Café con Libros
724 Prospect Pl., Crown Heights
This bookstore-slash-café’s name sums up the kind of Saturday morning we all want: one filled with coffee and books. Settle in to this Crown Heights spot for a slow morning of too many cortados and a few chapters of something recommended by the store’s exceptional staff. The women behind Café con Libros run a stellar feminist book club that meets regularly (currently on Zoom), with an emphasis on titles that reflect an intersectional feminist viewpoint. They also host a monthly podcast, Black Feminist & Bookish, on which store founder Kalima DeSuze chats through the club’s current read with a community member and waxes lyrical about the many delights of Brooklyn.
71 Franklin St., Greenpoint
We have long been obsessed with Brooklynite Aurora James’s personal style. While traveling around Nigeria, South Africa, and Morocco, James fell in love with the traditional shoes and sandals handmade by local artisans. Then when she was back home in Brooklyn, Brother Vellies was born (“Vellie” is local speak for veldskoene, South African leather walking shoes). Stepping across the threshold is like walking into another world: There are plants and greenery everywhere, speckled with insanely cool merch. Mexican huarache sandals, feathered pumps, Kenyan-made slides, and butter-soft knee-high boots mingle with embossed leather handbags and woven clutches. Each piece is crafted by artisans from across the globe. In a continued effort to both assemble a treasure trove of gorgeous things and support unique makers, James has introduced a new “something special” vertical on the Brother Vellies site. Expect Oaxacan mugs, the coziest ruffled socks, and…well, see for yourself.
74 Guernsey St., Greenpoint
Ask any in-the-know New Yorker where you might score the best vintage in the city and you’ll likely get this answer: Beacon’s Closet. A goldmine of sorts, Carrie Peterson’s legendary consignment store has a little bit of everything—from au courant pieces by Proenza Schouler, Isabel Marant, and Acne to one-of-a-kind finds that walked straight out of 1970 (where do you think all those epic Hawaiian shirts Zoë Kravitz wears in High Fidelity came from?). Now with four locations (Greenpoint, Park Slope, Bushwick, and Greenwich Village), this vintage mecca continues to reign supreme. (Also see: the recent mass upcycling following the Kondo craze). Give yourself ample time to dig around—who knows what you might end up walking away with. Images courtesy of Carly Rabalais.
402 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill
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.
632 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Two locations strong—the original is in Fort Greene and the second outpost is in Prospect Lefferts Gardens—Greenlight is one of NYC’s few remaining quality indie bookstores. You can order books online and have them shipped to you (anywhere in the US) or do a pickup in store. The First Editions Club makes a nice gift; it’s a subscription service that gets a friend (or yourself) a new, autographed book each month. It costs a penny, plus the price of the book for each month you stay in the program. If you’re local and a big reader, check out the stellar lineup of readings or Greenlight’s monthly book group nights, broken down by genre: nonfiction, fiction, young readers, and romance.
Urban Jungle Vintage and Thrift
118 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick
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.
Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers
218 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
Open for almost two decades, this independent Williamsburg bookstore is one of those places we can lose an afternoon in.
Books Are Magic
225 Smith St., Cobble Hill
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.
152 Grand St., Williamsburg
Street style brand turned fashion powerhouse (hello Louis Vuitton collab) Supreme has opened their second NYC location in Williamsburg.
93 S. 6th St., Williamsburg
Home to our all-time favorite golden milk (it’s thick and rich, almost like hot chocolate, perfectly balanced...insane), this tiny shop also makes some of the most incredible aged-cashew cheese we’ve ever had. Everything Argentinian couple Veronica Schwartz and Pablo Castro make is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free, from granola, tarts, and bon bons to the cheeses, plus they stock a an amazing selection of adaptogens from goop Shop favorite Sun Potion.
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