Bedford is so pass. Discover Billyburg's other hipster hang spot, complete with punk shows and a Pilates studio.
Thu Mar 12 2009
Secret Project Robot
Photographs: Jerry Goodman
Start: Metropolitan St at Grand St
End: Grand St at Havemeyer St
Distance: 0.7 miles
Time: 3 hours
1. Start your walk at the Mollusk Surf Shop (210 Kent Ave at Metropolitan Ave; 718-218-7456, mollusksurfshopnyc.com); you’ll know you’ve arrived when you spy the geometric mural painted on the building’s brick exterior. Here you’ll find sailboat silk-screened tees ($24) and books like Susannah Ray’s Right Coast ($30), a photographic tribute to East Coast surfing. Next door, look for local artists like Maya Hayuk at the nonprofit studio-gallery Secret Project Robot (917-860-8282, secretprojectrobot.org). The arty space is hosting a benefit auction/dance party at 7:30pm on Saturday 14 for Swoon’s Swimming Cities of Serenissima, a fleet of hand-built rafts en route to Venice.
2. Walk past the warehouses on River Street until you reach Grand Ferry Park (Grand St at River St, nycparks.gov). Here you can join the seagulls on a waterfront boulder and pretend it’s the 1800s, when mercantile ferries puttered back and forth between this Grand Street and the one in Manhattan.
3. Head back up Grand till you reach Sprout Home (44 Grand St between Kent and Wythe Aves, 718-388-4440), a hybrid design shop/garden supply store, and start thinking spring. “Tomatoes are really fun to grow,” says owner Tassy Zimmerman. “And if you have enough light, you can grow herbs inside.” Zimmerman recommends newbies try starter basil ($3.29) in a dried-soil Jiffy pot ($2.50 for 12).
4. Next, wander to Art 101 (101 Grand St between Berry St and Wythe Ave; 718-302-2242, art101brooklyn.com) for a peek at Brooklyner Katherine Koos’ coiled sculptures of reeds and wire. The exhibit’s closing reception takes place from 7 to 9pm on Friday 13; stop by for a drink and a chat about the strip’s burgeoning art scene.
5. Up the block, have a stretch at nearby Heart & Soul Pilates (115 Grand St between Berry St and Wythe Ave; 718-388-4777, heartandsoulpilates.com), a sunny studio with a garden deck and light-wood floors. On warm days, twin sisters and owners Lora and Marie Grillo hold mat classes outdoors.
6. Indie chicas will love rifling through the full-skirted Dear Birthday dresses ($100--$250) and lace-trimmed Prairie Underground hoodies ($200) at Sodafine (119 Grand St between Berry St and Wythe Ave; 718-230-3060, sodafine.com). Owner Erin Weckerle describes the assortment as “vintage, local, eco or some mix of all of the above.” Other staple offerings include Moonblood, Preloved and Valhalla Brooklyn.
7. If you hear a ruckus up the street, it’s probably a live punk show at crusty Passout Records (131 Grand St between Bedford Ave and Berry St; 718-384-7273, passoutrecordshop.com). The smell of vinyl and cigarettes will take you back to your predownloading days, and the flames painted on the walls smack of tattooed boys your parents definitely wouldn’t like. Be sure to scope the shop’s online gallery of rare band photos; glossy eight-by-tens go for $45 a piece.
8. Drop your shopping bags on the checkerboard floor at Fiore (284 Grand St between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, 718-782-8222) and grab a seat near the French doors. Bartender Lilli Bonafini hails from Italy but makes a mean Americano: Campari, sweet vermouth and soda. Order one with a heaping plate of crisp calamari, spritzed with lemon.
9. End your evening by dancing off some calories at Rose Live Music (345 Grand St between Havemeyer St and Marcy Ave; 718-599-0069, liveatrose.com). Every Thursday at 10pm, the Mobius Collective and DJ Misbehaviour throw down funk, soul, breakbeat and dub during (free!) freestyle sessions. Bedford, who?
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