Greenpoint’s street names were once lettered, from A to Q, but in the late 19th Century were given actual names, in alphabetical order. In north Greenpoint, the names reflect the area’s industrial past next to Newtown Creek — Ash, Box, Clay; south of there, the names switch in emphasis to the formerly bustling commercial shore of the East River, as shipments from the world over as well as the Great Lakes arrived at its docks: Huron, India, Java.
I was lollygagging through Greenpoint last summer when I arrived at the Box House Hotel on McGuinness Boulevard and its (so far) unexplainable Checker cab collection. The Box House calls itself a hotel, but really houses upscale rental apartments in what once was a
n office building for one of the shipping concerns plastics manufacturing plant.