Greenpoint is a fun, vibrant, one of the best family oriented neighborhoods in northern Brooklyn. With its rich history, diverse culture, and great food and drink, there’s plenty to see, eat, and do. You can find everything to live, work, and have fun there. This guide will give you an overview of the top attractions, restaurants, bars, atmosphere, and more that make Greenpoint a destination worth visiting in NYC.
Greenpoint has evolved from its industrial roots to a trendy, sought-after area known for its walkable streets lined with boutiques, coffee shops, eateries, and nightlife. Here’s a quick overview:
– Location: Greenpoint is in northern Brooklyn, situated along the East River across from Manhattan. It’s bordered by Williamsburg to the south and Long Island City, Queens to the north.
– History: Greenpoint was originally home to the Mespeatches Native American tribe before Dutch and English settlers arrived in the 1600s. It later became an important hub for shipping and industry. Polish immigrants settled there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
– Today: Greenpoint retains a strong Polish identity but has also become a magnet for young professionals and families. The waterfront parks provide views of Manhattan.
– Vibe: Greenpoint has a laid-back, neighborhood feel. It’s popular with creative types and foodies. The area avoids the high-rises and hustle of Manhattan.
Strolling along the East River waterfront is a favorite Greenpoint activity. Transmitter Park and WNYC Transmitter Park offer great skyline views, art installations, and outdoor concerts and movies in summer. The parks are located off Kent Street between Clay and Dupont Streets.
India Street Pier is another nice spot to trip out over the river. On weekends, grab a coffee to-go and take in the expansive views of Midtown from the longest pier in Brooklyn.
To admire beautiful 19th century rowhouses and churches, walk the Greenpoint Historic District. This 28-block area border bounded by Calyer, Kent, Guernsey, and Meserole Streets contains historic churches like the Episcopal Church of the Ascension and Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church and museum.
Greenpoint is home to colorful street art, murals, and graffiti that reflect the creative culture. While walking around, keep an eye out for great architecture for large-scale murals by local and international artists. Some top spots include:
– Outside WORD bookstore on Franklin Street, with murals relating to literature.
– The walls around Botanica bar on Franklin Street.
– Along Randolph Street between Clifford Place and Commercial Street.
– Huge all murals under the BQE overpass at Eagle Street near hotels.
On hot summer days, head to the massive McCarren Park Pool to swim in the crisp, clean Art Deco outdoor pool. When it opened in 1936 it was the biggest pool and bathhouse in the U.S. General admission is just $2 per one. Grab your tickets.
With cuisines spanning Polish, Eastern European, Mexican, Italian, and more, Greenpoint offers tempting tastes from around the world menu. Here are some top picks for eating and drinking in the neighborhood:
– Café Riviera – Charming corner French bistro with delicious crepes, omelets, coffee, and people-watching or to read on the patio.
– Bakeri – Cozy cafe and bakery serving homemade pastries, fresh bread, breakfast sandwiches, and good coffee.
– Van Leeuwen Ice Cream – Get your ice cream fix with their delicious artisanal flavors and vegan options.
– Peter Pan Donut & Pastry – A treasured Greenpoint bakery since the 1950s, with classic donuts, muffins, polish pastries, and breakfast sandwiches.
– Christina’s – Vintage-style Polish restaurant open since 1999 for pierogi, borscht, stuffed cabbage, schnitzel, and more.
– Polka Dot Café – Charming corner spot for Polish comfort foods like hunter’s stew, meatloaf, and potato pancakes.
– Karczma – Cozy tavern vibes and Polish fare like smoked trout, pork shank, borscht, and house-made vodka.
– Paulie Gee’s – Popular Neapolitan-style pizzeria using high-quality ingredients. Great for vegetarians.
– EMILY – Wood-fired pizzas and Italian small plates made with their homemade fresh mozzarella.
– Screamer’s Pizzeria – NY-style slice shop open late, plus whole pies and Sicilian slices.
– Oaxaca Taqueria – Traditional, authentic Mexican street food like tacos, quesadillas, and more. Fresh, homemade tortillas.
– Mar de Gatos – Chic Mexican seafood restaurant and ceviche bar. Try their smoked fish tacos.
– Tacos El Bronco – No-frills taco spot with fillings like chili-rubbed steak, chorizo, chicken, and lengua (beef tongue).
– Archestratus – European grocery and food shop with Polish items, freshly made pierogies, and sandwiches.
– New Warsaw Bakery – Polish market with imported goods and in-house bakery making rye bread, babka, and more.
– Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing – Jewish deli and provisions shop selling bagels and schmears, smoked fish, pickles, and sandwiches.
Greenpoint has a fun nightlife scene with laid-back bars, breweries, and music venues. Top spots include:
– Diamond Lil – Charming bourbon bar with antique decor and cool history as a speakeasy.
– Ramona – Wine bar and restaurant with a lively back garden, natural wines, and cocktails.
– Bar Matchless – Dive bar with live music, DJs, trivia nights, an outdoor patio, and bohemian vibes.
– Saint Vitus Bar – Metal bar and music venue inside a former Greenpoint metal shop. Great jukebox too.
– Other Half Brewing Company – Popular brewery known for IPAs, stouts, and sours. Nice outdoor beer garden.
– Tørst – Sophisticated beer bar specializing in hard-to-find craft brews.
Aside from eating and drinking, there are fun recreational activities, events, and ways to experience Greenpoint’s creative side:
For a cool perspective from the water, go kayaking or join a boat tour along Newtown Creek to see wildlife, street art, and the Manhattan skyline. North Brooklyn Boat Club offers public tours.
Greenpoint has a few good music venues and places to catch comedy and shows:
– Warsaw – Intimate concert hall in a former Polish catering hall that hosts rock, metal, indie bands, and more.
– Littlefield – This two-story performance space inside a former textile warehouse has music, comedy, talks, and art shows.
– The Park Church Co-op – Historic church converted into a DIY event space for music, theater, comedy, and community events.
Instead of big chains, Greenpoint is filled with quirky independent shops:
– WORD – Awesome independent bookstore with a great selection and events like readings and book clubs.
– Homecoming – Beautiful boutique with unique home goods, art, and more from Brooklyn makers and designers.
– Catbird – Purveyor of delicate jewelry, gifts, and trinkets made locally in their Brooklyn studio.
– distro – Cool record store with a wide selection of vinyl, books, and music memorabilia.
Street fairs and festivals bring the community together throughout the year. The popular ones include:
– Greenpoint Film Festival – Independent films screened in venues around the neighborhood.
– Greenpoint Gallery Night – On the first Friday of each month, art galleries stay open late and host receptions.
– Greenpoint Block Party – Huge street fair on Franklin Street with tons of vendors, food, and entertainment.
Greenpoint is easy to access from Manhattan and other parts of Brooklyn:
– Subway – Take the G train to Greenpoint Avenue, Nassau Avenue, or 21st Street stations.
– Bus – The B32, B24, and B43 buses run through Greenpoint.
– Ferry – The East River Ferry makes stops in Greenpoint.
– CitiBike – Greenpoint has many CitiBike docks for renting bikes.
– Car – Take any bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn. From Queens, take the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.
– Walking – Greenpoint is walkable from Williamsburg and Long Island City.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about visiting Greenpoint:
What is the best view in Greenpoint?
The iconic view is from India Street Pier looking across the East River at the Midtown Manhattan skyline. Transmitter Park and WNYC Transmitter Park also offer excellent Manhattan views.
What is there to do in Greenpoint on a rainy day?
Check out the street art and murals around the neighborhood. Visit WORD bookshop or a record store like distro. See concerts, comedy, or other shows at indoor venues like Warsaw, Littlefield, or Park Church Co-op.
Where can I get the best pierogi in Greenpoint?
Try the pierogi at traditional Polish restaurants like Karczma, Christina’s, Lukoil Cafe, or Polka Dot Cafe. Also check out pierogi at specialty grocers like Archestratus or New Warsaw Bakery.
What is the best Instagrammable spot in Greenpoint?
The colorful street art and murals make great Instagram backdrops. The Manhattan skyline views from the parks and piers are also popular. Inside, try the neon signs and vintage decor at dive bars like Matchless and Diamond Lil.
Where can I get a classic New York bagel and lox in Greenpoint?
Head to old-school Jewish deli Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing for fresh bagels and smoked fish platters.
What restaurants are good for my vegetarian friends and vegans?
Try the wood-fired pizzas at Paulie Gee’s and Emily, Mexican fare at Oaxaca Taqueria, vegan ice cream from Van Leeuwen, and the vegan options at cafes like Bakeri.
Where can I buy Polish food items and imported goods?
Visit European grocers and markets like Archestratus, New Warsaw Bakery, and Polam Meat Market.
What is the best bike route through Greenpoint?
Kent Street is good for scenic views of the parks and waterfront. Franklin Street takes you through the heart of the neighborhood. Use bike lanes on Manhattan Avenue and McGuinness Blvd.
What is the most relax way to spend a day in Greenpoint?
Grab some tacos, ice cream, or pizza, then picnic and people watch in McCarren Park. Or kayak under the sun on the tranquil Newtown Creek. Spend the afternoon sunbathing at the East River beaches and parks.
What museums and cultural sites should I visit?
The Greenpoint History Project on Java Street provides an overview of neighborhood history. Pencil Factory and Ethan Pettit galleries showcase local artists. The Brooklyn Expo Center hosts interactive exhibits.
With its rich history, small town charm, and big city cool, Greenpoint has so much to offer visitors. The vibrant mix of artistic culture, diverse cuisine, and laid-back vibe make it a quintessential Brooklyn neighborhood to explore. Use this guide to discover the top attractions, eateries, and hidden gems throughout this northern Brooklyn enclave.