Quote Of The Day: ‘BH Is Too Small, Too Old For High-End Specialty Shops’

An intriguing comment comes from a BHB reader, remarking on the March 15 Blog post, “Is Sephora Coming To Brooklyn Heights?”

Amid frequent discussions that blanket the Brooklyn Heights Blog about chain retailers vs. local shops, AEB writes:

I sometimes feel we’re all in the grip of a mass delusion that BH will become the home of high-end specialty shops ‘curated’ by hip folks who have dernier cri taste, etc. Ain’t gonna happen, much as I wish it would. BH is too small, its real estate too pricey and its live-in ‘audience’ is too old/square. Sorry, I live here too, but…

Interesting thought, yes? And you? Feel free to add your thoughts to this ever-pertinent push-and-pull discussion…

(Photo: Chuck Taylor)

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  • PromGal

     Brooklyn Heights is much smaller, lower population density and less diverse than neighborhoods cited above like Park Slope which is enormous. We are more a homogenous place, demographically, and architecturally, as well as socially and economically. 
      The ratio of property owners/renters is much greater, and there is more political diversity. 
      We choose to live here because it is beautiful, peaceful, and quiet, not to mention little or no crime. 
      There are many of us in our thirties and forties who have families with children, and appreciate the schools, sports, and community/church life that Brooklyn Heights offers.
      Montague Street has a dual personality. The crowds at lunchtime from surrounding offices keep all those businesses going. The people who work in the area really do patronize the restaurants, take-outs, and shops. Who do you think keeps those nail places in business? Ask any Heights restaurateur or merchant, and they will tell you that the real Brooklyn Heights crowd is very, shall we say, frugal. Lives beneath their means, and doesn’t like to waste money, and does not shop as a pastime. 
     And there is almost everything close by. There is a terrific  fish store, Fish Tales, butcher, Staubitz, bakery for bread, Caputo, a short walk or ride away, a wonderful French Patisserie, Almondine, right down the hill in DUMBO. Fairway is ten minutes away, and there is always Fresh Direct. The produce at the Korean grocers, Garden of Eden, has gotten much better. 
      We love the Heights just the way it is, and I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if it doesn’t suit you complainers, why not go someplace that would be a better fit?
      As to tourists, I think it is terrific that so many people come from all over to visit here. They learn about our history, appreciate the architecture, and contribute to local businesses. They go back home to France, Italy, Spain, or Texas and Georgia and tell their families and friends, who put Brooklyn Heights on their itineraries, and then visit themselves. 

  • gsn

    I live and work in BH. I have no desire to see cute little brunchy places pop up that would have me waiting outside every Saturday and Sunday for an hour. UGH. i just would like some nice reasonable places to get good food. Never wanted to see Jennifer’s and Sleepy’s on Montague St. Back when I moved in, in the 1980’s we had The Cheese Celler, a Hebrew National Deli, a bakery, a record store and the Montague St. Saloon, which I still miss. But back then I didn’t have two kids and college to pay for, so I could go out more!

  • Hayley

    I lived in the West Village for 7 years before moving to BH and one of the main reasons that we left was that every cute neighborhood store and restaurant that we loved wound up going out of business and being replaced by a high-end Madison Avenue boutique. Even our dry cleaner who was the sweetest, most hard-working little lady, had to close b/c she couldn’t afford her rent (there is still nothing in that storefront, BTW). B/c the WV became a shopping destination, it was soon flooded with tourists – which is very frustrating to come home to when you work in Times Square.

    We moved to BH to get the same kind of picturesque neighborhoody vibe, but now we have calm and we know our neighbors and we have a community. The WV is really just an outdoor mall at this point.

    Personally I would love a Sephora in the neighborhood, b/c it is a store that I frequent. I would also love another clothing store similar to Tango, but that caters to a slightly younger demographic (some of their stuff is a little fuddy-duddy). I can walk to Diane T, Bird or Dear Fieldbinder though if I’m in the mood to shop.

  • Neil

    Reply to:Master Of Middagh (March 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm)– “Out of curiosity- what was “Meunier’s”? I think I may have heard of it somewhere…”

    Meunier’s was a women’s “dress shop”, if that ‘s the right term.

    All I can remember is that no one I knew ever shopped there.

  • bornhere

    Neil, must I do everything here? First I have to spell AMG’s name, and now I have to correct your recollection of Meunier’s: it was a gift shop of sorts. (Nettie’s, however, was a women’s clothing store across the street.) Sheesh.

  • PJB

    bornhere is correct!
    Meunier’s was never a clothing shop. It was a gift shop, specializing in glass, pottery, art objects and jewelry. Everyone shopped there, and dropped in to chat with Paul and his partner, Julie.
    Paul Meunier was a delightful man who began with a dance studio, teaching ballet and tap on Montague Street.
    After his first wife died, he started the gift shop. Paul was widowed twice, and spent the last very happy years with his lively third wife, Marcia. They were longterm members if the Heights community, where Marcia sang in the Plymouth Church choir.
    Paul died in 2008 at age 87.

  • Master Of Middagh

    As much as some folks may criticize the quality of discourse on this blog, I cannot be denied that people around here are both exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful. No matter what question a neighbor may have about Brooklyn Heights- at least somebody here knows the answer. Thanks to the last three posters for helping me out on that- I thought my query had been forgotten about and lost in the shuffle, but I kept checking back.

    That Paul Meunier sounds like he was a really fine fellow. I regret not having made his acquaintance.

  • SAA

    My husband and I are empty-nesters who sold their home on Long Island, opting to rent a highrise apartment on Montague Street until retirement in a few years. (the husband works downtown)

    Before thinking about bringing more high end stores to Montague Street, it would be nice if the existing eateries would do something….like paint! I find the restaurants and stores are in over priced, tenement-like spaces….despite the high rent.

    Being used to shopping in beautiful shopping malls of suburbia, I am thrilled that places like TJMaxx are moving downtown within walking distance. I’m hoping the likes of Homegoods and Marshall’s follow.

    Forget the very high end Norstroms of the world…if you live in BH, and shop the area, more off priced stores downtown would do well. And I agree, since when is Sephora high end?

    Gone are the days of the small boutique shops of yesterday. I have walked in and out of all of what’s here, needing smelling salts when I checked the price tags. It doesn’t matter what’s in our bank account, I just don’t like getting ripped off.

    I’m just hoping something like Red Mango, and Tasti diLite move here on Montague Street, offering low cal frozen soft serve I can pick up on my way down to the Promenade, reminding myself the reason why we moved here to begin with.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    You moved here too late, you are living in the post Tasti D-Lite era on Montague Street.

  • Neil

    Reply to bornhere(March 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm):

    Please excuse my error; I guess I should stick to reminiscing about those merchants in which I actually had some interest, like the used book store on Montague. Was that Rainier’s, or something like that? And the other book store, was that Womrath’s? Whatever its name, it’s where I bought a copy of Clay Lancaster’s Old Brooklyn Heights, which had just come out, as a Christmas (1961) gift for my mother. Three hard-earned dollars it cost me, and I she loved it.

    I had joined one of Mr. Lancaster’s guided tours of the Heights one day that year after he and his group had stopped in front of my apartment house on Willow Street while I happened to be sitting on the front stoop, probably wondering what I was going to do on that particular day.

    Ignoring my blighting presence on the entrance to the house, Lancaster went on to describe in great detail the architectural virtues of the facade, and his presentation aroused my curiosity to the point that when the crowd moved on, I got up and joined it, never giving a thought that it might be by invitation or subscription only. No one seemed to mind, though, so I spent the rest of the afternoon absorbing all sorts of wonderful details about the treasures of the Heights.

    After my mother’s death, my sister sent me that book, and when I opened it, tucked inside was a printed copy of the notes from the tour, which apparently had been given to each of the attendees, and I must have given it to my mother after returning that day.

    Anyway, to this day, those notes still reside between the frontspiece and title page of the book, and I am forever grateful to my sister for seeing that the book came back to me.

    Okay, bornhere, how’s that for changing the subject?