The Brooklyn Guide
At this point, Brooklyn is really a city unto itself. The transformation started with Williamsburg, which is what put Brooklyn on the map for this generation of New Yorkers, though each neighborhood has its own little personality and ecosystem—Cobble Hill and Park Slope are great residential neighborhoods for young families, Boerum Hill (which has some excellent shopping) offers beautiful walks among the brownstones, and Bushwick still has a plenty of reliable mom-and-pop type stores nestled in with the trendier businesses. Needless to say, this is a guide that will continue to evolve and expand, as new, exciting spots are popping up at lightning speed.
Ample Hills Creamery623 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights | 347.240.3926
The specialty here is handcrafted ice cream and sorbet done in small batches—made extra-delicious by the fact that Ample Hills gets its cream and eggs from local farms upstate for the freshest (and most sustainable) product possible. Offering 24 flavors that change with the seasons, they also do really delicious and beautiful custom ice cream cakes. This fall, the creamery is offering a trio of Roald Dahl-inspired flavors (Mr. Fox’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Crunchy Cider Caramel Cream, Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace, and Sweet as Honey) which you can get in-shop or shipped right to your door .
Brooklyn Boulders575 Degraw St., Gowanus | 347.834.9066
Catering to serious climbers and novices alike, this massive, technicolored climbing space in Gowanus hosts casual climb sessions, lessons for kids, and serious team training. With several walls, it’s roomy enough to accommodate larger groups and families. It’s a great resource in the winter, when it’s far too cold to exercise outdoors. Also, they're open until midnight.
Geometry Kids48 Grand St., Williamsburg
At barely a month old, this eco-friendly and local-designer centric kids shop (educational toys, cute-and-functional gear, home décor) is fast becoming more than just a place to shop. Spearheaded by Sprout Home’s Tassy de Give and a collective of four local families, the adorable, light-filled space is meant to serve as a gathering space for both parents and their kids for seminars, mini concerts, and story time—coincidentally, the kid’s book selection here is really on point.
Jane’s CarouselBrooklyn Bridge Park, Dumbo | 718.222.2502
Originally installed in 1922 in Youngstown, Ohio, Jane and David Walentas bought the dilapidated carousel at auction in the 80s, before turning their attention to meticulously restoring it (Jane went so far as to scrape the layers of paint off with an Exacto knife, so she could color-match the artist’s original intentions). The carousel and its 48 horses are pristine now, and housed in a fitting all-glass, Jean Nouvel-designed pavilion. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of green space nearby to make a full day out of it.
Norman & Jules158 Seventh Ave., Park Slope | 347.987.3323
This Brooklyn store is among our very favorite toy shops, and for good reason: Just about everything, from the wooden toys, to the hand-sewn cloth dolls, to the musical instruments and craft kits (of which there are many), is intended to ignite a kid’s imagination. And in keeping with their small, sustainable vibe, they feature the work of many small, local Brooklyn designers.