A Q&A With Greenpoint’s Post-Denominational Pastor


In its days as the Lutheran Church of the Messiah, the Russell Street fixture was already veering toward a looser interpretation of spirituality. It provided a haven for traditional religious services as much as it accommodated some of the more off-beat tastes of its neighbors, who helped make things like “Punk Rope” and “No Lights No Lycra” a well-known part of Greenpoint life.

Now, membership is open to anyone of any religious persuasion (including all you atheists), making Greenpoint look way ahead of Pope Francis as he graces our city today to promote tolerance and inclusivity. No longer exactly a church, but the “Park Church Co-op,” it stands as a reminder that though religion is beginning to embrace progressive ideals in a much more public way, the movement has been well underway thanks to some of the more low-profile leaders like Pastor Amy Kienzle.

Kienzle officially rebranded the church in June in a move that was largely a response to our changing demographic, even though not all members necessarily welcomed the shift. That said, the future looks bright for Kienzle and her growing community.

With this in mind, Greenpointers sat down with Pastor Amy to get the scoop about all the exciting programs her church is offering to the community these days.

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Between the Real and Virtual: UNCANNY Explores 3D at REVERSE

Uncanny_OpeningRemember Second Life? It’s a platform that gives users the ability to create 3D virtual spaces and interact with one another as avatars. When I first dabbled with it, I was drawn to the numerous possibilities. I imagined a new kind of online shopping where instead of looking at lists and product images, my avatar would walk down an aisle full of items and bump into other shoppers along the way. I created an account and explored various “worlds”. I attended a political debate. Then one night, I dressed up and went to a virtual beach club. The landscape was beautiful and the music was good. I “danced” for about 15 minutes before I realized the reality of the situation – that I was in my PJs sitting in my bedroom furiously tapping the CTRL key on a Friday night.

But does that make the experience less “real”? I met people from around the world in a space that inspired the imagination and I took the time to create the movements and image of an avatar. Self-expression plus interaction, however digital, was present and was arguably less inhibited by the limits of physical space. Through the work of five artists, this notion of “immersive experiences that oscillate between real and virtual space” is explored in REVERSE gallery’s UNCANNY, a group show about 3D virtual environments (28 Frost St). Continue reading

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The Most Colorful Character in Greenpoint History: Pete McGuinness


People who’ve read “Greenpoint’s Forgotten Past” have asked me who my favorite character from local history was. Without a second’s hesitation I say, Pete McGuinness, the King of Greenpoint.

So who was McGuinness and what made him so special? The short answer: he was the political “boss” of Greenpoint for thirty years until his death in 1948.

The longer answer is that he was  perhaps the most beloved person ever in Greenpoint and a legend. He wasn’t just from Greenpoint- he was Greenpoint, so synonymous with it, that it was hard to think of one without the other.

His rise to power was improbable- a grammar school drop-out dockworker who challenged the powerful corrupt local political machine and won. His thirty year hold on power was even more improbable still, but most incredible of all was that Pete turned out to be the amongst the rarest of politicians, being both honest and effective. Continue reading

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Drunkpointers: Visit God Bless Deli for 4:00 a.m. Curly Fries and Bacon Cheeseburgers


Sometimes nothing else matters in your life besides an all-encompassing need for curly fries at 4:00 a.m. You can get regular french fries almost anywhere. But curly fries? Especially spicy curly fries? That’s when you go to God Bless Deli.

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Greenpoint Block Fest, Nightsoil, Cider Celebration – What’s happening, Greenpoint? (9/23–9/29)

BrooklynPour_Logo_Ad_2015[sponsored] 5th Annual Village Voice Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival

Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St,
Saturday 9/26, 3pm, $55
Featuring over 100+ craft brews from New York and beyond, aficionados can sample the best seasonal, micro, and reserve brews, plus enjoy food, entertainment, and more! Buy tix

There are more events in our weekly calendarSubmit Greenpoint events, too!

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.15.31 PMWEDNESDAY 9/23
* Who Is Bozo Texino? @ Light Industry (155 Freeman St) 7:30pm, $8, A poetic inquiry into the aesthetics and culture of hobo graffiti, More info
♫ Fancy Hair @ Macri Park (462 Union Ave) 11pm, FREE, With DJs Dicap and Timothy Allen Living, shows, tattoos, and more, RSVP

fall-feteTHURSDAY 9/24
* Archipelago Books Fall Fête @ Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave) 7pm, $60, Celebrate world literature and independent publishing with an open bar, appetizers, live music, raffles, gift bags, and good books, More info
# Aaron Burr Cider Celebration @ North Brooklyn Farms (320 Kent Ave) 7pm, $95, A sampling of Aaron Burr ciders will be paired with a bountiful five-course farm-to-table meal, Buy tix
☺ Drunk Science @ Annoyance Theater (367 Bedford Ave) 9:30pm, $5, Three intoxicated comedians compete to present the best scientific dissertation to a panel of real scientists, More info
* Out of the Ash @Glasshouse ArtLifeLab (246 Union Ave) Opening night 8pm, $25 An immersive, multimedia theater experience that transports guests to a fantastically maniacal realm where a cyclically diabolical house party takes place. Buy tix

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Punk Rope’s “Skip for Syria’s Children” Charity Event (9/26)

skip for Syria's childrenThe tragedies faced by Syrians now turned refugees is undeniable as many families have fled their homeland going anywhere that would accept them openly. As more and more families are displaced, it is nice to know that organizations, such as Punk Rope Games, are making an effort to provide emergency medical services for Syrian refugees. In the past, Punk Rope Games have been distinguished by hilarious costumes, wacky fitness challenges, rope jumping, and good sportsmanship. They are a celebration of play, fitness, and community and are a welcome departure in substance and style from most fitness competitions.

This year, they are combining what they are known for with a humanitarian cause.

Punk Rope’s founder, Tim Haft, has decided to donate 100% of the profits from the event’s registration fees and merch sales to the valiant efforts of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees. The 7th Annual Punk Rope Games will take place on Sat, Sept 26 from 11:30am-2pm at Newtown Barge Playground. Continue reading

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Laura & Greg Take Manhattan (Ave.)

Illustration (c) Johnnie Cluney

You ever meet two people you’re crazy about? In a Platonic way now. Let’s keep it clean. I recently met with two songwriters on Manhattan Ave. and started asking them questions. Deep dark questions for Laura & Greg.

Well not really. They were the awkward questions of a fan, and I had to step up my game to present them right.

Also, they were Rotoscoping on a video Greg made, which put them in Linklater territory, and we had a hardcore punk past (and present) we both shared and loved.

Forever For Sure, their latest compilation, is mostly acoustic, with Laura’s Appalachia harmonies ready at hand. But they tell me their next album is running a little more wild, that the sound of Forever is just what was suited for those times. Continue reading

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Who was Patrick McCarren?


Recently there was controversy about the naming rights to the McCarren Park Pool. A company offered money for the naming rights and many locals became angry about the proposed name change. Truth is, few people know anything about Patrick McCarren.

I have been researching McCarren for a book I am writing about Williamsburg . He was a fascinating, amazingly corrupt figure. In his day he was not just a powerful local boss, but was also powerful on the national level. Born in 1849 in Massachusetts, he grew up locally. Too poor to afford higher education, McCarren started life in the local sugar mills, but was ambitious. Politics in the eighteen seventies was almost the only way a humble man could acquire wealth and power. Continue reading

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Taste Talks Takes Over Wythe Avenue

Saturday Chicken & Waffles Brunch by Pies & Thighs cred - janebruce 500
Saturday Chicken & Waffles Brunch by Pies & Thighs. © Jane Bruce

Taste Talks knows the way to every hungover food-loving Brooklynite’s heart is through a drumstick on a waffle.

That’s how the third annual Taste Talks, a food and discussion festival at The Wythe Hotel, Kinfolk Studios and Colossal Media in Williamsburg, kicked off last Saturday.

You can’t go wrong with Pies-n-Thighs on the fryer, and waffles and syrup to drown out the pain of a long week. Continue reading

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Garbage, Garbage Trucks, & Zoolander: The Hook-Up 9/19

Via Twitter: @BKbroadcast
Via Twitter: @BKbroadcast

The Franchesca Mini Market between Eagle and Dupont has certainly seen better days. Not much word yet on what created the behemoth-shaped hole in the bodega’s storefront, but one tweet suggests it was a garbage truck accident.

Another Ben Stiller movie? It’s happening here in Greenpoint. The crew of Zoolander 2 is doing their film thing at the site of Hansel’s loft.

The Salvation Army is the latest community fixture to get priced out of the neighborhood. Its 981 Manhattan Ave. location is now on the market for the first time since 1973. Continue reading

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