Want some Summer reading about our neighborhood? Here’s a list of books related to Greenpoint. People ask me how I researched my account of local history Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past. The answer partially is that I read the books in the list below.

1) Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, Joe Pistone
The amazing story of how an Italian American F.B.I agent got into the Greenpoint Mafia, risking his life, but also taking down more than a hundred mobsters.

2) Historic Greenpoint, William Felter
The first book on local history, Felter published his remarkable book about a century ago. It tells the area’s history, but omits the dark chapters of Greenpoint’s Past—well worth a read though. And since it’s out of copyright, it’s free to download.

3) Black and White Sat Down Together, Mary White Ovington, Ralph Luker
Mary White Ovington, who one time ran a settlement house in the Astral Building on Franklin Street, went on to co-found the NAACP, partially in reaction to the racist taunts of Greenpoint boys.

4) The Astral, Kate Christensen
Arguably the best work of fiction set in Greenpoint, The Astral relates the sad tale of Harry Quirk, a n’er do well local poet.


5) Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood, Ida Susser
A vivid picture of what Greenpoint was like in the turbulent seventies.

6) Mae West: It Ain’t No Sin, Simon Louvish
A new biography of the Greenpoint-born feminist trailblazer.

7) Charles Evans Hughes: Politics and Reform in New York State, Robert Wesser
One of the most important Governors in New York State history and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court lived on Milton Street.

8) The Unknown Night: The Genius and Madness of R.A. Blakelock: an American Painter, Glyn Vincent
The tragic story of the artistic genius who also lived on Milton Street.

9) U.S.S Monitor – A Historic Ship Completes Its First Voyage, John D. Broadwater
John Ericsson saved the union by building a revolutionary battle ship right here in Greenpoint.

10) Memorable Green Point, Virginia Felter Harding
The sister of William Felter and a college professor, Harding’s account of Greenpoint history is more personal and intimate than her brother’s and a fantastic read.

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