Greenpoint

Classical Ambient Piano Meets Synthpop and McDonald’s

Andrew Shapiro, photo by Marcin Kalinski.
Andrew Shapiro, photo by Marcin Kalinski.

Some people may have heard of Greenpoint-based musician Andrew Shapiro as that guy who played modern classical piano at a McDonald’s in lower Manhattan every Sunday for nine years. Other people might vaguely recognize his name when hitting “like” on his song Mint Green on Pandora (it’s got several million plays). Still others might know him as the musician who recently collaborated with author and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, who wrote the lyrics for his song Bash Street Worlds. This summer, Andrew released an ambient classical album and a synth pop album in the same month. Boring, he is not—his songwriting has taken him around the world—and some of those gigs he owes to being down-to-earth and confident enough to play at Mickey D’s. For a solo classical musician and an Oberlin Conservatory-trained pianist, one might assume he’s reserved and bookish; but in person Andrew is quite talkative and energetic with an innate curiosity about the diversity that is New York City. Continue reading

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Raccoons Invade Greenpoint

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Last week my pleasant stroll down Franklin Street was interrupted by a horrible sight—a dead raccoon lay just in front of me on the sidewalk. The raccoon, who measured about a foot in length, was certainly not alone in Greenpoint. Area residents have reported a slew of the critters in every part of Greenpoint.

Raccoons are not just in Greenpoint. They are all over New York, but especially prevalent in Brooklyn (police chased a raccoon for hours last week in Ditmas Park). The NY Times on January 1st did a story on the creatures, reporting that there is a spike in residents paying for removal services. City law requires that captured raccoons be euthanized because they are potential rabies carriers, but they are so cute that few people have the heart to follow the law. Once released the animals often make it back to the area of their capture. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Eric Morrell, Art Director at Project Runway

Eric Morrell, Art Director
Eric Morrell, Art Director

Eric Morrell is a Production Designer and Art Director for TV and film living in Greenpoint. He has art directed numerous feature films, commercials, reality shows, and music videos while working for four seasons as Art Director for the reality competition show Project Runway.

I recently caught up with him at his Greenpoint apartment to chat about the hyper-local film industry of Greenpoint, the value of art school, and the impending L train closure…

Greenpointers: What is you favorite thing about Greenpoint/Williamsburg?  What’s a typical day for you in the neighborhood?

Eric Morrell: My favorite thing about Greenpoint how each street feels a little different and it really feels like a cohesive neighborhood even though it has a warehouse district and a commercial district and the area around McGolrick feels completely different then Franklin Avenue. Its got a lot of variety and changes a lot every few months. I really don’t need the rest of the city.

A typical day off is going out to eat somewhere for one meal, I try to go to new spots. If it’s a nice day I walk around or bike around the neighborhood and then go see a movie or go home and watch a movie. I like that we have movie theaters in Williamsburg but it’s still not close enough. With all the movie studios around I feel like they should build a big one somewhere East of McGuinness.

Eric Morrell, Art Director, on set at Project Runway stage in Long Island City
Eric Morrell, Art Director, on set at Project Runway stage in Long Island City

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Taculito: Little Ass Tacos

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All photos via Taculito

Taculito (little ass tacos) is a Mexico City-style taco popup on Friday nights at Brooklyn Safehouse (120 Franklin Street). The chefs, Giovanni Cervantes and Maria Romero, both have creative day jobs and thought it would be fun to fill the taco void in Greenpoint by sharing their kitchen skills and love of traditional Mexican street food. Giovanni is a portrait photographer with a Greenpoint studio and Maria is a textile and fashion designer. Giovanni grew up in Mexico City and lived there until he moved to New York in 2011. Maria was born in Mexico City, raised in Spain and returned to Mexico for college, arriving in New York after a stint living in Italy. Because of their backgrounds, they share a deep affection for authentic Mexican food, which can be difficult to find in New York City. Continue reading

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Chill Out At Himapan’s Lotus Leaf Painting Class

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Himapan lotus leaf painting art class ( © Himapan US)

Attendees of the Greenpoint-based Himapan lotus leaf painting class depart with two things: a wall-ready piece of art and an almost alarming sense of zen. I don’t normally associate prolonged repetition with relaxation, and yet there it was—two and half hours of lightly painting, sponging and dabbing at leaf skin felt more therapeutic than therapy itself.

Lotus leaves symbolize purity of heart and mind. When stretched over a canvas to dry, they also create a unique texture for painting. It’s like paint by number, except beautifully serene and understated.

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Brooklyn Comedy Festival: North Brooklyn Roundup

via Brooklyn Comedy Festival
via Brooklyn Comedy Festival

This Sunday the Brooklyn Comedy Festival kicks off for the third year in a row, this year with plenty of hilarious stand-up, sketch, improv, panel discussions, short films, and an evening with Reggie Watts. For $99 you can get a VIP pass to hit up all the shows all week, tickets to special parties including food and booze, entry into the pool at the new William Vale Hotel, and more. If rollin’ that fancy isn’t your style, many of the shows are free or less than $10 if you buy in advance. After the jump, check out our roundup of everything happening for the fest in North Brooklyn!

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Samson’s: By The Book? Whose Book?

Delilah’s owner Tommy Ferrick.

New bar openings in the Greenpoint neighborhood are always exciting for us. Being the men-about-town that we are, we’ve hit up nearly all the hottest and hippest spots from Driggs to Ash. Yet ever since the closing of our perpetual ride-or-die watering hole,  Greenpoint Heights, we have been searching for that “everybody knows your name” kind of place.

At long last, we may have found our home away from home once again.

Nestled in what should be called “The Little Steak-Shop That Could,” Delilah’s Steaks (55 McGuinness Boulevard), sits the delightful new seven seater bar with the unbearably appropriate name: Samson’s. Yet unlike the Biblical frenemies, Samson’s is the perfect complement to owner Tommy Ferrick’s cheesesteak mecca—the first step in his risky but ever-so-admirable master plan to battle the lumbering titans that are Seamless and other services like it. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Gazoo to the Moon

IMG_2257Have you ever been walking the streets of Greenpoint and noticed a careful scrawl with an arrow, “To the Moon” on the sidewalk?

The artist who goes by Gazoo To The Moon has spread his message everywhere he goes. Often carrying spray paint in his bag, even when he’s traveling, his work relays the idea that you should always be shooting for your dreams. So why not shoot for the moon?

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Gastronaut: Acme Smoked Fish & Fish Fridays

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smoked salmon © acme smoked fish

In this second installment of the Gastronaut series, we go behind the scenes of Acme Smoked Fish to demystify Fish Fridays.

In the heart of industrial Greenpoint, on an unremarkable street, behind an unmarked door, lies the largest smoked fish processor in the country: Acme Smoked Fish (30 Gem Street). And every Friday, and only Friday, from 8am until 1pm, you can take advantage of one of the neighborhood’s best (and worst kept) secrets when Acme opens its doors to the public for “Fish Friday.” Continue reading

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