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Vote this Week! Election Day is Thursday!

Get Your "I Voted" Sticker September 12th! via DNAinfo
Get Your “I Voted” Sticker September 13th!

Hey Greenpoint, it’s time to get out the vote! Traditionally, elections are held on Tuesdays but this week’s Gubernatorial Primary will take place on Thursday, 9/13 (TOMORROW) so as not to conflict with commemorations of 9/11.

That means you have a few more days to brush up on your choices:  Continue reading

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Newtown Creek Alliance Partners with Greenpoint Students this School Year

Preparing the NCA curriculum, via Newtown Creek Alliance

Happy first day of school, Greenpoint! This year, the local conservationists at Newtown Creek Alliance are bringing the creek to the curriculum as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Greenpoint EcoSchools initiative.

NCA will pioneer its new STEM Urban Ecology curriculum in the four Greenpoint Public schools: PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126. The learning modules and field trips, designed for elementary and middle school students, cover Flora and Fauna relationships, invasive and native species, topography, water and soil quality, ecological health and legacy and ongoing pollution sources.

Each lesson will culminate in a “design based applied learning project,” and NCA staff will serve as expert guides, leading classes through related activities and offering guest lecturers in the classroom.  Continue reading

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What’s New For Maker Park

A rendering of the tanks, transformed. Via Maker Park

Maker Park, the proposed 7-acre waterfront space once home to Astral Oil Works and now within the larger scope of Bushwick Inlet Park, has been aiming to bring art, education, community and performance to the Williamsburg waterfront by adapting industrial infrastructure since 2015. Now, the team behind the reimagined industrial-space-turned-community-hub is moving forward with a whole new vision based on open dialogue, communication and feedback from the community.

Since their December 2016 design display for Maker Park, Stacey Anderson and Karen Zabarsky, co-founders of Maker Park, and the project’s Executive and Creative directors respectively, have taken the past year to listen to the community. Each time, they heard community members call for open space, and environmental remediation of the land.

Stacey and Karen touted North Brooklyn’s “Civic Warriors,” who have worked so hard to get the city to deliver on the full 28-acres Mayor Bloomberg promised for Bushwick Inlet Park in 2005. They hope that Maker Park will be one feature of Bushwick Inlet Park, which they aim to incorporate into the community’s vision for the park space as a whole.

Given the increased density that Bloomberg’s 2005 rezoning has engendered, open space is a paramount concern on the North Brooklyn Waterfront. In order to increase green space, Maker Park will no longer advocate for repurposing the  3-story brick factory building on the site, and will instead focus on remediating the 50-foot decommissioned fuel tanks that speak to the land’s long and sometimes painful industrial history.

The Maker Park team hopes to honor the community’s complex relationship with the tanks, and the industrial history they represent, while also reinventing them in “playful and contemporary ways” that will make them available to the community as a resource for art, education and performance.

The idea has successful precedent. For example, in 2017, the Mapo Oil Depot in Seoul, South Korea was repurposed as Mapo Cultural Depot Park; the site’s oil tanks are now used as exhibition spaces and concert halls.

To make sure our own tanks here in North Brooklyn will be a safe and sustainable asset to the community, the Maker Park team is working with environmental lawyers, scientists and architects on a preliminary remediation plan, which they will make accessible to the public.

Ultimately, Stacey and Karen said, they hope Maker Park will help transform the tanks into something “beautiful and green,” which will be “literally creating new life.”

For on-going updates on all things Maker Park, you can follow the project on Instagram @makerparkBK

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Do the Time Warp: When Greenpoint was the Second Largest Industrial Center in the US!

American Manufacturing Co. Circa 1919, via the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Hey Greenpoint history nerds! Welcome to the second installment of “Do the Time Warp!” This post will check in with Greenpoint’s industrial past, when Newtown Creek was mightier than the Mississippi, and instead of a BQX trolly, Greenpointers were united in their demand for “a marginal railroad which shall extend all along the Brooklyn Waterfront from Bay Ridge to Newtown Creek, with spurs into all of the big factories.”  Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Chinese Artist Qieer Wang Portrays Mental Illness and More in Her Art

Qieer Wang showing off one of her recently framed works.

Local artist Qieer Wang’s work is incredibly diverse. She dabbles in multimedia, illustrations, film and more, having contributed to the likes of NPR and LennyLetter. We caught up with the Greenpoint illustrator to discuss creating portraits of mental illness, balancing projects, and the limitations of working on a visa.

Greenpointers: Do you live in Brooklyn, and if so for how long?

Qieer Wang: Yes, I’ve lived and worked in Greenpoint for almost two years.

GP: Can you talk about your artistic background, or education, and your influences?

QW: I was educated in illustration for both undergrad and grad school programs. As to being an animator and director, I was inspired from a grad school two-day stop motion workshop in 2015. Afterwards, I started learning techniques and animation principles from online tutorials up until today. I’m drawn to artists like Jan Svankmajer, Hieronymus Bosch, and Lorenzo Mattotti. Continue reading

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Volunteer at American Playground This Weekend (7/21)

volunteers, photo via Open Space Alliance
photo via Open Space Alliance

Volunteer Extravaganza at American Playground!

Friends of American Playground invite all parents and kids to join forces as we give the park benches a makeover. We will re-paint the benches and do some general park maintenance. Come out to learn about how *you* can become a friend of the playground! We have volunteer opportunities available in programming, horticulture, and administrative roles. Visit the group’s Facebook page to learn more!

Volunteer activities are perfect for ages 6 and up. We will also have activities to keep preschoolers occupied.

When: Saturday, July 21, 10am – 12pm
Where:  American Playground; Meet by the park house

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Catch the World Cup Finals at Humboldt & Jackson this Sunday (7/15)

World Cup Finals Humboldt and Jackson

The madness is coming to an end. The World Cup finals are this weekend, and you can watch France vs. Croatia on the big screen at Humboldt & Jackson (434 Humboldt Street). The game kicks off (literally) at 11am, and the cozy American bar/restaurant will be showing it on their massive screen in the back room, for FREE. Expect cold AC, cold beer and warm and tasty burgers. If you want to bring a huge crew, you can email them for reservations ([email protected]).

Here’s some more of our favorite spots in the neighborhood to watch the big game.

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The 5th of July: Abolitionist Williamsburg

African School WIlliamsburg
The African School in Williamsburg via the Brooklyn Historical Society

The Weeksville Heritage Center, a multidisciplinary museum dedicated to preserving the history of Weeksville, a self-supporting 19th century free black community in what is now Crown Heights, has a “5th of July Resource Center for Self-Determination and Freedom.”

This 5th of July, I’d like to honor that project by taking a look at Abolitionist Williamsburg. In the 1840s and 1850s, Williamsburg was home to Brooklyn’s second largest African American community, and was a hotbed of the Abolitionist movement.  Continue reading

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Greenpoint History Walking Tour to Benefit the Park Church Co-op Saturday (7/7)

Historical Map of Greenpoint courtesy of Dennis Ward

Beloved neighborhood worship/art space, the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St.) has put out a fundraising call to the community. Ace local historian, and Greenpointers contributor, Geoff Cobb has answered that call in a fantastically innovative way! He’ll lead a donation-based historical walking tour of Greenpoint on Saturday, July 7th from 10-11am, and donate all proceeds to the Park Church Co-op.

The tour will meet at the corner of Calyer and Franklin. All are welcome! RSVP here.

What: Walking Tour with Geoff Cobb on Behalf of the Park Church Co-op
When: Saturday, July 7, at 10am.
Where: Franklin and Calyer
Who: Everyone!

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Thursday Spotlight: Meet Kweighbaye Kotee, Founder and CEO of Bushwick Film Festival

At her core, Kweighbaye Kotee is a community builder: she triumphantly brings together artists and audiences, neighborhood long-timers and newbies alike. Her talents coalesce most notably in the Bushwick Film Festival, her passion project that is celebrating its 11th anniversary October 11–14.  Greenpointers caught up with the local curator and filmmaker to discuss the morphing landscape of film, the partnerships she builds, and the side projects that continue to keep her busy.

Greenpointers: Do you live in Brooklyn, and if so where and for how long?
Kweighbaye Kotee: I have lived in Brooklyn for 14 years. Williamsburg for two and now Bushwick for 12.

GP: Can you talk a little about the genesis of the Bushwick Film Festival? And how many participating volunteers and films are there in the coming festival?
KK: I started the Bushwick Film Festival in 2007, while I was still in school at NYU. Initially, I really just wanted to share my love for indie film with other people in the neighborhood and celebrate filmmakers. Later on, I realized my position in the industry (female, immigrant, a woman of color) and wanted to do more. I began to use the festival as a place to bring people of all backgrounds together to connect through film. I also wanted to use our platform to help diversify the industry. This year, we plan to select about 100 films out of the 1,200+ films that submitted to the festival. Typically we have around 50 volunteers and interns who make it all happen. Continue reading

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