Hey...we're back! Ask me about our vacation sometime. Mrs. Clarkson FlatBed, little miss FlatBed and I had a fantastic time in the lush green hills of Vermont. If you've never been, treat yourself...maybe even drive around during peak foliage? Checking out the foliage, or Tree Peeping, is a strange NYC custom that came about because people couldn't think of any other excuse to skip town between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Of course, some people like to ski in Vermont too, though all they ever do is complain about how it's not the Alps or Colorado. Why do people who ski complain, anyway? I mean, they get to ski don't they? Really, of all the people in the world, what percentage do you think actually get to take off from work in the winter and go skiing?
Back to the blogness at hand. Here's the tie-in:
That's right. The good ol' crayola colorful corrugated tin barn at the NW corner of the 'Bush at Caton. You know the one, because everytime you pass you go "what the f$ is up with that place?" Well I'm going to tell you what the f$%* is up with that place. It's abso-friggin-lutely amazing.
For those too new to the neighborhood to remember, that corner used to be full of street vendors. Some folks from the City and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce decided to build a building, and now it's a year-round mini-mall. The Kiva-style idea here is that micro-businesses can get schooled in the art of opening their own shops without dumping tens of thousands of dollars into their dream. With subsidized rent and classes from the Small Business Services agency, some pretty awesome stories emerge. Read more about them at the FCM's website, which includes descriptions of all the vendors.
OK, sure, not everything in there is going to blow your mind. But the stories might, and there's no reason to be scared off by the weirdness of it all. Go grab a pastry or coffee at Back Home Bakery and check out these particularly one-of-a-kind shops:
The Brhuberger Company Booth #: 34
Popular "As Seen on TV" items without the expense of shipping and handling.
(the geniously named:)
Thank you Jesus Booth #: 37
Provides specialty cooking items from cast iron pots to insulated food containers and other convenience store items.
Julia Hector Booth #: 19
Offers handmade gifts and accessories for babies as well as fashion and hair accessories.
If you're feeling randy, there's lots of intimate apparel. The owner of Notre Dame, Marise Joseph, was quoted in the NY Daily News during the infamous brouhaha over whether to kick out the food vendors (they did). She was a big proponent of letting the victuals back in, saying "It's not good, because everybody eats every day. You don't buy panties every day. The food makes the market go on. Now no one comes in." Amen to that! Bottom line: don't wait til you need a new pair of glittery pasties to check out the FCM.
Oh yeah. The ZZ Top thing. I almost forgot. Seems there was a popular booth at the FCM called "The Final Touch." Cynthia Campbell makes homemade crocheted accessories. I just noticed a new shop on Flatbush up towards K-Dog called "The Final Toush" which i'm hoping is her big jump to the full-on world of retail. But I don't think she meant Toush, right? Which makes me think of that ZZ Top song "Tush," and the crazy way Mr. Top rhymes Tush with much, when everybody knows he meant booty, which most folks rhyme with bush.
Is this one cool neighborhood or what?
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.