Hi! I am Michael de Zayas, founder of Crown Heights Village, the nonprofit community playspace, founder of the Crown Heights North Parents group, and owner of Little Zelda and Wedge Cheesemongers on Franklin Avenue. I am thrilled to announce the opening of Hullabaloo Books, a bookstore in our wonderful neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Crown Heights has many incredible shops and organizations and resources, but doesn't yet have a bookstore or community space for reading and writing activities. We are working to change that! I have rented the space at Park Place just off Franklin, where the old pawn shop used to be, and interior construction is underway!
The estimated open date is September 30 and now our focus is on raising money for an event series that will enrich and serve the community! We plan to host local and international authors for readings, have monthly speakers series, hold weekly free storytelling events for kids, as well as writing workshops for teens and adults and much much more. We also consider our street presence fundamental and are creating an evocative street garden for the community to enjoy as an outdoor reading space! The vision is a combination of community garden space, writing center, literary venue for events and readings, and the best micro bookstore in the world.
As most folks know, hoping to run a bookstore as a profitable business is a fool’s errand. The concept behind Hullabaloo is somewhere between nonprofit culture space and for-profit bookstore selling new and used books. The main idea is to create an environment that fosters the growth of a literary and arts culture in Crown Heights. The bookstore will sell a curated selection of new and used books in 6 areas: fiction, poetry, cookbooks, children’s books, art/architecture and African American history and culture. One incredible thing about Brooklyn's neighborhoods is its abundance of writers, musicians, chefs, and visual artists. We will also have a section devoted to Crown Heights authors and artists. Our local artists include international bestseller novelist Sarah Langan, published author, neighborhood activist and artist Mike Perry (Princeton Architectural Press, Rizzoli), and Michael Wilson, whose "How to Read Contemporary Art" was just published by Abrams. We are committed to promoting and selling all neighborhood authors and artists, whether world-famous or on their first zine.
The money we raise will go towards funding a FREE event series for the first year that we are open. Here is a sample calendar of what we envision the event series to look like:
A Tree Still Grows In Brooklyn
The conceptualization for Hullabaloo began with conversations with Bergen Street resident Francesco Vitelli. Francesco is a dear friend to our community. I met him at Little Zelda, when he volunteered to fix my wife, Kate's, bike for free. That generosity of spirit extends to Francesco's conversations, where he has improvised great ideas, like keeping the exterior brick wall intact at Hullaballoo to add for more shelving and the element of surprise when you enter.
Our bookstore is intended as a literary garden, literally. In the middle of our shop will be a tall, living, real tree. The genius idea came from theater set designer and visionary Sara Walsh, who I commissioned to create bright ideas and sketches for the store. Her initial model of the store can be seen below.Outside the store we are planting and shaping ivy to grow along the brick wall, and I've hired gardener Sarah Wells (who designed and sculpted this year's plantings at Little Zelda and Wedge) to help choose and plant a living greenspace.
What we plan with the bookstore will redouble this purposeful greening of our neighborhood! The space aims for intimacy and awe, a space to be discovered and experienced like a great secret. We are hoping the beautification of the space will transform the block as much as it did for Little Zelda and Wedge.
I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of business owners to give back to the community where they do business. And not abstractly - but to spend real dollars giving back. At my stores we spend time and money every day cleaning the street and sidewalk around us, watering and planting. The bike corral on the street in front of the stores is another example (the before and after photos are vivid). The bookstore creates another opportunity to enliven and beautify Crown Heights. Let's create this literary garden for everyone to enjoy!
Street Garden/Reading Area $5900
Garden Awning $1700
Outdoor Seating $1425
Speaker Fees $2700
Teacher/artist fees for free writing workshops and kids’ storytelling $1100
Event Expenses (food/beverage, programs, employee costs, etc) $1900
Indoor Event Seating $845
$20 A print from Crown Heights artist and Author Mike Perry (limited supply!)
$25 T-shirt or Tote Bag with the Hullabaloo Logo (choose either the book logo of the tiger logo below - logos will also be used for postcard and bookmarks)
$50 Private concert at the bookstore with Pat Noecker (Liars, These Are Powers).This project won't get off the ground without the teamwork of some friends and neighbors. One of them is Pat Noecker, an incredible musician who will perform a private concert at the bookstore. Pat rarely plays acoustic and it is not to be missed!
$250 International bestseller Sarah Langan of Crown Heights will name a character after you in her next novel or short story OR review your manuscript. Find out more about Sarah Langan at her official website.
$3000 A giant one-of-a-kind zine from Crown Heights artist and author Mike Perry entitled "Lost Track Of Time" (picture below)
A Little About Me
I live in Crown Heights with my wife and 2-year old daughter, Zelda. I came to New York 17 years ago from Miami to pursue an MFA in poetry. SInce then I've been a travel writer and business owner, and currently own and operate Little Zelda, a cafe; and Wedge, a cheese and provisions shop. After I moved to the neighborhood and Zelda was born I organized the neighborhood parents group, which functions as a thriving Google group; and I started my first non profit, the Brooklyn Cleaning Lab, which continues to this day with 60 families getting affordable cleaning help while creating three fulltime jobs. From these two ideas sprang It Takes A Village (http://www.crownheightsvillage.org), a non-profit community play space for families with children under the age of 4. Before starting these local ventures, I had founded and run a national chain of stores and internet site behind Neighborhoodies. But before all of that, I was a writer and reader and onetime bookstore employee who has always believed in the power of the written word. Writing is in the blood - my mother's father was the original writer behind the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, the Happy Hollisters, and the Tollivers (a pioneering series of children's books about an African American family) -- classics which I am proud to feature in the new store. It is a lifelong dream of mine to have a bookshop-- a place where friends and neighbors experience the joys of thought, art, and each other's company.
This event series is all about the community, so if there's something you want to see, now is the time to let us know and we'll will do our best to make it happen!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your help in springing this to life!
Risks and challenges
There are very few risks involved in this project. Once our project is successfully funded we have nothing standing in our way to line up a great series of events. Construction is underway and we aim to have Hullabaloo open by end of August. There is a small risk that this deadline will be delayed, but as soon as the store is open you can rest assured we will have events ready to go for opening week and a beautiful asset to the community at large!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)