Roses Three Ways

Plus psychedelic yacht rock, upcycled kids quilts, and croffles.

APRIL 1ST, 2023

Contact Sports

There’s a new sex shop in town—and in the old Babeland location, no less. Contact Sports is a Mercer Street pop-up that looks like a permanent store, that’s how sleek and chic the setting is. I’d warn you that I’m biased—you can pick up a pack of our Happy Hour pre-rolls there—but it’s objectively cool. The shelves are set up like old-school team lockers, but instead of athletes, the names include such luminaries as P. Anderson, J. Jameson, and S. Grey (which is where you’ll find our minis, as well as some Delights from our friends at Rose Los Angeles). Contact Sports also stocks a combo of understated offerings from Maude and Dame, racier accessories from Kiki de Montparnasse, and some fun merch embroidered with little red roses that match the real red roses available by the single, half-dozen, and dozen upon entry. It’s the rare retail experience that actually exceeds expectations. Go play. -VvP

“I Am Going Blind, and I Now Find It Strangely Exhilarating”

I first studied Edward Hirsch’s work in my 10th grade poetry class, then again in a summer poetry program I attended after my junior year (a fact about me that most people in my life find more funny than fun). In college, both his Earthly Measures and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry seemed to pop up in every English class I took, which was often as that was my major. It was clear to me that Hirsch is not only a master of his craft, but a masterful teacher of it, as well. He is also, it turns out, my partner’s cousin (once removed, to be exact), and as wonderful in person as he is on the page. For some years now Edward, or Eddie as everyone else in the family calls him (I dare not), has been losing his vision due to a genetic disorder. The very idea of going blind gives me a panic attack—I simply cannot imagine the difficulty of being robbed of what is, to me, the most important sense. But leave it to Edward to find the beauty even in this affliction. If you have not yet read his piece that appeared in the New York Times this week, I highly recommend doing so. I hope to possess the same humor and curiosity should I ever face a similar hardship. -DW

Gong Gan

I’ve been meaning to stop by new Korean dessert bar Gong Gan since it opened in Flushing last month. A collaboration between former Per Se pastry chef Anna Kim, fashion designer BJ Kim, and restaurateur June Kwan, the bakery offers a revolving menu of artful pastries like Black Cheesecake (topped with a forest of meringue mushrooms), Vanilla Coconut Caramel Kouign Amann cookie sandwiches, and various renditions of croffles (croissant-waffles). The beautifully appointed space also turns into a natural wine bar in the evenings. An ideal end cap following a visit to the Noguchi Museum or as a pregame to an evening at the Museum of the Moving Image (my favorites in Queens). -PR

Girls They Write Songs About by Carlene Bauer

This book starts with one of the more immediately insightful opening lines I’ve ever read: “Rose and I moved to New York to be motherless.” Girls They Write Songs About follows the friendship of Rose and Charlotte from their meet-cute as two twenty-somethings carving out their path as music writers in the late ’90s through to their early 40s. Take Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, throw them in a blender with a handful of vintage Spin issues, and add a dash of Sally Rooney, and you’ll have something approximating this gut-punch of a first-person novel. I loved it. -VvP

Lulli International Service

I recently came cross this adorable line of upcycled children’s quilts and fabrics, repurposed into one-of-a-kind everything (though I especially love their towel-like graphic printed wrap skirts and plushie like mini bags). While Justin and Hailey Bieber might have already beaten me to the punch, Lulli International Service is still flying somewhat under the radar—purchases are made via DM on Instagram. The brand, launched by Milan-based designer Nelly Hoffman, feels like a refreshing, maximalist take on the Bode-esque craft aesthetic, and I can easily see myself adopting one of their oversize city shirts as my summer uniform. -PR

Robert Lester Folsom

I honestly have no idea if Robert Lester Folsom is already popular or not. There are a bunch of articles about his comeback from obscurity on smart-seeming music sites, but no Wikipedia entry. According to Spotify, he has 382,761 monthly listeners—is that enough to be considered popular? A quick search shows only one result for his name on Pitchfork. Point, not popular. In any event, I’ve been listening to him a lot lately, specifically Ode To A Rainy Day: Archives 1972-1975 and the more psychedelic yacht rock Music and Dreams. Folsom’s music is both deceptively catchy and surprisingly beautiful, and the story of his resurgence is fascinating. And, perhaps the greatest stamp of approval, my son loves when I put him on. -DW