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Brooklyn Gal

Bye Bye Bird-ie

Local boutique closes shop

With the world turned upside down right now, retail is obviously having a tough time, especially the indie boutiques where we here at the Brooklyn Gal draw much of our style inspiration.

The other day, while out taking a mental health walk, we noticed that the Park Slope branch of longtime trendsetter Bird was all papered up, with a lovely good-bye note plastered on the window. Luckily, this offshoot is the only casualty; Bird’s other shops in Cobble Hill, Fort Greene and Williamsburg are poised to reopen (at least to our knowledge) post-Corona, while the online store is still humming along.

In some ways, it’s the end of an era. But isn’t everything these days?

We must admit that Bird’s closing makes us a bit nostalgic. Many years ago, when its first branch opened in its former location, on Seventh Avenue, in the South Slope, Bird was truly a revelation. At last, a Brooklyn boutique stocked with indie designers, cool clothes that you weren’t likely to see anywhere, especially department stores. The vibe was friendly yet hip, the staff super helpful. And the selection made our hearts go pitter-pat—this, we realized, was what fashion dreams were made of. Even then, the prices were aspirational, meaning that we lusted more than purchased, but never mind: Bird, way back when, raised the style bar, especially for the neighborhood.

Lately, we’ve looked to Bird for that fashion shot in the arm, but it hasn’t totally delivered. While the selection doesn’t always wow, with many of the items too boxy (looking at you, Black Crane), pricey or just not us, we still remain loyal to this Brooklyn outfit. After all, one of these days, when the Brooklyn Gal can actually walk through the doors, we know that we’ll be swept off our feet by some must-have dress or jumpsuit from Alex Mill, Ganni, Mara Hoffman, Rachel Comey, or some amazing new designer we’ve never, ever heard of.

It’s in the cards, just like spring.


Princess Margaret and Your Horoscope

The stars didn’t always align for HRH the Princess Margaret

If not for Princess Margaret, you might have no daily horoscope to refer to, no sign to consult, no astrological love match to ponder, no traits to attest to, no affinity with the stars whatsoever. What, then, did the temperamental younger sister of Queen Elizabeth have to do with your star sign? We here at the Brooklyn Gal are here to tell you.

According to Craig Brown‘s 2018 biography, Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret, it was John Gordon, the editor of the UK newspaper, the Sunday Express, who hit on the notion. Gordon requested that a famous astrologer and occult figure named Cheiro make predictions about the life that lay ahead for the princess, born on August 21, 1930. With Cheiro unavailable, his assistant, R.H. Naylor, rose to the occasion, predicting that Her Royal Highness would lead “an eventful life.” (How’s that for an understatement?) A later forecast, about an endangered British aircraft, proved to be true, and Naylor’s reputation as a prognosticator was sealed.

Gordon, ever the visionary, then asked Naylor to write a weekly column for all Sunday Express readers, royal and otherwise, based on their birthdays. The astrologer wasn’t about to come up with 365 forecasts; instead, he decided to divide the sun’s 360-degree transit into twelve zones, each covering thirty degrees. How then to name them? Naylor looked to the celestial constellations for inspiration and eureka! came up with predictions for each of the twelve birth signs. Lo and behold, the modern horoscope and the first sun sign astrologer came into existence!

If not for the noble Leo, Princess Margaret, who shared her zodiac sign with the likes of Count Basie, King William IV and Kenny Rogers, among zillions of others, there might not be a Virgo, Gemini, so on and so forth, among us.