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Wednesday
May212014

Real Estate Office Coming to 291 5th Avenue

A real estate office called RES is opening soon at 291 5th Avenue, in the space next to Beygl between First and Second Streets. It's an outpost of a Manhattan-based company that specializes in both retail and residential sales and rentals; current featured listings range from a $9 million apartment on Gramercy Park to a two-family house in Crown Heights for $649,000.

The 11-person company was formed in 2007; founders Dogan Baruh and Chris Sassano previously worked on Wall Street for the Private Client Group of Oppenheimer & Co.

At this point I think it's safe to say that we're all set with real estate offices here for the time being.

Photo by Park Slope Stoop.

Tuesday
May202014

Closed for Business: Guvnor's Vintage Thrift, 178 5th Avenue

Guvnor's, the expansive vintage thrift shop on 5th Avenue between Degraw and Sackett, closed down for good as the Fifth Avenue fair ended on Sunday after more than four years in the space.

The shop had an old-school rock and roll vibe, and the merchandise for sale, some of which dated back to the 1930s, was all undoubtedly cool, and well-curated. It was the brainchild of owner Suzette Sundae, who's owned eight similar shops in the past 20-odd years and posted a lengthy letter/airing of grievances back in January explaining the reasons behind her closure of arbuably the best vintage store in the neighborhood. Namely, she finds that the neighborhood has lost its rock-and-roll attitude and is suffering from a lack of "cultural richness."

"Anyone visiting Park Slope these days, could likely detect a marked lack in the ol' rock n roll, except at Enz's (across the street) and at a handful of bars," she wrote. "I’m not sensing a lot of 'cultural richness' either, with the exception of the cheese fridge, over at Bierkraft."

She continues: "Fewer and fewer of our “fashion-forward,” “vintagista” shoppers have been strolling in, but the strollers . . . well, those strollers continue streaming past, in endless waves of upper middle class, conservative earth tones ... The thought of selling khaki jackets and baby buggies appeals as much to me as eating Wonderbread dipped in milk ... Sure, we could move to Williamsburg, or Bushwick, but what about when those neighborhoods suffer a similar 'Conservo Scourge?'"

Sundae's rant reminds me a bit of what the owners of Southpaw said after announcing their closure, blaming it on the neighborhood's supposed shortcomings. She adds that she decided to sell the space for "generous compensation" and will now be "pursuing a life of creative freedom," and vowed that the shop will be moving online, but at the moment the Etsy store only has 13 items listed.

Friday
May162014

C-Town Takes Down Union Market-Style Sign After Union Market Threatens to Sue

Back in March, the C-Town on Ninth Street between 5th and 6th Avenues replaced their old awning with one bearing a design that looked suspiciously like that of Union Market's. Union Market apparently also felt the same way, because the sign has been replaced with a new one, and a C-Town manager told South Slope News that Union Market threatened to sue.

The manager also said something interesting: “The same guy who designed the Union Market logo designed our new one, and he didn’t tell us they were so similar.” However, Pix Design's Valerie English, who actually designed the original logo, commented on my previous post on the subject, saying, "As the designer of the Union Market logo and branding, I'd like to think that it's a form of flattery that C-Town chose to use the Union Market branding as their inspiration."

I reached out to English, and she reinforced that she was the sole designer of the Union Market logo, and that neither she nor anyone affiliated with her firm had anything to do with the C-Town signage.

Tuesday
May132014

Duke of Montrose Bar Loses Scottish Theme, Now Just The Montrose

Duke of Montrose, the Scottish bar that opened on the corner of 5th and Bergen last July, has rebranded: now they're just The Montrose, and they've jettisoned the Scottish theme.

When the bar opened, it had quite possibly the widest selection of Scotch whisky in the borough: nearly 200 were available, classified in a huge menu by Highlands, Lowlands, Islay, Speyside, and Islands regions. Apparently that concept wasn't working out; the owners have kept only about 15 of them and shipped the rest off to their other pub, Caledonia, on the Upper East Side.

The beer selection used to be primarily Scottish, with five Belhaven varieties. That's also been replaced with a more run-of-the-mill craft beer selection, with 15 beers on tap including Goose Island IPA, Sixpoint Sweet Action, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and three Brooklyn offerings. They're also planning on introducing a menu of burgers and other traditional pub fare in the next several weeks.

A manager told me that they were losing potential customers, especially those attending events at the Barclays Center, because they didn't stock the expected beer and liquor selection.

Scotch whisky isn't an easy liquor to get really into (enough so that you seek out brands not available at most bars), but Duke of Montrose was unique and valuable for just that reason: it specialized in something, and employees were extremely knowledgeable about it. There should be someplace in the neighborhood where you can get a glass of Bunnahabhain if you want one, and have the bartender walk you through what makes it different from a Glenfarclas. 

Monday
May122014

Former Two Boots Space is For Rent

The popular Park Slope location of Cajun/ pizza mini-chain Two Boots closed down last November, 24 years after opening on Second Street just east of Seventh Avenue. The owners planned to re-open last winter after a renovation, promising that the new concept would have "the same warm welcome and relaxed party atmosphere, with much of our same happy staff and management." Unfortunately, that doesn't look like that's going to happen: the one-story building is currently on the market.

Many thanks to a tipster for sending over the above photo; the lot has been put up for lease, renting for a whopping $16,000/ month, or $4 per square foot.

Co-founder John Touhey decided to retire, and his partners in this location, Piper & Andy Wandzilak, took it over. Sad to see that they couldn't get whatever plans they had for the space off the ground; would love to have known what they had in mind. For the time being, we can add this space to the growing list of empty storefronts in the neighborhood.


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