A lot of local history is quickly disappearing, but one place that is holding strong is Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin St.) and the historic building it calls home. French Greenpointer Robert Arbor, proprietor of Le Gamin (108 Franklin St.) re-opened Brooklyn Label in the historic Astral Building. The former management did little to recognize the amazing history of the space, something that Arbor has dedicated himself to changing.
The Astral Apartments are not only landmarked, but the building is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Arbor and his manager, Alex Russell, are determined to honor the building’s rich history and its patron philanthropist Charles Pratt, the oil baron and the richest man in 19th century Brooklyn.
Completed in 1883, the Astral Apartments were unique in their day: Unlike the flimsy tenement buildings that sprang up all around the city without basic amenities, the Astral was a kind of gift to the Greenpoint community and a solidly built showcase.
In contrast to tenements, Pratt’s building had plenty of natural light, air and even indoor plumbing, unheard of luxuries for most tenement dwellers. And the building was stunningly beautiful too!
The philanthropist hired famed architects Hugh Lamb and Charles A. Rich who also designed his stately Pratt Institute campus. Pratt commissioned them to design the Astral as a model for worker housing. Lamb & Rich based the Astral design on innovative tenement housing built by American philanthropist George Peabody in London who was a personal friend of Pratt’s.
The Big News: Brooklyn Label is open again! Brooklyn Label 3.0, now under the same management as Le Gamin, reopened in the past couple of weeks. The space at 180 Franklin Street has been given a little bit of a renovation in the past few months prior to the reopening. But most importantly, Le Gamin owner, Robert Arbor, wants to return Brooklyn Label to all its former glory. The menu is classic American: eggs Benedict, French toast, pancakes, burgers, and salads. They’re currently open for breakfast and lunch with dinner service coming soon.
For the past year, Mister Dips has been our answer to Shake Shack, but at some point next year, we will have an actual Shake Shack. Seems the chain will be coming to the space that formerly housed Blue Bottle at 160 Berry Street. They even threw a “surprise party” complete with free burgers and pumpkin frozen custards at North Brooklyn Farms last Wednesday. Word is doors open in the spring. Continue reading →
First, there was Chez Ma Tante (90 Calyer St) in the former Jimmy’s space (yes, go get the beef tartare). Of course, one of our newest chill spots is Threes at Franklin + Kent (113 Franklin St). Then, we noticed that the Franklin Guesthouse restaurant space is finally fully operational. The new spot at 214 Franklin Street is called “BarGlory” and is the sister restaurant of Glasserie.The menu is a little light with most of the sections only giving you three options, but there does seem to be something for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. The dishes incorporate a number of East Asian ingredients including Korean kuksu, Japanese togarashi noodles, and Chinese tea eggs. The cocktails are going for $13, with several pét-nat, draft wine, and beer options. Currently, they are only open for dinner, with breakfast and lunch coming soon. Continue reading →
There’s been a whole lot of comings and goings amongst Greenpoint’s bars and restaurants recently. Here’s a round-up of a few changes that are on our radar…
Brooklyn Barge Bar (3 Milton Street) – This novelty floating bar has been a long time in the making and it’s looking like they’ll miss the boat with the summer crowd if they don’t get things going soon. Time Out are throwing a ‘first look’ party ($25 for unlimited beer and oysters) on the barge on August 26th, so it’s quite likely that this will be their opening night. Let’s hope they don’t have to cancel like they did with their 4th July celebrations. But, if they do, at least it means that Transmitter Park will stay a haven of tranquillity for a little longer.
Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin Street) – A sign in the window of this popular brunch spot says ‘closed for renovation’, along with a request to renew their sidewalk liquor license. However, it’s just been confirmed by the owners that the business is actually being sold and will be re-opening as something different in due course. Continue reading →
Whenever we have friends in town, the weekend usually starts with a hearty Greenpoint brunch to show off the neighborhood. And although there’s been endless new places opening up recently, when it comes to wowing visitors we often end up leaning on old classics for great food and reliable service
Last week was a rough for me. 911 always brings me down plus I got doored with a capital – slam me into the middle of the street – D! It was one of the scariest and alienating experiences of my life. After I got up and picked up my bicycle, the first thing the driver said was not, “are you okay?” but “you were going to fast.” After the rage subsided I started shaking and crying uncontrollably, which is a little awkward on Graham Ave with all the staring passersby. Thankfully, I’m totally fine, bruised up but alive. The mental trauma and my general disenchantment with NY set in for a few days afterwards – it’s such a rough and unforgiving place sometimes. Continue reading →
An excellent espresso is a cafe’s best business card. On Sunday October 2, 2011, Rebecca from I love Greenpoint, Mike & Charlie from Brooklynauts and I tasted a total of 19 espressos from every cafe* in Greenpoint in order to determine the champion of the Greenpointers 2011 Espresso Tour. The density of outstanding espressos in this neighborhood was impressive and made the tour difficult to judge, but we have a winner!
Each cafe was notified and generously donated 3 espressos. We judged using the following score sheet adapted from the World Barista Championship:
TASTE EVALUATION OF ESPRESSO: • COLOR OF CREMA (hazelnut, dark brown, reddish reflection) 0/10 ___ • CONSISTENCY & PERSISTENCE OF CREMA* 0/10 ___ • TASTE BALANCE (harmonious balance of sweet/acidic/bitter) 0/10 ___ • TACTILE BALANCE (full bodied, round, smooth) 0/10 ___ • TEMPERATURE** (hot but not too hot to drink) 0/10 ___ 0/50 ___
BEVERAGE PRESENTATION: • CORRECT ESPRESSO CUPS USED (60-90mL w/handle) YES/NO • SERVED WITH ACCESSORIES (spoon, napkin & water) YES/NO /2 ___
After judges’ individual scores were added, the highest possible score was 156. Results ranged between 97-142. (Only the top 3 scores are revealed.)
*We were unable to contact Ashbox and the cafe was closed on Sunday.
When Two Blogs Unite they apparently do an old school tour of The Point. Bonus points for including Irene’s Bar. Though any Pointer worth his salt knows that’s not the only old time wooden phone booth in the neighborhood. Remember the one at Bee’s? Any others anyone can think of? – Urbanite
On Sunday April 27th, there’s the Artwalking: Bedford Avenue exhibition, where thirty stores on Bedford Avenue are going to show art installations in their store windows. According to Matthew Silver, the person in charge has been gathering a ton of street performers to make the streets very colorful. If you’re interested in participating check out the Craigslist ad here. – The Bedford Circle of Fools
Dandelion Wine is opening up right outside my window and barring any nonsense from the State Liquor Authority (remember when Brooklyn Label was supposed to have theirs in time for Christmas? See how well that worked out.) should be open by May. Not a big wine connoisseur myself but I can always appreciate more alcohol in the hood.
I passed by tonight and noticed a chalkboard read something to the effect of them having a new revamped menu coming soon and then tonight I get the comment below…
Hi to all from Brooklyn Label-
We’d like to let everyone know what’s up lately at Brooklyn Label. We have brought on a new Head Chef, Ed Bode, whom some of you already know from Union Picnic. We’re happy to have him and look forward to the additions he will bring to our kitchen and menu.
As for the plethora of other questions:
1. Booze IS coming, we have been approved for our liquor license but have to finalize a permit from the previous owners first. If you’ve ever dealt with the city on anything, you know, I’m sure, this means we could have our license in a couple of weeks, or, mostly likely, a couple of months. In the mean time, we are going to a winter schedule and closing at 7pm. When we have our license and spring has sprung outdoor seating, we will reintroduce dinner.
2. We are working very hard to improve things at BL, from bringing in more vegan and vegetarian options to changing over to soy oil (instead of butter) to cook our eggs, hash browns, and some of our breakfast entrees. Many of our purveyors have hiked their prices substantially, especially baked goods due to a huge increase in flour prices this year (I won’t even go into the politics driving that issue). When we’ve needed to we’ve raised prices to reflect our increased. We’ve been looking at different distributors to try to cut costs, and when we can, we will reflect it in our prices.
3. Brunches here are crazy, there are no two ways about it.
4. We appreciate the hard work that went into starting up Brooklyn Label, and we believe we can continue to improve.
Thanks to all of our regular customers and weekend brunch-warriors for coming to our restaurant. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback.
April Goettle GM, Brooklyn Label
I think it’s great that the new management over there is ‘listening to feedback’. Brunch is always crazy there but that’s still no excuse for the seriously bad attitudes of the staff there. It takes a lot for me to say that because I know that being a waitress/waiter/host/hostess is no easy task – especially when things are crazy. But the fact that every single time I’ve been in there I’ve felt that the staff was either rude or incompetent – or both – has to count for something.
I’ve witnessed it take ten minutes to turn a table over there. The people have left and then it’s five minutes or more before the table is cleaned and then yet another five minutes or more before the table is sat. All this while there are twenty people waiting staring at the table. It’s like BL is more concerned with hiring cute hipsters instead of actual people who can do the job.
I have no problem waiting for a table or service if the person who finally does come around is nice and genuinely apologetic for the wait. It’s Waitressing 101. I still eat there but only as a last resort which is a shame because it’s right downstairs. If there’s any improving going to go on, I sincerely hope they take a look at the attitude and competence of the staff. A smile works wonders kids.