Discover Greenpoint – The new Williamsburg
With fantastic views over the East River and Manhattan, a rich cultural life and a wave of newly opened bars and restaurants, Greenpoint has become a new go-to destination for New York’s trendiest residents.
The most northerly part of Brooklyn, Greenpoint was long considered the sleepy neighbor of trendy Williamsburg. But when there are simply too many large chain outlets and the tourist hordes become too unbearable, many New Yorkers head north in the hunt for authenticity. Proximity to the water and the construction boom over the past few years have also attracted several leading New York restaurateurs to open new bars and eateries in the area. Food writer Alex Van Buren, who writes for the New York Magazine among others, has seen the transformation of Greenpoint from a nondescript working-class area in the early 2000s to a food destination well worth a detour.
“Greenpoint is very romantic with views across Manhattan. The atmosphere is relaxed compared to Williamsburg, which could be due to the closeness to the water. The food culture has become very international, which is fantastic to see. I love it that a place like Chez Ma Tante has opened where the fish is exquisite and I’m happy to go the extra mile to reach Achilles Heel for its New England feeling and delicious drinks that are also suitable for the daytime,” Van Buren says.
Greenpoint is New York’s “Little Poland” where the population of largely Polish descent has set its stamp on the area with bakeries such as the Old Poland Bakery on 926 Manhattan Avenue, and meat and sauerkraut-heavy restaurants such as Karczama on 136 Greenpoint Avenue. If you have a slightly east European appearance you can be automatically addressed in Polish in a convenience store. Whether you just want to people watch over an Americano in a café, eat brunch with the ever-popular bottomless mimosa concept or go out for an entire evening, Greenpoint can deliver. Van Buren recommends that anyone who wants to get to know New York on a deeper level should investigate the area. “And you can absolutely eat just as well, if not better in Greenpoint than in SoHo right now,” he adds.
Ad agency employee and Greenpoint resident Anne Erickson says the people and all the newly-opened restaurants and bars are the best things about living in Greenpoint.
“Even though Greenpoint is part of New York City, it feels like its own little town. With all the independently owned stores, restaurants and bars, the area can stand firmly on its own two feet. One of my favorite restaurants is the Mexican Oxomoco where it feels as though you’ve been transported from Brooklyn to a holiday oasis. For cocktails I like going to Ramona, their bartenders make fantastic drinks,” she says.
Popular for film and tv productions
The bars, restaurants and McCarren Park are popular locations for movie makers and there’s a good chance of spotting a movie being shot here. Comedians Tina Fey and Aziz Ansari have recorded Netflix series in Greenpoint, while Claire Danes has been spotted filming several scenes in the area for Homeland. Even though the TV series Girls, that was located in Greenpoint, has ended its run, you may well still see series creator Lena Durham strolling around or drinking coffee in Café Grumpy at 193 Meserole Avenue.
Being so close to the river gives the area plenty of benefits for visitors and residents alike. Transmitter Park, where a long bridge extends out over the water, offers impressive views of the Manhattan skyline and to avoid being squashed on the subway, jump on the East River Ferry that goes to and from Greenpoint via Midtown Manhattan, Williamsburg, Wall Street and other stops.
The main thoroughfares, Manhattan Avenue and Greenpoint Avenue, throng with life and movement at all times of the day and evening, while the side streets are somewhat calmer. For now, at least. In November, news broke that US online retail giant Amazon will open half of its new head office in Long Island City, an area just north of Greenpoint. The 25,000 job opportunities it will bring with it would suggest that Greenpoint is set to gain even stronger powers of attraction.
Bill Murray can be your bartender at 21 Greenpoint
The restaurant 21 Greenpoint, that’s owned by actor Bill Murray’s son, feels like finding your own hidey hole. Here they serve everything from a classic American (divinely good) cheeseburger, to seasonally based starters made from locally sourced produce. The uncomplicated menu offers something for everyone and the atmosphere is relaxed. Even though the chances are slim, Bill has been known to drop by and help out behind the bar.
21 Greenpoint Avenue
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Mexican gourmet food at Oxomoco
Mexican pearl Oxomoco was awarded a Michelin star in November, barely six months after first opening. This lively place offers tacos for connoisseurs and many dishes are made in a wood-fired oven, which is the restaurant’s trademark. They also serve brunch seven days a week.
128 Greenpoint Avenue
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Creative pizza at Paulie Gee’s
New York without pizza is like Paris without baguettes, and Paulie Gee’s serve some of the best slices in New York. You can either choose to eat in at the restaurant or swing by the fast food outlet close by for a slice to go. Paulie Gee’s has a big vegan selection and the choice of toppings includes exciting ingredients such as cashew ricotta, brisket in a BBQ sauce and pickled grapes.
60 Greenpoint Ave
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Five Leaves – Brunch in memory of Heath Ledger
The lines that stretch outside Five Leaves on weekend mornings bear witness to an incredibly popular brunch, even though the restaurant also serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.Order oysters, truffle potatoes or a classic bacon and egg breakfast in this hipster hangout restaurant partly financed by the late actor Heath Ledger’s family. Ledger was due to become a part-owner, but died before Five Leaves opened in 2008.
18 Bedford Avenue
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Winter hygge at Achilles Heel
Cozy, trendy and right by the water, Achilles Heel is the perfect bar to sneak into after a day in town. Order one of the local beers and a few well-prepared snacks. The icing on the cake is an open fire to warm yourself in the living room-like setting.
180 West St
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Elegant cocktails at Ramona
If you’re looking for the perfect cocktail, head to Ramona. The drinks list is generous and the bartenders are skilled mixologists who specialize in spicy drinks. The bar, spread over two floors, used to be a strip club, but is now sophistication itself with a long white marble counter.
113 Franklin Street
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Romance is in the air at Chez Ma Tante
Chez Ma Tante is a modest looking neighborhood restaurant on a quiet back street that serves well-prepared gourmet food, inspired by European cuisine. The atmosphere is unpretentious but sophisticated and the food is likewise. In contrast to many New York restaurants that do everything they can to stand out and seek attention, Chez Ma Tante presents timeless dishes such as chicken confit, Caesar salad and swordfish. They also serve a popular brunch with to-die-for syrup-soaked pancakes.
Chez Ma Tante
90 Calyer St
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Published: January 17, 2019
Last edited: February 18, 2019