The Local. Monteleone’s.

Whether it’s Father’s Day or not, I love an outing with my favorite kid at F. Monteleone’s Bakery, on Court Street in Carroll Gardens.  This place is the real deal, and they are not fooling around.  Cannolis dipped in chocolate, thick cheesecakes, rich Napoleons, pretty glossy fruit tarts, and a brilliant assortment of fragrant and buttery Italian cookies.  But that isn’t what my 22 month old is after.  She craves their creamy and amazing gelato, and so do I.

The flavor choices span the rainbow – but Eve doesn’t feel the need to stray.  She loves the strawberry, which is so fresh you can taste strawberry seeds in it.  I’m partial to the pistachio which is sweet and nutty.  They have a nice bench out front, so you can park it with your treats and watch the people walking by.  It’s a relaxing way to enjoy the old neighborhood with some of the best Italian sweets west of the Mediterranean.  As my own dad would say, “What’s not to like?”

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

The Canal.

Built in the mid-nineteenth century where a fresh water creek once meandered, the Gowanus Canal was built to serve the manufacturing needs of a growing city. Dozens of foundries, coal yards, and paint factories dotted the Canal’s shoreline. It is no secret that as a result of all this shipping and industry the Canal turned into one of the most fantastically toxic bodies of water imaginable.  Last dredged in 1975, up to twenty feet of sediment has piled up,  creating a substance which the Army Corps of Engineers has described as “black mayonnaise.”  Yum.
Despite all that, I love the Canal.  It is one of the few undeveloped areas left and it has a distinctly unapologetic barren quality that makes it interesting to explore.  The fact that it is intensely polluted has not deterred folks from making the best of it, either.  I don’t know that I would participate, but there’s a Gowanus Canoe Club (you can launch off the dock below), and even pioneering hipsters living there on houseboats (watch this.)
Designated a Superfund site and scheduled for a complete clean-up by the Gowanus Conservancy, the Big Idea is to eventually create Brooklyn’s own Venetian Grand Canal. Be that as it may, for now I’d still heed the sign.
About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Giant Gnome.

At the end of my street, there’s a large warehouse that houses a studio cooperative of artists who do set, scenery and prop design. They keep the front bay door open, so you can see everything inside and they are always working on something strange and fantastic in there for a play, commercial, movie or whatever.  They are always blasting music, and it looks like an amazing place to work.

Apparently one of the more high-profile pieces they designed was the giant gnome featured in an A&E hit show that I have never seen, “Shipping Wars.” I know this because much to the delight of the kids in the neighborhood, the gnome has apparently come home to live outside the studio permanently! I found a promo video online that shows them making it here.

I really enjoy having this giant gnome as a neighbor.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Old School.

Smith Street and the corner of Third.  Brooklyn.
About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

The Gardens of Carroll Gardens.

Carroll Gardens is named for the neighborhood’s signature setback gardens, which was planned with great foresight by the surveyor Richard Butts back in 1846. Walking along on a sunny spring morning, these front yard gardens can make you stop in your tracks to admire the variety of things growing. As busy as New York life can be, it’s great to have a place where you can stop and smell the roses. For making our mornings better, Mr. Butts, we salute you.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Date Night. Battersby.

Date night for the Shafers! We decided to try newcomer Battersby, on Smith and Degraw in Carroll Gardens. The two chefs (in photo) cut their teeth at Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill, so I was expecting something amazing.  I wasn’t disappointed! If Vinegar Hill House is the best restaurant in Brooklyn, then Battersby is hot on their heels. Tiny space with a great vibe and the food was outstanding. The menu changes all the time but for me the highlights were the short rib salad, veal sweetbreads, and the duck breast with foie gras tortellini in duck consomme. My wife’s sea bass was also pretty close to perfect. I haven’t had a “you have to eat here!” recommendation in a while, but guys, you have to eat here.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.