In a city covered by kudzu-like Pinkberries and Starbucks, a quirky, unique mom-and-pop shop is often a small plant struggling for light and sun. Support these businesses not just because they're indie, but because they're so damn cool.
This hardware store has an African grey parrot. And a pig out back. Oh yes, and hardware. Crest service is warm, helpful and informative. The Annual Crest Fest features artists and bands, and the store itself is full of funky, quirky art made out of hardware. Get your Christmas trees, ornaments and all kinds of plants out back.
I get all my friends' birthday cakes at this quirky little Italian dessert parlor that has sat on this corner since Williamsburg was Italian. It's also my spot of choice for evening snacks of beautiful marzipan and espresso. The gelato is also deliciously creamy.
Steve's is a magical place. Inside, you see nautical bric-a-brac everywhere, and you wonder if you've been transported to an early 20th-century fishing outpost. From chocolate-covered key lime pies on a stick to the tart original, Steve's is a lovable institution of Red Hook. Why not order a bunch for catering?
Hip modern furnishings store Spring carries beautiful wood screens, quirkily elegant silverware, and orb lamps.
Japanese nail artist Naomi Yasuda told me that if I want it, she can do it. And she may just be right. From miniature paintings to crazy stud embellishments, Naomi can make your nails a varnished wonderland.
At this warm, cozy, DIY venue, Local musicians perform on the small stage while folks sip Smuttynose and eat the kitchen's brunch. A happy spot that feels like home.
This is my favorite bar in Greenpoint -- with its laidback demeanor, shuffleboard, backyard, friendly bartenders, charcuterie, and scrumptious craft beers, there's no bar I'd rather frequent, winter or summer.
This adorable mom-and-pop shop features Belgian Dolfin dark chocolate with orange peel, Chuao chocolate nibs bars, Australian dark chocolate bark with nuts, gummies, licorices, halvah, nuts and fruits. Their international selection is particularly impressive, with British Crunchies, Curly Wurlies and Lions, Italian Glitterati candy, and Greek Toggi.
Desert Island is keen on local artists -- for store decorations, comic books, and readings.
With a humble attitude, brag-worthy pizzas, greet-each-table hospitality, and a gorgeous reclaimed wood interior designed by the Haslegrave brothers, Paul Giannone has the right formula in Greenpoint. From the Ricotta Da Vegan with vegan fennel sausage, cashew ricotta and arugula, to the Bacon Marmalade Piccante with red onion, everyone except celiacs will be satisfied here.
Odd Twin is absolutely impressive for costumes and vintage and the place where the two meet. From rows of 90s leopard print bodysuits to rows of crinolines to rows of beautiful vintage dresses, Odd Twin is a Park Slope gem for going to a fancy restaurant or going to a wacky costume party.
Pinball laundromat features Addams Family, Twilight Zone and Family guy video games, plus a scanner/copier and Internet terminal.
This gorgeous carousel was a labor of love and is filled with children on bright sunny days. The price is right and the fun is for adults too! Only open certain days of the week so please check before heading there.
Repop has amazing mid-century furniture, but what you may not have realized at first glance is that they sometimes carry amazing hats and dresses that would sell for way more than their Repop prices at other stores. I have bought at this store: a sunny yellow bell-skirt vintage dress for $25, a gorgeous flowered headpiece for $10, and a beautiful widebrim formal sun hat for $15.
From crafting supplies to self-published books, colorful indie dresses to local artists' prints and jewelry, this shop might even be better than peanut butter.
In a land before Xbox, dinosaurs like Atari and Sega roamed a sparsely-populated video game land. This second-floor hideaway on St. Marks is a treasure trove of those 70s, 80s and 90s games and consoles. With its giant pile of vintage controllers, arcade games including Double Dragon and Street Fighter II, one-off game cartridges, board games, and more, 8-bit is pure childlike pleasure for adults.
The hats are beautiful here, with everything from well-crafted pork pies, of course, to classic fedoras.
SlapBack is a rockabilly clothing store featuring Bettie Page clothing, fab original designs by Project Runway designer Kenley Collins, sexy cherry-patterned dresses, and fun accessories and knickknacks. The owner is warm, fun and friendly. A great addition to the neighborhood.