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Petition Calls For Williamsburg’s PS 132 to “Dismantle Institutionalized Racism”


An online petition circulated by local parents that calls for PS 132 (320 Manhattan Ave.) to “dismantle institutionalized racism” has gained over 3,000 signatures.

The petition urges the Williamsburg school, which teaches Pre-K through 5th grade students, to implement an ant-racist curriculum and to fill vacant teaching position with “Black and Brown applicants until the share of Black and Brown teachers aligns with the proportion of students in the school.”

Demands also include for PS 132 to end the school’s Gifted and Talented program and to make all classrooms representative of the student body, “by aligning the percentage of Black and Brown students in each class in the school with the proportion of Black and Brown students in the school.”

Administrators at PS 132 allegedly pressured the non-profit orginization PS 132 Parent Teachers Association to remain neutral with social media posts over the Black Lives Matter movement which gained momentum following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to the petition: Continue reading

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Greenpoint Design Firm, Pink Sparrow, Creates Parklets to Help Restaurants

Pink Sparrow’s parklet prototype for 21 Greenpoint.

Dining al fresco can be a competitive pastime for New Yorkers who want to score prime sidewalk seating in the warmer months. Now, sitting outside is the only way to enjoy a restaurant or bar, a challenge for businesses that previously did not have substantial outdoor space, a familiar New York conundrum.

Learning about the open streets program that would allow restaurants to open for outdoor service, Greenpoint-based experiential design firm Pink Sparrow (24 Greenpoint Ave.), wanted to fabricate a solution. Locals may recognize their work from experiential booths at the Expo Center, but the company which relies on in-person events had all business trickle off this March, meaning they had more capacity to redefine what they do.

“We wanted to use our skills and expertise to reimagine what a post-pandemic world looks like, and really focus on starting to reopen and building community,” says Pink Sparrow’s marketing associate Maggie Balcerzak. Before Phase 2 started,  Pink Sparrow communicated with the city to learn what businesses would need to open, and how they could develop compliant products. 

Pink Sparrow’s parklet outside of Magazine Bar

Ideas started to roll, and Pink Sparrow created a prototype of its new parklet for 21 Greenpoint (21 Greenpoint Ave.), which is across the street from their 20,000-square-foot workshop. They’ve also outfitted Magazine Bar (130 Franklin St.) with planters and benches, the backs of which have reflectors for street traffic, to keep Magazine guests safe. They’re also cushioning businesses from needing to close. Continue reading

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Free Manicure Truck Hits Williamsburg Streets Compliments of BABE

The mobile manicure truck in action in Williamsburg this week. (Courtesy of BABE)

Approaching the 100 day mark since New York City’s nail salons were forced to close due the ongoing global pandemic, a socially distanced manicure truck is servicing North Brooklynite’s hands with free manicures compliments of the wine company BABE (full disclosure: BABE is a former sponsor of Greenpointers’ holiday markets).

The manicure truck in Wiliamsburg. (Courtesy of BABE )

Founder of BABE, The Fat Jewish (whose real name is Josh Ostrovsky), took to Instagram for the announcement:


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Protestors Rally in Front of Council Member Levin’s Apartment During Budget Vote

Council Member Levin during yesterday evening’s remote hearing.

Protestors clanged and banged in front of Council Member Stephen Levin’s apartment yesterday evening as he joined a majority of members that passed the City Council’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The protest followed Levin’s announcement earlier this week that he would vote in support of a city budget that cuts the NYPD’s funding by $1 billion.

Demonstrators, however, exhorted him to cast a ‘no’ vote on a budget they say didn’t go far enough in defunding the city police.

“We don’t want them to pass the bill. It’s not what we asked for,” said Melina Juárez, a member of the protest who lives in Williamsburg. “It was just moving money around.”

Levin acknowledged that what was on the table was unsatisfactory for many of his constituents.

“This is the most difficult and heart-rending budget in recent memory,” he said during yesterday night’s hearing. “I too am disappointed that we weren’t able to go further with cuts to the NYPD.” Continue reading

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How White Neighbors Can Be Better Allies to BIPOC in a Mostly White Neighborhood

A freshly painted “No Room For Racism” sign on the front of D’emploi Studio (238 Franklin St.) in Greenpoint.

In early June, a crowd of neighbors gathered outside Tommy’s Tavern, listening as a woman named Kira shared her painful experiences with racism at that very Greenpoint corner.

More neighbors shared their stories of living as people of color in a mostly-White neighborhood, and called on White neighbors to stand up and protect Black folks and people of color living in and visiting the neighborhood.


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More than 100 protestors gathered Thursday afternoon in front of Tommy’s Tavern (1041 Manhattan Ave.), a local dive bar, to condemn the owner’s recent behavior towards a black woman. Kira, a black woman who works in Greenpoint, says that she was waiting at a bus stop across the street from the bar on June 7th when the owner, Thomas Kaminski, told her she “shouldn’t be here.” Kaminski bragged about how he had more money than her and yelled about ‘Black Lives Matter protests’ in his neighborhood, at one point flipping her the bird, she alleges. “It’s obvious in Greenpoint that I’m probably the only black person I’d see for a while,” said Kira, who declined to give her last name. “But I never felt unwelcome until that day.” She previously spoke about the altercation a week ago in McCarren Park during one of the nightly vigils in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. After returning home from the park, she decided to organize a protest in front of the bar, which Council Member Stephen Levin’s office supported. (Link in bio for full post) in 📷: Ben Weiss

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Those living in and around Greenpoint are probably aware that the neighborhood pales in racial diversity compared to many other Brooklyn neighborhoods. As of 2018, 6.1% of the population identified as Asian, 3.9% identified as Black, 20.7% identified as Hispanic, and 65.9% identified as White, according to data from the Furman Center. Very few businesses in North Brooklyn are Black-owned.

Acknowledging what the neighborhood is lacking is only a small step in pushing Greenpoint towards becoming a more equitable, anti-racist area for neighbors and visitors. To guide White allies in actively making Greenpoint a better place for people of color, Black queer activist and author Kat Vellos shared some words of wisdom and actionable suggestions.

Adjust to an anti-racist vocabulary

Firstly, “Stop calling people of color minorities,” Vellos says. “This term leads to the continual perpetuation of the idea that people of color are less than or that white are superior.” She recommends non-Black allies check out her recent piece, “How non-Black people can be supportive to Black communities” for a better understanding on how to help Black neighbors.

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Levain Bakery Opens Wednesday in Williamsburg Donating Proceeds to North Brooklyn Angels

(Photo courtesy of Levain Bakery)

After 25 years in Manhattan, Levain Bakery officially opens on Wednesday morning in Williamsburg at 164 N 4 St., marking the bakery’s first Brooklyn location.

To make the opening a bit sweeter, today’s proceeds will be donated to the mobile soup kitchen North Brooklyn Angels, which distributes free freshly prepared meals Monday – Friday.

The delectable chocolate chip walnut cookies are on Levain Bakery’s Brooklyn menu, along with loaf cakes, rolls and breads, and pastries, much like the original location.

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As Partygoers Crowd Berry Street, Police Enforce “Open Streets” Schedule

A crowd on Berry Street and N 8th Street this past weekend (Image courtesy of Moli Nex)

As crowds flock to restaurants and bars located on the mile-long, car-free stretch in Williamsburg, the police are enforcing the city’s “Open Streets” initiative that reserves Berry Street on a schedule of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for pedestrians and cyclists.

Residents say that the NYPD’s selective enforcement of the schedule runs counter to officers’ hands-off approach to maintaining and surveilling “open streets” citywide. It’s also a sudden policy change for Berry Street locals, who were accustomed to the police barriers’ presence from dawn until dusk.

Johanna, who lives on Berry Street and declined to give her last name, watched officers take down barricades on the street more than two weeks ago.

“We asked them why they’re taking them down, and he said, ‘It’s clearly being abused’,” she explained in an interview.

The 94th precinct is responsible for the northern stretch of Berry Street and confirmed that officers have been paying particular attention to what some residents call “Bourbon Street.”

“Personnel have responded to an increased number of 311 complaints on Berry Street involving crowds of people who refuse to adhere to the 8 p.m. end time,” corroborated Kathleen Fahey, the precinct’s Commanding Officer, in a statement.

In fact, more than half the number of 311 complaints citywide have concerned “social distancing” and “loud music/parties” near the Williamsburg waterfront since May 14th, when Mayor de Blasio added Berry Street to the city’s ever-increasing list of roads open to pedestrians, according to an analysis by Greenpointers. Continue reading

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Williamsburg Mural Depicts 2020’s Chaotic Headlines, So Far

A mural painted last week in Williamsburg on the choas of 2020.

President Donald Trump with devil horns holding the bible, an NYPD car in flames and a shackled American flag with a white power symbol are some of the interpreted 2020 headline moments depicted in a new hand-painted mural in Williamsburg that debuted last week.

The mural, entitled “2020 Now But Not Forever” is on Kent Avenue and Grand Street and is from Overall Murals. A description from the creators  next to the large-scale mural states:





The description of the new mural from Overall Murals.

Also painted in the mural are the Australian wildfires, a tribute to Kobe Bryant, cursory fireworks, sheep wearing masks (except for the black sheep) in response to coronavirus, healthcare heroes and Black Lives Matter.

“The circumstances we’re experiencing must be accepted as they are but as humans we innately feel the need to solve problems and implement change. And in today’s postmodern world, what can we do?,” Overall Murals wrote on social media promoting the work. Continue reading

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24 Hour Food Market Coming to Greenpoint Landing Mega Development

Greenpoint Landing is getting a 24 hour food market.

The northernmost tip of Greenpoint is getting a new 24 hour food market this fall. Riverside Market has signed a contract to open at 7 Bell Slip at Greenpoint Landing, Commercial Observer reports.

The Greenpoint Landing mega development from Park Tower is currently adding 745 more apartments and a 2.5 acre park with two Tetris-like buildings resembling a ziggurat and its inverese near the former Greenpoint sludge tank.

When complete, Greenpoint Landing will have approximately 5,500 total apartments spread among 11 towers. Eleva Coffee opened on the ground-floor of 7 Bell Slip in December, becoming the first commercial tenant at the development.

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Restaurants Improvise Outdoor Seating During First Weekend of Summer

Le Gamin’s curbside seating on a light-dappled Friday evening (Image via Ben Weiss)

Restaurants and bars across Greenpoint and Williamsburg, like the rest of New York City, opened outdoor seating to stir-crazy North Brooklynites during the borough’s first official weekend of summer.

Neighborhood institutions, like Krolewskie Jadlo, and neighborhood newcomers, like Ponyboy, improvised patios on crowded sidewalks and street curbs during the Phase 2 reopening of New York City.

Businesses are allowed to claim the sidewalks and parking spaces directly in front of their storefronts, after registering their intent with the city. Establishments on any of the city’s “open streets” also have the luxury of using that space for more seating.

Next week, the city is on track to enter Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, according to Mayor de Blasio. Phase 3 allows restaurant and bars to let patrons dine inside, with restrictions. All tables need to be at least six feet apart and seating capacity must be reduced to 50% of the business’s maximum occupancy. Continue reading

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