This past Saturday was Small Business Saturday. I hope that you all took a nice leisurely stroll with your families and stopped in at some local shops for Christmas gifts like I did. Well…I also shopped for myself. Take a look at my find:
I dont know the origin or age but they are not new, mint condition and were only $18! I found them at a little thrift shop called Once Again Thrift Shop at 114 Smith St Bklyn. I was actually on the hunt for my sister a birthday gift when we found them together. She claims that she picked them up first but I think we each had a hand on one at the same time. I tried them on first and they fit, LUCKY me! They fit her too but I begged her to let me have them… then she paid for them for me, lol. It was a cash only shop, I only had my AmEx on me.
I did find my sister a birthday gift from another of my favorite local shops, By Brooklyn at 261 Smith St Bklyn. Just as its name states this store sells goods made in Brooklyn. Everything is unique and personal, the perfect place to find a gift. My sister picked out a brass necklace with a tiny owl. I also found a silver key necklace for my daughter Macy, who covets my Tiffany Key but is too young for such a luxury item yet.
My Brooklyn neighborhood is sometimes called BoCoCa because three areas combine almost seamlessly, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill & Carroll Gardens. We’ve read that it was once just called Red Hook or South Brooklyn. It seems that Brooklyn is regarded as a place for creative individuals but its not an area that I would describe as “artsy”, just casual and unique. There are many stylists, designers & authors living here. Not many Hipsters or the new breed, Prepsters around, that’s Williamsburg. Lots of young families, lots of French (because my daughters school P.S. 58 has a very unique Dual Language program that is partially funded by the French Embassy) and whats left of an older Italian generation that was here before the Yuppies invaded. Oh and we have many celebs, Michelle Williams, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Keri Russell (I passed her and her son on the sidewalk one day). And Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyonce & Jay-Z were at a birthday party at the park across from my daughters school last month (you can see the photos on this blog) although news of their visit spread like wildfire, Brooklyners dont really make a big deal out of it. You can just be yourself here, famous or not. What we dont have much of is tourists and I’m so happy for that! I once lived on Broadway at Wall St right next to Trinity Church and spent every day pushing through tourists and business men.
I walk alot in our neighborhood, which is one of the reasons I like it, its two main commerce streets Smith St and Court St are the main arteries of our “small town”. Hundreds of mom n’ pop stores line the streets, there is a bit of grittiness that keeps the rents affordable for small business owners. Mixed in with some gentrification, that I dont really like although it is probably necessary to keep other business afloat. Im a supporter of the 3/50 Project -Saving the bricks and mortars our nation is built on. Although I feel that an online presence is also necessary, in this day and age it is becoming a lost past time to take the time to stroll through a small shop. Im happy that sites like Big Cartel and Etsy allow us to shop from individuals far and wide and Pop Up Shops let people experiment with an idea but we shouldn’t forget to frequent business right outside our doorsteps. Maybe one day I’ll figure out my own interior design/craft/cake/event niche and have the opportunity to open my own shop, my husband dreams of having a toy store, my sister wants her own photography studio. Maybe we will go in together and have a MishMash Shop!
Im proud to say that we frequent the shops in our neighborhood more than we do big box and online, here are some of the shops Im in at least once a week:
-I buy produce every couple of days from K&Y Fruit and Vegetable at 291 Court St Bklyn.
-For items I missed on our twice a month Target stock up I shop at Gourmet Fresh at 437 Court St Bklyn.
-We buy birthday gifts at Pizzazzz Toyz 281 Court St Bklyn and sometimes baby items at its sister store right next door.
-Coffee at Black Gold Records at 461 Court St Bklyn, you’ve never seen a coffee shop like this, records and victorian taxidermy and a story behind it all.
-For a quick after school treat we love F. Monteleone Bakery and Cafe at 355 Court St Bklyn, the pasteries are small and still inexpensive.
–Winn Discount FCR at 299 Court St Bklyn is like an entire big box store crammed into a mom n’ pop and I do mean crammed but trust me they have anything you need.
–Mazzone True Value at 470 Court St Bklyn, Im not gonna lie, I frequent the Lowes a block away but this hardware store carries Benjamin Moore paint and is also in my path to school so Im in there often.
All of these stores are less than a mile from my front door. Not included in my daily erands are some much talked about restaurants Frankies 457 Spuntino, Prime Meats and Buttermilk Channel (which is on my street), my husband and I dont have to go more than 2 blocks when we want to celebrate at an upscale restaurant. Our area is well known to Foodies and we try to choose a new place each time we go out to eat.
I could go on and on about how much I love our Brooklyn neigborhood. We have been here only a year but already feel a since of belonging and fulfiment to our need to be close to the hustle and bustle (we are 2 miles from the Brooklyn Bridge) yet still have a small town community experience. I think we are planning to stick around here for a long time.