Try saying THAT five times fast...
The Q met last night with Sandra Marshall-Haye, owner of the gorgeous Tafari Tribe at 593 Flatbush just up from Rutland. Let me cut the chase...Sandra is the kind of fierce, kind, open human being that could run the railroad. And by the railroad, I mean the Flabenue Railroad, Parkside to Empire. She's a global-traveler with a knowledge and love for ALL Brooklyn. She worked for years at Chase Bank but now spends her time doing something she truly loves - making things and, bringing one-of-kind clothes, accessories, artwork, home furnishings etc. and displaying them in her store like a brilliantly colored museum.
Folks, if you haven't been, you're missing out. This is a great place to shop for unique gifts - as, or more, more interesting than, say, the Brooklyn Museum gift shop, where a similar global boutique vibe happens. Sandra and staff, maybe even her daughter who was helping out last night, will help you find something cool. Or just browse. (The vibe is chill, and (duh) she wants your business, so don't let any vague notions that a store called Tafari is for Rastas only. That would be like a baguette shop that won't sell you bread unless your French c'est magnifique). So you'll go check it out, right? Tell them the Q sent you and comment below if you think I'm high for thinking the place has oodles of pizazz.
Best yet, Sandra took my on a tour next door where she'll soon be opening Tafari Cafe. First thing you notice is the decor, which matches the Tribe boutique in colors and images. You can't see it so well in this photo, but she's made a mirrored map of the world showing the many places from which she'll be getting her coffee beans. There's plenty of space for a groovy coffee hangout, but she'll be serving food and beer and wine. I think it stands a good chance of bridging the gap between old-comer and new-comer. We'll see. I'm definitely looking forward to the Ethiopian brew. (Abyssinia, the precursor to Ethiopia, was the original home to coffee, don't you know).
Now here's where my Iowa-boy background shows through. If you saw this joint in some Midwestern college town you'd be humming the tune from "Ras Trent." (Hysterical SNL referenced video here), overwhelmed perhaps by the scent of young co-eds doused in patchouli. But because I live in Lefferts I'm lucky to be able to walk into a local shop and chit-chat with a bonafide globe-trotting business-woman like Sandra who happens to have been born Catholic in Jamaica but took a spiritual left-turn and hasn't looked back.
We also talked about how Flatbush Avenue (a/k/a the Flabenue) needs a serious makeover. Folks, Ms. Marshall Haye has the gumption and skills to bring the merchants together, and I'll definitely be happy to cheerlead. Along with a few others (I'd definitely lump Shelley and Carl from PlayKids in there, and the guys from Tugboat and TotT and maybe Richard at Rhythm Splash, among others), there could be a real renaissance around here, perhaps a true merchants association that works WITH local groups like the Parkside Committee and PLGNA and Lefferts Manor Association and CB9 and...
Oops. There I go again. Day Dreaming. Back to work.
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.