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The Changing Face of Manhattan Avenue Stores

Manhattan Furrier (courtesy of Bridge and Tunnel Club)

Manhattan Avenue retail is in the midst of a rapid transition and very soon the avenue will be completely transformed into something totally different. Although there are some stores that have been on the avenue for my entire quarter-century in Greenpoint, a new breed of business is emerging, pushing out older established businesses and giving the avenue a new feel. As we reach the end of 2018, it is good to reflect on both what has remained unchanged, what has disappeared and what new businesses have taken root on the avenue.

There are a number of businesses that have deep roots, going back generations. Although the following list is not complete, Cato’s Army and Navy (654 Manhattan Ave.), Peter Pan Donut Shop (727 Manhattan Ave.), the Associated (802 Manhattan ave.) and C Town (953 Manhattan Ave.) supermarkets, McDonalds (904 Manhattan Ave.) and the Triple Decker (695 Manhattan Ave.) come immediately to mind as established institutions. Italy Pizza (788 Manhattan Ave.) and Russ’ Pizza (745 Manhattan Ave.) also have been serving great slices in the area for decades. Kiszka Meat Market (915 Manhattan ave.), Irene’s bar (623 Manhattan Ave.) and the Cafe Riviera (830 Manhattan ave.) are other examples of hardy Polish veterans that have changed little in the past 20 years.

The former Paris Shoe Store in Greenpoint (courtesy of Barbara L. Hanson)

Then, there are those businesses that were once institutions but have vanished. I still miss Cheap Charlie’s (712 Manhattan Ave.) where you could buy just about anything. Gone are Radio Shack (760 Manhattan Ave.) and Off-Track Betting (756 Manhattan Ave.), which were once thriving businesses on the avenue. When I first walked down Manhattan Avenue Corwith Brothers, which had generations of real estate sales in Greenpoint was on the East side of the street and Trunz meat market was across the street from it. For years there was a very popular English language school, I believe called the Greenpoint English School and a popular Polish disco called Europa (now the Good Room) on the corner of Meserole. There seemed to be ubiquitous dollar stores, some of which still survive at least until the lease is up. There were actually very few chain stores and most of the businesses on the avenue were family-owned, mom and pop stores. The Joseph and Sons furniture store comes to mind as does Jam’s stationary, and the Paris Shoe Store. Continue reading

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Whiskey Burger: Good Burgers, Good Whiskey (and Bourbon), and Tasty Cocktails

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When 12 year neighborhood staple The Mark Bar shuttered and signs of construction began, many were sad. But really, there’s no reason to be sad. The former owners of The Mark Bar (also of The Lobster Joint), Bob Levitt and Tommy Chabrowski, are now the owners of a great new restaurant, Whiskey Burger.

Levitt and Chabowski knew they needed to give The Mark Bar an upgrade. After much thinking, they decided to pursue a 12 year dream of opening a whiskey & burger restaurant. The menu is focused on different types of burgers, fries, sides, and salads. Good whiskeys, beer, wine, and an interesting selection of cocktails are on the menu for drinks. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Gallery Night Photo Recap

Greenpoint Gallery Night © Fabian Palencia

This past Greenpoint Gallery Night was a success despite the frigid temperatures. Greenpointers strolled the neighborhood seeking out fine art and good times. Photographer Fabian Palencia brings us images from galleries on the outskirts. Check out all the photos in this Facebook gallery. Continue reading

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