NFT New York Greenpoint


The northernmost neighborhood in Brooklyn, Greenpoint has multiple personality disorder. It's strongly Polish (hence the mouth-watering bakeries and butcher shops) and solidly trendy. As the name suggests, parts are indeed green, but it's also home to one of America's filthiest waterways.

As longtime hub for shipping and manufacturing, Greenpoint sits at the nexus of Newtown Creek and the East River. Newtown Creek is infamous for the 1950 oil spill more than twice the size of Exxon Valdez; now an EPA Superfund site, remediation will continue for years. On a brighter note, Newtown Creek's quarter-mile Nature Walk nearby the impressive wastewater treatment plant (open for tours not nearly often enough) is a valiant attempt to spruce things up, and the tree-lined See more.

>Greenpoint Historical District (originally home to local industrial workers) is still in excellent shape. Greenpoint is also the proud owner of the verdant oasis known as McGolrick Park. Manhattan Avenue Park (at the northern dead-end of that thoroughfare) is a well-kept, tiny gem with several cool sculptures. Also check out the impressive Eagle Street Rooftop Farm; support their efforts by buying fresh greens (give your regards to the rabbits and chickens). And Transmitter Park the former home of WNYC's radio towers at the end of Greenpoint Avenue, is a rare spot of green along the waterfront; head to the end of the zig-zagging pier for a respite from the heat of the city--it's like ten degrees cooler out in the middle of the East River.

Manhattan Avenue is the neighborhood's main artery (buses and the G train run along it). Mass is held at the stunning Saint Anthony of Padua Church. and your everyday needs are met along the way--fruit & vegetable stands, taco restaurants, bars and the like. Franklin Street is a relaxing antidote to the grimy bustle of Manhattan Avenue, with galleries, boutiques and various high-concept entities. East of McGuinness Boulevard you'll find various cheap bars, liquor stores, restaurants, Polish bakeries and a few real, respectable coffee shops, including Hannah Horvath's employers, Café Grumpy.

One exciting aspect of Greenpoint (though not for locals with cars) is the frequent number of movie and television productions filmed here. It's close to Manhattan and Long Island City (where a number of studios are based) and can stand in for a green, industrial, or cozy neighborhood setting. Flight of the Conchords shot their French song video in McGolrick Park. 30 Rock filmed in front of a dollar store on Manhattan Avenue. Recent productions have included The Bounty Hunter, Date Night, Boardwalk Empire, and Girls. If you keep your ears open at a bar, you may even hear someone who worked on a shoot giving the lowdown on which star is a bitch or which guy played the diva and spent the entire shoot moaning about a recent breakup. Ah, New York.

Barflies of every stripe can find something to suit their tastes, from sports bars (Red Star) to cocktail lounges (Manhattan Inn). Pencil Factory and Black Rabbit are excellent standbys on Greenpoint Avenue and NFT staffers can be found at the Palace Cafe.

A Greenpoint visit must include a meal at a cheap and hearty Polish restaurant, like Christina's. Afterwards, get a Polish pastry at Café Riviera or have some caffeine in the adorable backyard of Champion Coffee. One of the best brunches in the city is at Cafecito Bogota, so come hungry.

Hit the (sausage) links at Steve's Meat Market. Visit Old Hollywood for vintage; refurbished is in style at Alter Women. The fabulously junky second-hand shop The Thing is more affordable than Luddite. Vinyl junkies browse the bins at Permanent Records. Shop Eastern District for that which is artisanal and Brooklyn-based. Wedel sells imported chocolates, and New Warsaw Bakery, Charlotte Patisserie, and Jaslowiczanka have baked goods. Word's an English-language independent bookstore.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Chasing Andy Heidel

By Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
Rebecca is the lifeblood of Not For Tourists. The lynchpin that holds the unit intact, the polestar that guides the destiny of its guides. She only has one weakness: The ones who serve her.

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  NFT

Attention Brooklyn lovers: The NFT gang is headed back to Word Bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on Wednesday, November 18. We're celebrating the brand new 2016 Not For Tourists Guide to Brooklyn that's just rolled off the presses. Join co-founders Jane Pirone and Rob Tallia along with editors Scott Sendrow and Craig Nelson, plus a special guest, Chris Prout head brewer from Greepoint Beer & Ale Company, for a fun discussion on all things "local" regarding Brooklyn beer and NFT. You can RSVP on the Word website or just come as you are. We'll have some local snacks and sips from the neighborhood on hand including beer from Greenpoint Beer & Ale Company, and we'll have plenty of NFT books available for Brooklyn and beyond. Stop by to say hello and bring along your questions about Brooklyn. See you Wednesday!

Posted By: 
Photo:  Laura June Kirsch

Brooklyn Expo Center

Before you know it, the leaves will be falling from the trees, and you'll be wearing sweaters on a perfect autumn day sipping an IPA. Until then, enjoy summer but start planning for an epic beer afternoon on September 26 in Greenpoint during Village Voice's annual Brooklyn Pour. Bringing together over 100 breweries for a day-drinking session to end all day-drinking sessions, this beer-tastic event should be on your calendar. Enjoy samples from local favorites like Sixpoint and Singlecut Beersmiths to newcomers like Braven Brewers from Bushwick. There will also be a food court and entertainment if you need a break from all of the killer beer. Tickets are on sale now, so get them before the keg runs out.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 10, because Not For Tourists is celebrating the release of its brand new guide -- The NFT Illustrated Guide to NYC. This new guidebook has gone where no NYC NFT has gone before with custom illustrations, bigger print, photos, and easy-to-use maps. New York has changed a lot since 1999 when NFT first launched to the masses, and we want to chat about the future, present, and past of NYC. Join co-founders Jane Pirone and Rob Tallia along with editor Craig Nelson for a lively discussion on all things New York and NFT at Word Bookstore in Greenpoint. The event takes place from 7 to 9 pm on June 10th so join in the fun, pick up your own copy of the book, and sip a complimentary drink to get you in the spirit. Check out the Facebook event page for more info.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

McGolrick Park
McGolrick Park is easily one of my favorite parks in the entire city. Some people could do without the occasional creepy drunk, some cringe at the decades-old Newtown Creek oil spill lurking underground, but this park is just so calm and verdant, and stately with its colonnade in the middle. And it doesn't hurt that it's perpetually clean and surrounded by cute buildings. The immediate area also has a number of agreeable coffeehouses, like Café Royal on Nassau or Café Grumpy on Meserole. If you can't recall what a "coffeehouse" is, it's not your fault; they are nearly extinct in Manhattan. A "coffeehouse" is not an international chain that sells a bit of coffee with its merchandise, but rather a unique, homey, local mainstay where you can enjoy some caffeine, have an intelligent conversation without yelling over Starbucks' latest album, and stay long enough to read something without being pressured to vacate your little table. In any event, if you live in the area, I urge you to take regular advantage of McGolrick Park and its surroundings.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
After two years, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is still going strong and summer Sundays are the perfect time to visit. Right now they have kale, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, basil, chamomile, herbs, and dried peppers for sale at reasonable prices. If you aren't moved by the consummate freshness of their greens, you can always volunteer to support the cause, or you can attend a free workshop (next up: growing herbs successfully), enjoy the view of Manhattan, or say hello to their rabbits and chickens. If you live in Greenpoint, or anywhere else in North Brooklyn for that matter, there's no excuse. Sure, they don't have tropical fruits or unseasonal offerings, but this is as local as it gets in our fair city.

Posted By:  Alisha Miranda
Photo:  Alisha Miranda

Cafecito Bogota
Chef Fernando is a die-hard Bogotano. Just refer to his decked out cafe in Greenpoint where flags wave high, memorable moments of the city's history are framed on the walls, and his staff have created specialty stations to serve some of the best Colombian cuisine in the boroughs. It's authentic, fresh, and most importantly, absolutely delicious. Order up a traditional tasting plate and that famous hot chocolate: arepas with guacamole (which is made with chopped boiled eggs), patacones (flattened fried plantains), and banda paisa--the mother of all dishes. Your palette won't know what hit it.

Posted By:  Dawn Hoffman
Photo:  Dawn Hoffman

Calexico Carne Asada
SoHo's revered taco truck, Calexico Carne Asada, recently opened its second standing outpost in Greenpoint. In addition to the Vendley brothers' award-winning tacos and burritos (they took home the Vendy in 2008), the sit-down establishment brings with it the welcome addition of margaritas, micheladas, and $4 Tecates. Exposed brick and clapboard walls give the space a part downtown, part taco shack feel fitting for a Cal-Mex eatery in New York while the restaurant's metal exterior pays homage to its food truck roots. The Carne Asada burrito, filled with juicy skirt steak, rice, beans, cheese, and avocado sauce, is the menu's stand-out, although rolled quesadillas, served with the aptly named crack sauce, come in a close second. Prices are reasonable with almost everything costing under $10. Expect the restaurant to be packed nightly with a crowd just as fashionable as the one that lines Prince Street, especially in the summer months when the taqueria's outdoor garden opens.

Posted By:  Dawn Hoffman
Photo:  Dawn Hoffman

Fox & Fawn Vintage
With its well-edited selection of both vintage and contemporary pieces, Fox & Fawn has become one of Brooklyn's most reputable vintage stores. Formerly located on the LES, the store relocated to the 11222 zip code last March when it moved in with Heaven Street Records. While Fox & Fawn's loyal Manhattan clientele may grumble about the erratic G, the shop's eclectic blend of unique and high-end clothing are well-worth the 10 minute subway transfer. Vintage leather boots and purses line the store's walls while racks are filled with nautical tees, chunky sweaters, and whimsical button downs. An expansive dress section offers everything from '50s style housedresses to flirty Alice and Olivia frocks. The denim selection includes cult favorites such as Cheap Monday, J Brand, and Earnest Sewn. A men's section, stocked with work boots and flannel shirts, can be found in the back of the store along with Heaven Street Records's collection of new and used LPs. Despite the familiar names, prices are reasonable with many items costing under $30. The store is conveniently located near brunch hot spots Enid's, Matchless, and Five Leaves making it ideal for pre- or post-Bloody Mary shopping.

Posted By:  Austin Brown
Photo:  Austin Brown

Brooklyn Standard
Serving locally roasted Stumptown Coffee in eco-friendly cups, alongside local produce, homemade foods, and farm raised meats, the Standard Deli rethinks the bodega model--so that even the staff is local and friendly. They offer a great selection of prepared foods, desserts (many of which are deliciously vegan), and some local and fancy brews, without overlooking the NYC bodega staples such as the classic bacon/egg/cheese on a roll, toilet paper, and other useful apartment items. Standard also features an amazing sandwich selection including my favorite, the Jerked Seitan on a baguette. All that, and unlike every other bodega in the city, they don't overcharge for the local and organic tags.

Posted By:  Elina Salnikova
Photo:  Elina Salnikova

Person from Europe in Europa. Sounds weird? Well, weird it is. At the Europa Nightclub you will be able to meet tons of Ukrainian and Polish peeps. Seriously, I was not able to find any other nationalities, so if this is the background you're looking for or if you want to feel an authentic Eastern Euro clubbing atmosphere, then it will definitely be the place for you. Europa has one massive advantage: the prices of beverages are straight out of Poland--very affordable in other words. If you live in Greenpoint and want to go out but couldn't be bothered about Manhattan, this is your new place to dance the night away. Good looking people, nice music, friendly staff, and, best of all, drink specials every evening. Now get on the dance floor!

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

There is a magical alchemy in mixing two substances, one that Ashbox has perfected. Part tea house, part coffee shop, it has a wide variety of teas that outshine the coffee selection. Part "American." part Japanese, bagels and egg salad sandwiches compete for attention with superstars like onigiri rice balls and delectable "puffy bread." Even the name, the melding of the nearby cross-streets, is a tribute to how two can be better than one. The unassuming, unfinished clapboard exterior of this cozy nook at the end of Greenpoint might seem like it's a world away from anything in the city, and once inside you can be sure that it is. Enjoy the quiet classical music, the lemon water, the view of the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory and the clouds rolling over the East River. Zen-like peace amongst industrial drabness? That's a mix I'm into.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Newtown Creek Nature Walk
The end of the Greenpoint frontier--the upper lobe of Brooklyn nesting beneath Long Island City--is unforgiving territory. The strong winds that blow through this oil-sluiced industrial wasteland often carry the stench of diesel, fish, and sewage courtesy of the area's largest landholder, the sewage treatment plant. But new life breathes in the edge of this desolation within the confines of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk. The improbability of the park is mirrored in its design: young trees and shrubbery that--perhaps once--were germane to the area take tenuous root next to Brutalist concrete walls undulating along the perimeter of the sewage plant. Slab-stairs engraved with geologic epochs descend to the primordial ooze of the Creek, reflecting the simultaneous life and death of our urban climes: the Citi building, the stalled and stunted condominiums, the crane shovels dispersing trash into river barges across from a plant processing our human waste. And still, flowers bloom even in the twilight of autumn as Manhattan etches a twinkling horizon. Such is the new face of New York's environmental efforts: self-aware, yet hopeful.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Café Grumpy
While Manhattan loses all its great cafes and hemorrhages its literary talent, Brooklyn still maintains a few real coffee houses where you can nestle in, drink up, and work on whatever intellectual endeavor you think is so important. At Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint, the coffee is lovely and dispensed into big mugs, lattes come with pretty foam designs, the seating is plentiful, there's free wireless, and it's quiet. Plus they have cookies from The Chocolate Room in Park Slope and excellent croissants. Those croissants could easily have been stale and terrible, so I tried them for you and they're good. Café Grumpy serves a real urban need, the need to sit down and chill out, free from being hustled out the door.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Gothic Cabinet Craft
If you live in Williamsburg/Greenpoint and you're looking for furniture, you have several options. You can pay $700 for a chair on Bedford Avenue inspired by the 1980s style of Ron Arad, schlep to IKEA and be miserable, hit up Craigslist and get killed, spend months scouring the streets for something you really want (sans termites, strange odors, dog piss, and water damage) while you eat every meal on the floor, visit the Polish guy on upper Manhattan Avenue who tells you to just look through their mail order catalog of plastic tables, OR you can visit Gothic Cabinet. Though Craigslist and dumpster diving will result in a lower price tag, you deserve real hand-built wood furniture made right here in good ol' New York City (Queens to be specific). This place has gorgeous pieces of all types. Most of their furniture can be painted and finished to your specifications, or you can choose something as-is from the floor. The prices are quite reasonable, the quality is high, and they deliver promptly (even after work on a weekday). Furniture problem solved.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Jonathan Levy

Coco 66
Here's a summer event for all you dancin' partyin' fools: a blow out concert with the always fun Stumblebum Brass Band. You may have seen them around town on the street corner, in a subway station, or jammin' on stage with the Roots. If you've never checked out these guys, this is your chance. They're heading out on an epic Alaskan tour that will bring this Palin-loving state to its knees. But before they take off for the wildnerness, they're putting on one last show. So go check them out. And if you see JonnyBallz, tell him to watch out for grizzly bears.

When: Wed, Aug 12 9 pm-1 am
Where: Coco 66
Cover: Free

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
The only thing green about Greenpoint is the oil pooling on top of Newtown Creek...until now. Rooftop Farm is just as cool as it sounds, and as the press it's gotten expounds. A warehouse roof has become a field of greens--chard, lettuce, kale--where tomato vines and bean shoots climb up stakes framing the skyscrapers across the river. This brilliant scheme is the brain-baby of Annie & Ben, a super-hip duo happy to engage in discussions on soil composition and small-space composting techniques. They want to educate you, dear New Yorker, about growing your own food and getting back to the garden in the concrete jungle. They have volunteer days, a green market to sell their produce, and supply a couple local restaurants (watch here for reviews of them). Wholesome fun growing wholesome food with the best damn view of a city that should've made it all impossible is worth boundless praise sung from the Rooftop.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Lucky Shot
It ain't easy living in an industrial waste zone. 'It’s too far' for friends to visit, trucks shake your apartment building as they roll down the BQE, drunks and dog turds litter the sidewalk. And coffee? None. Til' now. My groaning, early-morning prayers have been answered as Lucky Shot moved into my desolate outer-Greenpoint neighborhood aka EWIP. The fine men of Variety on Graham Avenue have opened an even smaller shop kitty-corner from McGolrick Park. They serve Stumptown (natch, who isn't these days?) and they serve it right--double-shots, no skim, no syrup, no drip, no nonsense. Tasty pastries, friendly baristas, art, music (they'll have live shows on Saturdays, I'm told)--if this is the Gentrification Train rolling into the hood, I'll be the first to blow the whistle 'cause I'm sold. The yellow 'Lucky Shot' awning signals the dawning of a new era in which residents of the Greenpoint Oil Plume can proudly sip well-made lattes just like the rest of you.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Paloma claims to serve 'Urban American Cuisine,' which, as far as I'm concerned, counts any food eaten in a city in this country--from cuttlefish guts to Cheetos. But if all food that met that broad definition tasted like this, I'd be a lot happier. The menu features seasonal produce simply prepared, like burrata with beet and carrot salad or a pumpkin and quinoa stuffed Poblano pepper. The mussels in white wine have a surprising spicy kick, and the burgers and fish have been perfect every time. The seasonal options extend to the drink menu--no one should have to choose between Homemade Ginger Beer and mulled wine, so get both. Though the focus tends toward food, late at night the servers oblige Greenpoint stragglers seeking drinks and desserts. Though 'urbane' in decor, the sophistication doesn't take itself too seriously--silent films and the occasional 'Instant Fireplace' are projected on the wall over diners' heads. Cool without attitude and sumptuous without fuss, Paloma isn't much like any 'Urban American' cuisine I've had in these parts.

Editor's Note: An Election Night electrical fire set Paloma aflame. Obama revelers are not to blame. Reopening date is TPD.

Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Old Hollywood
Amongst the bleak environs of laundromats and corner stores, another gentri-treasure has popped up on Meserole Avenue. Old Hollywood, a store on par with any glitzy Village-vintage, has recently opened its doors down the road from neighborhood goodie-gurus Grumpy and Eat Records, with an eye to attract similar young-n-artsy clientele. The closet-sized shop is glam-packed with near-perfectly preserved finds from the past 80 years or more, including women's clothing, shoes, and jewelry both old and faux-old. The store has the antique atmosphere of an old parlor, as if a benevolent great-grandmother had invited the neighborhood kids to play dress-up in yesteryear's glad-rags. Sweet and unassuming, Old Hollywood has managed to sneak sophistication into the Manhattan Avenue High-Street norm of knock-offs and dollar depots. So the neighborhood's changing and people like me will be priced out in a couple years. So what? When change is this adorable, it's hard not to welcome it with open wallets.

Posted By:  Sarah Moroz
Photo:  Sarah Moroz

Angel Street Thrift Shop
Unassumingly located on Guernsey Street between a boarded-up warehouse and a house with four (FOUR) American flags on its front lawn, Angel Street Thrift Shop is precisely what Williamsburg thrift stores are not. In other words, not seriously overpriced, not squeezing-too-many-clothes-into-too-tiny-a-space, and not hounded by a deluge of hipsters (I mean, I love those kinds of places too. But still). Instead, this thrift shop, which opened last July, covers a large area, has spare white walls unadorned with cutesy or nostalgic paraphernalia. The clothes are showcased simply: hung on racks so you can actually see pieces, and arranged according to color scheme. Additionally, there are books and the occasional piece of furniture. The profits from purchases go towards helping people battle illness and abuse problems. So you can walk away with a new blazer and a sense of pride that your consumerism is actually beneficial.

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