Come stroll through Greenpoint, everybody’s favorite waterfront neighborhood

Eye on Real Estate

May 16, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to the Greenpoint waterfront, where you can soak up the scenery at WNYC Transmitter Park or have a drink at Brooklyn Barge. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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When you’re craving some quality time in Greenpoint, it’s only fitting that you get there on a ferry.

The waterfront plays a key role in the neighborhood’s history.

Greenpoint is the place that launched a thousand ships. As opposed to the face that launched a thousand ships, who was of course Helen of Troy.

So if you ride the NYC Ferry to Greenpoint and feel drawn to head straight to shoreline WNYC Transmitter Park, it’s completely understandable.

If you feel a need to partake of food and booze on the water, Brooklyn Barge, which is a restaurant and bar, has returned for warm-weather months to its offshore spot at the end of Milton Alley. You can see the barge from WNYC Transmitter Park.

When summer comes, you’ll also be able to take kayak and stand-up paddleboard lessons at the barge and tour visiting vessels such as the Tug Cornell several times a month.

Brooklyn Barge’s owners and managers are the real deal as far as the maritime industry is concerned. For instance, Matt Perricone, whom we interviewed a couple years ago when the barge biz was launched, is a tugboat captain and entrepreneur with a SUNY Maritime degree in facilities engineering.

The barge is a living piece of maritime history. The Pennsylvania Railroad built it in 1942 for offloading cargo.


A shipbuilding mecca back in the day

Entrepreneur Neziah Bliss, whose 1832 land acquisition started the development of Greenpoint, owned a factory on the Manhattan side of the East River. It was one of the 19th century’s most important makers of steamboat engines.

A city Landmarks Preservation Commission report about the Greenpoint Historic District says Bliss wound up owning additional land after he married Mary Meserole. Her family name can be found on 21st century street signs in the neighborhood. They lived between India and Java streets near the East River. Sadly for history buffs, their house is no longer standing.

In the 1850s Greenpoint became a shipbuilding mecca. More than a dozen companies moved their Manhattan shipyards across the river to Greenpoint, the preservation agency report says. Wood-frame homes still standing on Milton and Noble streets served as housing for shipyard workers. In some instances, shipwrights and ship carpenters actually built the houses.


A skyscraper on the shoreline

These days, what’s migrating from the Manhattan shoreline to Greenpoint is skyscrapers instead of shipyards. There’s a new one right beside the NYC Ferry dock.

The 40-story tower Mack Real Estate and Palin Enterprises have nearly finished building in conjunction with Urban Development Partners is called The Greenpoint.

There are 95 condos in the 463-unit development at 21 India St. The rest of the apartments are rentals. According to data found on, buyers have signed contracts for condos with asking prices as high as $2.775 million.

A lottery has closed for 140 affordable apartments with rents as low as $613 per month in an adjacent building that’s part of The Greenpoint complex.

A polluted but fab factory and apartments Charles Pratt built

When you’re ready for a stroll, head inland to Franklin Street. Neziah Bliss, that Greenpoint landowner of yesteryear, was instrumental in getting the street built.

It was a turnpike when it opened in 1839. It linked Greenpoint to Williamsburgh, which was spelled with an “H” at the end of it in those days, in one direction, and Astoria in the other direction.

Start at the end of Franklin Street, which is at the intersection of Clay Street. You’ll find an unusual yellow-brick Art Moderne factory that belonged to Harte & Co. The curve-shaped corner of the building is made of glass blocks like you see in old-fashioned Miami architectural designs.

Sadly, the ground beneath the distinctive-looking factory at 280 Franklin St. is so staggeringly polluted that it’s a state Superfund site. See the building while you can. It’s going to be torn down.  

In 2014, an LLC headed by Bo Jin Zhu bought a majority stake in an enormous site that includes the factory for $23.25 million, we previously reported. The full value of the site was $48.5 million.

In late March, Yoel Goldman’s All Year Management signed a contract to buy the property, city Finance Department records indicate. The purchase price is more than $55 million for the site, which will be used for residential development, the Real Deal reported.

As you continue down Franklin Street, buildings with turrets on the corners of Eagle Street and also Freeman Street will charm your eye.

On a block bounded by India and Java streets, you’ll see the Astral, a landmarked red-brick apartment building oil tycoon Charles Pratt constructed in the 1880s as housing for neighborhood workers.

He was the founder of the Pratt Institute.

The Queen Anne-style building is so massive that it’s hard to capture its beauty in a photograph.


A prince’s church and a cathedral of commerce

Now that it’s spring, there’s sidewalk seating at bars such as Threes on the corner of Kent Street and the Pencil Factory Bar on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue — not to be confused with the nearby Pencil Factory buildings.

Before you leave Franklin Street, check out Word, the bookstore on the corner of Milton Street.

A grownup on a skateboard glides past Word, a Franklin Street bookstore.

If you walk down Milton Street to Manhattan Avenue, you’ll get a good view of the soaring spire of red-brick St. Anthony-St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church. The landmarked house of worship at 862 Manhattan Ave. was designed by Patrick Charles Keely, who’s known as the Prince of American Catholic Architects.

On the corner of Manhattan Avenue and Calyer Street, there’s a neo-Classical-style cathedral of commerce. The landmarked Green Point Savings Bank — yes, the bank spelled Green Point as two words — was designed by distinguished architectural firm Helmle & Huberty and built in 1906. The glorious granite building now houses a Capital One branch.

Another interesting Manhattan Avenue sight is a sidewalk clock made by E. Howard & Co. of Boston. It’s on the block between Meserole and Norman avenues.  

If you spend lots of time taking photos, like we did, night will fall before you have a chance to stroll around Greenpoint’s scenic side streets. A good place to end your walk is back at the ferry dock. The view of the brightly lit Empire State Building will charm you.


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