G'Day Bklyn

Brooklyn Life From an Aussie Transplant

04 August
4Comments

New York, New York – If You Can Make it There …

Posted by Lee Theodoros in Personal Tale

I just waved my eight-year-old son goodbye as he boarded a bus for his first ever school camp. One week into school in Australia and he was herded away to Aldinga Beach, an hour or so from the city, to run free and learn in the great outdoors. It’s all part of being an Aussie.

Every morning at school drop-off, these robust little kids are running and jumping and chasing each other, or playing one of many organised sports. Every girl in our daughter’s first-grade class has a skipping rope tucked beneath the desk to use before school and at recess. Sitting still isn’t an option.

It all fits the romantic notions about Australia, especially among Americans. From the worn out stereotypes of kangaroos bounding along city streets and Foster’s drinking blokes throwing shrimp on a barbie, Australia holds a sort of mystique from far away. Our New York friends, while sad to see us go, were excited for our brave move down under. Everyone wants to visit and everyone probably would, if it weren’t so far away.

But as recent arrivals – sit still, we do. So far it has rained almost daily since we got here in July, soaring electricity costs make us too scared to blast the heat as much as we’d like, and neither my husband nor I has found a job. With no income to speak of and no entitlement to assistance because apparently the Australian Government deems us rich, morale has its ups and downs.

We’ve endured reams of paperwork and probing questions only to be told that money in a bank, no matter how inaccessible, a part share in a house we  cannot live in yet and the fact that we could get jobs any day,  trump years of paying taxes in both Australia and the US and the absence of a pay check.

Sticker Shock

Every time we walk out of a store, sticker shock follows us. Everything costs a lot more than we’re use to paying. Even long-time Australia dwellers are balking at rising food, gas and utility prices. Basics like bananas  go for around $3 a piece and green beans top out around $18 a kilo – or almost  $9 a pound. The good life sure is pricey.

Still, here I am 40-something, married and mother of two back in my parents’ immaculate house after more than 20 years of independence. Perched at the dining room table, I feel a bit like an aged Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City, banging out resume updates and introduction letters in improbable surrounds ( how did she ever afford a Manhattan studio and Jimmy Choos on a columnist’s wage?)

To be sure, the folks are thrilled to have us back in Adelaide – as delighted as they are petrified every time a beloved grandchild swings a  backpack and narrowly misses some pricey collectible or “accidentally”  picks all the unripe lemons and stomps the onion patch.

The question we’re asked by pretty much everyone we meet is, why? Why on earth would you move from New York City – bright lights, big city, songs written about it, movies made just to showcase its vibrancy – to Adelaide? Adelaide, a sleepy city barely bigger than a country town, with lots of green space and nearly as many churches as people. Why indeed?

For family and for lifestyle mostly. We figured it was time to slow life down a little, smell the roses that bloom in Adelaide gardens and let the kids run free in the parklands and on the beaches, with cousins and perhaps a dog in tow. We wanted to own a house and a have a garden where we could cook out on a warm evening, and all sit around the dinner table together.

All in Good Time

And soon enough the sun will shine and the kids will get the beach and park time they moved for. We’ll find jobs too, I’m sure of it. We just have to adjust our timing from New York standards where emails are answered pronto to Adelaide’s more relaxed schedule.  And soon enough we’ll be able to rip up old carpets, paint walls and move into our own little home.

For now, the coffee is good, the clean country air is a mere 15 minutes “up the hill” as the locals say, the kids are happily settling into a lovely school and we are still charmed by the many people we meet and the warmth and friendliness they show us; from the boys in the local coffee shop we’ve made part of our morning ritual,  to the toothless old man I met at the weekend farmers’ market. He explained to me the pros of eating Australian olive oil and beamed with pride talking about his famous ballerina daughter.

Our waterlogged son will have his own stories to share when he slumps home from three rainy days at the beach, where he was to learn to paint a boomerang, cook on an open fire and negotiate friendships with a new crew of teachers and classmates.

As the lyrics go if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.  Let’s see if Adelaide is our “anywhere”.

 

 

Tags: Adelaide, Australia, Family Moves, Migrating, Moving, Moving to Australia, New York, South Australia
13 April
0Comments

Der Kommissar Opening in South Slope

Posted by Lee Theodoros in Eating Out,Events

Der Kommissar, the newest kid on its South Slope block, swings open its doors tonight, promising to blend traditional Austrian eats with Brooklyn smarts. Artisanal Austrian-style sausages, craft beers and schnapps define the bar-restaurant-hangout on 5th Avenue, at 15th Street, which is loosely modeled on the outdoor sausage stands common in Vienna.

Three Park Slope locals – Gary Baldwin, his Austrian wife Monika Wuhrer, and neighborhood mixologist Alex Darsey – wanted to create a place where locals could kickback with drinks, chat or watch a game, while noshing on simple, high-quality, artisanal snacks. Der Kommissar ”brings a little bit of Vienna to 5th Ave,” touts the website.

Just like a Viennese Würstelstand, sausages feature high on Der Kommissar’s menu – from frankfurters and bratwurst to lesser known käsekrainer and weisswurst. There are also pretzels, potato salad, sauerkraut and the classic Austrian Liptauer, a spread made from quark, paprika, caraway, herbs, pickles, and anchovy. And for something sweet, the beloved Manner Schnitten – traditional Austrian wafers layered with hazelnut cream.

Food will be available at the bar, as well as through a window that opens onto the street, a leftover from its previous life as a Spanish take-out spot. The whole idea is to keep it simple and relaxed; a place you can stop-by with the kids for an afternoon snack, or hang with your mates late into the night.

Baldwin and Wuhrer are known around the hood as the owners of the nearby Open Source Gallery, which has been a nomadic art force since a five-alarm fire damaged it and the couple’s apartment in November. Since it began in 2008, the gallery has become an institution, offering everything from a soup kitchen through the holidays to summer camp for local kids. Business partner Darsey is a photographer and well-known bar tender.

Der Kommissar, which is hosting a “soft opening” tonight from 7pm to 10pm, is at 559 5th Avenue, phone 718. 788. 0789.

Tags: Austrian Food, Craft Beers, Der Kommissar, New Bar, Open Source Gallery, Openings, Park Slope, Sausages, South Slope, Vienna
05 April
1Comment

Thursday Friday, Together Bags Any Day Now

Posted by Lee Theodoros in Rants,Style

 I admire go getters who turn that one great idea into a money-making business. But sometimes, things move too fast or not fast enough, and those go getters make big promises they struggle to keep.

I really hope that’s not the case with LA-based accessories brand Thursday Friday whose founding duo Roni Brunn and Olena Sholomytska created the Together bag – a wildly popular canvas shopper emblazoned with a pop-arty Hermes inspired bag print on the outside. With the original $35 price tag (the price has since risen to $45 to counter rising cotton prices), they literally sold like hotcakes.

What could be wrong with instant success and enormous publicity you ask? Well, this fledgling company has had a very public struggle to fill orders placed as long ago as January, causing an outcry on its Facebook page from frustrated buyers. In full disclosure, I’m among the hundreds of people worldwide waiting on bags I ordered and paid for at the start of the year.

It seems the wait may soon be over. Late yesterday, Thursday Friday posted the following to its Facebook page: 

“We understand your frustration with us. We have been dealing with the delayed shipments, cotton price rise and production halts since we started. When we designed our products, we did not expect it to explode in (the) way it has and the overwhelming demand from all over the world has exceeded our production. Please be patient with us, we take your orders very seriously and we are shipping all orders from Jan/Feb.”

This long-awaited assurance prompted many hits of the Like button, and was met with a flurry of thankful, hopeful comments from Facebook fans.

Sure, we all knew when we ordered bags in January that they were on backorder and would be delivered sometime in March. But as March turned into April and spring weather coaxed us to swap chunky leather bags for a lighter tote, there were still no bags and intermittent communication from the firm left shoppers wanting. There were discussions about how to get a PayPal refund, and even threats of getting the Better Business Bureau involved.

‘Production Snafu’

The problems started when, with unexpectedly high and relentless demand, Thursday Friday had to work with an unfamiliar factory which was not only seven weeks late with orders but produced bags of unacceptable quality that Thursday Friday wouldn’t sell to customers. Even once a suitable factory was booked, it was slow to replenish stocks.

“During this production snafu, we understandably got more incoming customer emails, and this volume overwhelmed our support team,” Creative Director Roni Brunn, half of the Thursday Friday duo, told G’DayBklyn. “We’ve been hiring and training new staffers with the same eye for quality and care that we have for our products.  Again, this level of attention to detail has created another lag – a delay in answering support emails.”

What there has been all along though is enormous publicity for the bags – from blogs like this to The New York Times, Elle and The Daily Mail, and a prolific Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr presence by the company. That presence, as it turns out, can be both a blessing and a curse. Sure, a company can promote itself brilliantly through social media, but on the flipside, when something goes awry all those chatty friends and followers have a very public place to rant. And that they did.

A string of negative comments and delivery queries litters Thursday Friday’s Facebook page. So much so, that the company repeatedly asked people to take their issues to customer support rather than use Facebook  as a complaint forum. 

“We try our best with those whose frustrations are voiced on Facebook, and we completely understand that our responses may not work for everyone,” said Brunn. She said the company contemplated sending an email to customers “but thought it’d be whiney of us. We’re lucky to have anyone interested in our products and just want to push through any setback.”

Interestingly, even bad publicity – in the form of legal action from French luxury brand Hermes, whose iconic Birkin bag inspired the Together tote – has only fueled demand for the quirky bags.

Hermes, whose Birkin bags sell for upwards of $9,000, contends that Thursday Friday is  ”riding on the reputation and recognition of the Birkin Bag” to sell its otherwise generic tote. And in so doing,  Hermes says Thursday Friday is creating confusion among customers and putting Hermes’ reputation at risk.

I’m not sure that anyone is confused by a leather bag worth thousands and a cotton tote, but the suit has done nothing to damp demand for Together bags.

As we cross our fingers that the wait really is coming to an end, Brunn assures Together bag carriers can still be the coolest kids on the block.

“These bags aren’t close to ubiquitous,” she said, putting a positive spin on the setbacks and delays.  “People who ordered them in January will still be among the first to carry them.”

Tags: Birkin Bags, Facebook, Hermes, Olena Sholomytska, Roni Brunn, Social Media, Style, Thursday Friday, Together Bags, Tote Bag, Tumblr, Twitter
12 March
0Comments

Paper Dolls to Walk Runway at Brooklyn Collective

Posted by Lee Theodoros in Events

I’m not sure I get exactly what this show is all about, but I do know I want to go. The idea of paper clothes and faeries and cupcakes is about all the lure I need. But if you need more, here are the details accompanying the invitation:

“Come out to frolic at Papertopias Frisky Faeries Fashion show! This is a life-sized paper doll fashion show exploding with glamor, treachery and sass. The show explores voyeuristic glimpses of a changing identity, with each paper outfit taking its inspiration from a beloved children’s book character.

There will be music performed by DJ T3db0t, devilish sweet treats … mayhem, trickery, life size paper doll fashions, original paper doll art work, and a fabulous dance party after.”

Papertopias was created by Ruth Irving, an artist who creates custom doll sets from her Brooklyn studio. Irving trained in architecture at University of Florida, and has honed her studies to stretch the boundaries of the paper dolls we’re all familiar with by melding history, glamor and the fantasy of future fashions.

Papertopias debuted its life-size paper fashions in a show last month at Urban Alchemist, a design collective on 5th Street in Brooklyn.

The second performance this Friday, March 18, starts at 8pm at  Brooklyn Collective. Even if you don’t get the paper doll thing, it’s a great excuse to check out  local art, jewelry and other quirky stuff on show and on sale at the collective.

Brooklyn Collective is at 212 Columbia Street, between Union + Sackett Streets. Phone 718.596.6231.

Tags: Brooklyn Collective, Events, Fashion, Local Arts, Paper Dolls, Papertopias, Ruth Irving
Older Entries →
Subscribe to RSS
  • Subscribe


  • Recent Posts

    • New York, New York – If You Can Make it There …
    • Der Kommissar Opening in South Slope
    • Thursday Friday, Together Bags Any Day Now
    • Paper Dolls to Walk Runway at Brooklyn Collective
    • Smith St Closings Create Ghostly Carroll Gardens’ Block
  • Archives

    • August 2011
    • April 2011
    • March 2011
    • February 2011
    • January 2011
    • December 2010
    • November 2010
    • October 2010
    • September 2010
    • August 2010
    • July 2010
    • June 2010
    • May 2010
    • April 2010
    • March 2010
    • February 2010
  • Categories

    • Eating Out
    • Events
    • On The Street
    • Personal Tale
    • Rants
    • Raves
    • Style
    • Wacky
  • Sites I Follow

    • American Australian Association
    • Brokelyn
    • GDUSA Magazine
    • Kate's Ordinarium
    • L.A. Stylist Mom
  • Tags

    Aneurysm Atlantic Ave. Australia Bagels Barneys. Barneys Co-op Boerum Hill Brooklyn Collective Brucie Bryant Park Carroll Gardens China closings Cobble Hill Columbia Street Court Street Designer Collaborations Eating Out Events Fashion Free General Nightmare Antiques GoDaddy.com Google Gowanus Graffiti Handbags Liberty of London for Target New York Oaxaca Tacos Openings Park Slope Pop-Up Store Red Hook Red Hook Ball Fields Shopping Smith Street Style Target Collaboration Trends Union Square Greenmarket Urban Outfitters Valentines Day Weekend Events Zac Posen for Target Zara
  • Meta

    • Log in
    • Entries RSS
    • Comments RSS
    • WordPress.org
© 2010 G'Day Bklyn | Designed by Get a Custom Design
Powered by: WordPress
gipoco.com is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.