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Sabine Heinlein

SABINE HEINLEIN is a freelance journalist, radio producer, and photographer who lives in Brooklyn. Her website is

1000 Manhattan Avenue

New awnings are sprouting up all over Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Corner Frenzy, which started out as a laundromat, recently added loud signage proclaiming “Hot Dogs + Ice Cream.”

Ashes, Ashes

Demo and his friends called the abandoned warehouses along Greenpoint’s West Street waterfront “The Alamo” and “Castle Gray Skull.”

Water Fight at McCarren Park Pool

It’s a steaming hot afternoon in mid-June. At a drinking fountain near the dried-out basin of McCarren Pool in Greenpoint, a dozen kids fight over a narrow jet of water.

Acquiring Soft Skills the Hard Way

How far would you be willing to go for $7 an hour? Would you cover up your tattoos, take off your hoodie and remove your piercings? Would you allow a stranger to scold you for talking back? Would you be willing to push against a rock-solid wall?

Spring Creep

“Think of Spring Creek as a municipal dumping ground,” says Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates. “It is one of the most abused sites in the city and a lot of the abuses come from government agencies.”

Bumming It on Manhattan Avenue

This story is only five blocks long. It starts at 1050 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. Exiting the building, I open the door carefully. An elderly man with a greasy gray ponytail sits on my stoop sipping beer from a brown paper bag.

Are You Ready for the Flood?

Sophie Bednarczyk, sporting black curly hair and a heavy layer of make-up, said, “You have to pray and do the rosary to prevent global warming. We have zero influence on what’s going to happen. Take the Tsunami. Bad people live over there."

From the Inside Out

As our luxury coach speeds up Interstate 87, Pablo Santos remembers sitting on a bus in shackles. There were guards, and bars on the windows, and he was not allowed to speak.

The Changing Face Of Park 51

How two Muslim Americans who came of age in the aftermath of 9/11 are attempting to rebrand the “Ground Zero Mosque”


I only noticed that fall had arrived when my fingertips, less active during the final review of a major, yearlong project, felt stiff and icy. I knew it was time to call the old project complete and start a new one.

Greenpoint's Empty Space

Janusz Pukianiec hauls a heavy suitcase down the front stairs of St. Stanislaus Koska Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “Coats and blankets for the homeless people,” he mumbles as he walks to the church annex next door. Like evanescent shadows, two middle-aged men shyly follow him.

Crocodile Hunting at JFK

Rumor had it that a crocodile lived at JFK Airport—an anonymous source spilled the beans. Among talk of alligators, caymans and other wet slithering creatures, the names Dr. Feinsod and Vetport were dropped. Some measly clues and promises made over cocktails were enough to send me on a quixotic quest for the croc at JFK.

Rant Rhapsody: On Duty with Officer H.

Officer H. is a handsome man in his mid-forties. He has a perky, inquisitive nose and eyes set a little too close together. If he was a cartoon animal he’d be a white mouse.

Listening to Robinson

Tyrone Robinson is a sturdy looking man almost six feet tall with a very dark complexion. He is 46 years old and maybe a bit chubby. It is hard to say, though, whether it is his body that makes his clothes bulge or all the stuff he carries in his pockets.

Leisure Scoop

One of my more significant childhood experiences took place at a leisurely Sunday barbecue, when an employee of my father’s asked his infant: “What does daddy do at Mr. Heinlein’s company?”

Turn That Frown Upside Down

It was the end of spring and I had decided to spend my Saturday afternoon with a clown. Clowns have always frightened me.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2023

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