Lillian Melendez still remembers when Clinton Street was a destination for anyone planning a sweet sixteen, baby shower or wedding. “If you were having a party, you had to come to Clinton,” she said. “Clinton was famous, everybody knew Clinton.” As a child she spent afternoons playing in her mother’s shop, Genesis Party Supplies at 97 Clinton, packed with custom wedding and bridesmaids dresses, speciality balloons and centerpieces and themed baby shower chairs and pins. Back then, Genesis held court with three other Latino party shops on that stretch of the block alone– if a customer didn’t find what they wanted at Genesis, her mom would send them next door or across the street.
Bars + Restaurants
Book Launch: In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
June 22 at 7 p.m. at The Powerhouse Arena. 37 Main Street (DUMBO)
Is identity something you choose, or is it actually the very thing you can’t escape? This is the question Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi poses in her most personal work yet, In the Darkroom. In 2004 Faludi went in search of her estranged 76-year-old father, a man who had been an elusive and sometimes violent presence in her childhood and then all but disappeared from her life. When Faludi discovered he had undergone sex reassignment surgery and was now living in Hungary, her whole frame of reference was shaken to the core. Her book is an effort to unpack her father’s transition and her own questions of identity, while traveling through a country in the midst of its own dangerous project of refashioning its nationhood.
The secret is out: beloved Bushwick art/party space Secret Project Robot, which has featured tons of art and hosted dozens of good shows and parties, will be closing its doors at the end of the summer. Although the news was posted just a week and a half ago, co-director Rachel Nelson doesn’t seem too broken up about it.
“The thing is we just can’t afford to stay there,” Nelson said. “That’s it.”
Albert Trummer of Apothéke has finally opened his new bar on Avenue C, having dropped the rather hilarious working title of Mixers & Elixirs in favor of Sanatorium, a name that’s true to both the bar’s Habsburgian decor (surgeon’s lamps, anatomy-driven artwork, even an X-Ray lightbox) and its Dionysian philosophy on wellness.
Deep in Chinatown, the team behind Forgtmenot and Kiki’s Greek bistro is putting down new roots–today they open Little Chair, a homey coffee shop on Monroe Street, under the Manhattan Bridge. The entrance is decorated with hanging greenery and potted flowers, like a rustic farm stand in the country. They also have a brand-new Mediterranean restaurant in the works next door.
Sure, Smorgasburg used to satiate your eccentric food cravings, but, like everything else in this city, popularity got the best of it and now it’s a crowded, sweaty mess, populated with frat boys, tourists and out-of-town parents scrambling for the last bite of $12 truffled ramen burrito and fighting for a table in the shade. If you’re looking for a chiller place to sample an array of drinks and creative new eats while hanging outside with your besties, maybe one of these summer food fests will do the trick. Just don’t bogart the okinomiyaki on a stick.
CoffeeCon is relocating to the borough that burnt its tongue drinking coffee before it was cool. The “Consumer Coffee Festival,” which previously took place at Broad Street Ballroom, will be catering to the caffeine-inclined at Industry City this Saturday from 9am to 4pm. Tickets range from $22.50 to $45, and perks include prizes, samples, brewing and tasting classes, a presentation of Café Cinema film clips; panels on the Future of Coffee and Sustainability; and for *sedimental* value, a Chemex Pop Up Museum with a collection of “75 years of coffee making history.”
If after falling in love with the ever-popular flat white you’ve found yourself searching for anything Australian, your prayers have officially been answered. In April, Bluestone Lane, the Aussie-influenced coffee roasters with locations in the West Village and on the Upper East Side, opened their latest cafe inside of 51 Astor Place. And earlier today another Oz-inspired cafe launched in Noho with a menu filled with simple dishes inspired by the Lucky Country.
Bushwick lost one of its pioneering restaurants over the weekend when Northeast Kingdom closed after more than 10 years off of the Jefferson stop. (Yes, Virginia, it opened way before there was a “Jefftown.”) In a goodbye message, owners Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke explained that they hoped to devote more time and energy to their children and their upstate farm and home (Lipke, a visual artist, will continue working from her Bushwick studio).
Memorial Day weekend has officially arrived, and while many of us plan to head to the beach to check out the Coney Art Walls, Riis Park Beach Bazaar, the Rockaway boardwalk concessions, and this season’s newcomers to Beach 96th Street, others are way too lazy to take that hour-long train ride and are keeping it local. After all, there’s a lot going on here in town: from a theatrical prom to pin shopping to outdoor movies to the newly reopened Nowadays and Seaport Smorgasburg, to boozing on floating bars in Chelsea, Greenpoint, and Tribeca.
Maison Premiere has been the Belle of the Brooklyn Ball since it opened in 2011– the Williamsburg oyster bar is perpetually brimming with enraptured guests and hovering, perspiring would-bes waiting for a seat at the horseshoe bar. Earlier this month, their off-the-chain booze operation earned them the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Bar Program.” I mean, where else can you find a classy, non-diabetes-forming answer to the tiki trend, an unrivaled selection of absinthe drips, and a $20 martini that looks worthy of Macaulay Culkin’s character in a sorely needed Richie Rich Redux?