A new shop selling hand-painted t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other witty Brooklyn-themed items opened a couple weeks ago in a tiny storefront on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, right across from the Barclays Center, providing a bit of subversive fun in an area that's quickly becoming corporate.
It's owned by the husband and wife duo of Chris Smith and Yukiko Wada (both artists) along with business partner Seth Braunstein, who has a long history in underground streetwear. They've been making shirts for 10 years, and had a small stand in the recently-closed DeKalb Market. They also supply local stores like AREA Kids and Chair-Man, but this is their first full-on brick and mortar storefront.
Behind the brightly painted facade lies an organized, slightly offbeat-looking shop, with surprises at every turn. At least one of the owners is always on hand to walk you through the merchandise, should you need a hand. There are mugs that read "I got mugged in Brooklyn." One t-shirt depicts a basketball player being chased by a net-wielding mob; the tagline: Brooklyn Nets. The puns are all over shirts, aprons, totes, and sweatshirts: "Strike a Poseur," "Om Sweet Om," "Lawn Guy Land," "Shul of Rock." Others are more direct: "Rich people make bad art," "That's Sooo... Park Slope," "Brooklyn: Entertaining Manhattan Since 1646."
"We're counterbalancing the highbrow," said Braunstein, whose background includes designing clothing for Notorious B.I.G. "All the silkscreening is done right here in the shop, and we're open every day from noon to 11 PM."
Brooklyn Rock, 454 Dean Street Brooklyn NY 11217.