East River

Greenpoint Pup Rescued By NYPD in East River

A dog was rescued in the East River on Friday morning by NYPD after the pooch jumped into the water near Java Street and swimming off into the distance away from its owner, ABC 7 reports.

The Maltese dog was being walked near the Greenpoint waterfront at Java Street on Friday morning when the dog separated from the owner, ABC 7 explains: Continue reading

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Man Dives Into East River to Save Dog at Transmitter Park

An unidentified hero warmed hearts in Transmitter Park on Saturday afternoon by jumping off the pier to rescue a dog that was rapidly swimming away in the East River.

The hero eventually captured the dog and appeared to have been bitten in the face and hand during the rescue.

Credit to Gothamist for unearthing the footage from Brooklyn-based filmmaker Lorenzo Fonda, who was taking in the day at the Brooklyn Barge, and offers some great commentary:

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North Brooklyn Boat Club Announces 2019 Public Paddle Schedule

(via NBBC)

The North Brooklyn Boat Club announced their 2019 public paddle schedule, where guides lead short trips on Newtown Creek. More from NBCC:

Public paddles are free and open to everyone. We especially hope to welcome our Brooklyn neighbors to see the city the way we love to see it — from the water. In particular, we are proud to welcome other nonprofit community organizations to join us and relax from the hard work of making the world a little bit better.

We will try to get everyone who shows up on the water, but the earlier you arrive the better your chance of going on a paddle. All our voyages are led by certified trip leaders and include some of the best views of the city. This is a great way to check out the neighborhood and get a chance to explore the local waterways. Paddling is free! And we serve beverages and other snacks. Our public paddles are child and pet friendly.

(via NBBC)

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121 Affordable Units Available at Eliot Spitzers’ 420 Kent Ave.

The NYC housing lottery is now open for 121 affordable units at 420 Kent Ave., the new luxury waterfront development from former Governor Eliot Spitzer; apply by May 29th.

The development has 857 units total spread among three incongruent 22-story towers with a landscaped esplanade on the East River.

420 Kent Ave.: looking South on Kent Avenue (via Google Maps)

70 studio apartments for $867 per month are available for one to two occupants with an annual household income between $31,680 and $43,860. Continue reading

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The History Behind Grand Republic: A Modern Bar With a Storied Name

Inside Grand Republic bar at 19 Greenpoint Ave.

One of the most atmospheric bars in Greenpoint is the quaint cocktail club Grand Republic (19 Greenpoint Ave.), and it’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail amongst nautically themed décor. Owner Johnny Swet must know a thing or two about local history because he named his bar after a famous ship, built only a few feet away from the bar in the John Englis Shipyard, which once stood on the ground that is now occupied by Transmitter Park. A striking painting of the once-famous ship occupies a prominent position behind the center of the bar, but few patrons probably know the strange history of the once celebrated paddle wheeler.

One of the great achievements in the history of local shipbuilding was the construction of the huge side-wheeler boat in 1878. Shipbuilding was the first major local industry and once shipyards lined West Street, employing hundreds of locals. The Grand Republic, one of the largest boats ever to be built locally, weighed an amazing 1,760 tons. The steamboat made almost completely of wood, required a veritable forest of trees had to be cut and sent down the East River to construct her. The ship was 281 feet long and 41 feet wide, but its defining feature was a huge paddle wheel that was 36 feet in diameter. The elegant ship was called “ The queen of the harbor” until her sister ship, the infamous General Slocum, was launched in 1891.

The General Slocum steamboat

The Grand Republic was for many years the pride of Brooklyn and it served as an elegant excursion boat, taking hundreds of passengers on day trips to the Rockaways and other locations, but its reputation was blackened when an infamous accident befell its sister ship.

On June 15, 1904, the Slocum left the Lower East Side on a journey up the East River with an estimated 1,342 people on board. Most of the passengers were German-American women and children, very few of whom knew how to swim. The life preservers on the Slocum had been exposed to the elements outside on the deck for 13 years and most of them were falling apart, but still, the ship passed inspection. A fire started on the ship and spread rapidly. Terror engulfed the passengers when they learned of the rotted state of the life preservers. 1,0021 people died, many of them drowning in sight of the banks of the East River. Two of the victims were German-Americans from Guernsey Street.

Sailors are a superstitious group and the Grand Republic was forever tainted for being the Slocum’s sister ship. The Grand Republic was inspected and the state of its life preservers was found to be equally as bad as the Slocum’s. Its passenger capacity was reduced, but it was allowed to sail. In 1910, a fire also broke out on the Grand Republic, but thankfully a tragedy was avoided. The steamer was also involved in a collision and other accidents, giving credence to the superstitions of sailors. The following year in 1911, the Englis yard closed, bringing to end the era of Greenpoint shipbuilding, but the unlucky shipped still sailed.

The Brooklyn Eagle Archives

Eventually, the Grand Republic was sold and ended up in the Hudson River, running day trips for many years to Bear Mountain. Ironically, the new owners of the Grand Republic were a Greenpoint family, the McAlisters, who had become the tugboat and excursion boat kings of New York harbor. One of the bouncers the McAlisters hired on the Grand Republic was Peter McGuinness who would later dominate local politics for decades and lend his name to Greenpoint’s widest boulevard.

In 1924, Grand Republic burned in a spectacular fire while it was moored at 150th Street in Manhattan. Unlike the fire that consumed the Slocum, the burning of the ship led to no loss of life. Tens of thousands of people watched the blaze as the flames that consumed the giant ship lit up the night sky.

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A Teen in the Turnstile, A Man in the River, and Sex at the Center — The Hook-up 9/29

Activist Swimmer Christopher Swain Takes on the East River. Via Brooklyn Paper
Activist Swimmer Christopher Swain Takes on the East River. Via Brooklyn Paper

We’ve all had trouble with the turnstile before — maybe your MetroCard isn’t swiping, maybe some of the turnstiles are out of order — but it takes a special skill and dedication to find yourself wedged on top of a full height turnstile at 8am on a Tuesday morning at Court Square, as one teenage turnstile jumper did this week. A witness told Gothamist that the teen “tried to hold back the gate and slip through it, but it slipped back and wedged him in.” Ultimately, he had to be detangled from the turnstile by MTA personnel.

And that’s not the only wild feat in the news this week. Christopher Swain, an activist swimmer who has already plunged into the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek, swam the East River last Thursday from Greenpoint to Brooklyn Bridge Park in order raise awareness for the global refugee crisis. He took off from Greenpoint’s India Street Ferry Dock, and finished his journey at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Continue reading

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Photography Exhibit Showing North Brooklyn’s Changing Waterfront at Quimby’s Bookstore

Photo by Jackie Roman
Photo by Jackie Roman

Local photographer and director Jackie Roman has been documenting the changing culture and cityscape of our East River waterfront for more than a decade. This Friday evening (7-10pm) at Quimby’s Bookstore (536 Metropolitan Ave), she will be showing large 16×20 and 11×17 prints from her ongoing project, which depicts street scenes and cityscapes of the rapidly developing Greenpoint waterfront.

Huxley Envelope Factory as seen from the waterfront at India Street, photo by Jackie Roman
Huxley Envelope Factory as seen from the waterfront at India Street, photo by Jackie Roman
Domino Sugar factory, photo by Jackie Roman
The Domino Sugar factory, photo by Jackie Roman

She describes her images, saying: “A vista of Manhattan’s skyline taken from the roof of a factory building on Clay St. in 2010 is framed by trees, years before construction would begin on the “Greenpoint Landing,” a dramatic mega-complex of ten residential towers. A photo taken from the India St. ferry landing shows the single-story Huxley Envelope Factory—it contrasts with an abstract of the same site taken during the construction of a 40-story mixed-use condo building. These pictures, and others on display, are supplemental to the book Old Domino which documents the closings of DIY music and cultural spaces around the neighborhood’s historic Domino Sugar Refinery.”

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Tour Newtown Creek By Ferry!

Newtown Creek Boat Tour
via Newtown Creek Alliance

On May 21st, Newtown Creek Alliance sets sail on Newtown Creek in a NY Waterway ferry boat. Historian Mitch Waxman and NCA Program Manager Willis Elkins are hosting the boat ride, and participants are invited to learn about the Creek’s rich industrial history, lasting legacy of contamination and environmental damage and on-going efforts to revitalize and restore this unique waterway in the heart of New York City.

This is a unique and rare way to be able to tour Newtown Creek and learn about our neighborhood’s (tragic) environmental history.

Newtown Creek Boat Tour | India Street Ferry Dock, 10 India Street
Sunday, May 21 | 2pm-4pm

$10 tickets Continue reading

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All Aboard: The Brooklyn Barge Opened Yesterday!

Image: Brooklyn Barge/Instagram
Image: Brooklyn Barge/Instagram

The Brooklyn Barge (3 West Street, at Milton) finally opened yesterday for its third season. This is Greenpoint’s only waterfront bar with unbeatable views of Manhattan. It’s the kind of place you can round up a dozen friends last minute or bring a date to watch the sunset and twinkling skyline after dark. You can enjoy ten beers on tap (half of which are local to NY), sample the shared bites menu or go with their signature Barge Tacos or Burger. There’s something for everyone including veggie and gluten-free options.

The launch of the NYC Ferry service (which had prices drop down to $2.75 one-way) will surely increase traffic from Manhattan to Greenpoint foreshadowing the imminent boom of housing along West Street. As a result, we should probably expect bigger crowds at the Barge this season. Continue reading

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Brooklyn Barge Bar Set to Open Soon!

brooklyn_barge_bar_view_greenpoint_rosie_de_belgeonneThe long anticipated Brooklyn Barge Bar is looming ever closer on our horizons.

Although not yet open for business, the barge itself will take up its new position near Transmitter Park later this week.

Despite initial opposition from neighbors and the local community board, a liquor license was finally granted on June 2nd, much to the delight of bar manager and co-owner Will Drawbridge.

Waiting on the liquor license has held up the opening process a little, but Will tells us that they are currently hoping to be up and running by the end of June. Continue reading

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