Travel advice in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and nearby?
February 16, 2020 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I’m tagging along with a friend who has an appointment in Greenpoint. We’re staying in Greenpoint for four days and while she’ll be a bit busy about half the time, I have several days to be a tourist. What should I do?

This is a rare mini vacation for 2 busy midwestern moms on a modest budget, if that gives you an idea of scope. Is there a day spa I could visit? A Korean spa? I was thinking it could be fun to get a haircut at a salon different than my usual place. Any recommendations? (Is this a terrible idea? Is everyone booked already? Trip is about a month away).
Interests include thrift shopping, stand up comedy, fun bars, walking tours, interesting art or theater, cocktails, film. All food and coffee recs welcome too. I’d really appreciate your advice! If you could be specific on which subway or bus to take or if Uber is best, that would be really helpful too. We can walk about a mile but then have to take breaks due to a minor injury.
Thanks MeFi!
posted by areaperson to Travel & Transportation around New York (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's a Xi'an Famous Foods in Greenpoint, definitely eat there! I also like Karczma for Polish food. I feel like haircuts in NYC are irritatingly overpriced, but maybe that's true everywhere. For art, it's a quick trip by bus or Uber to MoMA PS1. Van Leeuwen for ice cream, Beacon's Closet for thrifting. Within Greenpoint, walking or Uber will be fine, but once you start crossing borough lines you'll want to take the subway (Google Maps is fine for telling you which lines to take). I hope you have a great time!
posted by catcafe at 8:49 AM on February 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Keep in mind that Greenpoint has no direct subway access to Manhattan, so you’ll always need to transfer. Depending on where you’re staying in Greenpoint, the L train at Bedford, Lorimer, or Graham might be walkable, with your stated restriction, but likely easier just to transfer.
posted by Automocar at 9:04 AM on February 16, 2020

Best answer:
posted by pyro979 at 9:30 AM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: Interests include thrift shopping

It's been 10 years since I saw it for myself, but maybe check out The Thing?
posted by aws17576 at 9:46 AM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: For a haircut, I like Soon Beauty Lab- I usually go to the one in Carroll Gardens when I'm in NYC, but there's another in Fort Greene that would be slightly closer. You can get there on the G train.
posted by pinochiette at 9:47 AM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: Ashbbox at the northern end of Manhattan Av in Greenpoint is a really cute Japanese coffee and tea shop with snacks and small meals. There’s a slightly hidden branch of Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory in a warehouse building across the street - maybe that’s the actual factory there?

Newtown Creek Nature Walk is an odd little park with nice plantings and a beautiful view of ugly industrial canals behind the sewage processing plant. It’s not as awful as it sounds - if you’re into that sort of thing. And if you are, you might be able to get a tour of the plant itself (The Digester Eggs!)
posted by moonmilk at 10:07 AM on February 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Paulie Gee for pizza! Brouwerij Lane for beer and Ramona for cocktails, if you drink. Odd Fox is pretty good for coffee.
posted by ferret branca at 10:34 AM on February 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: NB sorry about formatting, I’m on mobile

I live in Greenpoint. Directly within the neighborhood there’s not much for spas/art/theater, but it’s a great little walkable hangout kind of neighborhood. Depending on where you are, as above, you may walk directly to the L or the G to get around, or it may make more sense to get the B24, B48, or B62 bus to get around. I use This website to get accurate bus arrival times.

For food, the pierogies at Pierozhek on Manhattan ave are the best for my money, but since it’s a Polish neighborhood there’s other good options- Karczma as mentioned above, Krolewskie Jadlo, and Polka Dot. All are on, or right off, Manhattan ave, the main thoroughfare. Frankel’s is an excellent neo-Jewish deli near the Nassau av G train, if it’s busy it might be warm enough to pick up something there and walk over to nearby McCarren park with it. Paulie Gee’s (the original or the Slice Shop) is great pizza, Di an Di is fantastic and refined Vietnamese food. Greenpoint fish and lobster is a nice quiet fish shop and restaurant. Ovenly is great for a coffee and a piece of quiche or one of their pastries. And in North Williamsburg, Leo is excellent sourdough pizza and Four Horsemen is an excellent, very cool natural wine bar (owned by James Murphy of LCD sound system, if you care about that sort of thing). Next to Four Horsemen down a long plywood hallway is Daymoves, a very good sister cafe with just a super nice vibe that you can sit for a while in, but no laptops. For coffee, sweetleaf and upright coffee are good on Manhattan ave; variety or champion if you’re east of McGuinness, gimme coffee down on Lorimer in north Williamsburg. For cocktails I like The Hidden Pearl (inside Wanpaku), Achilles Heel (I think on India? It’s northwestern Greenpoint) or sitting at the bar at Chez Ma Tante on Franklin. I love, love Archestratus Books, a food-oriented bookstore near the Greenpoint ave G train. There’s some cute shops if you take a stroll on Franklin Avenue.

If you want to get into Manhattan, The L is the best bet for downtown, or taking the G then transferring to the E at court square is better for midtown and the west side. Watch out on weekends, the L is on a reduced schedule (every 20 min). Also a nice move, if it’s not raining, is to go to the India St ferry landing and take the ferry to Manhattan at 34th or Wall St, or take it down to Dumbo and check out the sort of cute fishing village turned fancy shopping neighborhood there.
posted by zingiberene at 10:34 AM on February 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I enjoyed walking through the Pratt institute of art one day, probably an uber ride would be best.
posted by sammyo at 11:08 AM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: Oh yeah, d’oh, I just went to Pierozek and Archestratus yesterday and they are so good!
posted by ferret branca at 11:20 AM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: If you do go into Manhattan, connecting to the E from the G will take you relatively quickly to W. 4th., which is short walking distance to Film Forum on Houston St., the OG art film theater in NYC, and Murray's (fancy cheeses, meats, sweets store; they are generous with cheese samples and advice, so you can tell them what kind of thing you like, try several, and just buy a sliver of your favorite) on Bleecker. Also very nearby and open late, so good for after a film, is the tiny Blue Ribbon Downing St. bar (one of many in the neighborhood; if you're looking to drink inexpensively in a non-dive, though, you'll almost certainly do better to stick to Greenpoint), and across the street is Emily, a very tasty Detroit-style pizza joint where you will need to book in advance.

In Manhattan, accessible from the L, you can get a reasonably-priced haircut for NYC (e.g., a little over $100 including tip) at Twigs in the East Village on 11th St. (short walk from the new Ave. A exit at 14th St., which is the first stop in Manhattan). Check their website for stylist availability in the near future. It's a little place that we think used to be a dungeon back in the day. Now upstairs is all airy and natural, but they'll wash your hair (and give you a glass of wine, usually) downstairs (which is now completely G-rated!). They're very friendly and not pushy.

(This is a great write-up of Greenpoint and I need to get back out there one of these days! But with four days, I think it'd be worth your while to go into Manhattan at least once.)
posted by praemunire at 11:50 AM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: The K-Town Sauna in Koreatown is nice.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I knew you’d come through. Thanks everyone! I’m very intrigued by The Thing. I have to take some time to go through all these fantastic responses. A special thank you to praemunire and zingiberene for the very detailed and helpful advice.
posted by areaperson at 12:50 PM on February 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Follow-up question: is it ok to go to a Korean spa alone? K-town Sauna looks really great, but the website description is about community and bonding with family. Do most people go with someone else?
posted by areaperson at 2:10 PM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: I just went to Ktown by myself during a work trip a few weeks back. Had a great soak, scrub and massage. I could see how the hot sauna part would be more fun with a friend but the scrub was worth it. They have lockers and etc for clothes, purse and a coat. No swimsuits allowed BTW. Message me if you want to hear more.
posted by travertina at 4:11 PM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: I see people at spas alone all the time! Last time I went to K-Town I was alone and it was seriously the best day ever.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:36 PM on February 16, 2020

Best answer: Just want to add some more praise for Archestratus Books, which is just the loveliest place. They have a little cafe serving really excellent arancine and rainbow cookies and whatever else the owner feels like cooking that day. They do lots of readings and dinners and other events -- you should definitely check out the schedule. Might be a fun activity one night.

Also: Dandelion on Franklin Ave. is my favorite wine shop in the city, if you want to get a bottle to go with takeout one night.
posted by neroli at 8:38 AM on February 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

On the art front, the new Faurschou Foundation space is stunning and relatively close.
posted by TravellingCari at 10:17 AM on February 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

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