“If you said Lenape Tribe, you get one point,” said Brooklyn-based librarian Sarah Gentile, excitedly grabbing the microphone from the evening’s emcee, her eyes scanning the bar packed with bespectacled bibliophiles and neighborhood know-it-alls—all crossing their fingers, hoping that they were able to accurately conjure up the name of the first Native American tribe to settle in Greenpoint and scribble it down on their team’s score sheet. “But if you wrote down the specific sub-group, you’re a total badass!” Cue a few cheers, and a round of applause.
Greenpointers, as a whole, may not be able to agree on everything—or even much of anything—most of the time. Bike lanes, park space, zoning plans, McCarren Pool—you name it, we’ve fought over it. But if there’s one thing all neighbors can agree on it’s that Greenpointers love Greenpoint. Though it is tinier than most neighborhoods, and is precariously nestled on the banks of one of the most poisonous waterways in the country, Greenpoint natives and newbies alike can’t help but feel at home amidst the tiny shingled awnings, the imposing abandoned factories lining the waterfront, the Magnolia trees that bloom in the springtime. We love the proximity to pierogi, the way the sun sets over the East River and the fact that you can’t get to the top of Brooklyn without passing through Greenpoint first—and thanks to the Greenpoint Library Friends Group, on Monday neighborhood nerds were treated to their very own night of ‘hood-related trivia featuring several rousing rounds of Greenpoint-specific quiz questions about famous parks and famous people, community gossip, tough-to-pronounce landmarks and more: a GP junkie’s dream.
“We want people to have pride in their neighborhood—it’s not about how long you’ve lived in Greenpoint, it’s about how much you love it here. We want to get people excited about this community,” said Sarah Gentile, a librarian at the Brooklyn Museum and Co-President of the Greenpoint Library Friends Group. “We want to give everyone a chance to be together as a community, and be proud it.”
The fun-fact face-off, which was generously housed by Mark Bar on Manhattan Avenue, got underway after contestants broke up into teams and were given a score sheet on which to jot down answers. Each team picked a name—the Mome raths, Shmitty from the Shitty City and the Manhattan Avenue Marauders, to cite a few—before bouting it out for the title of brainiest Brooklynites on the block.
“Which CB1 member is responsible for the bike racks outside of the L train?” asked emcee Amber Billey—who lost a little bit of her street cred when she accidentally pronounced “Newtown” of Newtown Creek as one would if discussing a soft-baked cookie of the fig variety, though her enthusiasm surely made up for it. “The answer is,” she replied, pausing to build suspense. “Teresa Toooorooooooooo!” More cheers, more applause. Everyone got it right—that was an easy one.
The first round of traditional trivia was immediately followed by a second, less conventional quiz form—the ever-illusive visual identification round, showcasing black and white photographs of Greenpoint landmarks like the Greenpoint Savings Bank, St. Anthony’s Church, the Arsenal and McGolrick Park. Then more questions, more cheering and, eventually, the top three contenders faced off in something of a lightening round.
Though it was the first trivia night hosted by the two-and-a-half year old Greenpoint Library Friends Group—an organization dedicated to supporting, promoting and responding to the needs of both the Greenpoint Library and the community it serves—the event got on without a hitch despite an unexpected springtime rainstorm. The Friends Group, which relies solely on volunteers, has roughly eight core members, and holds meetings once a month to plan bake sales, art auctions, fundraisers and various different programs.
“We want to function as a liaison between the Greenpoint Library and the community,” explained Gentile. “We want to find out what people need, and communicate that information back to the library.”
Trivia night, however, was a little bit different than the typical events put on by the Friends Group, in that it wasn’t so much a fundraiser as an exercise in community pride.
“Let’s face it, the recession sucks,” Gentile said. “And we don’t always want to ask for money. Sometimes we want to give something back.”
And on Monday night, that “something back” included a dozen Peter Pan donuts (for the third prize winners—Shmitty from the Shitty City), a WORD Bookstore gift bag (second prize, snagged by the Mome Raths) and a grand prize gift certificate to Permanent Records, which went to the reigning Greenpoint trivia champions The Manhattan Avenue Marauders—also known as your very own Greenpoint Gazette staffers (and CB1 Parks and Recreation guru Eric Peterson) in disguise.