The idea that New Yorkers aren’t friendly seems to be a remnant from the 70’s when the city’s gritty persona and crime ridden streets were immortalized in films like Taxi Driver and my personal favorite: the TV series Kojak. (“Who loves ya, Baby?”)
As the city has become safer and easier to navigate, (Wow! You can actually discern most of what the subway conductors are saying over the PA system!) it seems people are more apt to be open, as well. Though we’ll all agree that there are plenty of crackpots and hotheads wandering the streets, there’s also a legion of friendly folks too. And as many of you already know, in this city, a smile and a dog are the ultimate friend-magnets…
One place where you’re guaranteed to be greeted with a hearty and genuine hello (with or without dog in tow) is The Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain which makes its home in a restored apothecary in Carroll Gardens that first opened its doors in 1890.
It’s changed hands several times since then, but last year, owner Peter Freeman introduced his incarnation of the shop to the public in early summer, and it’s been a hit ever since. The Brooklyn Farmacy is one of what Freeman calls his many “small dreams…” and part of his larger effort to make “every day an adventure. I can say I’ve had a good day when I know I’ve made people happy.”
“That great feeling of of authenticity and warmth that people associate with the past is not just a phenomenon from the old days. What I wanted to create with Brooklyn Farmacy is a place where it’s possible to experience something that’s real and special and unique….A place where people can create new memories.”
As we chatted, locals dropped by with their kids to eat, visit and chat, and we could see that there’s no doubt Freeman’s achieved his goal.
At the The Brooklyn Farmacy, you’ll find a neighborhood haven outfitted with vintage fixtures, the original tile floors from the Longo’s ownership in the 20’s, artisanal grocery goods, handmade toys and an old fashioned soda fountain menu which, when consumed in the right proportions, will jettison you right into a nostalgic sugar coma. And it’s all served up by soda jerks like the lovely Melissa Smith, who, when not serving customers, works as a model and a mime!
Click on any photo to enlarge.
There are homemade pies, cookies, freshly baked ‘twinkies’, hearty soups & sandwiches, even healthy, tasty dog snacks…It’s a whole lotta local and a whole lotta good.
And yet despite the appealing setting and stellar meal that can be had at the Farmacy, undoubtedly its most appealing feature is the owner himself.
Freeman, with his down-to-earth vibe, has an especially magic touch when it comes to kids and dogs. Witness, Theodore, completely at ease, and in a full-on-state of adoration, less than three minutes after their first meeting.
Freeman’s a big time dog lover, and he’s currently lavishing his attentions on his new adoptee, Betty, who was plucked from a shelter by his girlfriend Maria.
Like Theodore, Betty’s a Border Collie Mix. A dainty and energetic beauty, she’s still a bit shy with strangers at the moment. But only a few months have passed since Betty left the shelter, so, we can’t wait to see how wonderfully she blossoms under Peter and Maria’s care.
Peter brought Betty down from his apartment above for a quick visit and we were so charmed by her sweet disposition, I was tempted to dog nap her. But I restrained myself. Or rather, Theodore restrained me. (He’s not ready for a housemate just yet. And may never be.)
And as with most puppies, Theo found Betty intriguing and yet kept both ears and eyes wide open lest any unpredictable-youngster-movements threaten to disturb his peace….
After lingering a long while and scarfing three desserts, we reluctantly said our goodbyes. But Theodore and his Other Favorite Human couldn’t resist copping a seat on the bench outside for one last sweet moment before we headed back to Manhattan….
Many thanks to Peter, Betty, and the whole gang at The Brooklyn Farmacy. We had a ball, and we’ll be back, with empty bellies and time to spare.
The Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain
513 Henry Street. Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays.