Taking a bite out of Smith St

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Say goodbye to sore gums, and any semblance of sanity on the new Smith Street!

The gods of gentrification have finally given Boerum Hill homesteaders exactly what they need for their luxury brownstones / condos / $2,000-a- month tenements: a luxury toothbrush!

The Radius Scuba brush — now selling for $10.99 a pop at Smith Organic Market on the corner of Smith and Bergen streets — is a behemoth in the small world of high-end dentrifices. It is known for its extraordinary 6,000 bristle count and a cartoonishly wide head that “flexes back and forth to remind us to reduce the pressure of brushing,” according to the company’s Web site.

Hot damn! That’s $11 and a lot of lingo for a basic hygienic tool invented by a guy stuck in jail with a spare chicken bone and some gristle wedged in his teeth.

Such a toothbrush sticks in some craws worse than that bone.

“You could get you 10 pounds of chicken legs or a steak for the price of that toothbrush,” said George Paisanos of Los Paisanos Meat Market, a silver-haired soldier of Smith Street’s old guard.

Of course, Paisanos is not so unhip to modern marketing trends that he didn’t offer an alternative to spending $11 on a toothbrush. He suggested that the street’s deep-pocketed shoppers spend their $12 on his trademark Los Paisanos Oven and Grill sauce, instead of the costly cavity fighter.

“You could get two jars for that price,” he said.

Another veteran proprietor, Tony Gonzalez of Tony’s Hardware, pointed out that a lifetime’s supply of valves could be had for less than the cost of one toothbrush.

“People are strange about the way they spend money,” said Gonzalez. “A guy will come in with a latte from Starbucks that cost $5 and complain that my $2.99 valve is too expensive. The valve will keep your water flowing for years and the latte will be gone in 15 minutes.”

You can find a standard toothbrush in a 99-cent store for, well, 99 cents. So considering that the American Dental Association (motto: “Better living through dentistry”) suggests a new toothbrush every three months, Scuba users will spend around $40 a year more to keep their teeth clean than the person who can get by with the basic model.

No one is more surprised by the popularity of the $11 toothbrush than Mohammad Abdulla, co-owner of Smith Organic Market and a Park Slope resident.

“Most people would say [a toothbrush should be] cheaper, but some people love to buy natural,” he said, standing in his green-themed bodega and pointing towards a rack of sweet-smelling “reconstruc­tive” shampoos and complicated face-washes charged with “anti-aging” capabilities.

“It would be wrong to ask them why they are willing to pay more for it,” Abdulla said.

One pearly-smiled customer, Cynthia Lane, presented the toothbrush as an indulgence for a goody-goody, like a carob cupcake or a vegan cookie: enjoyable, overpriced and easily rationalized as healthy.

“It seems good for you,” Lane said.

Joey Deborg of Boerum Hill wasn’t afraid to defend his spending habit either.

“I was destitute on my friend’s couch and one day I gave him a 10-dollar bill to pick me up a toothbrush,” Deborg said. “I expected $8 back, but I ended up having to pay $2 more and getting [the Scuba]. It feels so good, I never stopped using it.”

That was a year ago.

Deborg, who has moved onto a brother’s couch by now, said that the fancy brush makes him feel rich.

The Kitchen Sink

Taps for Liberty Heights Tap Room: Red Hook’s underage-rock club and brewery has been sold to Chris Byrne, frontman of the (slightly overage) rock band Black 47 and owner of Rocky Sullivan Bar, on Lexington Avenue near 28th Street in Manhattan. …

On the other hand, a little four-leaf clover of fortune just hit the Red Hook Park food vendors, who will be visited on Saturday, July 14, by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse of the Food Network show, “Emeril Live.” The spice-loving TV chef will be taping a segment of the show at the ballfields between noon and four, The Stoop has learned. …

Ran into our pals from Sambazon, the makers of delicious treats from Brazil’s beloved acai (pronounced ah-sah-ee) berry, at the Fancy Food and Confection show at the Javits Center this week. They mentioned that the Red Hook Fairway is offering such a deal on their sorbet and juices: three pints of sorbet for $10 or two bottles of juice for $5. It’s more expensive than Coke, but does a can of the so-called “real thing” have 30 times the anti-oxidents as a glass of red wine? Also at the fair, we discovered that Staubitz butcher shop on Court Street is the only place in Brooklyn where you can get those delictable Twin Hen chicken pot pies.

Updated 4:30 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: