WA-GREENE Block Association Street Fair

The WA-GREENE Block Association, on Washington Avenue between Greene and Gates, will hold its first ever street fair on Saturday, September 18 from noon to 6pm. The active block association, which has been in existence since 1973, is hosting the fair to celebrate some of its recent accomplishments - working with the DOT, the block now boasts a new speed bump in front of the PS 11 entrance on Washington Avenue, and new truck route signs to prevent trucks from illegally using Washington Avenue. The Association will be including merchants from Fulton Ave between Vanderbilt and Classon at the fair, to help residents learn more about new local businesses and support businesses on that stretch of Fulton. The Greene Hill Food Co-op to have a representative on hand to register new members.

If you're around, stop by to meet your neighbors and celebrate the strength of community. And if you live on or near the block, find out how you can get involved!

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?

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?


CHB Finally Visits Urban Vintage

urban vintage I know, I slacked big time on this one.  I missed their small preview and then hadn't made time to go check them out after the grand opening.  But I finally made it last weekend and boy am I glad I did!  Urban Vintage is GORGEOUS!  I love the combination of merchandise and retail.  The bright, spacious shop is stylish and comfortable, and the owners Elizabeth and Emily Hazelwood couldn't be any nicer.

urban vintage owners

Urban Vintage is closed on Saturdays, which seems like an odd choice given the crowds just down the block at Choice (and the limited seating there).  However, they're closed so they can host private events on Saturdays.  And let me tell you, I would have loved to do my bridal shower there had they been open last summer.  Keep it in mind.

I didn't check the prices of all of the home furnishings, but the stuff I looked at was surprisingly reasonable.  Like this cute clothespin-inspired garbage bag holder for less than $30:

garbage bag holder

What an awesome way to re-purpose a small plastic bag as a garbage bag and make it look cool!  I'll be back for this, for sure.

The Local's covered it here and reviewed some of the food.

Urban Vintage 294 Grand Avenue

Pet Stores: A Comparison

There's been a lot of internet chatter both here and on the Local about how the neighborhood now has "too many pet stores."  I don't disagree necessarily, but I don't want to wish failure on the new guy just because I'd rather see something else in the space.  Plus, as someone who often buys heavy pet care items (cat litter), and has both a cat and a dog, I'm all for competition if it means the prices, stock and service gets better.  Not to mention an option close-by. So which store is the best overall? I decided to stop at every local pet store (and a few grocery stores) to compare prices on some of the items I buy most to see which shop was Top Dog.

Here's what I was looking for:


  • Wellness dry food, small (47 oz) or medium (6lb)
  • Feline Pine cat litter, 7lb bag
  • Wee Wee Pads, 50-count

Associated (Waverly Ave) Wellness (small) 15.59 Wellness (medium) N/A Feline Pine  4.19 Wee Wee Pads N/A

Nycpet.com (Myrtle Ave) Wellness (small) 12.99 Wellness (medium) 20.99 Feline Pine  8.99 Wee Wee Pads 25.99 (Bonus: friendly in-store cat)

Who's Your Doggy (Willoughby and Adelphi) Wellness (small) N/A Wellness (medium) 17.99 Feline Pine 8.99 Wee Wee Pads 24.99 (Bonus: SUPER friendly in-store cat)

ABC Pet Supply (DeKalb Ave) Wellness (small) 11.99 Wellness (medium) 15.99 Feline Pine 7.99 Wee Wee Pads 19.99

Kiki's (DeKalb Ave) Wellness (small) 13.99 Wellness (medium) 16.99 Feline Pine 6.99 Wee Wee Pads 32.99 (Bonus: buy 10 bags of food, get the 11th free)

Elly's Market (DeKalb Ave) Wellness (small) 16.99 Wellness (large) 18.99 Feline Pine 4.99 Wee Wee Pads N/A

Interesting.  ABC did the best overall, offering the lowest price on 3 of the 4 items I was looking for.  The rest of the stores offered  range of pricing.  The price variation was small enough that I'd probably pick the closest store to me for most of this (aside from the Wee Wee Pads, which I would NOT buy at Kiki's, and the Feline Pine, which I WILL go out of my way to buy at a grocery store and not a pet store).

If you do your own price comparison based on your regular buys, let us know what turns up.

Feliz Brooklyn

outside Feliz On Saturday, I happened past the mysterious new store on DeKalb, once home to Urban Spring and Picnic, two failed eateries.  I had heard rumors that it was a shoe store, but that clearly wasn't the case once inside.  The store, called Feliz Brooklyn, celebrated its opening that day and offers a small selection of shoes for kids and adults, jewelry, aprons, Tocca candles and lotion, greeting cards, home decor, antiques and more. Owner Lilly Genevieve said that the store will carry some items year-round, while other items will be sole seasonally (sandals, umbrellas, etc). Her husband, from Argentina, built all of the display shelving.

The store was bustling with people, and most passers-by stopped in to take a peak.  Maybe people were curious as to what was next for the space.  Or maybe retail, and not food, is the right fit for this particular storefront.

Feliz on DeKalb

Feliz Brooklyn

Feliz Brooklyn 185 DeKalb Ave felizbrooklyn.blogspot.com

Hours for Customers: Greenlight Bookstore

Last week, I made most amazing discovery ever:  A LOCAL (NON GROCERY) SHOP THAT IS OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK FROM 10AM-10PM.  I have been in to Greenlight Bookstore before, but I never realized just how accommodating they were. In addition to offering a great selection (best sellers and NYC-centric books) and a beautiful space, they also host regular readings and author events.  And are actually open after work.  Wayyy after work.

I try to patronize as many local businesses as I can, and I know as a small business owner it's difficult to keep early and late hours every day.  But it is frustrating to come home and need something, try to pick it up from a local shop and then realize they've all closed at 6 or 7pm.  Greenlight makes it easy for me to keep it local.

To show my appreciation, I will be spending my 3/50 local spending money this month at Greenlight, buying at least one book a week at 9:45 pm (because I can!).  First up, City Kid by Nelson George.

ABC Pet Supply Coming to DeKalb

abcpet abcpet2 The fun hat store on DeKalb closed recently, and a pet store will open in its place.  The merchandise has been loaded in over the last week.  No idea yet what it will be like, but this past weekend I could see a whole selection of cat trees / scratching posts in the window.

Will this be an outpost of the ABC Pet Supply on PPW in Windsor Terrace?  (I've never been there - just did a quick Google search).

Negative points for the unimaginative name; positive points for the hearty supply of scratching posts.  What do you think?

(Aside - I remember when there was at most one pet store nearby.  I think perhaps we're reaching our saturation point of pet services.)

CHB Interviews: Kathleen Hyppolite of kat flower

kathleen hyppolite, kat flower Grady's Collective Market on Fulton is becoming a really cool mixed bag of wares - new, vintage, home furnishings, paper goods and now flowers.  Kathleen Hyppolite launched kat flower at the collective a few months ago and has recently moved her blooms to the front of the shop.  CHB chatted with her about her new business, how it fits into the Collective and flower shopping tips for spring.

1. Tell us about Kat Flowers and how it fits in to Grady's Collective. kat flower is boutique flower shop that combines charm, elegance, simplicity and beauty.  like the rest of grady's collective market, the assortment of flowers is well-curated, dynamic and fresh, interesting yet always accessible.  having fresh flowers as part of the collective is reminiscent of the markets in paris, amsterdam and london, however we remain true to our unique brooklyn style.

2. What's your background, and how did you start arranging flowers? i am a native brooklynite and event planner of many years and have had the opportunity to work and collaborate with some of the city's best floral designers.  i have always loved playing with flowers, arranging them for myself, family, friends and clients. i got tired and frustrated of having to leave my neighborhood for flowers and being limited to the farmer's market and deli tulips.  i want to make beautiful, fresh, high-quality flowers accessible.

3. What kinds of flowers are typically available this time of year? spring is springing so there is so much beauty to choose from.  i love tree blossoms...dogwood, forsythia, peach and of course cherry.  also lilac, sweet peas, hellebores, tulips, narcissus, hyacinth, daffodils and jasmine.

4. What kinds of services do you offer? kat flower sells blooms by the stem, hand-tied bouquet and arrangement. for gift orders, we buy fresh per order so please contact us and we will arrange something special for the next day. for weddings and events, please email kathleen@katflower.com for a consultation.

5. What do you recommend as a floral gift for a romantic partner who isn't into the cliche dozen roses? a floral gift is no different from any other kind of gift -- it should be thoughtful, personal and meaningful.  if they like fresh scents, an arrangement with freesia, hyacinth or lilies would be lovely.  if they love color, ranunculus and tulips have quite a range.  if they love simple beauty, you can't go wrong with an orchid.  and i also am in favor of the perfect single stem...a single peony or dahlia would definitely make me happy.

(flower photos by derrick raphael)

Kathleen maintains a blog on her latest inspirations and inventory at http://katflower.blogspot.com/.

kat flower 923 fulton street (inside gradys collective market) cross streets clinton & washington avenues c train to clinton-washington

tuesday-wednesday 12-7 thursday-friday 12-8 saturday 11-7 sunday 12-6

Brooklyn Totes, Made in Clinton Hill

It's getting a little late for Xmas shopping, but I know some of you out there need to wrap things up (so to speak). Here's another suggestion- this adorable tote, made here in Clinton Hill by two local residents: artist Caroline Hwang and designer Bryn Smith.


$15, http://www.spoonmeloveme.bigcartel.com/

Maybe we can convince them to make a"Spoon Me Clinton Hill" tote.

Two Local Craft Markets: Shop for Xmas This Wknd!

More holiday fun this weekend in Clinton Hill!  Check out these two local gift markets that just happen to be at two of my most favorite neighborhood buildings: 1. SALON DE ARTISTS, 313 CLINTON AVE

photo by Elizabeth Waugh

This is the last weekend for Janna Hyten's Salon de Artists, held at her home at 313 Clinton Avenue (aka the Halloween House).

This weekend's artists will be:

Wendy Krabbe    Collage Art and Poloroid Art
Janna Kennedy Handcrafted Nests as broaches, christmas ornaments, decor
Meg Prata  Sterling, brass jewelry with semi precious stones
Bob Bongard  Architectual pen drawings
Harvey Wilson  Water colors
Elizabeth Waugh Photography

Hours: Sat: 1-8 Sun: 10-6


Holiday Flyer

This building is my most favorite stop yearly on the SONYA stroll.  It's an intriguing labyrinth filled with artist studios and lots of great talent.  I had no idea the space had a name, so stay tuned in the New Year for more information.

Info: 124 Washington Ave between Myrtle and Park

Update: Hours are 12-7

There will be handmade goods including, jewelry, hand knits, bags, clothing, lighting, art, glass ornaments, and more. There will also be great holiday food and an art auction.

Five+ Local Gift Suggestions

It's been a crazed December in the CHB household, so I didn't have the time I would have liked to spend a day or two browsing all sorts of neighborhood shops to look for local stocking stuffers.  (Last year's guide is probably still relevant, if you want to check it out.) Here are a few quick picks for this year's shopping.  It is by no means complete or comprehensive.

1. Root Stock & Quade Aunt Sadie's Candles (one potential scent: Pine Tree in a Can): $23 Birdhouses (wooden or ceramic, various sizes): $32-52


2. Outpost Lounge A pound of coffee beans (specifically the RING OF FIRE house blend)for the holidays: $10/lb

And while you're there picking up some coffee beans, Outpost is offering $1 off all regular priced glasses of wine each day after 5pm as part of Shop Brooklyn! (until Dec 24)


3. Green in Brooklyn SodaStream Soda Makers: Jet Starter Kit: $110 / Penguin Starter Kit: $250 (This one's a bank-breaker, but how cool would it be to make your own soda!  They have plenty of inexpensive items, too, plus a killer selection of greeting cards.) sodastream seltzer starter kit

4. RePop Assorted vintage elf ornaments: $10-$12 (These make a wonderful tree trimming gift, and will remind people, hopefully fondly, of childhood Xmases.)


5.  Gnarley Vines Gnarly 2009 Everyday Super Value Six-Pack: $45.90 (That's less than $10 a bottle, folks!  Give them all to one loved one, or create six separate gifts!)


Bad with the wrapping?  Let the brand new Gradys Collective Market wrap it for you. Make an appointment (gradysbk@gmail.com). Pricing is as follows:

$5.00 - per present General examples: CD’s, Novel Books, Jewelry, Box of Chocolates, iPod, Desktop Calendar, Watch, etc. For small presents, we offer custom designed & printed wrapping paper for an additional $2 per gift.. $7.00 - per present General examples: Shirt Size Boxes, Journals, Medium Sized Hard Bound Books, Small Board Games, Wall Calendars etc. +2.00 All odd shaped items (small, medium, and large), will incur an additional $2 fee per item. $9.00 - per present General examples: Large Clothes Boxes, Shoe Boxes, Medium Kitchen Appliances (blender, coffee maker, and so forth), Tabloid Calendars - 11X17, etc.


I really wanted to focus on Fulton this year to celebrate FAB, but with back to back holiday events this week I couldn't make it.  Look for a special Fulton shopping feature in 2010!

It's "FAB" to Shop on Fulton

And yet another reason to shop locally!  The new Fulton BID (known as the FAB Alliance) just sent me some very convincing reasons to shop on Fulton this month. The new FAB Alliance is giving away 4 FREE TICKETS to a performance of the "Christmas Spectacular" at Radio City Music Hall - featuring the Rockettes! All people have to do is to go into a participating SHOP BROOKLYN businesses along Fulton Street (and parts of Lafayette, Greene and Putnam Avenues) in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, fill out an entry form and drop it in the box. You can enter to win at as many businesses that have the raffle box as you want (but you can only complete one entry per person at each business). No purchase necessary and all that stuff. Complete rules are on the entry forms. Tickets donated by the local branch of Capital One Bank, 858 Fulton Street (@ Clinton Avenue). The drawing will be December 17, 2009, and the tickets are for the 8:00pm performance on December 23, 2009. You can enter to win at the local Capital One branch and at any of the participating Fulton Street SHOP BROOKLYN businesses (see flyer attached) - there are nearly 50! Shop Brooklyn is a program of Borough President Marty Markowitz designed to encourage people to shop locally during the holiday season (and all year long!). Each of the businesses is offering a special "Brooklyn Bonus" through Christmas… Free desserts with dinner... drink deals.... discounts on clothing... gift cards... drawings for free books... spa upgrades... eye exams... and even discounted therapy sessions. The variety of businesses on Fulton Street is amazing, and if you haven't explored the entire strip in a while, you have a lot to discover. Check out the list of businesses attached and what they are offering... and enter to win those free tickets to Radio City.



Toy Drive, Discounted Manicures and a Grand Opening

Tomorrow, there's lots going on down on Fulton, thanks to Lashunda Davis (owner of both 'Cure and Grady's).  Head down to donate some holiday cheer to a needy child, get a well-deserved holiday mani, and celebrate the opening of a hip new boutique!

  • From 11am-7pm, bring a new, unwrapped toy to 'Cure Beauty Bar and receive a $10 mani'cure (921 Fulton St)
  • Gradys Collective Market (923 Fulton) holds its Grand Opening: Wine and food tasting, discounts, raffles, flowers and of course Fashion...Men and Women!


Little Flower Shop in the Park

IMG_1016 Remember when we didn't have a single flower shop in the neighborhood?  Well, now we have several!  I recently checked out the Little Flower Shop in the Park on Vanderbilt just south of Myrtle.

Little yes, and not in the park.  But the shop offered several very affordable bouquets that had been thoughtfully assembled for just $10 each.


I really liked the monochromatic arrangements - hefty bouquets using the same color in different shades.  Not something you typically see at a non-high-end shop.  I opted for a yellow and green arrangement.

flowers on vanderbilt

The bouquet lasted more than a week and I was able to preserve it even after I had to remove a few of the flowers that wilted.

Overall, a great place to pick up a well-arranged basic bouquet that won't break the bank.

The Little Flower Shop in the Park 154a Vanderbilt Ave