I’m in a flap over this Brooklyn gift guide those bird brains at The Brooklyn Paper put together. Slapping “Bklyn” on some goofy tube socks and charging $100 doesn’t make it a Kings County original — it makes you look like an overpriced street fair vendor. So I put together my own real-deal gift guide, packed with more authentic Brooklyn than you can shake a candy cane at.
So I’m snacking on some scraps in an alley in Marine Park. No big deal. Then I hit this vein of ragu alla bolognese — and oh man, the gravy! It took me back to Sunday mornings in the nest — before dad went out for that pack of cigarettes and mom cooped up with Larry. Anyways, my little cousin tells me they sell the stuff at a joint called Michael’s. I’m like “Get the f---outtahere, this is homemade.” But I winged it over to Avenue R and Nostrand, and sure enough, they got the same stuff — in a jar! It’s so bene, I almost molted myself.
Michael’s of Brooklyn [2929 Avenue R between Nostrand Avenue and E. 29th Street in Marine Park, www.micha
Say your office’s Secret Santa stuck you with that bearded, midwestern kid who lives in Williamsburg, and you want to give him a taste of real Brooklyn he’ll actually use. Enter New York Shaving Company, where a Bensonhurst husband-and-wife team make shaving soap, lather brushes, safety razors — the whole nine yards. Maybe young Caleb will take the hint and cut off that lousy crustache. Oh, and when you’re in there, ask them when they’ll re-stock the feather conditioner. What!? I’m askin’ for a friend.
New York Shaving Company [7301 20th Ave. at 73rd Street in Bensonhurst, www.nysha
My cousin Sandy down in Coney Island says there’s a joint you can go watch birds take their clothes off — but, ya know, tastefully. Now, I’m not really into the human ladies. Unless they got a feather boa, then I just lose it. But Sandy says these ladies (and dudes) are art-eests. And classy. Give an early gift with tickets for the Dec. 20 show, or wait for Coney Island USA to announce its January show times — no one will turn down an I.O.U. with the word “burlesque” on it.
“Burlesque at the Beach” at Coney Island USA [1208 Surf Ave. between Stillwell Avenue and W. 12th Street in Coney Island, (718) 372–5159, www.coney
Here’s another Marine Park original (there’s a marsh with some real fine birds, so I spend a lot of time there). This young guy Mark Chiusano put together a bunch of short stories about growing up in one of Brooklyn’s most bucolic neighborhood. Usually the only reading I do is making sure my smokes say “full flavor,” but this book ain’t just cage-liner!
Get your copy at the BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookm