The Brooklyn Free Store

freestore1-e1280455683502-150x150 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.

freestore2-150x150 freestore3-150x150

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?

Those Huge Bikes

Have you ever seen one of those oddly tall bicycles? 450px-Tallbike-150x150

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?

Wine Shop on Atlantic?

I've been having a problem with the CHB comments (meaning they're not getting sent to my email), so I apologize if I am delayed in responding to anything. But I just noticed a comment about a new wine shop on Atlantic, down near where the fresh fruit shop operated briefly.  I'll try to check it out this week, but if anyone has any details, please leave them in the comments.

UPDATE: Here's more info from the Village Voice.


I recently received this menu under the door:

Normally I wouldn't pay much attention, but the name of this place is truly awesome.  A Google map search says this place is located near the park.  I know there's a pizza place there, but I had no idea it had such a kick-ass name!  Have they recently changed their name, or has it always been Luv-n-Oven?  I'm sure I'll get a few comments of the "What, are you some newcomer that you don't know about this place?" variety, but I've been spending the last six years ordering from the equally-awesomely-named Not Ray's on Fulton.  NR's does NOT offer Buffalo wings, while LnO does.  Maybe I'll give them a try?  (And speaking of that, I have on my to-do list a review of all of the Bflo wings in the nabe.)

So, what's up with Luv-n-Oven?  How are the pies?

Bike Shop at 478 Myrtle?

bikes Last week, I noticed that the space formerly occupied by the Healthy Body vitamin shop (478 Myrtle) has been transformed into a bike shop!  I remember the space was once a makeshift bike shop and repair outfit, and now it seems to be back.

The folks at the Myrtle Ave Partnership confirmed that it's the same operator as before (and the owner of the building).  No word yet on whether the shop is temporary or permanent.

Greenhouse Skeleton Moves Ahead as Church

greenhouse?A few years ago, I noticed a mysterious structure that looked like a greenhouse skeleton on Clinton Avenue north of Myrtle.  Readers informed me that it belonged to the church on Waverly north of Myrtle.  They also noted that the church congregation was very noisy (and not just to newbies, either).  When I used to park on that block I often found the road blocked off by members' cars (my own personal annoyance).

Brownstoner reports that the church is finally ready to finish this place up.  The discussion over there centered mostly around the anticipated aesthetics of the structure, and the idea of smaller churches renting space in beautiful old churches in the borough, thus helping those buildings stay open (and preserved).

So?  Have these folks still been noisy?  What do you think about their new digs?


romans The old Bonita space on DeKalb (nr Vanderbilt) has a hand-made sign on the door that says "Roman's" and "OPEN."  The door also boasts a stop work order.

Inside, the place hasn't changed much.  The bar area has been fully stocked, and a decorative wall has been added in the back.

So, are they operational?  Are they in fact open from 5-11?  Or did that pesky stop work order stall things?

Renovation on Vanderbilt

I've noticed it a few times and a reader recently called it to my attention - the carriage house that used to house a preschool, and that was once a candy workers' union, is undergoing a rehab inside: whats up in the space on vanderbilt next to the yellow carriage house -- looks like a new school or something? betw, dekalb and lafayette.

For some reason, I assumed it was a residential renovation.  I thought maybe I saw it on Brownstoner, but I couldn't find it just now when I did a search.  Anyone know for sure what's up?


Candy Shop on Clinton?

There's been some activity in the former Little House on Clinton space (Clinton just north of Myrtle).  I've seen some folks working while driving by, but haven't been able to catch anyone when I was walking by on foot.  Recently, this sign appeared in the window: eat more candy

It could, literally, be a candy shop (which would be so fun!).  A reader who emailed me about the space hypothesizes it will be a children's clothing store.

Have the scoop?  Email us!

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 stand 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??


Mysterious Ft. Greene Park

bampark2 Several months ago, a reader emailed me about the mysterious park across from BAM:

Hi Clinton Hill Blog! All summer, I walked to work past a seemingly lovely park at the corners of Ft Greene Place, Fulton Street, and Lafayette Ave. There's a few benches in there and I'd love to sit and read there. What's the deal with this park?  Who owns it? Why isn't it open? Thanks, Amelia

The park, officially called BAM park, has been a point of contention at least as far back as 2004, according to this Brooklyn Paper article.

I've never once seen it open - have you?  It would be nice to have a green space to sit and wait in while waiting for one of the busses that stops on the north side of the park.  (It would also be nice for a wedding!)


Teen Challenge Offering Coffee and Thrift Store?

Teen Challenge might be selling off some real estate, but they're expanding in new ways.  A new Teen Challenge coffee shop recently appeared on Vanderbilt between Gates and Greene. I haven't seen it open, though.  Anyone been in?  Is it open for business?


Next door to the coffee shop, in the non-descript brick building, Teen Challenge appears to have opened a Blessingdales store.  A Google search explains that Blessingdales it a Christian second-hand store.  But there's no store sign.  Not the best promotional idea?

Putnam "Candy" Store

I have to give it up for the Local today, who published a great post about the mysterious "candy store" on Putnam and Grand. The best part is that someone has even taken the time to create a website for the store!!

tempting, no?

If you have ever purchased candy here, at this store, please let us know.  (Or games, for that matter, which the storefront also claims to carry.)