Halina, of Sky Flowers (164 Driggs Ave.), is originally from Warsaw, but has lived in Greenpoint and provided beautiful flowers at her store for almost twenty years. Of the Polish penchant for flowers, she says: “If you go to Poland, you will see beautiful gardens everywhere, it is part of the tradition.”

This week’s photo essay focuses on people that have been in Greenpoint a while and have stories to tell about it. Whether they remember movies at The Chopin Theater or when McGuinness Boulevard was still cobblestone, these folks are everyday guardians of the neighborhood’s history and traditions. If you are lucky enough to see them walking down the street, say hello, politely ask them about their memories of the neighborhood, and get ready for the best history lesson of your life…

“I had a two-bedroom apartment on the corner of India Street and Manhattan Avenue in 1985 and paid $200 a month. Also, I remember $2.50 got you into the Chopin Theater for the whole day, and you could watch as many movies as you wanted.” – Peter
“We used to have a lot of theaters right here in Greenpoint – The Meserole, The Chopin (previously the American), The Nassau, The RKO, The Midway, The Winthrop. Troy Donahue and Joey Heatherton came to RKO and I got to meet them when I was in my twenties. McGuinness Boulevard used to be all cobblestone, too.” – Chuck, Grace, and Dante (dog)
“I opened the Sunview Luncheonette at 221 Nassau Avenue with my husband in 1963. We served hot dogs, egg creams, sandwiches and other diner items for 44 years until we had to close. I was born in Greece.” – Demetria aka Dee
“I became a Mets fan in 1963 or 1964 and it’s been a long passion. Tom Seaver was “The Franchise”. That guy could pitch. He retired with 311 wins. He could have had 400 if the Mets hadn’t blown so many games.” – Earl
“I first lived over on Diamond, but I’ve lived here near Meserole and Guernsey for 54 years. Manhattan Avenue had everything you needed…five and tens, lingerie shops, shoe stores, you name it. We also had the trolley with the tracks right on Manhattan.” – Mary
“It was a lot of Irish people and you knew everybody back in those days. I remember my wife would ask me on a Saturday afternoon to go down to the grocery store and get a half gallon of milk. But then on the way back you’d run into one person after another and next thing you know you’re at Murphy’s (now Capri Social) having a pint. Pretty soon you’d be stumbling home and realize you left the milk in the refrigerator at the bar.” – Scott
“My favorite Polish restaurant used to be Antek, on the corner of Leonard and Norman. It was really good. I was born in Katowice, Poland but came here in 1980.” – Andrew

For more photos of Greenpoint, check out Erik on Instagram.

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