Category Archives: bed-stuy

The Brooklyn Free Store

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Writing in this space has become such a big part of my life, so I’m going to continue posting when the spirit moves me.

Anyhow, Mr. LH and I have been making regular trips to the Home Depot in Bed Stuy (yes, I know it’s a mess, but they do have most things in one giant store, at least when they’re not out of what we need, which happens regularly), and on several occasions I’ve noticed something interesting on Walworth Street across from the west side of the store parking lot – a makeshift tent filled with stuff and a giant sign that reads, “The Brooklyn Free Store.”  I’ve been almost jumping out of my skin to go take photos of it and poke around.  And then I remember that I didn’t say I’d never post here again!  So on our last trip, I jogged over to see what was up.

Surprisingly, the tent was filled with some decent stuff – clothing, some nice handbags, a decent collection of books.

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There was no one nearby, and I didn’t take anything.  Although I’m pretty sure the whole point is to take-something-and-leave-something in some kind of hipster experiment.  I Googled “Brooklyn Free Store” and came up with some references to something like this in Williamsburg in the early aughts that has since closed.

Are the same people behind this?  Have you ever “purchased” anything from this store?

Area Antiques: Mercantile Gallery

Received this email from a reader awhile back and realized  I never posted it:

I did a little walking around in the rain today and came across an
amazing store of antiques – full of quality RESTORED antiques.
I spent some time talking to the owner, a very nice man, Ken. He’s
been in Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy for a long time but doesn’t advertise.
He certainly had some beautiful pieces and very fairly priced (a tall
5 drawer, curved front, oak dresser – $300!).

Just wanted to point out another resource!
-g

Mercantile Gallery
1055 Fulton Street (Near Bedford)

Google street view shows them closed, but it’s not clear if they were just closed at that time.

Have you been?  How’s the selection?

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Those Huge Bikes

Have you ever seen one of those oddly tall bicycles?

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I’ve always wondered how someone mounts and dismounts.

Awhile back, someone told me that these bikes were made in western Bed-Stuy, just over the Clinton Hill border.  The organization of people who make or ride these bikes (or both), Black Label NYC, were at least once located at Willoughby and Sanford.

Are they still there?

CHB Visits Black Swan

(I’m not going to label this a “review,” since I went to dinner to catch up with friends and wasn’t there in the mindset to be thinking critically about it.  But it was tasty so I thought it deserved a post!)

A few weeks ago, Mr. Lesterhead and I met up with friends who live just across the CH / BS border.  They had been raving about Black Swan on Bedford Ave, saying they’d been there “almost every night” since it opened.  It’s just over the neighborhood border and the photos we’ve seen have look great, so we decided we’d check it out.

The place is gorgeous!  Great inside decor, a nice outdoor seating area, a great selection of beers on tap (milk stout, which someone recommended in an earlier post, is indeed delicious).  On the night we dined I tried the evening’s special, which was fish and chips. I love the standard F+C fare, but this was a special interpretation.  The fish was fried in what almost seemed like a light tempura and was wonderfully seasoned.

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We split the coconut flan and the apple tart for dessert.  This is the latter – delicious.

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Mr. L’s only critique was the booth’s wood benches, which were just a little too shallow to sit totally comfortably (and I wouldn’t have noticed on my own).

Overall, a great new addition to the neighborhood!

Black Swan
1048 Bedford Ave @ Lafayette

PACC Gardening Event

Emily at PACC emailed me a little roundup of their Earth Day planting event with some photos:

Pratt Area Community Council celebrated Earth Day with its second annual gardening event on Saturday, April 17th. Last year tenants, PACC staff and volunteers spruced up Gibb Mansion’s gardens for Earth Day. This year, on a cloudy morning, more than 25 volunteers joined tenants and staff at 15 Quincy Street to get their hands dirty “greening” one of PACC’s affordable rental buildings. The team turned over garden beds in front and in back of the building, then planted flowers and trees including arborvitae, coreopsis, petunias, marigolds, flowering plum and cherry trees. Walk by the building on Quincy or Lexington to see what a difference a few hours of gardening makes!

Student Art Show at the Y

Students of the Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School are showing off their creative masterpieces at a show at the Bed-Stuy Y.  The opening reception was last week, but the exhibition will be up until March 25, and is a mix of photography, abstract painting, and graphic design done by 9th-12th graders at the school.

The show is open to all and you do not need to be a Y member to check it out.

Y: Going Downhill?

Is it just me, or has the Bed-Stuy Y gone downhill?  Don’t get me wrong- it’s still a great value.  But when I joined, it was cleaner, less machines were broken, and you could actually ask the front desk staff a question.  Now the place is bursting at its seams (and it’s not just the New Year Resolutioners- it’s been packed for months now).  I can never even get a class schedule since the wait at the front desk takes ages, they’re out of paper towels, stuff is duct-taped together, and the locker room is smelling like a musty, moldy pool.  Maybe they were overwhelmed with new members in the last year?

Honor System Fresh Foods

My boyfriend was on his way to the C station recently and as he headed up Franklin Ave. he saw something puzzling and, as he put it, “so f—ing cute,” near the intersection of Monroe and Franklin. Remember that old house that was profiled in the City Section of The Times a few months ago? It was the cover story, and was written by the woman who lived in the house? She found century-old objects in a tunnel underneath it? Well, now she and whoever else lives there are gardening and harvesting and selling to the neighborhood…using the honor system.
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When I went to check it out, there was no one around, just an adorable farm-stand set up, some basil and sage in water, a big bushel of light purple kale, a very large fennel stalk with a small bulb and a huge bushel of lemongrass. (It said “figs” on the sign, but I didn’t see any.) I waited around to see if a person would appear, but they didn’t. So I put a dollar in the mailbox, chose the fennel after many (what felt like minutes) of uncertainty, and hopped down the street.

I hope the experiment in community friendliness works. I watched from afar for a few minutes and I didn’t see any funny business. I didn’t see anyone buy anything either.

But I’ve got a beautiful fennel stalk with soft leaves! What will I do with it??

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