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Astoria: Good food? Yes. Better rents? Sure. A shopping scene? Not so much—but Nicole Panettieri wants to change that. She recently opened The Brass Owl, a boutique on Ditmas Boulevard that's filled with shoes, locally-made jewelry and bags, Hanky Panky thongs and bras, and more that's been luring in the locals.
The bright, naturally lit space features white walls, simple wooden shelving, and accents of turquoise, seen on the wall behind the cash wrap and on two inviting chairs in the middle of the room, separated by an end table displaying magazines. In the front, find shoes from the likes of Report, Steven Madden, and Chinese Laundry, with prices starting at $40 for flats (affordability is the name of the game here).
Further back, jewelry hangs on custom-made racks—Panettieri estimates that 60% of the pieces are made in New York. Some pieces, like a Bou-Cou necklace featuring an owl (of course), were made specially for the store.
The Brass Owl also serves as gift central: scarves, aprons, kitschy books, bath products, and locally-made cards make it a great place to hit up before heading to a friend's housewarming party. And speaking of parties, Panettieri hosts weekly Friday happy hours starting at 5pm, plus events like private shopping parties complete with wine and cheese.
Though it's only been open for a couple weeks, Panettieri said that the shop has already become a neighborhood hangout, with customers lingering in the middle of the day. Plus, with hours as late as 8pm and weekdays and 9pm on weekends, the 9-to-5ers have a place to shop after work. "People from the neighborhood are happy to not have to schlep into the city" for a quick shopping trip, Panettieri noted. And if more establishments like The Brass Owl settle down here, maybe the city folk will have to schlep out.
· The Brass Owl [Official Site]
· Gift Shopping, Film Screenings, and Beer Gardens in Astoria [Racked NY]
· Now Open [Racked NY]