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Greenpoint may be famous for its hipster status, but real people still live there. Justine Carroll is an actual, native Greenpointer with true roots in this ever-changing zip code. Justine, her sister, and several of her friends blog about all the goings in their hood. They know where to eat, where to shop, and which bar to watch the debates in. They even have the scoop on Enid’s Annual Apple Pie Bake-Off. Trust the Greenpointers to know the deal.

Tell us about your blog: After moving away from the neighborhood I grew up in for many years, I came back to live in Greenpoint in the summer of 2007. I’d already been blogging for a while with a personal site as well as some guest writing stints. So when I moved back to Greenpoint I had the idea of starting a blog that fused my past and my present in the neighborhood together. Something that separated me from other local bloggers was my history and roots in the neighborhood. I feel like I give a voice to the people who are born and bred here as opposed to the countless Brooklyn blogs that are written by transplants.

What brought you to New York?

I was born and raised in Greenpoint, Brooklyn New York – third generation!

What do you love about living in New York?

My favorite part of living in New York is that it’s one of the only places in America that looks different. Almost everywhere you go in this country, the landscape and the neighborhoods look identical to each other. From one town to the next, from one state to the next, there’s always a mini strip mall along a four lane highway with a Red Lobster and a Wal-Mart. It’s scary.

What do you think makes a New Yorker?

Being a New Yorker is absolutely something that takes generations to become. It’s not a geographical thing, it’s a part of you. I didn’t even realize that until 9/11 and I saw those towers fall. Every New Yorker I’ve spoken to felt like a piece of them had been taken. Whether they lost someone or not, it was the fact that something we saw every single day of our lives for so many years, along our unmistakable skyline, was gone. It took a piece of a New Yorkers identity away.

What surprises you about New York or New Yorkers?

Truthfully not a thing! I have seen everything and anything from New Yorkers. I’ve seen the disgusting, I’ve seen the heartwarming. We’re a melting post to say the very least, and with that, you get it all.

When you leave New York, what do you miss the most?

When I leave New York I miss the liveliness. Even though Greenpoint may not be a 24 hour mecca, it’s still comforting that I can run down the block to a bodega at 3am and get pretty much anything I would need at 3am! Other places are desolate by 8pm!

Best tips, tricks or insider info.
Any Greenpointer knows this but if you’re visiting or new to the ‘hood keep in mind that the G train is a short train. Only 4-6 cars depending on the time of the day. Which means you need to wait in the center of the platform for the train, otherwise, it’ll pass you by!

Best corny tourist attraction that you secretly love?

It’s gotta be The Cyclone at Coney Island. There’s nothing like riding that rickety old roller coaster and getting beaten and dirty in just a minute and a half.

Best place to dine late night?

This is definitely going to my local favorite joint, The Habitat ( Serving food all night – you can get Empanadas or Waffle Fries until 4am! And up until like 10:30pm they have a full menu with weekly specials. The food is delicious and the staff is one of the nicest in the neighborhood.

Best live music venue?

I have to go with the now closed McCarren Pool. I really love an outdoor venue. I secretly wish they would build a pavillion somewhere along the North Brooklyn waterfront. There’s nothing like catching a concert under the stars.

Last cultural thing that you did (movie, museum, theatre, etc…)

The last thing I did that I hadn’t actually checked out in awhile was the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy this year. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had some friends who were working at a restaurant in the area and got a chance to go there a couple of times. It’d been at least a decade since I went to the feast but it was surprisingly a lot of fun. Even though Little Italy is changing and losing its identity, when the Festival comes around, it seems to be stronger than ever.

Best people watching?

Hands down without a doubt Bedford Avenue and North 6th Street in Williamsburg. There’s a couple of benches in front of New York Muffins on the corner and with a muffin and coffee in hand you can sit there any weekend afternoon and see a parade of crazy fashions. It’s some of the best people watching I’ve ever done.

Best ways to find deals on clothes in Greenpoint?

Greenpoint has a lot of different levels of shopping. You can go from thrift shopping at places like the Salvation Army on Manhattan Avenue to cheap fashion at stores like Rainbow on Calyer Street and Payless Shoe Store on Manhattan Avenue. Or you can step it up on Franklin Street with trendy and fashion forward boutiques like Alter (with one shop for men and one shop for women directly across the street from each other!) and Hayden-Harnett. To find deals in the hood, sometimes you can find cute things in Rainbow good for one or two wears or a pair of cute shoes in Payless. One of the best places to look in the neighborhood are some of the Polish owned stores that many people might be quick to pass up. There are quite a few along Manhattan Avenue that have nice quality goods at reasonable prices. While some of the goods in the window might seem a little gaudy to attract those older ladies, if you take a peek inside you can sometimes find something really great. Especially leather goods.

Favorite New York moment?

My favorite New York moment is the early morning after a big snowfall. Everything looks gorgeous in the city and the streets are so quiet, everything covered in a white blanket of beauty. It’s breathtaking every time.

Do You Have a Greenpoint Recommendation?
Post a comment and let us know!

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