Where to Get Tested for COVID-19 in North Brooklyn

Altru Chemists in Greenpoint offers COVID-19 tests. (Photo via Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner)

While New York City’s COVID-19 curve has thankfully flattened, the pandemic rages on across the country. In Brooklyn, we’ve been able to keep coronavirus at bay by social distancing, wearing PPE (keep those masks on!) and sanitizing our hands like our life depends on it (it does), but another important part of limiting the spread of the virus is being tested.

New York City recommends that all New Yorkers get tested, and, when necessary, continue getting tested after potential virus exposure, such as after being around a sick person or in a group setting.

Testing is quick, often free and helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s where to get a test:

Walk-in at Jonathan Williams Houses (333 Roebling St.)

This city-sponsored walk-in testing center at 333 Roebling St. offers free tests, often without a wait. Walk in for a COVID-19 swab test: Monday- Saturday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Sundays, 8 a.m.- 12 p.m. Antibody testing is also offered Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Continue reading

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Lili and Cata Adds Backyard Manicure And Pedicure Stations

Lili & Cata’s backyard garden is open for pedicures and manicures

It’s been nearly a year since Lili and Cata Nail Saloon opened its non-toxic nail shop and cafe on Greenpoint Avenue, and after over three months of mandatory closure, the café and salon is back and better than ever, thanks to a backyard addition.

Outdoor space is of course highly sought after in Brooklyn, and Lili and Cata always planned to used their backyard for nail services, but after opening at the height of summer 2019, the founders Lilly and Jorge Rojas decided to wait to invest in improvements until 2020. Like all of us who made plans for 2020, the Rojas’ expectations slightly shifted this spring.


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Ironically, Lili and Cata’s in-salon café got its liquor license five days after closing in March, which in an ideal world would allow the business to expand revenue streams, but in a pandemic world, was more of a “bittersweet” accomplishment, Jorge said. Last month, they tried selling wine and beer on weekends, but Greenpoint has a ton of competition, so, “We decided to wait until Phase 3 to put energy into the business,” he adds. Continue reading

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Assembly Candidates Lentol and Gallagher Prepare for Absentee Ballots Count

(Image courtesy of Emily Gallagher for State Assembly)

After the pandemic struck, Kevin Forsyth, a resident of East Williamsburg, went up to his parents’ place in Connecticut to ride out the worst of COVID-19’s spread.

Anticipating that he wasn’t going to be in Brooklyn for the Democratic primary, he then filled out an application for an absentee ballot in May. But come June 23, it still hadn’t arrived. On primary day, he decided to make the two-and-half-hour drive back into Williamsburg to vote in person.

“It was pretty absurd,” he said. “But I know those primaries matter, and these races are tight. I wanted to show up for it.”

Forsyth’s story is one of ten Emily Gallagher, a candidate for the 50th District in the state Assembly, has collected to document absentee ballot irregularities during a primary amidst a pandemic. Despite voters reporting issues with absentee ballots, Gallagher remains optimistic that these votes will clinch her first position in elected office.

Incumbent Assemblyman Joseph Lentol hopes, however, that his 15% lead over Gallagher after in-person voting won’t budge. Tomorrow, the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) will put each candidate’s optimism to the test as it begins to tally mailed-in votes across Brooklyn. Continue reading

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Sea Wolf Opens a Second Location on the Williamsburg Waterfront at 420 Kent

(Photo via Sea Wolf)

One of Bushwick’s favorite spots to eat seafood, Sea Wolf, has opened a new location in Williamsburg. Stationed just steps from the East River, Sea Wolf is one of several local businesses opening up shop at 420 Kent, a new luxury mixed-use building offering both rentals (a studio starts at $2500+) and retail on the South Williamsburg waterfront developed by former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer.

The much-anticipated opening was first announced in October 2018, two years after the original Sea Wolf became a North Brooklyn destination at 19 Wyckoff Ave.

East River views from the new Sea Wolf location in Williamsburg. (Photo via Sea Wolf)

Sea Wolf’s new Williamsburg restaurant has socially distant outdoor dining with views of the Manhattan Bridge and skyline, and contactless ordering and payment options.

The menu is similar to the original location, including a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. which includes $1 oysters, $1 chicken wings, $1 Buffalo cauliflower, $5 draft beers, $6 wine, and $6 Painkillers. The dinner menu includes opulent seafood towers, more low-key options like San Diego-style fish tacos and a deep fried shrimp basket, as well as solid vegetarian options, like a grilled cauliflower steak and wood fired bok choy. Continue reading

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Skyline Drive-In NYC Comes Under Criticism After Opening to Fanfare

Skyline Drive-In during non-business hours (Image via Ben Weiss)

After opening to widespread acclaim from the media in mid-June, Skyline Drive-In NYC (1 Oak St.) has come under criticism for screening two movies that feature characters in yellow and black face.

The drive-in waterfront theater showed “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which features a white actor playing a character who embodies Asian stereotypes, on June 25. And on July 1, it presented “Trading Places,” a film in which the main character wears black face.

Activists have released a petition demanding, among other requests, that the owner of Skyline Drive-In formally apologize for screening the two movies. It has more than 400 signatures.

“We submit that showing films with caricatures of POC as a form of entertainment is no longer acceptable in our society, as doing so perpetuates the harmful stereotypes against POC,” wrote the petition’s authors.

Sia Eliopoulos, a Prospect Heights resident and one of the campaign’s principal organizers, considered going to Skyline Drive-In when it opened. However, when she saw that it was screening “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” she was aghast. Continue reading

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Men’s Clothing Drive Launched by North Brooklyn Mutual Aid

North Brooklyn Mutual Aid is accepting men’s clothing for donation.

The volunteer-powered organization North Brooklyn Mutual Aid that formed in response to the corniavirus crisis is now accepting men’s clothing donations in coordination with a local homeless shelter.

NBMA is currently seeking men’s clothes (size large is preferred) to be donated to The Bowery Residents’ Committee Shelter (146 Clay St.) in Greenpoint.

The shelter currently provides resources for 200 men in the North Brooklyn area and clothing donation drop-offs can be arranged by following the instructions here.

Clothing items sought include men’s shirts in size large – 3XL, men’s pants (size Large and above), clean men’s socks and new men’s undergarments. Continue reading

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Petition Calls For Williamsburg’s PS 132 to “Dismantle Institutionalized Racism”


An online petition circulated by local parents that calls for PS 132 (320 Manhattan Ave.) to “dismantle institutionalized racism” has gained over 3,000 signatures.

The petition urges the Williamsburg school, which teaches Pre-K through 5th grade students, to implement an anti-racist curriculum and to fill vacant teaching position with “Black and Brown applicants until the share of Black and Brown teachers aligns with the proportion of students in the school.”

Demands also include for PS 132 to desegregate all classrooms representative of the student body, “by aligning the percentage of Black and Brown students in each class in the school with the proportion of Black and Brown students in the school.”

Administrators at PS 132 allegedly pressured the non-profit organization PS 132 Parent Teachers Association to remain neutral with social media posts over the Black Lives Matter movement which gained momentum following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to the petition: Continue reading

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Greenpoint Design Firm, Pink Sparrow, Creates Parklets to Help Restaurants

Pink Sparrow’s parklet prototype for 21 Greenpoint.

Dining al fresco can be a competitive pastime for New Yorkers who want to score prime sidewalk seating in the warmer months. Now, sitting outside is the only way to enjoy a restaurant or bar, a challenge for businesses that previously did not have substantial outdoor space, a familiar New York conundrum.

Learning about the open streets program that would allow restaurants to open for outdoor service, Greenpoint-based experiential design firm Pink Sparrow (24 Greenpoint Ave.), wanted to fabricate a solution. Locals may recognize their work from experiential booths at the Expo Center, but the company which relies on in-person events had all business trickle off this March, meaning they had more capacity to redefine what they do.

“We wanted to use our skills and expertise to reimagine what a post-pandemic world looks like, and really focus on starting to reopen and building community,” says Pink Sparrow’s marketing associate Maggie Balcerzak. Before Phase 2 started,  Pink Sparrow communicated with the city to learn what businesses would need to open, and how they could develop compliant products. 

Pink Sparrow’s parklet outside of Magazine Bar

Ideas started to roll, and Pink Sparrow created a prototype of its new parklet for 21 Greenpoint (21 Greenpoint Ave.), which is across the street from their 20,000-square-foot workshop. They’ve also outfitted Magazine Bar (130 Franklin St.) with planters and benches, the backs of which have reflectors for street traffic, to keep Magazine guests safe. They’re also cushioning businesses from needing to close. Continue reading

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Free Manicure Truck Hits Williamsburg Streets Compliments of BABE

The mobile manicure truck in action in Williamsburg this week. (Courtesy of BABE)

Approaching the 100 day mark since New York City’s nail salons were forced to close due the ongoing global pandemic, a socially distanced manicure truck is servicing North Brooklynite’s hands with free manicures compliments of the wine company BABE (full disclosure: BABE is a former sponsor of Greenpointers’ holiday markets).

The manicure truck in Wiliamsburg. (Courtesy of BABE )

Founder of BABE, The Fat Jewish (whose real name is Josh Ostrovsky), took to Instagram for the announcement:


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Protestors Rally in Front of Council Member Levin’s Apartment During Budget Vote

Council Member Levin during yesterday evening’s remote hearing.

Protestors clanged and banged in front of Council Member Stephen Levin’s apartment yesterday evening as he joined a majority of members that passed the City Council’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The protest followed Levin’s announcement earlier this week that he would vote in support of a city budget that cuts the NYPD’s funding by $1 billion.

Demonstrators, however, exhorted him to cast a ‘no’ vote on a budget they say didn’t go far enough in defunding the city police.

“We don’t want them to pass the bill. It’s not what we asked for,” said Melina Juárez, a member of the protest who lives in Williamsburg. “It was just moving money around.”

Levin acknowledged that what was on the table was unsatisfactory for many of his constituents.

“This is the most difficult and heart-rending budget in recent memory,” he said during yesterday night’s hearing. “I too am disappointed that we weren’t able to go further with cuts to the NYPD.” Continue reading

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