On Warren Street in Cobble Hill, between Court Street and Smith, are two tiny shops. They have been there for as long as I can remember. One was an antique chop called "Past and Present." The other was an archetypal New York dry cleaner. They existed cheek-by-jowel, eeking out an existence in their narrow spaces, which were part of a larger apartment building that dominated the corner. I loved the two shops, and enjoyed walking by them as I made my way to the Bergen Street subway stop. In their economic presence, they reminded my of the kind of stores you'd find on a tidy side street in London.
Recently, the two shops closed. Having exited at the same instant, I have to guess the killer here is a simultaneous rent hike.
I never utilized the dry cleaner. It was too far from my house. But I was a patron of the antique shop. The owner was a lovable eccentric. At first, he came off as cranky, but would warm up when you got to know him. The items he sold were all on the small side. He explained this was because, given the tiny space he had to work with, he couldn't traffic in large antiques. So the store was filled with end tables, lamps, and small bookshelves. But it was all absolutely beautiful. He restored every single piece himself, and his love of the work showed in the quality of the work. Moreover, the prices were extremely reasonable. He didn't charge the astronomical amounts that one finds in the antique stores along Atlantic.
I bought a couple lamps and a few other things from him over the years. I wanted to buy more, but the best pieces were usually snatched up the moment he put them on the floor. I hope he's landed somewhere else.