When Greenpoint Won the World Series (Well, Sort Of)

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-4-53-13-pmIt’s late October and all the baseball fans will be glued to the World Series. Homer Murray and other Cubs fans will go nuts if the Cubs finally win the world Series, but even many of the most passionate Greenpoint baseball fans are aware that a local team, the Eckford Club was the best team in America before the organization of professional baseball.

Organized in 1855, the Eckford Club won the national championship in 1862 and 1863 in the days when baseball was still an amateur sport. The players were shipwrights who worked in the shipyard of Eckford Webb, at the foot of Milton Street. Although they had little time to practice on account of the sixty-hour weeks they worked, the Eckford players succeeded nevertheless because shipbuilding made them incredibly fit and strong. Continue reading

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Historical Walking Tour of Greenpoint This Saturday!

greenpoint walking tourWHAT: Greenpoint Walking Tour
WHEN: Saturday, October 22, 2:00-4:30 pm

Join veteran Brooklyn tour guide Norman Oder on a briskly-paced, wide-ranging introduction to the neighborhood, including historic blocks, converted historic buildings, commercial corridors, religious institutions, parks, and civic buildings. The tour will touch on industrial history, immigration (notably Greenpoint’s enduring Polish presence), and the current (and future) signs of gentrification.

You should RSVP to info@preservationgreenpoint.org to reserve your spot! Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Original Wave of Home Brewing and Distilling

Officials seizing booze during prohibition.

It’s great to see distillers like the Greenhook Ginsmiths on Dupont Street distilling high quality gin. It’s equally gratifying to know that Greenpoint is teeming with home brewing aficionados who make their own great beers, but this is actually nothing new to Greenpoint. During the era of Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, there was no place in the city that violated the anti-alcohol laws more often than the thirsty citizens of Greenpoint. Continue reading

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A History of Greenpoint in 25 Buildings: The Church of the Ascension

Church of The Ascension on Kent St. In Greenpoint. Illustration: Aubrey Nolan
Illustration: Aubrey Nolan

One of Greenpoint’s oldest buildings, the Episcopal Church of the Ascension (127 Kent St.), although beautiful, does not feel as if it belongs in Greenpoint. It feels more like a church from North London transported across the Atlantic and placed on Kent Street. It is also not hard to imagine the structure in some quaint English country town.

The British feel to the building is not an accident, as it was designed by Englishman Henry C. Dudley just at the end of the Civil War and dedicated in 1866. Dudley, a major American ecclesiastical architect who built in the English Gothic Revival style, designed a few churches so lovely that they were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Although Dudley built a number of American churches, Ascension is one of only four remaining Dudley churches in New York City and the only one in Brooklyn. Dudley is most famous for his buildings in Nashville, Tennessee, where he and his partner Frank Wills designed the elegant Church of the Holy Trinity, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Greenpoint Oysters: An Old Local Tradition Revived

It seems that Greenpoint is in the midst of an oyster invasion. The Bounty (131 Greenpoint Ave.) and other places now offer dollar oysters during happy hours. Northern Territory (12 Franklin St.) hosted an Oysterfest about a week ago. And The Brooklyn Barge (3 Milton St.) and Transmitter Pier is home to the Billion Oyster Project in the East River. But actually oysters are nothing new to New York or Greeenpoint. If you want the best history of this tasty mollusk read Mark Kurlansky’s book The Big Oyster. It seems before we polluted our New York waterways there were massive oyster beds. In 1860, 12 million oysters were sold in New York markets; by 1880, our oyster beds were producing a mind boggling 700 million mollusks a year!

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North Brooklyn Border Wars: Do You Really Live in Greenpoint?

Google Maps adds fuel to the fiery debate.
Google Maps adds fuel to the fiery debate.

Recently I wrote a piece for Greenpointers about Bamonte’s Restaurant on Withers Street. A number of people reprimanded me and posted that the famous eatery was not in Greenpoint, but was really in Williamsburg. The argument over the location of the iconic Italian restaurant raises a larger,very controversial question: What is the exact borderline between Williamsburg and Greenpoint?

Ask ten people in North Brooklyn and you will get at least eleven different answers. Some borders are not in dispute. Newtown Creek separates us from Queens to the north and from Maspeth to the East. The East River clearly forms our western border. Now, when we talk about the southern boundary, the border disputes begin. Continue reading

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A History of Greenpoint in Twenty-Five Buildings: The Union Baptist Church

Screen shot 2016-04-23 at 9.25.11 AM

One of the oldest buildings in Greenpoint and a landmark is struggling for survival. These days the 160 year-old Union Baptist Chruch at 151 Noble Street is closed and surrounded by a fence. It’s fighting demolition, but it has a champion. Pastor Mike Newberger is fighting to raise the money to save the church and its amazing historic legacy. Continue reading

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Greenpoint is a 2013 “Six to Celebrate” Neighborhood!

© Jennifer Galatioto

The Historic Districts Council (HDC), New York’s city-wide advocate for historic buildings and neighborhoods, has just selected Greenpoint as one of the six neighborhoods to celebrate in 2013!

Preservation Greenpoint–a newly-formed organization dedicated to protecting the historic architecture and character of our lovely neighborhood–submitted Greenpoint for participation in this program. Throughout 2013, HDC will work with Preservation Greenpoint to set and reach preservation goals through strategic planning, advocacy, outreach, programs, walking tours, and publicity.

As insightfully put by Simeon Bankoff, executive director of HDC: “Neighborhoods throughout New York are fighting an unseen struggle to determine their own futures. By bringing these locally-driven neighborhood preservation efforts into the spotlight, HDC hopes to focus New Yorkers’ attention on the very real threats that historic communities throughout the city are facing from indiscriminate and inappropriate development.”

Check out the press coverage from NY Daily News and Brownstoner, and make sure to like Preservation Greenpoint’s facebook page to follow along with their development over the coming year.

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Kickstarter Furthers Brooklyn’s Tech Boom!

Fellow Greenpointer Nathaniel Ziering tipped me off that Kickstarter is moving their headquarters from Manhattan to Greenpoint! The fast growing company provides crowd-sourced funding for creative projects, many of which have come from Greenpoint.  In March, plans were approved for Kickstarter to renovate 58 Kent Street, a Landmarked, vacant building located between Franking & West streets. As you can see from the picture, this one could really use a tune-up! Kickstarter’s move to Greenpoint is a big vote of confidence for the neighborhood, will be great for the local economy and continue the momentum of businesses choosing Brooklyn as their new home. Continue reading

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Where They Swam Opens at the one well tonight!

© Gina Pollack

Have you stopped by the one well on Greenpoint Ave, yet? It’s an amazingly curated shopping experience. Kerry, the owner, has an great eye not only for picking out unique vintage finds and the wares of local makers, but she also puts on great art exhibitions.

Tonight, Friday June 8th, is the Opening Reception for Where They Swam/Other Relics, a photographic exhibition by Gina Pollack that documents the pre-construction of the soon to be re-opened McCarren Park Pool in 2009.

Would you believe a bag is what brought Kerry & Gina together? Gina loved a bag in the one well, which she found on a KRRB, an online flea market for locals. (Think Craigslist has a baby with Pinterest.) “On a whim,” Gina sent Kerry her website, and now Gina is for the first time is having “my own show, my own work.”

Like all multitasking creative Greenpointers, Gina has a pretty cool day job, designing a book for street artist JRs, Inside Out Project, who is known for his outstanding gigantic portraits on the landscapes of flavellas in Brazil and the South Bronx.

For Where They Swam, Gina operated like a street artist in order to get shots inside the pool by climbing over construction zone barricades.

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