A New Jail for Greenpoint?

Not very likely. However, there has been talk in recent weeks of a new satellite jail being built in Greenpoint to compensate for a proposed closure of Rikers Island.  The idea to close the city’s main jail complex is nothing new – it was first presented a decade ago by the then-commissioner of the New York City Correction Department, Martin F. Horn. Horn envisioned closing down the troubled Rikers facility and rehousing thousands of inmates in new state-of-the-art facilities built in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Recently, the former Brooklyn Union Gas Company location at 287 Maspeth Avenue has been scouted as a possible location for a new jail.

Photo via the New York Times
Photo via the New York Times

The New York Times has been following this story for years and has several articles documenting the struggle that is Rikers Island. The dilapidated jails, built on a landfill, are not structurally stable and are prone to flooding and other issues. In addition to the environmental concerns, Rikers has a pretty serious culture of violence (one that goes both ways). An investigation by the Times reported several cases of brutality against mentally ill inmates, which currently make up nearly 40 percent of the Rikers population. These incidents included gang assaults by officers that resulted in serious injuries.

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A Greenpoint Landmark Keeps on Ticking

Greenpoint_Landmark_Clock
Photo: Megan Penmann

As Greenpoint changes it becomes increasingly important to maintain our links to the past. One of the iconic features of Greenpoint is a permanent piece of street furniture: the large mounted cast iron clock on Manhattan Avenue between Meserole and Norman. The clock is called “The Bomelstein Clock” and it is the last street clock in Brooklyn and one of only four that survive in the city. The clock is not going anywhere—in 1981 it was designated a landmark. Continue reading

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The Brothers Buoy and The Brooklyn Label

Jackson Cook and Graham Burns, also known as The Brothers Buoy. photo: Lizzie Shipley.
Jackson Cook and Graham Burns, also known as The Brothers Buoy. Photo: Lizzie Shipley.

“Cheese is a state of mind,” Graham Burns and Jackson Cook muse over a rich lunch of croque monsieur, steak frites and avocado toast with pickled spicy mango at The Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin St.). The food-obsessed Greenpoint duo, who go by The Brothers Buoy*, tell me they originally met filming an episode of Nickelodeon’s Legends of The Hidden Temple. Sadly, they weren’t dexterous enough under pressure to assemble the Shrine of the Silver Monkey, and lost the game. Later they admit the tale is fictional, funnier and more captivating than how they actually met—working at Apple. And no, they’re not actual brothers.

But the fake backstory, and their mutual love of all things cheese reveals how often their tongues are planted firmly in their cheeks while simultaneously tasting delicious foods. If you’ve never seen their Instagram account, it’s a food blog—beautifully-shot photography paired with unapologetic writing. To them, food is a sexy beast waiting to be conquered, and they’ve got a voracious appetite that shows through their images and words. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Studio Visit with Leon Reid IV

Leon Reed IV with Load Paintings, Tech-Art: Soul For Technology
Leon Reid IV with Load Paintings, Tech-Art: Soul For Technology

You may know Leon Reid IV through his street art or public art and now he has a new body of work conceived and developed in his Greenpoint studio over the last five years. Recently, I caught up with Leon at his studio to talk art, technology, and what it means to combine the two. Continue reading

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Weekend Art Roundup: May 20-22

 

 Work by Karen Marston exhibited in Demeter's Wrath

Work by Karen Marston exhibited in Demeter’s Wrath

Karen Marston – Demeter’s Wrath
at Owen James Gallery

Karen Marston is a painter focused on the fundamental contradiction of natural phenomena, the pairing of powerful terror with majestic beauty. Her large-scale oil paintings portray this strength at its extremes: tornadoes, forest fires, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions. While many of these events have occurred naturally throughout the history of the Earth, they have also been exacerbated by the influence humans have on the environment.

Opening Reception: Friday May 20th, 6-8 PM
at Owen James Gallery
61 Greenpoint Ave, #315 Continue reading

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Weekend Music: Day Job, Night Vision (5/20 – 5/23)

Why do you work all day at a job that is not your true calling?

For cash, of course. Or maybe stock options.

My day job pays the bills, but I also get to go to fun places sometimes for it too. Got to go to Alabama once.

It was great. “Where’s the best bar in this town?” I asked someone in Eufala, AL.

“Airport Lounge. They got shacks in the back.” In case you are not up on your South, that means ladies of the night are available.

Not my thing, but heading for Japan on Sunday, bizness class. Before my next brush with the picaresque, here’s the weekend music calendar, with a bonus entry for Monday night to help transition you back to the work week. Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s WWII Prisoner of War Camp and a Forbidden Love

Screen shot 2016-04-29 at 7.00.17 AM

One of the things I did while researching my local history book Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past was talking to as many Greenpoint seniors as I could. They have repeatedly told me a story I cannot document, but must be true—Greenpoint hosted an Italian prisoner of war camp during the second World War.

Other Greenpoint amateur historians doubt the existence of the camp and say simply, “Prove it.” I can’t, although I have searched extensively. If, on the one hand I cannot document the existence of the camp, then, on the other hand we cannot dismiss the memories of a dozen older Greenpointers either.

The camp was at Dupont Street and Franklin where the Greenpoint Playground is today. Old timers recall guards, a wire fence and barges where the hundreds of Italians lived. One of the seniors commented to me, “They may have been prisoners, but they had a million dollar view of the New York skyline.” Continue reading

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Films on the Green Returns to Transmitter Park This Summer

Crowd watching a film in Transmitter Park, last summer.
Crowd watching a film in Transmitter Park, last summer.

One of the area’s brightest summer events, Films on the Green will be returning to Greenpoint’s WNYC Transmitter Park to project two films ‘en plein air’.

An initiative of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, the FACE Foundation and the City of New York Parks & Recreation, Films on the Green Films is unique among the myriad of free movie screenings attracting cineastes to NY green spaces every summer, as each year the series presents a free and fresh sampling of French films around a given theme.

This year, as part of the Tandem Paris-New York, a cultural partnership between the cities of New York and Paris including a music festival, film, art, and other events, running between June and October 2016, Films on the Green presents classic and contemporary films that, “present the diversity of Paris, its inhabitants, landscapes, and cultures”.

Greenpointers can view two classic French films projected alongside an unmatched East River view of Manhattan, when Luc Besson’s ‘Subway’ screens June 24th and François Truffaut’s ‘400 Blows’ on July 1st. Continue reading

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Tommy James: DJ & Live Music Curator for Good Room

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 7.31.40 PMAt first Tommy James, DJ and live music curator at Good Room on Meserole Avenue, comes off as just another humble British expat living in Greenpoint. Only upon researching this piece did I discover his many musical accomplishments. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that in some circles Tommy James is even something of a legend, but one thing is certain: success has not jaded him, nor dimmed his passion for music. And it’s this passion for music that has helped make Good Room an epic venue for live music.

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Renegade Craft Fair, Real Cool Times, Triskelion Gala – What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (5/18–5/24)

There are more events in our weekly calendarSubmit Greenpoint events, too!

13254290_1037112079716342_8570134165112949629_nWEDNESDAY 5/18
^ Book Launch: Shrill @ Word (126 Franklin St) 7pm, FREE, Celebrate the launch of Seattle-based writer, editor, and performer Lindy West’s memoir, More info
 Real Cool Times @ Troost (1011 Manhattan Ave) 9pm, FREE, Musician, artist, and longtime Greenpoint resident Dylan Ewing spins an eclectic mix of musical delights, More info

main_fit_300THURSDAY 5/19
# Tracing North Brooklyn’s Polish Food Heritage @ MoFAD Lab (62 Bayard St) 6:30pm, $16, A panel discussion moderated by educator Annie Hauck-Lawson and featuring urban anthropologist Filip Stabrowski and local business owner Andrew Konopka, More info
* Performancy Forum @ Panoply Performance Lab (104 Meserole St) 8pm, FREE, With Michael Reinsch, Jennifer Williams, Florence Nasar, and Uniska Wahala Kano, RSVP

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