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Tuesday
Dec142010

Business of the Week: Mega Glass & Sashes, 51 Fifth Avenue


If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That philosophy just about sums up Mega Glass, the store and workshop on Fifth between St. Marks and Bergen. If that's not apparent after seeing the 25-year old handmade sign, it'll certainly be by the time you walk through the original doorway. It's truly a portal to an earlier time, as well as last remaining glass store in the area.


Owners Freddy and Gladys Garrastegui
It's astounding how long this store has been there. Before it was taken over in January of 1985 by Freddy Garrastegui and his wife Gladys (whose nephews built the sign), it was operated for 13 years by Freddy's father, Manuel. Before that, the store was called Swir Glass, and was owned and operated by the Swir family for sixty years. Do the math, and that means the shop opened its doors for the first time in 1912



Business is still good after all these years; if anything it increased as competition dwindled. It's patronized by a steady stream of contractors and building managers, and they still use the same glasscutting tools as always; the only evidence of new technology is a telephone, a small television and a laptop.


"This violin's never been touched by either me or my father," said Freddie.


Mega Glass & Sashes Co. Inc. 51 5th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-638-7511.

Tuesday
Dec142010

New Sidewalk Medallion Spotted on Sterling


A tradition of the past is being kept alive by La Pietra Contracting, who last week installed a new sidewalk on Sterling between Fifth and Sixth. They laid down some new cement, but also meticulously restored a large segment of an old bluestone sidewalk. They were apparently proud enough of their work to install a small maker's mark, a tradition that I'd assumed went the way of the 3-cent cigar a long time ago. Guess not!

Tuesday
Dec142010

Open For Business: A Swedish Cafe (Konditori), 186 Fifth Avenue


A Swedish coffee shop opened for business this past Saturday on Fifth Avenue between Degraw and Sackett, in the space formerly occupied by Yona Lee, Celine NY, and Apropos Cafe.

What exactly is Swedish coffee? Just ask Stockholm-born Per Inglander, the owner. "The Swedish Roast coffee is very different from, say, French Roast," he told me. "It has a medium body, with a clean and clear finish, as well as a light aroma of cocoa." His business partner, Ronny Kaj, co-owned Image clothing stores for the past fourteen years but recently decided to get into the coffee game and "spent a very long time finding the perfect neighborhood, where we could become a real part of the community," he said.

Owners Per Inglander (L) and Ronny Kaj (R), behind the counter.
On top of the coffee, they're offering Harney organic tea, locally-made bagels, cookies, and custom-made muffins with unusual flavors like zucchini-carrot and blueberry banana. Soon they'll begin offering specialties like kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns: "Light and fluffy, not the big, sweet, sticky kind," says Per), marzipans, fresh squeezed juice, and weekend specials, like waffles. 



The coffee is good, and free wifi is a huge plus. The space is bright and welcoming, and should develop a loyal fan base. With Gorilla Coffee close by, Venticinque a block away, and a coffee shop coming into the Serene Rose space further down Fifth, though, they'll certainly have competition. 

Konditori, 186 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 347-384-2028.

Monday
Dec132010

Coffee Shop for Serene Rose Space


The storefront that was last home to Serene Rose, the clothing boutique on Fifth Avenue across from Washington Park which closed up and merged with another store a few buildings down several months ago, has a new tenant moving in. The windows were papered over last week, and Brownstoner's check of the DOB permit reveals that a coffee shop is headed for the space. With Cafe Martin so close by, and other cafés (such as the well-received Venticinque) just slightly further afield, it seems like the only new businesses we're getting on Fifth these days are coffee shops and pizza places.

Monday
Dec132010

Vote Now For Park Slope In The Curbed Cup!

Every year, Curbed holds a vote to decide the Neighborhood of the Year. This time around, the matchup is Park Slope vs. Roosevelt Island. Even though this should be a no-brainer (trees and brownstones vs. hospitals and a Soviet-style Main Street?), Roosevelt Island is winning with 55% of the vote! Let's mobilize and show everyone what the best neighborhood in the city really is!