What happens when two New York transplants—a writer and an illustrator—feel that New York is as much their home as do its natives? They join creative forces to write a children’s book about immigration, called Larry and Friends.
Larry and Friends is a modern treatment of a people desirous of something different in a country other than their own. Continue reading →
If you’re Polish (check), an artist (check), and working in painting, graphics, photography, art, jewelry, clothing, or toys for children (check, maybe check, check), then Little Poland Gallery wants YOU to submit an application for the Little Poland stand at the Dumbo Arts Festival 2014, taking place this September 25-27. Application deadline: August 15. Continue reading →
If you don’t believe the magic, it’s likely that you will after spending any increment of social time with Olek. For the past twelve years, the magic she makes comes from the craft of crocheting. When I sit down with her in Greenpoint’s Lomzynianka Restaurant, I realize her magic has a deeper source—it’s rooted in her humble upbringing, in which everything around her was fair play as materials for creation. She hops off her bike, meets me at a table, and jumps right in after we order. Continue reading →
It’s week three of the Greenpointers Polish Pastry Experience—a behind-the-counter look into the traditional pastries that you can find in Greenpoint’s Polish bakeries.
Looking to try something new? Curious about what’s best? Every week, we ask the bakers themselves to tell you.
This week, Star Deli & Bakery recommends…their Makowiec (s.). These sweet treats cost $11 per whole roll, or around $5 per half roll (the exact price depending on the weight of the poppy filling that day). A whole roll can serve 10-12. Continue reading →
Fancy bars and restaurants with all sorts of sexy food and drink (Tørst, Beloved, Nights and Weekends) are all over Greenpoint these days, but let’s face it – sometimes you just want get hammered on a budget, pay homage to the neighborhood’s longtime establishments, or just check out something different and new (or old). Greenpoint definitely has no shortage of dive bars, but where to begin?
This weekend I hung out in some of these dives (a.k.a. “old man” bars) in the neighborhood and got to know them and their clientele a little better. I scoped out the drink specials, watched Jeopardy with the regulars, and relaxed in some sweet backyards. And now I present to you, along with my little rating system, some of the neighborhood’s best kept secrets:
Irene’s Pub (623 Manhattan Ave)
Despite being so centrally located, Irene’s is somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps most Greenpointers are unfamiliar with the bar’s philosophy:”it’s happy hour all the time,” which I verified as TRUTH. Irene’s prices are actually equivalent to happy hour deals, all the time – we’re talking $2 drafts and dirt-cheap mixed drinks. I repeat: all day and night long. Continue reading →
Leech therapy is a thing now. Andrew Plucinski, is apparently running a leeching therapy service out of his Greenpoint loft, which he’s dubbed the “Silesian Holistic Center.” It’s like super DIY. Now, to get one of our writers to try it…. (The Guardian)
A new massive sports club is slated to open near Berry Park and will have four floors, a rooftop deck, and two endless pools… because the wealthy Williamsburg condo owners need an equally fancy place to workout. We’ll be the ones sneaking in. (Bedford + Bowery)
Today, February 27th, is Fat Thursday (Tłusty czwartek) and according to Polish American tradition, it’s the one day a year that every bakery and pastry shop in town sell Paczki (pronounced “poch-key”). The desert is meant to be eaten the week before Ash Wednesday, a binge snack before the fast of Lent. I asked the Polish waitresses at Peter Pan why this is and they answered simply, “tradition.” The girls explained that Pasczki is eaten all year ’round in the home country, but this is the only day you can get it here. You have until 8pm tonight, or you’ll have to wait until next year.
So run, don’t walk to your nearest Polski food provider; most likely, they will be selling these doughey nuggets of joy today. Continue reading →
When I first took over Greenpointers, Beverly, an original Greenpointer who now lives in Florida and stays connected through the website, wrote me one of the most inspiring messages about her mother’s Irene’s Social Column that was in the Greenpoint Gazette in the 70s.
Her warm wishes made me feel that I’d made the right decision to work on this amazing blog and serve Greenpointers who don’t even live here anymore – but still love it and want to keep up with the neighborhood.
She recently wrote me to ask a favor, to fulfill her birthday wish by doing what I do best, photography! She asked me to send her a photo of the building she grew up in, which happens to be the home of Acapulco Restaurant on Manhattan Ave and a house her parents owned on Clay St.
With Beverly’s permission I share her special email that gives us some great insight into Greenpoint of the past:
I was born at 1116 Manhattan Avenue on January 20th, 1951. As you are standing on Manhattan Avenue facing the building, I was born on the top floor left apartment and lived there until I was 12 years old.
My Grandparents had the apartment next to us and on the first floor where the other two apartments are (even though it is one flight up), lived an Aunt and Uncle in each apartment.
Although we did not own the building, at one time it was only rented to family members of mine.
There use to be a Bar & Grill downstairs that closed up very early in the 50′s and stayed that way well past the 60′s and if not mistaken into the 70′s.
One unique thing about the apartments in that building, the apartment one flight up and on the left hand side has a unique thing within it. From the kitchen into the bedroom and parlor, you actually had to walk up like 2-3 steps and then walk down 2-3 steps.
My Dad raised Pigeons there and had a huge Pigeon Coop on the roof that he and my Grandpa treated like it was the Taj Mahal for all the birds. Continue reading →
Here is an excerpt from an interesting article in Voices of NY about an Irishman who admires the Polish community in Greenpoint:
“…living among Poles reminds McDonagh of Ireland.
Greenpoint, similar to pre-boom inner-city Dublin, is littered with old factories, warehouse buildings and loft-spaces primed to be re-envisioned by architects and city-planners … In 2011, the Polish in Ireland superseded the British as the largest non-national community in the state. They are now part of the genetic landscape back home.
Living in Greenpoint, we are lucky to have one of the largest collections of Polish restaurants serving traditionally meat-centric goodness this side of Warsaw. And this is the season for it. Gray, fog-dampened, winter stretches where day and night are hard to tell from one another lend themselves to comfort food.
Grab your sweatpants and your inner fat kid, and read on for what we think are some of the best places in the neighborhood to get your international grub on.
Northside Bakery- Corner of Nassau and Humboldt
Essentially a traditional Polish bakery that decided they could fit some tables and chairs in the space and provide quick counter service. Perfect for grabbing golobki (stuffed cabbage) to go, or chicken noodle soup that’s still has a perfect layer of chicken fat reflecting on the surface. Every variation of rye, multi-grain, rustic, and peasant bread are up for grabs if you wanna carbo-load. This place is about as legit as it gets and it’s crazy inexpensive. Next time you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and get yourself the beet salad.
Lomzynianka-646 Manhattan Ave
Outside of actually having a Polish grandmother, this place is as close as you’re going to get to getting a home cooked meal. The decor here is probably more famous than the menu. Permanent Christmas lights, multi-colored streamers that scallop their way across the drop-tile ceiling, and taxidermied deer heads are festooned with Hawaiian leis can all be found in what is essentially a Polish rec-room from the early 70s. The white borscht and tripe soup are some of the best we’ve ever had and that’s no small compliment. For the more adventurous among you, boiled pork hocks and tongue in horseradish sauce can be found. This place is an institution, and the most expensive thing is only $9. Did we mention that this place is also BYOB? Yeah. We’ve spent many an afternoon sipping Żywiec and nibbling on perfectly prepared farmer’s cheese in this little gem.
Krolewskie Jadlo-694 Manhattan Avenue
We guess when you advertise the fact that you used to be a head chef at Rober DeNiro’s Nobu, we should know what we are getting ourselves into. Easily spotted by the iconic suit of armor found out front, Krolewskie Jadlo takes traditional Polish dishes and elevates them to more complex and innovative offerings. Sure, most Polish dishes are one of the infinite iterations of meat, cabbage, and potatoes, but head chef and owner Krzysztof Drzewiecki is doing his best to change that misconception. A still wildly affordable menu is real big on game meat. Stuffed wild boar with cognac pepper sauce, venison meat balls with garden dumplings and mushroom truffle oil sauce, and grilled pheasant breast served with port fig sauce can all be had for less than $15 bucks each. Grubbing on wild boar in a space that feels like a king’s mead hall is also a pretty tight way to spend an evening.
Karczma Polish Restaurant- 136 Greenpoint Ave.
Growing up in Florida, we guess we’re just a sucker for a themed restaurant. Eating at Karczma is like visiting a historical reenactment site. Not like Civil War reenactments, those are just weird. Once inside the decor and costumes do their best to convince you that you’ve somehow made a wrong turn and ended up in 18th century Poland. Traditional polish food, live polish folk music, and waitresses dressed in traditional peasant garb all combine to create the illusion of dining in a rustic country side inn. Peasant style lard is easily one of the most amazing appetizers we’ve ever had. Mixed with bacon and spices and served with warm rye bread, it’s probably a good thing that lard isn’t that easy to find. We’d put it on everything. Grilled blood sausage, pierogis, hunter’s stew, and spicy beef goulash are all damn near perfect. They also have a full bar and a pretty sweet happy hour on Thursdays. $3.50 Żywiec every Thursday from 5pm – 9pm is some of the cheapest beer offerings in town.
This list is by no means comprehensive. There are dozens of delis, bakeries, and cured meat spots peppered throughout Greenpoint. Visit one, be adventurous, and eat something with a name you can’t pronounce. Chances are it’s going to be something you’ve never had before and wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.