ps 34

Bullied in Greenpoint to Undefeated Heavyweight Contender: Boxer Adam “Babyface” Kownacki Fights Towards World Champion Title

In 1996, when his family emigrated from Poland with hopes of a better life, 7 year old Adam Kownacki started life in America in a house on Russell Street and enrolled in P.S. 34. “We came in, didn’t speak the English language, we had a hard time adapting to the culture,” said younger brother Lukasz. And Greenpoint wasn’t like how it is now back then, according to Adam’s other brother Pawel. “It was rough. If you walked into the wrong part of the neighborhood, you got beat up.”

Adam was not only the new kid in town but also “heavyset” and became a target for bullying. Why would anyone pick on a big guy, I wondered. “I know a lot of big kids, they’re soft. They don’t want to hurt anybody so many people, as they do with adults, mistake kindness for weakness,” said Adam’s trainer Keith Trimble. Indeed, Adam Kownacki, nicknamed “Babyface” is soft-spoken and has a cherubic demeanor that belies his fierce fighting skills in the boxing ring – With two Golden Gloves, an undefeated record, and a string of knock-out wins, Adam is on his way towards being the first Polish-American heavyweight champion of the world. Continue reading

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Newtown Creek Alliance Partners with Greenpoint Students this School Year

Preparing the NCA curriculum, via Newtown Creek Alliance

Happy first day of school, Greenpoint! This year, the local conservationists at Newtown Creek Alliance are bringing the creek to the curriculum as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Greenpoint EcoSchools initiative.

NCA will pioneer its new STEM Urban Ecology curriculum in the four Greenpoint Public schools: PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126. The learning modules and field trips, designed for elementary and middle school students, cover Flora and Fauna relationships, invasive and native species, topography, water and soil quality, ecological health and legacy and ongoing pollution sources.

Each lesson will culminate in a “design based applied learning project,” and NCA staff will serve as expert guides, leading classes through related activities and offering guest lecturers in the classroom.  Continue reading

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Weekly Arts Roundup May 10–12: Dance at Triskelion, Auction for PS 34, and David Lynch at Nitehawk

Not an Ending at All at Triskelion

Dance, auctions, and film! It’s an eclectic mix of goings-on this week, Greenpointers. Enjoy your weekly roundup below.

Not an Ending at All
Triskelion Arts | 106 Calyer Street
May 10–12 | 8 PM
More info, $18 in advance or $22 at the door

Not an Ending at All is an evening-length work, exploring the homes we build for the spirits that haunt us. Inspired by the Buddhist teachings on Hungry Ghosts and a deleted scene from Fred Astaire’s “Second Chorus,” the two performers — Sarah Capua and Audrey Lane Ellis — navigate an intimate world carefully guarded by a chorus of personal apparitions in this dance performance. Continue reading

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Green Futures, and Greenpoint Residents, Alive and Well — The Hook-up (3/2)

A student demonstrates the PS 34's new STEM Lab to Councilmember Stephen Levin. Via Bklyner
A student demonstrates the PS 34’s new STEM Lab to Councilmember Stephen Levin. Via Bklyner

This morning, students, teachers and local politicians and community members gathered to celebrate P.S. 34’s brand new Green STEM Lab and Hydroponic Garden.

But it’s not just plant life that’s thriving in Greenpoint. A 46-year old Greenpoint resident was mistakenly declared dead by the Social Security Administration last fall, when in fact she is alive and well. She is in the midst of making the federal government aware of this fact. According to ABC news, the SSA will send out a letter informing her of her “resurrection” once they update their files.

And speaking of rising again: The New York State Department of Transportation has unveiled its plans for the next stage of construction of the New Kosciuszko Bridge. The DOT expects the final section of the span to be completed in 2019 or 2020.  Continue reading

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The Hist List: Every Official Historic Landmark in Greenpoint

Behold, the map! Via the Landmarks Preservation Commission
Behold, the map! Via the Landmarks Preservation Commission

Do you want to know about the extraordinary history all around you? (Yes!!) Well you’re in luck. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has just released a revamped version of its interactive landmarks map!!!

If you’re ready for a deep dive, this might be the best city for it, since the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is the largest municipal preservation agency in the nation. The LPC recognizes individual landmarks, interior landmarks, scenic landmarks and historic districts, designating sites based on historic, architectural and cultural significance. The map includes information, photographs, and historic designation reports for all 36,000 buildings and sites which the organization has landmarked since its inception in 1965.

You can search for landmarks by category, address or area; by style, architect, building type or era of construction. I popped in Greenpoint, and discovered we have 10 designations, including individual landmarks and historic districts. So without further ado, I give you, The Hist List: Every Historic Landmark in Greenpoint!  Continue reading

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A Stroll Down Historic Norman Avenue

Danish restaurateur Claus Meyer and Swedish chef, Fredrick Berselius. Photo by John Taggart for The New York Times

Things have changed a lot over the years on Norman Avenue, but Scandinavian influence remains. It is highly ironic that two Scandinavian cutting edge entrepreneurs have just opened their modern, ultra trendy, design center-restaurant Norman (29 Norman Ave) on a street named for the first Greenpointer, fellow Scandinavian, Dirck Volckertszen, the Norwegian immigrant who built the area’s first house nearby in 1645, more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Recently opened by Danish restaurateur Claus Meyer and Swedish chef, Fredrick Berselius, Norman is another chapter in Greenpoint’s long Nordic heritage. Volckertszen is too hard a name to pronounce, so the Dutch called him Dirck the Norseman, Dutch for Norwegian, which got shortened to Norman, hence the name of the street.

Norman Avenue was not always called by its present name. It was once Third Street and then Union Street. Volckert Dircksen, the oldest son of Dirck Volckertszen, built his house near Bushwick Creek on Norman Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and Lorimer Street about 1700. The house is long gone, but near where it once stood is one of the prettiest houses in Greenpoint, 61 Norman Avenue, a cute wood- frame house set off the street with a gorgeous garden in its front yard. Before the street was created Norman Avenue was part of the beautiful Meserole Orchard, and the trees remind me of the ancient orchard. Continue reading

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Rezoning, Renovating and Revving up for Election Day — The Hook-up (11/3)

A rendering for the Pfzier Rezoning Plan
A rendering for the Pfzier Rezoning Plan, via NewYorkYimby

Yesterday, when Joe Rickets, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade, who owned DNAinfo and Gothamist shut down those sites – putting 115 people out of work – following the reporters’ vote to unionize, we got another reminder of how easily a powerful individual can wantonly affect the lives of so many people according to his whims.

Powerful business interests have been flexing their muscles here in Greenpoint, too. Both the waterfront development firm Greenpoint Landing Associates, and the pharmaceutical conglomerate Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) scored some good press this week by making grants to the local community. Greenpoint Landing Associates donated $250,000 to the Greenpoint YMCA (99 Meserole Ave) to renovate the gym, fitness room and spin center. PhRMA pledged $2,000 to P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry Elementary to support the school’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.  Continue reading

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A History of Greenpoint in 25 Buildings – P.S. 34

Screen shot 2016-05-26 at 5.33.47 PMP.S 34, also known as the Oliver Hazard Perry School, is more than an elegant old red brick school building on the corner of Norman Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard. Built in the gorgeous Romanesque Revival style, it is in fact the oldest continually used school building in New York and a New York City Landmark. According to some sources the school dates back to 1867 when it was designed by Samuel Leonard, the Superintendent of school buildings in the still independent city of Brooklyn. Leonard Street is in fact named after Superintendent Leonard. These were years when Greenpoint was growing fast. Leonard supervised another addition to the building in 1870 and another superintendent oversaw another addition in 1887-1888. Continue reading

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Weekend Music: Let’s Keep it Mellow (3/19 – 3/20)

It’s that time of year when it seems like every band in Brooklyn has decamped for the South by Southwest festival in Texas.

Without large audiences and crowded band lineups around town these days, it’s a chance for introspective music to have its moment.

It’s a good time to hear bands live that unravel themselves slowly, and open your mind to a broad landscape.

Even our punk pick this week is more suited to chill California than the inside of a dark New York bar.  Continue reading

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The Art Party: Come Out To Support Art Education at PS 34! (5/22)

Have you ever wondered about the little elementary school at the corner of Norman and Eckford Streets? Three fun facts you should know: it was formerly a hospital; it is the oldest continually operating elementary school in Brooklyn; and the first ever benefit for the art education at PS 34 The Art Party happens this coming Wednesday May 22, 2013 at 7pm at From The Source (69 West St).

The community is invited to this exclusive preview of our annual PS 34 art show that will feature live performances by Greenpoint-based artists The Hugh Pool Band, Jack O’Neill, and Shahla Atlas.

"Pointed Bushes, Versailles, 1993"
"Pointed Bushes, Versailles, 1993" Photogravure by David Armstrong

Some of the items available by silent auction will be works by respected artists Jean Pagliuso, McDermott & McGough, David Armstrong, and Felipe Mujica, as well as jewelry from Fitzgerald Jewelry of Williamsburg. There will be food and cocktails courtesy of local businesses, so skip dinner and come early.

Come meet your neighbors, purchase amazing art, eat, drink, and dance in support of art education at PS 34 this Wednesday, May 22nd. Tickets at $40 and can be purchased at Cup at (79 Norman Ave), Greenpoint Toys (738 Manhattan Ave), or at the door.

For more information go to The Art Party web site, and join the Facebook event for the latest updates!

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