Greenpoint is hip—so hip that a local Greenpoint grocery store was the backdrop for a Harpers Bazaar photo shoot for a magazine cover, with a scantily clad Gwyneth Paltrow posing with a gallon of milk in the frozen food aisle.
If you don’t think that’s hip, Bill Murray sent social media into a flurry when he was caught bartending at trendy bar 21 Greenpoint. But you don't need celebrities to be cool. In Greenpoint, there's a laundromat that doubles as a bar, and an old Polish banquet hall was transformed into a bazaar where you can play ping pong, listen to your favorite bands, and enjoy some karaoke.
Greenpoint, still a vibrant Polish community, is also home to numerous hipsters and was the setting for the Golden Globe award-winning TV show, Girls. It’s also undergoing a real estate building boom, with new buildings sprouting up around this lively section of Brooklyn. No longer the sleepy neighbor to Williamsburg, Greenpoint is a destination.
From a lazy afternoon in a scenic waterfront park to browsing in the shops on the main shopping streets, a visit to Greenpoint should definitely be on your list of places to see on your next trip to Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Bazaar is housed in the former location of Polonaise Terrace, a Polish Banquet Hall in the heart of Greenpoint. The space is now home to concerts and is the perfect spot to play ping pong, challenge a friend to a round of mini golf, enjoy video games at their arcade, drink at one of their four bars, and watch flicks at this wonderland on Greenpoint Avenue, where you can engage in a plethora of actives.
Seasonally, you'll find the Oddities Flea Market full of strange and wonderful objects.
Pinball wizards should do their washing at this storefront laundromat that has over twenty pinball machines and a bar. If you hate folding, it will be a lot more fun while sipping a beer. Don't spend time looking at your iPhone as you wait for your clothes to finish the spin cycle, instead play a few games of pinball. These retro machines and brews make cleaning your clothes fun. If you don't have a laundry bag filled with soiled clothes in tow, don't worry, it means you'll have more quarters for pinball.
If you've spent more than an hour in Brooklyn, chances are you've passed a person sporting WNYC tote bag. If you're not a long time listener, first-time caller, it doesn't mean you won't enjoy an afternoon at the WNYC Transmitter Park. This waterfront park has incredible views of the Manhattan skyline at this quiet spot on the East River. If you're daring, you can fish off their pier. For those traveling with kids, the nautical-themed playground is perfect for little ones.
Every serious home cook that visits Brooklyn should make a pilgrimage to Archestratus, a mecca for all foodies. This unique bookstore and cafe only carries cookbooks. Housed off of Greenpoint's main drag, Manhattan Avenue, and a short walk from the subway, the spacious storefront is filled with new and used cookbooks. All of the books in the store are handpicked by owner Paige Lipari, a Brooklyn native who has worked at bookstores throughout the city, as well as many cafes. She’s combined her expertise and love of cooking to craft a shop that will quickly become a Brooklyn staple.
The cozy and welcoming laid-back atmosphere makes one want to spend an entire afternoon browsing the eclectic collection of books while indulging in some of the incredible Sicilian baked goods from the café. If you're crafty, the store hosts craft nights, as well as, board game nights and many other fun events. Check their website or Facebook page for updates on events.
Looking to see some indie art? You can peruse the galleries of Brooklyn, but make sure you stop in at The Greenpoint Gallery. Founded by artist, musician and visionary Shawn James, The Greenpoint Gallery is a non-profit gallery that exists to facilitate creativity in all disciplines by providing the perfect solution for New York City artists seeking an affordable and flexible performance, exhibition, and music rehearsal space in which to fulfill their visions. Along with two floors of spacious galleries and rehearsal space, several studios spaces are available for rotating artists in residence." Check their website for the current exhibit and see the work New York City artists are creating.
Donut fans must visit Peter Pan Donut and Pastry, which is a regular on countless lists for New York City's best donuts. The old school Polish bakery with uniformed staff serving coffee, donuts and other pastries. Take a seat at the counter, and start a morning in Brooklyn with a fresh donut from Peter Pan’s and a cup of coffee. The old-fashioned donut shop on Manhattan Avenue is a Greenpoint mecca for doughnut lovers. Fans of chocolate glazed and the classic donuts will find themselves instantly addicted to their sugary treats. Go early, because they can run out of donuts. Yes, that happens. Also be prepared to stand in line for one of these beloved donuts.
Spend A Night Bar Hopping
You can have endless nights of bar hopping in Greenpoint which is overflowing with watering holes. Brooklyn Magazine once published a feature on Thirty Two Great Bars in Greenpoint. Yes, there are a lot of bars in Greenpoint. To narrow down your search, here are two great spots. Looking for shuffleboard? Head to The Diamond. Want a nice outdoor space? You must have a brew and some Australian grub on the roof deck at Northern Territory (open seasonally) with stellar views of Manhattan.
Book lovers will enjoy perusing the well-stocked shelves at Word Bookstore on Franklin Street. This cozy indie isn’t just a bookshop, it’s a community. The bookstore has a basketball league that raised money for the Greenpoint Food Pantry. The shop has a notable collection of both kid and adult reads. Reading might be a solitary activity, but if you like to talk about books, Word hosts thematic book groups ranging from romance to music indie writing. The shop also hosts many readings, check their website for a list of upcoming activities.
Sample Greenpoint's Great Eats
You can spend an entire day hopping around the many coffee shops in Greenpoint, including local favorite Champion Coffee. Yet, Greenpoint has a lot more to offer than coffee shops. From authentic Polish eats at Karczma or Polish comfort food at Christina's Polish Restaurant to artisanal eats at 21 Greenpoint, where Bill Murray might end up serving you a drink. For old-school Jewish deli food, head to Frankel's Delicatessen. In short, good food is plentiful in Greenpoint.
Book a Room at a Trendy Hotel
Pick up Some Vinyl
For those hip folks who own a turntable, and are on a constant quest to score some great vinyl, you can head to these amazing record shops in Brooklyn. Many of Brooklyn's record stores are in Greenpoint, including Academy Records Annex on Oak Street, which carries a large selection used vinyl. Academy also purchases vinyl if you are trying to unload a collection.
After browsing through Academy Records, head to Co-op 87 Records and Tapes on Guernsey Avenue and peruse the milk crates filled with records outside the shop, before checking out their selection of new and used vinyl at this local favorite record store. Co-op 87 also buys vinyl. All vinyl collectors and fans of pop culture should head to The Thing on Manhattan Avenue, the vintage shop has a large collection of inexpensive vinyl, as well as old gaming systems and other relics that thrill collectors.
Go on an Indie Shopping Spree
Clothes, books, home goods are all to be found in Greenpoint. The main shopping streets include Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint Avenue, and Franklin Street. Both men and women who want to fashionable and versatile clothes but still want to make their rent, should walk down Franklin Street to Alter, where they're sure to find many clothes, shoes, and even home fragrances at this chic and understated shop.
Brooklyn might be teeming with venues to hear indie bands singing lyrics filled with stories of sadness, lost love, and other tunes performed by countless alt-rock bands, but if you're in the mood to rock out to some real rock music, this bar, named after a Black Sabbath song, will hit the spot. If you thought heavy metal and rock was just an eighties trend, think again. This carefully crafted bar and performance space is a must visit.
For those who want to sing, but don't have the time or talent to be in a band, head to St Vitus on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight for late night karaoke. Enjoy their signature drink, The St. Vitus, as you rock out to new heavy metal tunes at this hipster and rock favorite, and feast on grub which ranges from short ribs to BBQ tofu. Yes, Brooklyn rockers still enjoy artisanal eats and drinks.
The Polish Community Center, "where pierogies meet punk," hosts bands like Weezer, and also serves pierogies. Hang out at the bar or watch a band in their ballroom. There's a retro vibe and dive bar atmosphere at this casual concert venue in the Polish National House in Greenpoint, which feels like the setting for a 1950s prom or old school dance.
If seeing a show here inspires you to see a concert at another non-traditional music venue in Brooklyn, add on a trip to House of Vans in Greenpoint, where you can skateboard and/or see a show. If you want to venture further than Greenpoint, check out our list of Unique Music Venues.
Quaff a Brew at Spritzenhaus
Great especially in summer, beer garden Spritzenhaus will quench your thirst with draft beer, euro-style foods, and board games. Sit at communal tables and enjoy such German pub foods as sausages and soft pretzels. Get involved with a group playing Jenga or bring your own group to this huge beer hall next to McCarren Park.