All this homemade gift giving in the air, so I decided to embroider a holiday message for all of you awesome readers! I’m not that good, yet, but it’s the thought that counts. Thanks for being the best and supporting the website. Have a great holiday! I hope you get to relax and have a fun and exciting New Years! There is so much to look forward to, I can’t wait to tell you all the good news!
A common conversation at the many holiday parties I’ve attended either merrily or obligingly regarded how the weeks leading up until Christmas are binge session after binge session. The stress of gift giving or holiday travel hardly came up. But I heard and shared many complaints like, “I just can’t drink anymore,” or “I’m seriously considering a dry January.”
Whether it’s peer pressure or the softening of awkward social situations with co-workers or distant relatives, holiday drinking certainly takes the edge off, and drains the wallet.
Late in December, before a holiday gathering that my boss promised to buy the first round, a co-worker complained that she’d already spent so much money and worn her liver out so much that she was considering not attending. We commiserated about the strong obligation we felt to show face. Just the very hint of “I have to go” sours the deal for me, alcohol or not.
Another coworker complained how dehydrated she felt and how her skin was so dry from all the boozing. I looked at my reflection in my laptop and saw a tired and blotchy face and just wanted go home, get on the couch and drink tea.
We agreed to go “just for one drink,” and miraculously stuck to our promise but I admit the dirty gin martini, just one, really made the experience more pleasant. Not that I dislike my co-workers, but a douchey midtown bar is just painful.
We small talked about the usual: holiday travel and last minute gifting and laughed about the strange feeling of being champagne buzzed at work after a recent midday office party. Ironically, we were surprised at how everyone seemed like they were getting sick.
I was out of it that evening. The weekend before I’d gone to a Vodka Latkes Hannukah celebration (which ruled!) and the next day I would host a Greenpointers Holiday Party for our writers in which I followed my boss’ example and bought the first round.
All that before Christmas and I’d already woken up groggy with a headache more than a few days this month. My body and my bank account will be depleted by New Year’s, so maybe an alcohol free January is the solution. Maybe an AA meeting would be a more permanent solution.
Drinking has become so deeply embedded in holiday merriment that it would seem foreign not to enjoy mulled wine, bourbon, or spiked egg nog. Moderation is definitely the key, but even when you promise the one drink, there are so many one drinks (and let’s face it more) that it amounts to a lot.
How do you “deal” with all the holiday drinking? Do you avoid work parties or say fuck it and get wasted and make a fool out of yourself? (We’ve all been there.) Will you have a dry January or do a juice cleanse? Or can you truly be moderate throughout the holidays?
Christmas trees are so dramatic and vain. Cut me down and put all these lights and ornaments on me so everyone oohs and aahs when they see me! And your stupid cats want to get up all in me, but they can’t – what losers. Adorn me with all those fancy presents and make sure you water me four times per day. When you leave – turn the lights off or I might burn down your entire house. After all that, chip me and leave me for compost! But you can’t get rid of me, because I’m going to leave sharp needles all around your house that will cut your toes all summer. Merry Christmas!
Zombie shoppers trampling one another for crappy mass produced products is not the kind of day I imagine many Greenpointers participate in, but it’s important to stand up as a nation of mass consumers and make a statement about our spending and our values for one day. What will you be doing on Black Friday or what many are now calling Don’t Buy Day? Walmart employees will be going on strike in order to demand better treatment, will you strike shopping or your retail job?
10 Things to Do On “Don’t Buy Day” (Black Friday)
1. Donate to Greenpoint Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry / Volunteer for Hurricane Sandy Relief
You just ate fifty seven pounds of turkey. In Greenpoint many of our neighbors rely on the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen for groceries and perhaps their only hot meal of the week. Support the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen, especially during Thanksgiving. Instead of running up your credit card, donate. People need to eat more than we need stuff.
A brilliant project led by the Occupy movement called Rolling Jubilee, buys debt for pennies on the dollar with donations and instead of collecting it, then they forgive it! They have already raised $375,033 to forgive $7.5 million in debt. Their mission is to “create a world based on the common good, not wall street profits.” AWESOME.
3. Watch “What Would Jesus Buy?” – (Streaming on Netflix)
Don’t be turned off by the cheesy Disney script and the bleach blond preacher, this movie is hilarious and informative. The off the walls, Reverend Billy and his choir go on a road trip across the US and balls out make a ruckus in Walmart and other big stores along the way while documenting the devastation these stores have on small towns and what irresponsible spending has done to our wallets.
4. Watch Live Music From All Over the Map
Nothing is more American/New York than listening to a performance by a “half Welsh, half Italian, half American and half British” musician – Jessica Welsh followed by a set from a Norwegian/US Indie Folk Band - Racing Heart - followed by good old fashion country music - Western Sea, all at Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer St) starting at 8pm.
5. See Local Art
Visit Moma PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave., LIC). The current exhibition New Pictures of Common Objects, explores how “artists today have a very different relationship to mass consumption and images …”
6. Get Fancy With Those Leftovers or Just Juice
But if you just can’t look at food, give your system a rest and juice! Grab great juice and smoothies at Cafe Royal (195 Nassau Ave), Urban Rustic (236 N 12th St), Lokal (905 Lorimer St) and Lunchbox (120 Norman Ave).
7. Go Birdwatching & Hawking in Brooklyn
Many people don’t realize that our local parks and waterways are great places to watch migratory birds. During out Winter Bird Walk last year, we learned that the East River and The Hudson are visual guides for these traveling flocks. From Transmitter Park – look out for Cormorants, Black Ducks, Gadwalls, Red Breasted Merganser and Brants. It’s easy to spot birds in our parks because if you imagine what the birds see while they are flying above – big ugly building, big ugly building, big ugly building then a big square of green. The Red Tail and Cooper Hawks have been spotted recently in McCarren and McGolrick. Look out for Dark Eyed Juncos, Cardinals, Swamp Sparrows, Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers & Mockingbirds.
There are probably a lot of projects you can take care of around the house. Fix something or solve an organizational problem you’ve been putting off for a while. Take out the air conditioner, organize your record collection, change the light bulb in the hallway, sort that jewelry mess, creatively. Build your girlfriend those shelves she’s been nagging you about. You can do it! Use your own hands!
After all that sitting and eating, the best thing to do is to move around, take a walk, a jog a bike ride, or take a class at one of the many wellness centers we have in the area. Exercise makes you feel better than shopping therapy any day!
Goodyoga (73 Calyer St), Human@Ease (31 Nassau Ave), Awakening NY (607 Manhattan Ave), and Greenpoint Yoga and Usha Veda Yoga (1104 Manhattan Ave) have classes you can take to relax and burn some calorees.
CALL YOUR MOM! Instead of waiting on line for a gift a loved one won’t like or can’t use, have a nice chat with her over a tasty meal, a cup of tea, or over the telephone. Eat a cupcake while you do it! Cupcakes make everything sweet!
Great places for a face to face: Coffee – Van Leeuwen or Cafe Grumpy. Beer – One Stop Beer Shop & Diamond Bar. Cocktails - Black Rabbit & Beloved. Wine – Milk and Roses & Adelina’s, Cupcakes & Sweets – Ovenly & Cookie Road
This article isn’t meant to harm local business but to join an important national movement and make a statement about the way we consume, too much with little regard for the environment and others. If we change the way we shop, we will strengthen small business and local makers.
If You Do Shop – Buy Local Handmade Goods, Vintage Items & Support Local Shops
There is a difference between camping out overnight to “save” and supporting local makers, buying second hand and supporting Mom & Pop Shops in Greenpoint. If you can’t put down your wallet for one day, spend your money on goods produced close to home and put money back into our local community.
EAT (124 Meserole Ave) sells gorgeous handmade pottery and delicious farm to table food, SlowFax (455 Graham Ave) has great and well priced Vintage clothing on Graham Ave and you can give Clyde a pat on the head. Kill Devil Hill (170 Franklin St) is selling their signature handmade wax candles with delicious scents that will warm your home for the holidays. Alter (109 Franklin St) has a new line of TM1985+Alter bags designed and handmade in USA. the one well (165 Greenpoint Ave) sells eco-friendly, locally made goods and art.
At Greenpointers we feel passionate about local shopping, especially during the holiday season. Our website has grown immensely so we are excited to play an even bigger role in helping shoppers make good decisions for our community this year.
Our annual Holiday Gift Guide is a great way for local businesses to encourage local shopping and support Greenpointers.
Our readership traffic is 45,000 unique visitors and over 100,000 page views per month. (That is 5xs compared to last year at this time.) Major hyper local exposure!
Here’s how it works:
1. You Get A Sponsored Post Featured On Our Home Page on a specific day from now until 12/25
2. Your Logo Is Linked To Your Sponsored Post and/or Website On Our Gift Guide Page so shoppers can browse your shop anytime.
Reserve now, spots fill up quickly!
It’s easy! We can help you come up with special deals for Greenpointers’ readers and write unique copy tailored to your business.
For more info or to reserve a date email greenpointers (at) gmail.com.
Keep it local, Greenpoint! And have a great holiday!
Greenpointers sponsored post courtesy of Hotel Williamsburg
I’ve had this recipe for Rainbow Cookies on my fridge since last year and decided to make it. Working my first job as a counter girl at an Italian bakery in Queens and accepting collect calls from the grumpy bakery owner’s son, who was in jail for idiotic low-level racketeering, gave me have a distaste for Italian pastries, with the exception of a few things: Pignoli Cookies, Rainbow Cookies & Cannolis (but only the cannolis that the nuns from the San Carlo monastery on Erice, a medieval mountain town in Sicily make. God is in them.) The rest of the Italian pastries can burn in hell.
Rainbow Cookies are pretty pricey per pound and if you’re going to buy them around Brooklyn I would recommend Fortunata Brother’s on Manhattan & Devoe.
Making the rainbow cookies seemed pretty pricey, too. It didn’t help that I had to buy 3 half sheet pans at $15 a pop from The Brooklyn Kitchen, plus 4 tubes of Almond Paste at $8 a pop! I definitely came home grumpy.
“I should have just bought them at the bakery,” I said as I laid the ingredients on the counter. But the process and the end result were worth it, plus we got between 150-200 cookies out of it.
I cut the recipe out of New York Magazine from the chef of Torrisi Italian Specialties, a great Italian restaurants down on Mulberry, the walls lined with Manhattan Special: my favorite drink, espresso soda.
If you plan on making rainbow cookies, make sure you have an entire day off plus a partner with good hand-eye coordination. I am lacking in that area and Jon, who is mechanically inclined proved, to have amazing cake layering and chocolate spreading skills. Had I tried to take this endeavor solo, I assure you these cookies would not be so pretty.
When it comes down to it, “it’s a lot of work, Jane,” as Nonna, my Sicilian Grandma would say. There are many steps: beating the egg whites for stiff glossy peaks, splitting one batter into three for coloring, baking three cakes separately until just underdone so they stay moist, cooling the cakes then layering them using orange marmalade as glue, letting them set then spreading warm chocolate on the top and bottom. Start as early in the morning as you can.
While getting closer and closer to chocolatey soft almond cookie goodness, I was giddy. I remember saying, “this sure as hell beats last minute christmas shopping.” In fact, making these cookies is what the holidays are all about: slowing down, spending time with someone you love, making something you love, then giving to people you love.” These cookies put a truer smile on faces than anything you can unwrap and rip a price tag off of.
Torrisi Rainbow Cookies Recipe from New York Magazine
12 large eggs, separated
2 2/3 cups sugar
24 oz. almond paste
8 sticks butter, softened
5 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. red food coloring
2 tsp. green food coloring
16 oz. orange preserves, heated and strained
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Beat egg whites in electric mixer until they just hold stiff peaks. Add ½ cup sugar, beating until whites hold stiff, slightly glossy peaks, then refrigerate. Beat together almond paste and remaining sugar in mixer. Add butter gradually and beat until mixture is fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks and beat until well combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour and salt and mix until just combined. Fold in egg whites. Divide batter equally among 3 bowls; wearing gloves,(1) whisk red food coloring into one and green into another, leaving the third batch plain. Spread each batter separately and evenly, about ¼-inch thick, onto 3 half-sheet pans, each greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake until just barely set, about 7 minutes. (2) When layers are cool, spread half the preserves onto the green layer. Invert plain layer over it and discard paper. Spread on remaining preserves, and invert red layer over it; discard paper. Wrap with plastic and top with a weighted baking pan. Refrigerate for several hours. Remove plastic and bring to room temperature. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, and (3) spread thinly on top layer. Chill in freezer briefly until firm. Cover with wax paper, place another baking sheet on top, then invert cake onto sheet pan and remove paper. Quickly spread with remaining chocolate and return to freezer until firm. Trim edges, slice, and serve.
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Brooklyn, NY 11222
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