A tea shop is opening at 7104 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brownstoner saw on a recent walk through the neighborhood.

Mi-Tea will open in the space formerly occupied by This & That Thrift Shop. A poster in the window advertises dishes such as “secret ramen with XO abalone sauce” and “burning sauce tofu,” along with various milk teas and juices.


BioLite is not your average Brooklyn maker company. The 45-person team is building a next-generation personal power grid by creating wood-burning stoves that generate electricity on demand. Located near the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo, BioLite just received another $5 million in funding and financing.

When Brownstoner visited BioLite on a recent summer afternoon, the office was pleasantly humming with conversation about the “Off Grid Office” they’d built upstate near Hudson, N.Y. In the Dumbo lab, engineers measured the thermal output of a cookstove beneath an industrial air hood.

Jonathan Cedar, the company’s banjo-playing co-founder and CEO, says that “the craft of inventing and making physical things is the strongest skill set” of his team. It’s an aptitude that comes in handy when designing camping equipment that crosses over to infrastructure.


From Carroll Gardens to Bushwick, coworking is booming in Brooklyn. The number of these shared spaces has grown rapidly in the last few years, offering amenity-rich workspaces for creative freelancers, novelists, and coders alike.

The recipe for a coworking space is simple. Get a nifty name, lease a large commercial space, carve it up into areas of varying sizes with monthly — or even daily — rental fees, and offer lots of extras.

WeWork — one of the world’s largest coworking companies and currently valued at $10 billion —  is doubling down on the future growth of Brooklyn coworking. But they are by no means the only name in the game. A clutch of smaller companies — Dumbo Startup Lab, Makeshift Society, Cowork|rs, and dozens more — are also in the mix.


Brooklyn is no stranger to the garment industry. New York City’s historic Garment District was staffed largely by immigrants from Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, and many consider present day Sunset Park to be the center of garment making in NYC.

Small-batch Brooklyn menswear is taking it back to the borough’s DIY roots and contributing to the wider maker movement at large. Some brands have been keeping it old school since the beginning, while others are revitalizing old world methods of manufacturing.

Here are five Brooklyn-based men’s haberdasheries keeping their craft local.


Like its green tea red bean pastries, Paris Baguette has a certain je ne sais quoi. The quirky, Seoul-based chain opened its first Brooklyn location at 97 Court Street in April.

In spite of its vaguely theme-park feel, Paris Baguette is a decent addition to the block. Peter Schubert, Partner and Managing Director of Retail at TerraCRG, recently told Brownstoner that the northern Court Street area has become “one of the go-to corridors for national retailers entering the Brooklyn market.”

Schubert mentioned that commercial rents along the street average between $100 to $150 per square foot, with some getting close to $200 per square foot. That’s not an insignificant sum. But it may be a good investment for Paris Baguette, as it strives for international expansion.


Picture of JackRabbit Sports from its Facebook page

Have you ever been one of the first people to discover a band? All you want is for them to become successful, because damn it, they deserve it. Then they get a big record deal, and they don’t play small gigs any more. Now they’re playing stadiums. Everyone knows who they are, and no one cares that you knew them back before they were cool.

You really did want your favorite band to succeed. But now you can’t help but feel left behind.

A lot of people have similar feelings about Brooklyn’s popular running store JackRabbit Sports being sold to Finish Line’s Running Specialty Group, according to a recent piece in The New York Times.



New businesses, particularly in small-scale manufacturing and craft goods, have shot up in Gowanus since 2000, according to a report cited in the New York Daily News. Wholesalers and crafts makers producing specialty items such as custom wedding dresses, coffee and vinyl furniture covers explain much of the neighborhood’s 44 percent increase in new business over the last 13 years. The report, conducted by the Bloomberg administration, also shows rapid gentrification of the area: Property values have soared 83 percent since 2004, as the median income has risen from $46,116 in 1999 to $99,543. What’s more, the population is up by 2,600 in the last three years, and 25 percent of residents are aged 25 to 34.

Andrew Paul Smith, a broker with Ideal Properties Group, told the Daily News, “I have a lot of clients in their late 20s who want to move here because places like Park Slope have more families and strollers around. Here they can continue to be cool.”

Gentrification and Manufacturing Side by Side in Gowanus [NY Daily News]
Photo by ZuziC2013


From hip boutiques to budget chains, Long Island City has become a hotel hotspot in the past few years. These hotels provide reasonably priced accommodations compared to the often out-of-reach rates tourists and business travelers encounter across the East River. Add in the views of and proximity to Manhattan, plus the art galleries, museums, and other companies and organizations in LIC, and it can be quite a good deal.

There are currently 20 hotels open for business in the neighborhood, and there may be more coming in soon. Most of the existing hotels were built within the last seven years, and some opened as recently as the summer of 2012.

Hotels in Hunters Point

This thriving section of Long Island City, south of Queens Boulevard and near the waterfront, is home to two stylish boutique hotels. The Ravel Hotel, right next to the Queensboro Bridge, boasts a huge rooftop restaurant and lounge with views of the Manhattan skyline.

Image Source: Ravel Hotel


Image Source: Ravel Hotel

A few blocks east, the Z NYC Hotel offers conveniences like free shuttle transportation to and from Manhattan.

Image Source: Z Hotel

Besides these boutique hotels that have made a splash, there are two other hotels in this area. The Wyndham Garden is further south, just a few blocks from newly designed Gantry Plaza State Park.


Image source: Seabamirum on Flickr

Legendary Steinway & Sons pianos are made right in Astoria, and the factory played a huge part in the development of the neighborhood starting in 1870. The history of this company town is just one of the many fascinating topics we learned about on the highly recommended Steinway factory tour.

Steinway & Sons was founded in 1853 in Manhattan by Henry Steinway (originally Heinrich Steinweg), a cabinet maker from Germany who had built his first piano in the kitchen of his home.