Cobble Hill: Pacific Street to Degraw Street
On the next block over, between Pacific Street and Dean and Amity Streets, you’ll find your usual urban melange of a UPS store, a CVS and a Starbucks, but you’ll also find one of Cobble Hill’s most treasured institutions. Bookcourt boasts a carefully curated selection and regular author events, including talks by neighborhood stars like author Robert Sullivan. The former garden has recently been converted into a skylit event space, with furniture that includes old theater seats and a church pew.
Moscot, the Lower East Side institution, has an outpost just next door.
Picnic Brooklyn is around the corner on Amity Street. A children’s clothing store focused on “outfitting for adventures,” Picnic Brooklyn has everything a city-kid could ever need. Between Amity and Bergen Street you’ll find the neighborhood bagel shop Court Street Bagels and Mun’s Gourmet, a 24-hour bodega with everything from Asian snacks to international cheeses.
On the corner of Congress Street is St. Paul’s Church, designed and built in 1838 by Gamaliel King, one of the architects of Brooklyn Borough Hall. Over the years, there have been so many additions and renovations that very little remains of King’s original design. Its name has gone through a lot of changes, too, as congregations merged over the years — from St. Paul’s to “St. Peter, St. Paul, Our Lady of Pilar,” and finally to St. Paul and St. Agnes.
Next to St. Paul’s is the almost one-block long Foster Building. According to Kevin Walsh of Forgotten NY, buildings that took the entire block were often given formal names, like Foster. “Not many of these survive in Brooklyn,” writes Walsh, but “the storefronts on the Foster Block are remarkably unchanged from what they must have looked like decades ago.”
Like much of Court Street, the shops in the Foster Building are now a mix of newcomers and neighborhood staples. David’s Barbershop and A-One Locksmith mingle freely the likes of home decor shop Paspartou. At the corner of Warren Street, under the vintage signage of the former Jim & Andy Fruit & Produce Market, is Congress bar, where you can bring your own vinyl and sip cocktails and craft beers.
Next door is artisanal coffee shop, Cafe Pedlar, with its refreshingly sparse interior. For lunch and dinner options, check out Joya, a Thai restaurant featuring an open kitchen and exposed brick walls.
The Community Bookstore sits on the corner of Warren Street and is like wandering into your grandfather’s messy attic. “Calling this store messy would be the understatement of the century,” writes Thomas Sullivan on Brokelyn, “but the owner’s been quoted saying that he likes it that way, and so do we.” For a more organized experience, the Brooklyn outpost of Idlewild Books is right on Warren Street too.
Brownstone Treasures is a vintage store run by J.P. Ferraioli, a Cobble Hill native who handpicks all the items. Here you can find quirky fare like old Coca-Cola signs, tickets from the 1939 World’s Fair, baseball and collector cards, and Federal Reserve Bank envelopes — along with nicely curated home decor and clothing. Brownstone Treasures will be combining with its sister shop, Yesterday’s News, further down on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, while the building undergoes renovations. “It’s the story of Court Street,” J.P. told us, lamenting that some older neighborhood businesses have closed or are facing similar rent hikes.
Staubitz Market is on the same block. Established in 1917, Staubitz sells prime meat cuts and game meats for the hungry carnivore in all of us. From here, walk south along Court and you’ll really start to get a real sense of the Italian heritage as the street comes to life. Staubitz holds fast to its history, and still sprinkles sawdust on the floors. Though the front facade has a vintage feel, it’s been updated in the past few years to reflect the store’s expanded offerings including fine, imported gourmet products and a 50+ selection of cheeses.
Before continuing down Court, take a detour on Baltic Street and visit Sugar Shop, where you can find old-school candies like Mallo Cup, Charleston Chew and Turkish Taffy.
Back on Court Street, a must-visit between Baltic and Kane Street is Sam’s Restaurant, for a taste (and feel) of Old Brooklyn. In addition to its well-known pizza, the 1950s era chairs, red plastic tablecloths, and wood veneer wall scream “Whaddaya want, chandeliers? FUHGEDDABOUT IT.”
Check out the hand-painted facade of Cobble Hill Cinemas (formerly the Rio Theater) located between Kane Street and DeGraw Street. Their small theaters show a mix of art house and children’s movies. Next door to the cinema is the Cobble Hill location of The Chocolate Room, featuring tasty, all-natural deserts made right in their kitchen.
Across the street is the Brooklyn Writers Space, a co-working space just for writers. Writer’s Space also offers a reading series featuring its members at Bookcourt so keep your eyes and ears open. At the corner of Kane and Court you’ll find Karloff, a modern Eastern European and Russian restaurant. Right around the corner is Osaka, delivering solid sushi and sashimi with a garden out back. Then there’s AmeriCAN, a store of just beers for pick up and delivery, situated next to Union Market, an upscale grocery store.
Court Pastry Shop, with its colorful Italian pastries and blue boxes of Baci chocolates, brings us back to the street’s Italian heritage, as does Sal’s Pizzeria across the street. Don’t miss the ceiling lamps decorated with tomato sauce tins.
Scotto’s Wine Cellar just celebrated 80 years of business this year. This month their window display features objects from their history, like an original delivery cart from 1934.