Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 4:40PM
One of the truly unique businesses in the area, Mandala Tibetan Store, on Seventh Avenue and Lincoln Place, has quite an interesting backstory. The colorful shop, which specializes in Tibetan clothing, rugs, antiques, jewelry, and spiritual items, first opened in November 2007, about ten years after the flagship store on St. Marks Street in Manhattan.
The stores are the brainchild of owner Zumki Lama, who came to this country 20 years ago with the vision of opening a store that sells authentic Tibetan merchandise (although due to trade restrictions most of it is actually produced in India and Nepal). The store was a success, and allowed Zumki to bring over most of her family, including her parents, who fled from Tibet to southern India after the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. She travels back to Asia twice a year to find new vendors and arrange import of the most modern Tibetan styles.
Her brother Kunga, who emigrated from India to run the 7th Avenue store when it opened, can usually be found behind the counter, and he's very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable about the merchandise and its history.
Next time you find yourself in this corner of the Slope, drop in and take a look around. It's a very peaceful place to do some browsing, and from incense to jewelry to shawls to giant fabric wall coverings, you never know what element of Tibetan culture might draw you in.
Mandala Tibetan Store, 59 Seventh Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-789-0071.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 3:54PM
One of the few remaining empty storefronts on the "tightly constructed microcosm of hyper-gentrification" known as Bergen Street between Fifth and Flatbush Avenues, recently claimed by chain beauty products/ wigs/ Halloween costume store Ricky's, opened up last week.
It's not as cluttered as some of their other stores, and should get lots of foot traffic on this block, which also boasts Bark Hot Dogs, Bergen Street Comics, Babeland, and, further down, the sandwich mecca known as City Sub. The entire block's storefronts, which have been carefully designed to resemble one another, are owned by mainstay Pintchik Hardware, which anchors the block's Flatbush-end corner.
Ricky's, 478 Bergen Street Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-622-0063.
Monday, December 27, 2010 at 3:20PM
If there's ever a really inconvenient time for a blizzard to dump about 2 feet of snow all across the eastern seaboard, the day after Christmas is probably it. Hope everyone made it back home safe (or will soon)! Thankfully the nor'easter was followed by a cloudless sky, making for a near-perfect (albeit frigid and windy) winter wonderland.
Monday, December 27, 2010 at 12:15PM
Hope everyone had a nice relaxing Christmas weekend!
As soon as I got word that the shuttered Fifth Avenue Pizzeria, on Fifth near Union, was being renovated, I knew that those vintage wooden Coca-Cola signs were not long for this world. While walking past the under-construction storefront the other day I noticed that indeed, the signs have vanished. Nothing that cool can go un-noticed (or un-stolen) for long, I suppose. The rest of the sign is there, however, so maybe they're being salvaged to include in the future storefront. Maybe? Here's hoping.