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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Beginning of the End

Greenpoint is featured in this week’s Time Out as the next new thing.

On any Sunday two summers ago, Mark and I might be the only ones brunching outside the Greenpoint Coffeehouse. We’d see a couple people out walking their dogs if we were lucky. The menu was just half a page, but we had our favorites. It was enough.

Time Out is comparing GP to Williamsburg, the neighborhood next door. I’ve been noticing that the sidewalks have been growing crowded, and everyone looks like they just stepped out of a Gap ad. Mark calls them ‘hipster douchebags’ and a bunch of other names.

We thought GP would never change; there is a strong Polish family population that is highly visible. On Sundays, a steady procession pores out from church, all dressed up. Most of the shops have Polish names: Polam International, Bakery Rzeszowski, Staropolski Meat Market. In line for my smoked kielbasa, I am the only non-polish speaker. I act out what I need in mime.

Recently, a couple of nice bars and restaurants have opened, and the street next to the street next to the water has been repaved. New condo buildings have gone up, too, but they ain't cheap. Everyone wants to get a deal in the city, and now that GP’s gotten such PR, only more hype will follow.

Long Island City, just North, is starting to heat up too; LIC is slated to be the next Battery Park City (BPC), with high rises already planted along the water and a Whole Foods rumored in the works.

It’s a tough tradeoff; on the one hand, it’ll be great to have more than a handful of restaurants to choose from. On the other hand, sidewalks and restaurants and parking spots and subway seats will be fought over. Everything will become more upscale, yet bland. Just as what’s been happening to Manhattan, all the personality and quirkiness will be threatened.

Starbucks recently took over the old movie theatre on Manhattan Avenue, slapping its logo on the marquis. Meanwhile, Lomzynianka and Restauracja Relax are shaking in their shoes. I hope they can stand their ground.


Anonymous said...

We can only hope that the influx of new residents will bring enough active voters so that we can finally get rid of corrupt politicians like Assemblyman Joe lentol who has had a stranglehold on this community for over thirty years. He is a disgrace.