A fascinating neighborhood in the midst of change, with Polish heritage, hipster influx, and new development surging.
Greenpoint offers variety, including a handsome historic district, thriving shopping districts (one still with significant Polish presence), and the spillover from Williamsburg that has meant gentrification. (I have led versions of this tour that focus especially on Greenpoint's Polish history.)
There are some great views of Manhattan (amid desolation), and some seriously interesting juxtapositions, like a former public bathhouse flanked by new condo development (and being converted itself).
The tour addresses Greenpoint's rich industrial history and the aftermath that left buildings like some pioneering worker housing (and also some toxicity).
We'll encounter manufacturing plants converted into studios for arts and craftsmen, Brooklyn's most elegantly situated church, a park with a monument to the Civil War ship (Monitor) built in the neighborhood, and a square named for Pope John Paul II.
Our route includes a park with stunning views of Manhattan and another that looks like a London square. We'll see some gorgeous blocks and some drab ones--and plans for massive new development. We'll learn about the civic energy that revived Greenpoint, and the rezoning that put development on hyperdrive.
We should pass the new home of Kickstarter, a major Internet company, and see the bars and restaurants that have emerged to serve new residents and workers with disposable income. (Yes, we may see some locations portrayed in the HBO show Girls, but this is not a Girls tour.)
We cover a lot of ground in this tour, but there are many places to refuel. Greenpoint connects by foot (or subway/bus) to both Williamsburg and Long Island City, so they make good add-ons for this tour--if you have the energy!
Yes, there are good food options, during or before/after the tour.
Distance from Midtown Manhattan: 25-35 minutes by subway, also accessible by ferry from Pier 11/East 34th Street
Basic tour length: 2.5 hours (see fees)
Starting place: Typically near G train/Greenpoint Avenue, can also take NYC Ferry; the G train is accessible from Long Island City (7/E/M) or Williamsburg (L), but please note that the L is very infrequent on weekends
Ending place: Typically near G train/Nassau Avenue
Highlights: History, architecture, industrial heritage, neighborhood feel
Option before/after tour: Numerous places for a snack/meal
Option during tour: Bakeries, donut shops, ice cream
Potential tour extensions with me: Williamsburg, Long Island City, East Williamsburg/Bushwick
Why I like leading this tour: While Greenpoint is not as under-the-radar as it once was, it has so many layers and unexpected delights. It's one of the neighborhoods I visit most on my own.