Eclectic, Expensive-ish, Comfort Food at Hail Mary

photo via hailmarybk.com
Interior at Hail Mary; photo from hailmarybk.com

If you’re going to Hail Mary (68 Greenpoint Ave), a new diner-like restaurant with an open and homey air befitting of Greenpoint, it’s best to take a crowd and some extra money.

The ambience is cozy, quaint and nostalgic—made for a group of friends or family. The busy, patterned wallpaper, upholstery and bits of Americana transport you back to an earlier era, while the dim lamp lighting, antique-style tables and open kitchen in the back room reflect more typical Brooklyn design trends. There’s some old school rap music playing lightly in the background. And you will meet the husband and wife co-owners and co-chefs, Sohla and Ham El- Waylly, who come out humbly and unannounced to serve you, offer menu recommendations and explain what’s on the plate. Continue reading

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A History of Greenpoint in 25 Buildings – P.S. 34

Screen shot 2016-05-26 at 5.33.47 PMP.S 34, also known as the Oliver Hazard Perry School, is more than an elegant old red brick school building on the corner of Norman Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard. Built in the gorgeous Romanesque Revival style, it is in fact the oldest continually used school building in New York and a New York City Landmark. According to some sources the school dates back to 1867 when it was designed by Samuel Leonard, the Superintendent of school buildings in the still independent city of Brooklyn. Leonard Street is in fact named after Superintendent Leonard. These were years when Greenpoint was growing fast. Leonard supervised another addition to the building in 1870 and another superintendent oversaw another addition in 1887-1888. Continue reading

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North Brooklyn’s Trans Theatre Fest: Toxic and Heartfelt “Love Letters to Nobody, or Insignificant Others”

Graphic by Kevin Burke
Graphic by Kevin Burke

“Daily reminder: you’re spectacular.”

It’s refreshing when this quote returns in Maybe Burke’s one-person, self-explorative show. For sixty minutes Burke shares personal accounts both harrowing and poignant, so this motif, delivered downstage right every few anecdotes, becomes a welcome respite and window into Maybe’s world: As their motivational adjective of choice, “spectacular” does not connote one sex or another.

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A-List Celebs Dropping Into Greenpoint Bar

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Mick Jagger at Brooklyn Safehouse.

Mike Whalen, a regular customer in the usually low-key Brooklyn Safehouse at 120 Franklin Street, went away for a weeklong fishing trip, never imaging anything exciting would happen in the bar while he was away. How wrong he was! When he returned he discovered to his dismay that he had missed the most exciting week in the bar’s history. At the beginning of June, celebrities descended on the once serene local watering hole and shook things up.

It seemed just like any other mellow night at the bar until the actor Steve Buscemi walked in and retired to a booth in the back. Buscemi had all the patrons asking,”Is that who I think it is?” and twisting their necks to see him.

For many bars the visit of one celebrity would be enough excitement for the whole year, but an even bigger shock was in store for patrons the very next night. Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones fame strutted into the Safehouse and sat at the very same booth, escorted by his granddaughter. Buscemi’s visit was quickly forgotten. Mick had a quiet drink and left, but apparently this was one time when he actually did get some satisfaction. The seat that held up those two very famous butts has been renamed the Buscemi/Jagger booth, and Stones groupies and Buscemi fans have started planning Greenpoint visits just to sit in the now legendary spot. Continue reading

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Jump Rope For PRIDE Tomorrow Night!

PRIDE Punk Rope

If you’ve never done a Punk Rope class before, this is your chance to break a sweat and check out this fun, fast and LOUD way to burn off more than 600 calories—and then balance it out with a few beers afterward. Join Punk Rope’s salute to NYC Pride and the LGBTQ community tomorrow night—jump and play to 14 queer-themed songs with gorgeous views of the sunset and Manhattan. Ropes will be provided.

Newtown Barge Playground | 37 Commercial Street
(weather permitting)

Wednesday 6/22 | 7:30pm-8:30pm

Free for members of the Greenpoint Y.
$15 suggested donation for non-members.

The Diamond | 43 Franklin Street

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A History of Greenpoint in 25 Buildings: The Leviton Building

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The company is long gone, but the building remains. The Leviton Building just off McGuinnness Boulevard on Greenpoint Avenue has an interesting history. The Leviton Company was founded in 1906 by Evser Leviton and his son Isidor. They began by manufacturing brass mantle tips for the natural gas lights in Manhattan, and sold their goods on a pushcart on the Bowery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Then, Isidor designed a screw-in lampholder for Thomas Edison’s Electric Lamp in 1910 and within ten years the lampholders were being used in apartments all over New York, making the faimily rich! They started to make other electrical devices, especially light switches. By 1922 business was so booming that they didn’t have the capacity to assemble their more than six hundred products solely in Manhattan, so Leviton moved to Greenpoint. In 1936 they built the present day factory that occupied the whole block between Newell and Jewel streets. Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Original Female Boxing Badass

Gussie Freeman, female Greenpoint boxer.
Gussie Freeman, female Greenpoint boxer.

Gussie Freeman is one of the most unique characters in North Brooklyn History. Years after her death people recalled her amazing strength and a night she achieved glory in an 1891 local boxing match against another female pugilist.

Gussie was born in 1864 to a poor German family that never allowed her the luxury of schooling. She grew into a big and powerful young lady who felt more at home in the company of men than other females. She found a job as a teenager in a local rope factory on Newtown Creek. One of the male employees, a bully, terrorized the females in the plant until Gussie learned of his misbehavior. She stood up to the bully and administered a sound beating to him that made her the hero of all the ladies in the plant. Continue reading

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At Home at Polka Dot

Polka Dot – 726 Manhattan Ave – Greenpoint

I remember the time that I first noticed Polka Dot. I was walking down Manhattan Avenue, undoubtedly heading toward Peter Pan to satisfy my apple crumb donut addiction. Thankfully, I spotted the happy script across the street that was this little Polish cafe’s new sign. Many of you may not know that Polka Dot is in fact the reimagining of what was once the Polski Meat Market. Opened in 1996 by Marzena Parys and her husband, it’s evolved with the neighborhood into the gem that it is today. Continue reading

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The Brooklyn Film Festival 2016 Brings Over 100 Indie Films to North Brooklyn

BFF Exchange 2015 by Jena Goldman

This year’s Northside Festival nixed the film section in favor of a new Content Section but the Brooklyn Film Festival is filling the void with over 107 features and shorts, most of which are screening right here in North Brooklyn. Windmill Studios NYC (300 Kingsland Ave) in Greenpoint and the Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave) nearby are the main venues for the event. It’s a great chance to access and experience the power of independent filmmaking just walking distance away.

I’m particularly psyched about the animation shorts that are showing tonight (Wed, June 8) at Windmill Studios starting at 10:30PM.

Check out the Brooklyn Film Festival site for the full schedule and more info.

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Kite Festival, LIC Immersion, Divas Night – What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (6/01–6/07)

There are more events in our weekly calendarSubmit Greenpoint events, too!

image11WEDNESDAY 6/01
# Domestication en Flux: Mushrooms @ Flux Factory (39-31 29th St) 6:30pm, FREE, Learn how to cultivate and grow edible mushrooms in your own home, More info
* How to Make Edible Magazine @ Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th St) 8pm, $10, Learn about the process that brings each issue to newsstands and mailboxes, Buy tix

31-atxxlTHURSDAY 6/02
♦ “Between Worlds” @ Brooklyn Oenology (209 Wythe Ave) 7pm, FREE, Opening reception for a solo exhibition by Jen Ferguson, featuring $2 off glasses of BOE 2013 ‘Friend’ Riesling, RSVP
♦ New Work by Jody Erickson @ Dusty Rose Vintage (251 Greenpoint Ave) 7pm, FREE, Solo show opening with free wine, RSVP
 Sign o’ the Times @ Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave) 9pm, $12, Members of Brian Blade Fellowship, Starchild, and more play Prince’s seminal album in its entirety, More info

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