Must-See Red Hook
by Michael Hsu, 05/07/2014
Courtesy, Erie Basin
388 Van Brunt St., 718-554-6147
147 Van Dyke St., 718-624-2929
499 Van Brunt St., #2A, 718-237-2073
There’s no such thing as a “typical” store in Red Hook. The neighborhood’s boutiques are known for their own strong, unabashedly idiosyncratic identities. For example, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more exquisitely or thoughtfully curated collection of objects than the one at Erie Basin. The space itself is a blank canvas (gloss black floor, matte white walls) for pieces from the 18th to 20th centuries commingled with work by contemporary designers. There's a fine selection of vintage jewelry—rings, brooches, tie clips and other delicate little items—with new pieces woven seamlessly into the mix. The florist Saipua, about two blocks away, is equally distinctive. If its delicate yet unfussy flower arrangements are too fleeting a souvenir, look to its line of handmade soaps and candles. The saltwater bar soap is made using seaweed, crushed sea salt, rosemary and patchouli, while the coffee mint hand soap draws on brewed coffee, coffee grounds and peppermint essential oil. Meanwhile, at the Beard Street Warehouse, check out Pier Glass, the studio of artisan glass blowers Kevin Kutch and Mary Ellen Buxton. There you’ll find richly colored objects, including vases, bowls, Christmas ornaments and perfume vials.