I embarked for Greenpoint in the pre-Lena Dunham era (more on that bitch in a second). And while my time there amounted to no more than a year or so, it was one of the most impacting epochs of my New York existence. It was where my formative slut years began, and later became tainted by Lena Dunham making a show about my life that people would call “so real” when, in fact, it is the most forced, gross misrepresentation quite possibly ever rendered to TV. Thank god I got out before she infiltrated; it would have completely corrupted any form of veracity to my nightly sexual hijinks. In my day, the only TV show that got to use Greenpoint as its own Hollywood lot was The Good Wife. And, speaking of Hollywood lots, the ghost of Mae West has been known to appear now and again on Franklin Avenue, the street she grew up on. But she and I never tangoed.
Veronica Peoples, a coffee shop/performance space by my apartment where I once saw Zebra Katz sing “Hipster” (sometimes referred to as “Hipster on the L Train”) is now gone. Blackout, the only gay bar in Greenpoint, has vanished–though I’ll always remember having loveless sex in the bathroom there one night and then walking home to meet up with my roommate casually, as though I hadn’t just lost yet another shred of dignity. Coco 66, a paradise for the drug-addled and drug craving, had to become sanitized, replaced by a Williamsburg bar called Tender Trap. Even Lulu’s, formerly Lost & Found, one of the few alcoholic outposts left in New York where you could get a whole pizza with the purchase of one drink, has been forced out. And perhaps worst of all, Photoplay, possibly the last place in all of Brooklyn to rent a tangible movie, has faded to black.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to know that Girls episode commentary features Lena Dunham sitting in Matchless, my bar, where I used to relish the simultaneous consumption of mac and cheese and calamari (now since taken off the menu) when I was drunk off my face while harassing a bartender named Brian who probably thought I was into him, but really it was my friend? No, I’m sure you don’t. You’re probably one of the people who moved to Greenpoint because of Girls, ergo you can never understand what it was really like before.
Well let me tell you: it was a haven for the unemployed to stroll leisurely through the streets, peppered with Polish storefronts and restaurants that are quickly being eked out by places like Torst, a “hip wood-clad Danish bar” that celebrities such as Julian Casablancas frequent. Now, everywhere I turn, something is gone or altered. How can I possibly hold on to all of the memories that Greenpoint once held if its entire facade is vanquished by expensive commercial rent and a collective need for niche thrift stores like People of 2Morrow? I’ll never go back. It’s not like it’s easily accessible anyway, what with the G train being the one constant in its shittiness amid the juggernaut of gentrification.
The continued potential for all traces of the Greenpoint I knew to perish completely becomes more concrete with each passing day. Soon, I fear, there will only be one RiteAid instead of two right next to each other on Manhattan Avenue–and you know the one that looks like a disco roller rink on the inside is going to be the first to go. The final vestiges of affordable shopping, like Dollar Up right across the street from the Dunkin’ Donuts at that corner where all traces of Williamsburg finally dissipate, will also fall, and then where am I supposed to buy my fake flowers and holographic pictures of Jesus?
No, this cannot be. This is all the fault of Dunham, I swear it. Her with her rich parents and therefore the ability to have a chance at “making art” on the sacrificial altar of Greenpoint is the entire reason for its demise. I had my own TV series written before her, goddammit, I just didn’t have the funding to get it off the ground like she did. It should have been me who ruined this portion of North Brooklyn for everyone else, not her. Now I just have to stand by idly and watch her take the last establishment that meant anything to me by invariably including a cameo by Paulie Gee in a forthcoming episode.