02/08/17 4:00pm
Court Street is in session: 6 old-school businesses surviving a changing Cobble Hill

Photo by Yelper Hans R. I base my anticipation for a cold cut on how many signs and knives the butcher shop has

Today, Court Street is the second most expensive place for commercial real estate in Brooklyn, topped only by Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue. Pricey high-end baby clothing boutiques, such as Jacadi and Sprout San Francisco, seem to keep sprouting up, and stores like Rag & Bone have been replacing neighborhood bar and grills.

Recently, the strip of longtime mom-and-pop shops has seen some of its decades-old vendors shutter in the face of mounting rents, including two beloved bookshops. After 30 years in the neighborhood the notoriously cluttered Community Bookstore at 212 Court St. sold for $5.5 million last May, 10 times what owner John Scioli paid for the building in 1980. Then, just a few months later, fellow literary neighbor and Court Street community staple Book Court announced that they would be closing for good after 35 years of business.

An influx of Italian and Middle Eastern families immigrated to the neighborhoods in the early 1900s, setting up family-run stores and businesses. Even as the streets gentrify and become more commercial some of these businesses have stood the test of corporate greed and still stand, now generations old.

As neighbors worry that a sense of community is disappearing, they need to look to establishments like these five to be reminded that the old communities still exist. (more…)

01/18/13 1:09pm
Be the person who makes brunch or who serves it. And one day, be the person who eats it and finishes all the mimosas. Photo via RunawayBrit.

Be the person who makes brunch or who serves it. And one day, be the person who eats it and finishes all the mimosas. Photo via RunawayBrit.

Someone wants you to find a job. We know that sounds kind of unbelievable, especially if you’ve already spent your whole morning scrolling through pages and pages of Craigslist ads waiting for someone to finally email you back about that bartending job that you’re not actually qualified for. But it’s true. Good Help, brought to you by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, has been hooking up the unemployed with Brooklyn-based businesses since March of last year, and so far it’s been going pretty well. You can find a whole bunch of stuff here, whether you’re an electro-mechanic or a TA or a CHEF THAT LOVES TO COOK BRUNCH! But those aren’t the only jobs out there. (more…)

03/06/12 10:07am

Skip the fast food, you've got better options! Via Flickr's Evan Mulvihill.

Downtown Brooklyn, at first glance, can seem inhospitable to the hungry pauper-gourmand. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court looms, a reminder of what might be; the brightly-lit fast food outlets and vaguely biblical-sounding Joralemon Street can suggest a kind of food hell. This, I learned after a good deal of exploration, was a false suggestion. You can eat cheap and well in downtown Brooklyn — it’s just a matter of finding the right spots and doing a little walking. Here are a few restaurants that will keep your wallet and stomach full.  (more…)

10/12/09 11:18pm

handsOn the weekend of the Brooklyn Book Festival, a collection of foodie and literary types (and some, like myself, who are a little of both) gathered in my Park Slope living room to determine which was the best of a selection of extra virgin olive oils that can be found for $10 or less in Brooklyn supermarkets.

As the author of a memoir of good food and bad boyfriends entitled I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, I am an Italian cook, proud of my palate, if not my taste in men. I’ve hosted such competitions before and can tell you, because I’ve tried all of them, where in Brooklyn the best mozzarella (Lioni Latticini), and the best Italian sausage (M&S Prime Meats) can be found. I am also somewhat frugal—something to do with my father and Italy after the war—and believe that the brand of olive oil I regularly buy on sale at my local Key Food is perfectly fine. When Faye Penn, Brokelyn’s editor, suggested we do this competition, I jumped at the chance—happy for the opportunity to make sure I was throwing the few dollars I invest in olive oil in the right direction. (more…)