Once upon a time, comedian Lewis Black opined that he knew the universe must be coming to an end, because he witnessed a Starbucks located smack dab across the street from another Starbucks (ironically, those Starbucks locations were actually the ones that this Houston native writer grew up going to, and she can report that when the Barnes and Noble opened on that block, a third Starbucks location joined the fold, but she digresses).

The 2023 equivalent of this phenomenon might be the dueling smoke shops that just opened right across the street from each other on Manhattan Avenue — Empire Cannabis Clubs and Lazy Dazey.

Empire Cannabis Clubs, a city-wide chain of dispensaries, reads as more of the elder statesmen of the two, as it operates as a member-only service.

“We are here to help, and to get started we have formed ‘The Empire Cannabis Club’, a concierge service dedicated to supplying the highest end cannabis products at prices you can afford,” the website reads, “We have taken the blessings of the New York State Legislature allowing the transfer, without profit, of cannabis, and have set up a membership service in which the club will acquire cannabis products for its members, and only add the cost to facilitate the acquisition and transfer of said Products.”

Sure, whatever that means! We know less about Lazy Dazey, but it’s on Instagram, at least.


Since New York state first legalized weed in 2021, these stores have operated in a legal gray zone — not licensed, but with no real legal mechanism or motivation to curtail them. This gray zone allowed for the proliferation of shops (though city officials recently indicated their intentions to crack down on these shops). The city’s first legal store opened last December, with two more opening in lower Manhattan in the following months, but retail licenses have yet to be awarded to Brooklyn, according to Gothamist.

Certainly, on Greenpoint’s own Manhattan Avenue, this proliferation is noticeable. I’m constantly haunted by an image of a zooted-out Alvin of Chipmunks fame hanging in the window of one of these bodega weed stores (IYKYK). Curious to see which ones will stick around and which ones will inevitably turn out to be a money-laundering front, so watch this space.

Join the Conversation


  1. Adams talks a lot but does nothing. If the city can close a restaurant for getting too many demerits that certainly can close pot shops that are illegal.

  2. A Fervent Plea to the Good People of Greenpoint , and the others (you know who you are 🙂 Please please please open up some MORE weed dispensaries on Manhattan Ave. Our bucolic little neighborhood is so very deprived in this regard. Weed cannot afford to lose the crucial race with rampant proliferation of bars, banks and liquor stores in our neighborhood! No way! But don’t get me wrong. In my gentle jesting, unlike some churches , temples and mosques that try to shove their rules down all our throats (from their privileged tax-free perches), I cherish the liberty of individuals who celebrate the freedom to love whomever they want, the freedom to ingest whatever they want into their bodies, and the freedom to control thei r bodies —as long as they don’t run me over with their cars or bikes when they’re high. Obviously we desperately need to be high, to relieve & escape from the stress of ridiculous rent increases. No judgments! And as we all blissfully mellow out in the pungent haze that pervades our sleepy streets nowadays, it will certainly give our fine officers at the 94th Precinct even more time to relax (instead of closing down places that sell unregulated, untested, potentially unsafe, and illegal weed of unknown quality, concentration, and origins (cartels?). Would it be too much to instead ask for more useful, diverse, affordable and quality shopping along Manhattan Ave? Or have we all become hopelessly addicted to Amazon? Or perhaps, just perhaps, we have abandoned retail stores altogether, as we embrace & convert to the Stop Shopping Crusade of Reverend Billy? Hallelujah!

  3. I want to open a weed shop on Manhattan Ave but I want it to be like those bulk candy stores where you get a bag and then just scoop into it out of these giant weed buckets, weigh it and pay.

  4. Greenpoint is noticeably uglier with all these weed stores. We don’t need more tacky Instagram-ready businesses, we need places with integrity and heart.

  5. It’s really a shame that you guys can’t compete the way instead y’all out here telling lies a fact lazy Dazey have better and safer products then what empire have ! And all our products is lab tested and 100% real
    I urged everyone to stop by and see it for ur self
    no membership no hidden fees. Everyone is welcome. 21+

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