greenpoint brooklyn

Greenpoint’s Adam ‘Babyface’ Kownacki Follows Local Boxing Tradition

Adam ‘Babyface’ Kownacki (courtesy of Adam Kownacki)

Recently, heavyweight boxer Adam ‘Babyface’ Kownacki has generated a lot of local excitement. The Polish-born, but Greenpoint bred, Konwacki is 19- 0 in his professional career. A huge contingent of locals showed up to support Kownacki in his last match in the Barclay’s Center. Kownacki continued to climb up the heavyweight rankings by earning a second-round TKO victory over former title challenger Gerald Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs). The talented Kownacki is only the latest in a long tradition of excellent North Brooklyn boxers. The first local champion boxer dates to the era after the Civil War when prizefighting was still illegal.

Local boxing champ and Medal of Honor winner Sam Collyer (courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Williamsburg Civil War hero and bare-knuckle fighter Sam Collyer won both the Medal of Honor and a lightweight world championship in the days after the War Between the States, but Collyer was a puncher and not a boxer. He won a few title defenses in the 1860s, but was later embarrassed in the ring by perhaps the greatest local fighter, McAuliffe in an 1888 match staged in a local theater, in which McAuliffe humiliated the former champ with his technical boxing prowess. Continue reading

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Floating Timber Bridge Proposed to Span Newtown Creek

Courtesy of CRÈME Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design

Williamsburg-based CRÈME introduced renderings of Timber Bridge at LongPoint Corridor: A 275-foot-long, 16-foot-wide, floating pedestrian and biking bridge made of sustainable glue-laminated and pressure-treated timber, to span Newtown Creek from Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint to Vernon Blvd in Long Island City.

Courtesy of CRÈME Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design

The bridge is designed to have pivoting features to open and close in around 3 minutes for the many boats and barges on Newtown Creek, the 3.8 mile-long federal Superfund site that will undergo remediation over the next decade.

Courtesy of CRÈME Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design

To prevent flooding, the bridges’ platform would move with the tide and have green spaces on either side. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that the bridge was the idea of Jun Aizaki, a 20-plus year North Brooklyn resident and Pratt Institute graduate.

Construction would take approx. two years and cost more than $32 million to build. LongPoint Bridge could potentially receive city funding and additional backing from private donors, such as Amazon, who the firm is exploring as a donor. The bridge is also backed by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and State Assemblyman Joe Lentol; a newly registered nonprofit, Friends of Timber Bridge, is seeking to raise funds for the project.

Courtesy of CRÈME Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design

A Kickstarter campaign by the design firm raised $30,266 last summer, which was short of the $50,000 goal. Momentum for the bridge may pick up with the anticipated localized tech industry boom led by the potential for Amazon to build HQ2 in Queens, bringing tens-of-thousands of new jobs and residents to the area served by the proposed bridge.

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L Train Non-Shutdown Begins April 26 With Night and Weekend Service Changes

(Image courtesy of Roshan Vyas)

Five weeks after releasing a statement announcing that the L train shutdown is averted, the MTA announced its “Alternative Service Plan” for construction on the Canarsie Tunnel during nights and weekends, when L trains will run every 20 minutes from Bedford Ave to Manhattan.

The work would begin on April 26, and is estimated to last 15 – 20 months. The previous plans to lengthen the G train and provide shuttle buses across the Williamsburg Bridge are not included in the new plan, but service will increase on the G, M and 7 subway lines. An MTA shuttle will run from Bedford Avenue to the J/M Marcy Avenue station and to the G/L Lorimer Street station and back, according to amNew York.

According to NBC New York, the plan includes (and excludes):

  • Work on overnights/weekends begins the weekend of April 26;

  • The MTA does not anticipate closing 14th Street to vehicles, which would have happened under the previous plan;

  • The MTA is not  planning shuttle buses or HOV lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge;

  • The MTA is not planning shuttle buses or HOV lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge;

  • Beginning at 10 p.m. every night, L trains will run every 20 minutes;

  • The MTA recommends customers use other subway lines – the G/J/M especially;

  • The MTA will not be lengthening G trains as previously planned;

  • The MTA will run a “loop bus” from Bedford Avenue to those other subways;

  • concerned about crowding at First Avenue and Third Avenue in Manhattan. They are considering making those stations EXIT ONLY;

  • Work should last 15-20 months but an end date is unknown

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Northbound Trains Will Skip Greenpoint Avenue in March

GreenpointAve_GTrain_nmgreenfield_674-500x209

 

Service changes for the G train are slated to begin March 1, to make way for construction crews to install three elevators at the Greenpoint Ave stop, Councilmember Stephen Levin posted on Facebook:

We have some service changes to the G Train coming up as we make the line better. Here are the details

1. The next phase of the project to bring full ADA accessibility to the Greenpoint Avenue G station, including three new elevators and other accessibility features, will require round-the-clock track and platform access to construction crews. Beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2019 until 5:00 a.m. on Monday, April 1, 2019, northbound G trains will not stop at Greenpoint Avenue. Customers will be able to access the station by taking MTA NYC Transit bus service or taking a northbound G train to 21st Street in Queens and then back riding on a southbound G train to Greenpoint Avenue. There will be no change to southbound G service during this time at this station.

2. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 4, 2019 until 5:00 a.m. on Monday, April 1, 2019, southbound G trains will not stop at the Flushing Avenue G station. This southbound bypass is necessitated by an MTA NYC Transit flood prevention project at the station, as the staircase leading to/from the southbound platform of the station will be closed for the flood mitigation upgrade. Customers will be able to access this station by taking a southbound G train to Myrtle-Willoughby Avenues and then taking a northbound G train to Flushing Avenue. There will be no change to northbound G service during this time at this station.

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Could the Next President of the United States Be an Ex-Williamsburg Bohemian?

Beto O’Rourke

When people make shortlists for the Democratic Party’s likely nominees to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election, Beto O’Rourke’s name is often near the top of those lists. The 48 year old former three-term Congressman from El Paso, Texas gained national prominence last year when he narrowly lost an election to Ted Cruz for United States Senator in Texas. A charismatic figure who reminds some of Barack Obama, O’Rourke has been described as hip, smart and empathetic. A great speaker and an impressive funds raiser, Beto seems totally in his element in front of people.

Although Beto was born and raised in Texas, he spent many of his formative years here in New York City, first at Columbia University where he majored in English, and later living in a Spartan, run down loft in Williamsburg while he was the bassist for a punk rock band. A recent New York Times article examined O’Rourke’s time in New York City and described his days in North Brooklyn.

A Young Beto O’Rourke (courtesy of the New York Times)

Beto O’ Rourke was in some ways typical of many of the people I knew who gravitated towards the area’s punk rock music scene in the 90s. A social person who loved music, Beto in the 90s was a man trying to find himself. While some of his other Columbia classmates went straight into graduate school or started careers, O’Rourke drifted aimlessly and fell into deep depression. Eventually, by total chance, he wound up meeting an old friend in a Williamsburg bar who told him about the possibility of sharing a loft located near Wallabout Street, near the Orthodox Jewish section of South Williamsburg. O’Rourke moved into the loft and his Williamsburg tenure began.

His rent was ridiculously cheap, but for a good reason. The Times article states that Beto’s share of the rent for the 2,000 square-foot loft was only a $130 per month, but he and his loft mates had to construct their own bedrooms and at times the space was so cold that sometimes they could see their own breath. Continue reading

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See You Sunday at the Greenpointers Vintage Rose Valentine’s Market!

Good times at the Polar Vortex Holiday Market 2018 (photo: Julia Moak)

Rain or shine our Vintage Rose Valentine’s Market is happening tomorrow February 10, from 1-7pm. As a reminder, we have a ton of free stuff happening at the market to keep you busy while you shop from over 60 + talented indie-makers. Bonus: enjoy TWO FREE drinks courtesy of Cinch! If shaking it on the dance floor is more your thing then you’ll love the live music from  Love Always and Kendra Morris. Don’t let this market be the one that got away!RSVP and bring your sweetheart.

 

 

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Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern Closing on February 28th

Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern is closing on February 28th following 60-plus years at 188 Bedford Ave. where it opened in 1955. The Williamsburg cash-only throwback to pre-luxury times is known for its affordable drinks, chummy bartenders and rockin’ jukebox. Rosemary’s closing was originally reported by Brooklyn Based.

The bar’s namesake, Rosemary Bleday, worked at the bar since her 20s after her family relocated the watering-hole from its original Green Street location in Greenpoint. Now at age 86, Bleday is seeking to move from her apartment above the bar after she is released from the hospital where she is being treated for a recent injury.

Gothamist spoke with her grandson Eric Carson who said that the demolition and development on both bordering parcels threaten the structural integrity of the wood frame building at 188 Bedford Avenue:

Carson says that the bar held out for a long time, even as they got offers left and right over time, and in recent years as the developer bought up the buildings beside Rosemary’s, which is located at 188 Bedford Avenue, near North 7th Street. In 2016, RedSky Capital bought the three-story, three-unit building next door, at 190 Bedford Avenue, for $13.2 million, as The Real Deal reports. In what the publication dubs a “nearly block-long assemblage,” the developers also purchased the building next to that, at 192 Bedford, as well as Rosemary’s other neighbors at 184-186 Bedford Avenue.

“Unfortunately in doing that—them knocking down two buildings on either side of us, being a wood frame building—according to an engineer report, puts us at serious risk for damage,” he says. “And my grandmother living up here wouldn’t be safe or conducive to running a business.”

There are no plans to reopen another Rosemary’s according to the family, who are seeking to go out in a spirit of celebration over the final three weeks.

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Developers to Expand Acme Smoked Fish Facility With Office Space

Pennsylvania-based developers Rubenstein Partners are seeking to build a 583,000 square-foot commercial development with office space at the site of Acme Smoked Fish at 30 Gem St., the Wall St. Journal reports.

Acme would not have to relocate as the development would include an 80,000 square-foot manufacturing facility for the production of their popular smoked fish. Acme’s current facility measures approx. 65,000 square feet.


Rubenstein Partners previously negotiated with the Dept. of City Planning to build dual eight-story commercial/light manufacturing office buildings known as 25 Kent Ave., where the original zoning allowed two stories, according to the Commercial Observer.

A special land use framework would once-again have to be negotiated for 30 Gem St. to rezone the area from manufacturing to commercial use. Continue reading

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Dance Along With Kendra Morris and Love Always at Greenpointers Vintage Rose Valentine’s Market (2/10)

The musical guests are sure to warm your heart and liven up your soul at the Greenpointers Vintage Rose Valentine’s Market this Sunday, February 10 from 1-7pm.

Super fun Brooklyn-based supergroup Love Always crafts sunny musical vibes with Jamaican/roots, rocksteady, reggae and lovers rock influences.

Love Always will perform two sets on Sunday at 2pm and 3pm.

Patricia Verdolino (vocals), Michael O’Connor (guitar), and Andy Shaw (bass) are original members of 90s Ska band Metro Stylee. Shaw also plays bass in the popular Brooklyn band Bikini Carwash, while drummer Ron Salvo plays with .357 Lover and keyboardist Jeannie Oliver played in Si Se. Checkout a clip from their performance at our Polar Vortex Holiday Market last December.

Kendra Morris (Credit: Taylor Ballantyne)

With powerful vocals and a passion for 60s and 70s funk and soul developed through her parents’ record collection Kendra Morris began recording songs by herself in the closet of her bushwick loft.

Morris released the album Banshee (2012) on Wax Poetics Records and in 2013 returned with the covers album Mockingbird. She released new music in 2018 with her first single “Nothing” off of an upcoming record and the second single “Playing Games” following close behind in April 2018 along with a Greg Nice of Nice & Smooth on the Break Up Mix and her cover “Virgin” with DâM-FunK playing shoulder synth on the breakdown.

Kendra Morris takes the stage with her band at 4pm.

 

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St. Amour Jazz Collective Brings Unique Vibrancy to FourFiveSix

St. Amour Jazz Collective by Gabi Light

If I could spend the next six weeks of winter in one spot, it would be tucked in a cozy corner of FourFiveSix (199 Richardson Street) surrounded by the eclectic decor and art, absorbing the rhythmic musical stylings of the St. Amour Jazz Collective. On Sunday evening, the collective performed at the popular neighborhood jazz bar, offering a carefree alternative to Super Bowl festivities.

The St. Amour Jazz Collective features Jim St. Amour on the vibraphone, Luke Markham on drums, and Alex Heigl on bass guitar. It’s St. Amour’s passion project: a percussionist of 35 years, he made a natural transition to the vibraphone to start composing his own works.

“As a composer, I am inspired by the drum n’ bass and neo-soul genres of music. The vibraphone is a beautiful instrument, and its range and percussive tonal characteristics really fit nicely with the harmony and melody of both styles of music,” St. Amour said. He integrated the drums and bass guitar into his compositions, thus shaping the group’s unique sound.

Markham has been a drummer for 19 years. He is well-versed in various genres and plays with a number of groups. When he plays, the drumsticks seem like extensions of his own arms. Both he and St. Amour also teach. Heigl was 15 when he started on the bass guitar. His initial genre was punk before classically training with a jazz bassist soon after. This was the groundwork for his success as an independent bassist. As a group, this trio feeds off each other’s energy, talent, and love of music in an authentic way that makes for a spirited and contemporary live performance.

by Gabi Light

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