Rachel Effendy and Dakota Sica are the kind of fun couple who make their projects and collaborations seem effortless. Dakota, Director at The Java Project in East Greenpoint, and Rachel, fashion photographer and blogger at Rachel et Nicole, often step into one another’s worlds to photograph and support one another. When they’re not eating all the best food or flying around the world for art and fashion events, the pair can be found at Greenpoint’s galleries, restaurants and shops. Read more about Rachel and Dakota.

Dakota and Rachel at Art Basel Miami.

GP: Do you live or work in Greenpoint, and what do you love about it?

Dakota: I run a gallery in the heart of Greenpoint called The Java Project. I love being in a community of artists and other creatives.

Rachel: I actually do neither! I work in Tribeca and live in Dumbo, but I spend so much time in Greenpoint, I feel like an honorary local. I love Greenpoint because of how magical it still feels from the rest of the hustle and bustle.


GP: Your work lives seem to fit together nicely. In what ways do you collaborate?

Rachel: I photograph The Java Project openings and events. Dakota attends fashion events with me, and photographs me. Once a year, we get to go to Art Basel, where we truly get to see the great marriage of art and fashion.

Dakota: We constantly communicate and ask each other’s opinions in our creative endeavors. We often surprise each other with our processes. I think this is a beautiful way to collaborate, and still be our individual selves.

The Java Project courtyard, where parties such as WORA are held.

GP: Tell us about your first date.

Rachel: I remember our first date lasting over eight hours. We started by meeting at a gallery opening (where we learned that we each knew a different half of the room), and then proceeded to walk over a couple of avenues to get ramen, and then walk couple of avenues back to get drinks.

Dakota: I remember my feet feeling very tired because we walked for 8 hours throughout the city with actually no place to go.

GP: How are you similar and synchronized, and how are you different and complementary?

Rachel: We’re both very ambitious and very opinionated in our ways, but Dakota is definitely more of the adult and I am more of “the YOLO” when it comes to making decisions.

Dakota: We have the same values, which is good because it means we usually see things eye-to-eye. We are different because I am much more laid-back, and Rachel is a social butterfly — as in, I really think she believes she is an actual butterfly.

GP: Who are the Greenpoint people you couldn’t live without, whether you’re sidling up to a bar or taking care of business?

Dakota: My business partners, Ori and Luca, who made The Java Project possible and who run Java Studios, a studio community of artists. And also Julia Moak who keeps the Greenpoint spirit alive. 

Rachel and her sister Nicole, of fashion blog Rachel et Nicole

Rachel: I cannot live without Ally from Ad Hoc. Ad Hoc has such a great curation of fashion pieces, and it is one of my top fashion go-tos in NYC. 

GP: What are your favorite places to eat, shop, and look at art in Greenpoint?

Dakota: Glasserie is my favorite restaurant. It embodies everything I try to do in the kitchen. I also really enjoy Cleopatra’s and Real Fine Arts for their compelling and challenging art programs.

Rachel: Needless to say, my favorite art spot in Greenpoint is The Java Project, and my other favorite Greenpoint spot is Peter Pan Donuts (for obvious reasons).

GP: Any interesting projects coming up in the future?

Dakota: The Java Project is in its second season, which will include new and exciting exhibitions by emerging artists, and we will also be hosting a series of classes and meet-ups for like-minded creatives.

Rachel: My sister and I run a fashion site, Rachel et Nicole, and we have recently partnered with AT&T for a secret project which will include us shooting in Greenpoint!

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