Greenpoint

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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The Unlikley Story Behind Williamsburg’s Washington Statue

(Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives)

These last bone-chilling, frigid days have been hard to bear, but these freezing days have reminded me of the horrible cold the Continental Army endured during the darkest moments of the revolution and of a unique local statue that captures Washington’s suffering during that freezing winter. Situated in Continental Army Plaza, right near Roebling Street’s entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge, the Equestrian Statue of George Washington at Valley Forge is decidedly the most impressive piece of public sculpture in North Brooklyn. Perhaps the only thing that can rival the awe the statue inspires is the incredible story of how an honest politician (that rare breed indeed) gifted it to the city.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives

The statue was dedicated in 1906, and presented to the City by local Congressman James R. Howe and the Committee of Supervision and Construction. It was sculpted by Henry Mervin Shrady, a New Yorker and Columbia University graduate, who was commissioned to make his first major public work after winning a design competition in 1901. The huge statue was cast at Roman Bronze Works on Green Street in our area and is anchored to a granite base designed by Lord and Hewlett.

Image courtesy of Ephemeral New York

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L Train Petroleum Stench Linked to Bushwick Avenue Gas Station Spills

The Shell gas station at 2 Bushwick Ave. in September 2017 (via Google Maps)

A shuttered Shell gas station at 2 Bushwick Ave. where five spills were reported from 1989 – 2006 is being identified as the potential source of the L train petroleum stench that has resulted in multiple sick passengers and workers since last week, NY Daily News reports.

The Dept. of Environmental Conservation received the spill reports from the former gas station owners whose business operated directly above the L train between Grand Street and Graham Avenue as recent as 2017.

The Shell gas station at 2 Bushwick Ave. in 2018 (via Google Maps)

The DEC is not officially placing the blame on the former gas station for the L train oil smell, the NY Daily News explains:

Transit officials said the tank was abandoned for more than 20 years after DEC officials opted not to remove it, citing its proximity to the subway tunnels. But their timeline may be off — fuel was sold at the gas station as recently as 2017.

DEC spokesman Sean Mahar said Monday that the agency had not yet identified a single source of last week’s disturbing odor, and that a comprehensive investigation into the issue was ongoing.

City Councilman Antonio Reynoso, whose district includes the vacant station, said his office received very little communication from the MTA on the source of the L train stink.

“To make matters worse, the information we have received is conflicting and leaves many unanswered questions about the gravity of the situation and its impact on the health of the riders and residents,” said Reynoso. “This is especially angering and adds insult to injury when considering that north Brooklyn has a history of experiencing environmental injustices, specifically oil spills.”

 

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Brooklyn Community Board 1’s Monthly Public Meeting is Tomorrow (2/12)

It’s that time of the month again for Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 to convene for its monthly public meeting.

CB1 map (via Google MAps)

You can attend in person on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Swinging 60s Senior Citizens Center (211 Ainslie St.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The meeting will also be live-streamed and the agenda is available here: Continue reading

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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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