Ten things we love about Van Brunt Street

This industrial Red Hook strip will satisfy your sweet tooth and your need for noncheesy gifts.



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  • Saipua

  • Olive-oil based soaps, $8 each, at Saipua

  • Pork-and-chive dumplings, five for $9, at the Good Fork

  • Metal and Thread

  • Stainless-steel scarf, $295, at Metal and Thread

  • Chain-mail teardrop earrings, $135, at Metal and Thread

  • Foxy & Winston

  • Screen-printed note cards, $5 each, at Foxy & Winston

  • RedLipstick

  • Tie-dyed cashmere sweater, $125, at RedLipstick

  • Erie Basin

  • Baked

  • Assorted cookies, $2 each, at Baked

  • Sweet and salty cupcake, $2, at Baked

  • Sweet and salty brownie, $3, at Baked

  • Botta di Vino

  • Nickel-plated cooler, $400, at Botta di Vino

  • Anthony Cuonzo's ten-foot-tall dinosaur sculpture at Botta di Vino

  • home/made

  • Pilar Montero at Hair or No Hair


Photographs: Caroline Voagen Nelson

1. Artisan soaps at Saipua
Between the seasonal bouquets and earthily fragrant soaps, this family-owned floral shop might be the best-smelling boutique we’ve ever come across. Named after the Finnish word for soap, Saipua sells hand-cut, olive-oil-based bars ($8 each) in a wide range of scents (herbal Basil, musky Cedarwood, fruity Mango Butter), which are laid out to air-dry for two weeks in the back studio before being displayed in rustic-looking cubbies. The pretty packaging makes them great for gifts, though we wouldn’t blame you if the farthest they make it is to your own bathroom sink. TONY deal! Mention TONY for 20 percent off the above mentioned bars of soap through October 7. 147 Van Dyke St between Conover and Van Brunt Sts (718-624-2929, saipua.com)

2. Homemade dumplings at the Good Fork
Co-owner Sohui Kim’s freshly prepared pork-and-chive pot stickers (five for $9) have become rightfully famous in the neighborhood—and throughout the borough. The plump, panfried dumplings boast a delicate dough wrapper that allows each flavorful bite to shine through. It’s no wonder the Korean-American chef’s rendition defeated Bobby Flay’s in an episode of Throwdown. 391 Van Brunt St at Coffey St (718-643-6636, goodfork.com)

3. Chain-mail jewelry at Metal and Thread
Owners Denise Carbonell and Derek Dominy make a concerted effort to support local artisans, stocking their dimly lit shop with handmade items from Red Hook residents—including themselves (her background is in thread and his is in metal, hence the shop’s name). We find ourselves gravitating toward the duo’s goods made from a lightweight fabriclike mesh, such as stainless-steel scarves ($295), delicate teardrop earrings ($135), armor-inspired lace-up bracelets ($185) and collaresque chokers ($95). 398 Van Brunt St between Coffey and Dikeman Sts (718-414-9651, metalthread.com)

4. Screen-printed giftables at Foxy & Winston
You’ll be searching for a reason to send someone one of the large square screen-printed cards ($4--$5 each) that illustrator and owner Jane Buck makes right in the store: Each features charming animal graphics, like a tortoise carrying a cupcake on its shell, with kitschy sayings (cheer up, buttercup). For those occasions when an old-fashioned note alone won’t cut it, there are baby bibs ($16) and little pouches ($6) adorned with the store’s signature menagerie of birds, elephants, rabbits and more. TONY deal! Mention TONY for 15 percent off all purchases through October 13. 392 Van Brunt St at Dikeman St (718-928-4855, foxyandwinston.com)

5. Hand-dyed and -loomed knits at RedLipstick
Owner and knitwear designer Staceyjoy Elkin prides herself on the fact that nearly 80 percent of the feminine garb, costume jewelry and odd trinkets in her shop are priced under $110. Yet we’re just as delighted by her handmade scarves ($60--$160), created from luxury fibers such as alpaca, cashmere and merino wool. Elkin’s cozy neck cuffs ($60), cable-knit ear-warmers ($42) and tie-dyed cashmere sweaters ($125) are the ideal stylish antidote to fall’s brisk chill. TONY deal! Mention TONY for 10 percent off all purchases through October 7. 390 Van Brunt St at Dikeman St (347-599-1550, redlipstick.net/shop)

6. Unusual rings at Erie Basin
It’s fitting that the baubles in Russell Whitmore’s darkly romantic jewelry store are displayed under glass in museum-quality cases: All of the 19th- and early-20th-century pieces have been carefully curated by Whitmore and lovingly restored. Erie Basin is best known for its selection of Victorian cameo rings ($185--$450), but for those who aren’t into sporting some old lady’s bust, other one-of-a-kind trinkets include a Georgian-era snake ring with tiny diamond eyes ($1,450) and an ancient-Egyptian turquoise-colored glazed terra-cotta ring ($475). If the thought of having your engagement ring come from a blue box gives you hives, send your beau here to pick up an Art Deco platinum diamond sparkler from the 1920s ($325--$2,950). 388 Van Brunt St at Dikeman St (718-554-6147, eriebasin.com)

7. Sweet and salty treats at Baked
Get a sugary pick-me-up at this retro bakery, run by former advertising execs Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Though you’ll find everything from old-fashioned chocolate-chip cookies ($2) and throwback hoopee pies ($3) to nouveau desserts like the hybrid brownie-cookie Brookie ($4), we prefer the subtle complexity of Baked’s sweet and salty brownies ($3) and cupcakes ($2)—our favorites include a layer of salted caramel and are topped with granulated gourmet sea salt for added crunch. TONY deal! Mention TONY for 10 percent off all purchases through September 30. 359 Van Brunt St between Dikeman and Wolcott Sts (718-222-0345, bakednyc.com)

8. Wine gadgets at Botta di Vino
This newly opened wine shop specializes in Italian vino, with more than 400 varietals neatly organized by geographic origin (Central, Northern, Southern) and price (a display features $9, $10 and $11 bottles). But oenophiles will really flip for the store’s boozy paraphernalia, including sculptural silver wine racks ($66--$400), a set of ’60s-style decanters from Italy ($90 each, five for $420), nickel-plated coolers ($200--$400) and eye-catching corkscrews, like ones made of naturally petrified twisted vine ($25). Don’t forget to pop into the backyard sculpture garden, where local blacksmith Anthony Cuonzo displays his metallic works of art (highlights include a ten-foot-tall dinosaur and a circular rendition of our city’s skyline). 357 Van Brunt St between Dikeman and Wolcott Sts (347-689-3664, bottadivino.net)

9. Eclectic housewares at home/made
When owners Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson consolidated their itsy-bitsy lounge, Tini Wine Bar, with its sister home-goods shop, the resulting mash-up became dangerous territory for shopaholics. After downing a glass of pinot grigio ($6), see if you can resist such industrial-looking pieces as a metal-and-reclaimed-wood coffee table ($800) that was handmade by Swenson, an antique medical lamp ($245) and the selection of mercury glass candlesticks ($18--$48) tempting you in the front window display. 293 Van Brunt St at Pioneer St (347-223-4135, homemadebklyn.com)

10. Brazilian bikini wax at Hair or No Hair
When it comes to the hair down there, Pilar Montero is one of Red Hook’s best-kept secrets, a master in the art of bikini waxing ($30, full Brazilian $40). Operating by appointment only in a clean, two-room section at the back of the Hook Up barbershop, Montero manages to efficiently get the job done nearly ouch-free, by using a combination of traditional wax (with strips) and hard wax (no strips). Though you can also get depilation of your legs (full leg is $40 and half is $20), arms ($30) and underarms ($15), her specialty is the full-body wax ($100), which will leave your appendages, armpits, stomach and bikini area fuzz-free. TONY deal! Mention TONY for 10 percent off all waxing through October 7. 289 Van Brunt St between Pioneer and Verona Sts (917-318-1052)

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