There’s been a lot of activity and news lately about the iconic Domino Sugar Factory on the Williamsburg waterfront. Our own historical writer Geoff Cobb recently published a new book about Domino titled The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King, and he’s been sharing some of those stories here on our site. Additionally, the redesign proposal for the Domino site was recently approved, and the architects shared the final plans for the waterfront park. And just a few weeks ago we were able to tour the first new building in the Domino Sugar complex at 325 Kent Street, with the major selling point seeming to be the stunning views of Manhattan and the Williamsburg Bridge.
From now until January 14th, photos taken inside the Domino Sugar complex are on view at former Williamsburg gallery Front Room (48 Hester Street) in Manhattan. According to the gallery, “In 2013, Paul Raphaelson received permission from the developers of the Domino site to explore every square foot of the refinery just weeks before its gutting and demolition. Raphaelson is the last photographer given access to the factory.” The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1-6pm. Smithsonian has a detailed article about the photos, and the site’s history.
Today (Tuesday, December 19th) marks the anniversary of the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903. The Bridge was opened on a Saturday and was one of the greatest celebrations the Newly formed city had ever witnessed. The air all around Williamsburg that brisk winter morning was electric and buzzing with excitement. After six long years of watching the construction of the bridge, the span would finally open. There was jubilation in the area, especially amongst property owners who knew that the bridge would dramatically increase the value of their properties. Continue reading →
Although the former Domino Sugar refinery on Kent Avenue does not lie in Greenpoint, the building and the firm that ran it, Havemeyer and Elder, cast a long shadow over local history. Having spent the summer researching the plant for my upcoming book The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King, it is hard to express how much suffering is associated with the refinery.
The plant, which was opened in 1858, employed thousands of Greenpointers over its almost a century-and-a-half of existence. Much of the reason that we have a Polish population today is because the refinery had a policy of hiring Slavic men, principally Polish, who could not recount to outsiders the misery that working in the plant entailed. They worked in horrendous conditions that we can scarcely imagine today. Continue reading →
Local artist Martynka Wawrzyniak‘s site-specific sculpture, Ziemia, will take the form of a ceramic sphere atop a meadow garden in McGolrick Park, and she’s having the local community help create it. Ziemia, which means Earth in Polish, will celebrate our neighborhood’s many cultures, become a locus for community programming, and carry personal significance for the participants who help shape it.
McGolrick Sculpture Installation & Walking Tour With Greenpoint Historian
When: Saturday, September 30, 3pm – 5pm
Where: Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof | 520 Kingsland Avenue
Who: Greenpoint artist, Martynka Wawrzyniak & Greenpoint historian, Geoff Cobb
$15 donation (proceeds go to the Ziemia art project), RSVP
Our very own Greenpointers writer and local author Geoff Cobb is giving a free talk on some fascinating local history this Tuesday, February 28 at Gallery AWA (61 Greenpoint Ave. #306) from 6-8pm. Continue reading →
Led by Greenpointers writer and local historian Geoff Cobb, a historical walking tour of Greenpoint this Thursday evening will explore the northern part of the neighborhood with a focus on local ecology. If you’ve ever wondered what was there before the WNYC Transmitter towers, or why our area’s formerly pristine estuary and green section of Brooklyn became a center of heavy industry, this tour is for you. Considering our rapidly changing neighborhood, it’s important to honor elements of the old Greenpoint. The tour, is approximately 1 mile, and will last about 1.5 hrs.
The FREE tour will meet by the Greenpoint Avenue gate to Transmitter Park at 6:30pm and will walk to Greenpoint Playground. All participants will receive a map of the area with tour highlights, and enjoy complementary hot cider and gingerbreads. Bundle up!
In a neighborhood where we like to keep it real, Pete McGuinness’ legacy lives on in much more than McGuinness Blvd. He was larger than life and one of the most colorful characters in local Greenpoint lore.
As a local historian it always amazes me how rich Greenpoint history is and how much local history is forgotten. I wrote a book called Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past to reveal these stories, but I just came across another fascinating, but tragic local story. The tale of the great Irish born painter John Mulvany who once was the toast of the Chicago art world, but became homeless in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and ended his life by drowning himself in the East River. Continue reading →