There’s no doubt that North Brooklyn’s skyline has rapidly changed in the last decade plus. In place of one-story bombed out warehouses, high rises stand tall. An old sludge tank in Greenpoint has been seemingly effortlessly replaced by luxury apartments. Those who lived in the neighborhood before “the change” began probably remember a slightly different vibe: the area was rougher, with locals playing the role of war-torn veterans. The hip coffee shops and restaurants were fewer and farther between, and the pioneers that were there had worn yet comfy thrift store furniture instead of the minimalist high design stuff you might see today. Piles of trash and industrial waste have disappeared and been replaced with waterfront parks and bike racks. Still, there was something special about North Brooklyn back then in its less polished state. It was way more punk rock.
An Instagram account with the handle _missing_the_point_ has been quietly posting side-by-side comparison photos of North Brooklyn from “then” (most of them about 13 years ago) and “now”. Greenpoint native and amateur photographer Jack Olszewski says, “I’d be walking around my own neighborhood and certain blocks had become completely unrecognizable to me. I’d think, ‘Wait… what used to be here?’. That led me to revisit my old photos. I thought it might be something other Greenpointers could relate to, which led to me start _missing_the_point_ .”
There’s been a lot of activity and news lately about the iconic Domino Sugar Factory on the Williamsburg waterfront. Our own historical writer Geoff Cobb recently published a new book about Domino titled The Rise and Fall of the Sugar King, and he’s been sharing some of those stories here on our site. Additionally, the redesign proposal for the Domino site was recently approved, and the architects shared the final plans for the waterfront park. And just a few weeks ago we were able to tour the first new building in the Domino Sugar complex at 325 Kent Street, with the major selling point seeming to be the stunning views of Manhattan and the Williamsburg Bridge.
From now until January 14th, photos taken inside the Domino Sugar complex are on view at former Williamsburg gallery Front Room (48 Hester Street) in Manhattan. According to the gallery, “In 2013, Paul Raphaelson received permission from the developers of the Domino site to explore every square foot of the refinery just weeks before its gutting and demolition. Raphaelson is the last photographer given access to the factory.” The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1-6pm. Smithsonian has a detailed article about the photos, and the site’s history.
Nine young Polish fashion photographers will make the trek to Greenpoint for a photo exhibit at A/D/O (29 Norman Avenue) between October 26-29, 2017, with an opening this Thursday, October 26 from 6pm to 9pm.
Local photographer and director Jackie Roman has been documenting the changing culture and cityscape of our East River waterfront for more than a decade. This Friday evening (7-10pm) at Quimby’s Bookstore (536 Metropolitan Ave), she will be showing large 16×20 and 11×17 prints from her ongoing project, which depicts street scenes and cityscapes of the rapidly developing Greenpoint waterfront.
She describes her images, saying: “A vista of Manhattan’s skyline taken from the roof of a factory building on Clay St. in 2010 is framed by trees, years before construction would begin on the “Greenpoint Landing,” a dramatic mega-complex of ten residential towers. A photo taken from the India St. ferry landing shows the single-story Huxley Envelope Factory—it contrasts with an abstract of the same site taken during the construction of a 40-story mixed-use condo building. These pictures, and others on display, are supplemental to the book Old Domino which documents the closings of DIY music and cultural spaces around the neighborhood’s historic Domino Sugar Refinery.”
Many artists’ studios feel like a cluttered curation, and sometimes they can be intimidatingly bohemian, but George Underwood’s creative haven in Greenpoint is surprisingly tidy and welcoming. The large prints on the walls and huge projector screen above, accompanied by a few audience seated chairs below compliments the fact that he is a devoted and driven photographer who is passionate about his work. Underwood, 30, views photography as more than just a hobby, but as a way to document modern day interactions in a fast-paced society. Being an only child of a single mother, he spent his alone time quietly observing places and people in his town, which sparked a love of photography through stilling those moments in time as an outside observer. From George’s own lens, literally and figuratively speaking, he captures how people interact with a space and with each other, surrounded by the technology ever so present in their lives. Continue reading →
Greenpoint-based photographer Chris Moran shot his latest project at the launch party for Greenpoint Open Studios, using a black and white film and a double exposure technique to combine portraits with scenes around the neighborhood. Having been an action and sports photographer in California for a decade, he relocated to our ‘hood about a year ago.
Chris says: “I just wanted to trip people out that these crazy looking images were all made in a 35mm film camera with one lens. No post production. I feel like today people are so quick to edit and alter their images, it’s nice just to do it all in camera for once. For example, when someone throws a filter on their photo, do they know where the word filter comes from? Buying a physical filter, putting it on your lens, and then creating images, feels so much more real, and looks better too. People have been making double exposures for years, and there’s more then a few ways to do it. While all my commercial work is digital, it’s nice to keep some of my personal work tangible.” Continue reading →
There are a few things that just make you stop dead in your tracks and smile. Maybe you’re even in a hurry, rushing along down the street, and then that wondrous sound comes to your ears – a voice and some sweet strums of an instrument playing a favorite song of yours. I’ve always thought musicians are to a neighborhood what fish are to a stream – an indicator of health and liveliness. If you can walk around for a whole day and not see anyone walking down the sidewalk carrying an instrument or sharing a song, you might want to think twice about what that says about the creative vitality of the place. Luckily for us, Greenpoint is full of musicians, and so today’s photo essay honors these minstrels and everyday suppliers of soul.
This week’s photo essay focuses on people that have been in Greenpoint a while and have stories to tell about it. Whether they remember movies at The Chopin Theater or when McGuinness Boulevard was still cobblestone, these folks are everyday guardians of the neighborhood’s history and traditions. If you are lucky enough to see them walking down the street, say hello, politely ask them about their memories of the neighborhood, and get ready for the best history lesson of your life… Continue reading →
If you follow us on Instagram, you may have noticed that this week we have Greenpointer Edoardo Monti taking over our account. He’s also co-sponsoring the Greenpoint Instameet (part of Instagram’s Worldwide Instameet 13) with us at 6:30pm this Friday, April 22 at Greenpoint’s scenic Transmitter Park. Continue reading →