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Smith Street, Brooklyn

Smith Street, Brooklyn
Smith Street, Brooklyn

© Tim Boyd

Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens: These three small communities in northern Brooklyn form "BoCoCa," one of the many recently gentrified areas in the borough. BoCoCa has always been known for its beautiful tree-lined streets, though only in recent years have hip twenty-somethings and toddlers with their stylish moms emerged from the picturesque brownstones. The area is historically Italian, and family-owned restaurants, delis and hardware stores tenaciously remain amidst the trendy new inhabitants and businesses. The result is a charming combination between new world and old world Brooklyn, so BoCoCa feels a bit like a mix between the East Village, the Upper West Side, and Little Italy. Smith Street runs through all three neighborhoods until it intersects with Brooklyn Heights' Atlantic Ave.; home to countless boutiques and ethnic restaurants, it remains one of the best-kept secrets in outer borough shopping and dining.

Between Carroll St. and Atlantic Ave. are about a dozen blocks and numerous stores owned by local designers. Smith Street hasn't yet been truly franchised, and aside from an American Apparel, the area is untainted by big industry names. Cobble Hill's Dear Fieldbinder, an insider favorite, boasts stunning window displays and chic, modern pieces by designers like Charlotte Ronson, Lauren Moffatt, and Jeffrey Campbell. Lucia, in Carroll Gardens, is a sweet little boutique with flirty and feminine clothing, a solid shoe selection, and an excellent sales rack. Brooklyn Bead Box, on the corner of Smith and Douglass in Carroll Gardens, is a must-visit for jewelry aficionados; the store carries a wide variety of loose beads and semi-precious stones, and also offers classes for those interested in learning how to make their own jewelry. environment337 at 337 Smith St. sells an array of organic home goods and gifts, and caters to the environmentally aware but aesthetic-minded New Yorker.

One block west, on Court Street, are also some shops that are not to be missed. Practically an establishment of Cobble Hill, Lily caters to women with a bohemian sensibility. The neighborhood favorite, which opened in 1999, sells tried and true clothing lines like Free People and Sweet Pea, as well as Dansko footwear and handcrafted jewelry. Teddy sells stylish and affordable women's clothing, which makes it a perfect stop for the up-and-coming Brooklynite whose rent cost is nearly equal to her paycheck. Finally, book lovers must visit BookCourt, which has just as good of a selection as Barnes and Noble, plus a knowledgeable, friendly staff, and a great events calendar.

For those who want to make a day of shopping in BoCoCa, there is no shortage of places to stop for a bite. Not unlike Manhattan, countless ethnicities are featured in restaurants on every block. Bar Tabac feels like a hotspot in the middle of Paris, with live music on the weekends, an extensive wine list, and a croque monsieur to die for. Italian restaurants, naturally, are omnipresent: Savoia serves delicious homemade pizzas made from organic ingredients, while the slightly more upscale Fragole on Court Street serves beautiful, fresh pastas, and offers a flat-rate for its wines, so that you choose based on flavor, not price. The popular Zaytoons, once rated the best Middle Eastern restaurant in New York by Zagat's, serves fabulous kebabs and homemade pita bread at unbeatable prices. Finally, Cubana Cafe offers flavorful Cuban dishes, like mango salsa and spicy seafood soup, in a fun, bright atmosphere. BoCoCa might be one of the best-kept secrets for shopping and eating in the outer-boroughs - though not for much longer.

Information

  • Location:
  • Smith and Court Streets, between 3rd Street and Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
  • Subway Stop:
  • F or G to Carroll St. (Carroll Gardens); F or G to Bergen St. (Boerum Hill)

Recommended Stores

  • BookCourt:
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday: 9am to 10:45pm; Sunday: 10am to 9pm
  • Location: 163 Court St. (between Pacific and Dean Streets)
  • Phone: 718-875-3677
  • Website: www.bookcourt.org
  • Brooklyn Bead Box:
  • Hours: 12pm to 7pm daily (except holidays)
  • Location: 244 Smith St. (at Douglass St.)
  • Phone: 866-504-2702
  • Website: www.brooklynbeadbox.com
  • Dear Fieldbinder:
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11:30am to 7:30pm; Sunday: 12pm to 6pm
  • Location: 198 Smith St. (between Balitc and Warren Streets)
  • Phone: 718-852-3620
  • Website: www.dearfieldbinder.com
  • environment337:
  • Hours: Tuesday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm; Sunday: 11am to 5pm
  • Location: 337 Smith St. (between Carroll and President Streets)
  • Phone: 718-522-1767
  • Website: www.environment337.com
  • Lily:
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm; Sunday: 12pm to 6pm
  • Location: 209 Court St. (at Wyckoff St.)
  • Phone: 718-858-6261
  • Website: lilybrooklyn.com
  • Lucia:
  • Hours: Monday through Friday: 12pm to 8pm; Saturday: 11:30am to 8pm; Sunday: 11:30am to 6pm
  • Location: 243 Smith St. (at Douglass St.)
  • Phone: 718-330-7500
  • Teddy:
  • Hours: Monday through Friday: 12pm to 8pm; Saturday: 11:30am to 8pm; Sunday: 11:30am to 6pm
  • Location: 216 Court St. (at Warren St.)
  • Phone: 718-522-0500
  • Website: shopteddy.blogspot.com

Recommended Restaurants:

  • Bar Tabac:
  • Hours: Sunday through Tuesday: 10am to 1am; Wednesday through Saturday: 10am to 2am
  • Location: 128 Smith St. (at Dean St.)
  • Phone: 718-923-0918
  • Website: www.bartabacny.com
  • Cubana CafĂ©:
  • Hours: Monday through Friday: 11am to 11pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 11pm
  • Location: 272 Smith St. (between Sackett and Degraw Streets)
  • Phone: 718-858-3980
  • Fragole:
  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday: 11:30am to 11pm; Friday and Saturday: 11:30am to 11:30pm; Monday: 4pm to 11pm
  • Location: 394 Court St. (between 1st Place and Carroll St.)
  • Phone: 718-522-7133
  • Website: www.fragoleny.com
  • Savoia:
  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday: 11:30am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday: 11:30am to 12am
  • Location: 277 Smith St. (between Sackett and Degraw Streets)
  • Phone: 718-797-2727
  • Website: www.savoiarestaurant.com
  • Zaytoons:
  • Hours: Monday through Thursday: 11am to 11pm; Friday and Saturday: 11am to 12am; Sunday: 11am to 10pm
  • Location: 283 Smith St. (at Sackett St.)
  • Phone: 718-875-1880
  • Website: www.zaytoonsrestaurant.com
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