Lucie Levine is the founder of Archive on Parade, a local tour and event company that aims to take New York’s fascinating history out of the archives and into the streets. She’s a Native New Yorker, licensed New York City tour guide, and freelance writer with a passion for the city’s social, political and cultural history.
New York has run on coffee since at least 1668, when the first written reference to the drink in America noted that New Yorkers were imbibing a brew made of roasted beans flavored with sugar, or honey and cinnamon. Following the Civil War, our beloved borough became the center of the national coffee trade. By the turn of the 20th century, 86% of the nation’s coffee docked in New York Harbor, and John Arbuckle’s plant on John Street in DUMBO roasted more coffee than any other building in the world.
Today, Brooklynites are pioneering the “third wave” specialty coffee craze, and our local roasters are flavoring their drinks with a lot more than sugar or honey and cinnamon. In the name of investigative journalism, I set out to sample some of that local flavor. In Greenpoint alone, that means turmeric, lavender, licorice and other assorted delights. These are not your average pours and they’ll run you more than a regular coffee, but if you’re looking to splurge on something special, read on for Greenpoint’s most exciting coffee concoctions. Continue reading →
Design and architecture buffs abound here in Brooklyn, and Greenpoint has even been called the home design capital of the borough, but Talking Tropics, a new series of discussions at A/D/O, the creative design hub at 29 Norman Avenue, is putting Tropical cities like Shenzhen, Rio and Chennai at the center of “a conversation about climate change and the future of design, architecture and construction in island and waterfront cities.”
Greenpoint sports a lot of green. From McCarren Park to the G train, our slice of north Brooklyn is colorful. In fact, Greenpoint’s natural greenery has inspired Euphorium Brooklyn’s newest fragrance, Butterfly. Ten years ago, when olfactory artist and perfumer Stephen Dirkes moved into a loft on Commercial Street, he noticed that the weeds and wild flora growing on the banks of the Newtown Creek supported something stunning: the annual Monarch Butterfly migration between Canada and Mexico. Each year, the butterflies descend on the northern reaches of Greenpoint, heralding summer and bringing a spectacular natural grace to the industrial waterfront.
Stephen notes that while Newtown Creek’s wild plant life might be “a peculiar starting point to develop a fragrance palette, butterflies have done a remarkable job of curating a wide range of fragrant floral, mint, grass, & herbaceous notes for a perfumer to work with.”
And the fine fragrance world is all aflutter over Butterfly. Reviews call it “bright, clear and sparkling…unearthly and ethereal” and mark it as the go-to scent of the summer. But, Butterfly didn’t begin as a fragrance. Instead, it started as a local conservation effort.
When Greenpoint’s zoning laws changed, new development began to spring up on the water’s edge, where plants once grew undisturbed. Suddenly, the Monarch’s migratory path faced peril, and Stephen began researching butterfly gardens as a way to help sustain the natural habitat. Now, Stephen’s made it possible for anyone to be an armchair conservationist! Continue reading →
Since last September, when the art space and creative incubator GAMBA Forest opened its doors at 231 Norman Avenue, it has hosted artists working in nearly every medium and genre. Last Saturday night, over fifteen of those artists came out to support the first of two fundraising events GAMBA is hosting as it gets ready to head to new digs. As artists shared their music, poetry and dance, one attendee welcomed others by passing out flowers.
GAMBA Forest and its welcoming vibes will be relocating in September, and is asking for your help to ensure that “the artist community that has united at GAMBA Forest will not be lost or displaced.” To do that, Melissa Hunter Gurney and Chris Carr, of Brooklyn Wildlife, who run the space, need “to raise the money for the ridiculous amount of funds attached to putting down on a new commercial space in Brooklyn.”