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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10/10/16 11:13am
Nope, this is not a Halloween special. Photo: Georgia Kral

Nope, this is not a Halloween special, the fried chicken at Hail Mary is served claw on. Photo: Georgia Kral

On a recent muggy afternoon in Greenpoint, my “expert” understanding of fried chicken was thrown a crunchy, spicy curveball. I thought I had already found my favorite fried chicken in Brooklyn at The Commodore. I thought I knew what to expect when chicken was deemed “hot.” I was wrong on both counts.

On Greenpoint Avenue, near the waterfront, is a nondescript warehouse door painted with bright colors. Behind that door is the retro-diner Hail Mary, and it was there I tasted fried chicken unlike any I’d had before. (more…)

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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…)

05/02/16 10:45am
An explosion of layered coloring in Levi Haske's work. Stencil work, oil pastel drawings and acrylic paintings.

Levi Haske’s work includes stencils, oil pastel drawings and acrylic paintings.

This weekend more than 300 Greenpoint-based artists invited the public to Greenpoint Open Studios, to see works in photography, paintings, design, sculptures and video. Visitors had the rare opportunity to engage with the artists, see them at work, and mingle with other art fans.

We spent some time strolling through studios over the weekend; here are the highlights. (more…)

04/11/16 12:00pm
What's inside is so much better than a rainbow bagel. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

What’s inside is so much better than a rainbow bagel. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

If there’s one kind of food that New York City truly does better than anywhere else, it’s bagels and lox, or more broadly, Jewish deli staples including cured fish and fish salad, bagels of course, as well as pickles, chopped liver and maybe even some brisket.

A good bagel sandwich relies on multiple elements—the bagel must be plump but not bloated, the salmon salty but not excessively so, and the cream cheese and other accouterments shouldn’t be overpowering. As much as they’re a hallmark of the city’s culinary make-up, really good bagels and cured fish can only be found at a handful of places, most of which are clustered on the Upper West Side and Lower East Side, not in North Brooklyn. That was, until a few weeks ago, when Frankel’s opened in Greenpoint. (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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06/29/15 11:02am
Well show you how to make The Boxcar Beetle on the next page. Photo: Ellen Killoran

Well show you how to make The Boxer Beetle on the next page. Photo: Ellen Killoran

Ramona might look like it’s too elegant for a wild night out in Brooklyn, but co-owner Scott Schneider wants to be sure no one is intimidated by the cavernous, meticulously designed space and sophisticated cocktail program. “Even though it seems like a really classy place where you have to be on your best behavior, you totally don’t,” Schneider says. “It’s super fun.” Indeed, Ramona has quickly established itself as one of North Brooklyn’s most sought-after private party spots, and on any given weekend night you can expect to find an energetic crowd well past the witching hour.

Schneider opened Ramona in early 2014 with his brother Jay and Jay’s wife Natalka, after the team found success with Elsa in the East Village. Ramona was initially built as a sister bar to Elsa, but since Elsa closed in 2014 they’ve stayed focused on their Franklin Avenue spot.  We chatted with Schneider about the cocktail scene, Greenpoint and the secret lives of bartenders.   (more…)

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04/06/15 9:00am

A jazz band plays a swing-y version of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” as I walk into Le Fanfare, a new-ish neighborhood restaurant on the northern end of Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. It’s an appropriate mood-setter for an eatery that serves serious food in a seriously beautiful setting, yet manages not to take itself all too seriously. Le Fanfare is a collaboration between Italian jazz musician Luca Fadda, his wife Giorgia, and their friend Nicola Paganelli, whose family owns a winery in Sardinia (spoiler alert: authentic Italian food ahead).

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The best seats are at the marble tabletops in the slat-wood booths, with midcentury modern brass hoops framing the hanging lightbulbs above. Photo: Le Fanfare

The trio also own Epistrophy Cafe over in Nolita, but it’s clear that this new space is a labor of love. Fadda put together a house band, and there’s always live music on the weekends, while Milan-based artist/architect Giuseppe Amato designed the interior, which manages to feel very of-the-moment Brooklyn-y, while also not quite like anywhere else around. The best seats are at the marble tabletops in the slat-wood booths, with midcentury modern brass hoops framing the hanging lightbulbs above. There are also two long communal tables ideally situated to view the live music, which takes place on a cantilevered stage so that it can be positioned on either side of the dining room on any given night. (more…)

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12/04/14 9:18am

Earlier this year we partnered with UncommonGoods to launch the Brooklyn Flag Project. We challenged design-minded folks from all over the borough to create a flag reflecting their neighborhood, with the promise that the top three would be produced for sale by UncommonGoods. Along with former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Tina Roth Eisenberg–the graphic designer known as @SwissMiss, and UncommonGoods founder David Bolotsky, we helped winnow down a fantastic field of entries to eight finalists.

UncommonGoods awarded cash prizes to the top three winners, but decided not to produce the flags for sale after all–they told us that they had hoped to see flags from a wider variety of neighborhoods, though we thought the entries from East New York, Bay Ridge, Flatbush, Coney Island and Ditmas Park nicely rounded out the multiple flags designed for Greenpoint and Fort Greene–locales that lots of graphic designers call home. Even if you can’t buy one of these to hang from your fire escape, we think it’s worth taking a peek at the winners. And, as a bonus, we’ve added in our favorite entry that didn’t win (we’re suckers for a squirrel).

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