My Back Pages: Bluebells in “Rebecca” (and at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

bluebell wood

This week I made a visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Bluebell Wood, just in time to catch the bluebells before they start to fade away. This corner of the garden always reminds me of Manderley in Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca.

“Too early yet for blue bells, their heads were still hidden beneath last-year’s leaves, but when they came, dwarfing the more humble violet, they choked the very bracken in the woods, and with their colour made a challenge to the sky.

He never would have them in the house, he said. Thrust into vases they became dank and listless, and to see them at their best you must walk in the woods in the morning, about twelve o’clock, when the sun is overhead. They had a smoky, rather bitter smell, as though a wild sap ran in their stalks, pungent and juicy. People who plucked bluebells from the woods were vandals, he had forbidden it at Manderley…”

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A Visit to the Aroma M Atelier in Brooklyn, NYC

aroma m view

On Friday evening  I took the subway out to Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass; you can see the bridge here, from the Brooklyn side of the river, with the lower Manhattan skyline in the background. I took this photo from the roof of the building where Aroma M Perfumes has just opened its new “atelier.”

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CB I Hate Perfume’s Call for Benefactors


I’ve admired perfumer Chrisopher Brosius since the mid-1990s, when his original Demeter line was first launched in New York. I’ve continued to follow his career and his work, collecting samples and a bottle or two for my own collection and—in recent years—making regular visits to his I Hate Perfume studio and gallery in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

(You can read a post I wrote last year about Brosius and I Hate Perfume here.)

For all these reasons, I was distressed to learn that Brosius and I Hate Perfume are being forced to leave their Williamsburg storefront. I don’t have the details, but everyone knows that New York City real estate, particularly in a neighborhood like Williamsburg that has recently seen an influx of high-end development, is a tough business… Continue reading “CB I Hate Perfume’s Call for Benefactors”