News

Fire at Chase Bank Takes Down Sign and is Temporarily Closed

The sign at Chase Bank (798 Manhattan Ave) caught fire this morning by Julia Moak
Chase Bank (798 Manhattan Ave) this morning (6/21)

Chase Bank (798 Manhattan Ave) caught on fire this morning (June 21) and is temporarily closed. It should be back up and running tomorrow, according to a Chase employee who was at the scene. In the meantime, the ATM outside is still working.

It looks like the fire was contained to the area around the Chase sign and no one was hurt.

Thanks once again to the amazing work of the FDNY! Continue reading

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Make Your Voice Heard On North Williamsburg Traffic

The official traffic data collection plan, via the NYC DOT's first public presentation of the North Williamsburg Transportation Study
The official traffic data collection plan, via the NYC DOT‘s first public presentation of the North Williamsburg Transportation Study

If you’ve noticed a treacherous traffic signal or wished for the addition of a particular crosswalk on the streets of Greenpoint or North Williamsburg, now’s your chance to speak up. In the ongoing North Williamsburg Transportation Study, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is surveying the portion of Brooklyn Community District #1 that stretches north of Broadway and Flushing Avenue between Newtown Creek and the East River to boost both safety and convenience for commuters. The initiative is a response to complaints and transportation hitches as the hot neighborhood grows increasingly crowded with architectural developments and thronged with both inhabitants and visitors.

Continue reading

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Ironic Ironing, Free Citi Bike, & Film Favorites — The Hook-Up 6/17

Meet your local domestic hero. Photo: Sarah Francoise
Meet your local domestic hero. Photo: Sarah Francoise
This is some next-level Marina Abramovic shit. A Greenpoint dad is bringing his love for ironing to Pete’s Candy Store next month, offering to iron everyone’s clothes for free every Tuesday night in July.
 
Could Bedford Avenue be on its way to becoming a safe space for inebriated pedestrians? One local politician is suggesting it be turned into a pedestrian plaza and a right-of-way for the proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar.
 

What do you do to fight toxic waste? Plant more flowers. The city is planting more than 300 rain gardens in Sunnyside, Maspeth and Ridgewood to help relieve the overtaxed sewer systems.

 
This weekend, you can avail yourself of free Citi Bike. Don’t let this opportunity coast away.
 
An award-winning short from the Brooklyn Film Fest is all about that magical-realist charm of Greenpoint. Check out the review.
 
Well, that was quick. One bumbling (or opportunist?) driver was already caught in the bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge.
 
One band got booted from Northside over the drummer’s rape-apologist letter penned in defense of Brock Turner. Here’s some more deflection toward drinking culture.
 
Here’s a first look at the newly converted 108-year-old Eberhard Pencil Factory buildings that had been sitting vacant at 74 Kent Street for so long.
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BK Buttons #1: Greenpoint Avenue

A badge of honor, perhaps?
A badge of honor, perhaps?

Writing for Grenepointers.com, I receive a ton of emails, but recently one caught my eye with the subject: BROOKLYN BUTTONS #1: Greenpoint Avenue.

The email was very short and cryptic, basically saying they made these diecast pins and wanted to know how many I wanted. I followed up asking for a quick chat over the phone and someone from BKButtons called me but now I’m even more confused? Continue reading

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$100 Million Still Not Enough for Final Piece of Bushwick Inlet Park

Rendering of Bushwick Inlet Park
Rendering of Bushwick Inlet Park

The city is only one purchase away from obtaining the final puzzle piece needed to complete Bushwick Inlet Park: an 11-acre piece of land owned by Norman Brodsky and Samuel Kaplan of CitiStorage.

On June 9, 2016, New York City made a major offer of $100 million.

Brodsky officially refused the offer on June 11, under the pretext that he can get more money for the property.

Now that the mayor’s office has made a formal offer, Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents must wait and see how the city will move forward with its efforts to make good on the 28-acre park the city promised in 2005. That’s assuming the owners don’t ultimately accept the offer, which is good for 60 days.

This offer follows a lot of activity: a fire at the CitiStorage site in January 2015a move by Mayor de Blasio to cut off residential rezoning in January 2016; and a total of $225 million in land purchases, including a $53 million, 7-acre purchase in March.

According to Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, Brodsky has hired Paul Massey of Cushman and Wakefield, who claims the city’s offer is just one of many bids on the table.

While we don’t currently know who else is looking to acquire the CitiStorage property, we do know that the land might not even be worth the $100 million the city offered. According to Massey, the parcel, which is 6.75 acres, is worth $325 million. This is about $540 per square foot. De Blasio’s offer values the land at approximately $166 per square foot.

In a June 10 press release, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park broke down the value of the space, explaining that the city’s 2009 purchase of a parcel of the park during a condemnation proceeding triggered the implementation of “The Miller Doctrine,” which originates from a 1943 Supreme Court case and states that “a property owner in a condemnation proceeding cannot profit from any increase in value to lands surrounding the condemned property.” Meaning: what the city paid for that parcel should be the base for what it pays for the remaining parcels to create the entire park—including the CitiStorage property.

When Mayor de Blasio cut off residential zoning earlier this year, they actually closed off a potential escape hatch in the Doctrine that states a property can be valued at a higher zoning designation within a certain amount of time—in this case, about 3-5 years.

Gothamist reported that according to Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for City Hall, “the administration believes this is a fair and appropriate offer. In fact, this offer represents approximately $3 million more per acre than the average price paid for other sites contained within the Bushwick Inlet Park footprint.”

There is also legislation in the works that would allow Empire State Development to sieze the CitiStorage land and hand it over to the city—an effort to make sure the city ultimately keeps its promise.

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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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