One of the best things about Greenpoint is our abundance of fantastic restaurants (some Michelin-starred, many highly praised by food critics and locals) and bars with amazing cocktails, and the hardworking and friendly staff that run them. In a very sad turn of events, all bars and restaurants in New York City have been closed to the public this week per government orders, to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Restaurants can, however, still serve food for pickup and takeout. As a result, liquor laws have been loosened so people can pick up and take away alcoholic beverages, including cocktails.
This is an unprecedented time for our state and for New York City. Currently, more than 15,000 people have signed a petition to Governor Cuomo to offer Relief For All Restaurants (ROAR) by a variety of measures. The petition was started by and is supported by dozens of restaurants all over the city, including some in North Brooklyn.
We don’t know how long the shutdown will be in effect, but it could be many months. And that’s a very long time for restaurant workers and small businesses to not receive an income. Very quickly this week, the air has been sucked out of the heart and soul of Greenpoint, along with the rest of New York City. So we’ve made a list of local restaurants and their current status.
If it’s an option, restaurants are encouraging patrons to order over the phone or directly instead of through an app—that way the money goes directly to the restaurants and staff instead of to a third party. You should check the restaurant or bar’s Instagram account (linked in their name) or call them to verify what they’re offering, as that’s changing by the hour.Continue reading →
This past weekend, Greenpoint debuted an impressive new art venue, cementing the neighborhood as a destination for art in NYC. The Faurschou Foundation opened its doors at 148 Green Street on Sunday (December 15th), and it’s an open-to-the-public art venture that’s been years in the making. Faurschou Foundation was started nearly a decade ago by Jens Faurschou, a Danish art collector and former art dealer who has founded many art institutions over the course of his career. The foundation also has spaces in Beijing—the largest—and Copenhagen, which is about the size of the Greenpoint location.Continue reading →
The San Damiano Mission (85 N 15th Street) has the past few years not only been a church with some cool-as-heck Friars, but also they’ve been the home for a popup BBQ joint, been a community gathering spot, and they’ve hosting concerts of all genres of music in collaboration with The Lot Radio across the street. And if you don’t know The Lot by now, they’re an everyone-feels-welcome outdoor cafe/bar/DJ booth and hang spot.
On Thursday, August 30th, the Lot and The Mission are collaborating to bring talented pianist Hans H. Suh to the Mission for a classical concert. He’ll be playing Schumann – Arabesque; Liszt – Sonata in B minor; and Ravel – La Valse. Tix are $15 and you can get them here.
A few weeks ago we wrote about local healing and wellness center Maha Rose expanding to the space next door. The additional 1500-square-foot space (they’re currently at 97 Green Street) will feature an infrared sauna, and additional treatment and workshop rooms. After getting down and dirty and deep into the construction process, they have decided to use the power of crowdfunding to help offset the work, which is taking them twice as long and costing more than double what they anticipated.
They hope to be open in mid-September and are asking the community for help in reaching their financial goals so they can continue to offer a unique set of services and provide a safe space for North Brooklynites to breathe, learn, heal and expand their consciousness. Donate to Maha Rose here.Continue reading →
If you’ve ever worked in a cafe, you’ve likely seen first-hand the large amount of food that gets dumped straight into the garbage at the end of the day. If you haven’t, then you’ve definitely walked by piles of trash bags on our neighborhood sidewalks, and maybe not realized that many of them contain still totally edible food. Around 20% of trash in NYC is actually, and unfortunately, food waste.
Now, a new app has launched in North Brooklyn to help connect everyday people to day’s end food at cafes, gourmet grocers and more—the app alerts you daily at the exact moment food is up for grabs at a much lower price. In our neighborhood, you can get discounted Polish home cooking from Polka Dot(726 Manhattan Ave), fancy donuts from Du’s(107 N 12th St), pastries and sandwiches from Woops!(both Williamsburg and Greenpoint locations), gourmet bread from Marlow & Daughters (95 Broadway), pizza from DiFara(at N 3rd St Market), and coming soon, even grocery items from the Key Food on McGuinness. There’s at least a dozen more shops and restaurants participating in the area, and lots more are signing on every day. Continue reading →
Unfortuantely for some, “Weed-o-rama” doesn’t refer to 420—Transmitter Park is holding the event this Saturday (8/18) for volunteers to help weed the gardens after recent rains have produced an excessive amount of pesky greens.
The wait is finally over. Starting at the end of this month, you can get Paulie Gee’s famous ‘za by the slice at his new Slice Shop on Franklin (110 Franklin Street). Paulie formally announced the August 29th opening on Instagram this weekend, to thousands of thrilled fans, with many offering to taste test before the official opening.
Despite the hoards of psyched-as-hell foodies, the pizza shop originally faced neighborhood opposition from Noble Street neighbors when the plans for the shop began a few years back. Almost 300 residents signed a petition in an attempt to prevent the shop getting a liquor license, out of concerns about late night crowds and excessive noise.
As the L-Pocalypse looms and the L train shuts down for 15 weekends starting this weekend, the City Council’s vote to put a cap on the number of ride-share cars is not welcome news to many in North Brooklyn. As local businesses already face the challenge of retaining customers over the course of the 15-month L Train Shutdown, we wonder how limiting the number of ride-share cars will affect local businesses and workers.
Over the years as the neighborhood’s population has exploded, North Brooklyn has seen a higher number of yellow cabs cruise through the neighborhood—and in fact, we house many of them here—but still nowhere near the number of yellow cabs you see on the streets of Manhattan. Before Uber and Lyft came to town, there were a handful of local car services like Northside, Java, or Metroline you’d call to get a ride somewhere, often paying a flat cash fee that included tip. And those drivers usually knew the best back streets to take to get you to JFK in about half an hour.
These days, getting a cab is as easy as pressing a few buttons on your phone without having to wait on hold or talk to anyone or give your credit card info—and in North Brooklyn, a 1-minute or less wait for an Uber or Lyft (or Juno, or Via) is common. But often, drivers of ride-share vehicles are not local to your neighborhood and are blindly following robotic-voiced directions on their phones. (Ed note: Northside and Metroline have their own apps, and you can book online with Java).
The suicides, combined with general concern about traffic congestion and lack of regulation prompted the city to do something about this rapid explosion of vehicles on our streets that have very visibly threatened the livelihoods of thousands of Yellow Cab drivers—who are still iconic of New York City. Two months ago almost 150 taxi medallions hit the bankruptcy auction block. According to Curbed, “In 2013, a medallion was worth as much as $1.3 million, however, competition from ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft has driven medallion prices down to as low as $160,000.” According to the Post, earnings for Yellow Cab drivers have plummeted to $29k per year by some estimates.
The legislation passed on Wednesday will require ride-share companies to purchase a for-hire vehicle license (or face a $10k penalty) currently set at $275 per car, exempting wheelchair accessible vehicles from a fee, and requires the TLC to set a minimum wage for ride-share drivers. And, of course, the cap. The law also says that no new licenses (except for accessible vehicles) will be given out for one year, while the TLC conducts a transportation study. New York is the first major city to impose a limit on the number of ride-share vehicles. In response, Uber says it’s planning to recruit the tens of thousands of drivers who already own a valid for-hire-vehicle license. The company, currently the highest valued startup at $68 billion, was a staunch opponent of the bill, launching an ad campaign to drum up support against it.
A 2018 TLC study found that setting a minimum wage for ride-share drivers to $17.22 per hour would increase driver net pay by 22.5%. And by instituting a minimum wage for drivers, Uber and Lyft would take less of a cut. It would, “…substantially reduce growth in the number of new drivers and vehicles and provide some indirect benefits for medallion drivers.” According to Mashable, “Lyft said it supports a livable wage for its drivers and is already paying close to the $17.22 minimum hourly rate (after expenses) to its drivers.”
It’s a fact that more ride-hailing apps means more cars on the streets, which in turn creates more traffic and congestion. City bus routes are affected (if you ride the B62 you know this is true), and of course first responders and emergency service workers can be delayed too. Jon Orcutt, the director of communications and advocacy at TransitCenter, says we are currently in “our worst transportation crisis in decades.”
Of course, all of this is happening above ground and that’s not the only way New Yorkers travel. In April of 2019 the L Train will shut down for repairs for 15 months, forcing thousands of Brooklynites to find a different way to get into Manhattan. The MTA’s plans have been heavily criticized, with many arguing that they have only accounted for a fraction of workers who will need to get into the city every day. The Village Voice calls it a “recipe for gridlock.” Some North Brooklyn lifers shrug their shoulders while they wait for rents to drop and café crowds to thin out.
Local business owners are none too happy about the shutdown either, knowing that without the daily influx of tourists coming into the neighborhood and with some residents moving out of the neighborhood entirely, their business will drop. Maybe even to 2008 levels. With a ride-share cap in addition to the shutdown, many businesses who rely on people from outside the neighborhood—restaurants, entertainment venues, retail establishments—will certainly feel a pinch. But others ask, is the idea of less people coming into the neighborhood really a bad thing? Isn’t the neighborhood overcrowded as it is? It’s a complicated issue.
Greenpointers, we want to know how the ride-share cap and the shutdown will affect you. Are you a business owner or a Lyft driver? Let us know how you feel in the comments.
The Park Church Co-Op (129 Russell St) is celebrating gospel music and community building with a screening of the 1982 documentary Say Amen, Somebody! and a bake sale on Saturday, August 18th at 7pm. Tickets to the film are $5, and there will be homemade baked goods for sale, with the funds going towards the church.
If you want to donate a baked good, you can sign up on this form.
Volunteer tree watering is happening this Saturday August 11th at 10am, meeting in Transmitter Park! In this brutal heat, the trees get dehydrated and need a little neighborly help to keep them growing—if you volunteer you’ll help water young trees along Kent and West Streets.
*Watch out for the park’s mockingbirds; we received a tip they are still actively defending their nests as of yesterday.