Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
You probably know recent Brooklyn transplant Meredith Graves as a punk rock renaissance woman. But she's not only the vocalist of the buzzy and refreshingly raw band Perfect Pussy—she’s also an incredibly honest and thoughtful writer, with articles appearing in the likes of Rookie, i-D, and The Hairpin. On top of that, Graves runs her own label, Honor Press, that features the most exciting, authentic artists.
Graves attacks new challenges with infectious enthusiasm, which was the very same spirit she had when showing us around Greenpoint, one of her favorite neighborhoods. Although she lives in Bed-Stuy, she finds herself on these streets enough to consider it a second home, and she had plenty of spots to surprise even the most seasoned Greenpointers out there.
JIMMY'S DINER: 577 Union Avenue
Graves suggested we fuel up for our day of pounding the Greenpoint pavement, and we didn't put up a fight. One of her favorite spots is Jimmy's Diner, and it's pretty easy to see why: It's welcoming and no-frills chill, effortlessly cool and cozy. But it's really the food that matters, and Jimmy's delivers there, too.
"Jimmy's Diner makes simple food—BLTs, fried catfish, bright green veggies, milkshakes and waffles and pies—so perfectly and so consistently," Graves said. "It's sweet and dependable. My beloved friend Colin, whose book, Slice Harvester: A Memoir In Pizza, was just published a few weeks ago, has worked there for many years. You can find me at the counter eating tater tots until my skirt doesn't fit, sucking down hibiscus-vodka sodas, and picking his brain for advice." We second her opinion on those tater tots.
BEACON'S CLOSET: 74 Guernsey St
What would a trip to Greenpoint be without visiting this epic secondhand store? The hordes of vintage fanatics that flocked to Beacon's Closet at the old Williamsburg location now head to this neighborhood for a reliable mix of classic must-haves, wild statement pieces, rare and eclectic finds, and hidden designer treasures—all for pinch-me-I'm-dreaming low prices.
"Growing up in rural New York thrifting most of my wardrobe, I'm used to dresses costing three to six dollars," Graves explained. "I knew NYC was extremely expensive, but I really got [sticker] shock the first time I tried to go shopping. Because of this, I get most of my clothes at Beacon's Closet. Spending $20 on a dress still feels like a luxury to me, but it's the most reasonable place I've found." It's also the best place to recreate a rom-com montage trying on crazy (but still irresistible) dresses.
CAPTURED TRACKS: 195 Calyer St
Captured Tracks is the coolest place to stock up on vinyl, especially since it's also the coolest record label in the industry right now. Its artist roster is so well-curated with intriguing acts (think Mourn and Naomi Punk), and the album releases for each of those artists is always special and perfectly thought out. The record store is one of Graves' favorite stores to shop, and not only because the label puts out Perfect Pussy's albums: One look at its vinyl and cassette-filled shelves, and it's sure to become any other music lover's favorite, too.
"I worked here over the winter last year, covering for people who wanted to go home for the holidays," our guide said. "My band puts out records on Captured Tracks, so it was always sweet and funny when kids would come in to buy a copy of our record and see me behind the counter. This place is like a second home to me. The jazz and world music sections absolutely shine, and they've recently expanded their cassette selection by about 100-fold."
CAFÉ RIVIERA: 830 Manhattan Avenue
"When I first started hanging out in New York a year before I moved here, Captured Tracks' offices were still in the back of the record store. I went out around the corner to get a coffee one day and stumbled into the Café Riviera, which is to this day my favorite bakery in the city," Graves told us as we approached our next spot. Full disclosure: We will go anywhere with the promise of macarons.
"It's cheap—nothing is more than a few bucks. They sell a dozen flavors of the lightest, most delicate macarons (seriously, better than Ladurée) by the pound, and they make all their coffee with steamed full-fat milk. It's tiny and always crowded, but worth it." We managed to snag seats on the day we stopped by, settling in to enjoy lemon cake and cream-filled doughnuts, all washed down with dreamy coffee.
SUNSHINE LAUNDROMAT: 860 Manhattan Avenue
When Graves planned to go to a laundromat on our day out, we were understandably a little hesitant. But luckily, this wasn't about chores: Our guide just wanted to show us why Sunshine Laundromat is the coolest spot to clean your clothes in the borough. She takes her laundry here all the way from Bed-Stuy, and it's even worth a hang if you don't have any laundry to do. Why? In a word, pinball.
Dirty duds or none, swing by if you're in the neighborhood to play a couple of rounds. And if you do have a load to throw in, Graves has sound reasoning for making Sunshine your new go-to: "If you're already changing your last few bucks into quarters, you might as well play a few games of Monster Bash."
WORLD OF FLOWERS: 971 Manhattan Avenue
To end our day, our guide pointed out the loveliness of returning home with a bouquet in hand. Usually, quality blooms are priced near bank-breaking territory, but Graves' suggestion of World of Flowers makes sure you head home with both flowers and spare dollars. "Like many people, I love having fresh flowers around, but am usually very broke. I come to World of Flowers for special blooms to add to bodega bouquets. Their selection changes daily and is very reasonably priced.
"I used a lot of their stock for an article on flower arranging that I wrote for Rookie," she continued. "They've also got a nice selection of houseplants and succulents." We decided to go all out and celebrate the end of summer with the most colorful selection we can find—it's tough choosing—and, thanks to Graves, we now know how to arrange them, too.