Freeman and Manhattan feels like the boondocks, especially for me who happens to live in the “other” Greenpoint. However, the trek was worth it.
Tucked in a nondescript building on Freeman St, lies Artifact. : Cozy from the outside, cozier on the inside. Exposed brick walls, reclaimed shelves and hand-made copper pipe racks are reminiscent of the lost art of workmanship of years past.
The ever-so-mysterious logo of an hourglass encircled by an Ouroboros, fully encapsulates the goodies that Artifact. has: timeless vintage. The store houses works of local artists and designers, novelty items and found objects, as well as hard-to-find zines and books. The owner Josephine Trzaska and her partner Timothy Aaron Huston, both designers in their respective fields, have been roomies and friends for years.
Artifact. is the product of their meticulous eye for design and fused aesthetics. It was such a pleasure to sit down with them and pick their brains over beers in their wonderful store.
GP: What was the history behind artifact? What was the concept behind it?
TAH: The history is that Jodie and I both had cool collections of weird interesting objects, books, housewares, etc. and when I moved in with her a couple years ago, we always had fun showing stuff to each other, then we started talking about creating a brand of found objects turned into furniture and functional art called Hüska (Huston+Trzaska), which is still a future idea … but then we also talked about how cool it would be to actually be able to sell vintage/new stuff that we like, sort of turning our hoarding tendencies into something productive! Fast forward a year or so, she found this space and then we sort of melded the ideas, and 155 Freeman is just Phase One of our Big Plan.
GP: I know you guys have been open for a while, but when is the official opening?
A: We are having the Grand Opening on Feb 28th. RSVP! Special thanks to Dandelion Wines for sponsoring the refreshments!
GP: What sets Artifact. apart from the other vintage stores in Greenpoint/ Williamsburg area? What’s the main focus/ outstanding feature of the store?
TAH: I think Artifact has a distinct personality and we are both VERY particular and idiosyncratic. Oh, and of course the other designers we’ve collected bring their own flavor into the mix as well. The media has picked up on the PBR lip balm as a focus, but that was actually an afterthought. Jodie had them, and I threw them in a little box and marked $5 each on it. I mean there’s not a real focus per se, it’s an amalgamation—we aren’t trying to be the “vintage” store or the “place where you get ………” Things may change with time, things come and go, but you should always get a certain feeling when you visit Artifact. We want to be a destination for the unexpected, and push the boundaries a bit. We aren’t here for “sellable” and “safe” — if we both like it, and it sends out the right vibes, we’ll jump on it. Jodie is psychic and I have a visceral reaction towards clothing & objects I like, so we have a sort of second sense that says “yes” or “no” — not sure if that answers the question. Continue reading →
It may be off the beaten path, but the best things in life don’t just land on your corner. A new bakery called Ovenly opened last Friday on Greenpoint Ave between West St and the East River, near the soon to open Transmitter Park. If you haven’t stopped in yet, you are majorly missing out on biscuit perfection and cupcake elegance, not to mention cookie genius. And they have savory treats, too! Agatha and Erin, the ladies behind this recent start-up began their company right out of Paulie Gee’s kitchen, where I am convinced a little fairy lives whose magic wand turns food start-ups into major successes. Bacon Marmalade, Sea Bean Goods & Mike’s Hot Honey all began beside that big pizza oven, as well.
We live in Brooklyn, the land of small railroad apartments. Most of us are constantly searching for more ways to store things while ideally not filling up the place with ugly plastic containers. Even if you are one of the lucky few to live in a beautifully sized apartment, the bathroom can always be a small, awkward or tricky spot to have the storage we need while keeping the tiny room looking good.
A while back someone gave me this vintage store display rack and it has become the perfect storage addition to the bathroom, although it could really work in any room. It is simple, hangs on the wall, and has the capability of holding a lot of stuff or looking great empty. They are somewhat easy to find on ebay and not too pricy.
Tucked away off of Manhattan on Meserole is the most adorable mid century modern vintage furniture and home store called Vintage Modern. I’ve found so many great pieces there. I want to move in and live in the storefront.
Tonight, 3/3/12 from 6-9pm, designer Erica Savard is having a trunk show of her jewelry collection called We See Stars. Refreshments, 20% off jewelry & 15% off everything else in the store.
I want these vintage arrow studs! Only $18. See you later!
Find excellent farm fresh produce in Greenpoint, right off the Greenpoint Ave G at Poland Farm Fruit & Vegetable.
With a quick glimpse, it looks the same as any other produce stand. You’ve got to hop inside this dingy little market to really appreciate its quality. Now I mean “dingy” as a positive – there’s something unsettling about grocery store racks of artificially colored produce, reminds me of plastic fruit my grandmother used to have in Dollar Store bowls on her end tables.
The greens are crunchy, the fruit is ripe, and everything is inexpensive. The market also offers a small selection of canned goods, herbs, beer and other cold drinks, cheese, yogurt, Polish snacks (with names I won’t attempt to pronounce), fresh breads delivered daily, and lots of tea!
My first trip here was due to a sudden urge to boil a huge pot of vegetable stew. During one visit, I was able to purchase everything (carrots, potatoes, celery, tomato paste, onions, etc.) for under $14. You might catch a wilted head of lettuce or mushy avocado occasionally, but for $0.99, who is gonna complain?!
Watch out for “Mimi” – resident cat and guard of Poland Farm Fruit & Vegetable. Make sure to avoid any foot-on-paw incidents, which I did not. She’s a bad enemy to have.
Eat healthy, and frugally, thanks to Poland Farm Fruit & Vegetable!
Poland Farm Fruit & Vegetable
889 Manhattan Ave @ at the corner of Manhattan & Greenpoint
It’s no secret that Brooklyn is a giant hub for locally made anything. If you’re a local junkie and are looking for a one-stop-shop for a sustainable living environment look no further: Kerry Jones is the owner of one of Greenpoint’s newest stores, the one well, which Jones describes best as a lifestyle store. “This is for the highest degree of care about your health, your planet, and how you’re affecting your planet.” Over 50 artisans are currently featured in the one well with products ranging from hang crafted bags to locally made honey, chocolate, skin care, vintage lamps, vintage clothing, art pieces and many other lifestyle items (including vegan products!)
Kerry takes a great deal of pride in ensuring that all artisans whose products are sold in The One Well meet her standards of sustainability. She has tried every single product in the store, be it skin care, food or cleaning products (which she says work better than any other cleaning products she’s ever used, and without all the chemicals!) There are times when she has had to turn artisans away because their level of sustainability just didn’t make the mark, but in order to maintain her own credibility as a business owner and the mission of her business, it’s not surprising that this happens.
On “this side” of McGuinness, Grapepoint Wines opened. At the grand opening, I chatted with Joanna, a young entrepreneur and wine shop owner.
The party was packed with family and friends, who were giving Joanna a warm welcome, but not to the neighborhood. Joanna, grew up all the way over in Williamsburg, where her family has owned a laundromat for over 30 years. Since she is of Polish descent, Joanna explained that she spent a lot of time over here in Greenpoint. After an inspiring trip to Spain, and with the entrepreneur gene in her blood, she knew she wanted to become a wine shop owner, and cheers to Joanna because she is doing it, right around the corner!
The shop has a well priced variety of wines that are sensibly displayed, plus local wines, like Brooklyn Oeneology. Joanna was generous enough to donate a surprise gift to the Love Bird’s Valentine’s Market this Saturday. (I wonder what it will be?) Look forward to regular wine tasting and I hope a rotating display of artwork.
Have you walked by Fanaberie on Nassau lately and noticed the creative window display? It’s up until Thanksgiving and is a marvelous collaboration between store owner Ella, a long-time Greenpointer originally from Poland and Charlotte a Greenpointer originally from Louisiana. Yes, they were not born here and I am calling them Greenpointers. Do you have a problem with it? I don’t care. I don’t want to hear it anymore. The absurd questions (and insults) the website receives. “Are you born and raised in Greenpoint?” one person asked or “Go back to Kansas.” Once and for all, who cares? We all live here and love it. No one choses where they are born, but they do chose where they live and Greenpoint it is. It’s nice to see what can happen when we get along!
Ella was designing the windows herself until she met Charlotte who was one of her first customers when the boutique opened a year and a half ago. With the help of her employee Ewelina, they create a “unique and friendly environment…so we are not only the store but also a social circle of customers that often are becoming our friends.” This is the perfect environment that fosters such creative endeavors. With a “yearning to do something with no boundaries creatively,” as Charlotte describes, she was inspired to ask Ella about the collaboration. On the Falling for Fanaberie window display Ella says: “I love the outcome of our little collaboration, Charlotte is so creative and she delivered exactly what she promised…In the past every change of the windows generated interest, comments and compliments; and this time specifically we are getting twice as much of compliments!”
Behind all great work there is a narrative. About the windows Charlotte explains: “It’s a love story. Falling for a summer fling. A transition. A change in seasons. The fling and Fanaberie are interchangeable. I’ve always thought of summer as a season to be free and to meet new loves, and fall is when you get to snuggle down with the most special one you met over the summer. This is a fairly tale. Real life comes what may. The story is personal, and I think that is why it’s been so well received.”
Perhaps its about falling in love with Greenpoint. I myself am smitten and can relate. When I asked Charlotte why she decided to live here she told me, “I fell in love with the neighborhood, instantly. The vibe of the neighborhood was great. I also love the authenticity of the neighborhood. My neighbor has lived here all of his life, he keeps me up to date with the goings and comings of the rest of the people on our street. I’m friends with the family that owns the corner store. Once I came home late, was hungry with no money, and he loaned me $2 for a slice. The neighborhood looks out for one another. It reminds me of home.”