Chicano Batman Packs Warsaw on Fall Tour for ‘Freedom is Free’

All Photos by Onile Thompson

Chicano Batman packed Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) last Friday night for their second night in New York City. The fall tour supports their album Freedom Is Free, released in March. The album is among Billboard’s ‘Best Albums of 2017 So Far and was recorded at Diamond Mine Recordings in nearby Long Island City. The tour kicked off in their hometown of Los Angeles late September, with three sold-out shows at The Fonda Theatre.

Openers Khruangbin & The Shacks started off the evening with mellow vibes and some instrumental tracks that felt almost improvised. The tempo eventually revved up a bit to pump-up the audience in preparation for the energetic headliners. Chicano Batman blends the sounds of soul, Brazilian Tropicalía and a bit of old school R&B. Like the well-dressed performers of their 1970’s predecessors, these are show men. You can see a display of that showmanship in their debut Conan performance filmed earlier this year. Continue reading

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A Piece of Greenpoint History Faces Demolition

85 Calyer Street
85 Calyer Street

Recently, I did a series of stories for Greenpointers about the twenty-five most historic local buildings. One of the posts I wrote was about 85 Calyer Street, the residence of Thomas Fitch Rowland, whose company, the Continental Iron Works, located around the corner on Quay Street built the famous ship. In 1859, Rowland founded the innovative factory. Two years later, he would help make history when visionary Swedish naval engineer John Ericsson approached him about building a revolutionary ship in Greenpoint, the ironclad Monitor, which would revolutionize warfare and make wooden ships obsolete. Ericsson was a frequent visitor to the house and the many conversations in Rowland’s house led to the realization of Ericsson’s plan for the United States Navy’s first Ironclad battleship, which fought the legendary battle against the Rebel ironclad, the Virginia, in 1862. Thanks to the Monitor’s victory, the North won the Civil War and slavery ended. Rowland produced a number of ironclad ships locally, employing 1,500 workers at his works during the Civil War. Rowland also received the first patent for an underwater oil drilling well, an invention that had dramatic effects on the oil industry. He died a millionaire and the house changed hands a number of times.

Thomas Fitch Rowland
Thomas Fitch Rowland

The house has been sold and is evidently set for demolition. The new owner of the property, Daniel Kaykov of the Renovation Group, a Forest Hills-based construction firm filed demolition paperwork with the city on August 31st and additional paperwork for a demolition has also been filed. The frame house, which has had its facade remodeled, is an important part of local history and allowing its demolition would rob the community of an important landmark. Currently, the house has no landmark status from the city so its destruction could occur quickly. I described the awesome achievement that Ericsson and Rowland accomplished in my book Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past when they built the Monitor in just a hundred and one days, so I would feel great loss seeing the building be demolished. The Continental Iron Works was also demolished, so 85 Calyer Street is the last building that is a direct link to the building of the Monitor. I hope that the community can rally to save this authentic Greenpoint Civil War landmark.

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Breakfast Takedown Call for Chefs!

Earlier this year, Matt Timms brought the OG food competition, The Takedowns, back to its proper home in Greenpoint. The competition came into existence 15 years ago at Bar Matchless, when 100 people paid to eat various chilis made by amateur chefs. Now, when in the neighborhood, Matt holds the Takedowns at Brooklyn Bazaar where you can eat all you want, grab a drink, and hang all afternoon. This month, the Takedown is all about our favorite meal, breakfast. Except Matt needs one thing: chefs!

For this Breakfast Takedown at Brooklyn Bazaar on the 29th, you can go crazy. Breakfast tacos? Yes. Chilaquiles? Sì. Doughnuts? Of course. BEAR CLAWS?! We’re all about it. Hand pies? That’s basically what Pop-Tarts wish they were. Homemade granola? Sure, okay. Whatever it takes to Make Breakfast Great Again! Like with every Takedown, there will be prizes from Cuisinart, Anolon, Microplane, and Wüsthof for the People’s Choice & the Judges’ Choice. Greenpointer Jenn de la Vega and a special secret judge from the breakfast-centric website Extra Crispy will be tasting each and every bite before laying down the law. The best part is it’s all a fundraiser for United for Puerto Rico. Can’t cook but want to eat all the breakfasts? $20 tickets are still available.

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Green Thumbin’ It: North Brooklyn Community Garden Roundup

61 Franklin Street Community Garden. Photo by Lucie Levine
61 Franklin Street Garden. Photo by Lucie Levine

It’s planting season, and North Brooklyn’s giving us lots of opportunities to play in the dirt. This past weekend community members turned out for OpenHouseGCEFBushwick Inlet Park’s Daffodil Planting, Free Garden Workshops at the McCarren Park Demonstration Garden, and Transmitter Park’s Weeding Workshop. On Saturday, you can participate in the Friends of Cooper Park Daffodil Planting. If you’re a Greenpoint Resident, you can even become a licensed Citizen Pruner for just $15 by completing the Trees New York Tree Pruning Course beginning This evening, October 16th.

If the current Columbia study on lead levels in Greenpoint’s soil has you steering clear of all things growing, community gardens could help you find a safer place to try out your green thumb: the study finds that public park spaces have significantly lower concentrations of lead than private yards. Further, based on Cornell’s 2014 study of New York City community garden soils, NYC Parks GreenThumb (which administers the city’s community gardens) prioritized clean soil deliveries to affected gardens.

So, ready to pull a Joni Mitchell and get yourself back to the garden? With over 600 community gardens throughout all five boroughs, New York City has the largest community gardening program in the nation. This handy NYC Parks GreenThumb Community Garden Guide lets you search by zip code or address to find the ones closest to you. Read on for a roundup of local community gardens. Continue reading

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Parents & Kids: The Ultimate School Open House, Schoolfest 2017, is This Saturday (10/21)!

Schoolfest 2017!
Saturday, October 21 | 12-4 PM
@ John Ericsson Middle School 126|  424 Leonard Street (Bayard entrance)
Cost: FREE

During Schoolfest, North Brooklyn families are invited to meet all types of schools—from day care through college; from public, to private, charter, magnet, community, dual language, and gifted—at one place on one day.  This Saturday October 21st, from 12-4pm, visitors will be able to network and get info on neighborhood schools and admission processes. Schoolfest helps parents navigate through the confusion so that they can make the best choice for their child’s educational needs.  Well known Joyce Szuflita of New York School Help will present workshops on the bewildering array of public NYC schools and equally perplexing admission processes for PK/K, middle schools and high schools.

Get your FREE ticket here
If you’re interested in exhibiting at Schoolfest, click here.

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Celebrate Oktoberfest like Munich in The Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse This Weekend (10/20-10/22)! German Beer, Music, Bratwurst & More!!

Get a rare glimpse inside a historic neighborhood landmark, The Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse (67 West St) this weekend (Oct 20-22) when it opens its doors to host an authentic Munich festival tent, complete with Bavarian blue & white ceilings and tables imported from Germany.

The festivities will include live music, German dancers, ceremonial keg tapping, sausages, roast pork, pretzels, and more! Continue reading

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VENDOR CALL! Winter Candyland Holiday Market! (Sunday, December 10th)

Poster by Kirby Salvador (@kirbysalvador)

On Sunday, December 1oth, we are bringing sugar & spice and everything nice to our Winter Candyland in the beautiful Greenpoint Loft!

At this time, we are looking for some creative crafters, makers of food, art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, etc. to join us!

Our annual Holiday Market is the biggest one of the year and we are expecting 3,000-4,000+ shoppers to join us for a day full of free fun activities, live music, and shopping in one of the most beautifully restored historic spaces in Brooklyn.

Apply to join the Holiday Market here

Deadline to register is November 10th but we start accepting on a rolling basis so the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can secure a spot.

NOTE: Vendor spaces are reserved for local independent makers and small businesses. If you don’t meet this criteria, email [email protected] to learn about sponsorship opportunities and help support local!

Questions? Email Yuka at [email protected]

Continue reading

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A Stamp Heist, A Soup Princess and Some Slavic Pride — the Hook-up (10/13)


A Stamp Heist Two Years in the Making! Via Greenpoint Post
A Stamp Heist Two Years in the Making! Via Greenpoint Post

The James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan is the largest post office in the nation. The building bears a rousing inscription — taken from Herodotus’ Histories — which reads, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Turns out, what does stop a postman is his tracks is being charged with stealing packages, electronics and nearly $10,000 worth of stamps. Greenpoint postal worker Bagner Cardoso pleaded not guilty to federal felony charges on Tuesday even after he admitted to stealing all of those items from the Greenpoint Post Office (66 Meserole Avenue) nearly every other day for the past two years.  Continue reading

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As 94th Precinct Gains More Resources, Link Kiosks Draw Crime

Link Kiosk on Manhattan Avenue between Huron and India Streets. Photo by Lucie Levine
Link Kiosk on Manhattan Avenue between Huron and India Streets. Photo by Lucie Levine

A September 21st Press Release from Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol’s office announced that NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill has equipped the 94th Precinct with additional resources. Following the deadly stabbing of George Carroll in August, and the proliferation of hateful symbolism in McGolrick Park throughout the summer, the department has granted the 94th six new officers (with seven more on the way in December), and upgraded surveillance cameras around McGolrick Park. Now, it seems that the 94th Precinct must contend with an unforeseen adversary: LinkNYC Kiosks.  Continue reading

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