By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Where to Get Tested for COVID-19 in North Brooklyn

Altru Chemists in Greenpoint offers COVID-19 tests. (Photo via Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner)

While New York City’s COVID-19 curve has thankfully flattened, the pandemic rages on across the country. In Brooklyn, we’ve been able to keep coronavirus at bay by social distancing, wearing PPE (keep those masks on!) and sanitizing our hands like our life depends on it (it does), but another important part of limiting the spread of the virus is being tested.

New York City recommends that all New Yorkers get tested, and, when necessary, continue getting tested after potential virus exposure, such as after being around a sick person or in a group setting.

Testing is quick, often free and helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s where to get a test:

Walk-in at Jonathan Williams Houses (333 Roebling St.)

This city-sponsored walk-in testing center at 333 Roebling St. offers free tests, often without a wait. Walk in for a COVID-19 swab test: Monday- Saturday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Sundays, 8 a.m.- 12 p.m. Antibody testing is also offered Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Continue reading

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Lili and Cata Adds Backyard Manicure And Pedicure Stations

Lili & Cata’s backyard garden is open for pedicures and manicures

It’s been nearly a year since Lili and Cata Nail Saloon opened its non-toxic nail shop and cafe on Greenpoint Avenue, and after over three months of mandatory closure, the café and salon is back and better than ever, thanks to a backyard addition.

Outdoor space is of course highly sought after in Brooklyn, and Lili and Cata always planned to used their backyard for nail services, but after opening at the height of summer 2019, the founders Lilly and Jorge Rojas decided to wait to invest in improvements until 2020. Like all of us who made plans for 2020, the Rojas’ expectations slightly shifted this spring.

 

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Ironically, Lili and Cata’s in-salon café got its liquor license five days after closing in March, which in an ideal world would allow the business to expand revenue streams, but in a pandemic world, was more of a “bittersweet” accomplishment, Jorge said. Last month, they tried selling wine and beer on weekends, but Greenpoint has a ton of competition, so, “We decided to wait until Phase 3 to put energy into the business,” he adds. Continue reading

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Sea Wolf Opens a Second Location on the Williamsburg Waterfront at 420 Kent

(Photo via Sea Wolf)

One of Bushwick’s favorite spots to eat seafood, Sea Wolf, has opened a new location in Williamsburg. Stationed just steps from the East River, Sea Wolf is one of several local businesses opening up shop at 420 Kent, a new luxury mixed-use building offering both rentals (a studio starts at $2500+) and retail on the South Williamsburg waterfront developed by former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer.

The much-anticipated opening was first announced in October 2018, two years after the original Sea Wolf became a North Brooklyn destination at 19 Wyckoff Ave.

East River views from the new Sea Wolf location in Williamsburg. (Photo via Sea Wolf)

Sea Wolf’s new Williamsburg restaurant has socially distant outdoor dining with views of the Manhattan Bridge and skyline, and contactless ordering and payment options.

The menu is similar to the original location, including a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. which includes $1 oysters, $1 chicken wings, $1 Buffalo cauliflower, $5 draft beers, $6 wine, and $6 Painkillers. The dinner menu includes opulent seafood towers, more low-key options like San Diego-style fish tacos and a deep fried shrimp basket, as well as solid vegetarian options, like a grilled cauliflower steak and wood fired bok choy. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Design Firm, Pink Sparrow, Creates Parklets to Help Restaurants

Pink Sparrow’s parklet prototype for 21 Greenpoint.

Dining al fresco can be a competitive pastime for New Yorkers who want to score prime sidewalk seating in the warmer months. Now, sitting outside is the only way to enjoy a restaurant or bar, a challenge for businesses that previously did not have substantial outdoor space, a familiar New York conundrum.

Learning about the open streets program that would allow restaurants to open for outdoor service, Greenpoint-based experiential design firm Pink Sparrow (24 Greenpoint Ave.), wanted to fabricate a solution. Locals may recognize their work from experiential booths at the Expo Center, but the company which relies on in-person events had all business trickle off this March, meaning they had more capacity to redefine what they do.

“We wanted to use our skills and expertise to reimagine what a post-pandemic world looks like, and really focus on starting to reopen and building community,” says Pink Sparrow’s marketing associate Maggie Balcerzak. Before Phase 2 started,  Pink Sparrow communicated with the city to learn what businesses would need to open, and how they could develop compliant products. 

Pink Sparrow’s parklet outside of Magazine Bar

Ideas started to roll, and Pink Sparrow created a prototype of its new parklet for 21 Greenpoint (21 Greenpoint Ave.), which is across the street from their 20,000-square-foot workshop. They’ve also outfitted Magazine Bar (130 Franklin St.) with planters and benches, the backs of which have reflectors for street traffic, to keep Magazine guests safe. They’re also cushioning businesses from needing to close. Continue reading

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How White Neighbors Can Be Better Allies to BIPOC in a Mostly White Neighborhood

A freshly painted “No Room For Racism” sign on the front of D’emploi Studio (238 Franklin St.) in Greenpoint.

In early June, a crowd of neighbors gathered outside Tommy’s Tavern, listening as a woman named Kira shared her painful experiences with racism at that very Greenpoint corner.

More neighbors shared their stories of living as people of color in a mostly-White neighborhood, and called on White neighbors to stand up and protect Black folks and people of color living in and visiting the neighborhood.

 

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More than 100 protestors gathered Thursday afternoon in front of Tommy’s Tavern (1041 Manhattan Ave.), a local dive bar, to condemn the owner’s recent behavior towards a black woman. Kira, a black woman who works in Greenpoint, says that she was waiting at a bus stop across the street from the bar on June 7th when the owner, Thomas Kaminski, told her she “shouldn’t be here.” Kaminski bragged about how he had more money than her and yelled about ‘Black Lives Matter protests’ in his neighborhood, at one point flipping her the bird, she alleges. “It’s obvious in Greenpoint that I’m probably the only black person I’d see for a while,” said Kira, who declined to give her last name. “But I never felt unwelcome until that day.” She previously spoke about the altercation a week ago in McCarren Park during one of the nightly vigils in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. After returning home from the park, she decided to organize a protest in front of the bar, which Council Member Stephen Levin’s office supported. (Link in bio for full post) in 📷: Ben Weiss

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Those living in and around Greenpoint are probably aware that the neighborhood pales in racial diversity compared to many other Brooklyn neighborhoods. As of 2018, 6.1% of the population identified as Asian, 3.9% identified as Black, 20.7% identified as Hispanic, and 65.9% identified as White, according to data from the Furman Center. Very few businesses in North Brooklyn are Black-owned.

Acknowledging what the neighborhood is lacking is only a small step in pushing Greenpoint towards becoming a more equitable, anti-racist area for neighbors and visitors. To guide White allies in actively making Greenpoint a better place for people of color, Black queer activist and author Kat Vellos shared some words of wisdom and actionable suggestions.

Adjust to an anti-racist vocabulary

Firstly, “Stop calling people of color minorities,” Vellos says. “This term leads to the continual perpetuation of the idea that people of color are less than or that white are superior.” She recommends non-Black allies check out her recent piece, “How non-Black people can be supportive to Black communities” for a better understanding on how to help Black neighbors.

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Fulgurances, A Parisian Incubator for Rising Chefs, To Open in Former Greenpoint Laundromat

Octopus at Fulgurances, L’Adresse, which will open a Greenpoint outpost this fall. (Photo courtesy of Fulgurances, L’Adresse)

A laundromat at 132 Franklin St. that’s sat empty for over a year is about to have a delicious upgrade. Paris-based Fulgurances, is opening a Greenpoint location of its incubator for rising chefs.

Parisian and recent Brooklynite Hugo Hivernat (along with partners Sophie Cornibert, Rebecca Asthalter and Pierre Bufett) launched his original chef residency program in Paris, Fulgurances, L’Adresse, in 2015. Fulgurances will bring a similar visiting chef model to the Brooklyn rendition.

“We compare what we do to an artist residency: Fulgurances invites young chefs for a three- to six-month residency program where they can learn how to manage a team, define and refine their culinary identity, and express themselves as they want, without having to worry about the administrative and financial aspects of running a restaurant,” says Hivernat.

In Paris, chefs and sous chefs, who were “hidden gems in the kitchen,” Hivernat says, have come to Fulgurances from restaurants all over the world, including highly acclaimed global restaurants like Noma, Osteria Francescana, and Cosme.

“With this new residency location, we hope to keep bringing both local and international chefs, because a huge part of cooking is about being open to others and to the world,” says Hivernat. “The goal is also to create bridges between Paris and New York, and perhaps even have chefs rotate from one city to another in order for them to be confronted with a new terroir, and a new audience.”

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Royal Hawaiian Shave Ice Sets Up Shop at Lobster Joint

Royal Hawaiian Shave Ice is shaving up 14 flavors of sweetness outside of Lobster Joint

Royal Hawaiian Shave Ice is offering a colorful cool-down treat in Greenpoint this summer. Operating out of a window at Lobster Joint (1073 Manhattan Ave.), the Hawaiian shave ice company serves dozens of flavors and specialty creations of the tropical treat.

A project by Lobster Joint founder and local entrepreneur (he also owns Comic Book Station) Tommy Chabrowski, Royal Hawaiian Shave Ice opened last summer at Jacob Riis Park, and became a highly sought after spot. “The response was phenomenal,” Chabrowski said.

Without the option to set up at Riis yet this summer, Chabrowski decided to open the shave ice station inside Lobster Joint as both businesses reopened for phase 2. Ideally, he’ll bring the shave ice back to the beach this summer, and also open at The Rockaways, where Lobster Joint had a stand at the 92nd Street beach. Continue reading

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Pueblo Querido Opens Second Coffee Shop, A “Little Colombia” in Williamsburg

 
The entrance to Pueblo Querido’s new coffee shop in Williamsburg
 
Christian Guzman Herrera has built a “Little Colombia” just off the East River in Williamsburg. An offshoot of his four-year-old Pueblo Querido coffee shop and roastery at 195 Greenpoint Ave., Herrera’s second store at 34 North 6th St. has transformed an old daycare center into a full-service Colombian cafe.
 
The cafe, which opened mid-May, had been leasing the space for nearly a year before the doors opened, but, as they often do in New York, renovations took much longer than expected, and a surprise pandemic didn’t help with importing the espresso equipment he needed from Italy, which had closed by the time he was ready to purchase the tools.
PQ Coffee owner Christian Guzman Herrera prepares his newest coffee shop in Williamsburg.
 
“I didn’t want to disappoint anyone,” Herrera says of his hesitancy to open the second Pueblo Querido amidst COVID-19 chaos. But the stream of eager customers trickling in and out of the colorful cafe on a weekday morning do not seem disappointed. In fact, many of them are neighborhood regulars.
 
Pueblo Querido’s new location is covered up to the ceiling in Colombian culture. Industrial ceiling equipment is artfully covered in canvas coffee bean sacks.

A pole which Herrera thought was inconveniently placed the middle of the shop is adorned with colorful textiles, the patterns of which he explains are woven from the artisan’s dreams.

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Blue Hill’s ResourcED Program Adds Greenpoint Pickup Location

Blue Hill’s produce box is full of seasonal bounty grown in the Hudson Valley

There’s no need to leave the city, or even the neighborhood, to pick up Blue Hill Farm’s sought-after food boxes. To offset potential food waste during the pandemic, the Tarrytown-based farm, agricultural center, and in normal times, highly acclaimed Stone Barns restaurant has been vending farm boxes for pre-order and pickup at its Westchester campus and Manhattan restaurant since the early days of the pandemic.

Now, Blue Hill is expanding its pickup area to include Greenpoint, Carroll Gardens and The Hamptons, as part of its ongoing resourcED food box program.

Greenpoint customers can pay a $10 delivery fee to pre-book a time slot on Sundays via Tock, when the ordered items will be available for pickup at 132 Franklin Street (the former location of a laundromat).


Blue Hill’s Greenpoint menu includes packages of farm-fresh Hudson Valley produce, organic eggs, a salad kit, chicken and turmeric broth, whole wheat bread, dairy products and beverages like wine, cocktails and Blue Hill’s kombucha. Continue reading

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Mike’s Hot Honey Is Offering Free Dip Cups to Help Pizzerias

Mike’s Hot Honey is now available in individual cups to drizzle on takeout pizza. (Image via Mike’s Hot Honey)

New York City is just heating up, and one Greenpoint-based company is preparing to make this unprecedented summer in the city a little sweeter too. Mike’s Hot Honey, the artisanal spicy honey company that started in the back of Paulie Gee’s Pizzeria (and is iconic to the shop’s Hellboy pie) is launching dip cups this week in an effort to better service pizzerias experiencing a sharp increase in delivery and takeout business.

To introduce the new individually packaged product to pizzerias across the country, and also offer support to pizzerias in need of a spicy boost amidst COVID-19Mike‘s Hot Honey is offering a free case of dip cups to any pizzeria that wants to use them in delivery and takeout orders (while supplies last).

“Pizzerias are the backbone of our business. When the pandemic hit the United States, we began outreach to our friends at pizzerias to learn more about what they were experiencing and how we could help,” says Mike Kurtz, founder of Mike‘s Hot Honey.

Chicken fingers dipped in hot honey are always a good idea

Each dip cup contains .75 ounces of hot honey and will be made available nationwide through a distribution partnership with DOT Foods. Cases include 90 dip cups, plus 100 promotional stickers.

For those not yet familiar with the joy of hot honey is a pizza topping, Kurtz recommends, “Drizzling it on the pie just before you take a bite.” The new small cups let pizza lovers drizzle in the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Pizzerias interested in receiving a free case of Mike’s Hot Honey can fill out this dip cup promo form.

“Nearly everyone we spoke with was seeing an increase in delivery business and a need for honey packaging that fit this model. We developed the dip cups as a way for pizzerias to safely and efficiently deliver our product to their customers while adding incremental revenue to each order.” Continue reading

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