The Best Spots in Brooklyn
Brooklyn has changed so much since I was a kid, and parts of it are probably unrecognizable from when my dad was born at Brooklyn Jewish hospital in 1943. A lot of this has been good change in the form of art, culture, neighborhood-defining restaurants, shops and more. This week, we’ve gooped Brooklyn, rounding up some of the best spots for your perusal/exploration (or in case you need a bite on your way to the new Barclays Center). —GP
Barneys New York194 Atlantic Ave., Cobble Hill | 718.637.2234
Barneys buyers are famous for having an eye for spotting trends and designers—and then making them huge. The flagship store on Madison always has incredible, over-the-top displays, plus one of the best buys in the city. The shoe department, in particular, is great. There's also a location on the Upper West Side and in Chelsea.
Bird220 Smith St., Carroll Gardens | 718.797.3774
Owner and buyer Jen Mankins has built a bit of an empire out in Brooklyn, drawing Manhattanites out to shop in the process. Her eye is both quirky and cool, meaning that you’ll find a pretty irreverent (and bright) mix here, along with picks Alexander Wang, Zero + Maria Cornejo, and Tsumori Chisato. The racks for men are just as on point. She has three outposts in Brooklyn, including an outpost in Park Slope and Williamsburg.
BookCourt (Closed)163 Court St., Boerum Hill | 718.875.3677
This family-owned business is definitely a favorite among the many writers who live nearby. The store is sprawling, you'll find plenty of Brooklyn authors represented, and there's a great big room devoted to kids' titles. In the evenings, they host readings.
Brooklyn Kitchen100 Frost St., Williamsburg | 718.389.2982
The incredible kitchen store here will lure you in, but the classes will convince to stay. Offering everything from Vitamix blenders and Pillivuyt roasting pans, to homemade ramen broth, farm fresh eggs, and exotic cuts of meat (it's also home to The Meat Hook), the provisions part of the operation draws people from all over the city. Meanwhile, you can learn how to make homemade pizza with the Roberta's crew, pickle with McClure, or take a class in doughnut or dumpling making.
Catbird219 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg | 718-599-3457
For years, this teeny tiny shop on Williamsburg's main drag has been one of the best resources in Brooklyn for jewelry. Stackable rings, sweet little pendants, and more precious offerings from designers like Elisa Solomon fill the cases. Weirdly, because space is tight, we actually like shopping their website more.
CB I Hate Perfume318 Maujer St., 3rd Floor, Bushwick | 718.384.6890
A wide range of scents both comforting and strange are sold in this perfume gallery: "Cucumber Sandwich," "Wet Pavement," and "Dust" to name just a few. The nose behind this alchemist's shop is an ex-taxi driver, inspired to become a perfumer by his hatred for some of the horrid scents worn by women getting into his car in the evening.
Collyer’s Mansion179 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights | 347.987.3342
This sweetly curated home goods shop in Brooklyn Heights—a worthwhile trek in of itself—stocks artisan-made goods with a slightly nordic bent, from Mid-century style furnishings to ceramics, lighting, throws, and more. The art on the walls changes frequently, as does the stock—while it's named for the fire fighter's term for a hopelessly cluttered home (after the Collyer Brothers who collected north of 140 tons of stuff), the stores are anything but.
Erie Basin388 Van Brunt St., Red Hook | 718.554.6147
While the selection here is small, it's exquisite enough to draw a Manhattan crowd to Red Hook, one of Brooklyn's more far-flung neighborhoods (also one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy). Owner Russell Whitmore has an unerring eye for the types of estate and auction pieces you won't see elsewhere (i.e., on eBay): You'll find diamond cluster rings from the late 19th century and Etruscan revival bracelets inset with tiny drops of pearl and turquoise.
Eva Gentry Consignment371 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718.522.3522
Eva Gentry Consignment is not your typical thrift shop. On any given day you'll find Marni, Stella McCartney, Anne Demeulester, Dries Van Noten, Helmut Lang, and Alexander Wang. The clothes are pristine, and often have never been actually worn.
Greenhouse & Co.387 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718 422 8631
Greenhouse & Co. stocks all kinds of sustainable furniture and home accents that are really pretty stunning, too. Their ability to outfit an entire home, room by room, in eco-friendly furniture is impressive.
Idlewild Books249 Warren St., Carroll Gardens | 212.414.8888
Novels, travel guides, and history books are all jumbled together and categorized by country and region, rather than by author or subject matter at this travel-centric bookstore: The idea is that a book based in a particular place can be the perfect supplement to your trip. As an example, before heading to Istanbul, they suggest you read Orhan Pamuk’s memoir by the same name, to get a real feel for the city. For those prepping for a longer trip or a move, their language classes are a major plus, as they’re taught by native speakers. The original is in the the West Village.
Layla86 Hoyt St., Boerum Hill | 718.222.1933
Owner Alayne Patrick has spent years traveling back and forth to India, cultivating relationships with a handful of trusted craftsmen from whom she stocks cushions, textiles, and jewelry. The brightly patterned towels she imports are so popular that they're now stocked in their own shop across the street.
Mociun224 Wythe St., Williamsburg | 718.387.3731
You'll only find Caitlin Mociun's eponymous jewelry collection on her site—but should you go to her new, Williamsburg store, you'll see the work of her friends, too, including hexagonal brass necklaces by Iacoli & Macallister, and Chen Chen and Kai William's marble bangles. You'll also get to shop Mociun's full line, from her signature eensy, triangular turquoise pendants to her custom rings, which feature a mismatched—and stunning—combination of stones.
Oroboro326 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 718.388.4884
From clothing to ceramics and beauty goods, this store's main focus is on hand-crafted items, many of them locally made. We've found lines like Caron Callahan, Chimala, Ace & Jig, and Cosmic Wonder on our forays here.
Sharktooth111 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.451.2233
Devoted solely to antique textiles—from overdyed quilts, to Khamseh and Turkish Milas rugs—the pieces here are clearly hard-won, and very reasonably priced considering their quality and provenance. Whether redecorating, or just hunting for ideas, this is one of those spots that offers inspiration in spades.
Shen Beauty315 Court St., Carroll Gardens | 718.576.2679
Reminding us of what some of our favorite beauty boutiques were like when they first opened, Shen Beauty offers an ever-expanding range of exclusive, niche brands, such as Kate Logan and Percy & Reed, in a clean, bright and elegantly-girly space. Everything here is super clean and non-toxic too, including goop's own line of clean skincare, which is a pretty amazing touch.
Sprout Home59 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.388.4440
Recently relocated to a brand-new, much larger space, Sprout Home offers a wonderful variety of plants, planting accessories, flowers, floral arrangements, and adorable home goods, for the city's urban gardener. They also offer classes from Wreath Making to caring for container plants in colder months. With its airy but elegant aesthetic, this store is truly inspiring. There’s also a location in Chicago.
Steven Alan347 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 347.382.9125
We head to Steven Alan for the perfectly tailored yet lived-in men's and women's shirting that comes in an endless variety of plaids and stripes. Beyond that, it's the relaxed mix of pieces from designers like A.P.C, Isabel Marant, Rachel Comey, that keeps us coming back. The outpost in Tribeca is the flagship and the original, though there are now locations scattered around the city. They've recently opened a home goods shop, too.
Steven Alan Men’s347 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 347.382.9125
We head to Steven Alan for the perfectly tailored yet lived-in men’s and women’s shirting that comes in an endless variety of plaids and stripes. Beyond that, it’s the relaxed mix of pieces from designers like A.P.C, Isabel Marant, Rachel Comey, that keeps us coming back. The outpost in Tribeca is the flagship and the original, though there are now locations scattered around the city.
Swallow361 Smith St., Carroll Gardens | 718.222.8201
While you won't walk out of Swallow with big case goods, you are likely to find something small and unusual, like a tiny brass bird or an opalescent vase. They also have really beautiful tabletop, from rough-hewn stone plates, to little salt cellars.
The Brooklyn Flea176 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene
Sure, the main draw of the Brooklyn Flea is the opportunity to shop from the hundreds of vintage and antique vendors, but we also go for the awesome street food. The markets take place outdoors from April through Thanksgiving (Saturdays in Fort Greene and Sundays in Dumbo) and indoors in the landmark former Williamsburgh Savings Bank from Thanksgiving through March.
The Grand Street Bakery602 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.387.2390
This is one of the most precisely-curated vintage shops we know, stocking denim, leather jackets, and old logo T's with a distinctly heritage American feel. Everything in this old bakery spacey—clothes, blankets and rugs, vinyl, furniture—is for sale (and much of it appeals to guys).
The Primary Essentials372 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718.522.1804
Helmed by fashion stylist Lauren Snyder (she’s worked for Bergdorf Goodman and Glamour), The Primary Essentials revolves around goods that feel hand-worked—but never crafty. Gorgeous indigo-dyed textiles and simple quilts mingle with Earth Tu Face body washes, simple canvas carryalls from Joshu + Vela, and blue ceramic studs from Jujumade.
The Shop at the Wythe Hotel80 Wythe Ave., WIlliamsburg | 718.460.8000
Every 6 months or so, the shop space at Wythe Hotel changes hands, giving local shop owners and brands that align with the hotel's cosmopolitan Williamsburg vibe a chance to strut their stuff. Currently, it's Agnès b.
Two Jakes320 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 718.782.7780
Two Jakes is the best place to find everything you need for a modern office. Though they specialize in work furniture, there are also great 20th-century pieces for the rest of the home. They also stock new lines, like Bludot.
West Elm Market50 Washington St., DUMBO | 718.522.3498
West Elm's hipper little sister store in DUMBO has the look and feel of an old-fashioned general store and stocks a selection of unique kitchen essentials and home accessories that you won't find at the bigger chain. In part, it’s because they collaborate with small, emerging and local labels like Brooklyn Copper Cookware.
Yu Interiors15 Greene Ave., Fort Greene | 718.237.5878
Having been around for over 10 years, Ludlow Beckett's shop has seen the neighborhood change—but his offerings haven't changed all that much in the process. Look for tasteful and uncommon pieces, namely great glassware, pillows, and decorative knick knacks.
Zoë68 Washington St., Dumbo | 718.237.4002
We'd venture to say that Lisa Brock is a true Brooklyn pioneer, being the first to bring runway fashion to Dumbo. Right in the middle of the now bustling (and continuously developing) neighborhood, you’ll find Lanvin, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, and more in this light-filled, sprawling, space.
Pilgrim Surf Supply68 N. 3rd St., Williamsburg | 718.218.7456
This lifestyle shop kits out the guys who surf, like to dress well, and have a passion for hard-to-find LP’s and coffee table books. There are a few great options for girls, too. They also have an outpost in Amagansett.