I have never been to Brooklyn. I have been to Manhattan dozens of times and it was a visit to ABC Carpet and Home when I was 16 that started my love affair with furniture and textile design.While I will always love Manhattan, I took a new lover on this visit, Brooklyn.
Our WITHIT Design day started at the Hearst Building in Manhattan, which was the 1st LEED certified building in NYC. It is a wonderfully soothing atmosphere and the materials speak of purity and cleanliness in design. The building is a “green dream” and I was quite impressed. We heard a wonderful lecture from”House Beautiful Magazine” publisher, Kate Kelly Smith along with another Kate Smith (for real), Color Expert. It was a wonderful walk through the history of color…Just reaffirmed how spot on Coco Chanel really was! 🙂
After Hearst, we headed directly to Brooklyn, DUMBO to be specific. We started with lunch at the River Cafe (see lunch yummies below). What an amazing location this is. Literally just steps from under the Brooklyn Bridge. I had a fabulous tuna tartar topped with a fresh avocado roll filled with cucumber straws and a creamy roe sauce. Divine. More amazing were the women that attended. I am so humbled by their accomplishments and yet inspired to keep working on mine. We almost solved all the wolds design problems before it was time for the next stop.
“Prague Kolektiv” by Barton Quillen was the first stop and a real step back in time for me. My import company, Eminence Style, had manufacturing factories throughout Eastern Europe and going to the one in the Czech Republic was always a highlight. I love Prague and the creative energy there is so powerful as was further noted by Barton in his talk. Barton’s studio is in a gorgeous old building on front street and if you are in the market for Czech glass, he would be the go -to guy! Check him out at www.praguekolektiv.com.
The walk from Subway to lunch to Front Street is just charming. Sweet playgrounds and dog parks, lovely brownstones and cobbled streets (not so kind on my fancy new slingbacks). Hip little boutiques and furniture ateliers line the streets amidst indie coffee shops and bookstores. No Starbucks in sight!
Final tour destination in Brooklyn was Atlantic Avenue. While I was only able to explore for about an hour, as I had been invited to attend the Pucci Party back in Manhattan, it was enough to develop a crush and see why so many choose Brooklyn. Yes, perhaps its not for the swinging singles, but for a family or just for a little more peace and quiet, it seems ideal.
Barbara Moore of B Moore Design at 385 Atlantic Ave treated us to a lovely cocktail hour in her tasteful design showroom. All the food and drink was white – love that! So fresh and fun, yet easy to clean. Libby Langdon spoke on “designing in small spaces”, her speciality, and it was all just the perfect way to end my day in Brooklyn.
I hailed a cab (I love saying that – makes me feel so NYC) and asked him if he could take me back to Manhattan. He looked at me like I had three heads (maybe I still had cracker crumbs around my mouth or maybe my lipstick had smeared???). I guess all cabs go back to Manhattan but it seemed very “movie moment” for me to ask. I stepped into the cab with my fabulous new slingbacks, which were now cutting into my ankle like little razors. 20 minutes later I stepped out at the Pucci Penthouse. The party was just getting going and the space was illuminated by the honey gold setting sun. I walked over to one of the giant loft windows and looked in the direction of Brooklyn. The sun felt warm and it sparkled off of different buildings between here and there. It was as if Brooklyn was smiling at me. I smiled back.