By Yana

About Yana

Born and raised in the Philippines, Yana spent her first 7 years in the US living in LA. Now, a transplant to New York, she considers herself one of those people who fell in love with Greenpoint at first sight. For this little gypsy, the Big Apple is another great adventure. A bicycle-riding, art-loving, design junkie, she enjoys making new friends and discovering the brooklyn way of life: backyards, bikes and beers.

Epic Ride via The Yana Banana Voyage (Photos!)

the 20 miler mark
20 mile mark

To wake up at 6:30 am on a Saturday, you must be nuts, you say?  Maybe I am.  But I woke up hella early because I was going on the Epic Bike Ride! Just a quick rundown:  it’s 40 miles, from Williamsburg to the Rockaways, taking the coastal route of Brooklyn.

Epic Bike Ride was organized by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.  These are the fine folks who have been working with the DOT on the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, which is a 14-mile landscaped route, physically separated from traffic with separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists.  When complete, the greenway will connect neighborhood parks and open spaces from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. IMAGINE!  Oh, the places we’ll go! Continue reading

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Relive Your Youth With The Wild Honey Pie’s Summer Camp!

The Wild Honey Pie, a music blog based in Brooklyn, is a collective of writers, videographers, directors, photographers, and artists who promote the music they love via words, photos, original videos, and live concert events.

This year, they’re doing something new:  Summer Camp!  Imagine an entire day (to night) event during which they’ll be filming buzz sessions with six different bands, enjoying free food/beer/pool party/bbq/bonfire/all that good stuff at an uber (gasp!) secret location about an hour away from NYC on MetroNorth.

Summer Camp

I was able to chat with TWHP’s Christine Campbell, to tell us more about Summer Camp.

GP:  What’s the concept behind the Summer Camp?  Who are the Founders/ Organizers?  How long has this been going for?

Christine:  Summer Camp is the brainchild of Eric Weiner, founder of The Wild Honey Pie. We’re pulling it off with the help of our friends over at Consequence of Sound.  Continue reading

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Yana’s Picks: Best First Date Spots for Singles in Greenpoint

Dating is always tough, but it’s tougher in New York – especially Brooklyn.  Now for us single ladies, it’s always a different story. Before I give you my list of  “first date spots,” these are the prerequisites:

a.  Incognito status: places where friends / exes do not troll aka I-won’t-bump-into-anyone-I-know.  I want to save myself and my um, date, the embarrassment of saying “Uh, yeah. I’m on a date.”

b.  Big open spaces:  Well, I’ll be ok as long as it has a number of easy exits – especially on a first date.  Big windows count. Continue reading

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Rooftop Films: From The Rooftops And Beyond

I love summer.  Not just because I grew up in  a perma-summer country, but because the days are longer, I get my tan back and summer is most probably the only time one can maximize rooftop usage: from sunsets to barbecues to movies.

One of my personal favorites is Rooftop Films.  The first time I got to attend one was last year, at a rooftop in South Slope/Gowanus.  I loved the idea:  DJ/ Live music, massive screen, warm breeze – all under the stars with the skyline as a backdrop.  Since then, I was hooked.

It was a pleasure to chat and get in-depth with Rooftop Film’s Outreach and Development Manager:  Alece Oxendine. Continue reading

Category: Events | 1 Comment

Welcome Aboard The Bounty – New Seafood Spot in Greenpoint

It was a perfect night for the perfect storm.  I decided to leave my land lubber gig,  put on my sea legs and set afoot on The Bounty (131 Greenpoint Ave).

As I walked inside, I felt like I was inside a ship – from the salvaged barrels to the massive sail in the ceiling to the bar comprised of haphazardly-stacked reclaimed tables and bureaus whose drawers were spilling out (because that’s what happens on a boat on a rocky sea when you don’t lock them).

This newly opened spot is essentially a raw bar featuring  local and responsibly-harvested seafood, hand-made pasta and in-house cocktail syrups. Continue reading

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Get a “Frisky” or a “Fixie” at Broken Land – Opening Tonight! (6/6)

Broken Land's Bartender Ryan Wood

Wondering what will fill the space (more like a void) that was the former Veronica People’s Club?

Broken Land (105 Franklin St) has come. And they are opening their doors tonight – Thursday, 6/6 at 9pm!

I sat down with bar manager, Ryan Wood and one of the owners, Julia Arnold, amidst the flurry of prepping for their opening party tonight.

GP:  What’s the concept of  “Broken Land”?

BL:  We choose “Broken Land” because it was the original name the Dutch gave Brooklyn (Breukelen) and it was descriptive of the the area where Newtown Creek was: waving marshlands.  Those marshlands are now known as Greenpoint.  We wanted to create a bar “where we would want to be.” Continue reading

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Brunching for a Cause: Brunchtacular!

© Yana Guilbuena

In Brooklyn, when we brunch we brunch HARD.  But, to brunch AND be philanthropic all at the same time?  Last Saturday Rally Downtown hosted Brunchtacular:  the mother of all brunches, in which a portion of the proceeds benefit The Lamp and Greenpoint Reformed Church Food Pantry.

The event was hosted at T.B.D., the largest beer garden in Greenpoint, featuring local restaurants:  AnellaAction BurgerCafecito BogotaOvenlyThe Bagel StoreMabels SmokehouseSelamat Pagi, and Brooklyn Label.    And get this: it was a three-hour, all-you-can-eat brunch, with bottomless mimosas.

Ovenly's Apricot Thyme Scone-wich © Josh Webb
Selamat Pagi's Beef Rendang © Josh Webb

In the midst of the brunch-madness, I was able to be chat with founder, Tom Gray and grab the inside scoop on Brunchtacular:

Greenpointers:  What was the impetus of “Brunchtacular” ?

Tom:  We thought it was a unique way to highlight local businesses, while supporting some great nonprofits organizations that serve Greenpoint and the rest of Brooklyn. Continue reading

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Discover: BalconyTV (Brooklyn) – An Online Music Video Show “In Every Continent Except Antarctica” – Session Tonight! (4/30)

Olafur Arnalds for BalconyTV Brooklyn

Imagine you’re on a rooftop in Brooklyn in Spring overlooking the East River with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.  To add icing to the cake, one of your favorite artists is playing a stone’s throw away. That is how I spent last Tuesday with BalconyTV Brooklyn, a magical experience is filmed at The End Studios in Greenpoint.

Tonight – Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 – catch another session of BalconyTV Brooklyn at Brooklyn Bowl. RSVP here.

I sat down with the two masterminds behind BalconyTV Brooklyn after the Olafur Arnalds session.  Hello, Chris O’Konski and Joe Kelley aka the “Two Lion Cubs of the Savannah.”

The Lion Cubs (L-R): Joe Kelley and Chris O'Konski

GP: Who gave birth to BalconyTV Brooklyn? And how?

Chris: BalconyTV is an online music video show that features established and emerging artists in over 40 cities across the world. The original Balcony was founded in Dublin by Stephen O’Regan and Thomas Millet in 2006, but the show has since spread like wildfire and now has locations in every continent except Antarctica.   I originally started filming for BalconyTV NYC in 2010, and Joe jumped on as host/booking agent shortly after in Spring 2011.   We produced dozens of shows together at that location, but ultimately decided that — in order for the show to reach its full potential — we’d have to take it to Greenpoint and form BalconyTV Brooklyn.

Joe: BalconyTV as a whole was formed back in Dublin in 2006 by Stephen O’Regan. As for the Brooklyn show, Chris and I started out shooting on a very “sketchy”  balcony/rooftop in Manhattan right outside Times Square. It was fun and we loved it but our resources were very limited. No electricity for one, and with so much of great music unable to be performed acoustically we had to check out new locations. Brooklyn is a mecca for culture and art and we wanted to be a part of it. Chris had begun shooting the Times Square show a little before I had moved in to begin booking and take over as host back in Spring 2011.

GP:  How did you end up partnering with The End?

Chris: Upon deciding to take the show to Brooklyn, we were introduced to Brian Crowe & Matt Flynn at The End Studios in Greenpoint by a mutual friend in music.  The End has top notch staff and recording facilities — not to mention a pretty killer view of the Manhattan skyline — so establishing it as the new home for BalconyTV Brooklyn was a no-brainer.  We officially launched January 17th, 2012, and our first performance was championed by The Ugly Club on the 18th in a foot of snow and subfreezing temperatures.  Over a year and a half later, I think I speak for the whole BTVBK crew when I say our summer shoots are easily the best.

Joe: Actually, I had been contacted by a fairly well known Brooklyn bases band’s manager to have them on the show. They of course could not perform as acoustic and stripped down as we needed them to on our Manhattan balcony. She then referred me to The End Studios in Greenpoint and put me in touch with Matt Flynn. I was living in Greenpoint at the time and was excited to check out the space. Once we did it was all over. The crew, the view, and the resources have made our show 10 billions times better. Continue reading

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Discover: Jellio Design Lab — Making our Kidult dreams come true!

Jellio, a fun, quirky and amazingly whimsical design/build firm focuses on bringing your childhood favorite toys to life:  life-size, that is.  Mario Marsicano, the main man of Jellio (which was actually his nickname growing up), is an (m)ad-man-turned-furniture-designer.  He’s the total embodiment of “do what makes you happy and everything will follow”.  His  partners Chris Lenox and Kevin Champeny, a designer and an artist, respectively, makes Jellio what it is now.

Mario and Eric Winston (owner of SFDS) were able to give me a private tour of the space before it officially opens on May 20th.

Sweet Death by Kevin Champeny features thousands of individually molded "candies"
Eric Winston showing off the Monkey in a Barrel game table.

I was also able to sit down with Mario and get more in-depth about Jellio:

Eric and Mario posing on the iconic Log Chair (which is one of Jellio's main collections)

GP:  Why “Jellio”?  What’s the concept and background?

Mario:  The concept for Jellio came to me in 2004.  I’ve been an antique toy collector for many years.  And after collecting them for so long,  I wanted to do something beside just placing them on shelves, or burying them in a closet.  So I began to make glass cases and tables for the toys to be displayed in.  Rockem Sockem Robots, Evel Kneivel Stunt Cycles and Hot Wheels Tracks became one-of-a-kind tables, bookcases and other home furnishings. Soon, my friends and business associates began telling me these pieces were like nothing they had ever seen before, and they asked if I could make something for them, to remind them of their childhood, and bring a sense of fun to their home.

As for the name “Jellio”, that’s my college nickname.

GP:  Who and what was the mastermind of this company?  What are the founders’ backgrounds?

Mario:  In 2005, I approached Chris Lenox, my friend and longtime ad agency associate, with the idea of combining interior design with childhood fun. Chris began to sketch out a number of pieces, and Jellio was born. Chris and I ran the new company as a side venture until 2006, when we met artist and master fabricator, Kevin Champeny. Kevin brought his production expertise to Jellio, and the company started to take off.

GP:  Why Greenpoint?  Are you all Locals?

Mario:  We began in Brooklyn.  Our first studio was in Red Hook, and moved to a few other locations as we began to offer more products for sale.  We’ve wanted to come back to Brooklyn for a while, and moving into the space of our production partner, SFDS was the perfect opportunity.  And Greenpoint is such a unique and exciting neighborhood, we think it will be a great fit.

sidenote:  Mario moved to Greenpoint recently to be closer to work and Chris has been living in Greenpoint for 8 years.

GP:  Who are your design inspirations/ heroes?

Mario:  Our design inspirations are really the toys and other childhood items that our products are based on.  The loop in a Hot Wheels track, the reel from a ViewMaster, a Lite Brite or even a simple Gummy Bear…these are the timeless, iconic images from our childhoods that inspire us.  These items put a smile on our faces, so why not surround ourselves with home furnishings based on these items, that we can look at all day.

GP: What are your fave pieces from your collection?

Mario:   We love all of our products, but if we had to pick one we’d probably say our gummy bear items.  Our GummiKing, GummiToys and Gummy Bear Chandelier are fan favorites.  And our GummiLight is our best selling item.

Come check them out!  They’re officially opening on Monday May 20th!




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Discover: Artifact. New Vintage Greenpoint Shop

This article made possible by a donation to our Writer’s Fund Raffle by Brooklyn Brainery

Freeman and Manhattan feels like the boondocks, especially for me who happens to live in the “other” Greenpoint.  However, the trek was worth it.

Tucked in a nondescript building on Freeman St, lies Artifact. : Cozy from the outside, cozier on the inside.  Exposed brick walls, reclaimed shelves and hand-made copper pipe racks are reminiscent of the lost art of workmanship of years past.

The ever-so-mysterious logo of an hourglass encircled by an Ouroboros, fully encapsulates the goodies that Artifact. has:  timeless vintage.  The store houses works of local artists and designers, novelty items and found objects, as well as hard-to-find zines and books. The owner Josephine Trzaska and her partner Timothy Aaron Huston, both designers in their respective fields, have been roomies and friends for years.

Artifact.  is the product of their meticulous eye for design and fused aesthetics.  It was such a pleasure to sit down with them and pick their brains over beers in their wonderful store.

GP:  What was the history behind artifact? What was the concept behind it?

TAH:  The history is that Jodie and I both had cool collections of weird interesting objects, books, housewares, etc. and when I moved in with her a couple years ago, we always had fun showing stuff to each other, then we started talking about creating a brand of found objects turned into furniture and functional art called Hüska (Huston+Trzaska), which is still a future idea … but then we also talked about how cool it would be to actually be able to sell vintage/new stuff that we like, sort of turning our hoarding tendencies into something productive! Fast forward a year or so, she found this space and then we sort of melded the ideas, and 155 Freeman is just Phase One of our Big Plan.

GP:  I know you guys have been open for a while, but when is the official opening?

A:  We are having the Grand Opening on Feb 28th.  RSVP!  Special thanks to Dandelion Wines for sponsoring the refreshments!

GP:  What sets Artifact. apart from the other vintage stores in Greenpoint/ Williamsburg area?   What’s the main focus/ outstanding feature of the store?

TAH:  I think Artifact has a distinct personality and we are both VERY particular and idiosyncratic. Oh, and of course the other designers we’ve collected bring their own flavor into the mix as well. The media has picked up on the PBR lip balm as a focus, but that was actually an afterthought. Jodie had them, and I threw them in a little box and marked $5 each on it. I mean there’s not a real focus per se, it’s an amalgamation—we aren’t trying to be the “vintage” store or the “place where you get ………” Things may change with time, things come and go, but you should always get a certain feeling when you visit Artifact. We want to be a destination for the unexpected, and push the boundaries a bit. We aren’t here for “sellable” and “safe” — if we both like it, and it sends out the right vibes, we’ll jump on it. Jodie is psychic and I have a visceral reaction towards clothing & objects I like, so we have a sort of second sense that says “yes” or “no” — not sure if that answers the question. Continue reading

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