Independent Booksellers of New York City

Shop local – Don't go by the book!

Indiebound Spotlight: Freebird Books & Goods

Throughout May, we’ll spotlight different NYC indie bookstores on our blog. IBNYC booksellers will tell us about some favorite independent businesses located near their shops, so when you’re out browsing at the bookstores, you’ll have info on other Indiebound businesses to visit nearby. This is a guide for shoppers and a resource for booksellers from around the world who will be visiting NYC this month for Book Expo America.


Today’s spotlight comes to us from Peter Miller, owner of Freebird Books in Brooklyn:

The neighborhood where Freebird Books resides is easily located but difficult to label. South of Atlantic Avenue and north of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, it is tucked between water and highway. Often confused with the better defined enclaves of Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Carroll Gardens, the waterfront along Columbia Street (please don’t call it the “Columbia Street Waterfront” or you will be roundly abused) is its own unnameable thing.

Freebird Books, which was opened in 2004 by Samantha Citrin and Rachel London, was part of a wave of small businesses that have brought back commerce to this stretch of the waterfront. Here are a list of my recommended stops:

Food and drink:

Pit Stop Restaurant, next door to Freebird, is a French bistro with a Grand Prix theme and an open attitude towards parents with kids in tow. Their backyard and petanque courts are lively, especially on the weekend during brunch (my favorite time to go).

Sugar Lounge, a little farther down Columbia Street, is a bar and restaurant also sporting a backyard and also serving French cuisine. I usually end up here on Thursday and Sunday evenings after the store’s closing, when Kerry Hinton tends bar and plays music from his impressive, and inexhaustible, record collection.

Alma Restaurant, and the B61 bar below, is perhaps the best known landmark in the neighborhood and their views of the NY skyline from the corner of Columbia and Degraw streets cannot be beat.

Kotobuki, a Japanese restaurant across Columbia from Alma, is a personal favorite where I have downed more sake than is probably healthy.

Mazzat Restaurant is a superb Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant with excellent appetizers in addition to the main courses. The falafel is pretty fantastic as well as some of the off the menu items like basterma and Brussel sprouts.

Shops and galleries:

The Brooklyn Collective is a gallery selling the unique work of artisans and designers, sharing space with the vintage furniture store, General Nightmare.

The Work Gallery, who we often collaborate with, exhibits contemporary art out of their small red shack. Their location at the dockside end of Union Street and Van Brunt marks the beginnings of Red Hook.

Find all these independent businesses and IBNYC on Indiebound. Join today and add your favorite indie businesses!


Written by ibnyc

May 18, 2009 at 3:13 am

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