Bedford Avenue

On view now at Figureworks Gallery: “Without/Color,” Part 1

"Without/Color," Part 1 at Figureworks Gallery ©All images courtesy of Figureworks

There is a gem of a gallery tucked away on the second floor of a quiet, four-story brownstone on 168 North 6th Street in Williamsburg, just off busy Bedford Avenue: Figureworks. And, inside this gallery right now, there is an exhibition of watercolors, drawings, and sculptures that is entirely “void of color.” The effect is transporting in such a way that the gallery seems like a separate world entirely, removed from the cityscape outside and, thus, a perfect respite for those in pursuit of silence and inspiration. Greenpointers recently caught up with gallery Director Randall Harris to discuss this exhibition, “Without/Color” (Part 1). Continue reading

Category: Art/Music, Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 0 Comments

Would You Dare to Launch a Startup?

Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass shop at Bedford Ave., Greenpoint. Photo by Natalia V. Osipova

Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass is the only shop in Brooklyn that sells and repairs jazz players’ instruments.

The owner, Eric Downs, 42, opened his niche business about a year ago. He sells saxophones, flutes, trumpets and other instruments. He said the shop has been profitable since the first 30 days of operation.

“There is no competition,” he said. Located on Bedford, the Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass serves professional musicians and all the high schools in the area.

He said he was confident about launching a startup during the economic downturn. Downs is a professional saxophone player. He said it gives him an advantage because most craftsmen who work on music instruments are not.

He saved to open his shop in Greenpoint for 10 years. The rent security deposit was $20,000. Downs said he still needs time for a payback. In terms of payroll and balance sheets, he hopes to recover his initial investments in the shop in one or two years. His business is yet in transition stage. “I am nearly at the point to start hiring people,” said Downs.

He said he was lucky to get a commercial lease in Greenpoint. In New York City, in general, there’s a fight for a good place to rent. The landlord is in the restaurant business so he didn’t consider Downs a competitor. There’s no possible way to try to open a restaurant in this area, – said Downs. “A usual lifespan of a new restaurant in New York is six to nine months,” he said, “Competition is ridiculous.”

Blue ocean strategy worked perfectly for Downs. In case you are a businessman planning to launch a start-up in Greenpoint, here’s a bunch of helpful resources.

The Greenpoint Business Alliance (GBA) is an association of merchants, businesses, property owners and community organizations of the neighborhood. Its mission is to support the economic development through collaboration of businesses within the 11222 zip code.

If you have not yet come up with your business idea, a local blog could inspire you to bring the neighborhood something everybody is longing for.

The New York Times offers an efficient tool to find recent real-estate prices in Greenpoint. Another helpful website has recent rent statistics.

Finally, a good way to save up is to explore the waterfront area. Developments there are eligible for a 25-year tax exemption if 20% of the on-site units are provided for low-income households or 25 percent of the on-site units are provided for low and moderate households, New York City Greenpoint-Williamsburg inclusionary housing program reports.

Are you planning to launch a start-up in Greenpoint? Why do you think it’s the right or wrong time?

Category: Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quickie: All’s Well With Kettle Pie

Last week I posted about a new spot to open in the old Raymund’s Place on Bedford Avenue and Eater confirms that the space is going to be called Allswell.

Nate Smith, the chef who left The Spotted Pig and helmed Prospect Heights tavern Dean Street for the better part of the month, has a new restaurant in the works in Williamsburg. He and two partners will open a 40-seat bar and restaurant called Allswell there this September. – Read more here.

Opening September 2011
124 Bedford Avenue

Category: News | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kettle Pie

Updated post here.

Long time Williamsburg Polish restaurant Raymund’s Place quietly closed up shop a few weeks ago despite “renovation” signs. A new restaurant – Kettle Pie – has applied for their liquor license and apparently will be taking it’s place. Kettle Pie Inc. was recently incorporated and falls into the “bakeries & catering” category… Curiouser and curiouser…

110624464 by eater_ny

Kettle Pie
Coming Soon?
124 Bedford Avenue

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Nights and Weekends

Eater has the lowdown on the new spot opening Monday to grace the NaBedLo triangle (gotta love Kea for that coinphrase!) – Nights & Weekends. Coming to you from the folks of Five Leaves, it sounds promising with “a menu inspired by the West Indies and Cuba, and a cocktail list that includes a number of rum-based drinks”.

Nights and Weekends
1 Bedford Avenue
Opens Monday June 20th, 2011

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 0 Comments

Greenpoint Gift Guide: Mini Mini Market

MiniMiniMarket is a sweet shop that has been in Williamsburg over a decade! Since 1999 owners Erika Vala and Dana Schwister have been offering everything from dresses to shoes to perfume to cards to one-of-a-kind jewelry. An ideal spot for gift shopping!

This year go glitzy and glam for Christmas with these whimsicle and fancy ornaments by BlackRuby. These fun little flying discs are hand-made by painter Donna Tryk. They are styrofoam & plastic covered in paint and glitter and come in three sizes. This is the only year she is making them and they are only at the MiniMiniMarket – so don’t miss out! Ornaments are $13 small, $15 medium, and $17 large.

donnas ornaments

Lavishy makes quirky and fun wallets. MiniMiniMarket has been carrying them for a few years and they are always a hit! You just can’t help smiling when you look at their sweet embellishments. Just take a peek at their birdcage wallet – I dare you not to get all warm and fuzzy inside. Small Birdcage Wallet. $30


218 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Category: Greenpoint Gift Guide, Style/Shopping | Tags: , , , | 0 Comments

Greenpoint Gift Guide: MeMe Antenna

MeMe Antenna in Williamsburg is an adorable gift shop focusing on vintage, fashion & music. The website seems to focus on the music but the shop has much more to offer. A cute spot to pick out stocking stuffers or hostess gifts.

Sweet little Japanese gift pouches are nice little extras for using a gift packaging for other gifts and they’re only $22 each.
And everyone loves candles. You cannot go wrong with a bottle of wine and a pretty candle. Ever. The Zuz Candle is just $25.
And MeMe Antennae is offering FREE gift wrapping to Greenpointers readers. Just say “Checked Greenpointers” at the store and it’s yours. And it really IS cute gift wrapping!

218 Bedford Ave #1-L
Brooklyn NY 11211
t. (347)223-4219

Category: Deals, Greenpoint Gift Guide, Style/Shopping | Tags: , , , | 0 Comments

Bedford Ave Is a Circus

I got this email from Matthew Silver, the ringleader of The Bedford Circle of Fools. As a native New Yorker I’m of the opinion that when I see this sort of nonsense on the street I ignore it. It also has hipster written all over it.

But after a little peek on the website and reading the Time Out article, I say what’s wrong with someone going around trying to make other people smile? Not a damn thing. Besides, making the local characters into a circus probably isn’t that much of a stretch now, is it?

I’m making Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn into a circus by slowly weaving the local characters, the people I see there every Sunday, store owners, the street vendors, musicians, artists, rent owners, street roamers, performers in to a positive wacky interactive performance, show, movement. Every Sunday I’ve been posing there as the village idiot and slowly I’ve been noticing other characters, people interact with me in interesting ways.

I got a little press in Timeout NY:

For example every time I dance near the store Earwax, the workers now dump a pail of water on me. To see the cast go to Check under the link Circus Entourage on the right to see the cast of locals. I’ve also tried to get other performers involved , they are under Fools on the right.

I want to keep the show community based and always at a grass roots level, a positive influence in helping out the community by creating positive attention, my main goal is to reawaken a colorful wacky, funny, street life which seems to be dying. I want to make Bedford Ave. into a village of happy fools where people have the opportunity let out there inner child in public, which is what I’ve been doing.In NY, a city that has unconsciously suppressed itself to sleep, The Bedford Circus of Fools has been called upon by the cosmos to re-awaken the spontaneous creative spirit on public streets. Watch as the colorful locals become gradually weaved into a weekly performance of love, laugh, and wackiness on Bedford Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY! Wake up, oh glorious child! Check out The front page has some of the best pictures and video clips.

Matthew Silver

Category: Culture, Events | Tags: , , | 0 Comments

14 Bedford Avenue

Everyone’s talking about who the celebrity silent partner is in on 14 Bedford Ave. No I have no idea who it might be, but for the record it’s in Greenpoint – not Williamsburg. Oh, I give up.

BlackBook had a post about it and it mentions it’s the old Theresa’s Hair Salon but I remember it as the old Say What, Say When where my mom and I used to get our hair done years and years ago. I even want to say that Theresa was a stylist there but don’t quote me on it. I used to even have an old business card from the place. Yellow with like a mens and womens head connected together by their hair. Tres chic, no? Man, I got my haircut from those people when they were still on Manhattan Avenue. I mean that had to be like 1985.

And sadly my hair was in some sort of cross between an afro and a mullet.

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , , | 0 Comments