There’s no doubt that North Brooklyn’s skyline has rapidly changed in the last decade plus. In place of one-story bombed out warehouses, high rises stand tall. An old sludge tank in Greenpoint has been seemingly effortlessly replaced by luxury apartments. Those who lived in the neighborhood before “the change” began probably remember a slightly different vibe: the area was rougher, with locals playing the role of war-torn veterans. The hip coffee shops and restaurants were fewer and farther between, and the pioneers that were there had worn yet comfy thrift store furniture instead of the minimalist high design stuff you might see today. Piles of trash and industrial waste have disappeared and been replaced with waterfront parks and bike racks. Still, there was something special about North Brooklyn back then in its less polished state. It was way more punk rock.
An Instagram account with the handle _missing_the_point_ has been quietly posting side-by-side comparison photos of North Brooklyn from “then” (most of them about 13 years ago) and “now”. Greenpoint native and amateur photographer Jack Olszewski says, “I’d be walking around my own neighborhood and certain blocks had become completely unrecognizable to me. I’d think, ‘Wait… what used to be here?’. That led me to revisit my old photos. I thought it might be something other Greenpointers could relate to, which led to me start _missing_the_point_ .”
Jack has been taking photos of Greenpoint since childhood, and then got a legit but primitive digital camera in the early 2000s. “Growing up I had a great appreciation of the architecture and style of many of the old buildings in the neighborhood. I’ve always felt a sense of connection to its history, as my family has lived here for several generations,” Jack says. “One very obvious thing that stands out is the lack of people and very few cars in almost all the ‘before’ photos. A lot of it is bittersweet. There’s certainly a lot more to do in the neighborhood, but most of the people I grew up with have been priced out. It’s really wonderful to see Greenpoint’s old buildings get a new life. I’m not a big fan of most of these new buildings. They feel kind of architecturally soulless.”
But, Jack adds, “Greenpoint’s unique character and history has never ceased to inspire me.” Follow _missing_the_point_ on Instagram, and check out more amazing photos below.