historical greenpoint

When Freedom of Expression and Censorship Battled on Manhattan Avenue!

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Cartoon by Julia Wertz

The other day, I gave a talk on the Irish history of Greenpoint, and a long-time Greenpointer offered me a new twist on a famous old Greenpoint legend.

Before diving into the story, lets get acquainted with the story’s protagonists. The legendary scandalista Eva Tanguay was a Vaudeville legend who came to perform at the B.F. Keith’s Theater at Manhattan Avenue and Calyer Street sometime around the turn of the century. Notorious as the “I Don’t Care Girl”—the title of her signature song—Tanguay established herself as the queen of Vaudeville in 1901 with the New York City premiere of her controversial show “My Lady.” The Lady Gaga of her day, Tanguay was brazen, impudent, and shameless in the eyes of the Prudish. Some of her hit songs like “It’s All Been Done Before But Not the Way I Do It” and “Go As Far As You Like” boldly suggested illicit pleasures. She wore a shockingly revealing dress made entirely of pennies and filled her act with racy double entendres. Greenpoint’s Mae West, who later became equally notorious, was an early admirer who later incorporated many elements of Tanguay’s act into her own suggestive performances. Continue reading

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Casting the Iwo Jima Memorial in Greenpoint

Bedi-makky_227India
227 India Street

The Bedi-Makky building at 227 India Street looks like any other ordinary industrial Greenpoint building. However, it was here that the one of the largest bronze sculpture ever cast in human history was made; the famous Iwo Jima Memorial from Arlington National Cemetery was cast at the foundry, but it was no simple job.

Working six days a week for three years, seven local men constructed what was then the world’s largest bronze sculpture. This sculpture was huge: 78 feet high and over 100 tons, but the story of the birth of the iconic statue began many years before because of a legendary picture.  Continue reading

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Forgotten Greenpoint: Wooden Sidewalk on West Street May Become Extinct

West Street's wooden block sidewalk is a common stop on walking tours of Greenpoint; Courtesy of Preservation Greenpoint

Is one of Greenpoint’s most unexpected features­­­—a stretch of historic wooden block paving on West Street near the Greenpoint Terminal Market—in imminent danger? Many say that this is the last place where original wooden paving exists in New York City. These blocks are so rare that one from this section of sidewalk is included in the collection at The City Reliquary. But a new bike path down West Street could mean this final vestige of obscure New York City history will be put on the chopping block. Continue reading

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Historical Greenpoint Walk With The Wooden House Project

Wooden House Project Tour

For anyone interested in exploring the history of Brooklyn, The Wooden House Project offers fantastic tours for lovers of Brooklyn’s wood-frame row houses. The walking tour I took through the streets of Greenpoint was an hour and a half long and was led by Elizabeth Finkelstein and Chelcey Berryhill. Continue reading

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Only In Greenpoint: Black Rabbit Painted Landmark Color and Transformed Into 1860s Bar

Black Rabbit BEFORE © www.FifthFloorUp.com

You may have noticed that the facade of Black Rabbit (91 Greenpoint Ave) was repainted from black to a muddy maroon in order to comply with NYC Landmark Commission. What do you think of the new look?

Black Rabbit AFTER © Black Rabbit

Recently Improv Everywhere transformed Black Rabbit in Greenpoint into an 1860s bar for the ultimate time travel prank! They “worked with accomplices to invite unsuspecting friends …The bar was completely lit by candles and kerosene lanterns and was filled with actors in period dress. Beer cost pennies, and music was provided by a live band. By the end of the night, our surprised guests found themselves in the middle of an old-fashioned bar fight.

Only in New York? Only in Greenpoint, Brooklyn!

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Que Pasa, Greenpoint? Monitor Museum

Did you know that Greenpoint has a museum? Yes we do and at this time it serves as a traveling museum visiting local schools. Motiva Enterprises has donated waterfront property at the launch site of the USS Monitor so a museum could be built in the future. They are now working toward fixing the site to make it open to the public. Please visit their site for more information. www.greenpointmonitormuseum.org

Monitor Museo

¿Sabías que Greenpoint cuenta con un Museo? Sí tenemos uno y en este momento sirve como un museo itinerante visitando las escuelas locales. Motiva Enterprises ha donado propiedad frente al mar en el sitio de lanzamiento del USS Monitor para que un museo podría construirse en el futuro. Ahora están trabajando hacia la fijación del sitio para que sea abierta al público. Visite su sitio para obtener más información. www.greenpointmonitormuseum.org

 

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