There are few places in New York where I can find barbecue and Mexican food that will satisfy my Texas-raised taste buds, but head south over the Pulaski Bridge and you’ll pass a sign: “Welcome to Brooklyn: Like No Other Place In The World!” Not only are you now in the city’s greatest borough, but you’ve also made it to the communities of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Four years ago, I moved to this area and have since made countless memories with great friends. Last Sunday was no different, as a couple of them joined me down at East River State Park for TASTE Williamsburg/Greenpoint.

Having rained the night before, we were lucky enough to be rewarded with a beautiful afternoon. The air was just cool enough to keep the sun at bay as we walked the grounds overlooking the Manhattan skyline. There was music to help sooth the soul as we feasted upon several samples from restaurants like Mesa Coyoacan (fantastic Mexican food) and Delaney Barbecue (Texan approved). I’d also recommend you try the cocktails at Maison Premiere the next time you’re on Bedford Avenue, or if you’re up for catching an early Fall stroll through the area, pick up a creamy dessert at the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream food truck.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the donated culinary delights from these established neighborhood venues. We didn’t eat for free, but all ticket sales did go towards the renovation of the historic Engine 212 Firehouse for the purpose of outfitting it as the new Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center. Speaking with Felice Kirby, owner of Teddy’s Bar & Grill, and other NAG representatives, I learned how the center will add to the richness and strength of the neighborhood. Once completed, the center will provide performance and exhibition space for local artists, give a new home to NAG so people can find community advocacy when needed and serve as a meeting place for anyone needing such use.

Keeping our communities strong benefit all involved. Not only does that keep crime down and bring in new business, but inspires fellowship with those we live near. I love living in North Brooklyn not only for the stellar restaurants and bars enjoyed on Sunday, but also because I can turn to the person next to me in any of those places and strike up a friendly conversation. That kind of comradery helps us rise up and lend a hand in tough times. That’s what community is for. That’s why we all should get behind these sort of projects in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and neighborhoods beyond.

More about NAG (Neighbors Allied for Good Growth)
Neighbors Allied for Good Growth developed out of North Brooklyn’s desire to recapture its waterfront, reduce local environmental hazards, and advocate for public policies promoting healthy mixed-use communities. They advocate with and for the people who live and work in the North Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Their approach to these issues is guided by the principle that the entire community is entitled to participate in decision-making and negotiation processes affecting the neighborhood, leadership of local mobilization efforts, and the design of a future vision for the community.

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