A Q&A With Greenpoint’s Post-Denominational Pastor


In its days as the Lutheran Church of the Messiah, the Russell Street fixture was already veering toward a looser interpretation of spirituality. It provided a haven for traditional religious services as much as it accommodated some of the more off-beat tastes of its neighbors, who helped make things like “Punk Rope” and “No Lights No Lycra” a well-known part of Greenpoint life.

Now, membership is open to anyone of any religious persuasion (including all you atheists), making Greenpoint look way ahead of Pope Francis as he graces our city today to promote tolerance and inclusivity. No longer exactly a church, but the “Park Church Co-op,” it stands as a reminder that though religion is beginning to embrace progressive ideals in a much more public way, the movement has been well underway thanks to some of the more low-profile leaders like Pastor Amy Kienzle.

Kienzle officially rebranded the church in June in a move that was largely a response to our changing demographic, even though not all members necessarily welcomed the shift. That said, the future looks bright for Kienzle and her growing community.

With this in mind, Greenpointers sat down with Pastor Amy to get the scoop about all the exciting programs her church is offering to the community these days.

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Punk Rope’s “Skip for Syria’s Children” Charity Event (9/26)

skip for Syria's childrenThe tragedies faced by Syrians now turned refugees is undeniable as many families have fled their homeland going anywhere that would accept them openly. As more and more families are displaced, it is nice to know that organizations, such as Punk Rope Games, are making an effort to provide emergency medical services for Syrian refugees. In the past, Punk Rope Games have been distinguished by hilarious costumes, wacky fitness challenges, rope jumping, and good sportsmanship. They are a celebration of play, fitness, and community and are a welcome departure in substance and style from most fitness competitions.

This year, they are combining what they are known for with a humanitarian cause.

Punk Rope’s founder, Tim Haft, has decided to donate 100% of the profits from the event’s registration fees and merch sales to the valiant efforts of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees. The 7th Annual Punk Rope Games will take place on Sat, Sept 26 from 11:30am-2pm at Newtown Barge Playground. Continue reading

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Understanding Solitary Confinement through Mariposa & the Saint, A Play for Two Nights Only

c/o Julia Steele Allen. Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play Through Letters press photo.
c/o Julia Steele Allen. Mariposa & the Saint:
From Solitary Confinement, A Play Through Letters press photo.

Tonight and tomorrow night’s performances of Julia Steele Allen’s play, Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play through Letters, begin the national tour of the one-act production. In the span of 45 minutes, we “travel with Mariposa over two and half years of her confinement in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of a California women’s prison, including into her memories and her imagination,” says Allen.

The story “reveals both the devastating effects of long-term isolated confinement, and, as [Mariposa] says: ‘the magic that comes with the struggle to keep your spirit alive.’” Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play through Letters will be at St. Paul’s Theater (334 South 5th St.) September 17th and 18th at 7:00 pm. Both showings will be followed by a 45-minute dialogue about the detrimental effects of confinement.

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Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint Battled Rain with Booze & Cupcakes and Won


This weekend, every outdoor NYC event, from the 90s Fest to the Taste Talks Barbeque, battled the kind of wicked New York rain that really unleashes its full furor when you’ve closed your umbrella for the fourth time and ventured out into the open.

This past Sunday’s Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint found its participants gamely laughing through the rain and sharing tent space with welcoming food vendors.

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Carnival Party Introducing The Gibraltar at T.B.D. this Saturday (9/19)!

Personal Invite550

The Serhant Team of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing NY is proud to introduce the carnival unveiling of The Gibraltar (160 West St) at T.B.D. Brooklyn (224 Franklin St) on Saturday, September 19 from 3pm-6pm. The carnival unveiling will include a carnival bouncy house, a dunk tank, and many more of your favorite carnival games. Food will be catered by Lobster Joint and drinks will be provided by Tito’s Vodka and Brooklyn Brewery. It’s all fun and games for this debut! Continue reading

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Townhall Meeting on Crime Happens this Wednesday


Mark your calendars, Greenpointers. On Wednesday, September 16th at 6 pm (Polish Slavic Center 176 Java Street) there will be a Town Hall meeting about the crime-related issues plaguing our neighborhood.

All the major players will be there, including Councilman Steve Levin, State Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Senator Martin Dilan, and three new VIP’s to the crew: The 94th precinct’s new Police Captain, Clay Street Homeless Shelter Operator & the new interim Parks administrator.

Sadly many of us know crime has been a major theme in Greenpoint over the past several months. The situation in North Greenpoint, particularly on Clay Street and the surrounding areas, have become downright dangerous. In the span of less than six months, there have been muggings, assaults, sexual harassment, blatant drug-dealing and worse.

For a refresher on the reported crimes just take a peek at these headlines since July:

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2nd Annual Greenpoint Arts Block Festival September 26

C/O Greenpoint Arts Block Festival. Historical photograph, Greenpoint Arts Block Festival 2014.
C/O Greenpoint Arts Block Festival. Historical photograph, Greenpoint Arts Block Festival 2014.

“It is an occasion to see what’s going on the community, meet people who have been there for thirty years and learn about its history and heritage,” says Greenpoint Arts Block Festival coordinator, Marta Pawlaczek. “It also presents an opportunity to discover new things like organizations and initiatives that offer valuable services to people.”

According to the festival’s press release, the 2nd annual neighborhood street festival “consists of various cultural, educational, and recreational events with the goal of promoting Polish and local artists, highlighting the Polish identity of Greenpoint, and integrating its old and new inhabitants.” The festival will take place on Saturday, September 26 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Leonard St. between Norman Ave. and Meserole Ave.

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Pulaski Bridge FINALLY Gets a Dedicated Bike Lane

Pulaski Bridge
Proposed Pulaski Bridge Bike Lane


If you happened to cross the Pulaski Bridge as of late, you might be wondering when we would be getting that loooong awaited dedicated bike lane. Well Greenpointers, the word is out and we won’t have to  wait much longer.  Starting September 13th, the Department of Transportation will finally begin construction.

The project, which has seen setback after setback, seems to have righted itself and commuters might have their own bike lane as early as the end of this year—might being the key word here.

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Greenpoint’s Taxi Graveyard

Photo © Emma Whitford via the Gothamist
Photo © Emma Whitford via the Gothamist

In the land of transportation woes, Greenpoint has got another thing to worry about. It’s a yellow graveyard growing on the outer-edges of Provost Street. No, these aren’t daisies growing in a cemetery; these are the remains of discarded NYC cabbies which nobody wants to claim.

For a good part of the year, this graveyard has crept outside of the crowded taxi dispatch, McGuiness Management Corporation, located on the corner of McGuiness Boulevard and Huron Street and continues to grow outwards onto the surrounding streets. With the Uber lobbyists hard at work in Albany and the infusion of green taxis making outer borough pick-ups, yellow taxis are feeling the pinch. Their carcasses can be seen snaking their way  onto Provost Street, filling up side blocks all the way from Huron down to Freeman Street.

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Boulevard Tavern to Close its Doors for the Final Time this Weekend

Image c/o @boulevardtavernbrooklyn

Sad news: Boulevard Tavern will be pulling its final pint this weekend, after 10 years of serving the neighborhood.

Owner Harold Kramer and his wife Ria started running the bar in 2005.  They reclaimed the name ‘Boulevard Tavern’ after discovering the signage underneath that of J&D’s, the bar that closed on the same site in the early 2000s.

Tragically, Ria lost her battle with cancer three years ago, and Harold has been struggling to manage the bar alone. Among the reasons he cites for closing, he says “it’s tough being a small business in NYC right now”.  Continue reading

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