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.
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.
As Greenpoint changes it becomes increasingly important to maintain our links to the past. One of the iconic features of Greenpoint is a permanent piece of street furniture: the large mounted cast iron clock on Manhattan Avenue between Meserole and Norman. The clock is called “The Bomelstein Clock” and it is the last street clock in Brooklyn and one of only four that survive in the city. The clock is not going anywhere—in 1981 it was designated a landmark.Continue reading →
You may know Leon Reid IV through his street art or public art and now he has a new body of work conceived and developed in his Greenpoint studio over the last five years. Recently, I caught up with Leon at his studio to talk art, technology, and what it means to combine the two. Continue reading →
Karen Marston – Demeter’s Wrath
at Owen James Gallery
Karen Marston is a painter focused on the fundamental contradiction of natural phenomena, the pairing of powerful terror with majestic beauty. Her large-scale oil paintings portray this strength at its extremes: tornadoes, forest fires, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions. While many of these events have occurred naturally throughout the history of the Earth, they have also been exacerbated by the influence humans have on the environment.
One of the things I did while researching my local history book Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past was talking to as many Greenpoint seniors as I could. They have repeatedly told me a story I cannot document, but must be true—Greenpoint hosted an Italian prisoner of war camp during the second World War.
Other Greenpoint amateur historians doubt the existence of the camp and say simply, “Prove it.” I can’t, although I have searched extensively. If, on the one hand I cannot document the existence of the camp, then, on the other hand we cannot dismiss the memories of a dozen older Greenpointers either.
The camp was at Dupont Street and Franklin where the Greenpoint Playground is today. Old timers recall guards, a wire fence and barges where the hundreds of Italians lived. One of the seniors commented to me, “They may have been prisoners, but they had a million dollar view of the New York skyline.” Continue reading →
At 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.
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 →
If I had to pick one house in Greenpoint to set a horror movie in it would be the big old house set back off the street at the corner of Oak and Guernsey. The red brick facade, spooky wooden double doors, cast iron railings at the building’s entrance, as well as the iron fence and gate at lawn’s edge all are original, dating to the house’s construction in 1887. Continue reading →
I’ve lived in Greenpoint for eight years and have always felt a void in wellness offerings. Thankfully, that’s begun to change as juice bars, gyms, and yoga studios started blooming on almost every corner. The emergence of establishments like Lucent Yoga, Botica Apothecary, and Help Your Self is exciting. Until recently, the one thing still lacking was somewhere to buy workout gear. Not just sneakers or a jump rope, but truly functional, cutting-edge activewear. As a former apparel buyer turned full-time yoga teacher, I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a well-made pair of leggings or running shorts. What you wear when you workout can totally change your experience, as anyone who’s suffered from inner thigh chafing or bleeding nipples can attest!
On a recent morning jog, I was intrigued by a sleek silver sign that read: “Solfire.” The storefront was a beacon of light on the once desolate stretch of Driggs Avenue from the south tip of McCarren Park to the Bedford L Train. I peeked in and saw a plethora of colorful capri pants and made a mental note to pop by during store hours. When I revisited the shop later that week, I was surprised to discover that Solfire (483 Driggs Ave.) was so much more than a clothing shop. Continue reading →
Have you noticed the new bright blue building on Dobbin Street? It used to be an auto garage, but that former identity is now completely unrecognizable at the newly renovated 64 Dobbin Street. After 18 months of intense demolition and reconstruction – not to mention a new coat of paint – the 8,500 sq. wedding venue and events space Dobbin St. will open this summer. Continue reading →