Best indie shops: Prospect Heights

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  • Brooklyn Bike & Board

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden Shop

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden Shop

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden Shop

  • Brooklyn Museum Shop

  • Brooklyn Museum Shop

  • Forest Floor

  • Hooti Couture

  • Hooti Couture

  • 1 of a Find

  • 1 of a Find

  • 1 of a Find

  • Redberi

Brooklyn Bike & Board

Photographs: Krista Schlueter

Brooklyn Bike & Board
Mustering up the courage to ride a bike in this city requires taking baby steps; thankfully, BB&B will help you get started on the right foot. The two-year-old shop rents out its fleet of three-speed foldable bikes (full day $40, half day $25)—they’re easier to schlep around, according to assistant manager Ryan Dausch. If you’re in the market for your own two-wheeler, the shop also sells bicycles built from recycled steel frames ($200--$500), along with a small selection of new rides ($350--$800) from companies like Torker. You can stock up on bike gear like helmets ($45), and if your fixie happens to be stolen at some point, post an ad for your missing cycle for free on the shop’s Stolen Bike Registry, located on its website. So far, only one bike has been found because of the registry, “but we still consider it a success,” says Dausch. 560 Vanderbilt Ave between Bergen and Dean Sts, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (347-295-2339, brooklynbikeandboard.com)

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Shop
You don’t need a green thumb to enjoy the wares of the two gift stores located within the lush grounds of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Stop by the smaller shop, located near the visitor’s center, to scope out gorgeous home goods, like photo frames inspired by British textile visionary William Morris’s floral designs ($29--$44), Brooklyn-specific items (we’re big fans of MapTotes’ black Brooklyn tote bag, $24.95) and pieces inspired by the garden itself—no lit nerd’s wardrobe is complete without an A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN tee ($13--$17), a nod to Betty Smith’s iconic novel. Just steps away is the BBG’s garden center, which features an array of potted plants ($9--$120), seed packets ($3--$5) and other items that will help your garden grow. Picking up a copy of 100 Garden Tips and Timesavers ($10), published by the BBG, is probably a good place to start. 900 Washington Ave at Eastern Pkwy, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-623-7280, bbg.org)

Brooklyn Museum Shop
Like the institution that houses it, this gift shop has an incredibly diverse collection of items to sate any aesthete’s tastes. You’ll find books related to the museum’s exhibits—like High Style ($25--$50), released in conjunction with the current show “American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection”—along with tomes about New York City history, street art and feminism (we’re enamored with the companion book to Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, which has its permanent home at the museum—$50). It’s also rife with gifts for hard-to-shop-for folks: Stock up on goodies like the iconic WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU cup made out of durable ceramic ($13), or a cherry blossom pin based on the work of Utagawa Hiroshige ($29) for those times when a gift card just won’t do. 200 Eastern Pkwy at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-638-5000, ext 258; brooklynmuseum.org)

Fermented Grapes
Though there’s no shortage of liquor stores in this neighborhood, few are quite as inviting as this small shop, which opened in 2004. Searching for the perfect bottle of vino is easy: The stock is broken up into different regions (California, France, Italy, etc.), with a fair amount of organic and biodynamic wines represented. You’ll also find a well-curated selection from local producers, including North Fork vintners Macari Vineyards, as well as a selection of wine glasses ($6--$10) to pour them in. Oeneophiles can brush up on their tipple of choice by picking up a copy of Karen Macneil’s The Wine Bible ($18.50) or Oz Clarke’s Encyclopedia of Grapes ($37.50). Stop by during one of the weekly tastings, held on Wednesday (6--8pm) and Saturday (5--7pm) for gratis pours and 10 percent off the featured bottles. 651 Vanderbilt Ave between Park and Prospect Pls (718-230-3216, fermentedgrapes.net)

Forest Floor
Owner Steve Commander has been a Prospect Heights resident for nearly 30 years, but opened this homey store, which sells antique knick knacks, flowers and small home goods, only seven years ago. “It’s something my wife and I have always wanted to do,” he explains. The vintage furniture sold here is sourced “from wherever,” according to Cemmander—he scours flea markets and estate sales in upstate New York and Long Island, among other places, to find his wares. Apartment-friendly items like bookshelves ($50--$200) and coat racks ($75) are among the store’s most popular, as are multitasking pieces, such as a trunk that can be converted into a table ($150--$350). You can also pick up candles ($1--$45) and terracotta and ceramic pots ($1--$150) to put the finishing touches on your pad. 659 Vanderbilt Ave between Park and Prospect Pls, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-398-7380)

Hooti Couture
Alison Houtte lives and breathes fashion: After working as a model for nearly ten years, she moved to Brooklyn and opened her vintage shop, Hooti Couture, in 1995; she’s also the coauthor (with her sister) of Alligators, Old Mink and New Money, which is a celebration of all things vintage. “When I get W, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar...I get so excited,” Houtte explains. “Fashion right now is anything goes; for me, that’s golden.” Her store is a reflection of her passion for clothes: Houtte sources and handpicks every item herself, and the stock rotates seasonally. Unlike many secondhand stores, she’s also incredibly open to negotiating prices. But you probably won’t even need to: You’ll find cheap goodies galore, including costume jewelry (from $10), a wide selection of handbags (from $20) and sequined tops from the ’70s ($35--$70). “This little shop is sort of like my child,” she laughs. “I try to keep it fun, cheerful and reasonably priced.” 321 Flatbush Ave between Park and Prospect Pls, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-857-1977, hooticouture.com)

1 of a Find
This petite vintage store moved from its original Park Slope location to this cozy Prospect Heights space in 2009; since then, owner Honey Moon has stocked the place with vintage clothing from the early 20th century up through the 1990s, many of which can be found on mannequins placed throughout the store. According to manager Lorna Gaddis, the shop’s most popular items include dresses and shirts from the 1980s, along with designer duds from clothiers like Yves Saint Laurent and Pucci. (“We call them 'future collectibles,’?” she explains.) Moon regularly travels across the country to personally select the items she sells at 1 of a Find; the result is an eclectic mix of costume jewelry (from $10), designer shoes (from $65) and handbags (from $55), few of which exceed $200. 633 Vanderbilt Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Mark’s Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-789-2008, 1ofafindvintage.com)

Redberi
This women’s designer clothing boutique is part of a Brooklyn chainlet that includes a sister store, Blueberi, in Dumbo, as well as an outlet store that sells discounted items from both shops in Crown Heights. But sometimes, you just can’t beat the original (even if it’s no longer in its original space—Redberi moved from its previous location up the block to these spacious digs in 2007). Owner Suewayne Brown has assembled a colorful collection of girly frocks ($98--$300), neatly arranged on just a few racks so as not to overwhelm customers. Redberi sells up-and-coming lines like Sonia Rykiel and Senada Theory, along with reworked vintage dresses ($150--$250) and jewelry ($100--$300) from its house line, Sweet William. The clothes aren’t the only recycled items here: Many of the decorative touches in the shop, including mirrors and window frames, are made out of reworked materials. 319 Flatbush Ave between Park and Prospect Pls, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-622-3875, redberi.com)

Unnameable Books
Yes, the enormous central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is located in Prospect Heights, but sometimes you just want the experience of purchasing a new book, with its fresh-paper smell and spine that crackles upon opening. Enter this narrow bookstore, which moved to its new location on Vanderbilt Avenue from a storefront on Bergen Street in 2009. The shop carries a wide variety of genres—though owner Adam Tobin namechecks its poetry and philosophy sections as being particularly good—and can satisfy any lit craving. “We have a lot of weird books,” Tobin laughs, calling out Robert Walser’s Microscripts ($24.95)—which showcases the Swiss writer’s method of composing text onto tiny sheets of paper—as one title he’s particularly excited about. If you’re on the hunt for bargain tomes, hit up the selection of used books, many of which can be found on carts outside the store for as little as $1. 600 Vanderbilt Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Mark’s Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-789-1534)

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