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Wendy's Closed. Is Homogeny taking root in Greenpoint.

I was in Greenpoint just last weekend. Went to my favored dive, in the direction of Queens on Manhattan. That is not the point. The point is that Wendy's was closed. It was a Saturday night. It was something in the hours near 8 pm.

Wendy's is a Polish venue just west, Manhattan and Greenpoint. The juke box has great Polish music.

123 Greenpoint Avenue

I fear that like so many other areas, that this may be a slow receding (euphemism.....crushing is more like it) of the originary local establishments, as cookie cutter venues open up.

The cookie cutter, well, the same types of places, one finds in Park Slope, Cobble Hill, areas of other cities in other states.

Basically, unlike these originary establishments, one can find similar or same experience where ever one might be.

Wendy's has been said by adventurers into the Polish community of Greenpoint, to be similar to a social club. The atmosphere was quite a difference that one could step in, from time to time, or often.

Homogeny, is it taking root?

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  1. Oh, just to mention. I was in Greenpoint in middle of 2003.

    I stated to some local friends, that it is due to change, Greenpoint that is.

    I said the reason for my supposition of a coming twilight of Grrenpoint as what it has been, was that amongst the Polish shops, I noticed a new, trendy Thai venue.

    I made a hypothesis then. I concluded that Thai venues the likes that dot the city some on every block, when popping up in regions of entrenched ethnic or other locale, mean gentrification.

    That is not the case with the more 'hands on' Thai venues that can be seen on Hillside in Queens, or Jamaica Ave, Woodhaven.

    There is a difference between 'trendy' and more standard appeal. One strives for appeal due to trendy expense driven show of interior and exterior, with low quality food. The other is primarily a food venue, simply opened to offer good eats, not some exaggerated show that in the end is an appeal that leads to emptiness, unless one looks at revue acquired from customers that do not no better.

    So, 10 years later, 2013, my prediction seems correct.

    I am hoping that both worlds can coexist. Needless to say, across from Wendy's is not going to disappear.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jonkyo

      I believe that greenpoint was already well into the homogenizing process by 2003. I lived there in the mid-1980s (at franklin and eagle) and spent a lot of time there throughout the '90s, and by the turn of the century, things had clearly begun to change -- in my mind, for the worse.

      new York is constantly in flux, we all know that. but in decades -- centuries, even -- before, neighborhoods retained *some* character, even as the character changed. that's becoming less and less true: I live in Jackson heights now, surrounded by some of the city's better dining choices -- here, Elmhurst, JH itself, woodside -- and I see neighborhood newcomers complain about the food (since there aren't any 'cute bistros,' 'modern italian' or fusion places).

      greenpoint itself? back in the '80s, the northern part was a mix of older poles and younger Puerto rican residents, very few dining establishments -- the older Poles tended not to eat out except on special occasions, since restaurant food could never be as good as that of the matriarch. there were, however, many more markets and small food shops. fortunately, those seem to have hung on to a decent degree there, even as the cultural epicenter has moved eastward into ridgewood/Maspeth.

      I miss neighborhoods with distinct character, and I miss the idea that every single two block area didn't need every single luxury. but you can't put the genie back in the bottle.

      1. re: debinqueens

        Your last point does ring true.

        The aspect that is highlighted in your statement I will quote below, concerning Jackson Heights, can be applied to other locations in the boroughs, but many are just not the historical note that Greenpoint was...or still is.

        "Jackson heights now, surrounded by some of the city's better dining choices -- here, Elmhurst, JH itself, woodside -- and I see neighborhood newcomers complain about the food (since there aren't any 'cute bistros,' 'modern italian' or fusion places)."

        Nice to read you comment. Thanks.

        It is nice to go to such areas, and some places, I half jokingly state to compatriots, defy modernity. Most notable here would be Hasidic neighborhood. Others, do apply, in varying degrees.

    2. Wendy's is often closed at what would be peak hours for a normal bar. She owns the building and does what she likes, although I've often wondered why she hasn't tried to take a bit more advantage of a prime location in an ever-growing neighborhood.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gort

        That is good to know.

        I will have to find out when the doors and lights are on....and the juke box. Let us not forget the taps.

      2. Wendy's seemed open last night? (Tuesday 10/29)

        1 Reply
        1. Folks, we removed a bunch of posts from this thread. It's fine to disagree with each other, but please do it in a friendly way that focused on the issue at hand, rather than on your fellow hounds. Thanks.

          1. There are a handful of decent, though not great, little family run Thai places in Greenpoint (Amarin, Ott, Erb, etc.). They have been there for a while. It's annoying to see them reduced to trendy, greedy "exaggerated shows" because of what their decor looks like from the street. And it's equally annoying to assume that because of the loss of dive bar or a Polish store front, that this is somehow a dangerous harbinger of homogeny.

            The impending developments on the waterfront may very well ruin Greenpoint, but most of the recent development has come at the expense of the gritty post-industrial blocks north or west of the brownstone portion. Now there are people opening businesses that love the neighborhood... And there is PLENTY of ethnic Poland alive there for chowhounds at bakeries, butcher shops, restaurants, bars, etc.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Silverjay

              One should not be annoyed at someones perceived or judged impressions. You should be delighted, for this is an opportunity to engage in a dialogue so as to enlighten the other to your perspective, or knowledge.

              It was quite good to read your statements, and they will be taken into consideration. It is true that "PLENTY of ethnic Poland alive there for chowhounds at bakeries, butcher shops, restaurants, bars, etc.".

              But there is a measured difference from 10 years, and even prior. Of course, this is alway the case with market driven economies.

              I suppose I like extremes. Maybe we could get the city to have ordinances on the types of shops and people that lived around them.

              Better yet, we could replace all edifices with the grey concrete from Canarsie to Greenpoint. Post industrial grit blocks have found their way to cinema many a time.

              Speaking of which, I do like the way the cinema was transformed, the one just near the Greenpoint and Manhattan intersection. Now that is certainly post-modern. I have yet to take a danish and coffee there. Like yourself, I prefer the local Polish owned spots, hanging on for dear life.....or just existing ( I am not a property prospector).

              Oh, to be thoroughly honest, I rarely eat pasties. But, I certainly go for a good heavy Polish brown bread.

              But really, if one is in need of that, there are some fresh baked loaves, that come out steaming, to the shelves. Not in Greenpoint though.

              The best, in my opinion, Eastern Europe brown bread, baked in house, caught still hot if your are lucky, morning or afternoon, is in Brighton Beach, at Gold Label. Ask for their lithuanian brown. Yum.

              I have not navigated enough in Greenpoint to make similar conclusions, as I have made in Brighton Beach, in Greenpoint. Stayed tuned, I suppose, unless the property rises due to pending 'waterfront developments', real soon. Doubtful.

              Perhaps another chow hounder could point us to Greenpoints nice baker spot.

              1. re: jonkyo

                Anytime someone makes snap judgements from the street without investigating and then posts it on a public forum, it's annoying.

                There are at least 4 operating Polish bakeries in Greenpoint/ North Williamsburg and one of them is outstanding- perhaps one of the better bakeries in the whole city.

                1. re: Silverjay

                  Which one is the outstanding one, Silverjay?

                  1. re: Humbucker

                    i know you asked Silverjay, but i find the breads at
                    Rzeszowska (on the northern part of manhattan ave, maybe India street) to be terrific, especially the seeded rye.

                    Old Poland, which is sort of a central kitchen that makes those containers of bigos, borscht and such that you find in the refrigerator cases of outlying polish and russian delis, makes a terrific poppyseed kuchen/roll. not crazy about the rest of their baked offerings. It's on nassau at mcguinness if i recall correctly.

                    1. re: debinqueens

                      Bread is something I seldom purchase. It is not that I steal it or gain it as gifts either. I simply eat it marginally, so, I tend towards the special places that I have found.

                      The problem with Greenpoint is that I often go to Ridgewood for my Polish grocery, hence, Greenpoint, out of habits of the day to day, is relegated to nights out, so to speak.

                      That I am sure is unfortunate, in that you and Silverjay have pointed out treasured Polish bake shops, that offer the likes you mention.

                      I shall make a point to visit ( or check out) Old Poland.

                      Rzeszowska sounds great. I am a Rye Guy, all the way. And if rye disappears from the planet, I will be a fickle to Pumpernickel.

                      I have actually lived long without bread, and the absence of such, allows for an appreciation for only the best.

                      Bread is quite biblical. Places where Moses and Jesus share nothing historically, aside from missionaries, still to this day have little of it.

                      My travels to the east of Germany caused me to realize the quality in the breads there, as opposed to more westerly Europe.

                      They are heavy, but no stuffing or create ever full sensation.

                      I do recommend the Lithuanian Brown at Gold Label.

                    2. re: Humbucker

                      Northside Bakery on N.8th and Bedford, few blocks from Greenpoint border.

                    3. re: Silverjay

                      No snap judgements from the street. and I do apologize if I ruffled feathers. That is not my intent.

                      My judgements are founded on principles of observation, that have developed over a long history, that includes Nicolaus Copernicus, Charles Darwin, and last but not least, Guy Fieri. Thus stated, your comments are much appreciated, and respected.

                      I have seen his shows (Guy's). They are good, at first, but chowhound and food blogs are actually better, more diverse.

                      One could never match the discoveries that these threads reveal.

                      Northside Bakery I shall investigate.

                      What do you think about Ridgewood, Mytle, Forest Ave in regards to Polish / Eastern EU bakery ...breads..?

                      I know of one Serbian...wiat...Roumainian baker. She bakes one kind, and then sweets. on Seneca. They do stick to tradition, with the breads that is.

                      1. re: jonkyo

                        I don't know Ridgewood. But Sietsema just did a roundup of places in that part of town for Eater. You should check it out.