new york city

NYC Historian Mitch Waxman Discusses Amazon HQ2

“No Amazon LIC” graffiti in Long Island City, Queens (Mitch Waxman)

Mitch Waxman is a lifelong New Yorker and historian who for the past decade has traversed the area near the Long Island City waterfront at Anabel Basin where Amazon’s HQ2 is planned. In a recent post on his site Newtown Pentacle, Waxman revisits some of the photos he snapped of the future Amazon HQ2 campus, and Greenpointers reached out to Waxman to learn his point of view regarding the HQ2 announcement. He offered the disclaimer that he’s neither for or against Amazon’s HQ2 expansion into Queens and that his views are still developing on the deal as details emerge.

The area of Anabel Basin where Amazon’s HQ2 will be partially constructed is on contaminated land where a plastics manufacturer once operated, why would Amazon choose contaminated land to build on?

MW: There’s hundreds of state Superfund sites in Western Queens, and the people who have been moving into North Brooklyn and Western Queens over the last 20 years are breaking the old pattern. It used to be when you bought a house, you intended to be buried in your backyard, whereas the current population has very little intention of making New York their final stop. This is one stop on the trip of their lives and eventually, they’re going to settle elsewhere.

When you’re at Amazon’s new campus you’re down the block from the largest power plant in New York City that’s causing childhood asthma rates of historic levels in Ravenswood, Astoria and Queensbridge Houses. You’re on what abuts a brownfield, and a future Superfund site at Anabel Basin.

Future Superfund Site Anabel Basin has the same black mayonnaise in it that Newtown Creek does, the same combined sewer outfall problem that Newtown Creek does, it has all the good stuff that we would talk about in the area around the Pulaski Bridge. So why on earth would you choose this particular location to put Californians and Seattle people who are famously environmentally conscious, why would you put them there? Could it be that you’re going to be visible from the offices of the United Nations? Could it have anything to do with that Manhattan is the center of global investment and that putting yourself there means that you’re going to be a lot sexier to Goldman Sachs and everyone else who will cut you more preferential rates because you know them from drinking with them in a hotel?

The answer is that they came here for Wall Street and they came here to start bolstering their international presence and to start getting ahead of some of the regulatory environment that’s developing internationally around companies like Amazon.

Why is Mayor Bill de Blasio voicing a strong pro-Amazon stance given his progressive reputation?

MW: The “tale of two cities” for me is the tale of Manhattan and Long Island City. Long Island City is where he gets to do what he wants to do. Overbuilt, overdeveloped, not enough infrastructure.

He wants to borrow $18- $20 Billion from the city’s coffers for Sunnyside Yard deck. What they’ll do then is they will give the land away for a dollar an acre to the developers who paid them off to do the project, and the city taxpayers will pay the mortgage on $18 – $20 billion over a 25 year period hamstringing us from doing anything else we need to do.

Conventionally speaking, NYCHA needs $53 billion to bring its housing back up to snuff and to bring the roughly 1/10th of all available apartments that have been out since Hurricane Sandy back into service. If he was the man of the people that’s the direction he would go in.

De Blasio likes to blame all the problems of NYCHA on Mayor Bloomberg. Who was the public advocate during Bloomberg’s last two terms? Who was in the City Council during the last term of Giuliani and the first term of Bloomberg?

Why would Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo agree on something like the Amazon HQ2 deal after disagreeing on nearly everything else?

MW: Both of their political machines are getting fed by the deal. At the top of the food chain, there are people who are Democrats; like the Yankees, they’re just wearing hats.

Amongst the many, many, many things that I disagree with Donald Trump about, the firing of Preet Bharara just as he was drawing in on both the Mayor and the Governor, is something the Mayor and the Governor should fall down and kiss Trump’s feet for. If Preet had continued on with his investigation, I’m certain that the headlines we would be seeing every day would be simultaneous trials for the Governor and the Mayor.

There’s a lot to say about corruption in our city and state always. We have a one-party system. We have different factions of a single political party, and what I am not gonna to do to you as a fellow elected Democrat is put you on trial because you would do the same to me, and that affects the larger party.

Living in a Republic that ostensibly operates as a Democracy, there was no conversation, there was no argument. You had two people who are pro-development, neo-liberal capitalist-oriented Democrats, talking to a neo-liberal corporatist, and deciding for the community in the manner of Nelson Rockefeller, in the manner of Robert Moses, in the manner of Austin Tobin deciding for a community exactly what it is that they needed. And you know what? If you don’t like it you can get out.

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Emo Legends Stick to New Songs, Not Crowd Pleasers

 

Saves The Day playing in front of a packed Warsaw crowd in Greenpoint on Wednesday, Nov. 14th. Photo by Peter Kirchhausen

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a nostalgia-soaked night of music, and on Wednesday night at Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave.), Saves the Day was exactly that. But although it pains me to write, the nostalgia seems to be wearing thin.

It was an early 2000’s North East emo basement scene recreated nearly 20 years later in North Brooklyn, in front of all those 17-year-olds who are now nearing their 40s. Although the band on stage at Warsaw still features emo-rock legend vocalist Chris Conley, most of the other members- a literal revolving door with over 20 different people over the years- are mostly all new. The previous dozen plus band members chose to bow out years ago when it just stopped being fun, countless years before the creation of the newly released ninth studio album which dropped earlier this November.

Conley wearing a dark tinted sunglass inside Warsaw on Wednesday night. Photo by Peter Kirchhausen

Three or four times during the 90 minute set, there were sparks from the fan favorites that put the band on the national map, such as the opener “At Your Funeral,”  “Freakish,” or “Holly Hox.” For the remainder of the setlist, the audience was starved of what they paid to hear- the early catalog- and for a Wednesday night, the packed crowd was not willing to fake it. Conley has every right to create a set list which he prefers, relying on either newer or older songs, but musicians can read audiences very quickly and Conley knows what is going on. The audience stood idle in for large chunks of time while newer songs were performed and it appeared tough for the other bandmates to fake the energy on stage. Conley was often stationary in the center and putting out low energy all night, something I previously have not seen out of him during more recent live performances. Continue reading

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Armory Week: North Brooklyn Artists and Galleries

Spring is approaching, and you know what that means- it’s Armory Week in New York! In addition to The Armory Show, the other fairs VoltaSPRING/BREAKArt on Paper, NADA, Independent, and SCOPE are happening all around the city. Our team at Greenpointers created a road map highlighting some North Brooklyn artists and galleries that will be exhibiting throughout the week, along with when and where to catch them. Enjoy!

March 6-12: SPRING/BREAK Art Show (4 Times Square)     

Hiba Schahbaz and her The Garden installation, courtesy of Greenpointers
  1. Hiba Schahbaz (Bushwick): The Garden curated by Field Projects; Room 2362; also exhibiting at Art on Paper with Sugarlift; Booth 417

    Carolyn Salas, Caryatid, no. 1, 2018, hydrostone and steel, 10×7 feet, courtesy of Greenpointers
  2. Carolyn Salas and Maureen Cavanaugh (Greenpoint): Here Now curated by Adam Parker Smith; Room 2370
  3. Brian Willmont (Greenpoint): Milk Thieves curated by Alison Sirico; Room 2374, and Human Now curated by Kara Brooks; Room 2319

    Alexandra Fanning and Kawita Vatanajyankur video installation, courtesy of Greenpointers
  4. Kawita Vatanajyankur: Rituals of Otherness curated by Alexandra Fanning (East Williamsburg); Room 2232

    Macon Reed and Helen Toomer, A Pressing Conference, courtesy of Greenpointers
  5. Macon Reed: A Pressing Conference presented by Helen Toomer (Williamsburg); Room 2221; Daily performances will take place at 1pm and 4pm

    Caris Reid and her paintings, part of Crystal Visions, courtesy of Greenpointers
  6. Caris Reid (former Greenpointer): Crystal Visions curated by Sarah Potter; Room 2364/2365
  7. Eric Lee Bowman (Greenpoint): What’s Past Prologue curated by Kristin Sancken; Room 2369

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Brace Yourselves Against Elves, Greenpointers: SantaCon is Coming to Town

"Wants to be a dentist (3106591890)" by istolethetv from Hong Kong, China - wants to be a dentistUploaded by Princess Mérida. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wants_to_be_a_dentist_(3106591890).jpg#/media/File:Wants_to_be_a_dentist_(3106591890).jpg
Photo by istolethetv, via Wikimedia Commons

Be afraid, Greenpoint. Be very, very afraid.

Not of Jack Skellington, or Krampus, or even of the holiday sweaters Grandma knitted you, but of …

Bad Santa.

SANTACON IS COMING TO TOWN. And by town, we mean Greenpoint. And by Greenpoint, we mean your usually sweet, charming neighborhood of peace, calm and puppies. In fact, we recommend that you hide your puppies this Saturday from puking Santas.

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Greenpointer Kate Bell Premiers Now-Sold Out Play About Greenpoint, ‘BLACKOUT03’

BLACKOUT03, a new play by fifteen-year Greenpoint resident Kate Bell, is premiering tonight at Manhattan’s HERE Arts Center (145 6th Ave, New York, NY) as part of the legendary Downtown Urban Theater Festival, and stars Alex Major, Chinaza Uche, LaTonia Phipps, and Lindsey Austen. The play is now sold out.

The play takes place on a Greenpoint rooftop during the historic blackout of August 2003, and centers on four friends who meet up to enjoy the magical evening, but “when the lights go out, shit gets real,” says Bell, and issues of race, class, and gentrification bubble to the surface. Greenpointers caught up with Bell today before the show. Continue reading

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Get Fit With Athletes Club & Save at Fitness Studios, Restaurants and Active Shops

(sponsored)

You could be having this much fun this summer with Athletes Club

It’s almost summer. North Brooklyn bike lanes are busy and the parks are full of folks like you who want to feel great and get into shape.  But getting fit isn’t just hitting the running track. Wellness is also about eating great and staying active with fun fitness routines. There are a variety of ways to get healthy in our neighborhood, meet new people and enjoy irresistible perks.  A great way to get started is through Athletes Club.

Athletes Club is a members-only service suited for everyone that loves to live healthy and active! It’s the best way to discover, experience, and save at top-notch fitness studios, healthy restaurants, and active shops in New York City and North Brooklyn. Members receive unlimited benefits to use at over 100 partnering businesses, including Brooklyn Boulders, Summer’s Juice, JackRabbit Sports, SYNC Studio, and Torque Fitness, Ride Brooklyn, and Awakening NY.

Plus, members can experience free classes, social outings, and other unique experiences, like the all inclusive World Cup Viewing Party. Say goodbye to your boring fitness routine!

Members save $100s each month. Get started today for only $19.

Join now: www.athletesclub.com

Here’s a rundown of what local businesses are offering through Athletes Club: Continue reading

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The Return of the Swamp Donkeys at the Exley Tonight! (Sat 6/7)

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Get down or chill out with The Swamp Donkeys on Saturday

Continuing our tradition of intermittently scheduled but always entertaining live, unamplified and ass-whipping shows, The Exley (1 Jackson St) proudly presents The New Orleans Swamp Donkey’s Traditional Jass Band.

Following recent NYC shows at Leadbelly, The Radegast Beer Hall and SOHO House, the Swamp Donkeys will play their unique version of traditional New Orleans Jazz from 4-pm Tonight June 7th at The Exley (1 Jackson Street, b/w Union and Meeker).

Everything happens on the front patio– live music, the hood’s best classic cocktails, some food, and no cover charge.  The band is rumored to appreciate tips, CD purchases, smiles, and dancing. Join us on a perfect Brooklyn Summer afternoon of booze, sunshine, food, and great live music. Get an idea of what you’re in store for in the video below.

RSVP on Facebook

Sponsored post courtesy of The Exley.

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Trash Talk – New York’s Fascinating History With Garbage

Invisible Trash
Robin Nagle had all kinds of cool, old-timey photos about trash.

Do you ever stop to think about the enormous undertaking and organization required to keep New York City clean? Robin Nagle does, and she wants everyone in New York City (and beyond) to realize just how different our day to day lives would be without the impressive work of the sanitation department.

On Thursday night, Robin Nagle spoke to a group of about 50 people at Acme Studios in a talk entitled “Invisible Trash: Exploring New York City’s Garbage.” She covered 400 years of garbage collection history and the ins-and-outs of snow removal, street cleaning, and disaster response in the Department of Sanitation of New York. Her book, Picking Up, was also on sale which chronicles her findings while studying the history and culture of sanitation workers, as well as her time working trash removal with the department. Continue reading

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Greenpointers Neon Thank You Video + Neon Sign!

greenpointers neon sign
Greenpointers Neon Sign Made By Robbie Ingui of Artistic Neon

Last Friday night we were so excited to light our Greenpointers Neon Sign. Ain’t she a beaut? Thanks to everyone who donated and made this beautifully crafted piece of art a reality. And thanks to Robbie Ingui of Artistic Neon for doing such a badass job. The sign will be on display at our Holiday Market on 12/8/13! Come by a check it out.

Watch my Thank You video, too… Continue reading

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