Reading

Celebrate Independent Bookstores this Saturday (5/2)

Greenpoint's own WORD
Greenpoint’s own WORD (126 Franklin St.)

Record Store Day was two weeks ago, and by all accounts a great success. The event serves as a wonderful reminder to us to support the small independent businesses that give our neighborhood a place in the community to appreciate our passions. As a kid I used to dread the inevitable shift of conversation to music. The fact is, the cool kids knew all the cool records to talk about, and I spent far too much time with my nose in a book to keep abreast of current trends. Now, as an adult, I appreciate the little utopia I have found myself in where both records and books are considered extremely cool. And this Saturday it’s the books’ turn to be celebrated at the first ever, nationwide Indie Bookstore Day, and you better believe that North Brooklyn’s book stores will be in attendance, ready to party. Continue reading

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Famous Greenpointer: Henry Miller

Henry Miller – Greenpointer
A portrait of North Brooklynite, Henry Miller – illustrated by Rebecca Clarke

Henry Miller, born in Yorkville Manhattan in 1891, is a writer closely associated with place, but the places tend not to be New York City. Paris, Greece and Big Sur, California, home to his memorial library, are all places in time that Miller beautifully captured with his pen. But New York? In Tropic of Cancer, he writes, “When I think of this city where I was born and raised, this Manhattan Whitman sang of, a blind, white rage licks my guts. New York!” He continues with a dated and rather bigoted list of all he hates about that island, finishing with more timeless things to hate about the city: “above all, the ennui, the monotony of faces, streets, legs, houses, skyscrapers, meals, posters, jobs, crimes, loves . . .” Clearly, there was no love lost between Miller, and this great city of ours. Were we looking to draw connections between the Big Apple and Miller, it would seem we’d be best off turning to the Season 3 episode of Seinfeld that centered around an old copy of Tropic of Cancer and taught us to properly respect the library: 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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Freeloading: A Chat With Greenpoint Author Chris Ruen

You may think that internet piracy is so 90s, but Greenpoint author Chris Ruen’s new book Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Hunger For Free Content Starves Creativity makes you think twice before you steal music online. I said it – stealing. As such, the book is a great conversation (and argument) starter, as it aims to establish the relationship between consumers and artists in an age of internet disconnect.

Tonight 12/5 at 7pm, Chris Ruen will participate in a discussion with David Byrne called Music and Copyright in the Digital Era at New York Public Library or as the Village Voice puts it the two will Explain Exactly, Specifically, and Definitively Why Illegally Downloading Music Makes You A Huge Asshole.”

Before David Byrne got an interview, Chris chatted with Greenpointers at the Triple Decker. While the waitress gave Chris a hard time for not finishing his coffee, he explained that the foundation of the book is based on first hand accounts by many now famous musicians, like Frankie Rose, JB Townsend (Crystal Stilts) and Aaron Harris (Islands), whom he met while working at the Greenpoint Coffee House in 2006, the kind of place with a “customers can be wrong attitude.”

Rationalize it all you want, Chris has heard all the arguments, “bands don’t make money anyway; greedy record labels do,” “starving artists are better artists,” “bands make money on touring and merchandise.” The excuses go on and on but in the end “freeloading,” as he sugar coats it, is stealing and at some point he believes you do have to confront people and ask, “do you think you are entitled to this stuff?” Continue reading

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Show & Tell (and Trade) @ Krrb HQ, TONIGHT (11/15) FREE

In collaboration with Amazon Publishing and Brokelyn, Krrb will host the first ever Show & Tell (and Trade), hosted by Dan Kennedy of The Moth, in celebration of the author, Benjamin Anastas’ new book “Too Good to Be True”.  Anastas will also do a reading and trade a signed copy. And if that’s not enough, they’ll have beer lovingly provided by the Brooklyn Brewery and Southern deliciousness from The Fat Beagle.

RSVP NOW – It’s free and space is limited!

And if you’d like to tell a story, email jessica[at]krrb[dot]com.

Show & Tell (and Trade) @ Krrb HQ
Tonight, Thursday, November 15th, 7pm

99 Richardson Street, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11211

More about Krrb:

Krrb is a hyper-local marketplace. It brings together the best of Etsy and Craigslist while cutting out the clutter, the scammers, and the spammers.

It’s easy to use. It’s beautifully designed. And it’s highly visual interface is perfect for selling your secondhand, handmade and locally-made products. They are also the folks behind the Classifieds of the premiere home and design site, Apartment Therapy.

Check them out at Krrb.com. You just might fall in love.

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