leaves us in need of heat. by the Massachusetts landlord rights and
    Responsibilities through the consumer Affairs of the state of Massachusetts it states that heat must be Available in every room at all times from September 16th through June 14th. But yet they keep shutting the Boilers down. When we call in to request heat they ignore our request all together that we have had to call Mayor Menino's hotline number as well as Senator Lynches office with no satisfaction that I had to call Mayor Menino at his home of residence before we had gotten any heat. But then the very next day they shut the heat off again on us and have not had any form of heat since then. The Elderly/Disabled tenants who are not able to move around to keep warm are in need of the heat. And because of this heat situation the Elderly/Disabled are susceptible to catching Pneumonia which could cause death. I myself have had to go into bed fully dressed with socks on as well as a bathrobe and the blankets just to get warm. along with the no heat situation we have no security at all in the Building. the main entrance to the Building is left wide open day/night we have rats getting into the halls, we have people in and out at all hours hanging in the halls upstairs and with all the home invasions, murders, and etc. the poor Elderly/Disabled are unable to defend themselves. complaints have been made to housing Maintenance as well as management and these complaints have been ignored . we have other complaints and concerns as well but these (the ones i just mentioned) are the most important to us as tenants. with all this funding they receive why should the tenants who are paying rent be denied their necessities?

    I would like to thank you for taken the time to read my letter and in hopes that you could be of assistance to us tenants

    thank you sincerely from

    A South Boston Tenant

    P.S. After thought we have been into the Boston Housing Courts as well in regard to our complaints and we feel that the housing courts take the side of the Housing Management and their Attorney over the Tenants who cannot seem to get an Attorney to Represent them.
    a few seconds ago · Like

  2. I have been having nothing but problems with the housing manager of old colony housing development here in south Boston Mass that is part of the Boston Housing Authority/housing and urban development. from before even moving in to the development to be honest but since i did move it i have numerous written complaints to the manager Wanda Roldan and each complaint has been ignored. complaints consist of safety and security, disturbing of the peace,selling and doing drugs in the hall ways of the Building,traffic in and out at all hours, kids knocking on our apartment door and running away. kids running in and out of the Building screaming and slamming doors, kids throwing trash all over in the halls in front of my apartment door, leaving the main entrance door wide open at all times freezing us out and infesting us with Black Flies in the warm weather. and now we have had racial remarks made to us , threats on my life, knife pulled on my son, Rocks thrown at my son and the dog, and still the Manager Wanda Roldan IGNORED these complaints. this happened back on August 22,2012 and here it is December 23,2012 and these tenants are NOT EVICTED and the housing Authority has a zero tolerance policy . now i understand that the manager is taken the side of these tenants and refused to do a re certification of my lease and is giving me 30 days to get out. NOW IF THAT IS NOT DISCRIMINATION !