Posts Tagged ‘cool stuff’

The bebe had suspected chicken pox over the weekend so the Rocket Scientist and I couldn’t enjoy the glorious weather as much as we would have liked. By 4pm on Sunday – damned pox or no – we were bouncing off the walls and had to get outside.

We decided to walk to the river and ended up meandering past Caramello for ice cream and then a gem of a vintage furniture store, Fork + Pencil on Court and Warren in Cobble Hill.

We’re still looking for a great bar cart. These are having a bit of a renaissance since MadMan (the Fork + Pencil owner said that they are more in demand than anything else he sells) but I also think they make for a brilliant storage solution for urban apartment living. They’re compact and usually contain lots of clever drawers and secret places to stash bottles, glasses, table linen and cutlery.

It would be nice to have somewhere to store (and display) lovely glasses, without the risk of them being shoved in an over-crammed cupboard and breaking. In fact, we could treat ourselves to something other than Ikea glassware. Wouldn’t that be grown up?

Even Crate & Barrel are selling them. We were tempted by this one but RS didn’t think they were that well made and at, $999.00, it’s absurdly expensive. I could buy something vintage and Danish for that.

Love this one from London on eBay. There’s something so clever about them – like those old-school travel wardrobes that the rich would take on cruises.

Fork + Pencil had some lovely ones from the Forties. But that is all I’m saying about that because we don’t need any more competition in the bar cart/credenza/dresser-buying arena, thanks.

Chin chin!

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I’m obsessed with social history – how the area we live in would have been X amount of years ago, but particularly  – and especially in New York – around the turn of the century. When we first moved here, it started with a Brownstone infatuation but now has extended to the whole city.

Before motor cars or Robert Moses, when Madison Avenue was filled with insanely extravagant palaces and downtown NY insane poverty and overcrowding but rich with the cultural diversity of the immigrant influx.

It’s the stuff of inspiration for countless writers and film makers, from Boardwalk Empire to the upcoming film adaptation of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale (one of the most wonderful and baffling books I’ve ploughed through), which they filmed last Christmas in Prospect Park.

So I love this interactive feature on NYC Grid – of old and modern shots of landmarks in the city, which you can move around, like this one of Bowling Green in 2013 and 1907:

It’s interesting to see the ones that have really changed – where the building have been knocked down or former skyscrapers are now in the shadow of modern buildings, but I love the ones that haven’t changed that much, like this one of Bryant Park just the clothes the people are wearing. Goes to show how life just goes on in New York City:

Manhattan Bridge14th Street &  8th AvenueCapture

Bryant Park Bowling Green

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Shark Attack

What is it about sharks at the moment? First there was that mad film Sharks in a Tornado or something. Then there was one found on the subway. Then the Rocket Scientist had a dream where one was biting his fist and he had to scrap its gums to get it to let go (dentist anxiety or was he sleeping on his hand?).

So well done TopShop for predicting the selachimorphamania and producing this:


Oh crikey, Brit designer Emma Cook is in on it too:


Both Givenchy and Philip Lim have shark tooth designs in the current collections:


We’re going to need a bigger wardrobe…


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As a mum on maternity leave, and living in Park Slope, it would be fair to say that I’ve had plenty of time to explore local coffee shops in the last 11 months.

I can tell you that Cafe Dada is very stroller friendly but charges $5 for a cappuccino. Cousin Johns does the best muffins and cakes but the coffee is pretty standard (though cheap). Gorilla Coffee has cool maps on the wall but if your child is particularly squawky, you might feel a little self-conscious among the iPad-clutching hipsters.

My all-time favourite coffee shop in my area is Cafe Regular. The coffee (make mine a one-shot cortado with skimmed milk) is excellent, the ambiance is Parisian but it’s the pastries that are worth going back for. So buttery they are almost juicy, with a good fix of bitter chocolate and, since pain au chocolat practically became a food group for me while I was pregnant (and, er, still now), when we move from the neighbourhood I’ll miss them like I miss Icebergs pool in my old home of Bondi, Sydney.

And then I found out that Cafe Regular gets its pastries from Cafe Colson on 9th. So when we went to Red Hook Pool last weekend, and caught the bus from nearby, my inner glutton couldn’t resist peeking in.

The cafe is just a cover for a den of iniquity for greedy, pastry addicts like myself. The coffee was totally average but my rhubarb scone was exceptional.

However, the walls were also exciting. Decked with an exhibition by French photographer Franck Bohbot (excellent name) who has created a series called Jour de Fete of colourful and slightly haunting pictures of fairgrounds taken at a slow shutter speed so they look empty and the lights create tracing patterns:





He also has cool T-shirts, as you can see from this picture:

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What is it about the Beasties and wallpaper? The other day I blogged about Mike D from the Beastie Boys’ Brooklyn toile wallpaper. And then I found this New York City wallpaper from Scottish designers Timorous Beasties.

It’s got cops, robbers, runners around the reservoir at Central Park, a guy in a cowboy hat… eh? The Flatiron Building, and City Hall (I think). Compared to Flavor Paper’s Notorious B.I.G and other deep-toned cultural references, this toile is a reads a bit more like a guidebook written by people who aren’t actually from NYC.

But I’ll forgive the Glaswegian designers because in my opinion Timorous Beasties were the first people to really do contemporary wallpaper. In fact you could argue that they started the papery renaissance. Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons were putting kooky flock bugs on walls in the early 90s while the rest of us were lusting over boring cream (beige) sofas at Habitat.

And they started this whole ironic toile thing too, because on their home turf, they excel at the pasted slice of urban realism. Their Glasgow toile features heroin addicts in graveyards, young mums pushing prams by Glasgow towerblocks and a man urinating against a tree.


I probably won’t ever choose to spend 108 British pounds per sq meter on their beautiful screen-printed wallpaper, but a mug I could do:

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It’s awesome when you are a multi-platinum-selling hip hop star.

When Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys wanted to redecorate his Brooklyn brownstone he had a French toile designed especially for his walls (and cushions), with Brooklyn-inspired motifs.

Check out this design by Flavor Paper and Revolver NY, featuring Coney Island, Hasidic Jews and even the Notorious B.I.G.


For a guy who was famous for vandalising VWs, Diamond’s house, in Cobble Hill, is pretty classy. No graffiti on walls, or neon signs, no basement home cinema.

Funky and eclectic and original, yes. There’s nothing ostentatious about it.

It’s even pretty.

I think this might be the coolest modern makeover I’ve seen of a brownstone yet.

Check out these images from Intralld and the NYTimes:

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home (2)

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home (6)

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home (10)

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home (11)

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home (12)

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home (15)

Celebrity Spotlight Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys' Brooklyn Home (16)


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