Photo: Cititour.com

Neighborhood: Cobble Hill
Type of Place: Vintage/Eclectic

I'll begin this by saying that I really love Brooklyn's Carroll
Gardens and Cobble Hill neighborhoods. I had a sublet in Carroll Gardens
for one year, and I'd move back in a heartbeat if I could find a
long-term home that I could afford. This is not to diss other
neighborhoods, including my current one, the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area, which has
a lot to recommend in it as well. But there is something about this CG/CH
area that I will always especially appreciate. It's beautiful, but
not self-consciously or preciously so. It's a great environment for
children, but you won't feel totally out of place if you're not
pushing a stroller. It has an artist community more significant than its
hipster community (and no, these are not even remotely the same thing).
It's not embarrassed to celebrate holidays, with, for example, a
Halloween parade and Christmas decorations out the wazoo. It has great stoop
sales, and a sincerely friendly vibe. I could go on and on.
A good representation of all of these attributes is a shop called
Enamoo, which moved a few blocks down Smith Street, from Carroll Gardens
into Cobble Hill, 3 years ago. Run by partners Un Sook Lim and Michael
Schade, it offers a combination of new items and vintage goods that
attracts a steady and enthusiastic crowd.

I was drawn in by the music, which sounded like American bluegrass but
was composed, according to Un Sook, by German musician Frances Wise.
Once inside, I came across vintage postcards (a favorite collectible of
mine) and old 45s (not so easy to find, especially in decent condition).

The t-shirts and sweatshirts (shirts from $20, sweatshirts from $49)
are highlights, with graphics from abstract designs to neighborhood-pride
shout-outs (including the only t-shirt mention of Gowanus that I've
yet seen) to the playful puppy face of what appears to be a Boxer
mix, the store's mascot icon. The same puppy face, in paint, graces a spot
on the shop's hardwood floor. Customers requested to have it offered
on shirts, Un Sook explains, and their requests were granted. All
t-shirt designs are created by the Enamoo team, and all are offered only
Vintage jewelry, antique furniture, home ornaments, plants, and vintage
matchbox cars (prices vary; cars start at $3) are all available. While
I was there, Matchbox cars and t-shirts were hot items. I scooped up
some 45s and waited for a quiet moment in which to ask Un Sook a few more
questions, but there really wasn't one, business was brisk, and this
creative-but-homey shop deserves it.

Back outside, I saw signs advertising an art sale. I followed them and
ended up at the home of photographers Coline Irwin and Whitney Gaylord.
(Typical of this neighborhood, but how often in New York do strangers
throw open their homes to other strangers off the street?) Their work
(both are evocative and fresh, though their styles are distinctive) can
be viewed at their respective websites and is well worth checking out:

www.colineirwin.com and www.whitneygaylord.com

All in all, a lovely afternoon in the 'hood. Now, if we could do
something about those escalating rents!
  - Pamela Grossman; April 19, 2006

109 Smith St
New York, NY 11201
(718) 624-0175