On the original hipster thoroughfare of Bedford Avenue, you can find style inspiration from the dapper locals, browse crafts from street vendors, and visit stand-out shops that showcase area designers. Although a few of the street’s edgiest places have been lost to recent upmarket pricing, many of the gems remain. Here are some of our favorites.
Local taste-makers, Dana Schwister and Erika Vala, have been keeping Wiliamsburgers in hip shoes since 2007 when they opened Shoe Market as a companion to their nearby trendy clothing joint, Mini Mini Market (recently closed). The hipsterpreneers know footwear and stock the hottest styles (women’s, men’s, and kids’) from known brands like Camper and Sperry to new designers like Salt Water Sandals and Rachel Comey.
160 North 6th Street (between Bedford Ave. and Berry St.), Brooklyn, NY; open daily 11 am–8 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://shoemarketnyc.com.
Mandala Tibeten Store
This outpost of the East Village bohemian retailer holds is own in an increasingly high-end Brooklyn. Artsy folks have been picking up Tibetan treasures from both of Mandala’s locations long before boho-chic became a thing. The family-run operation favors imported, hand-made goods and keeps prices low. Amid the Buddha tapestries and statuettes, expect gorgeous silver jewelry, beaded bags, and boldly-patterned dresses and scarves. The light-weight tunics make great beach cover-ups.
132 N. 5th Street (or enter through the Mini Mall at 218 Bedford Ave.), Brooklyn, NY; open daily 11 am–8 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://www.mandalatibet.com.
|Mandala Tibetan Store|
Unlike other well-curated vintage clothing spots, newcomer Awoke Vintage manages to keep its snob-factor low and its prices reasonable. Garments generally range from $30–$70 and include a supply of adorable blouses, dresses, and purses from the fifties up to the eighties. Also in stock: biker jackets and faux furs, shoes in new condition, and a decent men’s rack with lots of flannel.
132 North 5th St. (or enter through the Mini Mall at 218 Bedford Ave.), Brooklyn, NY; open daily 10 am–9 pm; L Subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://awokevintage.com.
And for the guy clothes horse, Williamsburg is filled with outfitters to keep you looking like a preppy yachtsman with the soul of an indie rocker. A good place to start is ID, a longtime neighborhood favorite that’s just expanded to a second location a few blocks away. Think slim-fitting, nautical and dashing (from tank tops and boat shoes to sport coats and bow ties) in brands like Fred Perry, Penguin, and their own custom labels.
232 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY; open daily 11 am–8 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://idnewyork.com.
Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers
It’s easy to while away an afternoon in this homey book den, where the unfinished floors and stuffed shelves belie the finely-curated selection of new and classic titles. Most customers hover around the fiction shelves, but there’s much more to explore including sections in local interest, music, fine art, and children’s lit. Stop by, pet the resident cat, and support one of the last remaining independent bookstores in the area.
218 Bedford Ave. (part of the Mini Mall), Brooklyn, NY; open daily 10 am–10 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://www.spoonbillbooks.com.
|Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers|
Everyone knows food tastes better when prepared with nicely-designed kitchen gadgets and cookware. Lucky for culinary locals, there’s Whisk with a tempting array of copper pots, brightly-colored spatulas, french presses, and things you didn’t know you needed like an a tri-blade spiral vegetable slicer or a 50s-style apron decorated with cherries.
231 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY; open Mon–Sat 10 am– 8 pm, Sun 11 am–7 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: https://www.whisknyc.com.
Who can resist a window display featuring mannequins with giant teddy bear heads? (see opening photo) The adorableness continues inside the store with a mix of fun, bold, and feminine styles. The racks are lined with one-off pieces created by owner Ryo Liu and her design team. There is a focus on dresses (from floral and flowy to retro to nightlife), with sizing on the small spectrum and prices generally ranging $60–150. If you get hooked, the Pinkyotto stock spills over into a second location a few doors away.
204 and 218 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11249; open Mon–Sat 11 am–8 pm, Sun 11 am–7 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://www.pinkyotto.com.
This delightful boutique is like a 19th-century Parisian closet; lined with striped wallpaper, lit by chandeliers, and filled with an assortment of girlish treasures. Here you’ll find highly-wearable jewelry that’s big on charm, yet subtle enough for everyday. The store is perhaps most known for it’s delicately-styled rings––ranging from vintage-inspired wedding collections to bands intended for stacking or accented with shapes like an anchor, heart, or typographic initial. Pick up a gift for a friend (or yourself) and add a decorative tray, scented candle, or retro letterpress greeting card.
Charming things and perfect gift ideas await you in this cheerful shop. The eclectic collection never feels cluttered, but rather like items in a tasteful home; embroidered bags, flowered kimonos, globally-inspired jewelry, illustrated books, and colorful toys and housewares.
202 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY; open Mon–Fri 11 am–8:30 pm, Sat 11 am–9 pm, Sun 12 pm–8 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://shop.redpearlbrooklyn.com.
One of the coolest shops in Brooklyn is run by Mari Ayabe, an electronic musician and purveyor of old-school synthesizers. Those of us not in the market for a Moog Sub Phatty keyboard, will enjoy browsing the assemblage of new and vintage knickknacks. Pantone color chip mugs, Brooklyn poster art, gummy-bear magnets, retro sunglasses, earrings from the 80s, canvas wine bags, vinyl records—really, something for everyone.
218 Bedford Ave. (part of the Mini Mall), Brooklyn, NY; open Sat 12 pm–9 pm, other days 12 pm–8 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://www.memeantenna.com.
|Me Me Antenna|
162 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY; open Mon-Sat 10 am–9 pm, Sun 11 am–9 pm; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Website: http://www.brooklynindustries.com.
Photos by Vanessa Ray, all rights reserved.