Loopy Mango

Loopy Mango

Photo: Loopy Mango

Neighborhood: DUMBO
Type of Place: Women's Clothing

Ten years ago or so, I had a number of friends who lived in the area Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass--that is, in the Brooklyn neighborhood known as DUMBO. They were working artists. They had fabulous loft apartments with lots of space to work in; and when they took a break from work, they threw great parties. They formed a community of artists and arts in DUMBO that helped to make up for the neighborhood's lack of ammenities--there were no food shops; there was no laundromat. Lots of the buildings had elevators that seemed to operate on approximation and prayer more than anything else. The streets at night were quiet, a bit too much so, and could feel desolate. But there was also a lot of beauty there--the old stone streets, the water's edge. And my friends made art that, in my proud opinion, both captured and contributed to that beauty.

Fast forward to now: I don't know one person who lives in DUMBO. My friends are gone, and not by choice--they were forced away in one of the
more hostile and aggessive landlord/tennant battles I've seen yet. If I'm remembering right, one friend with an especially elaborately decorated apartment was given half a day to get herself and all her possessions out. I don't remember clearly all the details of how this came to be; I think I've blocked them from my mind, to some extent, because they made me feel angry and powerless. But there it is. DUMBO is now filled with luxury condos snd the people who can buy them.

So it was a bittersweet irony for me to find Loopy Mango on DUMBO's Front Street. It's a groovy shop that started out in the East Village and moved to DUMBO a year and a half ago. It features new clothes and accessories, plus used books and vintage home items. Its particular specialty is crocheted items. And it's run by...two artists, Anna Pulvermakher and Waejong Kim. Kim is a crochet designer and Pulvermakher a visual artist. They would have fit right into the neighborhood a decade ago; but I can't see how they could live there now.

Folky French music was playing when I arrived; and the place was arranged with an artfulness that only actual artists could muster. Thinking of my friends, who couldn't get an *apple* in DUMBO when they lived there, let alone an attractive knicknack or outfit, I resisted liking the shop, for about 30 seconds. But then I gave in and just thought of how wish it had been there before.

There's a sale going on now, so prices may change in the next few days. But I loved the Tocca dresses--like the "Margo," black and white stripes with a red hem, and the polkadotted "Rebecca," both $180. The dainty white "Ribbon dress" from Borne, now $260, was lovely too. Jewelry-wise, silver pieces from Pyrrha, made in Vancouver, are distinctive and
warmly organic; while floral designs from Liza Chckeidze, who hails from Tbilisi, Georgia, and no doubt has to spell her name and town numerous
times before anyone comes close to getting them right, have grace and Southern charm.

Kim's crocheted hats, jewelry, and even (suprisingly sexy) bathing suits are fresh and whimsical pieces, showing that new takes can be found on what's often viewed as a grandmotherly art form. Overall, Loopy
Mango--like its name--is arty and original; and the fact that it's artist-run only raises its appeal. I don't know where its proprietors live, but the neighborhood is lucky to have (along with the grocery stores that of course now are there; and the luxury condos surely have their own washers and driers) this addition.

One more thing: When I found Loopy Mango, I was on my way to the Floating Pool off the East River. They say you can get there from the York St. stop on the F--and you can; but it's really not the short walk they imply. Better to go to Burrough Hall and take the shuttle from there to the pool--which is awesome, by the way.   - Pamela Grossman

Loopy Mango
117 Front St.
New York, NY 11201