Through the Looking Glass: Behind Greenpoint’s Insta-Famous Window

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 1.41.14 PM
Hello from the other siiiiiiide. Photo by Rebecca Stevens.

You may have seen @greenpointglass’ recent takeover of Greenpointers’ Instagram account, or passed by the white house on the corner of Norman and Lorimer inviting passersby to take selfies in front of its mirrored windows. Those behind the iconic Greenpoint attraction recently invited Greenpointers in for an exclusive interview.

Just over two years ago, Molly and Rob moved from their apartment in Hell’s Kitchen to Greenpoint, into a ground-level apartment on the corner of Norman and Lorimer. “I never knew about Greenpoint until I moved here, or how great it was. The guy across the street has been here for decades. He can tell you everything, where all the bodies are buried, what this place was like. That’s what I love about this ‘hood. Nobody knows about it but us.” Molly observed.

The two-way mirror on the corner advertises free selfies for@greenpointglass, and has become a Greenpoint landmark. “[the landlord] works in construction, and when he bought the place, there were just these two tiny windows with bars in them. When he knocked the wall out, he installed the mirrored glass for privacy,” Molly said as we secretly ogled passers-by. “It’s always good people watching, especially when you get the late brunch crowds, or Halloween, when everyone’s hammered.”

Of their choice to rent the apartment, Molly said, “we didn’t even realize at the time that this was a 2-way mirror. And we didn’t really comprehend what this was or what it could be or how unique it was. But after sitting here the first weekend, we just realized, ‘holy shit, this is awesome.’ When we moved in, I got my partner this Polaroid book and a camera, and we started taking pictures of random things that we noticed – people picking their nose, or crying, or fixing their hair.

The Polaroid and album Molly and Rob created when they first moved to Greenpoint. Also pictured: costumed rescue cat. Photo by Rebecca Stevens.
The Polaroid camera and album Molly and Rob created when they first moved to Greenpoint (& bonus rescue cat). Photo by Rebecca Stevens.

When Molly and Rob showed their photo collection to friends, they realized that the intimate, funny, sad, and bizarre moments they were capturing were too good not to share on a larger scale. So, in early May of 2014,@greenpointglass posted its first picture on Instagram.

Now, Molly and Rob spend a few hours on weekend mornings drinking coffee and people-watching. “We see the good and bad of people…Most of it’s good.” In a city where it’s easy to forget that you’re not alone, Molly and Rob share the unique perspectives their window offers—of late-night stoners, YMCA members, local celebrities—each a special moment in time captured by a picture.

“It’s incredible to see these special moments: between [fathers and] daughters, friends, couples…This one girl came by in dark black lipstick and intense eye makeup. And she had obviously had a hellish day ‘cause she was crying so hard and stopped as she was walking by. She stopped and just cried and cried and watched the tears stream down her face, watching herself crying, makeup running. And we’re sitting here with, like, cocktails after work… I would have loved to have posted a photo of that, but it seemed mean or too personal.”

Six examples of the hundreds of tagged and posted Greenpoint Glass selfies, including famous cat @fatcatchunkerz.
Six examples of the hundreds of tagged and posted Greenpoint Glass selfies, including famous cat @fatcatchunkerz.

On the brisk Saturday morning when we sat by their window, Molly and I saw everything from quick side-eye glances to full-on brunch-drunk poses. “Even if they don’t stop and do anything, they’ll see it and it’ll make them smile or laugh,” Molly said of the older crowds.

“We’ll see people we recognize out and about on the streets, and we’ve heard people talk about it in bars and restaurants too. And we try not to chuckle too loudly as we’re listening.”

Molly and Rob have always elected to be anonymous, choosing to showcase those in front of the window instead. That being said, it doesn’t prevent them from occasionally posting their own photos, with faces concealed by masks or other disguises.

They’ve done Cutest Pet competitions, Best Kiss contests, and even partnered withCup to give away a free cappuccino to the cutest couple.

I would love to partner with local community groups. We’re big into animal rescue. It’s all on the horizon, but I need help to coordinate it.Social media isn’t really my jam…,” the nearly 2,000-follower account-holder said without irony.

When asked if there was anything she wanted to say to the people on the other side of the glass, Molly offered advice for better pictures and better living: “Goof off more! Show us your titties! People are so serious. Have fun, be creative. Don’t just sit there.”

Follow @greenpointglass on Instagram, or reach out to Greenpointglass@gmail.comfor community partnership inquiries. The @greenpointglass window is located at the corner of Norman and Lorimer.

 

Originally posted on May 3, 2016 on Greenpointers.com

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Through the Looking Glass: Behind Greenpoint’s Insta-Famous Window

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