A neighborhood on the fringe reveals Brooklyn's most enigmatic destination. By Naomi Nevitt
Historically known as Little Poland for its vibrant Eastern European immigrant population (still evidenced by the family owned pierogi restaurants lining Manhattan Avenue), Brooklyn's Greenpoint is moving far beyond its image as the spill-over 'hood for displaced Williamsburg dwellers. Taking strides against aggressive gentrification that 21st-century New York is known for, the new generation of Greenpointers are assuming an inclusive—rather than exclusive—approach to their G train-riding community.
Beginning with the revitalization of the warehouse district of a once desolate Franklin Avenue, each new venture that opens in Brooklyn's northern most quarter is subtly tied to its roots—hip dance clubs maintain their original Polish dance hall aesthetic, corner bars host communal neighborhood game nights, and clothing boutiques always pick the local labels first. Still resisting any sort of social or geographic pigeon-holing, this Brooklyn enigma remains a neighborhood on the verge.
• Alter, 109 Franklin Street, 718-784-8818
Tommy Cole and Roy Caires—designing duo behind the re-constructed vintage label This Old Thing—opened their Franklin Street outpost last March. And after just a year in operation, the two have have managed to raise the bar for the neighborhood's fashion offerings. The dark wood storefront provides street-chic Brooklynites with Cheap Monday denim, Preloved cardigans, and Poetic License pumps, as well as a large selection of hand-picked vintage wares scouted by the antiques-obsessed twosome.
• Brooklynski, 145 Driggs Avenue, 718-389-0901
Husband-and-wife team Basia Grocholski Douglas Friedmutter pay homage to their Polish heritage as well their traditionally Eastern-European immigrant neighborhood with their novelty shop Brooklynski (Polish for "of Brooklyn"). Operating as an eclectic treasure trove of stylish odds and ends, the nearly year-old outpost sells eco-friendly home wares and locally made accessories like Deadly Squire pillows, Sukie notebooks, Archipelago candles, and logo T-shirts and totes emblazoned with the shop's signature coat of arms.
• Permanent Records, 181 Franklin Street, 718-383-4083;
Relocated last May from their previous home in Northport, Long Island, Permanent Records provides Greenpoint's music-centric crowd with its daily dose of sonic sustenance. Owner Margorie Eienburg serves up new and used CDs, LPs, and 45s, not to mention a small selection of DVD's, books, and always-changing DJ ephemera.
• Dalaga, 150 Franklin Street, 718-389-4049
Opened in July 2006 by local designer Michelle Mangiliman, Dalaga brings a softer, feminine vibe to an otherwise industrial Franklin Street. Inside the ornate boudoir-inspired space, locals will find the proprietor's own line of Victorian-infused dresses alongside Blank skinny jeans, Tretorn boots, and Val Halla handbags.
• Hayden-Harnett, 211 Franklin Street, 718-349-2247
Growing from its beginnings in 2005 as a handbag line designed and shipped from Toni Hacker and Ben Harnett's Brooklyn apartment, Hayden-Harnett has become Greenpoint's newest generation of leather artisans. Since opening their flagship corner shop last year, the duo have expanded from their now-signature line of totes and wallets to offer a newly launched clothing collection as well as a supply of La Compagnie De Provence soaps, D.A.P art books, and home goods from Roost.
• Queen's Hideaway, 222 Franklin Street, 718-383-2355;
With its handwritten menu that changes daily, mix and match aesthetic, and laidback clientele, Queen's Hideaway has become something of a Greenpoint foodie destination. Chef Liza Queen visits the greenmarket regularly and, when the weather cooperates, smokes all her meats in the patio. Expect an always-inspiring selection of home-style dishes laced with a southern flair, including sublime zucchini fritters and a Pork Fest Ought Seven that lives up to its name.
• Eat Records, 124 Meserole Avenue, 718-389-8083
Part record store, part cafe, Eat Records supplies hip-n-hungry locals with nourishment for the ears and bellies. Amid the narrow shop's LP-lined walls, visitors can sip coffee and munch on vegan snacks while scoring tickets to local shows or perusing hard-to-find albums. Recently established, however, is the shop's new pop-up Japanese restaurant Bonjin Diner, which takes over the record store each Thursday night.
Photos via nymag.com
• Diamond Bar, 43 Franklin Street, 718-383-5030
When a single glass of beer is going for as much as $30, you know Dave Pollock is serious about his drink of choice. Along with his wife Alex, Pollock opened Diamond Bar last June to create a place for bona-fide beer geeks to congregate over the choicest brews out there. For those who like to sip their drink while engaging in some good old-fashioned gaming, the bar offers indoor shuffleboard and quoits as well as a variety of horseshoes to keep regulars entertained.
• Black Rabbit, 91 Greenpoint Avenue, 718-349-1595;
Fashioned like a turn of the century tavern, complete with a working fireplace, private doored booths (complete with a buzzer to get your waiters attention) and framed collegiate photographs, Black Rabbit offers an ever-changing selection of seasonal cocktails daily as well as trivia on Sunday nights.
Left photo via hyperakt.com
• Studio B, 259 Banker St., 718-389-1880
The dance crowd gathers at Studio B nearly every night of the week to move under the strobe lights of the former Polish dance hall that's quickly become one of New York's most appealing music venues. From DFA record release parties and legendary DJ Alan Braxe's French house sets to experimental rock outfit Black Dice's artfully crafted noise, each night at Studio B brings the reliably loud and unexpected.
A neighborhood on the fringe reveals Brooklyn's most enigmatic destination.