The name Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) is legendary in urban planning and in the last year of her life, Jacobs had a prescient warning about the future of our waterfront in Brooklyn. Her 2005 letter about plans to develop the local waterfront is so timely that it seems like it could have been written today.Jacobs was a revolutionary urbanist and activist whose groundbreaking writings championed a community-based approach to urban development and renewal. Although She had no formal training as a planner, her seminal 1961 work “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” is considered something of a bible amongst urbanists. In the book, Jacobs proposed novel ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail, that were groundbreaking then, but today seem obvious to generations of architects, urban planners, politicians and activists. Once a year in May, her contributions to cities are recalled on Jane’s Day when people around the world organize walks in cities.
In 2005, shortly before her own death, the legendary urbanist weighed in on the renewal of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront in a letter addressed to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She advocated for the adoption of a community-sponsored development plan that was ultimately not adopted. In her letter, she warned that developers outside the community would take advantage of the rezoning of the East River waterfront to serve their own interests by building high rises and by gentrifying the area so that working class people would be pushed out. Jacobs’ letter contrasted the local community’s plan for the area versus the developer-friendly rezoning that ultimately was adopted. 13 years later her warnings have proven valid. It is amazing how timely Jacobs’ letter still feels today. Continue reading →
Yesterday, the Mayor put the long-stalled BQX waterfront streetcar project back on the table. The light rail trolley slated to run between Brooklyn and Queens was left out of the fiscal budget in April of this year, after missing its 4th feasibility study deadline. Now the project has returned with a shorter route, a higher budget, and the Mayor’s support.
When the project was first proposed in 2016, the advocacy group Friends of the BQX, headed by Jessica Schumer, daughter of Chuck Schumer, envisioned a 16-mile route from Astoria to Sunset Park. The current project stretches 11 miles, from Astoria to Red Hook, stopping in between at Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Downtown Brooklyn. Continue reading →
Steve Wasterval isn’t from here, but you may be led to believe otherwise given the authenticity and love behind each of his New York paintings. In a culture where the definition of art can often seem haughty, where the medium itself is ever-shifting, there is something beautifully traditional and startlingly contemporary about Steve’s acrylic paintings: They simultaneously represent impressionism from the days of yore while also reflecting the evolving city he adores and inhabits. Steve is participating in Greenpoint Open Studios June 2–3, so if you long to see his paintings in person after reading his interview, you’ll soon have the chance!
Greenpointers: On your site you say you make art for “real” New Yorkers. Are you a real New Yorker?
Steve Wasterval: I do say that — and no I am not. Unfortunately, I’m from Texas so I am one of those people that moved from the south or midwest and are forever trying to earn our local status. My wife is from here though, and so is her family (her grandparents were born and raised in Greenpoint on Berry Street) so I’d like to think I’m native by marriage. Plus nobody can top me when it comes to love for the city! You may think you love her more cause you’re a Yankees fan, or know where to get the best slice or whatever, but I paint her everyday. She’s all mine in that way, no one loves her the way I do.
While we will be getting NYU, we won’t be getting BQX.Mayor de Blasio did not include the project in his budget for the next fiscal year, and the city’s Economic Development Corporation also declined allocate funds for the Gentrification Express.
Shared Living, Better Living @ADO (29 Norman Ave), 6:30pm, FREE, A lively panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities presented by shared living, More Info ♦ Paint Nite @ Sick Willie (174 Meserole Ave), 7pm, $65, Our Social Painting Instructor guides you step-by-step through the featured painting in about two hours. Buy Tix ^ Okoyomon / Hamilton / Hodson @Spoonbill Series (99 Montrose Ave), 7pm, FREE, A reading curated by Coco Fitterman, More info * TRIVIA NIGHT @ Archestratus (160 Huron St.), 8pm, FREE, Trivia with our news editor! Expect categories to be various, beer innumerable, arancine aplenty, RSVP
# Passover Seder Potluck @The Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St), 6pm, FREE, More Info. Blending Herbal Smokes @Catland (987 Flushing Ave), 7pm, $20,In this workshop we will discuss the various herbs which are safe to be burnt and inhaled to manifest our highest intentions, Buy Tix ☺ New Comedy Project With Greenport Harbor Brewing @ The New Work Project (97 North 10th St), 7:30 pm, $10, Comedians you’ve seen on Comedy Central, Conan, MTV & more join us at The New Work Project for a night of comedy and free refreshments provided by Greenport Harbor Brewing, Buy tix ♫ The Rocket Queens (GNR Tribute), Wildstreet, FerreTT @ St. Vitus (1120 Manhattan Avenue), 7:30pm, $8-12, Buy tix ♦ Gentrification Express Screening @Sunview Luncheonette (221 Nassau Ave), 7:30pm, FREE,”Gentrification Express: Breaking Down the BQX” and other short films, More Info
Today is a sad day for Greenpoint as one of its best cultural icons will be closing down for good – but not before one last hurrah tonight (January 8, 2018). After 15 years of being in business in 544 Manhattan Ave, Bar Matchless is unceremoniously shutting its doors after receiving a letter in the mail that the Sheriff is coming this Thursday, January 11th to enforce their eviction.
Free drinks tonight for volunteers who can help move Bar Matchless out. If you are available Tuesday, January 9th and/or Wednesday, January 10th, fill out the form and come say your goodbyes!
There was an outpouring of support for Bar Matchless after we reported that its future was precarious last week. Greenpointers’ responses ranged from anger & frustration to heartbreak & sadness about this loss. Here are a few from over 140 comments on our Instagram post about it: Continue reading →
If you haven’t already heard, the rumors are true. The building where Bar Matchless (557 Manhattan Ave) is in has been sold and they were asked to vacate the premises. But they aren’t going down without a fight and they are still open for business.
The question of how long remains precarious as they have not been able to reach the landlords or new owners about the possibility of staying. For now, Tuesday 2-4-1 drinks, cheap late night food, and epic hangover brunch lives on in what is a Greenpoint institution.
Bar Matchless is one of the last men standing, having survived the death knell of North Brooklyn DIY spots and small performance spaces of yesteryear. Since its inception in 2003, it’s always been in the black and is still a legit thriving successful small business. The only reason it is slated to close is because the current landlord has not renewed the lease and the new owners remain out of touch – literally and figuratively. Continue reading →
The Queens Anti-Gentrification Project and Progress Queens will be hosting an event tonight called “Money, Power and Politics: Queens Democrats Examined.” The Queens County Democratic Party is also known as “The Queens Machine.” According to a press release for the event, “activists will participate in a panel discussion on the upcoming New York City Council speaker’s race, the influence of money on elected officials, and the impact on local Queens communities of legislation and policy favorable to the real estate industry.” The panel’s special focus on issues surrounding real estate development might make it of interest to community members here in Greenpoint grappling with changing landscape of the East River Waterfront.
What: Money, Power and Politics: Queens Democrats Examined
When: Tonight (12/4) 6:30-8:30pm
Where: LaGuardia Community College (31-10 Thomson Ave., Room E242)
Who: Anyone interested in local politics or community advocacy
Been wondering what the massive building is going up between India and Huron Street along West Street? It’s “The Greenpoint”, a 40-story condo building, the details of which have been spilled in this article from Curbed.
For further proof that the G-entrification train now stops in Greenpoint, check out this piece from the New York Times.
A LaGuardia Community College assistant professor has reportedly contacted Progress Queens claiming that recent allegations made by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection regarding Newtown Creek are “a hoax” in line with “the strategy of corporations that are allegedly responsible for the pollution of Newtown Creek”.
The Better With Pets Expo, hosted this week at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, got some press on News 12 this week (disclaimer: “exclusive content for Optimum, Time Warner Comcast customers”.)
The Newtown Creek Alliance hosted their latest Superfund Community Advisory Group meeting last night at the McCarren Park Pool Community Room. There was a presentation by the EPA, including an open discussion with the community.
Last Saturday’s Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund Open House event got some press in this article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
PS 110, The Monitor School will be hosting their Fall Carnival on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 2-6pm at the PS 110 school playground (corner of Driggs and Monitor). Among other fun Halloween activities, the event will feature a haunted house, pumpkin painting, and carnival games. All proceeds will benefit the school.
Vert Gardens (193 Banker St.) will be hosting their final plant sale before moving on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10am-4pm. Check out this Greenpointers post with more information on Vert’s moving.
The Participatory Budgeting process for District 33 has moved from the idea collection phase to the project development phase. Over 20 budget delegates have started reviewing over 100 ideas that have made it this far. There is still time to be a budget delegate. Click here for more information.
WHAT: Greenpoint Walking Tour WHEN: Saturday, October 22, 2:00-4:30 pm
Join veteran Brooklyn tour guide Norman Oder on a briskly-paced, wide-ranging introduction to the neighborhood, including historic blocks, converted historic buildings, commercial corridors, religious institutions, parks, and civic buildings. The tour will touch on industrial history, immigration (notably Greenpoint’s enduring Polish presence), and the current (and future) signs of gentrification.