Clinton Hill

Unicorn poop and dragon fingers: Myrtle Avenue’s wacky wares

March 19, 2019 Lore Croghan
Welcome to Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

I know where you can buy unicorn poop.

Yes, really.

On Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill.

This Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood’s commercial corridor has all kinds of wacky wares.

Let’s take a walk, and talk with some of the merchants who keep things ticking on this street, which is cool but not intimidating – and effortlessly charming.

Toysmith Unicorn Poop

It’s mystical. It’s sparkly. It’s Toysmith Unicorn Poop, sold by Pipsqueak Shoppe and Salon. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.
It’s mystical. It’s sparkly. It’s Toysmith Unicorn Poop, sold by Pipsqueak Shoppe and Salon. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

It’s really just putty. But it’s “mystical and sparkly,” the packaging promises. It’s unicorn poop. Why didn’t it exist when I was a child?

“Unicorns are taking over,” Nakasi Garcia, a salesperson at Pipsqueak Shoppe and Salon (469 Myrtle Ave.), said. “When the word gets out that there’s unicorn poop in stock, it’s like madness after school.”

The fanciful stuff costs $5.99 per package.

Salmon heads

Salmon heads are a surprisingly popular purchase at Gurvan Duncan’s Myrtle Avenue fish shop. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.
Salmon heads are a surprisingly popular purchase at Gurvan Duncan’s Myrtle Avenue fish shop. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

The quirkiest thing Myrtle Avenue merchant Gurvan Duncan sells is fish heads – specifically, salmon heads.

“People love them. They make soup with them,” the second-generation owner of Duncan’s Quality Fish Market (385 Myrtle Ave.) said.

Duncan started working at age 12 in the shop, which his father started around 1989. His father has retired.

About the decapitated fish noggins.

Restaurants buy them, neighborhood residents buy them. They’re a bigger seller in cold weather than in summer, when folks eat less soup, Duncan said.

And buying them makes immense economic sense. They’re priced at $2.99 per pound. Salmon fillets are $13.99 per pound.

“You get the flavor without the cost” when you buy the heads, he said.

Beeswax candles

Beeswax candles are a big seller at Elissa Olin’s shop Green in BKLYN. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.
Beeswax candles are a big seller at Elissa Olin’s shop Green in BKLYN. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

The glow of flickering light is soothing no matter what kind of candle is in the house.

But candles made with beeswax are actually good for your health, Elissa Olin said.

“They put negative ions in the air that remove pollution,” said the owner of Myrtle Avenue shop Green in BKLYN (432 Myrtle Ave.), which is an eco-friendly home goods and gift store.

Beeswax candles are a perennial best seller at her shop. They range in price from $3.95 for a candle that burns for 15 hours to $28.95 for a candle that burns for 80 hours.

Olin, who is about to celebrate her business’s 10th anniversary, has signed a new 10-year lease.

The Bear Claw! back scratcher

Christian Mendez holds a Bear Claw! back scratcher. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.
Christian Mendez holds a Bear Claw! back scratcher. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

Back scratchers are a guy thing.

Men – as in a lot of men – come into Clinton Hill Hardware (452 Myrtle Ave.) to buy the $4 metal Bear Claw! brand back scratcher. And women purchase them for their boyfriends and husbands.

The back scratcher is shaped like a tiny version of an animal’s paw and has a retractable handle. Apologies for the exclamation point. It’s part of the product’s trademarked name.

At Christmas, people buy a ton of the metal claws for stocking stuffers, Christian Mendez, the store’s general manager, he said.

Cool Cat Wheatgrass

Simba the cat nibbles on Cool Cat Wheatgrass at NYCPet.com. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.
Simba the cat nibbles on Cool Cat Wheatgrass at NYCPet.com. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

People like me who were taught not to let our dogs chew up the grass growing on our neighbors’ lawns are surprised to find it’s actually okay for canines and felines to ingest  the green stuff – if it’s clean.

“It’s good for their digestion and their breath,” Juan D., the manager of Myrtle Avenue shop NYCPet.com (464 Myrtle Ave.), said.

The grass growing on a lawn is bad for pups because it’s likely to be tainted with pesticides and have bugs in it, he added.

A box of planted, sprouted Cool Cat Wheatgrass costs $3.99. It sells well. Every week, Juan has to order a new batch.

Dragon fingers

Julio Perez shows off the dragon fingers that Bella Rosa Flower Shop is selling. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.
Julio Perez shows off the dragon fingers that Bella Rosa Flower Shop is selling. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

In Julio Perez’s 12 years of work at Bella Rosa Flower Shop (566 Myrtle Ave.), this is first time he has seen this spiky, vaguely menacing plant in stock.

Don’t grab the dragon fingers, as it’s called. It grows in long stalks with sharply pointed ends.

It’s beautiful to look at but painful to touch – and fraught with symbolic significance.

It costs $40.

Elmer’s Slime Starter Kit

Stephane Jean-Philippe poses with the Elmer’s Slime Starter Kit that Blick Art Materials sells. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.
Stephane Jean-Philippe poses with the Elmer’s Slime Starter Kit that Blick Art Materials sells. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan.

Blick Art Materials (536 Myrtle Ave.) is a deeply serious shop. Its customers are Pratt Institute students and professional artists.

But one of its really popular products is goofy kid stuff.

The Myrtle Avenue store stocks the Elmer’s Slime Starter Kit, which is a box full of products that turn glue into slime. I’m sure you readers watched enough Nickelodeon TV shows in your youth to know what slime is.

“The parents hate it. The kids love it,” sales associate Stephane Jean-Philippe said.

The kits are priced at $14.79.

Do you have a favorite Myrtle Avenue shop? Let us know in the comments below.

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