Browsing Tag

New York

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Rebekah Krikke

October 22, 2015


Rebekah Krikke, Assistant Production Manager, Product Development

My hometown…
A hybrid of central Illinois and Kobe, Japan.

I’m inspired by…
Long walks, new perspectives, gratitude, and the color orange.

What I love about Product Development is…
Seeing a product take form as it moves from concept to reality.

When I’m not at work, I’m usually….
Exploring random neighborhoods in New York, relaxing at home with my husband, or being “productive” at a local coffee shop.

My favorite place to bring out-of-towners is…
Brooklyn Bridge Park.

I’m most looking forward to _______ this summer.
Going to my first Indian Wedding in Bangkok.

An uncommon fact about me is….
I studied Japanese tea ceremony for a few years in high school. I love green tea, so much so that my family named our Boston Terrier “Matcha.”

If I could put my desk anywhere in the world it would be…
An ocean view office where you can hear the waves from your desk and go on occasional swim breaks for inspiration.

My favorite uncommon good is…
Our Personalized New York City subway signs.

The Uncommon Life

What is Best for NYC?

September 8, 2015

The New York City Economic Development Corporation and B Lab, the non-profit organization behind the B Corporation network, are calling out New York City businesses to become Best for NYC!  The Best for NYC Challenge is a free impact assessment to help business leaders identify where their businesses excel and where their business could improve to strengthen the bottom line and New York City. Through this campaign, B Lab will provide tools for small businesses to measure, benchmark, and improve their economic and social impact like the leading B Corporations.

At the end of 2015, NYCEDC and B Lab will celebrate businesses that have taken the Best for NYC Challenge and are working to build a better business and improve quality of life for all New Yorkers.

UncommonGoods is proud to be a model for the Best for NYC qualification challenge. Check out the video below of UncommonGoods CEO David Bolotsky to learn more about UncommonGoods’ journey to socially responsible business. You can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #BestforNYC.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Rachel Orlow

September 1, 2015


Rachel Orlow – UncommonGoods Photographer, Creative

My hometown is…
Malvern, PA.

I’m inspired by…
Trying to see the world in a way different from others.

An uncommon fact about me is…
I was a state level field hockey player in high school.

The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is…
The Duomo in Florence, Italy.

If I could travel back in time, I’d…
Study with the Impressionist painters.

My guilty pleasure is…
Salted caramel anything.

The best luck I’ve had in my life so far was…
Landing my first job in NYC.

A tune I love so much that I played it until I was sick of it…
Skinny Love by Bon Iver.

If I could learn anything, it would be…
To go to culinary school.

What I love about working in Creative is…
Every day is different from the last.

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Barry Rosenthal

June 6, 2014

Barry Rosenthal | UncommonGoods
When our team learned that renowned photographer Barry Rosenthal calls our building, The Brooklyn Army Terminal, home to his studio we couldn’t wait to work with him on a project. Once that project–Pop Top Six Pack Glasses–was ready for our customers’ eyes, I couldn’t wait to tell everyone all about the set. Learning more about Barry’s work and the creative process that lead to the finished product got me, and the blog team, even more excited about having such a talented artist as a neighbor. Knowing that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out his studio space, our own photographer, Emily, and I made the (very) short journey across the BAT atrium to see where Barry assembles his collections of found artifacts and other objects to create captivating photos.

Join us in exploring a new corner of our building by stepping into Barry Rosenthal’s studio, taking a look at some of his unique work, and finding out what goes on behind the scenes when the camera isn’t clicking.

Barry Rosenthal Art | UnommonGoods

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Becky Cooper: Making of Mapping Manhattan

March 21, 2014

Becky Cooper | Mapping Manhattan | UncommonGoods

An idea is a powerful thing. And some may agree that an idea can be even more powerful when it’s explored on the streets of New York City. The contagious thought ‘anything can happen’ is amplified in this urban playground. From cross walks to subway rides, if you look closely you can almost see the ideas that are planted deep in New York minds. Some people, you can just tell, are simply daydreaming while others are working to make something of their ideas–and will most likely succeed. Becky Cooper was one of those wandering, deep-in-thought souls, and she succeeded in turning her big idea into a reality.

The summer after her junior year in college, Becky got the idea for her project.  She studied literature at Harvard University and she was inspired by the novel Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. It’s a book that offers an alternative approach to thinking about cities, how they are formed, how they function, and how human nature is a constant foundation for them. For better or for worse, every New Yorker has a story of their own. Nostalgic. Gloomy. Romantic. Scandalous. Bittersweet. Happy. Becky wanted to slow people down, have them think, and share with her their special New York stories. Instead of just having conversations with those people, Becky wanted them to illustrate those stories. With the help of her friend Dan Ashwood, an animator, Becky designed a map of Manhattan and letterpress printed it.

blank mapback

At first, Becky wanted this project to be completely serendipitous and initially didn’t make direct contact with the strangers. She hid the maps, with directions for completing them and her P.O. box address already marked on the back, in random parts of the city for New Yorkers to find. She placed the maps between the cracks of the Waldorf Astoria doors, inside copies of The Catcher in the Rye at Barnes and Noble, on benches that sat on The High Line, and anywhere else she felt like anyone would be pleasantly surprised to find the small blank canvases. But as time went by she found that the maps she was distributing among the streets of NYC weren’t showing up in her mail.

Becky Cooper | Mapping Manhattan | UncommonGoods

Determined to make the idea work, Becky decided to take the bold approach of directly walking up to individuals on the streets and speak to them about her Mapping Manhattan project. In the beginning, she would just explain the idea, offer them a map, and walk away. As she approached more and more strangers, the end result of the project became less important as she began to focus more on the connections she was making. Swapping stories and creating ties became the reason she was stopping these everyday New Yorkers. She walked for hours, exploring Manhattan neighborhoods, and aimed to meet as many different types of minds and souls that she possibly could. As the weeks went by, the maps began rolling into her mailbox, proving that connecting with a person face-to-face was much more impactful than sprinkling maps in “strategic” parts of the city.

Becky Cooper | Mapping Manhattan | UncommonGoods

The finished illustrated maps were overwhelming for Becky — they were diverse, creative, simple, and beautiful. She received maps that were splattered with colors, to maps that were inked in words of wisdom or wit. She received a map of the different locations where one’s ex-wives resided, a map of a painted brick wall from Inwood to Battery Park, and a map describing the different parts of the island between “Fear” and “Relief”. The project gained so much momentum that she even received maps from high profiled individuals, such as Yoko Ono. From the beginning of this project, Becky tinkered with the idea of publishing a book of the maps. As the maps continued to roll in one-by-one, she realized that the book could actually happen.

Yoko Ono's Map3 diffeent maps

When the book was published, Becky knew that it was worth every step she took down Broadway and Houston and every avenue in between. She charmingly titled it Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and sometimes hate) Story of 75 New Yorkers.  These collection of maps, paying homage to the love-hate relationship one has with this concrete jungle, can hit a few emotional spots (from the feel-good to gut wrenching) for any city dweller.

Mapping Manhattan | Becky Cooper

“This project will always be ongoing. My P.O. box never closed. That would just be a shame.”
– Becky Cooper

Becky Cooper | Mapping Manhattan | UncommonGoods

We invite you to contribute our artist community and be part of the creative process by entering our Mapping Manhattan Contest; download and create your own artistic rendition of what Manhattan means to you. Keep it for your personal inspiration or send it in to add to Becky’s growing collection. Submit your map by May 31 for a chance to win the Mapping Manhattan book and a framed art print of your choice. 

The Uncommon Life

Mapping Manhattan Contest Details

January 1, 2014

Mapping Manhattan Contest DetailsBecky Cooper’s Mapping Manhattan Project is not yet complete. She wants you to illustrate your special New York story in a map so her project can grow, and doing so could earn you a copy of her book and a framed print of your choice. Here’s how to participate:

1. Print out the blank map.
2. Illustrate your unique New York story.
3. Say that ten times fast.
4. Mail your completed map to Becky by May 31, 2014.

Becky Cooper
PO Box 302
New York, NY 10163

Becky will choose her favorite illustration and the UncommonGoods Social Media team will contact the winner in early June.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Carolyn Topp

September 30, 2013
UncommonGoods Director of New Business and Product Development Carolyn Topp

Carolyn Topp, UncommonGoods Director of New Business and Product Development


My hometown is…
I grew up in Ardsley, NY, also home of the late great ice cream magnate Tom Carvel.

My favorite product we’ve developed at UncommonGoods is…
Always something new or that will soon be in our assortment; this month it’s our Pedigree Poem Collection, which was inspired by my Airedale Terrier, Nelson.

I’m inspired by…

My guilty pleasure is…
I don’t believe in guilt.

An uncommon fact about me…
I was a cellist in Harry Alshin’s junior string orchestra (Westchester County, NY). We performed a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (in the early 1970s) and each member of the orchestra was listed in the Congressional Record.

My favorite place to eat in New York City is (was)…
Florent– it represents a time and a place in NYC that no longer exists.

My style is…
My personal style is urban practical and classic.
My decorating style is eclectic – a mix of old and new, colorful, and comfortable for people and pets.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
Something new each day.

Would you rather… Spend a day on the set of Mad Men OR get front row seats and backstage passes at a Bruce Springsteen concert?
“You cannot be serious” (to quote John McEnroe) with this question. Bruce.

The Uncommon Life

Mixtape Mixed Drinks: Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

September 11, 2013

The Manhattan is a classic New York cocktail, so of course it inspired a playlist of classic New York songs. The Manhattan’s a sophisticated drink that evokes images of the city it’s named after during the Mad Men era. (Don Draper typically drinks an old fashioned, but we could see him drinking this as well.)

The drink can be made with Bourbon or Rye–my Manhattan is made with Bourbon.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | UncommonGoods

Sipping a Mahattan in a Mixtape Glass can put you in a New York state of mind, no matter your location.

The Drink:
2 parts bourbon to 1 part sweet vermouth
1-2 Dash bitters
Maraschino cherry (optional)

Place ice in a cocktail shaker and then add bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters. Shake and pour (strained) into a chilled glass or pour over ice. Top with a cherry (optional).

The Playlist:
1. Incident on 57th Street-Bruce Springsteen
2. Spanish Harlem-Ben E. King
3. Positively 4th Street-Bob Dylan
4. Take the A Train-Duke Ellington
5. New York State of Mind-Billy Joel
6. New York City Serenade-Bruce Springsteen