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Thinking Big and Living Large in A/D/O’s new MINI Living Cabin

Micro Living in Action. Via A/D/O's facebook page.
Micro Living in Action. Via A/D/O’s facebook page.

Limited space is a hallmark of city life, so it’s not everyday that New Yorkers ask themselves, “where should I put the hammock.” A/D/O, the creative design hub and co-working space at 29 Norman Avenue, has answered this question, and many more in its new MINI Living Urban Cabin. The Cabin is installed in A/D/O’s courtyard, and is on view for free daily between 9am and 7pm through November 22nd. The instillation seeks to “create a house within a limited footprint that is inspired by local surroundings; a cabin that blends into the landscape and illustrates New York as a vibrant city that incorporates cultural influences from around the world.”  Continue reading

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A Piece of Greenpoint History Faces Demolition

85 Calyer Street
85 Calyer Street

Recently, I did a series of stories for Greenpointers about the twenty-five most historic local buildings. One of the posts I wrote was about 85 Calyer Street, the residence of Thomas Fitch Rowland, whose company, the Continental Iron Works, located around the corner on Quay Street built the famous ship. In 1859, Rowland founded the innovative factory. Two years later, he would help make history when visionary Swedish naval engineer John Ericsson approached him about building a revolutionary ship in Greenpoint, the ironclad Monitor, which would revolutionize warfare and make wooden ships obsolete. Ericsson was a frequent visitor to the house and the many conversations in Rowland’s house led to the realization of Ericsson’s plan for the United States Navy’s first Ironclad battleship, which fought the legendary battle against the Rebel ironclad, the Virginia, in 1862. Thanks to the Monitor’s victory, the North won the Civil War and slavery ended. Rowland produced a number of ironclad ships locally, employing 1,500 workers at his works during the Civil War. Rowland also received the first patent for an underwater oil drilling well, an invention that had dramatic effects on the oil industry. He died a millionaire and the house changed hands a number of times.

Thomas Fitch Rowland
Thomas Fitch Rowland

The house has been sold and is evidently set for demolition. The new owner of the property, Daniel Kaykov of the Renovation Group, a Forest Hills-based construction firm filed demolition paperwork with the city on August 31st and additional paperwork for a demolition has also been filed. The frame house, which has had its facade remodeled, is an important part of local history and allowing its demolition would rob the community of an important landmark. Currently, the house has no landmark status from the city so its destruction could occur quickly. I described the awesome achievement that Ericsson and Rowland accomplished in my book Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past when they built the Monitor in just a hundred and one days, so I would feel great loss seeing the building be demolished. The Continental Iron Works was also demolished, so 85 Calyer Street is the last building that is a direct link to the building of the Monitor. I hope that the community can rally to save this authentic Greenpoint Civil War landmark.

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94th Precinct Community Council Meeting (Wed, 10/4)

The 94th Precinct.
The 94th Precinct. Via Facebook

The 94th Precinct will hold a community meeting tomorrow (10/4) at St. John’s Lutheran Church (155 Milton Street) at 7pm. The meeting is a monthly opportunity for community members to connect with local officers and express area concerns. This is a community-wide meeting, covering all NCO sectors, and all are welcome.

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Yoga Sessions Greenpoint Loft’s Roof Deck with Hosh Yoga this Sunday (10/1)!

Rooftop Yoga by Hosh at the Greenpointers Spring Market 2017

After almost being priced out of the neighborhood, longtime Greenpoint yoga studio Hosh Yoga made an amazing comeback after raising enough money to move to a new space in the neighborhood.

We are so excited to have them host two yoga sessions in Greenpoint Loft’s roof deck at our Festival of Lights Fall Market this Sunday, Oct 1, 1-7pm.

Forecasts are looking good so join them to om your way into health and wellness during any of these two sessions:
Schedule and Details

2PM with Amy
3:30PM with Amy

BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat)!

Each class is 60 minutes and is donation based. Open level – Experience with yoga is suggested but anyone is welcome! Continue reading

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Who Sees the Trees? Greenpoint’s Citizen Pruners!

Emerald City. Photo by Lucie Levine
Emerald City. Photo by Lucie Levine

We might live in the concrete jungle, but according to this fantastic interactive tree map made by the New York City Parks department, Greenpoint is blessed with arboreal abundance. Our lovely neighborhood trees benefit from the care of volunteer environmental stewards, known as Citizen Pruners. 

Greenpointer Sarah Balistreri, the fabulous force behind the instagram account @wildgreenpoint, who helped conduct the tree census that informs the map, is a Citizen Pruner. After taking a tree identification course at the Brooklyn Brainery, which sparked a love of urban street trees, Sarah took the Trees New York Citizen Pruner course and became a licensed tree-hugger.

The Citizen Pruner course trains and certifies New Yorkers in “tree care, biology, identification and pruning.” Sarah explains that all of these skills and areas of knowledge are intertwined when it comes to properly caring for New York’s Trees, because knowing about a tree’s species, and the specific challenges that species has with weather or growth, helps inform how you prune it.

Trees New York is the only organization in the city that trains and certifies Citizen Pruners, and only certified Citizen Pruners can legally prune street trees in New York. Trees New York certifies about 200 Citizen Pruners every year, but Greenpoint residents are particularly lucky. Anyone who lives in zip code 11222 is eligible for the Greening Greenpoint Scholarship, and can take the course for just $15, thanks to funding from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund! Continue reading

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Bugs, Bulls Fans and Back to School — the Hook-up 9/8

Transmitter Park, a leafy oasis on Labor Day or any day. Photo by Lucie Levine
Transmitter Park, a leafy oasis on Labor Day or any day. Photo by Lucie Levine

Even though Labor Day began as a New York City tradition, lots of us like to get out of town over the holiday. If you were off soaking up the last days of summer outside of the lush tropical paradise that is North Brooklyn, catch up on local news here!

Those who stuck around Greenpoint this holiday weekend had the opportunity to sample some unusual eats during the first annual Brooklyn Bugs Festival, “NYC’s first festival dedicated to edible insects.”

Meanwhile, at Mingstar Liquor (598 Grand Street) they were in a decidedly less festive mood on Monday night when a man in a Chicago Bulls cap held up the store, and walked off with $1,500.

School doesn’t start until after Labor Day, but parents in Greenpoint were gearing up even before the weekend began. Last Thursday night, moms, dads and caregivers went full rock-concert and came out with folding chairs and tents, ready to stake out a spot in line to register their children for the Early Childhood program at the Greenpoint YMCA (99 Meserole Avenue).

Continue reading

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The Next Greenpoint Clean Up Day is This Weekend (8/12)!

Greenpoint Clean Up Day

Join the Greenpoint Chamber and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth for the third Curb Your Litter: Greenpoint clean-up day of 2017. This time, they’re partnering with the Newtown Creek Alliance to pay special attention to curbing the litter that enters into our waterways.

They will pick up street litter in Northeast Greenpoint (east of McGuinness Boulevard and north of Norman Avenue). As always, all volunteers will get a free lunch as a thank you for their efforts.

Greenpoint Clean Up Day
Saturday, August 12 | 10am-12pm
Meet at Broadway Stages, 203 Diamond Street.
RSVP and more details on Eventbrite

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Greenpoint’s Notorious Sonny Franseze Released from Prison at Age 100

NY Daily News photo

The reputed local crime boss, John “Sonny” Franzese was recently released from the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts. The hundred-year-old reputed member of the Colombo crime family had been serving a fifty year sentence for bank robbery that dated back to 1966. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed that the Greenpoint native had been the oldest prisoner in Federal custody until his release. He had been paroled at least six times since his 1967 conviction, but always violated his parole, ending up repeatedly back in prison.

Franseze lived for many years locally on Engert Avenue. Mob aficionados credit Franseze with introducing the kiss into mafia family culture. It all started when “Sonny” Franzese and Joey Brancato, both alleged members of the Colombo crime family, bumped into each other on the corner of Lorimer Street and Metropolitan Avenue. As a gesture of peace, they kissed each other on the cheeks. The only thing anybody on Metropolitan Avenue knew was that they had never seen it done before. After the men kissed, it quickly became a mafia trademark. Continue reading

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Slashing In McGolrick, L-Pocalypse & Paulie Gee’s Server Injured — The Hook-Up 5/26

Franklin St & Greenpoint Ave. Photo: Megan Penmann
Franklin St & Greenpoint Ave sunset. Photo: Megan Penmann

According to police, a man was slashed and robbed in McGolrick Park Saturday night around 9:30pm. He had seen someone in a group of people drop a pack of cigarettes and went to return them—only to get his head smashed on a metal bar, slashed on his cheek with a knife and robbed of his iPhone, $250 in cash and a bracelet.

A Paulie Gee’s server was seriously injured after a cyclist struck her on the corner of Manhattan and India. Without insurance, she’s now facing $10k in medical bills and $25k of  bills and lost wages combined while she recovers. You can donate to her crowdfunding campaign to help her recover physically and financially. Continue reading

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Last Minute Planners Rejoice: 5 Places To Brunch With Mom This Sunday

The Williamsburg Hotel - Tea service
Tea service at The Williamsburg Hotel

The Williamsburg Hotel | 96 Wythe Ave.
12pm-6pm, Tea Service and live jazz
Cozy up in velvet banquette seating for tea time between 12pm – 6pm as Katherine Ella Wood sings lighthearted “sunny jazz.” Let her transport you back in time while sipping on premium teas while enjoying sweet and savory bites from the Brooklyn Bread Lab.

Bk Winery Mother's Day Brunch
Brooklyn Winery
213 N 8th Street, Williamsburg
Mother’s Day Brunch 11am to 3pm
$35 prix fixe menu, more info here.
For Reservations email: [email protected]

Cherry Point | 664 Manhattan Ave.
Cherry Point is offering up their chef’s table for Mother’s Day brunch and dinner. Call for more info, menu options, and bookings. 718.389.3828

Freehold, via Facebook
Freehold, via Facebook

Freehold | 45 S 3rd St.
Brunch, flowers and MOMosas starts at 11am.
Please call to make reservations in advance. More info. 718.388.7591

H&J Mother's Day Brunch 2017Humboldt & Jackson | 434 Humboldt St.
11am-4pm. $14.99 ALL YOU CAN EAT Mother’s Day brunch party.
Delicious-sounding menu available on their website, and you can make a reservation for parties of 6 or more via email: [email protected]

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