Monthly Archives: July 2006

FINALLY – Cool Oddities in the Hood

creepy doll heads

repop window
BrooklynJay tipped me off to a postcard he found at Zaytoons for a new store called Repop.

Via the website, the place looked amazing — the perfect place for picking up some random trinkets and vintage housewares. It looks like the kind of place only available in East Williamsburg. Not anymore! Yessssssss…

As discussed earlier, this place is technically NOT part of Clinton Hill. I suppose it would be considered Wallabout or Navy Yard. Either way, it’s close enough to call our own. (Look for a post soon about that whole area between the BQE and the Navy Yard. The whole area is ripe for cool scenes like Repop!)

Partners/owners Russell and Carl moved to the neighborhood from Kansas City, where they worked for and owned similar shops. Repop, which just opened in mid-July, is eventually slated to become part bar, allowing patrons to shop while they drink. The shop is so great right now on its own that I hope they expand to a space next door for the bar.
buttons!
Repop is the type of place you could spend hours in, literally discovering something new each time you turn around. Items big and small are packed in — from furniture to dishes to buttons to ancient doll heads and dismembered doll parts, not to mention vintage frocks and owl-feather hats, plus religious statues.

Inventory is changing constantly. Best of all, the guys are super honest. BrooklynJay found a valuable camera for $20. When he politely informed Russell that the camera was worth a few hundred bucks, Russel shrugged and said, “Yeah. We only mark up 10-20% of what we pay for the goods.”
ancient mirror
The owners have a keen sense of humor as well. The back of the store features a small wall display unit filled with old Fisher-Price little people (you know, the smaller, swallowable ones from our youth, as opposed to the gigantic ones in stores now). You can’t pass something without a chuckle.
little people!

Repop
68 Washington Avenue
Bkln, NY 11205
718-260-8032
Wed-Sun, 11am-7pm


Brown Betty: The Review

The new Brown Betty Cafe is not that close to my apartment, but if something is new, I’ll make the journey. Plus, it’s not far from Outpost.

Being in the location it’s in (Grand south of Fulton), I didn’t expect much in the way of decor or ambiance. I was wayyyy pleasantly surprised!

The color scheme and the subway tiles in the kitchen are warm and inviting, and the staff is super friendly and welcoming.

white chair
menu
photos

I had the cornish hen (a favorite of mine to prepare) and Jay had the jerk chicken burrito. Mine was delish, and the perfect amount for lunch – a small piece of roasted hen, plus sides of rice and beans, and a salad with mango vinegarette dressing. Jay loved his, but it was a bit spicy for my taste.

We each had a thai iced coffee — sweet and creamy.

It’s a great lunch place, or a coffee-muffin stop mornings on the way to the C train. Yesterday, they started serving a prix fix dinner for $17.95, including salad or soup, entree and dessert. It will be offered on weekend evenings. Being the inside table space is small — maybe 5 tables for two, plus two small areas with bar-style seating — I’m not sure how dinners will work out. If they added a back garden, it would be perfect. Food quality-wise, it’ll probably be a winner.

Bonus… they have rock candy!!! (a childhood favorite of mine growing up in Buffalo)
rock candy- yummy

Do stop by and pick up a thai iced coffee. Take it to go, or if you have the time, sit inside and enjoy the ambiance.

thai iced coffee
Brown Betty Cafe
466 Grand Ave.
Bkln, NY 11238
718.398.8800
www.brownbettycafe.com

Speculation

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I was very sad to see Brother’s Hardware go. It was local, with a friendly staff, and also enormous. No Home Depot, mind you, but perfect for all basic hardware needs, plus roach and ant baits (ew, yes, I need them).

The building’s been empty for awhile, and it seems work’s been going on inside. Construction permits reveal nothing. Jay bets it’s a restaurant or bar, while Marina guesses coffee-shop-type-place.

Me? I’m not sure. It seems awfully big for a bar or coffee shop, or even a restaurant. What do we need the most?

  1. Book store (maybe selling a new-used combo? mmmm…)
  2. Flower shop/gardening center
  3. Clothing boutique (especially since Sodafine’s moving to the ‘Burg)
  4. Straightforward, good Italian restaurant
  5. Greek food
  6. Modern home furnishings store

What are you hoping for?

On My Way to the Park

OK, this is Ft Greene fodder, but chances are you have the same questions.

Most days, I walk my dog Marshmallow to Fort Greene Park.


1. I used to like to take Lafayette to Cumberland and then cut north to FG Park. I liked this route because I would pass a magnificent garden on the east side of the street the width of a house. Now that’s being turned into luxury condos, but out of habit I still walk that way.

As soon as I turn right on Cumberland, I always pass this car service:

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I am completely convinced this storefront is a front for something else. I mean, it looks like there are lights on inside, and it’s never gated up. But have you ever seen anyone go in and out, or see towncars parked outside? Have you ever known anyone to take this car service? As the neighborhood continues to come up, this weird business seems more and more out of place.

Out of curiosity, I called them.

There was no answer at the first number.

The second one went straight to a voicemail. I’m sorry, but this is NOT a legit car service.

2. Change is afoot on DeKalb Avenue. Liquors is still closed, and the shoe repair place next door has become a cute-looking children’s clothing store (Beezu?). On the block just east of the park, two storefronts have been under construction for months. One is slated to be a wine shop, while the other will be an organic juice bar!

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I could have sworn this sign used to say “this spring.” And even so, summer’s half over. Open your damn juice bar already! I have high hopes for this place. I’m hoping it’s nicely designed.

Yamashiro: The Review

Jay and I hit up Yamashiro last night — the new sushi haunt on Myrtle.
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Inside, the place is small. It’s not totally lacking atmosphere, but it’s definitely not the kind of place to go for a trendy night on the town. Most, but not all, of the tables were full when we arrived at 8:15pm — not bad for a Monday night!

I immediately recognized the waiter as having worked at Sushi D. He recognized me, too. He said that most of Yamashiro’s staff came from Sushi D. Interesting. We also started with free edamame, just like Sushi D. However, Yamashiro’s edamame was kind of dry and wilty.

The menus were certainly not as flashy or nice as those at Sushi D, and were kind of confusing.

We started off with some apps – I had the kani salad, and Jay had the salmon skin salad. The kani was just fine. Jay wasn’t very happy with his. The salmon skin on top of the salad was actually very tasty, but it was sprinkled on top of a boring pile of iceberg lettuce. Our apps took for-e-ver to come out, which was annoying.

The rolls were very tasty, specifically the Waterfall and the Dynamite (both pictured on the left). Waterfall is topped with crab and the Dynamite is fried in tempura. Heavenly.
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We were too stuffed for desert, but if not we would have gotten the Japanese ice cream, which comes deep fried in a puffy bun thing, and appears to have a side of carrots on fire (literally, it comes burning).

Summary: Not as nice inside as Sushi D. They also played techno music inside, which was annoying. Service is friendly and prices are a bit lower than at Sushi D. Definitely great for takeout, and fine for dining in, especially if you’re close by. Good fancy rolls. Low on atmosphere, crappy edamame. No outdoor seating. Good deal for the $$$.

Boundaries

There have been several discussions lately regarding the exact boundaries of Clinton Hill. To clear things up, I consulted the Best Book Ever, The Encyclopedia of NYC. Every NYer should own this enormous book. You can find answers and information on virtually everything in/about NYC.

Here’s the entry:

Clinton Hill. Neighborhood in northwestern Brooklyn. Overlooking Wallabout Bay and centered at Pratt Institute, it is bounded to the north by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, to the east by Classon Avenue, to the south by Atlantic Avenue, and to the west by Vanderbilt Avenue. The neighborhood is named for DeWitt Clinton and occupies highest ground in the area. In 1832, Clinton Avenue was laid out as a tree-lined boulevard along the crest of the hill, and some grand villas had been built by the 1840s. The area was considered a rural retreat until the speculative development in the 1860s of row houses, which by 1880 lined most of the streets and attracted affluent professionals…

The entry goes on detailing more history, but it sounds pretty defined to me:
clinton-hill-map.jpg
I’ve heard talk of the neighborhood extending one more block east to Franklin. That wouldn’t be a huge stretch, but I’m sticking with the Encyclopedia.

New Goods on Myrtle

100_1655.jpg The days of “Murder Avenue” seem long gone. Might as well call it Marvelous Avenue. Jay notified me about some NEW openings, so Mallow and I did a walk-by last night.

I really like Myrtle, much more than Fulton. I’m glad Jay’s so close to Myrtle so he can keep an eye out for new stuff.

I noticed this sushi place — Yamashiro — a few weeks ago, but completely forgot about it until he mentioned it to me.

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The menu and the inside of the restaurant look fairly generic, as far as design. But we all know that good design does not excellent food make! Jay and I will be trying this out asap and I will report back.

More exciting is Polish Bar Brooklyn. I’m not the only one who automatically assumed it was Polish, like the country. My new rollerskating friends from Rope thought the same. But no, it’s pawww-lish, as in nail. It appears to be a trendy, upscale nail salon! Hopefully serving alcohol as well. It opens July 22.

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I may end up staying true to my local cheap-o nail salon, Charming Nail (Waverly Ave. between Lafayette and Greene), depending on the prices. When it comes down to mani-pedi, convenience is key. 100_1657.jpg

And now, one more supercute shot of Mallow:
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