Construction has begun on Commercial Street for 2 high-rise residential towers, Photo © Courtney Dudley/BKLYNR

We recently came across a great piece from BKLYNR that traces the emergence of Greenpoint Landing from its Bloombergian roots to the looming tension today, investigating how the proposed paradise of open waterfront parkland has, nearly a decade later, become a source of frustration and dread for the many residents that want the neighborhood to remain a unique blend of bohemian and old world culture, rather than another sea of Williamsburg condos.

The piece begins in 2005, when the City Council approved the rezoning proposal for nearly 200 blocks of Greenpoint and Wiliamsburg, calling for 50 acres of new parkland along the waterfront, affordable housing, and recreational space, all publicly accessible. Writer, Vanessa Ogle, follows progression of the proposal to physical reality (construction has already begun in part), asking what it all means for the neighborhood.

Ogle also covers the potential environmental effects of beginning construction on a toxic oil plume, a fear we area all too familiar with, describing the possibility that toxins in the soil and groundwater may be exhumed by construction, exposing residents to harmful chemicals like perchloroethylene and tricholoroethylene, “compounds typically used in dry cleaning businesses and for removing grease from metal.”

And here is her descriptive observation of the neighborhood atmosphere:

The streets are quiet; the graffiti is loud. Cardboard boxes, unfolded and orderly stacked, lie waiting for pick up. Taxidermied animals are scattered nonchalantly in the wide windows of a tattoo parlor. Locked bikes, their seats covered by crinkly white plastic bags, face each other outside of a bar, where a comedian, a politician and an actor all mingle a few feet away from a skee-ball machine. A dog barks — just one — and it’s quiet enough to hear him on the other end of the sidewalk.


Apparently Stephen Levin declined to talk to the writer, after multiple requests for comment. Maybe because of some pretty serious backlash he received from Greenpointers?

Do you think Greenpoint is doomed to be the next condo-ridden Williamsburg waterfront? Did you find the article enlightening? Comment below.


Join the Conversation


  1. Remain a unique blend of bohemian and old world culture? Sweetie, once the “bohemian” arrives you only get a 10 year run before the transition to condos and yuppies occurs. There’s no going back from that. Looking forward, if you want to stop the spread of the scourge of condo’d yuppiedom in Maspeth, Ridgewood, and points east, then keep out the “bohemians”. It is the cycle of life. Break the cycle. Keep your neighborhood generic if you want it to grow at a manageable pace.

  2. we are doomed.

    i’ve been up here for 7 years and seen so much change even in that time. and coincidentally as a drawing pencil enthusiast and being of polish descent greenpoint has a lot of historical significance to me. already seeing some of the culture lost in recent real estate deals and new landlords buying up buildings housing old businesses like Jam’s then pricing them out after 50 years. In a city whose greatness is built on the backs of small businesses this is no small thing.

    In LIC and williamsburg the towers are a bit out of the way, in greenpoint they’re going to be really close to existing residential buildings. LIC definitely managed to carry on despite being flanked by disgusting towers, while Williamsburg has turned into a theme neighborhood with “graffiti tours” and that kind of bs. So it’s anyone’s guess. Maybe being in a transit dead spot will keep things from getting out of control.

    But if Acapulco gets shut down, shit is going to get real for sludge castle real fast.

    1. Amen on the Acapulco comment!!

      Although I only lived in Greenpoint last year for a couple of months I fell in love with the place and I can’t wait to go back to visit this year.

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