The Karcher salon is spearheading a local Greenpoint Pride project aiming to bring the community together while also supporting LGBTQIA+ organizations.
The idea was born out of the lack of NYC Pride events in 2020, combined with a hope of uplifting each other locally. Eric Torneros, a stylist and colorist at The Karcher, dreamed up Greenpoint Pride out of his desire to feel connected to the greater LGBTQIA community within Greenpoint.
“Last year, reflecting in the middle of the pandemic, it was really hard not to have Pride be a full-on thing. Having Pride be something I went to every single year since I was 17 meant so much to me,” Torneros said. “Being in Greenpoint, I feel so connected to the community here. One thing for me was wanting something to gather the LGBTQIA community here. And so over the last few months, it felt very natural for us to go this route and to really ask for the hands of other small businesses in the neighborhood.”
Torneros and The Karcher’s owner, Meg Costello, were also inspired by the rise of mutual aid efforts in NYC.
“I was really inspired by the rise of mutual aids in the different parts of Brooklyn and the city and just seeing that come out of the pandemic,” Costello explained. “At the end of the day, it was really our communities that mattered and our communities that uplifted us rather than the larger governments.”
Participating businesses receive a special window decal to signify their support for Greenpoint Pride and select a designation of their sales to benefit an LGBTQIA+ organization of their choice.
Outreach has been mostly through word-of-mouth, with Costello and Torneros contacting businesses they already have relationships with or are known to be queer-owned, as well as tapping into The Karcher’s network and other friends within the community.
“We don’t want this to be our thing, we want this to be Greenpoint’s thing,” Costello noted. “Let’s make this a many-armed beast and think of how we can all just spread throughout Greenpoint.”
Currently, Tend, Dandelion Wine, El Born, Edy’s Grocer, Grace + Grit Flowers, Alter, smallhome, Otis & Finn, Ramona, Cato’s Army & Navy, Hair, Lockwood, Odd Fox Coffee, and PRESS Massage have joined the initiative, and charities include G.LI.T.S., The Trevor Project, New Alternatives, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and many more. Involvement is ongoing, and any businesses interested in participating are encouraged to get in touch with The Karcher.
For Tend owner Joe Ferrari, getting involved with Greenpoint Pride was a no-brainer.
“[Costello] reached out right at the beginning and it was kind of funny because I’d just been talking to my team here about doing something of a similar fashion and spearheading it, but I just had loose thoughts,” Ferrari admitted. “I was happy to hear there were others having similar feelings and wanting to help and elevate the presence of our other shops in the neighborhood, but also give back.”
Throughout June, Tend will be donating 10% of its sales to the Audre Lorde Project, as well as featuring a new window design specifically for Pride.
“We chose [the Audre Lorde Project] because it is elevating the cause of the transgender community, which I definitely think gets overlooked during Pride month, and also because it’s focused on communities of color,” Ferrari said. “It’s weird to think that something like Pride, which should be celebratory for all, tends to be a bit exclusive, so we wanted to make it more inclusive.”
Overall, the goal is to create a feeling of community and widespread support with the hopes of the initiative eventually turning into something bigger right here in Greenpoint.
“The small businesses within Greenpoint are very social, so that can easily blend into the bigger community as well,” Torneros explained. “So this is just a start for us to reach out a hand, but also this could become a parade down Manhattan [Avenue] or a block party somewhere.”
“Our neighborhood is growing so fast … I think the more we band together as a community and show our openness, it’ll help foster that for the future of our neighborhood,” Ferrari said.