Welcome to the Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn, our personal guide to every single neighborhood of the borough. Each week, we’ll be hanging out with some of our favorite local residents to visit their essential shops, cafes, eateries, and more to inspire your next day trip in Brooklyn.
This week’s guide is curated by Dusty Rose Vintage owner Maresa Ponitch, who’s been watching her neighborhood of Greenpoint rapidly evolve over the last ten years. From a donut shop that’s been around since the 1950s to a part-laundromat part-pinball machine speakeasy, Maresa took us on a tour through all her favorite spots to hit in the neighborhood.
words by Maresa Ponitch; photos by Apneet Kaur.
I’m Maresa, owner of Dusty Rose Vintage and ten year Greenpoint resident. When I came to New York City from Philadelphia in 2006, I knew that Williamsburg was a thing, but I moved to Greenpoint to be close to work. Before I moved here, I used to visit the city every month for vintage buying trips and was always happy I didn’t live here — with the noise and the crowds, I was never really one of those people who always wanted to live in New York City.
But then I came for work and then realized it was the home of my dreams. After two weeks of living in this cozy, tight-knit community that I wasn’t even particularly welcome in, I fell completely in love. It was quiet. Manhattan Avenue was a one-stop strip where you could buy everything you needed, almost entirely from mom-and-pop shops. And the G train kept people out. It was the kind of place where you could go out on a Friday night and know almost everyone you saw. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really was like that for a while.
New York moves fast, so a lot has changed in those ten years. When I was asked about my favorite Greenpoint spots, half of the places that came to mind immediately are no longer with us. But there are still some places that have stuck it out, and plenty of new places that are pretty special.
WHERE: 191 Greenpoint Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11222
WHY: The Kimchee Market is a recent addition that I’m particularly fond of because it’s a block from my warehouse. I stop by at least once a week. The veggie sushi is $5 and is made fresh every hour. And the kimchee case is SO good.
Peter Pan Donuts
WHERE: 727 Manhattan Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11222.
WHY: Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop was my first local breakfast spot. I used to have to get up way too early for work and they were open. The best part is having breakfast at the counter. It’s in every guidebook so it’s harder to get a seat these days, but there are still plenty of regulars, some who have been eating the same breakfast at the same time every day for the past fifty years.
Sunshine Laundry & Pinball
WHERE: 860 Manhattan Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11222
WHY: The Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball always had a few machines, but a friendship between the owner’s son and a pinball machine collector from Albany sparked the genius idea to turn half of the space into a bar. I have always loved pinball and they have one of my favorite machines, Theater of Magic as well as some of my favorite brews from Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.
WHERE: 140 Franklin Street Brooklyn, NY 11222
WHY: Alter is a really good boutique for both men and women. Roy and Tommy started their small shop on Franklin Ave 8 years ago. They had some vintage and also carried brands like Cheap Monday before you could get them everywhere. They still do a great job of introducing shoppers to great brands and their merchandise always manages to feel both timeless and totally current.
And here are a few of the places I miss that are no longer with us:
Photoplay – A video rental shop staffed by cute hipsters who could always tell you what you should watch that night. None of this endless scrolling through Netflix and still not knowing what to pick.
Lomzynianka – A home-cooked Polish restaurant that was insanely cheap and decked out with metallic streamers that appeared to have been put up in the late twentieth century.
Boulevard Tavern – A dive bar off Meeker that served hot dogs (and veggie dogs!) and tater tots in the backyard when the weather was nice.
Lulu’s – Free pizza with every drink. This was a late night staple of pretty much everyone in the neighborhood.
Have a favorite spot in Greenpoint of your own? Tell us in the comments below!