Reading

In Conversation with Novelist & Playwright Nathaniel Kressen, Lead of the Greenpoint Writer’s Group

Dahlia Cassandra cover, artwork by Jessie T. Kressen
Dahlia Cassandra book cover, artwork by Jessie T. Kressen

The name Nathaniel Kressen may ring a few bells to anyone familiar with the lit scene here in Greenpoint – he’s the novelist and playwright who leads the Greenpoint Writer’s Group and is preparing to launch his second novel, Dahlia Cassandra, at the Strand Bookstore this Friday, June 17th.

His first book, Concrete Fever, was a labor of love – literally. In true renegade fashion, he and Jessie T. Kressen – his wife and the illustrator for both books – co-founded Second Skin Books and hand-bound the first 250 copies, which proved to be an indie best seller at the Strand.

They collaborated again on Dahlia Cassandra and the result is an equally stunning work that features Jessie’s dreamy artwork throughout. I spoke with Nathaniel about his upcoming book, his writing process, and what’s near and dear to his heart in Brooklyn.  Continue reading

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Construction to Begin on New Greenpoint Library Later this Year

gplibrary
Those of you who have ever laid eyes on the public library in Greenpoint know that it is a bit of an eyesore in an otherwise picturesque neighborhood. But not for long. The Greenpoint Library is about to enter a new incarnation to bring residents the modern, sustainable facility that’s increasingly necessary in an age that’s threatening to make books obsolete.

The original Greenpoint Library was constructed in 1906 and only replaced once in the 1970s due to deterioration. The current building will be replaced by a larger, more modern green building with an added environmental education center that’s due to open in the spring of 2018.

The project is being funded by a $5 million grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund and a $6,030,300 matching contribution from the Brooklyn Public Library. GCEF is a $19.5 million grant program established with the settlement funds from the ExxonMobil oil spill in Newtown Creek.

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Archestratus: A Book and Food Lover’s Sanctuary

 

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Book lovers and foodies will truly appreciate the newest addition to the neighborhood: Archestratus Books and Food. The new store is a bookshop that specifically focuses on cookbooks and books related to food, along with gifts, pens, notecards, and cooking gifts and accessories. There’s also a café in the back serving sweet and savory homemade Sicilian pastries, along with tea, coffee, beer, and wine.

The bookshop is named for Archestratus, who was a poet and philosopher, and one of the first foodies (before that was a term). Continue reading

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What Are People Reading in the Park? (McGolrick/McCarren Edition)

It’s the summer time–the weather is fine, and you could reach right up and touch the sky–or you could simply reach for a good book and hit the park. Last weekend we canvassed McGolrick Park and McCarren Park, approaching total strangers and interrupting their afternoons to ask them questions about their reading material. Join us now as we discover what the young and the restless and the literary of Greenpoint are burying their noses in this July.

WHite Noise
© JP Grace

Subject: Mike
Book: White Noise by Don DeLillo

So what’s this novel about?
I think it’s about how so much of American anxiety is created by pop culture.
Wow, that was good. You really cut to the heart of that, a lot of people just recite plot points.
[Mike’s Girlfriend: That was a great summary, babe.] Continue reading

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Van Leeuwen Flagship Store and Recipe Book Coming Soon!

van_leeuwen_icecream Image courtesy of Van Leeuwen

Spring may be off to a patchy start, but ice cream season is here regardless and local producers Van Leeuwen are on a roll right now. February saw the opening of a new store in the West Village, closely followed by the relocation of their Greenpoint outlet to a newer, bigger premises on Manhattan Avenue. Now, plans are underway for a flagship store on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, due to open mid-May.

The all-natural Greenpoint ice cream company was started in 2008 by Laura O’Neill and Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen, who set out to make ice cream using the finest possible ingredients. After initially selling their wares locally from two buttermilk-yellow ice cream trucks, rapid success soon saw them opening their own brick-and-mortar stores around NYC, and even branching out to LA, where they currently operate two trucks and have new stores in the pipeline. Their upcoming Williamsburg flagship is a marker of just how rapidly their ice cream empire has grown. Continue reading

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Reading List: 8 Books Set in North Brooklyn

If you’re looking for some new reads this year, why not start with a novel that centralizes around Greenpoint? Or Williamsburg. Bushwick, even! These eight novels focus on the lens of human experience while living in Brooklyn.
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Heliopolis Presents Poetry Reading, “Former Islands” Closes

Susan Bee
Susan Bee reads a poem by Rachel Levitsky ©Emily Greenberg

Coinciding with the closing of its “Former Islands” exhibition, Heliopolis held a poetry reading in its gallery space this past Sunday, June 29. An earlier reading took place last Saturday.

Founded in 2008, the small artist-run space lent a casual, cozy atmosphere to the readings by writers Christine Larusso, Ian Dreiblatt, Rachel Levitsky, and Carolyn Lazard, as well as two of their artistic collaborators, Alison Kobayashi and Susan Bee. Audience members, many of whom participated in the “Former Islands” exhibition, crouched on the gallery floor sipping beers and mingling with friends. In between readings, there were informal exchanges between the artists, writers, and curators. Continue reading

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Brooklyn Food Writing Book Group Launch (06/28)

Eating_Wildly_Ava_Chin_Word_GreenpointLooking for something tasty to read during this afternoon’s picnic in the park?

Why not head along to Word and pick up a copy of Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal?

Written by former NY Times Urban Forager Ava Chin, the food memoir tracks the author’s childhood in Flushing, Queens and reveals how foraging and the DIY-food movement later teaches her important lessons in self-reliance as she immerses herself in the natural produce of Prospect and Central Parks—discovering delectable mushrooms, mulberries, and fellow foragers along the way.

The book is being sold at a 10% discount in preparation for the launch of the BK Food Writing Book Group next Saturday, where author Ava Chin will be present to talk about her book. Continue reading

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Abridged Greenpointer’s Father’s Day Gift Guide

Need some father’s day gift inspiration? There’s plenty of cool stuff to give right here in your own backyard!  Here’s a short list of ideas (which is admittedly in no way comprehensive, as there are so many more awesome small businesses here in north Brooklyn, so feel free to add to the list of ideas in the comments section).

1. Tacos, La Norteña / Vamos Al Tequila  2. Fine craft beers, Brouwerij Lane  3. Engraved biz card case, In God We Trust  4. Nice new comb, Chopin Chemists  5. Vintage VHS, The Thing  6. Slice of pizza, Vinnie’s / Franklin Pizza  7. Fine colognes, Old Hollywood  8. Coveralls, Pop’s Popular Clothing  9. Succulants (a.k.a. plants that require minimal care), Homecoming (formerly known as Spina)  10. Donut, Peter Pan  11. Delicious cheeses and Keta candy, Eastern District  12. Sweet shades, Alter  13. A funny old tshirt, People of 2Morrow  14. Fancy and rare spirits, Duke’s Liquor Box  15. Beach tote, M. Carter  16. Pour over coffee maker, Budin  17. A nice rosé, Dandelion Wine  18. Polish chocolates, Slodycze Wedel  19. A whole, fresh fish, Pura Vida Stand at McCarren Park Greenmarket  20. Stool for sitting and pondering, Bklyn Curated  21. Basketball, BQ Sports  22. Cool kicks, Wolves Within  23. Vintage vinyl, Permanent Records / Academy Records / Co-op 87 / Records Grouch  24. Portable bike pump and other biking accessories, Silk Road Cycles / B’s Bikes / Greenpoint Bikes  25. Bobbers and other fishing accessories, Dream Fishing Tackle  26. Polish sausages, smoked meats, and pickles, Nassau Meat Market / Mazur Meak Market (and so many more!)  27. A good book, like this one about the Pogues, Word. 

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

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Learn Something: Book of Advice Edited by Greenpoint Filmmaker

This post made possible by an anonymous donation to our Writer’s Fund from Greenpoint Area Man.
Greenpoint based filmmaker Jessica Edwards knows that she can learn a lot from her fellow filmmakers and believes you can too.

She is currently using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to help realize her latest project TELL ME SOMETHING, a photography and creative advice book from fifty of the world’s best documentary filmmakers.

Jessica says:

Documentary filmmakers are a rare breed, they’re creative, persistent, they’re master storytellers and each film they make is like a graduate degree in their chosen subject. Some of them have spent over 60 years making films, and along the way they’ve learned a lot about how to balance life and art.  They’ve got insightful advice for people in any creative field.

Her campaign is about 50% realized as of the date this post goes up. I personally think helping local Brooklyn makers of all types is a good and easy way to help create culture and unity. This will be my eighth Kickstarter project I’ve funded and it’s always great to be a part of someone’s fully realized goals.

And for $40 you get a beautiful book. Continue reading

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