The residential foundation of Greenpoint was built on parcels divided during the 19th century, with lumberyards and rope factories along the East River to the west, while the northeastern section along the Newtown Creek through East Williamsburg became an industrial maritime reach. Greenpoint is the northernmost neighborhood in Brooklyn, bordered by Williamsburg, Bushwick, East Williamsburg and Long Island City, Queens at the Pulaski Bridge.
In Brooklyn’s early days, Greenpoint was mainly farmland. Like most of North Brooklyn, it became highly industrialized during the 19th Century, focusing on shipbuilding, given its proximity to the water. The Polish were the first to settle the area, and Greenpoint has been categorized as a mostly Polish neighborhood ever since. It is not uncommon to find three generations of family members living in this community. Greenpoint also has some of the best public schools in the city, with parent-satisfaction ratings and students with high test scores, in spite of its small, but rising, population.
In an effort to make use of the waterfront space that was underutilized or left vacant, Greenpoint was rezoned in 2005 to create more opportunities for residential development and public space on the waterfront. Several once-vacant warehouses have been converted into artist’s lofts with killer views of the Manhattan skyline. There are several condos for sale and for rent, and new condo developments that offer all different levels of luxury. Tucked into numerous side streets, Greenpoint also offers charming, turn-of-the-century townhouses, classic row houses and red brick and limestone brownstones, surrounded by historic churches.
Greenpoint is somewhat less costly than adjacent Williamsburg, and has an abundance of trendy new shops and restaurants along with well established neighborhood watering holes. Word Bookstore on Franklin Ave. has a brilliant selection of art books, and hosts frequent literary events and author readings. Next door, the Pencil Factory has been voted for best bar in Greenpoint, and down the street, Paulie Gee's is famous for their insanely inventive pizza. Le Gamin specializes in amazing but inexpensive French street crepes. Peter Pan Bakery on Manhattan Ave., famous for their red velvet cake donuts, has been serving the community for more than six decades. Though slightly on the Williamsburg border at Nassau Ave., Enid's and Five Leaves are both fantastic spots for brunch.
McGorlick Park at Nassau and Driggs Avenues is lined with gorgeous oak trees on its borders, and though smaller and quieter than Williamsburg’s McCarren Park, residents enjoy their own dog run and Green Market every Saturday. Newtown Creek, a 3.5-mile long estuary that forms part of the border between Brooklyn and Queens, is home to a newly renovated park right at the water, with a footbridge to Queens. Once a year, the artists' studios located here open their doors to the public for Greenpoint Open Studios Weekend.