things and places for homes and gardens

The perfect day in Brooklyn

Monday 24 August 2009 - Filed under Gardens + General + Homes + Nurseries + Plants + Stores

brooklyn subway map
Lonely Planet, I am not, but for a lazy traveler whose idea of a good vacation day is a little walking, garden ogling, brunch, and inspired vintage shopping, I have found my foolproof day. Am I in a rut to beat this path three times in a row on trips to NYC? Maybe, but looking forward to this is what got me through the hot days of running errands in Manhattan last week.

Mystery plant
The Atlantic Avenue subway stop begins the journey on a not super charming busy street, but in one of those sidewalk crack by a church kind of places, there’s this curious plant/weed that I have yet to identify. How fantastic are the leaves? At first I thought they were damaged, but no, that’s the actual shape of the leaf. Probably too good to be true, that it would be an actual plant you would grow on purpose, that could grow in the punishment of the sidewalk, and wouldn’t be weedy, but I’ve added it to my ever-growing list of mystery plants on my wish list.

Mystery plant
Another view of the overall plant: fabulous!

Window box on Atlantic Avenue
I love when you’re in an area where the residents are clearly deprived of soil to work in, but you see signs of a gardener showing through anyway. Loved the hopeful spirit of this tiny window box, knowing someone loved it, size be damned.

Dress up your neighborhood contest
This community garden must have been around for some time, if it won a Dress up your neighborhood contest back in the 1985, but this is the first time I had my eyes open walking by it.

Street garden on Atlantic Avenue
Pity it wasn’t open while I was there, but the fencing was open enough that you could appreciate it from the street. Portland’s going to have to start doing this too, fencing in the community gardens while no one is there to keep watch, since we’ve had some unfortunate garden vandalism around here lately. But this was a very happy looking garden.

Dog Moss & Wire sculpture
Maybe part of the garden’s good condition is due to the faithful watch of the mossy garden Doberman facing the street.

Jolie on Atlantic Avenue
I like to get brunch here when I’m in the neigborhood, on the patio at Jolie. I get hungry just thinking about the mini ravioli gratinee.

GRDN off Atlantic Avenue
Continuing on, if you keep your eyes peeled down the side streets, you’ll see GRDN, a sweet garden shop and nursery that was the first place I came across in my original trip to this neighborhood, that was the magnet that kept drawing me back.

GRDN off Atlantic Avenue
How delicious is this view?

GRDN off Atlantic Avenue
I love the back area, browsing a nursery for plants is always a treat, but the backdrop of the nearby buildings always gets me.

Coleus Lancelot
I spied what is POSSIBLY, but then again maybe not, the mystery ruffly leafed purple plant from a community garden in Manhattan a few days prior. Even if it’s not the mystery plant, it’s a close second, definitely worth seeking out next summer. Coleus Lancelot. Yes to those leaves!

dig on Atlantic Avenue
And circling back the other side of the street, there’s another garden shop I just visited for the first time, Dig. F-A-N-C-Y.

Dig on Atlantic Avenue
Beautiful still life compositions in Dig, I wanted to take everything home just as it was arranged.

Boston Terrier Moss & Wire Sculpture
And I found the source for those moss/wire dog sculptures, apparently from a place called GreenPiece. Pretty sure I need the Boston Terriers.

Dig on Atlantic Avenue
I love how compact the stores’ displays get in places where real estate is at a premium. Shops have an intimate feel about them with such narrow corridors.

City Foundry on Atlantic Avenue
And in total lust-worthy vintage furniture, I like to stop at City Foundry. If only I could get those chairs home!

Darr on Atlantic Avenue
And my absolute favorite store to, as the French say, leche-vitrine (window shop, or literally translated, window licking, which seems more appropriate), Darr.

deyrolle mammifères terrain tertiaire poster
Darr has this poster I’ve been wanting for years. I’ve found a print at the Parisian Deyrolle, but it looks like I’m going to have to trek to France some day to get it, since they don’t let you buy online. The print in Paris is a few hundred dollars, but the original poster at Darr is far outside my budget, and more than a trip to Paris would cost me. But still. *swoon*

Brooklyn off Atlantic Avenue
All this, and a charming neighborhood walk too. And THAT is what I call a good vacation day.


2009-08-24  »  megan

Talkback x 8

  1. Karen
    24 August 2009 @ 7:57 am

    This post is making me want to get on a plane to NYC and head over to Brooklyn in 5 minutes! What a great eye you have. Everything, sublime. Love little details like the funky old red bike on the fence outside the restaurant, the tree mural in the background of the community garden, the red umbrella outside Dig. Those dogs are hilarious! And I think you deserve that trip to France and the poster (is it a tapir??) for sure this year.

  2. Loree
    24 August 2009 @ 11:51 am

    I’m with Karen…been too long for me, I need to get to NYC sometime soon, your post reinforces that. The leaf on the weed/plant at the top is fabulous and it looks so darn healthy, must be a weed. Those chairs…wow! And 20% off! How did you leave them? Thank you for the fun lunchtime trip…

  3. Janet
    24 August 2009 @ 1:16 pm

    What a nice little tour of Brooklyn. I would have to find a way to get those chairs home. The Boston Terrier could keep them company on the freight line!

  4. Kirsten Blair
    24 August 2009 @ 7:44 pm

    If you are still in NYC will you PLEASE please please please go see if this shop is open yet. I saw it in a NY Times article and the shop you have above looks like it’s little brother.

    “Against Nature: Set to open in early August on Chrystie between Rivington and Delancey.”

  5. Grace
    24 August 2009 @ 11:43 pm

    Hi Megan~~ Love that you took us along on your trek around the neighborhood. I need to have a wire watchdog too.

  6. Jake Roland
    25 August 2009 @ 12:08 pm

    Hey Megan,

    Thanks so much for the great write up! We stuck you on our blog to share the love! Hope you have enjoyed your trip and don’t be a stranger!

  7. megan
    25 August 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    Karen – yes, do it! You should head to NYC. I think that is a tapir, I didn’t know what it was for the longest time, but that’s what I settled on, too.
    Loree – If I could figure out and easy way at all to get those chairs back home, they would be mine. They would be a good make up for the chairs that got away earlier this year.
    Grace – you do need a wire watchdog, and there’s plenty to choose from, all kinds of pups.
    Jake – Thank you for the nice write up on your blog, I didn’t realize you had a blog but I will definitely be keeping tabs now.
    Janet – I like how you think.
    Kirsten – I wish I knew about this place, it looks fantastic! I was already home when I wrote this, but definitely on the list for next time.

  8. megan
    25 August 2009 @ 7:08 pm

    Grace – yes you need a wire watchdog, aren’t they terrific?
    Jake – thanks for the nice mention on your blog. I didn’t realize you had a blog but so glad I can now keep tabs on what you’re up to out there.