Last week, the unthinkable happened: Enid’s went dry. The Greenpoint bar’s liquor license expired and it went a week without being able to serve (yesterday it announced on Facebook: “booze is back!”). This was particularly a blow to Charles Bellafiore, who’s been a regular at Enid’s since it opened just before the turn of the century – which is a much cooler way of saying 1999.
Where others have moved on, he’s stuck around. Having lived in Dumbo and the south side of Williamsburg for 10 years, and then in Greenpoint for the last four, he’s seen the wild changes in these neighborhoods. But at 44, he’s not an ornery old territorial punk about it. He’s simply a soft-spoken man who laments the change but accepts how things are.
Over a soda water on the rocks, no lemon or lime, Charles explained that his job as a propmaster for TV and film keeps him working 12-hour days and pulling all-nighters: “It’s like permanently being jet-lagged.” But when we spoke to him he had the day off and was feeling great, despite the fact that he couldn’t enjoy a beer at his favorite bar.
The show I work regularly on is on hiatus. I usually work on a show called “Blue Bloods.” This week I’ve worked on everything from “Spiderman” to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to “Girls” to “White Collar.” The best TV show [I worked on] by far was “Strangers With Candy.” It was the best working experience ever. All of us were in our 20s when we did it. It was very inclusive and cutting-edge TV.
I’ll come in here two to four days a week. It depends how much I’m working. Earlier on, I might’ve come in here a lot more when I wasn’t working so much and was a lot younger.
I’ve been coming here since this place opened in ’99… When this place first opened there was no restaurant. They didn’t even do brunch. It was just a bar. In those days, there were some bars in the neighborhood, but you still primarily went into the city to go out. Now, Williamsburg is a destination, which is still really odd to me that people actually come here from other parts of the city to go play.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at night, you won’t catch me in here, at all. The crowd’s a lot younger than me.
When I first started coming to the bar, I liked the people that were in here. The bar reminds me of a midwestern bar, and it reminds me of the bar I used to work at when I lived in Champaign, Illinois where I’m from. It’s big. It’s open. It’s a little bit eclectic how it’s decorated… We’d drink to excess and have fun.
Most of the people who were coming in here, and I imagine it’s probably still the same, were all struggling musicians, artists, filmmakers, writers, all wanting to do something bigger. That was always one of the big appeals about it. Most of the people you would meet were pretty interesting. They had something to talk about that they wanted to do.
I wanted to be a producer or director, to be on the creative end of things to make something happen. I stayed with property [props in TV and Film]. I like what I do. I struggled for a very long time. It was only six years ago that I wasn’t struggling anymore. Now I make a really great living and don’t struggle at all.
Most everyone I know now has careers or families, stuff like that. Here I can just walk in and there’s someone I can usually talk to.
If you talk to anybody who’s been in this area ten years ago, it’s a little bit much how it’s changed. It’s a little bit disappointing. A lot of us didn’t move over here for that. It’s huge clubs, really expensive restaurants, wall-to-wall kids. Most of us moved over here because it was cheap rent, and it was close to the city.
I like that Greenpoint is getting more restaurants and a few more bars. I hope that it doesn’t go much further than what it is. But I’m sure it’s not going to stop. It’s going to get bigger. They’re going to start building huge developments. What was once a small neighborhood, there are huge apartment buildings now.
As far as the old days, it seemed like it was a little bit more special. You would go to someone’s house for a party or an art show or to watch a band. In the old days, it was very personal. It was a very intimate experience and very special. Now it’s not so much that. But I’m not a participant in that anymore. I’m a lot older.
It doesn’t really affect me that much. It is definitely a change. But I’m pretty okay with my surroundings and if I wasn’t, I’d definitely move. I love living in Greenpoint. I like coming to Enid’s.
This evening? I’m going to go find a bar that has beer. I wanted to drink … I’ll probably head over to Pencil to see who’s working over there.