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.
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