Greenpoint

Baoburg Moves to Greenpoint

Back courtyard at Baoburg's new home in Greenpoint
Beautiful back courtyard at Baoburg’s new home in Greenpoint

Get excited, Greenpointers— your walk to some seriously delicious Asian fusion just got shorter. Baoburg has moved to our very own stretch of Manhattan Avenue (between Nassau and Driggs). Chef Suchanan Aksornnan (aka Chef Bao Bao) had been delighting patrons in Williamsburg since 2013, but was forced to move her restaurant as a result of Thor Equities’ new mixed-use building. The menu is inspired by a variety of Asian cuisines with some nods to Spanish and French cooking as well. The interior of the new location at is still quite small, but Baoburg gained a beautiful back courtyard in its new home. I recommend walking straight to this oasis to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and brick facades of the outdoor space you wish was your own. Continue reading

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The Brooklyn Barge is Officially Open For Summer!

photo via @thebrooklynbarge Instagram
photo via @thebrooklynbarge/Instagram

Late last summer, Greenpoint got its own waterfront boozy destination when The Brooklyn Barge opened right off of Transmitter Park, and it quickly became the perfect spot for chill evenings on the water. Despite being closed for few weeks after Memorial Day weekend, they’re open and ready for business once again with local beers on tap and a revamped food menu. And it just was announced that they’ll be throwing a Fourth of July party for the Macy’s fireworks show!!
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Last Night’s Wye Oak Show At Warsaw

Wye Oak, photo by Erik Keithley.
Wye Oak, photo by Erik Keithley.

It could be easy to dismiss Wye Oak as another band for the denim shirt crowd—mellow, buttery dream-folk churned to the point of blandness. But the Baltimore duo, who played at Warsaw in Greenpoint Tuesday night, have some seriously un-bland musical chops—they’re kind of a reverse White Stripes, and that’s a good thing. Where The White Stripes had grit and a lack of polish, Wye Oak sound and look totally put together, as if they’ve walked out of a J Crew catalogue, if J Crew was trying to lean into the indie musician angle this season.

Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner have been making music together for 10 years, so their on stage collaboration is truly comfortable. Musically, they finish each others’ sentences. Andy keeps the rhythm rolling, simultaneously playing synths with one hand and drumming with the other, while Jenn is the mouthpiece for the band (Andy isn’t even mic’d) and shreds on the guitar. The pair are truly making gender-balanced rock: even though the vocals are female, their music isn’t feminine. Most of the time Jenn’s voice is melting into the back of the soundscape, creating a lush, oceany resonance. And when her voice isn’t buried back there, she sounds like a nymph-like ghost. It’s haunting, romantic and powerful music. Continue reading

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A History of Greenpoint in 25 Buildings: The Leviton Building

Screen shot 2016-05-25 at 4.26.09 PM
The company is long gone, but the building remains. The Leviton Building just off McGuinnness Boulevard on Greenpoint Avenue has an interesting history. The Leviton Company was founded in 1906 by Evser Leviton and his son Isidor. They began by manufacturing brass mantle tips for the natural gas lights in Manhattan, and sold their goods on a pushcart on the Bowery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Then, Isidor designed a screw-in lampholder for Thomas Edison’s Electric Lamp in 1910 and within ten years the lampholders were being used in apartments all over New York, making the faimily rich! They started to make other electrical devices, especially light switches. By 1922 business was so booming that they didn’t have the capacity to assemble their more than six hundred products solely in Manhattan, so Leviton moved to Greenpoint. In 1936 they built the present day factory that occupied the whole block between Newell and Jewel streets. Continue reading

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Make Your Voice Heard On North Williamsburg Traffic

The official traffic data collection plan, via the NYC DOT's first public presentation of the North Williamsburg Transportation Study
The official traffic data collection plan, via the NYC DOT‘s first public presentation of the North Williamsburg Transportation Study

If you’ve noticed a treacherous traffic signal or wished for the addition of a particular crosswalk on the streets of Greenpoint or North Williamsburg, now’s your chance to speak up. In the ongoing North Williamsburg Transportation Study, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is surveying the portion of Brooklyn Community District #1 that stretches north of Broadway and Flushing Avenue between Newtown Creek and the East River to boost both safety and convenience for commuters. The initiative is a response to complaints and transportation hitches as the hot neighborhood grows increasingly crowded with architectural developments and thronged with both inhabitants and visitors.

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BK Buttons #1: Greenpoint Avenue

A badge of honor, perhaps?
A badge of honor, perhaps?

Writing for Grenepointers.com, I receive a ton of emails, but recently one caught my eye with the subject: BROOKLYN BUTTONS #1: Greenpoint Avenue.

The email was very short and cryptic, basically saying they made these diecast pins and wanted to know how many I wanted. I followed up asking for a quick chat over the phone and someone from BKButtons called me but now I’m even more confused? Continue reading

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A Taste for Books: The Love & Lemons Cookbook

Love & Lemons Cookbook; image from www.loveandlemons.com
Love & Lemons Cookbook; image from www.loveandlemons.com

For the second piece in the Taste for Books series (last time we discussed Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed), we take a look at the blog turned cookbook “Love & Lemons.” Of course, we bought and read this book as part of the monthly cookbook club at Archestratus (160 Huron Street), but it’s one of those cookbooks that’s gone mainstream – featured at Whole Foods and on store shelves at Anthropologie. So what is it that makes this book so popular? Let’s explore together after the jump. Continue reading

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Free Summer Concert Series at House of Vans Kicked Off with Jon Hopkins, The Field, and Black Madonna

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The first of House of Vans Summer Concert Series featured Jon Hopkins, The Black Madonna, The Field with Fixed NYC

On a crisp, first-glimpse-of-summer night, with nigh a sk8rboi in sight, Jon Hopkins and electro company kicked off the annual free concert series at House of Vans (25 Franklin St) in Greenpoint.

Capture d’écran 2016-06-06 à 12.33.38Exceedingly referential with sponsoredstreetart and a lightinstallation” that referenced a once-flickering warehouse marquee, Vans’ branded millennial pandering was never a distraction from evening’s chilled-out vibes, free orange-vanilla seltzer, nor the gaunt and smiley Hopkins’ superb set. Hopkins music, often slow to build, develops meditatively through repetition. You could even hear someone scream, “where’s the drop?”

Outdoor music, while often exchanging sound quality for experiential novelty, has the unique quality of gathering diverse groups of people together, especially when free.

There are five more shows coming up. Check them out: Continue reading

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Learning About Polish Food at MOFAD’s “Tracing North Brooklyn’s Polish Food Heritage”

MOFAD City North Brooklyn Polish Food Panel
L to R: Filip Stabrowski, Annie Hauck-Lawson and Andrew Konopka

In their effort to educate us on all things food and drink, the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) in Williamsburg recently launched a new series of talks hoping to “preserve and promote” the culinary history and foodways surrounding specific New York City neighborhoods as a part of their MOFAD City project. Each panel takes place in that specific neighborhood with community leaders joining the discussion. After the first talk, which focused on Crown Heights, they came “back home” for “Tracing North Brooklyn’s Polish Food Heritage” Thursday May 19th in their MOFAD Lab exhibit design studio at 62 Bayard Street. The panel involved Gastropolis: Food and New York City author and Brooklyn Mompost founder, Annie Hauck-Lawson; Busy Bee Food Exchange owner, Andrew Konopka; and urban anthropologist, Filip Stabrowski.

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Shot! Free Screening of Danny Brown Documentary TONIGHT at House Of Vans

Premiere week kick-off begins at House of Vans with Danny Brown concert doc.
House of Vans and Rooftop Films partner to bring the world premiere of Danny Brown: Live at the Majestic

In a world full of bullshit and bullshitters, Danny Brown is as clean as a whistle. In fact, his authenticity is perhaps as pure as a baby bull’s shit. No matter how it’s put, Danny Brown is a true artist, and there’s a new documentary out tonight that will school you on the matter.

Directed by Andrew Cohn (of Medora fame), Danny Brown: Live at the Majestic captures raw moments with the indie rapper as he prepares for a homecoming show at The Majestic Theatre in Detroit. With 21 cameras, Cohn’s crew captured full coverage of the live show, but the documentary also includes intimate footage with Danny in his own hometown.

The film premieres tonight at House of Vans in Greenpoint as part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series, and it will be followed up with a live performance by Danny Brown himself.

Andrew Cohn, whose career initially started with screenwriting in Los Angeles, but who is now based in Brooklyn, enjoyed much success with his first documentary, Medora. The heart-wrenching doc follows a seemingly hopeless small-town high school basketball team through their losing streak in Medora, Indiana. The film premiered at SXSW, and it won an Emmy last year. 

Andrew Cohn at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Demis Maryannakiss)
Andrew Cohn at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Demis Maryannakiss)

Danny Brown: Live at the Majestic is one of Cohn’s newest documentaries (he also just finished Night School). This time, as with Medora, he seems to have been born to make this film. As a Michiganian, Cohn was a fan of Danny Brown before the rapper’s fame hit global proportions — before XXX or Old hit the charts — back when Brown was just a drug dealer in Detroit trying to make it as a rapper. Cohn says he remembers when it was a big deal whenever Danny was featured on the cover of “Metro Times” in Detroit. As a fellow Midwestern artist, he’s enjoyed seeing Brown’s fame rise as his own filmmaking success has evolved.

I had the chance to catch up with Cohn about the documentary — how it came about and what it was like working with the creative force that is Danny Brown. 

Greenpointers: What made you decide to make a doc on Danny Brown?

Andrew Cohn: It kinda came about as a side project because I was in the middle of making Night School, which I was in Indianapolis for. I had been in touch with his manager about doing a doc… and had lots of ideas that just fizzled and nothing came of [them]. But when I was making Night School… his manager approached me and said, ‘Danny is doing this show…it’s his first time doing a solo show in Detroit in a long time and we wanna film it, and want to talk to you to see if there’s something bigger you want to build around it.’ And immediately I was like ‘That sounds great, I’m close, I already have a crew and a ton of resources in Detroit and Michigan since that’s where I’m from’…So, first thing we wanted to do was shoot the fuck out of the live show…we wanted to just totally blow it out… And then I went back [to Indianapolis] to finish [Night School]. And, obviously, I spent about three days interviewing Danny while I was in Detroit… then had the idea to follow some fans who were at the show, and spent a few days with them, and slowly, slowly it started coming together… It was about a sixteen-month process from the first day of shooting.

GP: How did you find the fans who were featured in the film?

AC: Danny put out a Facebook post asking for fans who were going to be at the show who might be willing to be filmed…and we found some really great characters, you know, his fan base is super, super interesting… I think for Danny, he has a lot of fans who aren’t hip hop fans, a lot of them are punk rock fans. You’ll see a lot of mosh pits at his show. But I think that’s what’s great about Danny — he brings that vulnerability to his song writing. It’s not all braggadocious. He has that street credit, but he also has a punk rock mentality. Like, he refused to sign to a major label, he has this independent streak in him where he just does things his way, and I think the audience really reacts to that. He just has a really wide audience…like a lot of kids that come to his shows, I don’t think they’re gonna see a Drake show. He speaks to people that feel maybe disenfranchised, or people that are attracted to that kind of honesty.

GP: I was really impressed with how open and honest he was [in the film]. Was it easy to get him to open up like that in the conversations you had with him?

AC: Surprisingly so. I’ve done some profiles on some bigger artists and there’s always this kind of wall. They give you the PR spin of, like, an athlete after a basketball game, ‘Both teams played hard’ — this kind of sound byte stuff. But as soon as I met him — and I’m a huge Danny Brown fan — I totally understood why people love him so much. He’s so open and so honest and so vulnerable and raw. There’s none of that fake bullshit.

The first day I met him, we were filming late at night at the EL-P show, and they were all going to go back to Danny’s house and hang out after, and I [asked to come and film] and he was like, ‘Yeah of course!’ But I didn’t have car. I was trying to figure out how I would get back to the hotel…and he was like, ‘Oh, you can spend the night at my house! It’s fine.’ It was the first day I met this guy and he was inviting me to crash on his couch. At the time it didn’t seem like a big deal, but now, looking back, I’m like, ‘Damn, that’s crazy. That’s crazy.’

Danny Brown at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit.
Danny Brown at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit.

GP: So, why did you approach his manager initially? Was it just because you’re a big fan?

AC: Yeah, I mean I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. I remember Danny Brown before he was big at all…he was just another rapper from Detroit. He just opened for people – he was just one of the dozens of rappers in Detroit doing their thing…To see him transcend that and be really big was really really fun to watch. And so when I approached Dart, his manager, I showed him Medora, and he and his wife really loved the film, and knew that they would be in good hands. And I just started this relationship that ended up taking a long time to come to fruition, but I think in the end there was a trust there — like we’re from the same place, we have the same point of view, you know. So that’s what was cool about doing the doc…I didn’t have to sit down and Google ‘Danny Brown’ and do research on who he is…I already knew his full story, so it made it easy when we were interviewing or talking, because I understood where he was coming from.

GP: What made you decide to have the world premiere through Rooftop Films?

AC:  Just because I know Dan [Nuxoll, Program Director], and I know that they put on amazing screenings. The screening they did with Medora was unbelievable…so I knew I would be in good hands. They said that they had requests for 2,100 tickets in like three hours, or something like that, so I knew they would be able to handle the volume and accommodate Danny’s fans. I think that was really important to us — to have something where Danny’s fans have access…[something that] was going to be free, was going to be open to the public…all ages, 18 and over. So that was important to us. And you know, New York is a big market for him, so it made sense.

GP: Most of your work seems to revolve around people in low-income situations. What draws you to that landscape?

AC: I think that I love stories of underdogs. I’m not exactly sure why. I enjoy giving a voice to people who might not be given that platform. I think that there’s a lot of people out there in that part of the country who are really overcoming a lot of odds that don’t really get credit for it. So to be able to shine a light on people who wouldn’t have their stories told is really important to me. I think everyone is attracted to different types of material, and I like just making movies about real people who are trying to live in the real world, you know, and I think there are really courageous stories in that space. And I’m from the Midwest and obviously I love the Midwest — there’s just the frankness of the people — they’re very forthcoming and honest — and so I like telling stories about that part of the country — that part of the world.

GP: What are you working on now?

AC: I just finished my other film, so [I’m] figuring out the rollout with that. I’m doing something for MTV, Vice, ESPN, doing some television stuff, then basically taking a break. This will be my fourth feature film in three years. I’ve been going pretty hard for the past two years, so I’m going to take a break and see what’s next.

GP: Do you have an idea of what you would want to work on next?

AC:  Yeah, I want to take a stab at doing a narrative film. Get back to screenwriting and hopefully direct something narrative. I have a couple ideas for docs. There are plenty of opportunities coming my way and it’s hard to say no, but I need to do laundry, and just get my life back on track.

GP: Get back to the basics.

AC: Yeah, exactly.

GP: I mean, that’s a good problem to have as a filmmaker.

AC: Yeah, I’m super grateful. Especially for the opportunity to make a film about your favorite rapper…it seems so surreal. I’m just grateful to have the relationship with him. He’s just a great guy, you know.

***

Yeah! I know.

Attendance for tonight’s show is on a first come, first serve basis, and doors open at 7. Screening starts at 8:30, followed by a Q&A with Danny Brown and Andrew Cohn. Danny performs at 10PM. House of Vans is located at 25 Franklin Street in Greenpoint. 

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