A few months ago (March, to be precise) I read New York magazine’s “Best of New York” issue and was surprised at how many pages and entries I flagged with post-its to explore!
The issue happened to coincide with Mr. Generation T’s birthday, and quite simply, he makes the top of my best of New York list! Mr. T is always behind the scenes, supporting all the work that goes into the publications, posts, products, and patterns that keep Generation T whirring, clinking, and humming along. And since his birthday fell on a Monday, and Monday is a hard day to celebrate anything, I treated him to a surprise adventure throughout the city on the preceding Saturday. Whether you live in the city or planning a visit, I hope our escapades may inspire you!
Following an “itinerary” I mapped out, based on many of the items I flagged in NY mag, we wound our way through different neighborhoods in Brooklyn, then hopped the subway for Manhattan. First up: Olaf’s, a men’s vintage boutique and the brother store to one of my fave vintage shopping spots (Olive’s Very Vintage) in Carroll Gardens. We found this charming tag hanging among the Levi 501s. And despite our distress over the conclusion of the HBO series Big Love, I decided I am not ready for sister wives–so Mr. T did not try them on.
I did, however, under the guise of buying my sister a birthday gift (Ariana, close your eyes!!), manage to secretly buy a pair of vintage cuff links he had his eye on. And now that the cuff links have been gifted (and worn!), I can share them here, along with the engraved spoon I snagged for my sis:
Since we had a late start, we stopped for a snack at the local health food store before walking to Gowanus to check out the Film Biz Prop Shop, newly minted in December. The concept is this: Movies and TV and Broadway shows come and go–but where are all the props and set dressings laid to rest? With a frequently rotating stock, you’ll find all sorts of oddities, some categorized and sorted alphabetically in boxes along one wall with others carefully arranged into “rooms” on the sales floor. To start the alphabet, an impressive feat: Asia in a Box.
Granted, it was a rather large bin as opposed to a small box. When we got to the “C”s there were Creepy Clowns in a Box, Chopsticks in a Box, Cosmetics in a Box, out-of-alphabetical-order Drugs in a Box (filled with Romeo-and-Juliet-style tincture bottles), and Chalk and Erasers in a Box…not a bad spread.
That shelf was topped only by the box of Fake iPod Speaker Docks filed under “F” — for all of your music-free needs! And yes, we checked. The box was fully stocked. With fake iPod speaker docks.
I was quite taken with the child-size model forms and the hand-blown glass sculptural pieces from Julie Taymor’s production of The Tempest. And more than a few vintage game boards that I thought would look fabulous on our walls (would-be purchases overruled by the birthday boy).
There were piles of throw pillows, layers of carpets, a pair of genie chairs, shelves of glassware, faux-glass paneling…
…racks of fabric, curtains, furniture. And shelves of dead electronics, under a sign that read “All Office Supplies FREE: Take as Much as Your Can.” Film Biz founder Eva Radke is definitely living in a crafter’s paradise!
Mr. T picked out “Porgy and Bess” record for $1.00…
And I went for a swath of fabric (enough yardage for a new summer dress!), a handful of crocheted cotton doilies for some new T-shirt inspired masterpieces, and a few colorful scraps thrown in for free!
We could have stayed at the prop shop all day, but we had miles to go yet! Next up, we hiked back to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood to another new outpost, whimsically called Goose Barnacle (which, btw, is a filter-feeding crustacean, not to be confused with a Barnacle Goose). We traipsed down Atlantic Avenue, taking notes for future expeditions, until we found the well-curated little man cave. I spied some verrry beautiful necklaces there and we liked the vintage glasses frames, but the clothing was a little too prepster for Mr. T’s taste.
The time was ticking as we hiked all the way from Brooklyn Heights to Dumbo to feast our senses on the next destination, a gifty shop also catering to the gentlemen, Modern Anthology. (But not without a stop at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory to pool our pocket change and share a single scoop of chocolate chocolate chip in a sugar cone while people-watching on a bench on the pier. Three wedding parties went by in the duration of that single cone!) At Modern Anthology, we navigated our way through screenprinted monogram pillows, giant letters from old signage (including an oversize letter “T” that I thought would look fabulous in the Generation T workshop were it not for the price tag attached to it!), lamps constructed from rewired Tonka trucks, handmade belts, carpenter’s workbench, framed insects, art prints, and a coffee table propped up on gun stocks. Mr. T and I tried on beautiful handmade hats that we couldn’t afford and took totally creepy/cool pictures of ourselves in the mirror (with hot vintage pinup girls in the background!).
Then we excused ourselves once again, bound for our next destination…but not before stopping to admire this colorful yarn-bombed bicycle on our way to the subway! Meanwhile, the sun was getting lower in the sky and our tummies were grumbling.
We hopped a Manhattan-bound subway to Palmer Trading Company where we found ourselves both shocked and rather in awe of a handmade leather wallet complete with the cow’s branding number burned into the front flap. The selection of vintage rings was the most fascinating to us–and Mr. T picked out one for his birthday treat: an old army ring with a design that arguably looked simultaneously like a bomb exploding, a sacred heart, and a radish. Considering the provenance of the ring, we’ll go with the first interpretation, but I like rooting for the underdogs. What can I say, where Mr. T sees destruction, I see growth (yes, I’m the author the radish interpretation).
And finally, time to head to our dinner destination. (We skipped one other stop, Korin, because unbeknownst to me, Mr. T, who loves to cook, had already visited and has all our fancy chef knives sharpened there.) As we walked to dinner, we came across a curiously hungry tree — it was so hungry, it appeared to be devouring a street sign. Nom-nom-nom!
We enjoyed an absolutely delicious dinner at Rubirosa on Mulberry Street, feasting on pizza and handmade ravioli.
We stumbled just a bit farther south on Mulberry to have some custom cocktails stirred up by one of the mixologists at the well-hidden “speakeasy,” The Mulberry Project. There is no standard menu, but the chalkboard at the end of the bar announces the fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are available as ingredients in your bespoke cocktail (check out some of the options, below!). I gave the bartender an open-ended order: Something that includes fresh ginger, please.
My cocktail was delivered with the promise that, “This drink will give you a night you’ll never forget, but won’t call you back ever again.” The dim lighting doesn’t quite do them justice, but suffice it to say that they were gorgeous and delicious.
Mine was a fresh-ginger infused watermelon sour with the “sour” flavor compliments of fresh pomelo and white rum acting as the alcoholic agent. I never would have ordinarily ordered a watermelon drink, so it was a refreshing treat! Mr. T’s challenge was for something herbaceous (he’s been cooking with a lot with rosemary lately) blended with bourbon rather than vodka. Our mixologist went with a savory sipper powered with Maker’s Mark. We couldn’t resist putting our mixologist on the spot once more with a chocolate challenge. First, a chocolate cocktail that wasn’t too sweet–he answered with a shaved bitter chocolate mandarin whisky drink that he “churched up” with a splash of Grand Marnier. Then, another chocolate infusion this time flavored with anise and more whisky!
Pleasantly buzzed and exhausted after our adventure, Mr. T and I caught the train back to the neighborhood.