The good folks at Vinnie’s Pizzeria (253 Nassau Ave.) announced today on Instagram that another Brooklyn-based pizzeria will take over Vinnie’s Nassau Avenue location in Greenpoint starting Monday.
Vinnie’s Bedford Avenue location in Williamsburg will remain open according to the post. The Park Slope-based pizzeria Da Nonna Rosa will take over the Nassau Avenue Vinnie’s and will retain the entire Vinnie’s staff.
Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 (Greenpoint and Williamsburg) will hold its monthly public meeting tomorrow (6/11) at the Swinging 60’s Senior Center at 211 Ainslie St. starting at 6 p.m. The meetings have in the past been live-streamed here, and the agenda is as follows: Continue reading →
This week all over Brooklyn, there will be celebrations honoring Walt Whitman. With the 200th anniversary of the birth of Brooklyn’s greatest poet, one has to ask the question: Was Walt Whitman gay and does his poetry celebrate the joys of being gay? Reading his poetry there are so many clear homoerotic images that many students of Whitman conclude that despite the fact that Whitman never came out as gay, he was gay, or at least bisexual.
Were Whitman to return to Brooklyn today, he would probably be pleasantly surprised by the many Brooklynites who live an openly gay lifestyle.
During Whitman’s time admitting to a gay relationship was taboo, but he hinted at it in a letter he wrote at the end of his life with his discussion of “fervent comradeship.” In the passage below he seems to suggest to a time when gay relationships would be accepted by the broader American society:
Many will say it is a dream and will not follow my inferences: but I confidentially expect a time when there will be seen running through it like a half-hid warp through all the myriad audible and visible worldly interests of America, threads of manly friendship, fond and loving, pure and sweet, strong and life-long, carried to degrees hitherto unknown, not only giving tone to individual character and making it unprecedentedly emotional, muscular, heroic and refined, but having the deepest relation to general politics. I say democracy infers such loving comradeship as its most inevitable twin or counterpart, without which it will be incomplete, in vain and incapable of perpetuating itself.
Henry Miller is not only one of the greatest writers Brooklyn ever produced, but also a chronicler of the now vanished North Brooklyn before the building of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903. Honestly, there are times when I do not like Miller’s writing: it can be macho, self-obsessed, vain and highly egotistical, but when writing about old Williamsburg he approaches literary genius.
In 1971, the New York Times (PDF) invited the then 80-year-old Miller back to Williamsburg to recollect on his childhood. Though he had been away for five decades, Miller had a crystal clear memory, recalling many fascinating stories from that vanished world of his childhood. Miller was born of German-American parents in Manhattan in 1891, but moved to the area as an infant, living at 662 Driggs Avenue, a house that still stands.
His fondest memories, which occupy much of his writing, concern his boyhood friends from the neighborhood. He said, “As I walked the streets the names of my boyhood companions, or better said, my idols, came back to me: Johnny Paul, Eddie Carney, Lester Reardon, Jimmy Short, Tim Buckley; Matt Owen, Gus Fowler, and last but not least, my first real chum, Stanley Borowski. With Stanley I maintained a friendship until I left for France in 1930. Like myself, he wanted to be a writer; I doubt that he ever made it however.”
Reading Miller’s writings, the neighborhood comes into focus through the eyes of a mischievous young lad who would later be censored by the United States Post Office for his shocking prose. Miller recalled first being rebuked for his language at the police station at Bedford Avenue where he was dragged by the arm one afternoon by a babysitter at the age of 6 or 7 years old; the crime he had committed was to use dirty language in her presence – the first of many times Miller would shock people with his language.
Miller’s writing later shocked another, more prominent Williamsburger, Presbyterian Minister John D. Wells. Today John D. Wells Middle School on S. 3rd St. is named for the preacher Miller knew as a child. He recalled, “Later, on some crazy impulse, I sent this rather pompous and aristocratic minister one of my first pieces of writing from Paris. He replied that he had thrown it in the garbage can; he wondered, he said, how one of ‘his boys’ could ever have conceived such filth.” At 7 years of age, Wells had presented Miller with a handsome little New Testament, his name inscribed in gold letters, for reciting by heart the 23rd Psalm. Continue reading →
Seasonal Scandinavian restaurant, bakery and bar, Norman (29 Norman Ave.) will close after brunch on March 3, following two years of operation inside of the A/D/O co-working and event space. “Our lease ran up with A/D/O, and we had signed a two-year lease; they will be pursuing a new restaurant partnership,” Jenny Pura, director of marketing, said.
As far as opening a new Norman location in Greenpoint, she said there’s no announcement to share: “I think it’s probably a little too early to definitively say that, but we are doing our best to move our Norman team to our other properties in New York so that nobody’s without a job,” Pura said.
MeyersUSA, the restaurant group that owns Norman also operates Great Northern Food Hall at Grand Central Station and Agern, a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant also in Grand Central.
The announcement of Norman’s closure came through a note posted on the Norman Instagram account:
On March 3rd, Norman’s partnership with A/D/O will come to end after two years in Greenpoint. Built as a space for creative exchange, the collaboration between Norman and A/D/O was always intended as a rotating space for culinary innovation and emerging talent. As our partnership comes to a close, we are honored to have served as the incubator’s inaugural restaurant partner, feeding some of New York City’s most groundbreaking entrepreneurs. – Team Norman
Recently, heavyweight boxer Adam ‘Babyface’ Kownacki has generated a lot of local excitement. The Polish-born, but Greenpoint bred, Konwacki is 19- 0 in his professional career. A huge contingent of locals showed up to support Kownacki in his last match in the Barclay’s Center. Kownacki continued to climb up the heavyweight rankings by earning a second-round TKO victory over former title challenger Gerald Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs). The talented Kownacki is only the latest in a long tradition of excellent North Brooklyn boxers. The first local champion boxer dates to the era after the Civil War when prizefighting was still illegal.
Williamsburg Civil War hero and bare-knuckle fighter Sam Collyer won both the Medal of Honor and a lightweight world championship in the days after the War Between the States, but Collyer was a puncher and not a boxer. He won a few title defenses in the 1860s, but was later embarrassed in the ring by perhaps the greatest local fighter, McAuliffe in an 1888 match staged in a local theater, in which McAuliffe humiliated the former champ with his technical boxing prowess. Continue reading →
Dutch quartet Mozes and the Firstborn, who released their new album Dadcore last Friday, and will be performing February 15 at 9 PM at Williamsburg’s RoughTrade (64 North 9th Street). Tickets are $12 (or $14 at the door) and can be purchased here.
Mozes and the Firstborn spent the past year writing new material, recording in the US and Netherlands with producer/mixer Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive) and Roland Cosio (together PANGEA, Fuzz), hitting SXSW and touring the states supporting Bodega. The result? Dadcore embraces the feel of a mixtape, as Mozes blend their favorite styles and genres into an intriguing collection of songs, including prior 2018 single, “Sad Supermarket Song,” which already has 400k plays on Spotify.
Playing a potent mix of sleazy grunge and power pop perfection, Mozes and the Firstborn hail from Eindhoven, Netherlands. The band started out in 2010 with Melle Dielesen on vocals, guitar, Corto Blommaert on bass and Raven Aartsen on drums, with Ernst-Jan van Doorn joining prior to their 2011 debut EP I Got Skills. California label Burger Records signed the band to release their self-titled debut full-length in 2014, followed by Great Pile Of Nothing in 2016, touring internationally in support, with like-minded artists such as The Growlers, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Together Pangea, while garnering features on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Pitchfork, Noisey, SPIN, CLASH, amongst others.