Neighborhood Watch: Sean Mc Nanney

SeanatSaved When Sean Mc Nanney relocated from Seattle to Williamsburg and opened with partner Noel Hennessy the St. Helens coffeeshop followed by the Saved Gallery of Arts and Crafts, the Brooklyn 'hood was already well on its way to becoming the Next Big Thing. Still, with his unique artisanal focus translated through his shop's selection of local-based designers, Mc Nanney unwittingly left his own indelible stamp on the area's development.
On his day off, in-between sessions designing Saved's new clothing line (to come out Spring '06), Refinery29 took a stroll with Sean to discover his favorite haunts among the cranes rising from the neighborhood's empty lots. "The influx of all these new things and big brands in Williamsburg is pushing us to keep the little, special places different," he says. "The small establishments are what make this neighborhood appealing."
Saved Tattoo (in the back of the Saved Gallery or Arts and Crafts)
82 Berry Street
718-388-5990
Walk through to the end of the Saved Gallery of Arts & Crafts, knock on the door, and enter Saved Tattoo, the store's in-house tattoo parlor. A mix between a western country store and an old dentist's office, the shop and its five tattoo artists are a unique draw for the neighborhood. "I got pretty much all my tattoos at the shop," says Sean whose most recent adornments are a set of bows on each arm.
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St. Helens
150 Wythe Avenue
718-302-1197
"When Noel and I first moved to Williamsburg, there was the Verve [another local coffeeshop], but we wanted something different. Coming from Seattle, we naturally wanted a place where you could hang out and get good coffee, but we also wanted to create a nice spot to have meetings, sort of a place where you can come as a young artist with little money and present your project to someone in a nice setting and close a deal. As for the name, we wanted it to remind us of home. We both grew up in Washington, and we wanted an icon of the Pacific Northwest. In 1981, Mt. St. Helens exploded. [It evokes home]; We used to see the mountain all the time, and it's a feeling of something about to [erupt]. The café has a simple menu. I like the baked eggs and the salads. I go about three times a day."
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Ugly Luggage
214 Bedford Ave
718-384-0724
"A really amazing antique store. I come here all the time and I'm friends with the owners. They helped us out a lot with our business, too. If there's things I like he'll let me use it for the store. I bought a lot of stuff for the café from here, too. They get their stuff from auctions in Pennsylvania. Also, they could double their prices on everything. Compared to stores in the City, Ugly Luggage has flea market prices. I got a Japanese lacquer-ware paper mache plate from the 1850s here recently. It was made for export to France. I got it for like $10, but it's probably worth much more."
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Carniceria Latina
Bedford Avenue (at the corner of North 6th Street)
"I'm friends with the bodega owner and his wife. I'm really happy they are still around with so many businesses being pushed out of the neighborhood. When we first opened, we gave them matches from St. Helen, and when you bought a pack of cigarettes they'd give them to you. His wife is really adorable. She always tells me how much she loves St. Helens' caramel latte."
Junk
197 North 9th Street
"Junk is relatively new. I love it 'cause it's like a real thrift store, and I've found some really great stuff here. I work out upstairs at the gym and I'm like 'fucking do it' and then I spend $5 as a reward."
Union Pool
484 Union Avenue
718-609-0484
"I like the photo booth there a lot. I met the owners at St. Helens. They are like the king and queen of the neighborhood. Elyssa, one of the owners, has lived here for 15 years. We met them through the café. Both have helped us out with the store. It's my favorite bar in the neighborhood." During summer time, grab your drink and head out to the bar's little courtyard.
Sean Mc Nanney of Saved in Williamsburg is steadfast in his hopes to preserve the small-town vibe of Brooklyn's ever-blossoming quadrant of cool. Here, he shares his favorite local spots and neighbors, both old and new, on a walking tour with Refinery29.
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