Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Brooklyn Christmas Is...

Last night, Gowanus Lounge went out to do some last minute Christmas shopping. We were looking for a couple of t-shirts for our nephews and decideBrooklyn Christmas Fourd to check out the Brooklyn Industries at Union and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. The bit of irony in this is that this particular Brooklyn Industries occupies the site of the former Gowanus Lounge, a bar that died several years ago, and from which we sort of took our name. After Gowanus Lounge closed, someone spraypainted out the "w" on the sign so that for some time it said "Go anus" Lounge.

But we digress. The point is that we were stunned to find that "Brookyn Industries" t-shirts were $35 each. Now, we can dig concert t-shirts at the price. Or some cool fashion stuff. But $35 to walk around with an ad for Brooklyn Industries? Eh, it's a bit much for our taste, which either makes us unhip or cheapskates or sensible. We're glad for the owners, however, that Brooklyn is such a happening and cool brand name that it can demand the same price as a Radiohead t-shirt at Madison Square Garden.

Anyway, we found an interesting blog item about Christmas in Brooklyn that struck a cord. The blogger is writing about a salon called Concept Elite that she goes to. It's in a blog called Every Day is a Winding Road and it's offers a tast of old Brooklyn flavor:
People from Brooklyn may have their own particular thing going on. They definitely speak differently than you do. They perhaps think differently than you do. They do, however, know one thing for sure; your family and your friends are what come first in this world. Sometimes, particularly in Brooklyn, your friends are your family. Everyone is your family. Brooklyn, more than many other places that I’ve been in this world, is a place where you look out for the guy next to you. Brooklyn teaches you to care. No matter where I go, for the rest of my life, I will carry Brooklyn with me. I will wear it as a badge of honor. I love being from Brooklyn. When I’m around, you’d better believe Brooklyn is in the house.

The folks at Concept Elite have suffered a bit, of late. One of their own has been stricken with cancer. So there are signs up in the salon; if you buy hair products, the proceeds go to this fellow. His name is Tommy, and he has throat cancer. The signs, and the collections, are a good thing. What you perhaps don’t know if you just walk in for a haircut is that every employee agreed to donate part of his or her salary to this guy, for an undetermined amount of time, so that he continues to get a paycheck while he’s sick. Tommy is single, and the people at Concept Elite really are his family. And they demonstrate it every day they come to work. No fuss, mind you, because this is what family does for each other. You just do it, you don’t think about it.

My cousin Tria was talking to her friends recently, about how Brooklyn is perceived as “the city” (as in New York City) and while it’s certainly a part of New York City, it’s also like any other small town you’ve ever seen. It’s very neighborhood-y, and the part of Brooklyn that I come from is perhaps more neighborhood-y than any other part, period. I was damn lucky to be born here, and to have this sense of community instilled in me by my parents and my neighbors.
That's the kind of thing you can't buy for any amount of money.


Blogger dalton said...

On the opposite end of the value scale, Strand bookstore in Manhattan sells extremely nice, well fitting American Apparel t-shirts with their logo for 10 bucks. I just bought three - can't beat that. And it's a brand I'd much rather advertise.

I used to live near that corner, and remember the Gowanus Lounge (and the Go anus Lounge!). Somehow, I never put two and two together and connected it to the name of this blog. Interesting.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always surprised people from brooklyn wear brooklyn industries stuff.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

Ford Street is great! I never met her, but she lives right across the belt Parkway from me, on the street of the same name.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its so wack that someone not from brooklyn can get away with selling crap for that much, I am a tshirt designer, print on american apparel, and can stil more than double my money selling shirts for 18-20 bucks, the BI logos arent very imaginative, last i spoke to a retail worker at one of the stores, they were contributing designs for free, while getting paid typical retail labor prices, this was years ago, but still.Also, I heard workers claim that the watertank emblem was first used by them, they should look at graffitti books from the 70's, its not original, and their version looks "stiff"...

12:15 PM  

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