Greenpoint’s industrial past is well known, and its emerging identity as an artist’s hub might seem like a 21st century phenomenon, but back in 1888, Greenpoint was sporting its very own artists’ colony. That year, Mary Fisher, of 71 Java Street, opened her home as the Home Hotel Association, a residence for elderly “Brain Workers.” According to the plaque marking the historic site, Fisher defined “Brain Workers” as men and women “who had labored in literature or art or any other brain profession.” The Home operated on Java Street until 1912, when it moved to two separate locations: one in Mount Vernon, NY, and another in Tenafly, New Jersey.
Mary Fisher was an Englishwoman inspired by the old age pensions which support the elderly in the UK. Social Security wasn’t established in the United States until 1935, so there was no public safety net for older people who had retired, or were out of work. In The Story of the Mary Fisher Home, published 1915, Fisher wrote, “I remembered that in Europe, pensions were often accorded to those who, during their lifetimes, had been of some benefit to the nation, and it seemed to me that in this country the people must do what the government failed to do, and I hoped that in time we might have a national fund for this purpose.”
Fisher appealed to notable New Yorkers for their in kind or financial support, and was well received by Fredrick Barnard, then the President of Columbia University. He introduced her to a variety of prominent and charitable New Yorkers, including Mrs. Andrew Carnegie, but not everybody believed that “brain workers” deserved philanthropic support. In fact, upon hearing the appeal, one woman said, “A home for old authors and artists! My! What a company of cranks! What will you do with them?” Continue reading →
Despite the news of each new piece of horrendous legislation, it’s been helping me to remember that reading and writing are a form of social justice. April is National Poetry Month, and as celebrated poet Mary Oliver wrote in her new book of essays, Upstream, “…The poem was made not just to exist, but to speak—to be company.”
This spring, let your community be your company. Greenpoint is brimming with writers and artists who are using their voices to build spaces where you can share, listen, learn, and make a plan for moving forward; keep reading for three places you can join in the conversation.
February is all about change and unexpected news. Since Mars is in Aries until March 9, many people will have a lot of energy, which is really needed right now, considering the political climate. It’s the perfect time to protest, especially since the Sun visits politically engaged Aquarius until February 18.
We’re now in the lunar Year of the Rooster, which has astrologers believe that this is a sign of hope–so maybe not all is lost.
If you hadn’t heard, Bike The Branches is this Saturday, and offers bike lovers a two-wheeled tour of Brooklyn via our public libraries. Stop at as many branches as you can, get your event passport stamped at each spot and then head to Central Library where there’ll be a block party with awards, live music, food, beer, and activities for adults and kids alike.
Richly layered with afro-beats, jazz rhythms, pop hooks, and Sachal Vasandani’s opalescent vocal timbre, the ten anfractuous and soulful tracks of sophisti-pop on Slow Motion Miracles flow like one body of water into another.
“escaping into the who goes there? & now’s not the time to act silly, so wear your big boots & jump on the garbage clowns, the hourly rate & the enema men &…”
Crystal Jukebox Hymn, composed of text from Bob Dylan’s experimental poetry prose collection Tarantula, is an immersive experience for the audience who are beckoned to follow an eclectically eccentric group of characters which have been ripped from the confines of a social hierarchy and woven together in a multi-media performance traversing through a crime scene, a bar, a forest, an asylum, a cave and everywhere in between, always with an inherent call for the road and noise on the street. Their every move is captured and splayed against the back wall by the watchful eye of The Narrator, who likes to disguise himself as the Chief of Police. Issues of prejudice, minority, propaganda, corruption, war and privacy that exist within are all unravelled through the rhythmic stream of conscious flow of Bob Dylan’s imaginative words. Continue reading →
Thank you everyone who participated in the Greenpointers’ poetry contest!
Our winner is Athena Pappas with her poem “The Shayz Lounge.” Athena will be a featured reader at Poetry Teachers NYC’s open mic on February 27th, 2013 at Milk and Roses (1110 Manhattan Ave). Signup for the Open Mic at 7:30, show starts at 8pm.
The Shayz Lounge by Athena Papas
I want one stained
barely legible against
grainy brown paper
love letter jotted down
on the back of recycled napkin,
pack of cowboy killer cigarettes,
discounted bottle of Chianti,
a blood moon stain on the end table.
One moment of the jukebox
making me feel
the pulse of fingertips
until the record ends.
I was 17 in the snow. It was the winter of 2004, new to college, and new to love. Who knew that I would get stuck in a Greenpoint apartment that winter rekindling a high school love? Beginning with a lost cellphone at the Royal Oak, to his bedroom in his loft apartment on Sutton, to Nassau Avenue, a little 1950’s diner we would call B’s on the corner of N Henry, and the swings in McGolrick park.
So to the Greenpointers who have fallin’ in love if once, if ever, if by chance, let’s scribe our loves into a poem.
And remember: we don’t just fall in love with people. Many of us fell in love, are still in love or fell out of love with Greenpoint.
Due February 10th @ 5pm, send us one of your poems, and let’s make this Valentine’s Day a brim to the hat to the nod toward love.
The winner, whose poem will be published on Greenpointers.com on the February 14th, will be a featured reader at Poetry Teachers NYC’s Monthly reading at Milk and Roses in February.
One last thing. Sometimes the best thing about falling in love is the story. Single or together this year, remember the place that landmarked your love.