By Matthew Fischetti
Rick Paulas always loved Greenpoint. He wanted to do a project based in the neighborhood, especially after being able to move in due to a pandemic rent discount, but after 45,000 words and over a year into a novel – it wasn’t working. While stressing about a $400 rent increase with his girlfriend at local watering hole The Palace, Paulas got the idea to convert the novel into a radio play.
And that’s how “The Lady in Greenpoint”, the new three mile walking audio play was born.
Starting at the Pulaski bridge, “The Lady in Greenpoint” takes you through Greenpoint with stops at The Astral Apartments on Franklin Street, St. Anthony’s on Manhattan Ave., as well as Capri Social Club on Calyer Street, before ending in McGolrick Park – all while delving into Greenpoint’s history amidst a spooky backdrop. The 46 chapter play, complete with charcoal drawings at each stop, follows main character Pauline as you descend deeper into the neighborhood.
“I’ve always been obsessed with ghost tours,” Paulas said in an interview, noting that he always attends the tours in whatever city he’s visiting. “It gives you history that isn’t otherwise available to you. Good ghost stories or good ghost walking tours, they take place in areas where they have a lot of old buildings.”
And Paulas thought with Greenpoint’s rich history, it would be a good fit.
Paulas said that most of the historical research stemmed from reading local history books by Geoffrey Cobb, who has published a series of books about North Brooklyn including the 2019 “Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past.”
“This used to be an Irish place named Murphy’s,” he explained during an interview in Capri Social Club. “The separation exists because men and women back in the olden days, workers would come in at the side door to get their breakfast.”
Part of the inspiration came from a Greenwood cemetery grant program for a walking tour that he never heard back from. Once he decided to pivot from a novel, he was able to get the script done in a weekend.
“Figuring out the path was a little difficult, because three miles is a lot. But also I wanted it to be something long, I didn’t want it to be a half hour, I wanted there to be an element that you’re stuck with this for a long time,” he said.
Paulas enlisted a slew of friends to do voice acting, which include New York City based writers and journalists. They did it D.I.Y style, simply recording into their phones.
While creating a project like this could be daunting, Paulas said that he had a lot of fun learning more about audio production, working with actors and picking up charcoal drawing.
“You get the idea in your head of wanting to make something. And for something like an audio project, its not the hardest thing in the world. It takes a lot of logistics,” he said “I would hope that someones inspired to make their own thing somewhere else,it was really fun.”
“I came up writing blogs and those things are immediately disposable, the next day they’re gone. But something like this, you put it out there and hope for the best, people find it or they don’t.”
Readers who want to check out the play can find the project on https://theladyingreenpoint.mystrikingly.com. The suggested ticket price is $10, to be sent via Venmo (Rick-Paulas, last four digits: 0608) or PayPal ([email protected]).