11/29/16 11:46am
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Starhawk (on the left) and his brother Tony Arcuri keep Greenpoint colorful. Photos: Regina Mogilevskaya

Jerry Garcia once nicknamed Starhawk “The Kid.” The co-owner of Greenpoint’s Starhawk Design Studio doesn’t really keep track of time in a conventional sense, but he reckons this was sometime back in the 70’s, when he was touring the country with the Grateful Dead. Though born in Brooklyn, he left home when he was a teenager.

“I always had faith that travel was the right choice,” Starhawk tells me with a gleam in his eye as we stand across from one another in his shop, chatting as customers mill about picking up crystals, smelling incense, and browsing slowly through hangers swimming with tie-dyed shirts, skirts, leggings, arm warmers and socks.

Touring with the Grateful Dead is just one chapter in the dizzying book of Starhawk’s life, which includes stints with Peter Gabriel and Ziggy Marley, residence on the beaches of Hawaii, pop-up tie dye shops from Pennsylvania to California, and plenty of meditation in between.

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Photos: Regina Mogilevskaya

It all started with a dose of color. “The first thing I ever tried to tie dye was a butterfly on a t-shirt,” says Starhawk. He never studied art of any kind–or attended college–but from a young age he loved gobbling up texts about ancient cultures. He’d always felt a strong kinship with color, and his inspiration sprouted from studying indigenous clothing designs, out of which came a near-obsession with American tie dye techniques. For years, he traveled the country creating and selling his custom-made tie-dye clothing, as means of self expression and to support himself.

How Starhawk ended up Greenpoint after decades of kaleidoscopic nomadism is a story of simple fate. He and his brother, Tom Arcuri–who shared with me that he was in the clothing industry, though not on the design side, for “about 42 short years”–decided to start a business together. In 2015 they had a pop-up shop on Manhattan Avenue for a couple of days, and when they spotted an empty storefront for rent just two blocks from that location, they decided to make Greenpoint a permanent home. (more…)

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10/04/16 9:37am
Brooklyn Bazaar

Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

After a year-long hiatus, the Brooklyn Bazaar is finally showing off its swanky new digs in the heart of Greenpoint. The after-hours flea market and concert venue opened its doors to the public on Sept. 9, now fully settled into the Polonaise Terrace on Greenpoint Avenue, a former banquet hall with a glittering art deco vibe, which has been preserved in a way that brings out the best of the Bazaar.

Whereas the Bazaar’s previous home on Banker Street was one big delightful mess of a room, the new location provides a more simultaneously curated and trippy experience, almost like a fun house. The market–home to more than 30 rotating vendors–lives on the first floor in a chandelier-lit ballroom that looks like something out of Anna Karenina. Adjacent to it sits a Brooklyn Star spin-off restaurant, a kaleidoscopic hall covered in mirrors where everyone is in shadow, accented only by the light from red candles and dim light bulbs. Upstairs is the separate concert venue, while downstairs in the basement there’s a galactic scattering of ping-pong tables beneath neon lights, karaoke rooms, a mini golf course, and arcade games. Oh, and there’s a bar on every floor. Scratch that–it’s not like a fun house, it is a fun house.

Here are the coolest things we saw at the Bazaar on a recent weekend visit. (more…)

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09/06/16 11:24am

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Welcome back from the long weekend! Now let’s get right into it, Brooklyn.

If there’s one theme that has emerged in this long, strange trip of an election cycle, it’s that Americans, New Yorkers included, are ready for political change. If you are dedicated to change then you have to vote–not just every four years in November, but in election cycles big and small. It just so happens that the New York State and Local Primary is next week on Sept. 13 and you should vote in it.

Why? Here’s a quick and dirty explanation. New York City leans heavily Democratic in most races, state, local and national. If you are a new candidate challenging an incumbent of the same party, as is usually the case, that means that your state and local contest is in September. Come November, the Democrats who win next week (again, most state and local offices in NYC are held by Democrats) will be largely unchallenged on the ballot, either running unopposed or against Republicans with minimal backing, funding or actual intention of serving. When very few people vote in September, and the people who do vote are dedicated to the status quo, it makes changing up our representation in Albany very difficult–and leads to the incredibly long terms in state office that we see so often in New York City.

What does that matter? Well, did you know that New York state had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country during the national primary? Did you read that only 9% of the entire U.S. voted for Clinton or Trump? Do you find it disappointing that pretty much every major candidate in this election cycle is close to 70 years old? There can be no new energy in politics, no new ideas, if voters don’t vote, starting with state and local elections.

Here are two Brooklyn candidates who will be on the ballot for State Senate next week, each running against other Democrats who have been in office for more than a decade. (You can view all the seats up for election here.) We’re not endorsing these candidates–we’re not here to tell you how to vote. We’re making the point that if you actually care about the system as whole, every race matters and there’s more opportunity to get involved in our political system than you might think. It’s also a chance to make sure that you are registered to vote on Nov. 8–the deadline to register for the general election in New York State is Oct. 14.  (more…)

08/01/16 12:04pm
You really cannot beat the view at Brooklyn Barge in Greenpoint. Photo: Ellen Killoran

You really cannot beat the view at Brooklyn Barge in Greenpoint. Photo: Ellen Killoran

If you’re not among that privileged group of New Yorkers who head out of town for the month of August, not to worry: The Brooklyn Barge in Greenpoint is here to serve all your staycation needs. You may have heard that this bar-on-a-boat is prohibitively packed during the evening hours, and indeed, earlier in the summer the crowds were overwhelming. But on two recent visits in late July, the barge was perfectly pleasant, a relaxing riverside spot for slightly overpriced cocktails and a truly spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. (more…)

06/13/16 12:09pm
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Eat tacos and sip rose for a good cause this summer. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Be honest–when was the last time your good deed for the day was purchasing and devouring tacos? Never? That’s about to change. For the rest of the summer you’ll be able to pop by the backyard at Greenpoint’s San Damiano Mission, fill up on some seriously delicious tacos, and know that your money is going toward a noble cause–the repair and restoration of the church’s 104-year-old pipe organ.

“Josh Cohen, my partner over at Extra Fancy, does a lot of outreach and support in the neighborhood, and that’s how he befriended the Sam Damiano Mission,” explains Extra Fancy co-owner Mark Rancourt. “They asked if [we] wanted to use their yard for the summer as a food and event space, and we went for it.” Rancourt says that figuring out the menu was easy enough–who doesn’t love tacos?

Currently, Holy Smoke (the punny name of the summer pop-up) offers beer, rosé, chips, and a choice of three tacos: chicken mole, hickory-smoked pork, and portobello, and all three are pretty flawless as far as tacos go. All of the profits from the pop-up will be donated to the organ restoration project. (more…)

04/21/16 10:33am
Quartz crystal bowls and other instruments create sonic vibrations for a sound bath. Photo: Maha Rose

Quartz crystal bowls and other instruments create sonic vibrations for a sound bath. Photo: Maha Rose

Subway delays. Traffic honking. Nonstop chatter. That upstairs neighbor who’s apparently in a band. The bodega employee yelling that your sandwich is ready. Life in New York is loud.

There are some sounds, though, that are designed to soothe. A sound bath is a meditation practice that bathes your body in sonic waves emitting from quartz crystal bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, gongs and tuning forks. For devotees, they’ve emerged as a way to cope with the intensity of urban life.   (more…)

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11/23/15 8:19am
Jackfruit tacos are the new vegetarian thing. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Jackfruit tacos are the new vegetarian thing. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Before last week, I had never considered jackfruit tacos because I never knew such a thing existed. To be honest, I didn’t really know what jackfruit was. Turns out, it’s a tree fruit (the largest in the world!) native to South and Southeast Asia that has been quietly making a name for itself in vegetarian and vegan circles as a useful and potentially delicious ingredient. And jackfruit tacos do exist—at Toro Ironworks Kitchen & Bar in Greenpoint.

Chances are that if you’ve ever searched, “tacos near me” while standing on a corner in Greenpoint (you know who you are), you’ve come across Toro. Such is the case with me, as I’ve found myself in many a New York neighborhood not my own in pursuit of a quick and easy taco fix. The last time I was at Toro was a few summers back for chips, guacamole and a margarita, and I was surprised to walk in last week to see that the Tex-Mex menu was different than what I remembered. That’s because the restaurant’s ownership has since changed: a new owner took over the spot at the end of August and subtly changed the name from El Toro Taqueria to Toro Ironworks. The menu still revolves around traditional burrito-quesadilla-taco offerings, and there are some Mediterranean hints like a black bean hummus dip, but owner Sebouh Yegparian is also unveiling eccentric vegan options to appeal to a growing demand for meat-free options. (more…)

11/03/15 10:49am
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The new MOFAD Lab. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Fancy yourself a flavorist for the day, an orchestrator of scent, and experiment with how combining three very gross smells can actually result in something that smells fairly like your…perfume?

Brooklyn continues to solidify its coveted role of being New York’s go-to borough for food experiences. The MOFAD Lab, part of the forthcoming Museum of Food and Drink, is now open to the public a former auto garage on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg border, with an inaugural exhibit called, “Flavor: Making It and Faking It.

“For a long time we had no money, no space, nothing but a compelling vision planned in a tiny East Village apartment,” says Peter Kim, executive director. “What are the links behind food and our cultural identity? That’s what we wanted to explore.” (more…)

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08/24/15 10:55am
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Eat like you’re on vacation, even if you’re not. Photo: Elaheh Nozari

The dog days of August are a great time to eat out in New York City. For one, you can partially justify the expense because you won’t be running your air conditioner at home, or heating up your own kitchen. Most produce is at a seasonal peak right now, and it’s also much easier to snag a seat at one of the city’s most coveted tables, with what seems like half the population on vacation. With so many new casual seafood restaurants to choose from, you can also make up for the fact that you aren’t at some seaside locale by dining as though you were, which is how I found myself surrounded by diners wearing lobster bibs and drinking rosé on tap in Greenpoint last Friday night.

Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. opened almost exactly a year ago on Nassau Avenue (we checked it out and liked it, vowing to return once they got their sea legs) promising to fill a void in the Brooklyn food scene: a high quality fish shop. Its mission fits in with the location; aside from being one of the foremost places in New York to get pierogi, Greenpoint has a rich maritime history in its East River shipyards. Co-owners Vinny Milburn (a fifth-generation fishmonger) and Adam Geringer-Dunn saw a need for sustainably-sourced seafood in North Brooklyn, so I stopped by to see how things were going, and to satiate my seasonal craving for a lobster roll. (more…)

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11/14/14 8:54am
This storage bench, upholstered with reclaimed coffee sacks, is one of Recycled Brooklyn's signature designs. Photo: Levi Sharpe

This storage bench, upholstered with reclaimed coffee sacks, is one of Recycled Brooklyn’s signature designs. Photo: Levi Sharpe

When you start a woodshop in your kitchen, you have to make some sacrifices, starting with dinner.

“We were making dinner and building tables at the same time,” said Matt Loftice, 44, a thick-bearded former screenwriter. “It was a lot of dust, man—dusty pasta.”

Brothers Matt and Steven Loftice share a love for breathing new life into recycled materials by transforming them into furniture. After building pieces on nights and weekends for several years as a hobby, Matt gave the business a name, Recycled Brooklyn, and launched an Etsy shop in 2010. Steven, disenchanted with his career in advertising, quit his job and hopped on board full time, two months later.

Though their price point is slightly higher than entry-level Ikea–items start at around $180–it’s not far off mass market staples like West Elm and Pottery Barn, and their pieces are handcrafted. “I could never afford custom furniture, and most people can’t,” said Steven, 42. “That’s why at 10 o’clock in the morning the line at Ikea is half a mile long.” (more…)

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