Monday, February 28, 2011

Olafs Clothing Store

You walk into Olafs, a new mens vintage clothing store on Court street in Carroll Gardens, and the ambiance takes you into a different world. It has that cabin in the woods feel mixed with your father's walk-in-closet. A long row of polished leather shoes to the right and an old trunk filled with vintage clothing, ties hung over the top, with a framed black and white photo of a bespectacled man hanging above that to the left. The space is long and narrow and they've really made it work. We've included a picture below so you can see what we mean. The outside looks nice too. Very inviting. Check it out if you haven't already.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Exciting News About Ice Cream!

Pretty much any news about ice cream is exciting. Except when we reported that Blue Marble was shut down for the winter season. Well, if the 30 degree weather hasn't broken your frozen dessert spirits, you've got a hankering for a sustainable high quality scoop, and you were bummed to hear that Blue Marble is closed, have we got some great news for you! Right next to the F/G train entrance on Bergen and Smith, 81 Bergen to be exact, a Van Leeuwen shop has opened. You may know Van Leeuwen's ice cream trucks serving up delicious yet simple ice cream made with only the best ingredients. Well, now you don't have to follow their trucks around, they're right here in the neighborhood!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Super Cute!

We thought this was cute and we should share it. New York Eater has introduced critics on their website. These aren't just any critics they are a brother and sister duo Max and Lucy. Max is four years old and Lucy is seven. So, what where did these two little foodies go for their first official review? Carroll Garden's own Lucalis! Here's what they had to say:

I went to lunch with my mom, dad, and brother. It smelled like pizza baking. The music they played was good. My mom said it was Frank Sinatra and Italian Operas. My brother loved the old fashioned toilet in the bathroom because you got to pull a rope to flush. Pizza and calzone are the only things they sell. A pizza pie is 24 dollars. I thought it worth it. I had two slices. I loved the thin crust. I also loved all cheese on the pizza. So did my brother. I loved the calzone. It was like a baked cheese sandwich. The calzone was huge and we had a small one. I love Lucali and I want to go back.

Lucy also wrote a picture on the bottom of a pizza and a calzone. Pretty cute huh? We think more restaurant reviews should include doodles of the food. If you want to read more about Max and Lucy go to

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Illuminations Art Show

Illuminations is a juried art show at the Kaplan Hall Gallery at SUNY Orange in Newburgh NY. We know that's a little out of our jurisdiction but the reason we bring it up is because one of our agents, Elizabeth Castaldo, has been selected to have her artwork as part of a group showing in this show and we're very proud. We've blogged about Liz and her artwork before. She sells her beautiful handmade books and more on her etsy page,

The show will be going on from March 3rd-May 6th, with a wine and cheese opening reception on the 3rd from 5-7pm. The Kaplan Gallery is located at 5 Washington Center Newburgh NY. So, if anyone's in Newburgh in the next few months go see Elizabeth's work!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gowanus Print Lab

Gowanus Print Lab is one of the coolest secrets hidden among the warehouses and auto body shops of that deceivingly desolate area next to Park Slope. Whether you are an inexperienced beginner or a seasoned screen printer the Lab has something for everyone, from weekend workshops and classes, to studio space rentals.

Gowanus Print Lab is a fully-loaded screen printing workspace whose main focus is to provide its members with everything one could need to complete a variety of screen printing projects. They provide pretty much all the materials: water based and plastisol inks, emulsions, squeegees, even screens! You just need to bring your artwork.

Their exposure unit can handle a scren up to 43 x 55 inches so you can print pretty large scale, great for huge posters or textile repeats. And they have large format printers for printing your film positives, priced by the square inch.

Classes range form the usual intro to screen printing, to the awesome Print your Own Converse Sneakers workshop happening later this week! Past workshops include one on printing wallpaper, and a whole week of workshops on starting your own t shirt business. If you know what your doing and would rather go it alone, the Print Lab also offers studio space rental by the day, week, and month, and also an option to rent private studio pace depending on availability.

but enough from me, go check it out. they're located at

54 Second Avenue (at 8th st) Brooklyn, NY 11215

or check the website for open hours and classes:

Update on 412 Court Street

So, the last time we reported on 412 Court Street we had heard rumors that it was going to be a fast food restaurant. Since then there were more rumors that it would be an Italian restaurant ans pizzeria. Well, the verdict is in. It's more along the lines of the orginal fast food rumor only the new restaurant, Vinzees Magic Fountain (strange name), is self-described as having fast casual fare. The menu isn't posted on their website yet,, but there is a picture of burgers and hotdogs and french fries. Also, they tout that they'll have "wonderful ice cream desserts". So, think a very family friendly restaurant. Maybe kind of like a Friendly's? The space is really large. Let's hope the food is really delicious and they can fill it.

One more thing. A sign on their window had said they're now hiring. If you or anyone you know needs a job you can apply on their website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brooklyn Brainery

We passed an interesting space yesterday at 515 Court Street. There were a variety of people sitting, standing around chatting and gathered around a table with choppped lemons and bowls of ingredients. We wondered what this new spot was. Cooking classes? Well, it's that and then some. It's the newly opened Brooklyn Brainery and has been in the neighborhood for only a month now. The describe themselves on their website,, as a space that "hosts cheap collaborative classes on anything and everything. It's a place to experiment with all the things you've wanted to learn but just haven't gotten around to yet -- think book clubs on steroids."

Just yesterday they were making ginger ale, but the classes aren't limited to concocting food or beverages. A couple February classes included "Using the media-A tool for Social Change" and a Beekeeping course. Go check them out. You just might learn something.

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Bagels and More Cafe

200 Clinton Street, on the corner of Atlantic, used to be a walk-in clinic and now it's going to be...a bagel shop? Big change. It's called "Bagels & Bakery Empire". The size of the space does imply that it will be an empire. The sign outside touts that it will have "Montreal style" bagels baked in a wood-fired brick oven. Could this Montreal-style delicatessen be the start of a trend? Mile End, on Atlantic in Boerum Hill, also serves up Montreal-inspired deli food and opened a little more than a year ago. It seems to be doing well, as every time we've been there it's packed. They had another sign, which we've posted below, giving more details about what they'll be serving. Give it a look.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Elizabeth's blog!!!

Realty Collective's own Elizabeth Castaldo just created a new blog (see below along with some of other links to view her artwork). Liz is starting a weekly collage series, which you can find out about in this new blog. The collages will be for sale through her etsy page (also below). There will also be news, any updates, and images of her artwork. It's really beautiful stuff, and we're not just saying that because she's one of us. Check it out for yourself!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Laundromat on Henry

A while back we blogged about a new dry cleaners (see previous blog below) taking over the old Eton space. Well, it wasn't exactly new. It was actually the business from around the corner on Henry and Sackett moving to this space. So what's to become of the old space the dry cleaners used to inhabit? Word on the street (literally a woman standing outside told me this) is that it's going to be a laundromat. It's not a very large spot but conveniently located next to the Met so you can do a little shopping while your clothes are washing/drying. Sounds good to us!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 post

The "old" Eton space is now. . . .a Dry Cleaners!

Just what the neighborhood needs! Yet ANOTHER dry cleaner!!!

, Carroll Gardens' immensely popular dumpling and shave ice shack, moved to 359 Sackett St. (btwn Smith and Hoyt) a few months ago and it looks like a dry cleaners has opened in its original location 205 Sackett St. (near Henry).

How do all of these dry cleaners stay in business? I guess it just goes to show that New Yorkers:
A) Appreciate a finely pressed and starched shirt
B) No one does their own laundry!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get your Bike in tune for Spring!

Building a Friendlier Bike Shop

After seating a group of nine people in the back of his South Slope bike shop this past Saturday, Joe Nocera pointed to a bicycle strapped onto a mechanic’s stand and spoke to the crowd. The day’s lesson covered flat-tire fixes and basic maintenance, all taught through live demonstration. Some onlookers took notes detailing each step of changing a tire tube, others listened along as Nocera imparted his wisdom.
Joe Nocera teaching a free class 718 Cyclery
Joe Nocera teaching a free class 718 Cyclery
The brightly lit shop
The brightly lit shop
“There’s no substitute to getting your hands dirty and doing it,” he said to the class. “Every bike you touch, every brake you fix, it gets you closer to knowing more.”
Nocera is the owner of 718 Cyclery, which moved from its original location in Nocera’s South Slope backyard to a modest Seventh Avenue storefront in November. He prides himself on the fact that 718 Cyclery does not resemble your typical cluttered, gritty Brooklyn bike shop. The interior is spacious, clean and brightly painted. Another way 718 distinguishes itself from many other bike shops, Nocera said, is its welcoming and educational atmosphere.
“I’m not interested in hiring some savant mechanic who’s rude to customers,” Nocera said. “The personality is more important than bike skills.”
Nocera and his staff are prepared to take any and all bike problems, and not only will they fix your ride, they’ll show you how to do it yourself for the next time that repair rears its head. Last Saturday’s class was free, as are upcoming classes on headsets and bottom brackets on February 19 and 26, respectively.
Helena Boskovic, a bicyclist who attended Saturday’s class, said that she appreciated 718 Cyclery’s accessibility. Boskovic had been bringing her bike to another nearby shop for repairs and while the experience started out friendly enough, the shop eventually began to attract a clientele who knew more about their bikes than she did, and definitely let her know that.
“It’s too cool for me,” she said.
Thanks to 718 Cyclery, she said, she no longer feels judged for her bicycle knowledge, or lack thereof. She said that Nocera’s classes, which she plans to keep attending, will help her increase her bike repair prowess, and her confidence.
“He’s teaching us from a layperson’s standpoint, so that I’m going to know what I’m doing,” Boskovic said.
In addition to repairs, Nocera teaches bike construction in a more intimate setting. He refers to these one-on-one sessions as collaborative builds, in which customers choose each bicycle part, build the bike with Nocera, and then later ride it home.
“There’s a value in learning to put your bike together,” said Nocera.
Not only do customers increase self-sufficiency by learning what each part of their bicycle does and where it goes, they also create a unique bike that addresses their specific needs as cyclists. And of course gain the bragging rights that come from building your own bike by hand.
From Nocera’s vantage point, the end result is higher quality. “If you build it part by part, it will be a better product,” he said.
Nocera works as an architect by day and opens the bike shop in the evening, only after he finishes his other job. A veteran bike messenger, he grew to love and understand the bicycle as a machine, he said, and he strives to have his customers do the same.
“You can be nice and help people along,” he said. “The way I run the shop is to be as friendly as possible.”
Krys Blakemore, Nocera’s first employee and lead mechanic, said Nocera’s unpretentious approach to bike maintenance strengthens the shop’s reputation.
“It gets a lot more people on bikes,” she said. “And that makes me happy.”
Published on 2.10.11. Text and photos by Zachary Kussin. View it online.

Film Shoot "I D K"

"I D K". Shorthand for "I don't know". Well, we don't know for sure what is shooting tomorrow on Henry Street north of Atlantic Ave, but we have a hunch. We couldn't find any info on a project with this title so we dug a little deeper. We found a couple of websites, one that had some casting info, referring to a film called "I Don't Know How She Does It" as simply "IDK". This is a film that's is shooting in New York right now so it sounds like a very likely candidate. The film stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, and Greg Kinnear. The synopsis on IMDB states that it's "a comedy centered on the life of Kate Reddy, a finance executive who is the breadwinner for her husband and two kids." So, who knows? You may run into one of these celebs if you're in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood tomorrow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

What do you think of when you think of February 14th? Flowers? Hearts? Balloons? A mixture of sadness and rage? Yes all of these may apply. What about chocolate??!!!!! Whether you're eating it to celebrate your love or drive the holiday blues away, you can't deny that it's the best thing about Valentine's Day. And where can you find the best chocolate in town? A whole room full of chocolate in fact? The Chocolate Room. Every year they have a special menu for Valentine's Day (see below) and of course they have very special and beautiful chocolates everyday that you can pick out and box up for a gift for your loved ones or yourself!

Chocolate Strawberry pairing: Raspberry Cava Cocktail
Chocolate Duo Tasting...
The DUO is a dark chocolate & salted peanut ice cream bombe with caramel cream & raspberries
AND a milk chocolate-espresso mousse with dark chocolate-tangerine sauce & valhrona cocoa pairing: Chocolate Port
Open seating. Shop opens at 10am, Cafe opens at noon.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Show Today and Tomorrow!

Still need to get your loved one a gift....and you also have a craving for cake? Well today (and tomorrow) is your lucky day! The Brooklyn Historical Society along with New York Creates are producing a Valentines Day Craft Fair. It takes place Friday, February 11th - 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturday, February 12th - 10 AM to 5:00 PM on the ground floor of the Brooklyn Historical Society at 128 Pierrepont Street. Get their by noon and you can watch and taste the aftermath of the Red Velvet Cake Contest!!! Sweet Melissa, Brown Sugar Desserts, and Home/Made are just a few of the competitors. And wash that down with a free cup of hot cider. But it's more about the gifts right? You'll have plenty of cute homemade crafts to pick out for your sweetheart!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Valentine's Day Rejection Show

If your not celebrating Valentines Day this year then why not attend an anti-celebration? The Bell House, at 149 7th St. (btwn 2nd and 3rd Ave), is calling all singles to join them while they host "The Rejection Show, Valentine's Day Heart Break Haven". The Rejection Show is a comedy series that consists of stories and performances from failed or canceled material from artists of all types. This Valentines show is a spin on the well-known and well-loved show. They'll be focusing on failed relationships. A detailed description from the bell house website is below.

MON 2/14: 7 pm doors/8 pm show / $10 adv./$12 d.o.s.

The Rejection Show Presents
The cult-favorite live comedy series, The Rejection Show and the book, Rejected: Tales of the Failed Dumped & Canceled is celebrating Valentine's Day with an evening of its best breakup, heartbreak and love related performances/stories from within the book and shows past, present and future ---blending into an evening of love song karaoke, live music, and a party. If you're single, feeling alone, rejected, don't have a date or don't like traditional Valentine's Day routines then The Bell House is the place to be on Valentine's Day 2011! Don't feel left out happy couples. All are welcome to party and see some hilariously heartbreaking performances and join the fun. "Find someone to french!" Featuring FAST, FUN, HEARTBREAKING performances from comedians, writers and musicians.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Moonlight Bike Ride!

Although this next event is not really on Valentine's Day and it actually happens every month, I had to include it in this week's Valentine's to-do list because it's just so damned romantic.

The second Saturday of every month, which means this Saturday, February 12th at 9pm, you and your sweetie, along with a group of strangers, can take a moonlit bike ride through Prospect Park. The group visits different landmarks around the park and touts that it is a "safe, peaceful ride that visits many of the little-known treasures the park has to offer". What a perfect way to start this weekend of romance. Meet up at 8:45 at Grand Army Plaza, unless it's raining, although snow is okay. Skilled skaters are also welcome and all are encouraged to have lights because the ride can get very dark. (Oo la la!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Brooklyn Collective's Valentine's Event

Valentine's day is fast approaching and we're dedicating the rest of the week's blogs a few places in and around the neighborhood that you may want to visit before or on the big day. Whether you need to prepare for Monday's gift trade, find a place to take your special lady or guy, or just collectively hate on the holiday with like minded V-day haters, we've got you covered.

First up is the Brooklyn Collective's Valentine's Event this Friday evening. If you need to find something special for your significant other or any other loved ones you'd like to be your valentine here's the place! Their invitation is below.


Please join us for a special Valentine's celebration!
Shop for unique gifts for your sweetie
Over 20 collections by local artists and designers

Complimentary cocktails will be served throughout the evening
along with a special musical performance by Blanche Blanche Blanche

Friday, February 11th
212 Columbia Street
(between Union and Sackett)

Featured Artists

Image courtesy of Abbie Zuidema

Monday, February 7, 2011

For all the Coffee Lovers, a new local roaster based in DUMBO:

Brooklyn Based Tip SheetSubscribe to Brooklyn Based

The Green Caffeine Scene

Even without the slushy complications of last week’s snowstorm, finding Brooklyn Roasting Company on Jay Street down in Dumbo is not an easy assignment. Aside from a little black mailbox on the side of the old Arbuckle Building, the whereabouts of Brooklyn’s newest local coffee-roasting company are elusive. An online search yields equally ambiguous results, which is how, for now, founder Jim Munson enjoys it.

“We’re happy to fly under the radar,” says Munson, who left his post as vice president of Dallis Bros. Coffee, a New York caffeine institution, to start BRC, which incorporated a little over a year ago. “We’re not spending a lot of money on marketing. There aren’t placards on our windows.” Prior to working at Dallis, Munson was one of the individuals who helped get Brooklyn Brewery up and running, and gleaned heavily from its business blueprint when it came to getting BRC off the ground. Having helped usher in the era of the beer snob, Munson has now turned his attention toward another archetype–the brew snob.

The coffee scene is changing in New York the same way it did in Seattle and Portland,” Munson says. “There are parallels between the coffee world and the beer world. That same thing happened in the beer world 15 years ago. Now the beer business in New York has completely changed. The landscape has changed, and the other great American brewed beverage, coffee, is going to follow in its footsteps.” And in an effort to ensure their ascent is both conscientious and sustainable, BRC roasts up to a ton of fair trade, organic, Rainforest-Alliance certified coffee beans a week on aLoring Kestrel coffee roaster Munson and his team installed themselves six weeks ago when they moved their operations to Jay Street instead of contracting out their roasting to Eldorado Coffee in Queens, as they had been doing.

Silver, shiny and costing six figures, the Loring looks like a contraption that was transported to Brooklyn from the future. It is in actuality a computerized, 80-percent fuel efficient roaster revered for the heat re-circulating air system it uses to roast its beans. It’s the first of its kind in New York, and has been widely revered in the coffee roasting world as a marvel of green engineering. Or simply, as Munson puts it, the Loring “is not the average coffee roaster.” After sipping a double-roasted Sumatra full of rich chocolate and berry flavors, we’re apt to agree.

Turns out we’re not alone in our assessment. BRC beans percolate in a dozen or so of Brooklyn’s best cafes including Colson Patisserie, Swallow CafĂ© and Brooklyn Victory Garden, as well at restaurants such as Egg in Williamsburg and in the shared coffee pots at Greenpoint CoWorking. It’s also the exclusive brand brewed at Columbia University. For home use, bags of BRC can be found at Urban Rustic, Brooklyn Victory Garden and Colson Patisserie.

Jim Munson with the Loring roaster
Jim Munson with the Loring roaster

For cafe owners like Henry Glucrost of Little Skips in Bushwick, which serves both the double-roasted Sumatra and a custom roast BRC developed especially for their French presses, the high quality of the beans and Munson’s approach to coffee made the choice to begin brewing BRC a no brainer.

“We’re a really young company that’s ambitious, and we felt the same in Brooklyn Roasting,” Glucrost explained during a phone interview. “Jim’s really good about building relationships. He’s somebody who’s got that entrepreneurial ambition and open-mindedness that’s rare especially in the coffee business.” The company currently stocks 10 types of third-party-certified green coffees from around the world, which are delivered on cargo bikes able to hold up to 400 lbs. of coffee at a time and in biodiesel vans. Their sourcing policies, bikes and biodiesel, combined with the efficiency of the Loring roaster, may just make BRC the greenest coffee company in the city.

“The time is right for New York City to spread its wings and lay claim to its own best-quality coffee legacy,” Munson says. “We don’t need people from Portland or Seattle to tell us how to roast our coffee. We can do it well ourselves.”

Published on 2.1.11. Text and photos by Jordan Galloway. View it online.

The Good Kind of Ice!

We're all looking forward to the spring. The flowers will bloom, our coats can go back in the closets, and a new and improved Uncle Louie G will open on Smith Street! What's the new part? New owners, new location (it's moved from 101 Smith to 233 Smith between Butler and Douglass, which was the former Area Kids Store). What's improved? In addition to the same gourmet Italian ices and ice creams we all know and love, they'll be selling soft serve ice cream.

So, check back in the spring to see when they're opening. They'll be having a grand opening ice cream party and no one wants to miss an ice cream party. If you like them on facebook you'll be sure not to miss it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn

Put this one on your calendar! The 92nd Street Y, in Tribeca, is hosting a lecture about the history of Brownstone Brooklyn. Suleiman Osman, assistant professor of American studies at George Washington University, will be speaking about the many changes Brooklyn has seen over the years, including the biggest change of all, gentrification. A synopisis on states that Brownstone Brooklyn was "once considered one of the city's most notorious industrial slum districts in the the '80s had become home to new and expensive enclaves. Trace the roots of the borough's revival in the social upheavals of the 1960s and '70s."

92Y is at 200 Hudson and this event will take place on Wed, April 6th from 12-1pm. Tickets are $16 and you can buy them in advance at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grand Opening Party at MikNic!

MikNic Lounge, named so for it's owners Miki and Nicki, is having a bash this Saturday from 4pm until about 4AM to celebrate their opening and introduce themselves to the neighborhood. The place is really cute with a very laid back feel to it. They've been open since December and had, what they call in the restaurant/bar biz, a "soft opening" with friends and family but now they'd like to invite Carroll Gardeners, Cobble Hillers, (and Red Hookers?),make that Red Hookians, alike to come out and have some drinks. They'll be serving food too! Add a DJ pumping out Soul, Funk and R&B jams and you have yourself a party.

MikNic is located at 200 Columbia Street (corner of Sackett). Show up early for their happy hour. $1 off all drinks and $2 well drinks 4pm-8pm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Van Horn Now Open

Van Horn Sandwich Shop is open and doing very well from the looks of the crowd that stood just past the unassuming entrance waiting to be seated this afternoon. Owner, Jacob Van Horn, is from North Carolina and brings this southern inspiration to the simple dishes served up at this 30 seater restuarant. They have sandwiches (Fried Chicken, Fish, Pimento Cheese to name a few), really comforting sides like mac and cheese and hush puppies, and a short but really great beer list, which is listed below due to it's awesomeness.

Van Horn, 231 Court Street, is open for lunch and dinner from 11AM-11PM. Check back in a few weeks to see if they're doing breakfast.

Beer on Tap
Liquid Gold 7
Kelso St. Gowanus 7
Kelso Pilsner 6
Goffel Kolsch 6
Blue Point Toasted Lager 7
Six Point Diesel Porter 6
Six Point Sweet Action 7
Big Daddy IPA 6

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grow to Learn

Grow to Learn, a new program recently launched by GrowNYC and The Mayors Fund, is a non profit organization that helps build gardens at public schools. GrowNYC has been building and assisting community gardens and groups in New York since the 1970s. They also promote and hold programs at many green markets throughout the city, like community composting and potting soil exchanges. The goal of Grow to Learn is to have a garden at every public school and give every student the hands on experience of working in a garden and watching their plants grow. Schools can even apply for a grow to learn mini grant to get "seed money" to start a gardening program. Gardening can have many benefits for children including promoting healthier eating habits, connecting children to the environment, and encouraging physical activity. To find out more about the program and how to get a garden up and running at your child's school check out the Grow to Learn website at

The Piano Mover

Who hasn't had a bad experience with movers not taking enough care of their prized possessions? More often than not something gets a little battered and occasionally broken in this frustrating process. Would you trust a regular moving company to move something as priceless as a piano? Moving a piano seems like it would be a little tricky. They are delicate, heavy and awkward. Not a good combination. So hiring someone experienced to handle your piano when you move makes a lot of sense. Bill Hennessy, of Keyboard Express, has made a business of moving these musical mammoths and makes it sound easy in this video. He says the hardest part is "parking". Watch and learn.