Monday, July 12, 2010

A Day In Prospect Heights/Park Slope

Being a Greenpoint -based store, a lot of you fine lookin' patrons live inWilliamsburg/Greenpoint. Well, let me introduce you to another Brooklyn hood, the tree-lined, brownstone-filled, (almost too) quiet Prospects Heights, home of yours truly.

1. We'll start with brunch at James (Carlton Ave.), because brunch is how I'd like to start everyday. Sit under the enormous glass chandelier and order the spinach salad, which has shiitake mushrooms, pine nuts and unbelievably delicious parmesan on top. If I ate meat, I'd probably recommend the crèpes with parmacotto, manchego and marjoram bèchamel. Because I enjoy pretty much anything with manchego cheese on it.

2. See the shops. There are lots of independent retailers in the area, not all of which, I admit, I've actually been to. A lot are pricey, and god knows I don't need to go spending money I don't have. Most shopping is on Vanderbilt, Flatbush and 5th Ave., the Prospect Heights/Park Slope borderland, reminiscent of Greenpoint's own Franklin St.

There's Odd Twin (5th Ave.), which has vintage clothes and some housewares, like the set of 1960s magic mushroom glasses my mama got me on her last visit (hey mom!). The illusive other Beacon's Closet is just down the street. For more vintage clothes, try Hooti Couture (Flatbush Ave.), owned by the Houtte sisters. These women once had a peace sign poncho in their window! Add that to my hippie wish-list, right under the 1960/70s brass peace sign roach clip.

For you sophisticates, let's take it over to Brooklyn Larder (Flatbush Ave.) - cheeses, fresh bread, pâte, smoked meats, and sandwiches (I think) - and Unnameable Books (Vanderbilt Ave), a used bookstore that sells $1 and $2 books out front. Across the street is One-of-a-Find. They had awesome sun/glasses when I was there, and a sort of astounding selection of full-body jumpsuits. Almost New (St. Marks Ave) has more vintage clothes a couple blocks away. If you're feeling up to it, there's pay-what-you-can Dharma Yoga. Yup, that's right, pay what you can! See, the area has its deals.The building is worth looking at even if you're too full to be gettin' all downward dog, with curved floor-to-ceiling windows. If you're more interested in a different kinda doggie style, swing by bad-ass, female owned sex toy store, Babeland (Bergen St.). Pick up one of our Sweet Nothings pendant necklaces to get you in the mood.

3. It's summer, which means it's the perfect day for the park. Or, should I say, it's a day so ungodly hot that the only activity half bearable is lying in the park almost naked and armed with a spritz bottle. That, or sitting in a chilly movie theater (the bus is a pretty good option, too). While McCarren is the place for people-watching and afternoon beers, Prospect Park has a lake, paddle boats and free summer concerts featuring The Roots, Talib Kweli and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings.

For a pick-me-up, get organic/fair trade coffee/tea, lemonade or fresh squeezed orange juice from Aussie-American owned Milk Bar (Vanderbilt), but beware it closes at 6. It's also a good choice for brunch. Even better, they serve baguettes perfect for a picnic. Carnivore or not, I'd go for the vegetarian, which has portabello, butternut squash, home-made tomato relish, baby arugula and smoked gouda. Other things on the menu sound good, too, but honestly that vegetarian baguette is so damn delicious I have yet to order anything else.

4. Get a drink - finally! For outside seating, you've got Washington Commons (Washington Ave). If a long day in the sun's got you yearing for a cool, dark spot, head to Sharlene's (Flatbush Ave.).

Bike ride to the neighborhood is about 30 minutes from the Burg, and the most direct train route is the G to Fulton and a 10 minute walk south. But shit, the last time I took the G, I waited 45 minutes before they told us it wasn't running. The hood's central stations are 2/3 Bergen and Q/B 7th Ave.