We get it. You relate to “Girls.” You want to be the voice of a generation. So, naturally, you set your eyes to Hannah Horvath’s stomping grounds to get your journey underway: Greenpoint, Brooklyn. But as you step off the G train and out into Little Poland, you quickly realize that there’s more to Greenpoint than what you’ve seen on TV—or on your laptop using your friend’s cousin’s roommate’s HBO Go account. You’re not in Manhattan anymore, and you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed. You’ll first curse the G train, because it’s the G train. Next, you’ll aim a couple of snarky tweets at Lena Dunham for drawing you away from your 32-hour “Game of Thrones” binge and out into the real world. Then, you’ll finally open up Google Maps.
Now before you go any further, pause. Look up from your iPhone for a second, and take it all in. The sights. The sounds. The smells. Do you feel that? It’s time for an adventure.
You’ve accompanied us to Battery Park City, to Brooklyn Bridge Park, to Coney Island, and to Staten Island. You know the rules. Put that thing back where it came from. Grab a bottle of water and a disposable camera. Tighten up your shoe laces, because today, NYU Local gets lost in Greenpoint.
While you begin to explore Greenpoint, set Manhattan Avenue as your point of reference. It’s the central thoroughfare of Greenpoint, and if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere. Mostly because this is where the Nassau Avenue subway station is located, but also because Frank Sinatra.
As you walk along Manhattan Avenue, you’ll notice a growing crowd outside the Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop. Before you make a quip about the J.M. Barrie reference or the fact that they use Comic Sans on their website, join the line. You won’t regret it. The establishment is engrained in Greenpoint’s history, and for good reason. The pastries on display out front will make your mouth water, and the old-school decor on the inside will make your inner hipster rejoice. Just try one of their red velvet cake donuts and you’ll know what all the fuss is about. Or, try National Editor Joe Kozlowski’s recommended chocolate cake donut [Ed. Note- red velvet is an acceptable substitute for the elusive chocolate cake; honey dip is also acceptable] or National Editor Maegan Vazquez’s tried-and-true breakfast sandwich. Either way, it’s going to take you only one bite to get hooked. You’re welcome.
Next stop, Slodycze Wedel’s candy store. You read that last sentence correctly, we said candy store. That sudden adrenaline rush you’re feeling? It’s called childhood. Or, you know, it might be a sugar high from the cupcake you just ate at Peter Pan’s. Either way, you’re going into this Polish confectionary for some quality chocolate and Polish snacks.
Now that you’ve consumed your annual quota of sugar, it’s time to really explore. As you make your way towards the East River, you’ll notice a number of storage facilities and warehouses that have been converted into sound-stages for film and television production.
You’ll run across plenty of Insta-ready moments, so go ahead, throw on those filters, reference obscure New York-related quotes, and add in those #crazysuperlonghashtagsnoonereallysearchesfor. No shame, no shame.
We can see the caption now: “In New York I have always felt lonely. — Henry Miller #newyorkcity #ihavefriendsiswear #sketchyalleyway #wefoundloveinahopelessplace #sundayfunday”
Before you get too consumed with your social media presence, go ahead and slide your iPhone back into your pocket—don’t worry, even without Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and MySpace, you still exist. Now, let’s get back to exploring! As you weave through Greenpoint, you’ll notice various signs of the Polish influence on the neighborhood. Fun fact: the city boasts the second largest Polish-immigrant population after Chicago.
Aha, now there’s a sign you recognize. That’s right, Café Grumpy from “Girls” exists. And their lattes are fantastic. So, go on in. Fangirl a bit. Snapchat a selfie. Or two. Or three. Then, break out the laptop and start working on that literary masterpiece you’ve always wanted to write.
While you’re in the area, it might be worth your while to check out the real estate, you know, just as a precaution. (Fact: The top right window of the yellow sided house in the bottom photograph once belonged to National Editor Joe Kozlowski’s grandparents and dad—#nostalgia.)
Before you know it, Greenpoint will become yet another corner of New York that you’ve conquered; another territory previously known only by name that has become your new go-to hangout spot.
Now, of course, there’s plenty more to do, so by all means, keep exploring! Throw a baseball in McCarren Park. Explore a piece of history at the Episcopal church in Greenpoint’s Historic District. Enjoy the view from Greenpoint’s East River waterfront. Whatever it is, do something self-rewarding. Finals are right around the corner, and you deserve some time to decompress.
Check back soon for your next favorite New York getaway. In the meantime, give 2048 a break—there’s a whole world waiting for you out there! Me? I’m going exploring.
[Photos by Rishi Bandopadhay]