Community

Massage Williamsburg is Expanding to Greenpoint

Rachel Beider, Owner of Massage Williamsburg and Massage Greenpoint
Rachel Beider, Owner of Massage Williamsburg and Massage Greenpoint

The owner of Massage Williamsburg, Rachel Beider, 32, takes a therapeutic approach to massage, specializing in pain relief and prenatal care. “New York City is stressful,” she says. “There’s an energy and you can thrive on that, but it can be exhausting as well. We aim to be a sanctuary where people can relax.”

Eight years after opening Massage Williamsburg, having served over 14,000 unique customers and clients, Rachel Beider will be expanding her business and opening a second location on Greenpoint Avenue aptly titled Massage Greenpoint. Continue reading

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Go Green! Brooklyn Festival at McCarren Park (Sat, 6/4)!

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This Saturday, June 4th (1-5PM) Go Green! Brooklyn Festival is taking over McCarren Park with a FREE celebration of the North Brooklyn Community and local environmental programs.  Park-goers can engage with and learn about sustainability initiatives while sampling local food, participating in live-action art projects, music performances, and more!

Fun Activities will include: Continue reading

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A Conversation on Reducing Food Waste: “Just Eat It!” Screening at the Park Church Co-Op

©Peg Leg Films – Scene from Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story
©Peg Leg Films – Scene from Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

Attending a screening of a food documentary may feel unnecessary because America’s poor diet and over-reliance on processed foods is now a big loud national conversation. Words like local, organic, sustainable, farm to table, fresh, whole, raw, and clean are ubiquitous descriptors for how we aspire to eat. But rather then fetishizing a carefully curated diet, The Park Church Co-op and Down to Earth Farmers Markets recently partnered to host a different kind of food discussion. Both groups share an interest in examining the ethically questionable practices surrounding food distribution. On Sunday May 22nd they chose to screen “Just Eat It!” The documentary’s call-to-arms statistic: Americans waste 40% of our food. Continue reading

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Goodbye, Old Neighborhood Store. Hello, Increased Population Density!

Screen shot 2016-05-28 at 11.24.35 AMScreen shot 2016-05-28 at 11.26.45 AM

For generations, J. Joseph & Sons was a local business that occupied the entire block on Manhattan Avenue between Eagle and Freeman Streets.

Three generations ago, when Greenpointers could only afford furniture and electrical appliances in installments, the business thrived by trusting people with store credit. With its iconic orange and blue neon sign, the store became part of the fabric of local life. Though it changed hands, it did so within the family, and the owners kept the business alive even as Greenpointers began to buy more and more of their furniture and appliances elsewhere. In the back of the store, you can still see where the owner hung a portrait of his great-grandfather, the original founder.

But consider the basic math: the store was doing less business as the value of the land it stood on skyrocketed.

Recently, the owners finally cashed in their chips, reportedly selling the store for $18.5 million last November. Goodbye old neighborhood store; hello, new studios and one-bedroom apartments.

The plan is to build 90 apartments in a seven-story structure and to create more than 12,000 square feet of commercial space.

The new building is part of the boom that is transforming North Greeenpoint. Soon, the area will have several thousand new residents, which will add to the existing burden on the transportation, sewage, and water infrastructure. The sleepy North end of the area will see a spike in traffic and more riders on the already overburdened G Train.

The familiar old family store that helped its customers buy the furniture and appliances they needed will soon be just a memory.

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Everything You Need to Know As Development Prepares to Go Full-Throttle in Greenpoint

A rendering of a high-rise coming to Greenpoint Landing (via Brookfield Property Partners and Park Tower Group)
A rendering of a high-rise coming to Greenpoint Landing (via Brookfield Property Partners and Park Tower Group)

If the trucks, dust, and noise of recent months haven’t been self-evident enough, the Northwest corner of Greenpoint is now bracing itself for more of the above.

In a meeting held Tuesday between developers, city officials, and community representatives, Council Member Stephen Levin attested to the notion that we’re more or less exiting the warmup phase of the current development cycle and heading for the main event.

“The reality is that the pace of development has sped up over the last six months to a year,” he said. “Even since we first start meeting, the pace of development has really accelerated. That’s because the economy’s doing well, banks are lending, developers are getting in the ground, and things are moving.”

Organized by Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), the meeting gave residents an opportunity to ask some tough questions and hear a slightly more unscripted perspective from developers.

Hot topics included Greenpoint Landing, the West Street project (what’s the deal with all those missing trees?), environmental remediation at NuHart, and the not-so-promising future of Greenpoint’s parking situation. The aftermath of the infamous Halloween rave also received some airtime (for those curious, fines will be levied, but the amount is still undetermined).

nuhartThat construction is inevitable (and that it’s inevitably a nuisance) is hardly breaking news, but it seems as though residents still have a window of opportunity to air their concerns and perhaps influence the direction some of this taking. The public comment period for the Nuhart State Superfund remediation, for example, is still coming up.

In the meantime, here are a few of the latest updates from the land of jackhammers drilling into toxic soil. Continue reading

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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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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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Goodyoga Flips Teacher Payment Structure On Its Head

Goodyoga's Greenpoint Avenue Studio
Goodyoga’s Greenpoint Avenue Studio

If you’ve been to Goodyoga, you know they’re doing something right. Their app makes class sign-up easy, their down-to-earth teachers blend alignment with humor, and their prices beat everywhere else. What you may not know is that Goodyoga is promoting physical and emotional health for instructors by changing their business model.

As of the first of the year, they’re offering full-time employment with benefits to their yoga teachers. This may signal a new direction for the yoga industry, with concerned teachers and studio owners who see the current industry standard of employing teachers as Independent Contractors as broken. Meanwhile, more than one yoga studio has been audited by the Department of Labor over the practice. Continue reading

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Construction to Begin on New Greenpoint Library Later this Year

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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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Trading Waste For Abundance with Stevie Van Horn

Stevie Van Horn, Conflict Palm Oil free/Trash free/Plastic free
Stevie Van Horn, Conflict Palm Oil free/Trash free/Plastic free at Homecoming

“I love the trees in Greenpoint!” says Stevie Han Horn, 28, who moved to Brooklyn from Colorado in 2012. “Part of it makes me feel as though I’m in a small town. There are a few roads in Greenpoint that make me feel so smitten because the trees funnel the street making it extra dreamy.”

Nature lover? Sure. But when I learned that Stevie lived “trash free”, that seemed a little too hippy dippy for me. Yes, even by my standards! At first I didn’t believe her, like, is it even possible to live trash free? What does that even mean? Continue reading

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