My BFF is up here from North Carolina visiting her fam and yesterday I had the chance to spend the afternoon with her, her baby, her Mom and her Mom’s boyfriend. Me and her Mom’s boyfriend have always got along. He’s been around as long as I can remember and I love the guy.

Yesterday he handed me The Post and said “Did you read this shit?” It was a piece on Greenpoint and basically it was all stuff I’d heard before. But what he was really interested in was the smaller article titled Freak Scene. First he asked me if I was Miss Heather. Um, thankfully no, as he went on to rip a new asshole about both of the women featured in the article.

“It fucking drives me crazy that these fucking people who just fucking moved here are asked any fucking thing at all about our neighborhood.”

He’s pissed, like a lot of the old guard are. He told me I need to slam Denis Leary as “a piece of fucking shit who’s to blame for closing down The Greeks” (aka Bea’s Luncheonette) on Nassau across from Winthrop (McGolrick) Park. Turns out he’s heard the new tenants are going to be selling $10-$12 hamburgers. A far cry from Bea’s milkshake and burger of $3.

I “straddle both sides” he observed which is why he thought for a minute I might’ve been Miss Heather (then he thought maybe she was that dominatrix from CSI). And I guess I do. I ride both sides of the Greenpoint wave by maintaining my local ancestry but still loving all the cool new shit that comes to town. But when push comes to shove, I’m going to have the locals backs and as much I like the new, I still like the old better.

I loved seeing people I knew every twenty feet at the park. Most of them were girls I used to know with their kids. Shit, I even saw of few of their teenage kids hanging out around the shelter house. It hasn’t changed as much on the other side of McGuinness which is nice. Goodmans is still serving up drinks to the locals and other than a handful of newbie joints much of the hood is the same.

But like The Post says, “Greenpointers are, as of now, on notice: This might not be a remote little village for much longer.”

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  1. I’m a proud member of the new guard, but how do we blame Dennis Leary, exactly? Bea’s left about six months after I got here, and it’s a damn shame, but blaming the individuals that move here for the fact that the neighborhood is changing puts the cart in front of the horse pretty badly.

  2. Here’s his reason for blaming Denis Leary:

    http://eater.com/archives/2007/06/eaterwire_the_d_2.php

    As for blaming new people for the changes and that whole cart in front of the horse thing, I don’t think we have things backwards at all. It’s gentrification. And with without interest from ‘outside’ people neighborhoods would never change.

    In NYC it’s always about to happen as Manhattan costs too much but people still want to be close to it. Greenpoint and Williamsburg had it’s days numbered from the beginning.

  3. I met my husband in 1999- he lived on Green Street, so I was familiar with Greenpoint since then, but I’m one of the ‘new guard’ too- having only moved here 3 years ago. In that short time, I have seen huge change and do worry I’ll be priced out fairly soon. The hope I cling to is that the Polish WILL hold onto their community and buildings, but everyone has a price (what if my landlords sell?)

    I can’t imagine having been around to see all of the change you have, just considering how much I’ve seen in 3 years.

  4. I’m a firm believer that the Polish will not give up their stronghold on this community. Near the Greenpoint Ave stop is where a large majority of the gentrification is going on because that’s mostly rented apartments and used to be predominantly Puerto Rican. Closer to the Nassau stop is where there are more Polish and more houses and where they own their property.

    People who needed to sell, already pretty much sold. A lot of the Polish people don’t *need* to sell. I feel that the Polish are going to be around for awhile. I see a lot more Polish teenagers and young adults around than I used to see years ago. Those kids are going to inherit those houses and then it’s up to that generation if they want to stay or go.

  5. Huh, I think I’m still missing the Leary connection. It was closed because it was on TV? I remember it was during the big DOH crackdown. About half the stuff I like got shut down… damn shame either way.

    If nothing ever changed around here, a lot of people would be left out in the cold. I got my (cheap, junky) apartment because the last tenants moved out and bought a new-construction condo in the neighborhood. If those weren’t built, people like me would be out of luck, and I’d still be living out in my last apartment… crumbling ceilings and walls, an hour from the city. There’s nowhere to live in New York if you weren’t born into a place. Finding an apartment in Greenpoint was probably the luckiest thing that ever happened to me in NYC.

    I periodically get treated as a “gentrifier,” but I doubt that I have more money than the average local family — or than *anyone* who owns their home. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have much, much less. It’s a shame this sort of thing goes on, but we all act based on our needs. We don’t wake up and start planning to displace the longtime residents; I needed a home, just like everybody else. I’ll probably be gone in a year when the rent goes up again.

  6. Well the rumor about town was that Denis Leary called or had someone call the DOH on Bea’s. How true that is, who knows?

    I used to work expediting permits and going to DOH hearings for restaurants in NYC and I can attest that someone definitely had to call and complain to have an inspector come out to Bea’s because it’s just a fact that places off the beaten track are pretty much ignored by the agency until they show up on the radar so to speak. A complaint is a sure fire way to get on the radar.

    I personally don’t have an issue with new people moving in. I get more annoyed at new people living here and then assuming that the things that they want changed should be done immediately.

    They moved here because they liked the way it was close to the city and then they bitch and moan because the bar scene is getting out of control or the kids in the neighborhood are harassing them. What did you really expect? If you want the fucking suburbs go back to the farm you grew up on.

    Greenpoint is a nice neighborhood and pretty safe compared to other areas, but it’s not Wisconsin and you’re gonna have to deal with construction, rowdy teenagers, drunk Poles and other shit that we’re just used to.

  7. Oh, well then we don’t disagree as much as I thought we did. The ongoing whining about bars, in particular, drives me nuts. Apologies for all my defensiveness…

    I sure hope Dennis Leary didn’t call. That’d be pretty awful. Do you happen to have any idea what happened to Bea and her husband? I had always figured they owned the building; otherwise I didn’t get how the prices could be so low. Guess not.

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