06/26/15 10:25am


Jacques Torres is not only a master chocolatier, he’s a Brooklyn pioneer. Torres, who had worked as the pastry chef at the renowned Manhattan restaurant Le Cirque, decided to make it on his own in Brooklyn. He set up shop here in Dumbo way back in 2000, then a fledgling neighborhood that didn’t seem like the obvious choice for a chocolate factory.

Torres and his business partner built the factory by hand and from scratch, working right up until opening day. Torres’ goal was to make hand-crafted, premium chocolates without preservatives, additives, extracts, oils or essences. His bon-bons, hot chocolate, chocolate-covered snacks, and chocolate bars became popular quickly, and by 2004 Torres was ready to expand into Manhattan.

Jacques Torres Chocolate shop in Dumbo photo courtesy of Jacques Torres. (more…)

05/13/15 4:56pm
The proposed Wegmans store, set to open in 2017, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Credit Greenberg Farrow (Image from NY Times)

The proposed Wegmans store, set to open in 2017, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Credit Greenberg Farrow (Image from NY Times)

Wegmans, the the Rochester-based grocery store is planning on opening their first New York City location at Brooklyn Navy Yard, which borders Vinegar Hill (and 5 minute walk from the York Street F station in Dumbo). The 74,000-square-foot market will anchor a new shopping complex along Admiral’s Row, which is set to open in 2017, according to NY Times.

Grocery stores in New York City have been going through a transformation, going upscale with stores such as Trader Joe’s Brooklyn (opened in September 2008), Whole Foods Brooklyn (opened in December 2013), and Fairway in Red Hook Brooklyn (which re-opened in March 2013 after extensive renovation post-Hurricane Sandy). Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have been very well received by New York shoppers, according to The Real Deal, and can withstand New York’s high retail rents because of their substantial sales volumes. Anecdotally, we’ve heard from Trader Joe’s employees that the Brooklyn store is the highest grossing location per square feet.

Across Sands Street, a four-story parking garage will be built, for use by Wegmans and other Navy Yard tenants, with a floor or two of industrial space above it.

Trader Joe’s in Brooklyn (on Court St and Atlantic Ave) is 14,000 square feet, Whole Foods in Gowanus/Park Slope Brooklyn is 56,000 square feet and Fairway in Red Hook is 52,000 square feet. At 74,000 square feet, the Wegman’s Brooklyn store will be the by far the largest among the big 4 grocery stores. Can Wegmans, with its cult following appeal to Brooklynites? We think so.

04/28/15 11:59am

P.S. Bookshop, a neighborhood bookstore in Dumbo Brooklyn that buys and sells used and rare books, is at risk of going out of business. The shop was presented by its landlord with a $40,000 bill of unpaid real estate tax dating back to 2010, according to. P.S. Bookshop’s crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo.com. Speaking to Yuval Gans, owner of the store, it is clear he has invested his own funds and passion into the store and serving the community. While he was diligent to inquire about the tax payments after beginning his lease in May 2010, he was not made aware that the tax was accruing. While it sounds like the possible closing of an independent book seller to be another cliché of gentrification, Mr. Gans knows many families and patrons in the area, and hopes to serve the community for many years to come.

“I’ve invested too much hard work making P.S. the bookshop it is, I must fight for its survival.” Mr. Gans’ popular Story Time has been introducing the joy of books to neighborhood kids for the past nine years. “My bookshop’s mission is to educate, inspire and stimulate minds, as well as provide a much needed outlet for collectors and book lovers. I hope that in pursuing these goals I have acquired enough support for my cause. Unfortunately,” he adds, “paying the tax arrears merely begs the question of the bookshop’s future in Dumbo’s real estate tax market.”

In an attempt to answer this question Mr. Gans got in touch with the owner of one of the city’s best known bakeries who is very interested in setting up a coffee shop at the bookshop, hoping to open this spring. The solution could provide a perfect key for securing P.S Bookshop’s future. Unfortunately, the shop’s landlord denied Mr. Gans’ request to pursue this plan. The reason quoted is the competition that the proposed coffee shop may present to other of the landlord’s current tenants.

To follow and to learn how you can help save P.S. Bookshop visit:

P.S. Bookshop (psbookshopnyc.com)
76 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: 718-222-3340

04/27/15 5:49pm

Recess Dumbo

An indoor children’s playspace is opening at 81 Washington Street in Dumbo this summer (corner of York and Washington Streets). Recess Dumbo is a 1200+ square foot main play area with all custom-designed and built play structures. The space was formerly occupied by Pomme, a children’s boutique until it closed its Dumbo location in May 2013.

According to the owners, the structures were designed to fit with the aesthetic of the space, which has exposed bricks and original wood beams. There are plans for stainless steel slides, climbing tubes made of natural-colored netting and other climbing and play structures. There will also be a separate area appropriate for kids under two, and a classroom for programming (offered during the week, as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings). The classroom will double as an event room for birthday parties (after hours and weekend afternoons).

While the playspace is appropriate for kids ages 6 months to 6 years, there are plans to offer after school programming to kids up to age 8.

There will be memberships to the playspace that offer a flexible, unlimited drop-in model to our members, as well as some other perks, including offers for weekend events and limited drop-off options.

For programming, there will be music, dance, art and yoga teachers as well as collaboration with some established professionals like Child’s Play NY (theatrical arts), Chess at 3, and Language Beans (Mandarin language programs) who will offer their programming in the space. They plan to offer a mini-session in late June through July and start a full semester of programming in September. With more and more parents of young children in the neighborhood, Recess Dumbo is a welcome addition.

Recess Dumbo (recessdumbo.com)
81 Washington Street, Brooklyn NY 11201
email: info@recessdumbo.com

04/17/15 1:08pm


There is a popup shop event at by Vedazzling Accessories at 145 Front Street from 6-10pm on Saturday, April 18, 2015. If you haven’t stopped by the shops at 145 Front Street, in addition to Vedazzling Accessories, there are several individual owned stores in the ‘mini-mall’.

Vedazzling Accessories (vedazzlingaccessories.com)
145 Front Street, Brooklyn NY 11201