Long before Greenpoint had the shipbuilding, oil refining or sugar refining industries, ceramicists had established Greenpoint as America’s first ceramic capital and it is more than a little ironic that recently a number of New York’s best ceramic artists have decided to call the area home. These artists are reviving an art form with over a hundred and fifty years of local history.
There are in fact so many first-rate potters working locally that just to mention them all would require too much space. Visit galleries like Greenpoint Hill (Freeman St.) or Wilcoxson Brooklyn Ceramics (67 West St.) to acquaint yourself with just some of the many talented locals turning out a stunning variety of ceramic art pieces.
The great poet Walt Whitman was also a journalist and in August of 1857 he visited The American Porcelain Works on Freeman and West Street to profile Greenpoint porcelain production. The pottery there stood atop a hill that was later leveled, appropriately called Pottery Hill, on account of the number of local potters there.
Englishman Charles Cartlidge, who established the American Porcelain works there way back in 1848, came to Greenpoint from a family of potters in Staffordshire, the center of English pottery. The Englishman’s Greenpoint company manufactured tea sets, pitchers, busts, and other porcelain pieces, but the firm really excelled at porcelain busts of famous figures, sculpting busts of John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Joseph Hughes, Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, Senator Daniel Webster, and President Zachary Taylor. Cartlidge’s Greenpoint Pottery exhibited wares that won a “first premium” award at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1853 in New York. The firm, however, could not pay the bills and became bankrupt.
To survive local potters would need to find commercial uses for porcelain. The man who first set up an economically viable local pottery was Thomas Smith, whose stately home on Milton Street is now occupied by the Greenpoint Reformed Church. Smith, a successful builder, never trained as an artist or a potter, so his success as a ceramicist is all the more remarkable. Continue reading →
With the end of the year approaching, you may be looking for ways to give back to the community during this holiday season. The local hunger-relief programs offer great opportunities to give back in North Brooklyn, either with a one-off session or on a weekly basis.
The hunger program is also currently hosting a crowdfunding campaign to provide essential hygiene products for young girls and women. The ‘fem-kits’ will be available at the food pantry and the campaign seeks to fund three months of supplies for 400 women.
The North Brooklyn Angels are a local nonprofit organization that started in the winter of 2016 and by the summer of 2017, launched the “Angelmobile,” a 40-foot mobile soup kitchen powered by volunteers, and started serving free meals on the streets of Brooklyn. NBA sends out bi-weekly emails with updates on the volunteer schedule. They also use social media (@northbrooklynangels) to post emergency volunteer opportunities. Signup for email updates here. Continue reading →
Apparently, times are tough out there for at least one local artist. From the above Craigslist post, it’s a little unclear if he is legitimately starving or is merely seeking inspired companionship; but either way, Greenpointers do not let other Greenpointers go hungry! If he is truly in need of food, we would recommend seeking out the North Brooklyn Angels van. Today from 1230-130pm, they will be posted up across the street from the Williamsburgh Library (240 Division Ave), to hand out 200 hot meals. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the Greenpoint Reformed Church (136 Milton Street) will host their weekly community dinner from 6-7pm, and on Thursdays from 8am-11am they give out groceries from their food pantry. And if that’s not enough, a while back we compiled a roundup of local bars and restaurants that serve up free or super cheap food and drinks. So there are plenty of options to avoid truly going hungry in the ‘hood. Or, our long haired artist may simply be on the hunt for a woman who knows her way around the kitchen, a lady who is happy to simultaneously craft the perfect bechamel sauce for a hearty truffle mac n cheese, chop up a pink lettuce salad and pour him a glass of natural wine. In any case, hopefully this local artist will starve no more! Continue reading →
For many folks, attending church is an annual event. Luckily we have some pretty cool houses of worship right here in our neighborhood, if you’d like to dabble in holiday worship this year. Continue reading →
WHAT: Appetite For Arts: Fundraiser for the Greenpoint Hunger Program
WHEN: Saturday, Sept 23rd, 7pm-10pm
WHERE: Greenpoint Reformed Church, 136 Milton St
DONATION: $50+, tickets and more info here
If you have not heard from your neighbors about the Soup Kitchen + Food Pantry of the Greenpoint Reformed Church’s Hunger Program, the volunteer-based organization is a vital part of Greenpoint, for those in need. The kitchen serves more than 800 hungry people every month in the North Brooklyn Community and beyond.On Wednesday evenings, they serve a delicious community dinner. On Thursdays, they distribute groceries from the food pantry. According to the Church, “It costs about $5,000 per week to host the meal and keep food pantry running,” so they need your monetary support. If you can’t make Saturday’s event, you can still show your support by donating to the Hunger Program here, or by volunteering. Continue reading →
Since the introduction of its first archetype, the modern “art gallery” continues to evolve into many different forms today—as artists can be found showcasing their work in more intimate settings outside the institutional format of endless rooms and luminous ceilings.
During Greenpoint Open Studios (June 3-4), one can easily come across several types of art in unusual places; like an ambient soundscape from The Lot Radio (17 Nassau Ave) at the San Damiano Mission, where you can expect to hear a range of midi sound loops through its historic 700-pipe organ. Since its opening a little over a year ago, The Lot Radio has held several events within the church to raise money towards the pipe organ’s renovation. The program during GOS will be performed by composer and DJ Noah Prebish, who plays in the band Psymon Spine when he’s not at The Lot.
“Throughout the day, we’ll have different sized loops playing that will work similarly to a Steve Reich tape loop, so no sound will repeat exactly the same,” explains Noah. “When you walk into the church, each loop is going to sound a bit different. This will kind of showcase the abilities of the organ, which can be played really fast or really slow, or with several different tempos at once.” Prebish will also be accompanied by local musicians like Bryan Ujueta of Mr. Twin Sister and others, who will improvise with instruments over the loops.
Be sure to catch Noah’s soundscape piece at the church (85 North 15th Street) and scope out some of the other types of unexpected art you can find in the neighborhood after the jump. Continue reading →
When you are a member of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), it’s easier than ever to eat local. It’s healthy, supports the local economy, and reduces your carbon footprint. There are a few CSAs around Greenpoint, including this one from Lineage Farm in upstate New York. They offer pickups at the Greenpoint Reformed Church (136 Milton Street) on Saturdays from June through November. And December may seem a little early to start thinking about next summer’s groceries, but for most CSAs the earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is. Lineage Farm is offering $20 off if you sign up by December 15th. Not to mention, early signups help keep the farms running.
Lineage Farm is located in the Hudson Valley, which is a little over 100 miles from Brooklyn. If you’re a current member, you’ve likely met Jon Ronsani who mans the CSA pickup every Saturday, sometimes with his dad Carmine. They’ve been making the trip to Greenpoint the last six seasons to deliver the CSA Shares.
Jen Ronsani, one of the Lineage farmers, says: “It is quite amazing to think that a small farm two and a half hours upstate can find its niche in Greenpoint. We would not be doing this if it were not for the support of the community, both of the CSA members and the Greenpoint Reformed Church, who has let us set up in their backyard for the past five seasons. We love growing food. The CSA allows us to do something we love and share it with people in different communities.” Continue reading →
The Greenpoint Reformed Church at 136-138 Milton Street is a building that not only plays an important role in our community today, but also has a huge historical significance. For those of you who do not know it, the church is the home of the wonderful Rev. Ann Kansfield who was voted The New York Times New Yorker of the year not only by her adoring congregation, but also by many other admiring Greenpointers. Ann uses the church to host Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, House homeless people and a huge amount of charitable ventures.
The house was built by an important figure in neighborhood history, Thomas Smith, in 1867. Smith started life as an apprentice builder, but his talent shone through so quickly that he was soon able to start his own construction firm and he built the iconic Little Church around the Corner in Manhattan amongst other works. Continue reading →
Typically, when I walk down Manhattan Avenue, or through McCarren Park, or up Franklin, I’m thinking about myself — praying I look cool, contemplating the new bars, and eyeing the countless men who surround me. Things shifted, however, when I strolled these same streets with Reverend Ann Kansfield, the neighborhood’s beloved minister of Greenpoint Reformed Church, last week. For a few brief moments, I saw the streets through the eyes of a person who is sharply focused on the well-being of the inhabitants of Greenpoint.
It’s been a big year for Reverend Kansfield. In 2015, she was elected the first female and openly gay chaplain for the FDNY, while winning the The New York Times’ inaugural “New Yorker of the Year” title amongst big-name candidates like Donald Trump and the “Broad City” duo Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. Ann has a disarming way of making you feel like you’re her best friend — a “profound extrovert,” as she describes herself. It’s a no-brainer that she’s making such an impact on the city and the neighborhood. Continue reading →