by Christina Parrella, 04/21/2015
Nassau Avenue. Photo: Julienne Schaer • Selamat Pagi. Courtesy, The Curious Pear
Greenpoint is in transition. Although Brooklyn's northernmost neighborhood retains much of its gritty industrial allure, an influx of residents over the past two decades has altered the area's character, bringing new faces to what was once a predominantly Polish-American immigrant community. Unlike in adjoining Williamsburg, gentrification in Greenpoint has occurred at a relatively modest pace, which has made for an intriguing mix of old and new businesses, side by side, that appeal to a range of interests. These days visitors are as likely to be thrilled by the au courant cuisine at Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co., a combo seafood market and raw bar, as they are by neighborhood institutions like Lomzynianka, a cash-only restaurant renowned for its inexpensive borscht and kielbasa. Whichever you prefer—traditional or contemporary—Greenpoint's homey, unpretentious vibe is palpable, and makes exploring the neighborhood a low-key pleasure.
Roughly bordered by the East River, Newtown Creek, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and North 12th Street, Greenpoint has long been celebrated for its culinary delights, and for good reason. The red-velvet doughnut at Peter Pan Bakery is that variety's apotheosis: buttery, crumbly and crimson to the core; similarly worship-worthy is the burger at Five Leaves, which arrives Australian style, heaped with pickled beets, grilled pineapple, harissa mayo and a fried egg. Those calories come in handy when attempting to enjoy the rest of the neighborhood's diversions, including some of the City's best coffee, stylish finds at affordable vintage shops, concerts at Warsaw at the Polish National Home (where "punk meets pierogies") and artwork by up-and-comers at a variety of galleries. For more of our picks from the neighborhood, read on.
How to get there:
Greenpoint is accessible via the G train, the only New York City subway line that does not enter Manhattan. Take it to the Nassau Avenue stop, where you'll emerge at the corner of Nassau and Manhattan Avenues. (To plan your trip, visit mta.info.) Farther away but still within walking distance is the Bedford Avenue stop on the L train; stroll north from there through McCarren Park to reach the heart of the neighborhood.
Book a hotel in the neighborhood and stay near the action.