Clark Bar


Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn
Rent: $975 (rent stabilized)
Square feet: 600
Occupant: Dana Sherwood (art teacher); Karen Mancuso (editor, HX; HX for Her)

Your cherry red­and-white table makes me think of June Christy when she sings that song aboutapple pandowdy. You say your life is in the kitchen and you love to cook! I bet you both read stories in the food section about the lonely life of a blueberry or the misunderstood spotted mushroom. You have cutout illustrations of food on your kitchen walls from a 1950s home economics class. The Swiss steak is out of focus. On the back of the picture of liver, it reads: “dietary allowances for boy or girl.” The percentage for girls is higher. Liver discrimination! So here you are in Park Slope among the literati. You say you found your big, airy, tidy apartment after looking at two others. The realtor was panting and said you had to give him cash immediately. He drove you right to the ATM in his car. [Dana] We had to take out $1000 and give it to him. [Karen] He was a jerk. [Dana] You know how they are.

This was six months ago? [Karen] Yes, and a good friend who just moved to Park Slope got a one-bedroom smaller than this and it costs $1400. Ours is just $975. [Dana] An apartment downstairs the same size is renting for $1200 now. In a few months, prices have gone up so much. [Karen] You constantly see young couples, kids, and real estate brokers walking around Park Slope together.

What a sight! [Karen] It’s such an amazing community. [Dana] People are so happy to be living here. [Karen] There are gay couples, tons of interracial families. It’s very friendly.

It sounds like a planned liberal community. How did you meet? [Dana] I went to Clark University in Massachusetts. [Karen] I was a sophomore. I didn’t know Dana. [Dana] You knew Heather. [Karen] You recognized me. I was in a bar in Manhattan last February. [Dana] I was here on a working trip with a friend. I was living in California. I knew I wanted to move to New York. I saw Karen and I said, You look familiar. [Karen] Then when I went to California, because my brother’s ex-girlfriend is from Santa Cruz, I called Dana.

You said you go to stoop sales a lot. [Dana] I get a lot of art supplies. There’re these old ladies in Park Slope who’ll say, I’ll sell you my acrylics for $5.

How sad—all these aging women artists who don’t paint anymore! No, it’s grandmothers with these paint-by-numbers set kinds of things.

Here’s your matchbook collection that Dana got from her cousin in Connecticut. There’s one from “Lester’s Family Shoe Store” and another from “Frances Brewster, Distinguished Resort Fashions.” That’s the kind of place where my friend in high school’s mother got the strapless floral with the big skirt that she wore one Fourth of July and after about five gimlets told the guests, “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” She was talking about her husband. Here’s a matchbook that says “Noel.” It’s so early ’60s. The design is so long and low. [Karen] I don’t notice these things. [Dana] You’re a words woman.

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