Economic revival? New businesses sprouting up everywhere in the hood

6 11 2009

New local businesses are coming to the neighborhood all along the Atlantic Ave. corridor.

The Botanica Garden Center

545 Atlantic Avenue
open Mon-Sat 8:30am to 7:30pm, Sun 10:30am to 7:30pm

This new garden just opened last week. The owners, two brothers,  plan on having a grand opening sometime soon this month. The brothers are building a centerpiece planted garden at the rear in their uniquely large double lot. Their goal is to deliver the largest selection of plants in an idyllic & spacious garden setting. Do people think Boerum Hill can support three garden centers (along with Dig and GRDN?) Thanks to Daire Brown for the info and pictures. -2


Mile End

97 A Hoyt St.

This intriguing new deli promises to add some international flavor to the lunch scene along Atlantic Ave. “The Montreal Jewish Delicatessen” is scheduled to open this December according to their website. I just discovered that Mile End is a very hip, artsy neighborhood in Montreal. Do I smell poutine? I certainly hope so!


Iris Nail

Corner of Pacific and Smith St.

20091106_0117Can’t say I really care too much about this place, but it’s better than a dark store front. I forget what was on the corner before. Also, seems like this chain is pretty popular on Yelp. Think they’ll give Dashing Diva a run for their money?

Elite Bodies by J. Ellis Jones

226 Atlantic Ave20091106_0111

A new awning just went up at the former Oricao hair salon on the aforementioned Retail Zone of Death. The personal trainer is opening what looks to be a boutique gym where he’ll run his boot camps out of. His website says he’s planning on opening the place in the next 6-8 weeks. You’ve got a lot of work ahead J! This should be a nice addition to the block, but he’s got a lot of competition with the Y right across the street and NYSC Cobble Hill around the corner. 20091106_0112

And last but, well, maybe least. . .


Something’s going on here, right next door to Elite Bodies. I have no idea what it is. But it’s better than a defunct dry cleaners. Any other stores opening in the area? Let me know!


Boerum’s Business: Loretta’s

3 11 2009


407 Atlantic Ave

Picture 1

There’s a new java spot on Atlantic Ave, and the owner has some local Brooklyn roots. Loretta’s opened 7 weeks ago on the north side of Atlantic at #407, between Nevins and Bond.


The eponymous owner of this new chillout spot is part owner of the two Ozzie’s in Park Slope, and features their coffee. The spot feels serene with its keylime pie inspired design. I also love the Amsterdam photograph on the wall.



Lorretta features all the standard coffee shop trappings and more, including coffee, tea, chai, espresso, bagels, oatmeal, granola, croissants, muffins, scones, sandwiches, cookies, cakes and pies. Whew! They also have free Wi-Fi and offer half priced coffee from noon to 2 p.m. It’s easy to miss Loretta’s extra large, sunny deck out back. Too bad the season is rapidly changing!

Has anyone else been to this new hangout?


Boerum’s Business: Gumbo

31 10 2009


493 Atlantic Ave.

(718) 855-7808

Picture 3

On the north side of Atlantic Ave in Boerum Hill, mothers, nannies and a daddy or two are jostling with each other to get their strollers into the door of Gumbo. They have arrived to participate in “Music for Aardvarks,” a sing-along that celebrates children growing up in an urban environment. “Sometimes I think the parents enjoy it more than the children do,” laughs Karen Zebulon, the stores owner. Gumbo offers many weekly classes for both children and adults including guitar, knitting, and Spanish lessons, which Zebulon says has become very popular. Click here for a full list of classes.


Rebecca Sokoll doing "Music for Aardvarks"

On top of the classes, Gumbo sells hundreds of products for both kids and adults. “We try to offer parents things they can’t find at a department store,” says Zebulon. “So we have lots of handcrafted, unique products.” She actually hand makes some of the items herself, such as  knitted or sewn baby’s hats and pants. Gumbo has recently partnered with Stevie’s Artisans, a collective of fine artists who produce handcrafts and wearable art.


These earrings were designed by Naemeh Shirazi and are made from recycled milk cartons.


This watch is made in South America by Ecowrists using bamboo, nuts, and leather. It retails for $99


Gumbo appeals to the fashion sense of chic Brooklyn moms with products like this navy floral pattern dress, made by Ivette Urbaez, a Dominican-American artist.

Finally, everyone loves Bella, Zebulon’s 9-year-old long-haired dachshund. Friendly and welcoming to everyone, Bella has allowed several kids to get over their fear of dogs, says Zebulon.


Gumbo is 0pen 11-7, 11-6 on Sunday and special opening times for classes. Check out the gallery to see more products and a tour of the store by the owner below. How do people like the classes and products at Gumbo?

Boerum Hill spooks out for Halloween!

29 10 2009

I took a stroll down Pacific St. & Dean St. this afternoon to check out how festive Boerum Hillers were this year in celebrating fright night. Check out the pics below to see if your home made the cut! Happy Halloween!







Police capture Virgin Mary thief

28 10 2009

The Brooklyn Paper reports that police have found the man who stole a statue of the Virgin Mary and child on October 19th from St. Vincent’s. Apparently the man threw out the icon when he couldn’t sell it.


gloomy skies loom over St. Vincent's today

The paper interviewed Mary Louise Morgan, a spokesman for St. Vincent’s, who said the childcare agency is concentrating on getting a new statue. “The children who lived in this building when it was an orphanage helped design it,” she said. “The statue’s physical characteristics reflected their diversity.”

Picture 1

Business Profile: Zoe Papers

26 10 2009

Zoe Papers
315 Atlantic Ave
(718) 625-5797

Tucked away down a flight of stairs from the constant thrum of Atlantic Ave. lies an adorable little paper and stationary store. The business, named after the owners deceased pooch. has been in operation for 8 years. It carries greeting cards, personalized stationary, invitations, candles, journals, notebooks, picture frames, ribbon, picture albums and imported papers.


However, manager Gia Lopez says that their best selling product is without a doubt their colorful wrapping paper. Zoe offers dozens of options and this isn’t ubiqutious CVS style paper. Zoe favors bold, colorful patterns and also wrapping paper featuring historical maps of places like London, Rome and of course, New York City.


I purchased my wedding invitations here and was thrilled with the service and result. Anyone else been to Zoe Papers? How do people like it?

NY Mag investigates Jay-Z’s Boerum Hill shout out

24 10 2009


Rapper Jay-Z’s newest hit Empire State of Mind is a thumping I-love-New-York anthem whose chorus can truly make you feel proud to be a New Yorker:

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York!!!
These streets will make you feel brand new,
big lights will inspire you,
Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York

Jigga gives the requisite shout-outs to Bed-Stuy and Harlem, but BOERUM HILL?? Course, it sounds better when Alicia Keys sing it than written so check the the audio below. The shout out is at 0:28. Check out the lyrics:

I used to cop in Harlem
All of my Dominicanos (Hey yo)
Right there off of Broadway
Brought me back to that McDonalds
Took it to my stash spot
560 State Street
Catch me in the kitchen like Simmons whipping Pastry

So what the hell does that all mean? Honestly, I don’t know, but New York Magazine did an interesting look into the reference. Apparently Hova used to live at the residence. Anyone else live there or used to see Jay-Z around the hood?

Picture 1