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.
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.
Bird203 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.388.1655
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.
Books Are Magic225 Smith St., Cobble Hill | 718.246.2665
Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Boerum Hill residents were rightly bummed when one of the best independent bookstores in all the boroughs (and arguably the country) announced it was closing at the end of 2016. After thirty-five years in business, whatever was to come after BookCourt had big shoes to fill. And it did. Novelist Emma Straub (The Vacationers, Modern Lovers) swooped in with her husband, designer Michael Fusco-Straub, to open the immediately adored Books Are Magic. The monthly lineup of book talks and signings brings out the brightest of the literary world (of which Straub is a clear darling). If it’s your first time, take a picture by the awesome mural before you head inside.
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.
City Foundry365 & 367 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | 718.923.1786
Sohrab Bakhshi opened his antiques collection shop City Foundry in 2000, becoming a trailblazer in the now established design scene in Brooklyn. The City Foundry collection is comprised of mid-century modern and industrial-influenced furniture, lighting, and artifacts—some of which they rent for staging needs. They also provide custom upholstery and furniture restoration. City Foundry has multiple storefronts on Atlantic Avenue—in addition to their shop, they have a showroom—as well as a separate warehouse location in Prospect Heights, which is by appointment only.
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.
French Garment Cleaners85 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene | 718.797.0011
Formerly known as Stuart & Wright, the (new) name comes from the 1950's drycleaning sign that still marks the exterior. The selection inside is not so firmly routed in the past. The loft-like, wood-paneled space offers classically-tailored offerings from some of our favorite brands, like APC, Raquel Allegra, Rachel Comey, and more.
Gowanus Nursery9 Carroll St., Red Hook | 718.852.3116
Michele Palladino's nursery started in Gowanus (hence the name) but is now on the border of Red Hook and Carroll Gardens. She's known for having a great eye for plants, and you're likely to find something new for your garden space every time you visit.
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.
Jumelle148 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg | 718.388.9525
There's something comfortingly reassuring about Bedford Street in Williamsburg and how rarely the shopfronts change ownership here. One of the standbys is this simply outfitted shop, selling modern picks from brands like MiH, A Piece Apart, Dieppa Restrepo, and Steven Alan.
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.
Mud Australia402 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill | +1.646.590.1964
Designed by Australian potter Shelley Simpson and handmade in her Sydney studio, Mud Australia’s products are distinguished by their unique finish. Simpson only glazes the interior of her pieces, so the bottoms of the bowls and plates maintain a raw texture that actually becomes softer over time as they’re handled day-to-day. Despite their unique textural qualities, each piece is built for everyday use—everything is microwave-, dishwasher-, and oven-safe. You'll also find the full range at the Mud Australia Store x ABC Home on Broadway.
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.
Other Times Vintage48 Bogart St., Bushwick | 917.922.1159
Partners, curators, and co-owners Briar (who studied interior design) and Jason (artist, restorer, fixer-upper) started by selling their mid-century modern furniture and other great vintage finds on Etsy from their apartment, which went so well—and provided such a great excuse to get out of the city for weekly scavenging road trips—that they opened up shop in this cavernous loft space with gorgeous vaulted ceilings. They clean up, repair, and refinish each hand-picked treasure before passing it on to enjoy a new life in somebody’s home. They also rent pieces out on a weekly basis.
Pilgrim Surf Supply4 Amagansett Sq., Amagansett | 631.267.3598
The surfboards at this new shop are hands-down stunning—they could almost double as art. There’s also plenty of surf-inspired beach basics for men and women, including Vans, bikinis, and shorts. (Basically, it’s all stuff you’d want your significant other to wear at the beach.)
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.
Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers218 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg | 718.387.7322
Open for almost two decades, this independent Williamsburg bookstore is one of those places we can lose an afternoon in. The excellent edit of fiction, nonfiction, art, niche magazines, and cool stationary is imaginative and always surprising. On the walls, there’s a rotating selection of work from local artists for sale, and the calendar is packed with incredible events.
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 Alan103 Franklin Street, New York | 212.343.0692
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. In Nolita, the men's (230 Elizabeth Street) and women's (229 Elizabeth) are next door to one another.
Supreme152 Grand St., Williamsburg | 718.599.2700
Crossover street-style brand Supreme (remember that Louis Vuitton collaboration?) has opened its second NYC location in Williamsburg. There are only eleven stores globally, and founder James Jebbia is hoping the Brooklyn location will take the pressure off of the Lafayette Street store—which has lines wrapped around the block daily—and be a place where people can just hang out. (It's worth noting that the line-reducing mission has failed spectacularly.) The major draw of the Williamsburg space is that it’s big enough to house an indoor skate bowl for customers to skate in.
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.
Urban Jungle Vintage and Thrift118 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick | 718.381.8510
A vintage-clothing mecca if there ever was one, Urban Jungle is huge and brimming with all manner of treasures: Perfectly tattered Levis, t-shirts and sweatshirts from the ‘80s and ‘90s so soft from wear and awesome that most NYC vintage stores would get away with charging a cool hundred for them (Here, most of the t-shirts go for under $12.) You’ll also find vibrant Mexican blankets, army fatigues, cowboy boots, ponchos, fur coats, everything and anything, really—and all inexplicably reasonably priced. The one criticism, if you can even call it that, is that the place is truly sprawling (it spans almost a whole block), so just make sure you’re in the mood to do some serious rack sifting.
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.