The ultimate guide to Greenpoint, a Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood on the rise

April 19, 2022

Photo courtesy of Greenpoint Terminal Market

Situated in Brooklyn’s northernmost corner, bridging the popular enclaves of Williamsburg and Long Island City, Greenpoint is an eclectic star in the North Brooklyn neighborhood constellation. A somewhat sleepy industrial neighborhood for much of the 20th century, Greenpoint was settled by Polish immigrants who came here to work along the waterfront nearly a century ago. In the 21st century, having been made irreversibly famous by the hit TV series Girls, it has become one of the most desirable residential areas in Brooklyn.

Photo via pxhere

The East River lies on Greenpoint’s western edge; McCarren Park and Metropolitan Avenue form its borders to the south. The park’s lawns and ball fields anchor the neighborhood, shared with southern neighbor Williamsburg. McCarren Park Pool, built in the 1930s, was recently restored to its original service as a community pool in the summertime. Central McGolrick park hosts a bustling farmers’ market on Sundays.

Photo via Wikimedia commons

Streets range from leafy blocks of free-standing wood-frame homes and brownstones to a historic factory district and one of the borough’s fastest-growing collections of new residential towers. Near the East River waterfront lie many of its most interesting properties. Light industry, art and artisan studios, residential lofts, restaurants, cafes, and other businesses share a lively and picturesque strip with a growing community of new residential buildings.

Photo © 6sqft

Transmitter Park and a ferry landing are here as well. A waterfront bike and walking path run from Kent Avenue to Franklin Street. Newtown Barge Park connects to the Greenpoint Landing esplanade at the river’s edge for some of the borough’s finest panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline.

Even as it has retained much of its diverse population and friendly neighborhood vibe, a new wave of shops, cafes, venues, and bars has emerged as neighboring Williamsburg became a veritable world capital of expensively-packaged cool. The Polish-American community has remained a significant presence (some of the city’s best Polish restaurants can be found here), and old storefronts sit side-by-side with an ever-changing landscape of newcomers.

Served by a recently beefed-up G train service (with more upgrades on the way) and NYC Ferry (to resume service this fall), the neighborhood has also seen an explosion of new residential development in the past decade. Amenity-packed towers and boutique condo and rental buildings offer spectacular East River and Manhattan skyline vistas–including the neighborhood’s first skyscraper, The Greenpoint, at 21 India Street.

Greenpoint, residents will tell you, is just as cool–if not more so–as its north Brooklyn neighbors. But there’s room for families–schools here have long been a draw–and grown-up creative and professional life as well as a vibrant culture for the young and hip. While rents and home prices may be high, the aforementioned wealth of new developments–in addition to single and multi-family homes and residential buildings among the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets–means plenty of choices for renters, homeowners, and investors.

Things to see and do in Greenpoint
Greenpoint’s main commercial thoroughfares are Manhattan and Nassau Avenues. Franklin Avenue runs parallel to the East River and tends to offer newer, more innovative wares. Among the waterfront’s historic factories and warehouses, shops and cafes have opened side-by-side with industrial, creative, and studio spaces, welcoming a growing flow of foot traffic.

In addition to laid-back parks and markets, some of the city’s most popular restaurants are here. And a hit TV show wasn’t even necessary to make Greenpoint’s bars and pubs a destination for craft beer lovers and night-crawlers.

Photo © 6sqft

Where to eat and drink

Di An Di
This refreshing Vietnamese restaurant is a relative newcomer, but their fabulous pho has quickly made Di An Di a favorite destination well beyond the neighborhood. The restaurant’s interior design–pale wood-plus-plants modern–is equally considered and refreshing.

Chez Ma Tante
Named after a Montreal hot dog shack, this classic European-American spot is anything but. Favorites include pancake brunches and French bistro dinner fare at a quaint corner spot that makes for a great date night.

This white-walled room with a laid-back vibe is serious about Mexican cuisine. Round booths make this a great choice for groups, and there’s a covered patio.

Photo courtesy of Paulie Gee’s

Paulie Gee’s/Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop
Paulie Gee is one of Greenpoint’s treasures, and his pizza restaurants are a true labor of love. The original Greenpoint Avenue space was one of the first destination eateries to open in the neighborhood, and it’s still worth the trip–if you don’t live here yet–for the delicious variety of pies. The newer Slice Shop gets the slice craving, delivery, and takeout job done.

Greenpoint Fish and Lobster
Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. was created by fifth-generation fishmongers on the simple principle of providing clean, high quality and sustainable seafood to friends and neighbors. The original opened on Nassau Avenue in 2014, and they’ve since expanded to include Threes Brewing, a spot at the Hugh in Midtown Manhattan, and Fishmarket Greenpoint. They also supply numerous restaurants and home chefs.

This local go-to does brunch and keeps going into the evening for dinner with friends or a date. Burgers and other comfort cuisine can be enjoyed indoors or on the back patio.

Photo © 6sqft

Come to Greenpoint if you want to sample some of NYC’s best Polish food, from updated to babcia cooking in the back. Though Karczma has “only” been in the neighborhood for 13 years, it’s considered the best among the best for kielbasa, pierogis, stuffed cabbage, and a cold beer.

Photo © 6sqft

Polka Dot
Polka (get it?) Dot has the looks and attitude of a trendy young cafe, but the Polish cuisine available has been passed down through generations, and everything is homemade.

Pierozek is known city-wide for its buttery homemade pierogi, from classics like potato and cheese and sauerkraut and mushroom to modern flavors like jalapeño and the fab-collab Murray’s Cheese pierogi.

Photo courtesy of Achilles Heel

Achilles Heel
From the beloved Brooklyn dynasty that includes Diner and Marlow & Sons empire, this gastropub is a beer lover’s paradise and a great place to bring the crew for drinks, but worth a mention for a menu that changes weekly.

Photo courtesy of Cafe Grumpy.

Cafe Grumpy

Grumpy may be a mini-chain (and the staff are anything but grumpy), but the Greenpoint location was its first. The spacious-yet-cozy cafe still reflects its neighborhood and embodies today’s Brooklyn culture.

The Blue Light Speak Cheesy at Getaway
This breakfast/brunch-only pop-up at Greenpoint’s popular Getaway bar serves up delicious inventions like breakfast burritos, green eggs & jam, and maple lavender lattes.

Photo courtesy of Maman

This French breakfast/lunch cafe chain known for its pastries has locations in the US and Canada; home to Maman’s main pastry kitchen, the Greenpoint location is tucked away on Kent Street. The kitchen closes at 4 p.m. but offers delicious baked goods and a full espresso bar all day long.

Photo credit: Jennifer Rosini-Gentile

Sometimes a cafe is just a cafe. But it’s so much more interesting when it’s more. This brainy gathering spot boasts books, food, and gifts and hosts avant-garde events like readings, screenings, and performances.

Bars, pubs
Pencil Factory

This classic hang was one of Greenpoint’s first “new” bars, circa 2001 (back when people hadn’t yet discovered the G train). It’s still a perfect neighborhood joint, quiet enough to have a conversation, rock-n-roll enough for a few post-show rounds.

The north Brooklyn sister bar to Carroll Gardens’ Elsa, this pretty two-story cocktail bar with a lounge-y vintage vibe is a good pick for a date spot and perfect for a girls’ night out.

Hidden Pearl 
This jewel box of a cocktail bar tucked into the back of  Wanpaku eatery offers a menu of craft cocktails, Japanese whisky, sake, shochu, and Japanese small plates.

Who doesn’t love a Vegas-themed bar in the neighborhood? Think mirrored ceilings, karaoke, and lots of black velvet art.

Photo courtesy of Black Rabbit

Black Rabbit
This classic pub is all-season cozy with a fireplace inside and a nice back patio. Inside you’ll find Victorian-era decor, a good beer selection, pub cuisine, a trivia night, and booths for groups.

Good Room
This nightclub/music venue isn’t exactly a secret, but it flies a bit under the radar, offering a mashup of the laid-back Greenpoint bar scene with dance club space and energy. You’ll find up-and-coming artists, resident DJs, parties, events–and zero tolerance for hate.

Photo courtesy of Greenpoint Terminal Market

Where to shop
Greenpoint Terminal Market
This waterfront market on the East River is open on weekends starting in May and features crafts, food vendors and tons of goods from local shops.

Photo © 6sqft

This super-cool clothing shop opened in 2007 with a well-curated selection of vintage and local designer items. Alter has grown, but still carries a just-right selection of apparel, accessories and more for men and women from nearly 100 international brands and designers. You’ll find lots of one-of-a-kind designs, basics with a twist and cool classics for every season.

Home of The Brave
This interior accessories shop offers unique home goods with a constantly-changing inventory. Sister store Wolves Within is a block away, offering men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.

Photo © 6sqft

This bright, pretty neighborhood shop sells plants, flowers, home goods and more in addition to serving some of the best coffee and espresso around.

Anima mundi
This enchanted garden of herbs and potions is unexpectedly tucked into a refurbished waterfront warehouse. They ship their “high vibrational medicines” all over the world, but this apothecary and herbal factory is their flagship. Sample their elixirs, incense and scents here, and refresh at a tonic bar in the back, where you can get mushroom and collagen lattes, bubbly spritzers, and tasty treats.

Photo © 6sqft

Bookstores are having a bit of a renaissance, and places like Word are the reason why.

Photo © 6sqft

Events and culture
Brooklyn Expo Center
This massive glass-clad event venue offers 68,000 square feet of exhibition space and parking. The space hosts events for Design Week as well as conferences, meetings, conventions, product launches, receptions, multimedia events and much more.

Greenpoint Loft
Operated by the same company as the Expo Center, this more intimate event space hosts holiday markets, parties, and other events in a bright, spacious refurbished loft.

This music venue has been a popular concert spot in the neighborhood for over 20 years. Its roots in the Polish community are the reason it’s been called “where punk meets pierogis.” The rock stalwart, now owned by a partnership of corporate box office bigwigs, hasn’t slowed a bit.

McCarren Park. Photo © 6sqft

Parks and public places to gather
McCarren Park
The lawns, pathways, and ball fields of McCarren Park anchor the neighborhood, shared with southern neighbor Williamsburg. The park attracts all of north Brooklyn as a prime spot for sunbathing and picnicking. Within park borders is the McCarren Park Pool, built in the 1930s and recently restored to its original service as an outdoor community swimming pool. The park also hosts a Saturday Greenmarket.

Transmitter Park pier. Photo credit: John Gillespie via Flickr

WNYC Transmitter Park
Opened in 2012, this local waterfront chill space was once the working home of the WNYC radio transmission towers. There’s a pier for fishing, an overlook with seating, and a waterfront view of the Manhattan skyline and East River. An open lawn offers a children’s play area and nature gardens.

McGolrick Park
This small, central park hosts a popular Sunday farmers’ market.

Greenpoint Landing Esplanade. Photo credit: Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

Newtown Creek Park/Greenpoint Landing esplanade
One of the neighborhood’s newer public spaces–it opened in 2018–along the Greenpoint waterfront, this green space includes pathways linking apartment complexes Greenpoint Landing, Blue Slip and Bell Slip with publicly-accessible green space along the river. Maintained by New York City Parks, it includes a waterfront esplanade, a lawn, and a picnic area with views of Long Island City and the Manhattan skyline.

Solar panels on the rooftop of Broadway Stages. Photo via Wikimedia Commmons.

Notable neighborhood highlights
Broadway Stages
While Astoria’s Silvercup and the Navy Yard’s Steiner Studios may be familiar names, Greenpoint is home to one of the largest film and television studio production companies in New York. The facility is active in community events and retains a very involved presence in all (good) things Greenpoint.

Green roof and wildflower garden atop a Broadway Stages soundstage at 520 Kingsland Avenue. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Green rooftops/rooftop farms
The neighborhood’s formerly industrial status has made it the focus of numerous important and innovative environmental programs. Among these, several organizations have established rooftop wildflower and produce gardens that offer educational and volunteer opportunities and public tours. These programs include Kingsland Wildflowers at Broadway Stages, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, and a 50,000-square-foot solar rooftop, also at Broadway Stages.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Leave it to a Brooklyn to turn a wastewater treatment plant into a tourist attraction. As the city’s largest such facility, the plant is instantly recognizable by its blue-lighted massive metal “digester eggs.” In addition, public amenities that include a visitors’ center with a manmade waterfall and a nature walk along Newtown Creek have helped get the public involved in the cleanup process. Lest you think a wastewater treatment plant is something less than romantic: The NYC Department of Environmental Protection and Open House New York host an annual Valentine’s Day tour that sells out every year.

Greenpoint Landing’s OMA-designed towers “Eagle + West,”  now under construction. Rendering courtesy of Brookfield Properties and Park Tower Group 

Where to live
Development along the East River has been one of the biggest stories of 21st century Brooklyn, and many of those new buildings are on the rise in Greenpoint. Following a 2005 rezoning that forever changed the north Brooklyn waterfront, what was once a strip of factories and warehouses has become a growing collection of glittering architectural newcomers.

While there are nods to the waterfront’s rich history (the iconic Eberhard Faber pencil factory has been converted to a loft condominium), the evolving waterfront bears little resemblance to the low-rise 20th-century version. Notable additions include the sprawling 22-acre, 10-tower, 5,000-unit Greenpoint Landing complex and the neighborhood’s first skyscraper. These new developments also contain a significant number of much-needed affordable units. Below are some of the newest additions.

Courtesy of SERHANT. New Development/renderings by Christian Eriksson, Redundant Pixel

The Huron, 29 Huron Street
This new luxury residential condominium project planned for one of Greenpoint’s few remaining vacant waterfront parcels consists of two 13-story towers, designed by the internationally-renowned Morris Adjmi Architects. Built to maximize unobstructed river views, its design–a brick podium, gridded windows, and glass and steel elements–is also a nod to the formerly industrial neighborhood.

The Huron contains 171 apartments ranging from studios to four bedrooms with more than 20,000 square feet of private outdoor space across select units. 30,000 square feet of amenity space includes an indoor saltwater pool overlooking the Manhattan skyline, a fitness center, residents’ lounge, co-working space, screening room, children’s room, outdoor playground, bike storage, and a rooftop space with BBQs. The Huron is scheduled to launch sales this summer. Pricing has not been released yet but nearby luxury developments have one and two-bedroom units at an average of $1,479 per square foot.

Photo © Ondel Hylton / CityRealty

The Greenpoint, 21 India Street
Greenpoint’s first skyscraper permanently changed the neighborhood’s skyline, measuring 400 feet with 39 stories of glass, steel and brick towering above the once low-rise surroundings. Completed in 2019, the building has become a destination in its own right, offering one to three-bedroom homes with covetable views, a bustling retail component and a public waterfront park.

Apartments consist of 95 high-end condos and 287 rental apartments. In addition to a 24-hour door attendant, a 30,000-square-foot amenity package includes a private porte-cochere, EV charging stations, a waterfront terrace and lounge, co-working space, a kids’ playroom, a fitness center, yoga studio, and half basketball court and an attached parking garage. The building’s outdoor space includes a courtyard and a sun deck.

The current average price per square foot for available apartments is $1,792, including a two-bedroom unit for $1.9 million and a high-floor three-bedroom unit asking $2.85 million. There are six rental units available starting at $3,176/month for a studio.

Photo courtesy of QuallsBenson

Two Blue Slip
As part of the 22-acre, 10-building Greenpoint Landing waterfront development, this 40-story tower, completed in 2020, is half of a pair of luxury towers designed by Handel Architects, with interiors by Gachot Studios and landscape design by Futuregreen and James Corner Field Operations.

41 rental apartments range from studios to two bedrooms, some of them designated as affordable. Amenities include a tech and media lounges, a two-story fitness center with a spin studio, a rooftop terrace, an outdoor pool deck with Manhattan views and a poolside bar, a children’s playroom, on-site parking, and a bike room. Currently available units include a studio for $3,710/month, a two-bedroom for $7,920/month, and a $16,280/month two-bedroom penthouse.

The Driggs Haus, 247 Driggs Avenue
Completed in 2016, this five-story boutique condominium building contains only 19 spacious one- and two-bedroom units, duplexes, and penthouses. Many have private terraces and Manhattan views, and all have thoughtfully designed interiors with white oak flooring and the latest in kitchen fixtures and finishes.

Based on recent sales, the average price per square foot is $1,405. Amenities include a gym, yoga and Pilates rooms, a pet spa, a fireplace and wifi in the lobby, a roof deck, a 24-hour virtual doorman, and parking.

186 Huron Street
Designed to fit right in with the Greenpoint neighborhood’s industrial history, this 10-unit condominium building was designed by Isaac & Stern Architects and completed in 2022. Oversized warehouse-style windows give the building’s façade its distinctive appearance and, along with 11-foot ceiling heights, frame the interiors of the residences within.

186 Huron is in the heart of the neighborhood rather than along its waterfront, though waterfront amenities–and the G subway line station–are just a few blocks away. Apartments consist of one-bedrooms from $925,000, two-bedrooms from $1,540,000 and a penthouse (currently available) for $2,100,000. Amenities include a gym, a rooftop terrace, a virtual doorman and private storage.

Rendering courtesy of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development

The Bellslip, 1 Bell Slip
Completed in 2021 as part of the massive Greenpoint Landing complex that includes an acre of public space and a riverfront esplanade, this 31-story rental building offers studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments with the breathtaking skyline views that make the north Brooklyn waterfront such a covetable spot. Designed by Handel Architects, the building’s 414 units offer high-end appliances, fixtures, and finishes like custom quartzite countertops in the kitchen and in-home washer and dryer units.

An impressive roster of amenities includes lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center with a yoga studio, cycle studio, indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor terraces, a children’s playroom, a dog washroom, a conference work area. Current apartment rents range from a $3,069 /month studio to a corner two-bedroom for $7,223/month. Several units in the building have been designated as affordable and made available via the city’s housing lottery.

153 Green Street
This architecturally unmistakeable six-story condominium known simply as 153 Green can credit N-OA Architecture, whose founder and principal, Murad Mutlu, has worked for Zaha Hadid Architects and Skidmore Owings & Merrill, for its eye-catching geometric facade of sleek glass balconies and curved windows. Apartments include two- and three-bedroom units, some with private outdoor space.

Apartments range from $1,425,000 for a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom of nearly 2,000 square feet for $2,100,000 and a penthouse for $3,615,000. Amenities include a roof deck with river and skyline views and a bike room.

Credit: 1080 Lorimer, MNS Real Estate

1080 Lorimer Street
The stately contemporary limestone condominium conversion at 1080 Lorimer Street in central Greenpoint near the top of McCarren Park was once the office annex at Greenpoint Savings Bank, which was originally built in 1906. The building’s 29 one- to three-bedroom units have top-of-the-line custom interiors. Amenities include a fitness center, a lounge, a video doorman service, a package room, private storage, and a bike room. Current availabilities range from $1.15 million for a one-bedroom penthouse to $3.35 million for a three-bedroom penthouse.

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