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The Illicit Affair That Brought Greenpoint’s own Mae West to Hollywood

Mae West

In a previous piece I described how Mae West funded her scandalous 1927 play sex through her romance with the rich, handsome, but very dangerous gangster Owney Madden. However, it was the poor, but handsome bag man of the gangster who made West an American icon.

In 1927 the Acting Mayor of New York Joe McKee, scandalized by the drama’s frank sexual portrayals, had West and the rest of the cast arrested. The arrest was a publicity gold mine and sex and West were the words on the lips of all New Yorkers. When the cops jailed Mae the gangster’s connections with Blackwell’s Island warden earned Mae a private cell and silk underwear. She even dined with the warden every night and left after six days being let out early for good behavior. Upon her release she quipped, “It was the first time I ever got anything for good behavior.” Continue reading

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Greenpointer Hosts Tours About NYC’s History of Espionage

New York is known as the ultimate city for countless things: fashion, finance, art, Instagrammable food trends – the list is longer than the line at a Supreme drop in Soho. When it comes to espionage, however, the city doesn’t necessarily come to mind the way Moscow or Washington, DC (especially as of late) might. Lucie Levine, a native Manhattanite turned Greenpointer, makes a strong case for her hometown as the ultimate spy city with Archive On Parade, her new tour and event company that reveals NYC’s fascinating history of espionage.

“What makes New York special is that it is the capital of so many industries, with more goods coming into NY harbor by 1900 than anywhere on Earth, and people always moving here from all over the world,” Lucie shares. “For a spy, that means a larger array of possible disguises and aliases, because anybody can be here doing any trade. Nothing seems out of place.”

Archive On Parade launched in February with two distinct walking tours, one in Lower Manhattan following the footsteps of Washington’s Revolutionary War spies and the other in Midtown covering espionage sights during both World Wars. Lucie, a self-proclaimed “history nerd,” does all of the writing, research, and tour guiding. Prior to starting her own business, she gave guided tours on the double decker red buses you see jam-packed with tourists. Continue reading

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Airbnb Hosts in Greenpoint Put Out of Business By New Law

Greenpoint as described by Airbnb.
Greenpoint as described by Airbnb: “Peace & Quiet, Artsy, Cultural Enclaves, Dining, Trendy, Loved by New Yorkers”.

Many local Greenpoint hosts who make ends meet by renting out their places using Airbnb are in for a rude awakening. On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill to make it illegal to advertise entire unoccupied apartments for less than 30 days on Airbnb, according to multiple reports. New York housing law restricts short-term rentals for certain housing, and housing advocates in the city argue that many of the units listed on Airbnb are illegal. Although these hosts can already face steep fines, the new law would make it illegal for Airbnb to allow listings for these units on their platform. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Textile Artist Julia Brandao

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Textile art by Julia Brandao

By way of São Paulo, Julia Brandao has come to grace New York with knowledge of the finest cultural relics and wisdom from what seems like the world’s edges. As a textile and sculpture artist having traveled all over the world (though she calls Brazil her home), Julia’s love for collage canvases a mix of experiences and thoughts from the people and places she encounters. Her work largely prefacing the influence of memory, she glues together the thoughtful impressions that evoke feelings of familiarity through colors, shapes, and textures.

 

To see more of her work, you can can catch her at the Greenpointers Fall Market on October 30th, at The Greenpoint Loft (67 West Street), and visit her website/Instagram. Continue reading

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Greenpointers Can Get More Details On The L Train Shutdown At Tomorrow’s Community Meeting

L Train Shutdown Illustration via @brooklyncartoons
Illustration by Emmet Truxes, @brooklyncartoons

On May 5 at 6 p.m. at the Marcy Avenue Armory, city officials will be hashing out the details for the impending L Train Carnasie tunnel repair work that has Greenpointers and New York City residents alike worried about future transportation options in and out of Brooklyn. Continue reading

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Olek Crochets the Jan Karski Bench at the Polish Consulate

A new suit for Jan Karski c/o Gen. Consulate of the Republic of Poland in NY

Polish crochet artist Olek—known for dressing the iconic Charging Bull of Wall Street and ‘yarn bombing’ everything from the Cube in Astor Place to a locomotive in Łódź to a minotaur in Switzerland—has just completed her latest work, crocheting a ‘new skin’ for the statue of Jan Karski and his bench located in front of the General Consulate of the Republic of Poland in New York (233 Madison Avenue).

“As an artist, I have made it my duty and mission to draw attention to various issues around the world that are crucial to me: humanitarian causes, women’s rights, sexual equality, [and] freedom of expression,” Olek explained in a press release. “My general practice is to highlight everyday objects and give them new and profound meanings by dressing them in colorful, intricate crochet.” Continue reading

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Polish Haitians, ‘Halka,’ & a Book Launch You Should Check Out Tomorrow, 07/09

Staging 'Halka' for the residents of Cazale, located in the mountains of Haiti c/o labiennale.art.pl
Staging ‘Halka’ for the residents of Cazale, located in the mountains of Haiti c/o labiennale.art.pl

To be honest, I rarely leave Brooklyn unless I have to run an errand. And yet, there’s a book launch event tomorrow for Halka/Haiti 18°48’05″N 72°23’01″W at CANADA Gallery that may just lure me onto the G & J trains.

What is this book with the long name, you ask? What is Halka? And how are Poland and Haiti involved? What makes this so intriguing? Read on for the scoop.

Continue reading

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Spotlight: John Reardon of Greenpoint Tattoo Company Talks Shop

John Reardon, owner of GPTC, busy at work ©John Reardon

John Reardon is getting ready to tattoo a woman in her mid-twenties when I arrive early at the Greenpoint Tattoo Company for our interview. It is a Saturday afternoon, and a cheery song by Of Montreal is playing over the speakers. The walls are covered in framed prints of tattoos, and a book by Reardon on the subject rests near a stack of Vice magazines. The woman has brought along a guy friend for moral support, but the process goes so quickly that she doesn’t even have time to grimace.

After a few moments, the woman gets up to check her arm in the mirror, proclaims the tattoo to be “awesome,” and leaves to meet friends for brunch at Slick Willie a few blocks away. Since John’s schedule is packed today, with another appointment in fifteen minutes, I turn on my recorder and we dive right into the questions. Continue reading

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On view now at Cafe Grumpy: “The American Lens” by Jeremy Fink

An exploration of the iconic ©Jeremy Fink

If you ask yourself the deep questions before your morning coffee, head over to Cafe Grumpy on 193 Meserole to get your cup of Joe and slice of America while Jeremy Fink’s project The American Lens is up. What makes an icon? Where is this country headed? What’s happening to immigration reform? Am I really eating a biscuit made with kale + pinenuts + gruyere? Continue reading

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So New York Portraits of The Bronx’s Orchard Beach by Photographer Wayne Lawrence

I flipped when I saw these “so new york!” portraits from photographer Wayne Lawrence of Orchard Beach AKA The Bronx Riviera via Tree House Brooklyn’s Facebook.

Originally posted on Agnostica:

Wayne Lawrence is a St.Kitts born documentary fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. His work represents a visual diary of his life’s journey and focuses on his relationship to communities otherwise overlooked by mainstream media.

See the rest of these awesome portraits.

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