circle back vol. 3

POV: you’re walking through Carroll Gardens & bump into Sylvie

In a crazy twist of events, our long-distance friendship is going local this week and we’re coming to you live-ish from Sylvie’s Brooklyn desk, which for the next two weeks will be the desk of IIana. (TLDR: Ilana is staying at Sylvie’s apartment, Sylvie is going away for a few weeks)1

(IC) See footnotes!2 

(SF) Travel Bug

On the last weekend of the last month of last year, I was on a redeye from LA to NYC, unbeknownst to me, this was the last flight I would take for over a year. So, more recently, when our vaccinations were completed and grad school plans were solidified,3 I gave into the travel bug I’ve felt for the last 365 days and convinced Matt to book a trip. “When will we ever again be able to just spend two weeks in LA?” (The “when will we” justification is one I’ve used a few times during this past year: When will we ever again be able to just live in Shelter Island for a whole summer? When will we ever again be able to celebrate Thanksgiving by ourselves? When will we ever be out of this pandemic?”)

Ilana has so generously agreed to keep my BK apartment warm when I’m away, and so, I’m off for three weeks.4 But, because I am who I am, not long after booking my flight, my travel excitement turned into planning jitters and even sooner it became anxiety, and when I’m anxious I plan, so once I completed the list of restaurants, hikes, farmers markets, and shops I planned to visit while on the West Coast, I decided to plan the next two weeks for Ilana5 :) 

She’ll wake up Saturday morning to a sun-soaked apartment all to herself, roll off the couch (where she will be sleeping, but don’t worry she is taking over my bed), maybe throw on a shirt or jacket of mine and emerge from my apartment into one of those East Coast spring days that feels fall and make her way over to Nili.6 After finishing the sandwich, she’ll wander through the neighborhood as she sips her latte, finding her way to the shelves of Books are Magic (just to look, no one has suitcase space for more books).7 She’ll keep weaving the streets, grab a chocolate chip cookie at Poppy’s and admire the hoagie loaves through Caputo's window (we’ve already gone to Court Street Grocers for broccoli reubens8 and sandos, so she knows the taste).

She’ll find her way back to my house and put on her sneaks and head to Prospect Park, where she’ll be pleasantly surprised by the PP’s farmers market. She’ll look, but not buy. On the walk home, she’ll circle back through Park Slope dodging between strollers and texters, detouring to get a coveted pastry from Winner. After a shower and water it’s time for more caffeine, so she’ll walk over to IXV Coffee,9 a hidden low-waste nearby gem, but get distracted by the allure of stores along Atlantic and Court like The Primary Essentials10 and Humble House which let you imagine your dream apartment, decorated in perfect vintage furniture and hand painted mugs (like a bougie, bohemian version of Sims, if only we could “motherlode” and “rosebud” our lives, IYKYK).

After a long day of caffeine and pastry, it’s finally the evening (thankfully a warm one). She’s arranged to meet her sister at Public Records (a nearby vegan spot with a perfect garden set-up). After dinner and a few drinks, they’ll find their way back for a nightcap and fries at Long Island Bar, then resist the urge to have one last drink at Brooklyn Social,11 just around the corner from her temporary digs. She’ll get back home, pop a T-Joe's dark chocolate pb cup from the freezer, and go to sleep, dreaming of what coffee shop and specialty grocer to explore tomorrow.12 (I, on the other hand, will be dreaming and actively draining my savings at Erewhon on overpriced strawberries and influenced waters. Please send LA and Joshua Tree recommendations through the DMs).

Leaving you with…

  • something SILLY - We can’t decide if this is a laughing matter...

  • something SERIOUS - Very seriously trying to figure out how to grow a lemon tree in an apartment 

  • something FUN - Dusty bums and grass stains are not fun! This blanket is suited to be the MVP of park and beach hangs this summer. 

  • something JUICY - Time Will Tell with Dev Hynes (aka artist, Blood Orange)––the kind of COVID-era documentation we wish we had the diligence (and clout) for.

  • Something SMART -  Never been a better time to go to therapy (heck, we’ve been in and out for years), but before you go texting your shrink, think hard about your Therapy App Fantasy 


Today’s Circle Back, a guide to Carroll Gardens by Sylvie, will dictate my next few weeks here, but can also serve as your wonderful guide! So if you trust her taste and palette (which, you should) feel free to save, star, reserve, whatever you want!


For optimal footnote experience read Circle Back directly on Substack


Did we mention that Circle Back is going to grad school?!


Pre-pandemic, I told myself that the next time I go to NY it would be to move and well unfortunately, I am not here to move, I am grateful to Syl and Matt for indulging my Brooklyn fantasy for a few weeks. 


Is she a good friend or what?!


Oat milk latte and a made-to-order bfast sandwich on the fluffiest pita. Per Sylvie’s recommendation a big dollop of hot harissa on the side.


In lieu of a new book, I learned of what is slated to be a great event happening TONIGHT! Pop in (virtually) to the paperback release of All Adults Here by Emma Straub (Beach read queen and author of Modern Lovers and the Vacationers) featuring food! Virtual events are approaching passé, but tonight’s guest speaker list ensures it’ll be an hour of expert conversation, mouth-watering imagery, and overall joy. And if you haven’t read All Adults Here, start it now! It's quick, satisfying and best described by the NYT as “literal sunshine,” something we could all use a little more of.


With the tagline “the less trashy life” I couldn’t resist!


This is your sign to introduce Bodha’s incense into your space.  


Brooklyn Social is cocktail bar-meets-casual dive serving up twists on classics, like the Ginger Old Fashioned. The no-frills back patio is dotted with small tables and glowing heaters that provide the kind of warm ambiance necessary for an evening’s end, one filled with slow laughs, small sips, and perhaps even a secret or two shared. 


I’ll be bopping around Brooklyn until 4/22! I may even venture to Manhattan later this week to catch Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, MoMA’s first exhibition to explore the relationship between architecture and the spaces of African American and African diaspora communities. And of course while I’m there make the necessary stop at Xian Famous Foods around the corner. Queue: sour and spicy spinach dumplings and spicy cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles.

From the long distance desk of Ilana C. and Sylvie F., see you next time!