Manhattan Avenue

Sama Street Brings Asian-Inspired Cocktails and Small Plates to Manhattan Avenue

Sama Street (988 Manhattan Ave.)

A new Asian-inspired cocktail bar featuring sharable street food dishes named Sama Street (988 Manhattan Ave.) opened last Monday and is the project of childhood friends and Brooklyn residents Avi Singh and Rishi Rajpal, who met at the age of four while growing up in New Delhi, India.

“We spent the majority of our childhood living in Asia and traveling around Asia, so we really wanted to bring that experience to this cocktail bar in Brooklyn,” Singh said.

“We both happened to be in New York, we wanted to get into this industry for a while and finally took a leap and decided to work together,” he said.

When looking for a restaurant space, Singh and Rajpal considered many Brooklyn neighborhoods.

“Initially we were looking all over Brooklyn; Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and a couple of places in East Williamsburg too, but the Greenpoint neighborhood just kept drawing us back,” Singh said. “The neighborhood is awesome, the people here are really nice; we’ve gone to meet with other business owners on Manhattan Avenue and everyone is very welcoming and very friendly, so this is a great place to be.”

the spicy beef salad: Nam Tom Neua, marinated beef, raw cacao, toasted rice, and herbs.

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Enid’s Selling Chairs, Plates and Other Odds and Ends Today (4/3)

Enid’s (560 Manhattan Ave.) held its final brunch ever last Sunday and is now officially closed (yes, we’re still sad), but today you have a chance to own a piece of the restaurant in a sale to clear out the building. Enid’s is letting go of the rest of their belongings, and you can drop by  from approx. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. today; Enid’s sent us a quick description of what to expect:

“We have folding metal chairs Folding wooden chairs A metal locker setup w 8 lockers, basically lots of odds and ends relating to kitchen life, pans, plastic containers, lots of bar glasses, some tables, the booths, It’s all first come first serve and it’ll be making a reasonable offer.”

 

Check out the stuff for sale:

 

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Manhattan Avenue Petland Discounts Closing (3/19)

Greenpoints’ Petland Discounts (846 Manhattan Ave.) is shutting down on Tuesday, March 19th, along with the closure of Petland retail stores across New York state, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

The announcement of the closures came just a few days after the passing of Petland founder, Neil Padron, Newsday reports.

The Brentwood, Long Island-based company has 78 stores in the tri-state region (18 in Brooklyn) with over 360 employees and was founded approximately 54 years ago in 1965.

The Manhattan Avenue store had many items remaining as of Friday afternoon and the store is offering discounts on select items. Continue reading

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Sakura Market Launches at Pony Boy

(Image courtesy of Micahel Stember)

Sakura Market is a new dining experience featuring “supreme sushi grade seafood with deep Unami flavors using healthy principles” that is launching at Pony Boy (632 Manhattan Ave.) in March.

 

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Blown away by Sushi Belly Tower this weekend in DTLA. Amazing work by @upstreamfoods

A post shared by Ana Flora (@anaflora) on

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A Fruit Salad More Than a Decade in the Making

Mr. Berry in Greenpoint (via Google Maps)

His first day in Brooklyn, Joon Yoon was baptized in true New York City fashion—with bird poop. While others would consider this an ill omen, Joon saw his unexpected baptism as a harbinger of success. “Some people say it is good luck if you get pooped on,” he explained matter-of-factly over email.

His optimism was warranted. More than two decades since his 1997 arrival in New York from South Korea, Yoon—along with his brother, Jun Yoon—now manages a small green-grocery empire. The brothers own 11 stores (including two in Greenpoint), all of which are a gentlemanly variation on the original store’s name, Mr. Kiwi at 957 Broadway in Brooklyn. They have even expanded into Queens, opening Mr. Avo this year in Long Island City.

Although now bonafide American entrepreneurs, the Yoons originally lived in a provincial capital of middling size in South Korea. Rootless and with financial difficulties, they moved to the U.S. in the late 1990s, knowing no one in the New York area. When Joon first arrived at age 23, he began working in grocery stores from the Bronx to Queens at an exhausting pace—seven days a week at 14 to 18 hours a day.

Mr. Plum (photo: Ben Weiss)

In 2006, he was faced with a choice. The Woodside grocery he worked at was closing, soon leaving him without work. Joon and his family decided to take a leap and open Mr. Kiwi, the idiosyncratic name chosen spontaneously during a road trip. In the beginning, it was hard to gain traction. “They didn’t come with a lot of money or anything… When you don’t have money, there is no one who will give you money. So, they had to start with very little product in the store. Literally, maybe a one-item-per-shelf situation,” explained Jae Lim, their office manager, over the phone.

Mr. Plum (photo: Ben Weiss)

The brother-and-father team operated the store 24 hours a day, working in shifts. Junseok Yoon, their cousin, came soon after and became an integral part of the operation. Customers appreciated the cheap produce—sourced from Hunts Point Market—and generous portions from their juice bar, detailed Lim.

13 years later, one store became 11. And Mr. Kiwi was joined by Mr. Coco, Mr. Piña, Mr. Melon, Mr. Lime, Mr. Berry, Mr. Mango, Mr. Lemon, Mr. Plum, and Mr. Avo. The Yoon family has even recently opened a salad bar in Bushwick. Continue reading

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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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Greenpoint Beer & Ale Moves Into New Manhattan Avenue Space

The fermenters and clear tanks being unloaded this morning in front of the new Greenpoint Beer & Al Co. location at 1150 Manhattan Ave. location

The shiny fermenters and clear tanks were unloaded at Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.’s new location (1150 Manhattan Ave.) this morning as owner Ed Raven works with his crew to prepare the space for a potential spring 2019 opening. The original 7 N. 15 St. location is now closed to make way a future office building.

GPBA’s new location will have an increased brewing capacity with a 20 barrel system compared to the former 5 barrel system, and they plan to experiment with new brews like blonde lagers in addition to their classic IPA offerings. “Think in terms of a batch of beer, when your grandma made a big batch of spaghetti she made a gallon of sauce at a time, now we’re going to make four gallons of sauce at a time.,” owner Ed Raven said.

“We want to provide beer for the local community, to drink fresh beer, which was an issue for us before when we didn’t have enough beer to make to go around,” Raven said. “Now well be able to fulfill the demand of the local community, but we should be able to take this out regionally around New York state.” Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Vaudeville Era Theaters: Still Hiding in Plain Sight

Drawing of RKO Greenpoint Theater (Courtesy of Julia Wertz)

It is almost inconceivable today, but in the 1920s Greenpoint had as many as eight Vaudeville theaters. Some of the buildings still survive, but with other uses.

In the days before most homes had a radio, Vaudeville theaters provided cheap non-stop entertainment with shows lasting for up to 15-hour stretches. In those days families were often larger in size with people crammed into their tiny dwellings like sardines. Vaudeville theaters provided an escape from these overcrowded apartments.

By 1911, records show a theatre at 153 Green St. It shows up in later records as a 400-seat theater either called the Arcade Theater or The Greenpoint Arcade Theater, but it did not last.

RKO Greenpoint’s interior (via cinematreasures.org)

Starting in 1927 with the arrival of the first talkie moving pictures, many of the Vaudeville theaters also served as movie houses. The largest theater was the RKO Greenpoint Theater on the corner of Calyer and Manhattan Avenue, which seated more than 1600 people and resembled an opera house with boxes, arches murals and terracotta designs on the ceilings. There were three levels of boxed seats on either side of the stage, and two balconies. The RKO hosted first-run double features after becoming a movie house.

RKO Greenpoint (Via cinematreasures.org)

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The Changing Face of Manhattan Avenue Stores

Manhattan Furrier (courtesy of Bridge and Tunnel Club)

Manhattan Avenue retail is in the midst of a rapid transition and very soon the avenue will be completely transformed into something totally different. Although there are some stores that have been on the avenue for my entire quarter-century in Greenpoint, a new breed of business is emerging, pushing out older established businesses and giving the avenue a new feel. As we reach the end of 2018, it is good to reflect on both what has remained unchanged, what has disappeared and what new businesses have taken root on the avenue.

There are a number of businesses that have deep roots, going back generations. Although the following list is not complete, Cato’s Army and Navy (654 Manhattan Ave.), Peter Pan Donut Shop (727 Manhattan Ave.), the Associated (802 Manhattan ave.) and C Town (953 Manhattan Ave.) supermarkets, McDonalds (904 Manhattan Ave.) and the Triple Decker (695 Manhattan Ave.) come immediately to mind as established institutions. Italy Pizza (788 Manhattan Ave.) and Russ’ Pizza (745 Manhattan Ave.) also have been serving great slices in the area for decades. Kiszka Meat Market (915 Manhattan ave.), Irene’s bar (623 Manhattan Ave.) and the Cafe Riviera (830 Manhattan ave.) are other examples of hardy Polish veterans that have changed little in the past 20 years.

The former Paris Shoe Store in Greenpoint (courtesy of Barbara L. Hanson)

Then, there are those businesses that were once institutions but have vanished. I still miss Cheap Charlie’s (712 Manhattan Ave.) where you could buy just about anything. Gone are Radio Shack (760 Manhattan Ave.) and Off-Track Betting (756 Manhattan Ave.), which were once thriving businesses on the avenue. When I first walked down Manhattan Avenue Corwith Brothers, which had generations of real estate sales in Greenpoint was on the East side of the street and Trunz meat market was across the street from it. For years there was a very popular English language school, I believe called the Greenpoint English School and a popular Polish disco called Europa (now the Good Room) on the corner of Meserole. There seemed to be ubiquitous dollar stores, some of which still survive at least until the lease is up. There were actually very few chain stores and most of the businesses on the avenue were family-owned, mom and pop stores. The Joseph and Sons furniture store comes to mind as does Jam’s stationary, and the Paris Shoe Store. Continue reading

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24-Hour Cafe Bagelogy Opening Early 2019 on Manhattan Avenue

A 24-hour cafe featuring hand-rolled bagels and a full-scale juice bar named Bagelogy is scheduled to open early next year at 699 Manhattan Ave.

The new cafe will be housed in three former commercial stores, including the former Greenpoint Finest Deli in the front, and will be outfitted with porcelain tiles, custom-designed tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Bagelogy’s side entrance on Norman Avenue

Owner Sam Kaplan, who was born and raised on Norman Avenue, is in the process of adding bathrooms and seating capacity for 30 customers in the space with the help of an architectural team.

Kaplan emphasizes fresh ingredients when describing the future menu options. “We are gonna go above Boar’s Head, we’re not doing processed meats,” he said. Customers can expect hand-carved roast beef, hand-sliced lox and eight to 10 choices of tofu cream cheese along with traditional cream cheese options made in-house. Continue reading

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