Halsey Street Shopping
Just a few blocks on Halsey Street offer all the wintry pleasures of gift shopping. Fortify yourself with a samosa from Burger Walla at 47 Halsey Street. Well actually, fortify yourself with a samosa, a lassi or a boylan soda (which they have on tap), a veggie burger with goat cheese and walla sauce, I say, or maybe one of their “limited edition” lamb burgers.
Holla at yo walla! The staff are a close, idiosyncratic crew, like a family, and in fact you are likely to see the children of the local couple, Kai and Tamara, who own the place. And yes, Kai, I can hear you saying, “Don’t forget the (sweet potato) tots!”
Browse at Halsey Fabrics at 91 Halsey Street. If you’re crafty, you’re sure to find some affordable and expertly-sourced fabrics. If you’re not, I suggest using fabric instead of wrapping paper; my favorite is the African resist fabric. Stay a spell and enjoy the mellow drama of the multigenerational folks who have run the store for decades, who patiently manage dozens of bolts of shiny fabric as Newarkers and others – some of whom come from quite a distance – debate dress styles at length.
You will hear about all the special occasions across age, culture, and well, taste. There’s a lovely quality to the banter. (Also of note: the unusually lively comment section on the store’s Facebook profile, as they post new fabrics in stock, and I quote, ”Just take my money! I’m coming downtown with it tomorrow.”) I got under a dozen yards, which if you know me, means I’m behaving.
On to the Artisan Collective at 25 Halsey Street! Yes! Yes! Take a quick little trip down the stairs to this below-street-level treasure. It’s toasty warm and you will be greeted more than likely by one of the partners. The attributes of their space remind me of favorite places from my teenage years in NYC. They have a great story: The Artisan Collective, LLC is a partnership formed by three artists and a wine lover! Their store features specialty crafts, wine tasting education, art classes and social events, and has been a mainstay for a number of years now. The latter fact is more significant than you might realize: here is an authentic, thriving, collective created by four women. It gives me such pride to shop there! I got a beautiful fabric ascot, and probably will come back for some unusual bracelets.
Burley Tuggle, an entrepreneur and wine connoisseur, is the owner of Divino Enterprises, LLC, a New Jersey-based wine tasting education and consulting company founded in November 2009. Divino Enterprises is also the parent company of the Sipper’s Delight Wine Tasting Social Club, a monthly wine tasting and networking group for wine lovers in New York and New Jersey. Sipper's Delight and Divino focus on teaching the “Art of Wine Tasting” and bringing wine culture to the urban community.
Jae Quinlan, Artist/Designer, utilizes brilliant hues & textures of her Afro-Cuban-American and West Indian Heritage. Focusing on bringing even the smallest visual art projects to life, she threads wire into wearable art finery and deconstructs the construct of a large canvas with tempered ease. Currently adding hand-painted clothing, sneakers, shoes and accessories to her repertoire. Jae’s brand KullahRulz (Kinship Unlimited Love Life And Happines-Rulz) desire is to bring ALL things together harmoniously through artistic expression.
Jae Quinlan, Artist/Designer, utilizes brilliant hues & textures of her Afro-Cuban-American and West Indian Heritage. Focusing on bringing even the smallest visual art projects to life, she threads wire into wearable art finery and deconstructs the construct of a large canvas with tempered ease. Currently adding hand painted clothing, sneakers, shoes and accessories to her repertoire. Jae’s brand KullahRulz (Kinship Unlimited Love Life And Happines-Rulz) desire is to bring ALL things together harmoniously thru artistic expression.
Juanita Martin, a jewelry designer/artist and Reiki Master/Teacher, has studied various aspects of energy healing. She is the owner of Nitjuan Designs, a New Jersey-based online company which produces accessories for the body, hair and home that are infused with loving Reiki energy for the well-being of her customers. Juanita is also the owner of Your Reiki Relief, an energy-centered company that believes in changing the world one person at a time.
Leslie Peterson, is a multi-media artist. Over the years, she has dabbled in sculpture, the fine arts, dancing, writing and singing. She has even taught art to special needs boys in N.Y. Leslie's specialty is crochet and knitting, "...because it's sexy", she says. "I think the smiles on my customers' faces are sexy." Taught to crochet by an aunt when she was 9 years old, she does the teaching now and has managed to grow her skill taking it from a hobby to a means of support.
So there you go! Knitting is sexy. Smiling is sexy. And so is shopping local, from the beautiful people of Newark, New Jersey, Planet Earth.
Evonne M. Davis and Emma Wilcox are working artists and cofounders of a Newark alternative arts nonprofit. Begun in 2003, Gallery Aferro offers exhibitions featuring local, national and international artists, a wide range of public events, a year-round studio residency program, educational offerings, group tours, a publication line, a gift shop and public art initiatives.