Seven years ago, I lived in Greenpoint for a short while. Two friends of mine had gone away to travel the world, leaving their one-bedroom apartment on the neighborhood’s main drag, Manhattan Avenue, empty. I needed a sublet, so I packed my bags and headed to the north side of Brooklyn. That sojourn turned out to be truly gratifying, mostly because I immediately felt at home in Greenpoint, a mostly Polish, middle-class enclave that was friendly and provincial in a great way. The seeds of gentrification were already sprouting. Here and there, you heard about professionals with jobs in Manhattan moving in, although most of the arrivals were people in artistic fields looking for affordable rents.
Froward to 2014, and Greenpoint has become one of the hippest corners of Brooklyn. In spite of the rising rents and the arrival of numerous boutiques, restaurants, bars, yoga studios, and coffee shops, the place retains its simplicity and rusticity. Most of the neighborhood’s recent openings have a casual, relaxed atmosphere. I really like many of these additions, but I sure hope they preserve the Polish shops that are still in business. Below are some of my favorite spots along (or near) the “new” Manhattan Avenue:
Independently owned coffee shop with tasty drinks, freshly baked pastries, friendly service, and a back patio
A wood-paneled bar with elegant cocktails like the “Falcon Rising” with rye, Fernet Branca, benedictine, cherry liqueur and Peychaud’s bitters.
A small, hip and smoothly run restaurant with one of the best tasting menus in New York, led by the super-talented Canadian chef Daniel Burns
Premium denim, made by hand in a Brooklyn workshop
Contemporary Spanish tapas created by former Socarrat chef Diego Gonzalez, in a tastefully decorated brick-walled space with a long marble communal table