Type of Place: Women's Clothing
In the Nineties, Russell Steinert had a woodshop in Williamsburg from- Pamela Grossman; March 15, 2004
which his wife, Janice Stemmermann, held occasional sample sales
for her knit-design line, Brooklyn Handknits. As the decade progressed,
they sensed that the industrial neighborhood was ready for more retail
shops—after all, it had so few. Talk about a good hunch: They opened
Spacial Etc. in 1998, moved it across the street to its current
years ago, and have seen it become a hugely popular stop amid the
restaurant-and-shop-filled bustle that the Bedford Avenue area is
The spirit of Williamsburg old and new is present in the lovely,
light-filled shop and its inventory, which ranges from clothing and
shoes to notebooks and pens. Stemmermann's handmade knitware is
still very much around, with a fall and spring line of charming knits
(ponchos, scarves, mittens, sweaters, etc.). For those who remember
the area's hardscrabble days but have recently found themselves in
possession of one its many newly built luxury condos, there are, for
example, handsome J.Fold wallets ($45). We especially got a kick out
of one stamped with "Plaza de la Revolucion, Habana, Cuba" in large
letters—you might be carrying various high-limit credit cards, but that
doesn't mean you have to be entirely comfortable with them.
We were crazy about the psychedelically patterned plastic dishware
from Jackie Shapiro for French Bull, especially the trays ($24) and
serving pieces ($12.50 for 2 pieces). And we likewise adored the "Slice
of Brooklyn" soaps ($6) from the Bubble Roome—handmade in
Brooklyn and named for its various neighborhoods, with regional info
on the packages and scents cooked up to match (the Coney Island
soap features aromas of cotton candy, wafflecones, bubblegum, cocoa
butter, and marshmallos!). A Bianca Branaman sash dress
($116)—soft, swingy, and pretty but casual, in inviting, happy-looking
solid shades—will be perfect for the upcoming warmer days, at Coney
Island or anywhere else.
A glance at the shop's guest book told of recent visitors from Boston,
Los Angeles, and even (gasp) Manhattan—proving that these days, the
Brooklyn/Manhattan leisure-time flow definitely goes both ways.
Steinert and Stemmermann still live in Williamsburg; and those around
for it will be thrilled to know that they're holding a Spacial, Etc.
sale on March 19 and 20, from 10–6, at 155 Powers St (L train to
Lorimer Ave; or, it's an easy walk from the shop).