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Paulie Gee & The Brotherhood of Pizza Entrepreneurs – Part II: The Beginning

Paulie Gee in NYC circa 1973
Paulie Gee in NYC circa 1973

This story is presented in five parts, read Part I here.

 

Part II: The Beginning

After working toward a BFA in Photography from SVA, Paulie Gee moved to Miami but missed New York and came back after just a short stint. “It must have been fate because that’s when I met my wife,” Paulie says. Having seen her on the train a couple of times, he saw her at a bar in Bay Ridge one night. “She was with friends and I said, ‘I know you.’ ‘No you don’t.’ ‘Yes, I do. You take the R train.’”

Proceeding to flirt with all her friends throughout the night, ignoring his future wife, Mary Ann. “Maybe I danced with her once,” Paulie says. “And at the end of the night, her girlfriend shoved her telephone number in my hand. That was basically it. In case she’s reading this, it was November 12th 1976.”

Continue reading

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Paulie Gee & The Brotherhood of Pizza Entrepreneurs – Part I: No More Takeout

Paulie Gee behind the bar at Paulie Gee's, 60 Greenpoint Avenue
Paulie Gee behind the bar at Paulie Gee’s, 60 Greenpoint Ave. Photo: Andy Smith

Editor’s note: this story is presented in five parts, stay tuned!

 

Part I: No More Takeout

To live in Greenpoint is to know Paulie Gee’s pizzeria. Since the restaurant first opened on Greenpoint Avenue in 2010, Paulie Gee’s became first a neighborhood institution, then a dining destination, and now an ethos unto itself, captained by none other than Paul Giannone himself (a.k.a. “Paulie Gee”).

Dining at Paulie Gee’s is truly an experience, if you can get in. Like many Brooklyn institutions, Paulie Gee’s does not take reservations. These days a line will form as early as 4pm for a table on the weekends. After 8pm? Fuggetaboutit. But if you do manage to get in, entering the restaurant is like entering a rustic pizza palace, a candle-lit cathedral of pie. Continue reading

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Train Thoughts & Trash Talk — The Hook-Up 7/29

Hey, it gets lonely on the G Track. (Via ReThink Studios)
Hey, it gets lonely on the G Track. (Via ReThink Studios)
Though full-size G Trains are very much on the agenda for the coming L Train shutdown, here’s another thought: extending the E to run along the G track to take the pressure off all of us out here.
 
Because the L Train shutdown is consuming all our thoughts lately, senator Daniel Squadron (plus 32 other officials) are calling on Cuomo, de Blasio, and MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast to start working on better solutions now.
 
One more G Train thing and then we’ll stop. Apparently a small number of G Trains are being used as a test group for those futuristic digital display screens you see on other trains from the modern era.
 
Greenpoint’s getting new trashcans, and they’re going in the places community members have suggested. If there’s a spot you’ve got in mind that’s in dire straits for a garbage receptacle, call 311.
 
Things are changing at Five Leaves and Nights and Weekends — but hopefully only in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. Chef Ken Addington is leaving his post there, but he’s apparently got something else up his sleeve.
 
If sewage-related podcasts are your thing, check out this DNAinfo reporter’s chat with Zainool Ali, the manager of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
 
What about urban hikes? Are those your thing? On August 6, Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman will be taking interested parties through our industrial borderlands
 
Investors Bank recently cut the ribbon at its new location on Manhattan Ave. However, it’s already made moves in the community by getting in with local advocacy groups like the Greenpoint YMCA and the North Brooklyn Development Corporation.
 
There’s still time for CitiStorage owner Norm Brodsky to accept the city’s offer of $100 million, but his public auction of the land recently closed, and he’s been playing his cards close to his chest.
 
The Greenpoint entrepreneurs behind spice savant Greenpoint Trading Company are laying on the heat with an expansion into South Bushwick.
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DEP Fudged Newtown Creek Water Quality Reports, According to Former Employees

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Newtown Creek as seen from the Pulaski Bridge. Photo by Laura Apperson

We’ve already talked about how Newtown Creek is one of the most polluted waterways in the country  (AKA, don’t even think about taking a dip or eating its fish). And while everyone knows this is true, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reportedly lied about the already horrific water quality in city reports—and former employees have banded together to potentially sue the City of New York. Continue reading

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Police Shooting of Armed Suspect Proves Fatal at the Cooper Park Houses

Candles were placed at the site of the shooting. Photo via DNAinfo/William Mathis
Candles were placed at the site of the shooting. Photo via DNAinfo/William Mathis

An armed suspect was fatally shot by police in front of the Cooper Park Houses in East Williamsburg on Sunday morning.

According to multiple media reports, officers responded at 7:44 a.m. to multiple 911 calls related to at least two armed robberies in the vicinity of the complex.

Witnesses say the suspect, a 42-year-old man named Jermaine Johnson, was threatening people with a gun before the police showed up.

Johnson fired at the cops five times before they shot back, according to the NYPD.

Cops say they fired 12 to 15 shots after Johnson opened fire on them, at least one of which fatally struck him in the torso.

He was taken to Woodhull Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to authorities, Johnson was a Brooklyn resident but did not live in the Cooper Park Houses.

The New York Times spoke to several residents of the housing complex following the incident, who expressed a mixture of gratitude and concern over the use of lethal force.

“We have good neighbors here,” long-time resident Darlene Roman told the New York Times. “We’re working-class people who work hard. We’re safe here, except for today, when an intruder came to our neighborhood. But for the grace of God, we’re safe now. The police did what they had to do.”

When DNAinfo spoke to two of the victims who were accosted by Johnson that morning, they said he wasn’t behaving in a rational manner and was convinced that the victims were federal agents.

The NYPD recovered a .40-caliber handgun at the scene, which they say belonged to Johnson.

Neither of the two officers involved were injured.

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Pokemon Go Takeover, Evolved L Train & Turf Battles at Bushwick Inlet Park — The Hook-Up 7/15

The commute of the future. Via Van Alen Institute.
The commute of the future. Via Van Alen Institute.

2019 isn’t that far off, and it’s certainly not too soon to pit designers against each other to dream up alternative transit solutions for the dreaded L Train Shutdown. Although some fantastical entries included the above Donnie-Darko-esque translucent tunnel, the winning design involved small (and speedy) ferries jetting along Newtown Creek and the East River.

Because roving Transmitter Park on your own is not as fun as joining a marauding gang of eager Pokemon trainers, North Brooklyn will get to enjoy its very own Pokemon Go Bar Crawl next Saturday.
 
Though park advocates have been literally camping out in Bushwick Inlet Park and counting down the days left for CitiStorage owner Norm Brodsky to accept the city’s offer of $100 million, Brodsky recently thumbed his nose at them by putting the site up for public auction.
 
How depraved can you get? Someone allegedly set a homeless man on fire in Transmitter Park. The New York Post being the New York Post, it managed to crack a few jokes at the victim’s expense.
 
There’s something meta about being caught on film while robbing a film set. Police are looking for a man suspected of committing a string of robberies at mostly unlocked production studios around Greenpoint.
 
This architectural game-changer just had its grand opening in Williamsburg on Monday. 
 
After a $315,000 facelift funded by Nike, the McCarren Park skate park is back in action with more ways to do tricks (and keep it safe).
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Thursday Spotlight: Trey Ditto, PR based in Brooklyn

Trey Ditto, Ditto PR
Trey Ditto, Ditto PR

Hailing originally from Texas, Trey Ditto cut his teeth working for the Associated Press in Dallas and quickly moved into the political sphere, advising legislators and elected officials on their communications strategies. Ultimately this lead him to Washington D.C. where he worked for various political leaders and landed with a position as the deputy press secretary for U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, handling local and national media and external relations on K-12 and higher education issues. Continue reading

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Maker Park Envisions a Public Creative Space in Bushwick Inlet Park

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Ten 50ft cylindrical structures and a three story building sit on the site of what was once Astral Oil Works (via Maker Park)

While the city is still 11 acres away from fulfilling its promise to deliver all 28 acres of Bushwick Inlet Park, it took a 7 acre step in the right direction this year by purchasing the remaining parcel of the Bayside Fuel Property. With it came ten 50ft tall cylindrical iron fuel containers and a three story brick building, which the city intends to demolish in favor of flat open space. But will that be an end of an opportunity to repurpose these structures and integrate them into the landscaping of the park? The founders of Maker Park think so and want to start a conversation with the wider-community about adaptively reusing these structures in a way that serves the creative ethos of North Brooklyn.

Maker-Park-Invite_7.14.16To Maker Park, their vision can potentially support anything from aquaponics to woodworking, while maintaining the same square footage of green-space. There can be a programmed community space for a variety of uses like art exhibitions or workshops that can also serve as a means to help finance its maintenance and operation. There are a number of possibilities and a finite period of time to share ideas and revisit the city’s plans that were created over 10 years ago. This Thursday, July 14th (7-9PM) at ROOT BKN (131 North 14th) Maker Park is hosting a public brainstorming meeting to present and seek feedback on their preliminary plans. Continue reading

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When Greenpointers Groped in Public Search for Recourse

On a recent afternoon in June, Jane was walking home from the G train when an arm reached out and grabbed her breast in front of Mr. Berry on Manhattan Avenue. It belonged to one of several loud men in their 20s who were standing in a group on the sidewalk.

Enraged, Jane called 911 and started following and filming them as one of the men mooned her. While she waited for police to arrive, the men jeered at her from inside the Triangolo Pizza. Maddeningly, their smugness was validated when police arrived to take a report. They took Jane’s ID but none of theirs—she couldn’t confidently identify who had touched her, so the police told her they technically couldn’t do anything.

“I’m glad they responded quickly but I’m so frustrated nothing else could be done,” she said in an email to Greenpointers following the incident. “I’ve lived in Greenpoint for 8 years and I’ve never felt unsafe and never had any problems like this before. It makes me a little sad that I can’t say that anymore because of a group of idiots.”

Jane had reached out to us in a last-ditch effort because she felt as though she had no other recourse. Of course, that’s not exactly news—sexual assault is notoriously difficult to adequately punish, especially when the victim can’t say for a fact who it was.

But what happens when you successfully apprehend the perp? Continue reading

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Bushwick’s Local Flower Farm and Florist True Leaves

True Leaves
True Leaves’ Bushwick garden.

True Leaves Floral is a beautiful concept from Jessica Balnaves & Ryann Mead. Jess and Ryann grow gorgeous flowers in Jess’s Bushwick backyard, and create unique flower arrangements with their home grown flowers.

Woman-owned and operated, they have been selling the arrangements to local restaurants (on the tables at Sea Wolf), shops (The Rack Shack displays them), the Saturday Bushwick Farmers’ Market, the Bushwick Food Coop, and they also make custom orders. At the farmers’ market they sell plants, including their $10 “Can o’ Chamomile,” catnip, salvia, fig trees, violas, basil, and marigold plants. They’re also happy to give advice to plant buyers, so you can follow up with them if you don’t have a green thumb. Continue reading

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