Outdoor Music This Weekend: Beach Campfire Songs and Steam Fish with Soca (6/17 – 6/18)

Looking to break out of the usual Smorgasburg / Mermaid Parade pattern this weekend?

Out in the Rockaways tonight (6/17), ukelele master Lorena Leigh leads a music jam at sunset around a campfire.

Bring your bathing suit for a dip at dark. Or, a guitar for the campfire songs.

Saturday (6/18), if the Mermaid Parade seem too far afield, the Oxtail Picnic in Bed-Stuy has oxtail stew, steam fish, and a backyard bash where the crowd is “not too stoosh to shake their ass on the dancefloor,” as the event’s Facebook page puts it. Esteemed DJ P.U.D.G.E. presides.

Details for both events, and how to get there, inside. Continue reading

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At Home at Polka Dot

Front_PolkaDot_Greenpointers_SidraBurshteyn
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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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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A Taste for Books: The Love & Lemons Cookbook

Love & Lemons Cookbook; image from www.loveandlemons.com
Love & Lemons Cookbook; image from www.loveandlemons.com

For the second piece in the Taste for Books series (last time we discussed Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed), we take a look at the blog turned cookbook “Love & Lemons.” Of course, we bought and read this book as part of the monthly cookbook club at Archestratus (160 Huron Street), but it’s one of those cookbooks that’s gone mainstream – featured at Whole Foods and on store shelves at Anthropologie. So what is it that makes this book so popular? Let’s explore together after the jump. Continue reading

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Summer Thunder, Prose Bowl, Electrique – What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (6/15–6/21)

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

downloadWEDNESDAY 6/15
 Antibalas @ Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave) 8pm, $15, With special guest Kyp Malone, More info
 “Electrique” Opening Reception @ The Hollows (151 Bedford Ave) 9pm, FREE, A group show featuring electrical, mechanical, and sound pieces, More info

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 5.24.15 PMTHURSDAY 6/16
 ACJW Ensemble Presents “Connections” @ National Sawdust (80 North 6th St) 7pm, $15, Featuring Paola Prestini’s G-Force and a world premiere by Brad and Doug Balliett commissioned by Carnegie Hall, More info
 Wild Honey Pie Presents Coast Modern @ Rough Trade (64 North 9th St) With Strange Names / Ryan Egan, More info
Alice @ Videology (308 Bedford Ave) 9:30pm, $10, Czech director Jan Švankmajer’s surreal adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book with a live electronic score, More info

Continue reading

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Upcoming Bill Callahan Residency at Baby’s All Right

bill callahanSmog (aka Bill Callahan) rolls in to Brooklyn town late June for a residency at unflinchingly popular Baby’s All Right on Broadway.

Bill recently played New York in April, supporting the famous Iggy Pop on tour, with a drop-down at the United Palace Theater, uptown.

A prolific singer and songwriter, Callahan, active in the lo-fi New York scene for well over 20 years and only in the last few recording under his new name, has, perhaps, as Pitchfork has pointed out, maintained a kind of mystical aura, thanks not only to the minimalism of his music, writing, and interview repartee, but also because-up until recently-not many people had heard his own recordings. Callahan’s songs have been taken up by noted artists such as Gil Scott-Heron, Flaming Lips and Cat Power.

In a recent profile, The Washington Post described Callahan alongside three other major singer-songwriters as, “asserting their gravity in the North American mystery zone where cosmopolitan sophistication and folk mysticism overlap”.

Come see for yourself when Callahan plays Baby’s All Right this month.

Bill Callahan
June 26 through June 28
Shows at 6PM and 9PM each night.
Baby’s All Right, Williamsburg
Tickets

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A History of Greenpoint in 25 Buildings #6: The Havemeyer Sugar Refinery

Screen shot 2016-05-22 at 6.52.20 AM
The Havemeyer Sugar Refinery

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, North Brooklyn was the largest place for refining sugar in the world and Brooklyn’s largest industry. Although Williamsburg refined far more sugar than Greenpoint, the Havemeyer refinery at 85 Commercial Street on Newtown Creek was one of the most important American sugar refineries and was the scene of a near riot when the refinery’s workers fought for better conditions in 1886.

The members of the Havemeyer family were the crown princes of sugar. Multi-millionaire Henry Havemeyer formed an illegal cartel of sugar refiners around the United States that blocked competition, colluded to lower the amount of sugar refined and raised the price to consumers, while making all the refiners in the cartel spectacularly rich. He used his vast sugar money to buy a thousand pieces of art, which later became the basis of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Continue reading

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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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