the hook-up

Punch and Pepper-Spray, Hardware and High School — The Hook-up (4/20)

Good morning, Greenpoint! It’s Friday, and time for the Hook-up. Sometimes, I think we should just rename this column “Another Week, the Same MTA,” since it seems that most of the things that get a line here are subway-related. That’s true as ever this week. Punch, Pepper-Spray, Hardware and High School are all, in their myriad and sundry ways, subway stories. So, step in, stand clear of the closing doors.  Continue reading

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Dogs, Dreams, Data and Design — The Hook-up (4/13)

Greenpoint is on Track this week
Greenpoint is on Track this week! via wired

It’s gorgeous out, Greenpoint! And that’s not the only reason to celebrate. This week started out with some sweet news. On Monday, an MTA subway track inspector rescued that had wandered into the L tunnel. The hero, Edlin Cruz, caught up with the dog at Graham Avenue.

In other L-train news, Wired took a look at “The Dreamers of the L-Train Shutdown,” noting how the impending L-pocalypse has really spurred some quixotic creativity in New York, inspiring such proposals as gondolas, pontoon bridges, and inflatable bridges.

Meanwhile, the Village Voice asked, “Is the Rest of the Subway Ready for the L-Train Shutdown?” focusing on the impact that service changes will have on our beloved G train. For example, “No station illustrates the scale of the challenge, or raises questions about whether the MTA is doing enough to mitigate the impact of its own planned work, better than Court Square in Long Island City, where internal MTA documents warn that corridors could be “crush-loaded” once erstwhile L riders crowd onto the G.” Get ready for the crush, Greenpoint.  Continue reading

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An Art Heist, An Environmental Vision and Another Hit and Run — The Hook-Up (3/16)

One of the paintings stolen from the Crozier Fine Arts Warehouse in Williamsburg
One of the paintings stolen from the Crozier Fine Arts Warehouse in Williamsburg via Brooklyn Paper

Happy Friday, Greenpoint, and welcome to the Da Vinci Code. There’s been an art heist on Bayard Street, and the NYPD has made an appeal for information from the public. The thief broke into the Crozier Fine Arts Warehouse in Williamsburg, and made off 6 Hudson River School landscape paintings worth a combined 1.7 million dollars.

Speaking of the River, this week, local community advocacy groups Riverkeeper,  Newtown Creek Alliance, Guardians of Flushing Bay and Perkins+Will teamed up to launch their Vision Plan for Newtown Creek and Flushing Waterways.

Newtown Creek Alliance is also part of a coalition of nearly 200 environmental groups that staged a rally this week to pressure Gov. Cuomo to ban single-use plastic shopping bags in New York State.  Continue reading

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Newtown Creek Flows all the way to Utah — The Hook-up (2/8)

Newtown Creek: The Art of Toxic Tides via Slug Magazine

The mighty waters of Newtown Creek will be in fine form this weekend, as lovebirds and sewage nerds turn out for Saturday’s tours of The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, but this week, they’ve taken the spotlight as far away as Utah.

While Utah might have the Great Salt Lake, but artist Kelly Larsen found his muse in Greenpoint, affixing a 9-foot canvas to the wall of the creek to record the ebb and flow of toxic tides.  Continue reading

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Brooklyn and A Queen — The Hook-up 1/26

Rev Yolanda Rocks the Pulpit at the Park Church Co-op
Rev Yolanda Rocks the Pulpit at the Park Church Co-op. Via Brooklyn Paper

This week, New Yorkers have been making their voices heard underground, underwater and in church.

On Sunday, Rev. Yolanda, a Drag Queen who leads an inter-faith congregation in Bay Ridge, brought Drag Queen Story Hour to the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell Street) to help children master the art of kindness and encourage them to embrace diversity.   Continue reading

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Pinball Wizards and Streetcar Woes — The Hook-up (1/19)

The Pinball Wizards of Williamsburg
The Pinball Wizards of Williamsburg. Via Brooklyn Daily

In the contentious world of elite New York pinball, there can be only one champion. This year, it was a North Brooklyn contest: Greenpoint’s Paragons of Pinball duked it out in the final round against Williamsburg’s Terrorwrists at Sunshine Laundromat (860 Manhattan Avenue). The Terrorwrists took the title.

Pinball is a fast-paced, high stakes enterprise. New York’s urban planning and infrastructural changes are much slower beasts. And so: the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), also known as the gentrification express. This is The Streetcar Not Everyone Desires. With more and more funding necessary, but less and less actual money secured for the project, the BQX is stalled behind schedule, and seems, for now, to be more of a pipe-dream than a real possibility.

Speaking of transportation going off the rails, an unoccupied car was found partially submerged in Newtown Creek this morning. As of yet, there is no information on the condition, whereabouts or identity of the driver.

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Opening and Closing — The Hookup (1/5)

First Rendering of the forthcoming tower at 18 India Street
First Rendering of the forthcoming tower at 18 India Street

As we brave a blizzard, and begin to close out the opening week of 2018, the news itself was full of openings and closings.

While we reported earlier this week on the uncertain future of Bar Matchless, which will stay open until it is forced to shut its doors, Baoburg (614 Manhattan Avenue) a celebrated Asian Fusion staple by McCarren Park, temporarily closed over the holiday, following a health inspection, then reopened with an A rating.

Pretty Southern, Sam Talbot’s fried chicken joint at 14 Bedford Avenue, closed on October 30th, with plans to reopen mid-November. They never made it. Eater reports that the building’s landlord confirmed Talbot is no longer renting the space.

From closing to opening: the ever-increasing flow of new real estate development in Greenpoint. YIMBY has the first renderings for a new 6 story Condo at 68 North Henry Street along the BQE.  Continue reading

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Pricey Condos, Pretty Parkland and How to Buy Your Apartment for $100 — The Hook-up 12/22

Mini new York at the holiday
A merry, mini, holiday at the Queens Museum via Artsy.net. Photo by Max Touhey

Happy Holidays, Greenpoint! Greenpoint’s festive lights, abundance of holiday markets, and glorious array of bakeries has us all set for merry making. While we have some great ideas for last minute gifts, the news this week points to one big ticket item: if all you want for Christmas is a condo… you’re in luck. Two more properties in the area have been acquired by development firms.

Mortar Arch + Dev is planning a 5-story 14,000 square-foot project at 167 Eagle Street that will include 14 condos.

Grand Street Development has updated its design for 848 Lorimer Street, a six story building with over 36,000 square feet and 52 apartments.

Meanwhile, the waterfront esplanade promised in front of The Greenpoint, a 40 story development still in progress, is beginning to take shape. Private developers are required to create public park land, and to cede that land to the city, as part of the 2005 rezoning agreement. The esplanade should be complete by the spring.

If all this redevelopment is getting you down, here’s something that might bring a little cheer: the Queens Museum has a stunningly accurate 1:1200 scale model of New York City. The model was first commissioned by Robert Moses for the 1964 World’s Fair, and has been updated over the years. In order to maintain the model, the Queens museum is “selling” the miniature properties. For $100, you can buy any apartment you like, and even get a deed in the mail.

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Art, Urban Equity and Brooklyn in Albany — The Hook-up 12/15

#BroCleanBKLYN via Instagram
#BroCleanBKLYN via Instagram

Last week, I had the privilege to see a remastered print of Ken Burns’ 1981 film, Brooklyn Bridge, at the Brooklyn Museum. The documentary had me feeling all the feelings for the Bridge and the borough. But it’s not just the Great Bridge that’s been inspiring Brooklyn this week. In fact, our very own Newtown Creek has been inspiring equitable urban greening and environmental activism here in the neighborhood, and around the country. For example, the Newtown Creek Nature Walk was cited as a project for the neighborhood that avoids environmental gentrification.

Further, brothers Gary and Sam Bencheghib took to the mighty waters of Newtown Creek in their series  #BroCleanBKLN. On December 2nd, the pair paddled both the Creek and Gowanus Canal to highlight pollution in Brooklyn, and advocate for cleaner waterways.  Continue reading

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Subway Rats Join the Brunch Craze, Firefox Gives out Free Coffee and the BQX Unveils a Prototype — the Hook-up (11/17)

Subway rats are on trend this week.
Subway rats are on trend this week.

Move over, Pizza Rat, there’s a new celebrity rodent in town. This week, a subway rat went full “Brooklyn” and jumped on the avocado craze. While waiting for the G at Greenpoint Avenue on Tuesday, filmmaker Jessica Edwards captured a video of a rat hauling a slice of avocado along the tracks.

That’s not the only food-based transit story in the news this week. Mozilla launched a Firefox browser update this week, and claims its internet service is now faster than Google Chrome. To celebrate, Firefox operated a free “Firefox Fast Ferry” between Greenpoint and Manhattan from Tuesday-Thursday. The rides included complimentary donuts, coffee and live music.

Speaking of riding in style, the first prototype of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, was unveiled on Monday. Also known as the Gentrification Express, the proposed streetcar would run along the waterfront from Astoria to Sunset Park.

The advocacy coalition “Friends of BQX” is pushing Mayor de Blasio to make the streetcar a priority during his second term, at the same time as glass high-rise developments begin to engulf Greenpoint’s waterfront.

But, there may be some environmental justice for Greenpoint courtesy of the Long Island Sound. Much of the Nitrogen that contributes to “dead zones” in the Long Island Sound comes from waste treatment plants in New York City. Pressure from advocacy groups like Save Our Sound could lead to technological upgrades at Newtown Creek.

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