Archives for category: Park Slope
What I got!

My buy: a porcelain mould for making rubber gloves, now a slightly creepy jewellery storage device

One of the things I’ll miss most about living here? The Brooklyn Flea, which used to be right downstairs but now has an excellent new plot in Williamsburg with views of the Empire State.

Also! Great shopping. Which leads me to my friend Kate Payne’s little shopapalooza, the Brooklyn Flea Spree, in honour of her excellent new book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking – in which I was one of the bloggers tasked with finding something fab for $25. You like? If so, please vote!

I’m in good company here, people – the other bloggers are Mouth of the Border, Fucked in Park Slope, Brokelyn and Autumn Makes and Does. So I need all the help I can get…

And here's the book!

And here's the book!

Silver box, with crystal beads inside that I might make into something else. Bought this too

Silver box, with crystal beads inside that I might make into something else. Bought this too

Porchetta roll. Not homewares, but I could have had five for the same money

Porchetta roll. Not homewares, but I could have had five for the same money

Very cool terrarium from Twig, complete with mini sheep. Outside my budget, sadly

If you want a clue as to New Yorkers’ attitudes to the very pretty but very precious area we live in, take a look at this blog on Gawker.

Sample comment on the above picture: “I don’t understand the carriage in this photo. Are you supposed to put the cuter kid facing you? Is the one facing you being scolded for spilling ice cream? So many questions.”

In most parts of the world, the moment when someone asks you for directions is the moment when you you know you’ve assimilated.

In New York, particularly in Brooklyn, it’s when someone stops you in the street and asks, ‘Are You Jewish?’ This week is Passover, or Pesach. My first clue to that was when I was working on the checkout in the Coop, and scanned a pack of kosher Philadelphia Cream Cheese specially made for the holiday.

This is also the season when New Yorkers, Jewish and otherwise, go on their annual hunt for kosher Coke hunts. Normally it’s made with that lovely invention, high fructose corn syrup, but right now, you can buy it made the old fashioned way, with honest to goodness sugar. It’s the real thing. Apparently.

Anyway, so right now, as well as buying up kosher Coke and cream cheese, Brooklyn’s Jewish population is also looking for lapsed Jews. They stop you in the street to see if they can talk you back into the fold, and in some circles, they’ll even have you if you’re not properly Jewish, eg if your mother isn’t, but your father is, or your father’s mother. According to that, if you go back far enough, they can count me in, and my boyfriend, and quite a lot of other people I know.

By which count, we really must be New Yorkers now. Now all I need is a therapist.

While the UK gets itself all aflutter over the arrival of Google’s Street View, over on this side of the pond, that kind of surveillance is pretty near enshrined in the Constitution.

America being the land of the pioneer, they are hugely enthusiastic early adopters of any kind of technology (bar texting, which took a while to catch on here). And nowhere more so than with the neighbourhood blogs. (Yes, I know, pot, kettle.) Where people used to talk to their neighbours over the garden fence, now they comment on their neighbour’s blog. Or blog about it on their own.

The local supermarket has its own blog. Even our block has its own webpage and newsgroup. And believe me when I tell you there is never any news for the newsgroup, only people asking for babysitter recommendations.

In my neck of the woods, there are new blogs continually sprouting up, but I already have a favourite, even if it’s not exactly a blog, more the pet project of a very enthusiastic amateur meteorologist. The Current Weather In Park Slope features astoundingly complicated and up-to-the-minute data on an area that really, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t need its own weather forecast. But even so, not only does it have the forecast, it also has a speeded-up, time-lapse video of the sky over the previous 34 hours. Perversely addictive, strangely reassuring…

The Park Slope Food Coop

The Park Slope Food Coop

No stint living in Brooklyn is complete without a membership of the Park Slope Food Coop. If only for the comedy hats.

Est 1973 by a bunch of hippies, it’s a members’ only supermarket, where all members have to work 2 hours and 45 minutes once a month. That means they can keep costs low so the food is cheap, and as you’d imagine, membership has surged massively lately.

It’s simultaneously a total shambles and a brilliant idea. The food is much cheaper and better than most supermarkets here, but no one knows what’s going on because only about 50 people actually work there full time, so your chances of finding what you need where it’s supposed to be are slim. Everything is decided by popular vote, which means that in the 90s, the original hippies’ decision to only stock healthy things was thankfully overturned and they now sell beer and chocolate.

Yes really, you can buy them in bulk

Yes really, you can buy them in bulk

Because of where it is, in one of the nicest neighbourhoods in New York City, the checkout is staffed by off-duty architects, economists, television writers, poets, non-profit policy makers and, well, me. Seriously, that’s just a selection of people I’ve met there. Yesterday, I did a shift in the membership office, and the person sitting next to me was a philosopher.

And every time you go in, there is material galore for stand-up comedians: the noticeboard on the stairs, the bizarre hand-knitted clothing, the five-foot-long conical hats… And then there is the tannoy, used by everyone (because everyone works there). I once heard someone ask whether the pork was on its way up to the shop floor, and the reply, ‘Yep, it’s coming – wait there, I want to see the meat in your hand.’ I looked around, and I was the only one smirking.

From the Park Slope Food Coop noticeboard

From the Park Slope Food Coop noticeboard