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 Volta, SPRING/BREAK, Art 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!
As the MTA’s planned 15-month suspension of L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan draws near, all 200,000 daily riders of the L-pocalypse have been asking the same question: how will we get across the river? Brooklynites have been asking that question for generations, and personal ingenuity, along with municipal planning, has yielded several answers. All we can say for sure is that this is not the first time aggrieved Greenpointers have been up in arms over inadequate inter-borough transit. I’m just glad we don’t have to take a rowboat.
The rowboat commute was the first in a line increasingly efficient methods of getting from Greenpoint to Manhattan that includes horsecars, trollies, ferry services, elevated trains, and the dawn and growth of the subway. Step in, stand clear and read on for a history of transit in North Brooklyn. Continue reading →
North Brooklyn Angels, a hyper-local, volunteer-powered, non-profit, mobile hunger program has spread its wings in the neighborhood. Built on the direct action of neighbors helping neighbors, North Brooklyn Angels is working to fight hunger, food insecurity, and poverty in North Brooklyn, and help build an equitable, diverse neighborhood. They have served over 16,000 hot meals since they began operating last June. Since January 2nd, North Brooklyn Angels has been cooking all of its meals in the newly opened commercial kitchen in the basement of Mount Carmel Hall.
North Brooklyn Angels is a small organization with deep local roots hoping to make a big impact. Executive Director Ryan Kuonen explains “The program was a dream of a Greenpoint old timer, Neil Sheehan. Born and raised here in a large Irish Catholic family, he has spent his life feeding people. He teamed up with local Episcopalian Pastor, John Merz, who was running a soup kitchen that was going to be displaced from its physical location. He has been a big part of Occupy Wall St & Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and was really motivated to be part of a mobile soup kitchen project.” Kuonen joined the project in 2016, and is the only full-time employee. Claudell Lewis, Alan Minor and Felice Kirby work part-time, and volunteers provide the rest of the energy, serving, cooking, and even driving North Brooklyn Angels’ beautiful blue truck, known as the “Angelmobile.”
The Angelmobile is a 40-foot food service truck equipped with office space. With it, North Brooklyn Angels hopes to “create a busload of hope, love, & nutrition, serving people hot, healthy meals at strategic locations around the neighborhood and providing a mobile office space for the many wonderful charitable & human service programs already operating in the neighborhood.” Continue reading →
If you’re interested in North Brooklyn parks and have some time to dedicate to a good community cause, then this gig with the North Brooklyn Open Space Alliance might be for you!
The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn is seeking someone to manage the growing group of generous, dedicated volunteers working to make their neighborhood parks and community better. The Volunteer Coordinator is a new position and is responsible for recruiting, training, supervising, rewarding and retaining the individuals belonging to OSA’s Volunteer Corps. The Volunteer Coordinator will help volunteers engage in opportunities that meet their interests. He / she will track volunteer performance data, and create program reports for the community, the OSA board and staff and its funders. The commitment is 10-15 hours per week. The role is ideally suited to a retiree or a homemaker willing to make a long-term commitment. Experience managing individuals and/or a team is required. Experience managing volunteers is preferred. Please contact OSA Executive Director Joe Mayock if you’re interested in learning more.
Although the former Domino Sugar refinery on Kent Avenue does not lie in Greenpoint, the building and the firm that ran it, Havemeyer and Elder, cast a long shadow over local history. Having spent the summer researching the plant for my upcoming book The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King, it is hard to express how much suffering is associated with the refinery.
The plant, which was opened in 1858, employed thousands of Greenpointers over its almost a century-and-a-half of existence. Much of the reason that we have a Polish population today is because the refinery had a policy of hiring Slavic men, principally Polish, who could not recount to outsiders the misery that working in the plant entailed. They worked in horrendous conditions that we can scarcely imagine today. Continue reading →
New York City Council Member Stephen Levin is hosting a North Greenpoint Development meeting at the Polish Slavic Center (176 Java Street) on Wednesday, 11/8 at 6:30, where community members can engage with local developers around how new construction in the neighborhood will impact Greenpoint.
According to WNYC, the MTA has 119 closed entrances throughout the system. The MTA shuttered these access points when the subway fell into disrepair in the 1970s, but as ridership climbs toward its post-war high of 6.9 million riders a day, inaccessible entrances only contribute to the crowding and delays that plague the system. Minor told WNYC in 2015, “This is a major cause of subway delays, because you’re forcing people to enter at basically one or two access points,” which causes people to bunch up when they get on the train, and to bottleneck along the platform when they exit.
With the impending L closure, Minor’s plan takes on a new urgency. The Lorimer/Metropolitan Station served over 15,000 people per weekday in 2016. That’s over 5 Million riders per year.According to the MTA, Lorimer/Metropolitan ranks 101 out of 422 stations in the system when it comes to ridership, which makes the station busier than many stations in Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Add to this that the station will likely see a surge in riders switching from the L to the G during the shutdown.
The Station’s closed staircases and entrance are situated on either side of Union Avenue at the intersection of Hope and Powers Streets, and at the corner of Union Avenue and Grand Streets. These defunct entrances are just a few of the 10 closed entrances, and 27 closed staircases in North Brooklyn, along G, L, J, M and Z lines. Minor’s plan to reopen the shuttered access points calls for full ADA Accessibility in the station, to make commuting easier for New Yorkers during the shutdown and after.
According to Second Avenue Sagas, the MTA is looking into opening the closed entrances, but non-committal on when, or if, it will follow through on the plan. The MTA has this to say on the issue: “As part of our efforts to accommodate growing ridership, we are studying and evaluating closed access points throughout the subway system and we’re looking at every idea for how to provide alternate service to L customers during any potential shutdown.”
You can sign Minor’s petition to “Expand access[ibility] to, at and from the Lorimer St L-Metropolitan Av G station complex.” on Change.Org here
Every Thursday from 7-10pm in October, you can get to know North Brooklyn and its culture and history a little better with FREE bike tours hosted by Brooklyn Bicycle Co. and Loudest Yeller Bike Tours. Bring a neighbor or friend, or kids—ages 10 and up are welcome! The biking is super easy, and all skill levels are welcome. The tours leave from 141 South 5th Street at 7pm. Pro tip: be ready to eat some ice cream along the way.
What to bring: Bring your bike if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can borrow a Brooklyn Bicycle Co. cruiser. They’ve got bikes that fit everyone from 4’11 to 7’6, as well as helmets. If you need to borrow a bike please send a message ahead of time by emailing [email protected].
Williamsburg is full of a lot of fabulous things like delicious food, beautiful art and exciting entertainment, but our neighborhood can’t boast a lot of park space. In fact, when it comes to parkland Williamsburg is ranked 46th out of 51 districts in New York City. And even within the neighborhood, the North Side has 15 times more park space per person than the South Side. The Friends of BQGreen hope to change that.
BQGreen will create a “park out of thin air” by extending a concrete platform over the BQE between South 3rd and South 5th Streets. The Green will incorporate Marcy Green and Rodney Park and include “3.5-acres of open space with a flower garden, a playground, a baseball diamond, barbecues, grassy and wooded areas, an indoor pool and a water play zone.”
Renderings of the proposed park are dynamic and inspiring, and Friends of BQGreen, including Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, Los Sures, El Puente, and Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, see their project as akin to the High Line in terms of innovation, but the initiative could have an even more profound affect on the neighborhood when it comes to fighting air pollution and delivering “environmental justice” to residents who live in the shadow of the BQE.Continue reading →
Rally for a Better Loft Law | Thursday May 25 | 7-9pm @ San Damiano Mission | 85 N 15th St
If you know any North Brooklyn artists in live/work spaces, you probably know someone who is affected by the Loft Law. Artists and creatives are being pushed out of many NYC neighborhoods, including our own Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and luckily you can support the local art community to help artists stay put. On Thursday evening, all are welcome to join tenants, artists, elected officials and housing advocates to show support for the 2017 Loft Law “Clean-Up” Bill. Speakers will include state and local elected officials, loft lawyers, artists and tenant advocates.