By Megan Penmann

About Megan Penmann

Not only the Content Manager for Greenpointers, Megan is also a freelance creative director, writer, DJ and jane of all trades living in in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Volunteer: Weed-O-Rama at Transmitter Park (8/18)

Wildflowers in Transmitter Park. Photo: Megan Penmann
Wildflowers in Transmitter Park. Photo: Megan Penmann

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.

Here are the deets: Continue reading

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Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop Will Finally Open August 29th!

Paulie Gee's slice
Paulie Gee’s slice, via Instagram

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.

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What You Need to Know about The Ride-Sharing Cap

Bedford L Station (photo: Julia Moak)

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.

Uber & Lyft via Unsplash
photo illustration via Unsplash

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).

New York City currently has more than 100k ride-share vehicles on the streets, compared with less than 15k yellow cabs. Six yellow cab drivers have committed suicide in the last few years—depressed and traumatized about not being able to pay their bills—while Uber and Lyft drivers of all ages, races and backgrounds have raked in some extra side hustle cash.

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.”

L Train Illustration via @brooklyncartoons Instagram
Illustration via @brooklyncartoons Instagram

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.

The full magnitude of the L-pocalypse and the effect on our daily commutes to Manhattan remains to be seen. We do know, however, that it’s going to be epic. The shutdown will have its own documentary, already has a news series on Vice, and has been making national news. And there have been plenty of crazy-not-so-crazy alternatives to the subway proposed.

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.

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Say Amen, Somebody: Movie Screening + Bake Sale at Park ChurchCo-Op

Park Church Co-Op Bake Sale

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.
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Volunteers Needed: Greenpoint Tree Watering Day is This Saturday (8/11)

Greenpoint Tree Corps

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.

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Get You and Your Pet Photographed in Greenpoint for Time Out Mag Thursday Aug 9th!

via time out
via Jillian Anthony, Time Out

You and your fabulous pet dog, monkey, or hamster could be photographed and interviewed for Time Out NY! The shoot and interview will take place in Greenpoint on Thursday, August 9th between 11am-6pm. Email [email protected] with a pic of you and your pet and some details. Info below:

Category: Culture, Pet Adoption | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The Beebs Showed His Face at Frankel’s, And Not Everyone is Happy About It

via Entertainment Tonight on Instagram

Yesterday we re-grammed a photo by Entertainment Tonight of mega popstar Justin Bieber and his fresh-faced fianceé Hailey Baldwin spotted at Greenpoint’s own Frankel’s Deli (631 Manhattan Avenue). The 200+ comments on the photo were interesting, to say the least. Apparently people have strong opinions about The Beebs haunting Greenpoint’s most well-known (not necessarily “best,” that’s up for debate) bagel shop, and about Frankel’s food. This Bieber sighting even has some folks starting to look for a new apartment—maybe that’s a bit rash, guys? But you do you.

Anyway, here are our favorites: Continue reading

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It’s a Cool, Cool Summer: The Ice Cream Takedown is Upon Us This Sunday (7/22)

ice cream takedown

The epic amateur cooking competition series The Takedowns started 15 years ago at Bar Matchless (RIP) with dozens of bowls of chili and a hundred hungry judges. Since then the competition has expanded to other cities, inspired cookbooks, helped launch food popups, grown chefs’ careers, and continues to hold strong in Greenpoint. Each event is themed around a different food (cookies, mac n’ cheese, lobster, meatballs, the list goes on), and at least a dozen amateur chefs—from your overly cool neighbor to your kooky grandma—compete and bring their tastiest food in that category for the crowd to feast on, and vote on. The winners take home pretty sweet and usually expensive kitchenware items, and folks leave with their bellies full and buzzing from all the fun.

This Sunday July 22nd from 2-4pm, the Ice Cream Takedown will be held at Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Avenue) and you can bank on a brain freeze. Tickets are $25 and that entitles you to a whole lot of ice cream and special tastes from “celebrity judges” from Ample Hills, Davey’s (74 Meserole Ave), Coolhaus and Tea-riffic. We’ll see you there!

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Matchless is Coming Down (Eventually)

The old Matchless building, on Driggs & Manhattan Avenue. Photo: Megan Penmann
The old Matchless building, on Driggs & Manhattan Avenue. Photo: Megan Penmann

File under not-shocking-at-all news: the former location of beloved neighborhood beacon Bar Matchless (561 Driggs Avenue) is slated to become condos. Developer Bi Hang Cheng has filed permits for a six-story eight unit building to go up in place of the former live music bar. No word on whether the apartments will be rentals. Cheng paid $4.45 million for the building back in April, after Matchless fought closure (and lost the battle) in January.

Since then, the building has remained empty and the facade consumed by graffiti. The developer has not yet filed demolition permits, so the building still stands. For now.

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Support Indie Cinema: Spectacle Theater Needs a New Projector

via Spectacle Theater
via Spectacle Theater

North Brooklyn is a hub for film. There are countless big name shows and movies shot and produced here, production design warehouses dot the industrial backstreets of the neighborhood, plus there are giant soundstages, and we have some pretty significant annual film festivals held here. And of course, we’ve got a small handful of quirky indie cinemas in the ‘nabe too: Film Noir (122 Meserole St), Light Industry (155 Freeman Street), the soon-to-be-opened Stuart Cinema & Cafe (West Street & Milton), Videology (308 Bedford Ave), Syndicated (40 Bogart St), and Spectacle Theater (124 S 3rd St) in South Williamsburg.

Spectacle is run entirely by volunteers, and shows rare cinematic gems, often with live scores, interactive performances and filmmaker appearances. It’s BYO-snacks and very DIY, and they keep ticket prices real with most screenings costing only $5.

They’ve just launched a fundraiser to purchase a new projector, as their old one sings its swan song. They write: Continue reading

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