How Two World Travelers Make the Most of Their Gowanus ‘Hood
For Lisa and Michael Fine, exploring the world is a ginormous part of designing chic bathroom textiles for their line Quiet Town—and that includes the patch of it on the banks of the Gowanus Canal where they both live and work. It’s a changing, post-industrial ‘hood that’s full of contradictions and, as Lisa explains, home to a sometimes weirdly active waterway: "Every once in awhile you’ll see kids zoom by in a speedboat as if we’re in Amsterdam. It’s our quiet town.” More on what to do to make it yours, too.
“Killer BBQ on the Gowanus Canal. In the summer, it’s an outdoor-eating dream: picnic tables, multiple bars, kids drawing on the ground with sidewalk chalk, great beer, open sky above you. I forget I’m in Brooklyn when I’m here. In the winter, they move it indoors, which has kind of a chill Texas vibe.”
“If ingredients like apple-maple butter, smoked tomato aioli, black trumpets, ginger fried rice, short rib, chestnuts, and a LOT of bacon sound good to you, then you’ll love Freek’s Mill. They are a farm-to-table spot with an emphasis on sustainable meats and fish, and they have a really unusual Beaujolais-heavy wine menu which forces you to try something new (i.e. give Pinot Noir a break).”
“We love this bar and restaurant, especially in the summer. They have a great backyard that backs up onto the Gowanus Canal, which is where it gets its deceptively lovely name. When the canal was at its all-time worst, it had a lavender hue to it cast by, some say, the amount of sickly diseases it harbored. Don’t worry: It’s going through a super-funded renaissance now, and million-dollar apartments are clamoring to hug its shores.”
“This ice cream shop is way too close to our office and nearby home. They make everything on-site, and it’s the creamiest, sweetest ice cream around. Our favorite flavor is Salted Crack Caramel, which consists of salted butter caramel ice cream with saltine crackers coated with butter, sugar, and chocolate. The line is out the door late into the night. And there’s a large deck on the roof, which is heaven in the summer time.”
“The Bell House is an amazing venue for live music, flea markets, and other cool, somewhat offbeat events. For instance, they hosted a holiday party celebrating Krampus, a terrifying eastern European anti-Santa character.”
“There are a bevy of niche sporting spots that are good for kids, like Brooklyn Boulders (rock climbing), Court 16 (tennis), and Homage (skateboarding), but the most niche and equally fun for adults is definitely Royal Palms, a shuffleboard club with a bar scene and rotating food trucks. We went recently for a friend’s birthday, and I really enjoy its existence and proximity to our life.”