Community

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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The Participatory Budgeting Results Are In!

Councilmember Stephen Levin discusses participatory budgeting.
Councilmember Stephen Levin discusses participatory budgeting.

Earlier this spring, the office of Stephen Levin, Greenpoint’s council member, provided the opportunity for residents to vote for how the district’s money would be used for community projects during the upcoming year.

The results from the community vote are in! Below are the projects that District 33 chose. The ones directly affecting Greenpoint are in bold. As construction information unfolds, check back with Greenpointers for more details. All quotes courtesy of Stephen Levin’s newsletter. Continue reading

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Matthew Ward: An Artist at Home in Greenpoint

Matthew Ward at his home studio. Photo: Dobrinka Salzman
Matthew Ward at his home studio. Photo: Dobrinka Salzman

Matthew Ward recognizes that ceramics are having a moment of great popularity, but that is not what brought him to the art form. Around five years ago, the painter decided to try his hand, literally, at something new and began to learn the process of creating ceramics. For Ward, working with clay is satisfying because it allows him to combine the elements of painting that he enjoys — design and problem solving — with the fun of sculpting.

Works by Matthew Ward
Works by Matthew Ward

Clay has become Ward’s primary medium as he crafts most of his pieces on the potter’s wheel and hand-builds a few. He uses the eye he honed as a painter as he designs each piece, etching into its surface. The products of this process are a variety of simple —but not simplistic — forms marked with loosely geometric and primitive patterns, in rich but subdued colors. Ward strives to create what he calls “fine art pottery”, pieces that he feels will stand the test of time, ones that he hopes will be valued by their owners and passed from one generation to the next. Continue reading

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FREE SOD!! Available for Pick-Up Tomorrow!! (Sat, 6/11, 5:30PM)

FreeSod

Williamsburg Walks is back and will be giving away FREE SOD again this year! It will be ready for pick up on Saturday, June 11th on Bedford Ave along the following blocks:

N.9-N.10th – 2 pallets available!
N.8-N.9th – 1 available!
N.6-N.7th – 1 pallet available!
N.6-N.5th – 4 pallets available!

Anyone who wants it should arrive around 5:30pm to start packing it up. There will be no thru traffic on Bedford so you will need to park at one of the cross streets.

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Thursday Spotlight: Caroline Z. Hurley Finds a Home Away from Home in Greenpoint

Caroline is a painter and traveler; Caroline Z Hurley is a home-ware company based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Caroline is a painter and traveler; Caroline Z Hurley is a home-ware company based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Caroline Z. Hurley is an artist who is deeply inspired by place, so it makes sense that she chose to set up shop in Greenpoint, where she now mingles the energy of the neighborhood with impressions of far flung locations.

A visit to her new shop/studio, tucked into a small storefront at 155 Freeman Street, reveals a bright and calming space that neatly displays contemporary wares and Hurley’s chic textiles. Drenched in white, the shop feels like a calm haven. Not only does the zen-like space showcase Hurley’s beautiful textiles, but also her skillful, artistic eye for design. Continue reading

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Say Hello to Dobbin St. – Opening Tonight! (6/7)

Dobbin St. Events Space
Dobbin St. Events Space

Have you notice the new bright blue building on Dobbin Street? Now is your chance to see the inside!

Dobbin St. Events Space
Dobbin St. Events Space

Tonight they’re opening their doors for their premiere event, an open house for friends and neighbors to visit this new 8,500 sq.ft. events space. From 6:30pm-8:30pm they’ll be serving wine while projecting the live stream of nearby DJ collective and cafe The Lot Radio. Continue reading

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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)!

GoGreenBrooklyn2016_525px

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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