It seems that every walk down Franklin St reveals another new business (usually a coffee shop or restaurant) in Greenpoint. Recently, SPINA, which means thorn in Italian, opened in the former location of East River Tattoo (107 Franklin St). A friend described it as a flower shop / coffee shop, which was utterly intriguing in that, “why has no one thought of that yet?” kind of way. 

We all know that Greenpoint doesn’t really need any more coffee shops, just like most people don’t need another pair of shoes. But it’s nice to have options depending on your walking route. Basically you never need to go out of your way for an espresso in this town.

The floral twist makes SPINA stand out, but the kicker is that they serve Blue Bottle Coffee. And while Veronica People’s Club will always be sorely missed a few doors down for lots of other things aside from their coffee, it’s nice that nearby this new spot is picking up the caffeine slack – and I can grab a plant.

I chatted with co-owner Vanessa Chinga-Haven (left) who opened SPINA with “long time friend” and business partner Paul Diaz. SPINA started out as a floral design company. The next logical step was event planning. And while coffee might not seem like a logical step, it’s a great way to get new clients in the door.

Formerly a management consultant for a NYC wine bar, Vanessa joined Paul to help with business “restructuring.” She said she always “dreamed of a floral coffee shop,” and her “we don’t stop” relationship with Paul made that dream come true. She described this new branch of their event planning businesses as, “completely different. We get to interact with people more often. It’s a lot of fun.”


It’s relieving to walk into a new space in Greenpoint that actually looks new and not like you entered a time machine to the 1920s. Vanessa, with the sweat equity of her husband, designed and built out the bright white space that is the perfect backdrop for gorgeous flower arrangments or just a nice spot to wake-up with a cappuccino or a donut from Dough. Yes they have donuts, too!

During the week, SPINA has more plants than flowers, but on weekends there are more cut flowers and bouquets. You can order a custom arrangement anytime in person or over the phone to be picked up or delivered – while enjoying coffee.

Have you tried SPINA yet? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Join the Conversation


    1. Dose this place still exists?
      I’m thinking of opening a flower shop with a coffe combined and I would like to hear from other experience thank you please let me know your thoughts if this is a good idea

    1. It’s a great store with super-caffeinated iced coffee. The flowers are less expensive than most bodegas and are unlike any I’ve seen before. Spina is far far from pretentious and is a great addition to the neigbourhood.

  1. Yes, how refreshing for something to look new! This neighborhood has too much character. With any luck we’ll get a few more sparkling Starbucks an IKEA and a Target. then you can change the name of this blog to ‘Anywhere, USA’.

    Understand that I wish SPINA all success, just chafe at the apparent dig on the neighborhood businesses that you seem to usually promote, partner with and from which you receive support. Also, a classy tin ceiling and the beautiful brick wall that East River Tattoo exposed there look anything but new.

    1. i have no problem with the “old” design look – i think it’s awesome to reuse and recycle older materials – was just saying i appreciate the fresh white open vibe – which doesn’t mean it’s like ikea or starbucks. you are blowing that comment way out of proportion.

  2. I love Spina. There is no pressure to spend a lot or any money and everyone working there is friendly. It is not pretentious at all. Paul & Vanessa are awesome and run a good business. I don’t know why people are so nasty with their comment if they haven’t even been there.

  3. I CANNOT WAIT to try this place!!! It looks dreamy. And I thought the comment about a place that actually looks new was funny. It’s not just in Greenpoint – the whole dilapidated, purposefully-paint-chipped walls and rust look has become so “Brooklyn”, it’s nice to see something that looks a little different.

  4. My husband and I walked by and thought, oh, that looks interesting. We crossed the threshold, stood for a moment with the other patrons that were also waiting, turned and left.
    Not pretentious? Um, within moments, we knew this place was not for us.
    They will do well, it is for the Greenpoint that has been becoming, not for what is has been. You came because you loved the neighborhood, and by doing so, it has changed. Not a judgement, a fact.

  5. I LOVE this place…far from pretentious, reasonably priced and high quality espresso, and a pleasant, bright vibe. The service is great, and very relaxed. Successful businesses should mix pleasant, unique atmospheres with high quality products, and SPINA does both. It’s different – and I’m glad to see interesting coffee shops springing up and doing successful despite the mediocre Starbucks doing business on Manhattan Ave.

  6. I love me some SPINA! The coffee here is really delish and everyone working at the shop has been very friendly. Stopped in after noticing they carried chen-williams planters, and was excited to see them supporting designers in the neighborhood.

    Also love picking up a few flowers on my way to dinners and bday get togethers – super fast and a really good deal in comparison to a few other spots in the area. Overall great vibe at this place!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *