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Brooklyn's Time Capsule: The Century-Old Greenpoint Clock

In a world that's ever more digitized and accelerated, the existence of the Greenpoint Clock on Manhattan Avenue is like a charming anachronism, a nod to a slower and more grounded age.

Greenpoint Clock

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This historic timepiece, installed at the dawn of the 20th century, was a vital marker of time in a pre-digital era, its hands needing to be manually wound every eight days. Today, it stands as the last of its kind in Brooklyn, a testament to the enduring character and charm of Greenpoint.

The clock was originally commissioned by Bomelstein's Jewelers as a beacon for their shop, a few blocks down on Manhattan Avenue. In an era devoid of wristwatches and smartphones, these street clocks were not just ornamental fixtures. They were reliable timekeepers for local residents, who regularly set their pocket watches according to these master timepieces. The clock's rectangular beveled base, fluted column, and double-sided face were a design trend, an embodiment of the period's aesthetic.

However, as the years passed, Bomelstein's Jewelers bid goodbye to Greenpoint, leaving their iconic timepiece behind. Stranded on the sidewalk, the clock's fate hung in the balance. The hero in this story was Dr. Sebastian Polizzi, who adopted the clock in the 1970s, becoming its guardian and protector.

As the clock succumbed to the wear and tear of time, Polizzi's family stepped up in 2017, investing $8,000 of their own money to restore the clock back to its rhythmic ticking. Today, the Greenpoint Clock is more than just a street ornament—it's a symbol of Brooklyn's history and a testament to the dedication of the Polizzi family. Among the five boroughs, only four such cast-iron street clocks survive, making this timepiece a rare gem in a city that’s constantly changing.

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