The Namesake Behind McGuinness Blvd: Learn about “The King of Greenpoint” at Shayz Lounge Tonight! (10/18)


In a neighborhood where we like to keep it real, Pete McGuinness’ legacy lives on in much more than McGuinness Blvd. He was larger than life and one of the most colorful characters in local Greenpoint lore.

Pete McGuinness was an a 300lb ex-boxer politician who got us the G train, McCarren Park Pool, two parks, a bridge and moreDuring prohibition, he proposed distributing alcohol seized by the police to local hospitals saying, “It is a criminal shame to allow whiskey to lie while people who are lying at death’s door could be saved by it.” And if you thought today’s political climate is divisive, news headlines read that “fists may fly” between McGuinness and an opponent in a run for Greenpoint’s Alderman at City Hall back in 1928.

This is just a small glimpse of the character and life of Pete McGuinness and there is so much more interesting information in local historian Geoff Cobb’s latest book “The King of Greenpoint.” 

Tonight he will be reading and will answer questions during a fun night of history and booze at Shayz Lounge (130 Franklin St) starting at 7PM! RSVP here.

Check out Geoff Cobb’s first book “Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past,” which “unearths a wealth of local history” and read his articles on Greenpointers!

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Archestratus Turns One: Our Very Own Foodie Heaven Bookstore Celebrates Its Anniversary

The pre-dinner scene at Archestratus. Image via Archestratus/Facebook
The pre-dinner scene at Archestratus. Image via Archestratus/Facebook

Sunday will be the one-year anniversary of Archestratus, Greenpoint’s very own cookbook shop/cafe/place of food-related treats and events at 160 Huron Street. Archestratus will be celebrating by having a day of comfort: they will be making and giving out spaghetti for free from 11am-6pm. Oh, and better yet: they’ll be playing spaghetti westerns (another source of comfort for owner Paige Lipari and her employees).

“It will be a day to say thank you to everyone who’s supported us this past year,” said Paige. “Sunday will be all about coziness and gratitude.”

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SATURDAY 8/13: Greenpoint Writer’s Group Meet Up


Local writers: Greenpoint Writer’s Group is hosting an event this Saturday, August 13 at WORD Brooklyn (126 Franklin St.) and you are cordially invited!

The Greenpoint Writer’s Group was founded in 2010 and has since workshopped the hell out of everything from stage to screen works and aspires to foster and maintain a creative collaborative environment for local writers. If you’d like to learn more about attending a workshop, drop them a line here. Continue reading

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Rebecca Tree for President: A Political Thriller for the Times by Greenpoint’s Michael Abramson

© Design by Nick Roseboro, Courtesy of the author. Cover of Rebecca Tree by Greenpoint author Michael Abramson.
© Design by Nick Roseboro. Cover of Rebecca Tree by Greenpoint author Michael Abramson. Courtesy of the author.

“This novel will help you survive this election season,” Greenpoint resident Michael Abramson, author of the political thriller, Rebecca Tree, writes. Set in the not-so-distant future, “The American political system is trapped in a death spiral. In an increasingly polarized country, rapidly rising seawater separates ‘wet’ states from ‘dry’ states. Parts of South Florida surrender to the sea as carcasses of once-chic beachfront hotels poke out from the ocean floor. ‘Guest’ agricultural workers from Mexico hand-pollinate fruit trees and vegetable crops in a desperate effort to maintain the country’s food supply. California’s once plentiful fruits are now as rare as caviar in post-Tsarist Russia.”

Out of this chaos emerges Rebecca Tree, the rebellious granddaughter of America’s most powerful politician, Merewether Tree. A successful inventor and businesswoman, Rebecca’s life is marked by a string of tragedies. Her parents died in a plane crash when she was two, and her twin sister Allison passed before her fourth birthday. Determined to honor the memories of the ones she lost, Rebecca’s personal pain propels her into a life of accomplishment.”

Released in March, the book has already garnered 4.5 stars on Amazon. I spoke with Abramson about what motivated the novel, the places in which it takes place (including our very own Greenpoint), and how he shaped his characters.

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Top 10 Summer Reads About Greenpoint

Want some Summer reading about our neighborhood? Here’s a list of books related to Greenpoint. People ask me how I researched my account of local history Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past. The answer partially is that I read the books in the list below.

Screen shot 2016-06-05 at 2.13.53 PM1) Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, Joe Pistone
The amazing story of how an Italian American F.B.I agent got into the Greenpoint Mafia, risking his life, but also taking down more than a hundred mobsters.

2) Historic Greenpoint, William Felter
The first book on local history, Felter published his remarkable book about a century ago. It tells the area’s history, but omits the dark chapters of Greenpoint’s Past—well worth a read though. And since it’s out of copyright, it’s free to download. Continue reading

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In Conversation with Novelist & Playwright Nathaniel Kressen, Lead of the Greenpoint Writer’s Group

Dahlia Cassandra cover, artwork by Jessie T. Kressen
Dahlia Cassandra book cover, artwork by Jessie T. Kressen

The name Nathaniel Kressen may ring a few bells to anyone familiar with the lit scene here in Greenpoint – he’s the novelist and playwright who leads the Greenpoint Writer’s Group and is preparing to launch his second novel, Dahlia Cassandra, at the Strand Bookstore this Friday, June 17th.

His first book, Concrete Fever, was a labor of love – literally. In true renegade fashion, he and Jessie T. Kressen – his wife and the illustrator for both books – co-founded Second Skin Books and hand-bound the first 250 copies, which proved to be an indie best seller at the Strand.

They collaborated again on Dahlia Cassandra and the result is an equally stunning work that features Jessie’s dreamy artwork throughout. I spoke with Nathaniel about his upcoming book, his writing process, and what’s near and dear to his heart in Brooklyn.  Continue reading

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Construction to Begin on New Greenpoint Library Later this Year

Those of you who have ever laid eyes on the public library in Greenpoint know that it is a bit of an eyesore in an otherwise picturesque neighborhood. But not for long. The Greenpoint Library is about to enter a new incarnation to bring residents the modern, sustainable facility that’s increasingly necessary in an age that’s threatening to make books obsolete.

The original Greenpoint Library was constructed in 1906 and only replaced once in the 1970s due to deterioration. The current building will be replaced by a larger, more modern green building with an added environmental education center that’s due to open in the spring of 2018.

The project is being funded by a $5 million grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund and a $6,030,300 matching contribution from the Brooklyn Public Library. GCEF is a $19.5 million grant program established with the settlement funds from the ExxonMobil oil spill in Newtown Creek.

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Archestratus: A Book and Food Lover’s Sanctuary



Book lovers and foodies will truly appreciate the newest addition to the neighborhood: Archestratus Books and Food. The new store is a bookshop that specifically focuses on cookbooks and books related to food, along with gifts, pens, notecards, and cooking gifts and accessories. There’s also a café in the back serving sweet and savory homemade Sicilian pastries, along with tea, coffee, beer, and wine.

The bookshop is named for Archestratus, who was a poet and philosopher, and one of the first foodies (before that was a term). Continue reading

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What Are People Reading in the Park? (McGolrick/McCarren Edition)

It’s the summer time–the weather is fine, and you could reach right up and touch the sky–or you could simply reach for a good book and hit the park. Last weekend we canvassed McGolrick Park and McCarren Park, approaching total strangers and interrupting their afternoons to ask them questions about their reading material. Join us now as we discover what the young and the restless and the literary of Greenpoint are burying their noses in this July.

WHite Noise
© JP Grace

Subject: Mike
Book: White Noise by Don DeLillo

So what’s this novel about?
I think it’s about how so much of American anxiety is created by pop culture.
Wow, that was good. You really cut to the heart of that, a lot of people just recite plot points.
[Mike’s Girlfriend: That was a great summary, babe.] Continue reading

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Van Leeuwen Flagship Store and Recipe Book Coming Soon!

van_leeuwen_icecream Image courtesy of Van Leeuwen

Spring may be off to a patchy start, but ice cream season is here regardless and local producers Van Leeuwen are on a roll right now. February saw the opening of a new store in the West Village, closely followed by the relocation of their Greenpoint outlet to a newer, bigger premises on Manhattan Avenue. Now, plans are underway for a flagship store on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, due to open mid-May.

The all-natural Greenpoint ice cream company was started in 2008 by Laura O’Neill and Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen, who set out to make ice cream using the finest possible ingredients. After initially selling their wares locally from two buttermilk-yellow ice cream trucks, rapid success soon saw them opening their own brick-and-mortar stores around NYC, and even branching out to LA, where they currently operate two trucks and have new stores in the pipeline. Their upcoming Williamsburg flagship is a marker of just how rapidly their ice cream empire has grown. Continue reading

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