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greenpoint, brooklyn: part one

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this is the first of a few leisurely threads on the greenpoint, brooklyn neighborhood.


Greenpoint, Brooklyn map + history (thx to greenpunkt):



a timeline of the neighborhood's history:


1638 - the Dutch West India Company negotiated the right to settle Brooklyn from the Lenape Tribe

1645 – 1st Euro Dirck Volckertsen bought a peninsula of salt marsh, meadows and sandy beachline from the Dutch West India Company & built a house atop a small knoll which stood just west of the present day intersection of Calyer and Franklin Streets.

1777 - as the American Revolution raged, four new homesteads were built on the quiet and isolated land. The British Army had an encampment in Greenpoint during the Revolution, which caused considerable hardship for the families; ie., Abraham Meserole's son was imprisoned on suspicion of revolutionary sympathies (note the Meserole Street name).

1834 - Neziah Bliss, after having purchased some 30 acres of land, had this surveyed.

1839 - first Bliss houses constructed. The interim between survey and construction might best be explained by the isolation of Greenpoint. Prior to the completion of what was named the Ravenswood, Green-Point and Hallet’s Cove turnpike, access to the land of Greenpoint was, at best, inconvenient. The turnpike ran along present day Franklin Avenue.

1848 - first school & first general store opened on the turnpike (at Franklin and Freeman streets)

1850 - ferry system established , Greenpoint Avenue to 10th street on Manhattan.

1854 - installation of gaslights to the town

1862 - the most famed of all the ships assembled in Greenpoint was launched from the Continental Iron Works yard (located at Calyer and West Street). This was the USS Monitor, the world's first ironclad, turreted warship, measuring 173' long and displacing over 900 tons. On March 9th, 1862 the USS Monitor engaged with the CSS Virginia in one of the most significant naval battles of the Civil War. Although niether side decisively won the battle, naval warfare was forever changed: the history of wooden warships had ended.

1867 - the Astral Oil Works refinery built, Astral Apartments were later built to house its employees

1872 - Faber Pencils factory (between Greenpoint Ave and Kent St on Franklin)

1874 - Saint Anthony's church built, which stands as a kind of emblem of Greenpoint


Demographics  - pop 40k. Germans and Irish arrived in the mid-19th century and large numbers of Polish people, which dominate to this day began arriving before the turn of the century. Greenpoint today is well known as an extremely active Polish immigrant neighborhood, 2nd largest concentration after the city of Chicago. There is a little Hispanic & African American, etc, but not much, racially this is largely a white folks neighborhood (80+%).  After a long history as a stable, working-class neighborhood and immigrant haven, Greenpoint is seeing spillover Williamsburg gentrification today (ie., the wealthy, caucasian, suburbanite, post-college hipsters). The neighborhood is extremely popular with this crew so I don’t see that letting up – in fact 16,700 new residents to the neighborhood are expected by 2013 in 7,300 new units of housing  (new stuff along the formerly industrial waterfront, some renovation & infill too).


Notable Greepointers:  Actress Mae West, children's book author Margaret Wise Brown, actor Mickey Rooney, pop singer Pat Benatar, bank robber Willie Sutton and writer Henry Miller. Lots of movies/tv/videos  are filmed here, mostly along the gritty waterfront.


Crossing newtown creek




you can see the williamsburgh bridge and the Williamsburg bank in downtown Brooklyn are in the distance. Close up, you can also see how this northernmost section is turning over from industrial to residential.



Some view of midtown manhattan here!



Ash/commercial street is the northernmost street





Good idea!



Stacked shipping containers



More great views here in a park on the NE most section of greenpoint



Hanging windowboxes on a dull stretch is another nice idea




This old waterfront warehouse has an faded ‘pierce steam’ sign



More brick patina



between the warehouses views west over the east river toward some manhattan




This is where greenpoint avenue, a main neighborhood drag, meets the waterfront



looking west along greenpoint ave



Instead of industrial buildings or scrub, whixh ccounts for the majority of riverside greenpoint streets,

greenpoint avenue itself actually has housing right up to a waterfront park



Note to self, tell my spouse about this shop  – ha!  :laugh:




The waterfront park



Nice views even if it’s not exactly kept up like central park  :laugh:



A look south at the new Williamsburg waterfront construction, is this on the way for greenpoint?




these are the greenpoint terminal warehouses, much of this historic waterfront property was burned out in a massive and very suspicious may, 2006 fire:








Too bad, prior to that the warehouses had these cool flyover skyways















Something unusual here, wooden sidewalks. It’s the only place in nyc to still have them (outside of a small patch in front of the ear inn bar in westernmost soho). Does anyplace in ohio still have these other than hessler street in cleveland?






Greenpoint! stay tuned for more to come



preview: as we move off the gritty waterfront it gets cuter…



…and much more beautiful too, promise!  :wink:



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I never cared for Greenpoint but those are some wonderful skyline shots.

"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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They had those flyover walkways as part of the Belknaps wholesale/warehouse complex on the Louisville riverfront.  In fact Washington Street used to look a lot like that B/W pick.


I think Greenpoint was the setting for the move "Last Exit to Brooklyn", or was that another neighborhood?





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jeffery they may have filmed some of the movie version in greenpoint, not sure, but selby's 'last exit' story is mostly set in the southern waterfront brooklyn neighborhoods of red hook and sunset park (ie., the dockyard strike was at the bush terminal). you can see sunset park and the bush terminal on this thread i did last year:


i'll get back to red hook with the camera too, eventually!


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Ah, I see..thanks for the info on the movie. 


I really like those reinforced concrete loft buildings.  I guess the one thats been gutted...they are going to renovate it?  Here in Dayton they are tearing the loft stuff down, so nice to see places where its still around. 


But as we can see from Greenpoint they really add character and a grit, make the place feel urban.

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