That the The Brooklyn Cottage exists is itself a mini-marvel of the 21st century. This salon series is the brainchild of the eternally curious, questioning, meditator, aesthete and bon vivant Jenny Douglas. Founded in the aftermath of her divorce, this “urban farmer of the heart” has husbanded something quite extraordinary into being—proving that yes, idealism alone is a sufficient fertilizer! She hosts her meetings-of-the-minds in her Brooklyn townhouse’s bona fide parlor with its bona fide hearth, which she uses in the way that these gracious spaces were intended: to provide a welcoming setting for people to mutually engage, entertain, educate and delight. This has proven to be the perfect backdrop for the parade of types of all stripes she has invited to share their discoveries—and spark discoveries in others (including yours truly). Like the Shinto Torii gates of Japan (the country of her childhood), Jenny’s evenings are portals from the mundane to that simple, sublime sacredness that occurs when great people of goodwill convene under one roof—offline!
~Victoria C. Rowan, Ideasmyth Creatrix-in-Chief
What have I learned on the journey of discovery that’s been The Brooklyn Cottage?
Start with what you have.
Make your life a celebration.
Don’t waste time trying to be anyone other than who you already are.
And what for its future? As recently as last month, with both my daughters newly out of the house, I thought perhaps it was time to close up the Brooklyn Cottage shop–that maybe this particular experiment had come to the end. It’s never been the the least bit profitable, this thing I’ve come to love so much, which means neither I nor Yazmany Alboleda, the Brooklyn Cottage’s tireless design director, who created a magnificent website for us and crafts all the design collateral for each of our events, has ever received a dime for it.
The Brooklyn Cottage now has an outpost in the Catskills, available to artists and writers, would-be and otherwise in need of time to reflect and create.
Beyond all this, I like what the late journalist Eduardo Galeano had to say when people asked him “what’s next”:
“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. What matters is now. It’s the same as moments when I fall in love. Moments of love are infinite while they last.”
~~~In the spring of 2012, serendipity prompted Jenny Douglas to integrate her experiences as a TV/radio news producer, her degrees from Sarah Lawrence and Columbia Journalism School, and her globetrotting childhood into her new calling: an urban farmer of the heart. The result was The Brooklyn Cottage.