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One of the best ways to get a feel for a place is by reading a neighborhood's blog. In our Confessions of a Neighborhood Blogger series, we spoke to the writers who chronicle the controversies, preoccupations and happenings of their chosen slice of the city. Now, we're checking in again to see what's changed, what's stayed the same, and what's the story dominating every street corner.
A few things have changed since Jen Galatioto took over Greenpointers, a seven-year-old blog that documents life in the North Brooklyn neighborhood, in 2012. For one, she moved to nearby Ridgewood, Queens, though she still works in Greenpoint. And for another, the blog is now her full-time gig, staffed by more than 20 paid contributors, most of whom live in the neighborhood.
When we last spoke to Galatioto, she lamented the rising rents and rapid development in Greenpoint—which have both kept pace in the intervening year. So is gritty Greenpoint a thing of the past? Below, Galatioto gives us the lowdown.
What's different about Greenpoint since our last check-in?
Some major changes to the neighborhood in the past year have been skyrocketing—even more—rents and lots of new businesses opening up on Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street, but also many businesses closing. Also, our beloved East River Ferry landing at India Street is no longer in service because the pier collapsed into the river many months ago and it has still not been repaired, which leaves many Greenpointers with less convenient modes of transportation. [Editor's note: The ferry reopened July 27.] Namely the G train, which will be out of service to Greenpoint the entire month of August.
What recent closures shocked you?
Unleash, a huge dog daycare facility, which also had a rescue organization called Dog Habitat, closed on Franklin Street because of a huge raise in rent. It was a loss to folks who have dogs in the area and need to go farther for daycare, but also the location was a real hub for rescues and strays. If someone lost a pet, most people brought it there and they saved many animals there. It is worrisome that there is no longer this important go-to for animals in need.
What new places should we check out?
This could be a very long list: Dirck the Norseman, a restaurant/bar on 15th Street; Bakeri, a bakery on Franklin Street; Adaptations NY for home interiors; People of 2Morrow, a secondhand shop; Bklyn Curated for vintage and curiosities; Coco68, a restaurant; and Konditori, a coffee shop.
Last time, you advised Greenpoint newcomers to put on a friendly face and buy local. What's your best advice now?
Same. Don't think about what you can get out of a neighborhood, but what you can give. That means being a good neighbor to folks and businesses alike. Keep it local!
The biggest controversy a year ago was the massive apartment complex Greenpoint Landing, which is going ahead. What has neighbors up in arms these days?
What's Greenpoint missing?
Gosh, it feels like we have everything, but a common and simple desire is more inexpensive lunch options. Many people now stay and work in Greenpoint and lots of folks want more lunch options. We have a few great options like Eagle St Trading Co and Charlotte Patisserie to name a few, but we want more!
What could Greenpoint do without?
I think we have over 25 cafes and countless bars.
Would you consider moving back to Greenpoint?
I do still live in Ridgewood and own my place so I really couldn't feasibly move back, but I would love to live in Greenpoint. As a local blogger, the prices are just too damn high for me to afford, though. When I sit on the lawn looking at the East River at Transmitter Park, I do say to myself, "We don't have this in Ridgewood," nor do we have so many amazing food, bar, cafe or shopping options.
Is it hard to blog about a neighborhood when you don’t “live” there?
I am in Greenpoint everyday, and we have over 20 contributors who create most of the content, so from that perspective it is not hard. I like that when I come home to Ridgewood I'm not "working/blogging" and can just enjoy going out to eat and not having to document it. Plus, most of my friends live or work there [and] we do happy hour in Greenpoint every Friday, so I feel like I am there more than I am home.