Spring welcomes a Basque influenced cider house, a reborn Paramount Theatre, and the borough’s only feminist bookstore
by Matt Scanlon
For those who have grown accustomed to avoiding the stretch of Flatbush leading to the BQE or Manhattan Bridge entrances, lest they be triggered by accumulating hordes of pre highway traffic, it might be easy to miss Apple’s 499th and newest retail store location (and the 11th in New York City) at the foot of the new 300 Ashland rental building in Fort Greene.
Strategically cited near both the Atlantic Terminal and Barclays Center, the 12,000 square foot space was engineered to essentially float within the structure (something of a necessity when there are five major subway lines running beneath), and its dramatically sloping timber canopy was designed to provide what Apple executives explained is “a premium sound experience.”
Shoppers not quite done spending after their $349 HomePod or $649 12.9 inch iPad Pro can always cross the street to the likewise just opened 365 by Whole Foods Market at 292 Ashland and its 30,000 square feet of edible excess.
123 Flatbush Avenue, apple.com
New cider house rules
Founder of PJ Wine in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood, Peter Yi extended his improvisations to hard cider, which he currently makes five styles of in the Hudson Valley, and most recently applied the latter passion in a lovely, minimally designed Bushwick tap room and restaurant, just opened in December. Inspired, he said, by maker traditions in the Basque Country (in the western Pyrenees, on the border between France and Spain), he and sister and partner, Susan Yi, serve local apple sourced cider directly from the barrels, as the regional makers do in Bilbao and the surrounding countryside, and aims, he explained, “for minimal intervention…striving for balance, depth of structure, and a lively acidity that begs to be paired with food.” Yi’s menu, likewise, has Basque influences, including salted cod, cider simmered chorizo, and Spanish cheeses.
1100 Flushing Avenue, brooklynciderhouse.com
“Reading Black feminist literature saved my life, and I am committed to creating spaces for women to be affirmed in a world hell bent on sending distorted images of them, particularly women of color,” explained Kalima DeSuze of her Crown Heights bookstore, Café Con Libros. Featuring volumes focused on female narratives, the small but bright space houses titles like All about Love by Bell Hooks and Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. Brews come from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, which has a Specialty Coffee Association certified “campus” right here in the city.
724 Prospect Place, cafeconlibrosbk.com
Among other distinctions during its 1928 to 1962 run, the Brooklyn Paramount Theater was the first permanent public venue in the world to show talking movies, and its stage was graced by stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Buddy Holly. Long a part of Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, it has undergone a $50 million renovation. The new LIU Paramount Theatre will debut in the fall, and be both a performance venue (3,500 seats) as well as a learning facility for LIU students and members of the broader Brooklyn community.