Brooklyn Mercantile

Brooklyn Mercantile

Photo: Brooklyn Mercantile

Neighborhood: Park Slope
Type of Place: Gift Shops Home Decor

Noplace like home for the holidays? I’m fine with that idea, as long as we’re not talking about my home. In order to face the possibility of hosting a festive soiree, I feel I’d need about six months of intensive preparation, starting with extensive renovations. But when I stepped into the sweetly chic Brooklyn Mercantile, I was shocked to find my company-phobia starting to give way to visions of houseguests dancing in my head. If that can happen even to me, this must be a great home store. Its goods will help you feather your nest; and you’ll likewise find great gifts for the generous souls who are opening their doors to you this season.

Speaking of nests, I was instantly drawn to charming plates featuring delicate renderings of birds, nests, and musical notes ($18), useful as serving dishes but also easy to imagine brightening up a wall. The pillow selection is varied and distinctive; one in brown tweed with woven wool ribbons ($40) could fit in almost anywhere. A gorgeous quilt made of silk swatches ($170) would be useful in any season; and a large white tin pitcher with cheery red squares ($40) calls out for flowers. The array of “special occasion” soaps look and smell great; I loved the wrappings and the scents offered by those from Pop Ink ($7). While I admired the graceful ornaments in the shapes of stars, birds, and snowflakes (around $8) and the little boxes featuring snowmen and St. Nick ($4), a shopping couple scooped up 2 sets of candles from Archipelago ($40 per set of 7 prettily packaged candles, each a different and delicious fragrance) to give as gifts.

If, as you browse, the “homey bug” bites you hard, sewing supplies, fabric, inks, paints, brushes, beautiful ribbons, and rubber stamps are on display toward the back of the shop. Who knows—you might walk out of here a newly minted crafter. And if your kitchen starts to seem like someplace you’d like to spend more time (it could happen!), big, sturdy cookie cutters are here for about $4 each. To top off this year’s presents, extra-pretty sheets of gift tags are $2.25.

OK, you say—maybe I really can have some people over this season. Maybe I don’t need $13,000 and a steamroller to get ready. Maybe I will bake cookies, serve some on attractive, decorative plates, and wrap the rest to give as gifts with unique and lovely gift tags, which I could buy or make. Maybe, with enough rum in my eggnog, this could all work out. But come January, enough with the homey—I’m hitting the road. Understood; and Brooklyn Mercantile has your back with this as well. Tote bags featuring goddesses Krishna, Ganesh, and Lakshmi ($42) will take you across town or on an overnight getaway; and for longer trips, a travel blanket and pillow set, complete with storage pockets ($36), will smooth your path again and again. Bon voyage.

  - Pamela Grossman; Dec 2, 2007

Brooklyn Mercantile
335 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215