"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Gowanus Souvenir Shop To Close Its Doors At The End Of The Month To Embark On "Next New Adventure"


Owner Ute Zimmermann in front of her Gowanus Souvenir Shop on Union Street 
The Gowanus Souvenir Shop just announced that it will close its doors at 567 Union Street at the end of January to concentrate on its "next big adventure."
Thankfully, the closing of the store does not mean the end to the wonderful, quirky Gowanus merchandise created by the Souvenir Shop. The owners are going to continue to make their wares available online and will partner with other retailers.

The announcement by owner Ute Zimmerman reads:
After four wonderful years of running a storefront, the Gowanus Souvenir Shop is closing its shop doors January 31.
Starting next month we will concentrate exclusively on concocting new Gowanus Souvenir Editions, online sales, getting our products into other stores, and partnering with local organizations on Gowanusy projects.

When we first came up with the idea of the Gowanus Souvenir Shop it was going to be a four-month project. Over four amazing YEARS later we cannot begin to express how much we enjoyed everybody who wandered into our shop, laughed at our jokes, told us their Gowanus stories, sat on our bench, and stuck their head (or their pets) through our faceboard.

We know you are sad, but don't fret! You can still get your Gowanus Fix without getting Gonorrhea. Here's how:
1. Come by the shop before January 31. We have lots of stuff on sale and a very special gift for purchases over $50.

2. Shop at From Here to Sunday which is taking over our shop location and will continue to sell many of your favorite Gowanus Souvenirs!
Please support them and Even Keel!

3. Shop online at gowanussouvenir.com

4. Find Gowanus Souvenirs at a growing number of wonderful local shops, including:

Brooklyn Museum Gift Shop, and  Artists & Craftsman (Interested in stocking us? Get in touch! shop@gowanussouvenir.com)

5. Follow us on Instagram to get the latest news.

Still can't find what you are looking for?

Email us and we will let you know where to find everything else.

Continued good luck, Ute! We will miss the shop but are excited to hear more about your new adventures

Monday, January 20, 2020

Say What? Former 'The Grocery' Space On Smith Street To Become 'Pop Pasta', Home Of The Original Spaghetti Donut!

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Screenshot from Pop Pasta's web site

This, we did not expect.
The storefront once occupied by The Grocery at 288 Smith Street is to become Pop Pasta, home of the original spaghetti donut. If that sounds like a sad replacement for a once  thriving and much loved local eatery to you, you are probably not alone. The storefront has been for rent since about 2016. Most people in the neighborhood probably expected a more upscale restaurant to open in The Grocery's place.

What exactly is a spaghetti donut? Pop Pasta describes it on its web site as the combination of "a popular Neapolitan dish, the spaghetti pie (frittata di maccheroni or frittata di spaghetti)  with an
American food icon, the donut
."
Is that really a thing?
Apparently, Pop Pasta has been serving its spaghetti donuts at Smorgasburg Williamsburg and the Bronx Night Market. The 288 Smith Street location seems to be its first brick and mortar eatery.

When The Grocery, one of the first farm-to-table restaurants opened its doors in this spot in 1999, it quickly became a favorite spot for fine dining in Carroll Gardens
The intimate little eatery garnered much praise throughout its 16 year run, earning a rating of 28 out of 30 for food in the 2004 Zagat Survey for New York City.

Many were therefore surprised when, in 2015, owners and chefs Sharon Pachter and Charles Kiely decided to close their restaurant to take a step back and to decided what to do next. At the time, Pachter told the New York Times, that the decision had been difficult to make, but that they were exhausted. Long days and nights in the restaurant had taken their toll. "We love what we do. We just have to find a more humane and civilized way to do it, ” Pachter was cited in the Times.

Since the restaurant closed, Pachter and Kiely have hosted special dinner events, wine tastings and private parties in the storefront. At the same time, a "For Rent" sign has been attached to the gate off and on for the past years. 
Since Pachter and Kiely owned the building when they operated The Grocery, one would have thought that they could have found a worthier replacement then an eatery that serves pasta in the shape of a donut.

What do you think? Will Pop Pasta make it in Carroll Gardens?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Picture Of The Day: Reflections On President Street

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It was late in the afternoon and the light on President Street was just perfect,
with Carroll Park's trees throwing interesting shadows onto a row of brownstones.

Taken on President Street between Court and Smith Streets.

The Prettiest Tropical Window On Court Street

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This makes us happy!
For as long as we can remember, two small citrus trees have been blooming and producing the most beautiful fruit in a former storefront at 264 Court Street near Kane Street in Cobble Hill. Currently, one of the plants is in bloom and covered in oranges.
Just what we needed to spot on this gray January day.

We guess these plants have been thriving in that window spot for the past thirty, thirty five years.
Does anyone know the gardener or the story behind this pretty window display?


Sustainable Collective 'Rue Saint Paul' Opening on Court Street Soon

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Screenshot  from Rue Saint Paul's web site

Rue Saint Paul, a sustainable collective will be opening its doors at 313 Court Street, between Degraw and Sackett Streets on February 10th, 2020. It will offer fashion apparel, jewelry, accessories, beauty products, home products and gifts.

What exactly does sustainable clothing mean? According to the business' web site,
"Rue Saint Paul is a community, marketplace, and concept closet connecting sustainably and ethically focused brands with the fashion forward and eco-conscious community. We are committed to being a positive force of change in the fashion world for our planet and communities. We dedicate ourselves to playing our part to reduce the fashion industry’s environmental footprint, promote ethical manufacturing, and drive responsible consumption and use."

The name of the business is derived from a Paris street in the 4th Arrondissement, where its founder once lived.
The retail space was previously occupied by Woods Grove, which expanded into 302 Court Street.

What do you thing about this latest addition to Court Street?

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Moment In Time: Spring In January

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Outdoor seating on Smith Street on a warm Sunday in January.
It seemed everyone one was out enjoying this momentary reprieve.
#Boerum Hill


Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Bonjour, Bar Bête! Welcome To Smith Street

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Right at the end of 2019, Bar Bête, a French-Canadian bistro,  opened at 263 Smith Street the corner of Degraw in Carroll Gardens. We were too busy to acknowledge its opening as we were busy with planning for the holidays, but are happy to see that new life has been breathed into this corner retail space occupied until recently by Provence en Boite.
The eatery is a new venture for Joe Ogrodnek, formerly of Battersby and Dover, and chef Marc St. Jacques, who was the executive chef at Toronto’s famed Auberge du Pommier for a decade.
The space has been tastefully redone and the interior looks quite inviting.
The name 'bête' by the way comes from the French word for 'beast', though it also means 'stupid'.
In this case, it must surely refer to the menu, which includes steak tartare, roasted poussin, and aged duck.
Bar Bête is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30pm to 11pm.

Have you tried this new restaurant yet? How was it?

A Moment In Time: The Vending Machine

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A moment captured on Court Street in Carroll Gardens a few days ago.

Monday, January 06, 2020

"Thank You For The Memories": Court Street's Watty And Meg Bids Farewell To Cobble Hill

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Sad news!
This is not exactly how we were planning on starting the new year, but over the week-end, we found out that Watty And Meg, a much loved restaurant at 248 Court Street at Kane Street closed its doors as of January 1st, 2020. 
Its web site has been taken down and Yelp and a note on the door of the establishment thanks its patrons for twelve years of friendship, family and memories, but does nor reveal why the restaurant was closing.
By all appearances, Watty and Meg was very popular, especially when the weather was warm and patrons could sit outside on the sidewalk.
The eatery will be very much missed in the neighborhood. Let us hope a worthy replacement will soon take over this great corner location.

For those keeping track, the spot was formerly occupied by Caffe Carciofo.

Picture Of The Day: Good Morning, Carroll Gardens!

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Good morning, neighbors.
How has 2020 been treating you so far?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Year In Review: 2019 In Carroll Gardens

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As we come to the end of 2019 and the end of the decade, Pardon Me For Asking is keeping the tradition of reviewing the past year in photos taken in and around our beloved Carroll Gardens.
2019 has been good to me and my family, and I hope it has been good to you as well.
I continue to feel so lucky to live in our beautiful brownstone neighborhood. It is a real honor to have met so many of my wonderful readers personally and I continue to get great pleasure out of capturing little moments in the neighborhood.
It still saddens me to write about the closing of a beloved old-time neighborhood store, but I find it gratifying to welcome some of the new businesses that are taking a chance by opening in Carroll Gardens.
2019 may represent the calm before the storm, as the City of New York and or Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin are continuing to push the rezoning of Gowanus, which will no doubt change the surrounding area forever. Moving forward, I am hoping that more residents will get involved in this issue and will the discussion on how best to move forward.

Wishing you all a lovely New Year amongst friends and your loved ones. May 2020 and the new decade be kind to us all.

If you feel like taking a stroll down memory, below are links to previous PMFA years in review. Spanning ten years now, they represent a real time capsule.

A Year In Review: 2018 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2017 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2016 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2015 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2014 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2013 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2012 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2011 In Carroll Gardens
A Year In Review: 2010 In Carroll Garden
A Year In Review: 2009 In Carroll Gardens