A Day in Carroll Gardens

In NYC, buses chock-full of tourists always make a stop in Little Italy in Manhattan. But only true New Yorkers know that the real Little Italy resides in Carroll Gardens. From the food, to the stores, to the brownstones, to the overall charm, Carroll Gardens bleeds old school Italian. In fact, many don’t realize that one of the most iconic 1980’s films was set and filmed right in the heart of Carroll Gardens. Yes, you guessed it right. It’s the 1988 Best Picture nominee Moonstruck.
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Purbird

You start you morning walk passing one of the intersections from the film. The most famous film spot is at Sackett and Henry Streets, home of the fictional Cammareri Bakery. The pharmacy depicted in the movie still remains – Brooklyn Pharmacy and Soda Fountain. The bakery’s location is now a brand new chicken-centered eatery Purbird. Purbird was made popular in Park Slope, but it’s breakfast time so this neighborhood newcomer will be saved for a lunch-time visit another day.

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Maglia Rosa NYC

Everyone knows that living in Brooklyn means you will likely need to have a bicycle. And there’s one bike shop that is heads and heels above them all. Two blocks from your favorite creperie is the all-in-one Maglia Rosa NYC shop. The European-style store is part café, part museum and park repair shop. Originating in Italy, Maglia Rosa offers bike repair specialists to go with a bad-ass espresso. There are also great paninis and a hefty beer selection. Maglia Rosa’s are very Renaissance in a sense, as they also host series of bicycle events and build custom bikes.

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G. Esposito & Sons

There’s one thing for sure in Carroll Gardens: it’s the ultimate Italian foodie playground. Unlike a lot of the neighborhoods in the city, the majority of the mom and pop shops remaining operate at peak level — mainly because the families that have departed for the suburbs return here to shop. And with lunch arrived, the best place for a legit Italian hero is G. Esposito & Sons Pork Store. The butcher shop is more than 94 years old and its secret is its personality. Their staff is easily considered the funniest and most down-to-earth in the city. But the cuts of meat have remained consistent since the shop’s humble beginnings. The fresh mozzarella melts in your mouth, and the cold cut heroes are beyond divine.

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Brooklyn General Store

Just like an Italian grandmother, you may feel overpowered by the urge to sew while living in Carroll Gardens. There’s a certain beauty in sewing and knitting that is captured at Brooklyn General. The fabric store is likely to stock everything you may need to create your next fashion statement, including crochet and crafts. If you don’t know – yet – how to sew, they have classes.

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Take a Break & I’ll Bake Cafe & Creperie

By far the best morning meal, topped by out-of-this-world crepes, is to be had at Take a Break & I’ll Bake Cafe & Creperie. The lines are massive over the weekends but the baked goods are worth the wait. The crepes are quite possibly the best in the city and there’s an outdoor patio where you can enjoy them during the nicer days.

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Mazzola Bakery

Feeling nostalgic after watching Moonstruck brings you to Mazzola Bakery. The family-owned tiny corner Italian bakery is a Carroll Gardens institution, and the real-life Cammareri experience. This is the best time of the day to arrive since the lines will have by now dissipated (the wait to get inside could be as long as two hours). There are all kinds of Italian breads to choose from, including mouth-watering focaccias, semolinas, and ciabattas. But the star at Mazzola’s is their lard bread, which infuses bits of prosciutto with its core.

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Ferdinando’s Focacceria

Your head may be swimming from all the thinking you had to do over the last few hours, so a much-needed walk is in order. Take the ultimate foodie tour! You have already visited the iconic food establishments, but there are many more to visit, all with a distinct, cockles-warming Italian personality. You don’t have to eat but you have to experience the ambiance. The first on the list is Caputo’s Fine Foods, which produces the finest fresh mozzarella you will ever taste. The owner, Frank Caputo, you will learn, makes upwards to 600 pounds of mozzarella in any given week. The second is Ferdinando’s Focacceria, which opened 1904 and has been family heirloom since. The last but not least is Court Street Grocers, which has specialized in unique sandwich-making for years.

A Night in Carroll Gardens

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Black Gold Records

There’s that throwback vibe when you live in this neighborhood: from the buildings, to the stores and the people. So naturally, there’s a record shop. But Black Gold Records is more than just the ordinary vinyl seller. They’re also an antique store with a massive selection of taxidermy. There’s nothing like listening to old Neil Diamond singles while inspecting stuffed raccoons, if you’re into that sort of thing of course.

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Buttermilk Channel

With all of the Italian eats, your dinner choice is a bit of the opposite. The food at Buttermilk Channel is simple American cuisine… simply executed. On your first go-around, you must order the Pork & Pistachio Terrine and BBQ’ed East Coast Oysters. For dinner, you can’t pass up the succulent Duck Meatloaf that’s prepared with Shishito peppers and corn and pepper succotash. It’s hard to go wrong with anything you choose so be sure to come back for seconds.

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Court Tree Collective

Nowadays in the city, you can’t go without having you local art collective. At Court Tree Collective, there is an answer to your every artistic need – from painting to wine tasting to art shows. Unlike most collectives, there are most unique events happening at Court Tree. There are events like Tastemakers II: A Food and Art Exhibit, but today you attend the Tropical Ghana Cooking Class.

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Abilene

The wine has you mellowed. But that doesn’t mean your night has to end. The subdued atmosphere at Abilene gives you a chance to unwind some more. The music lovers will relate to the mix of indie and retro sounds, but you opt to hide in the corner nooks to enjoy a brilliant classic cocktail.

Words by Arte Vincent

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JENNIFER RHODES
JENNIFER RHODES
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Residential Division
Office: 347.227.8998
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