How we became your Winey Neighbor

Aug 1, 2011 by     17 Comments    Posted under: NEWS, OUR STORIES

Hello neighbors this is our first blog post and we are very excited to share with you our news and updates about our store- The Winey Neighbor. Please scroll to the bottom for the latest updates. This page is a documentation of the construction works we put in.

We are very lucky to be neighbors with Rawstar– an amazing Vegan Raw food restaurant and Idalias– a beautiful salon spa boutique. Ever since we started construction the neighboring businesses gave us lots of help. Mark and Miriam from BCake NY gave us advise in construction, The Way Station offered their power tools. Best part of our experience is getting to know our neighbors, so next time when you see us walking our bratty dog Wiki, don’t hesitate to stop us and say hi!

This is when we first signed the lease and how the storefront looked like.

How the interior looked before.

We have already made lots of progress, recently Kenneth aka The Winey Husband discovered exposed bricks underneath the left-side of our wall! So we took it upon ourselves to knock down the wall with hammer, crowbar and a little elbow grease, this is great exercises for all you married couples out there, who needs couples counseling when you can bring down a wall!

Don’t mess with The Winey Wife!

Young is knocking down the sheetrocks in smaller pieces to bag them.

Kenneth and his crowbar. After taking the studs out we still had to knock down the plaster that was stuck to the brick wall (behind the studs in the pic above), we also discovered that there are four steel bar bolted deep in the wall to hold a crack. What a surprise! It looks pretty cool!

After exposing the bricks we used a steel brush to clean the bricks,  getting them to look exactly how we like – not too refined with the original character and history.

Next step is sealing the brick.  Shiny appearance of polyurethane did not fit our taste, so Kenneth did a long research and found  Silicon Sealer which is great for waterproofing and preserving. We used Behr no.980 Concrete and Masonry Waterproofer Unlike Polyurethane the Silicon Sealer lets the brick breath while sealing it, this is essential because brick is like a sponge that absorbs moisture. This only took 20 minutes, an unexpected surprise,  with two Garden Sprayer bottle we sealed everything down in no time.  The best part Silicon Sealer has no smell and the finish is totally matte.

Kenneth taking a “Union” break

Next step, patching up walls and painting. We replaced damaged sheetrocks with new ones concealing them with joint compound. This is not an easy task, we thought some YouTube tutorial would help, however our good intentions turn sour realizing that we are pretty good at demolition but not very good at finishing touches. So we got a little help from our neighbor and (now) friend Prince. First thing he told us the “oily” joint compound we got are for professional who want to make a day’s worth of work in couple of days. Prince to the rescue, the master was going to make us into master handy men!

Prince da “Buffalo Soldier Dreadlock Rasta Master” (right) and his right hand man Curtis (left). We highly recommend Prince for all your construction needs, he can be reached at (516)-209-6762.

For renovating the bathroom Prince brought along Curtis a big man with a big heart and a big smile. Curtis a immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago he is an honest and hard-working guy. Curtis has the magic touch when it comes to bathrooms. Curtis can be reached at (347)-856-0534.

If there was a black belt for contractors Prince would be the title black belt holder for Prospect Heights. As the neighborhood contractor and Mr. Fix-it, Prince has worked on most of the neighboring homes and stores surrounding us. At the moment he is finishing 3 parquet wood floors in a brownstone, renovating a basement for Rawstar, general handy work for The Way Station, all this while working at our store. He showed us how to mix Lightweight Joint Compound (blue top bucket) with Plaster of Paris and create a very efficient fast drying plaster for patching our walls. We had great conversations about Israelites sect of Rastafari Movement (Prince speaks fluent Hebrew and send his kids to Yeshiva) and the history of Buffalo Soldiers. So far we learned a lot from you Prince and we are forever grateful for all your hard work, now time for some rest!

We ordered our sign from, Jeff the sales executive of the company suggested us to take down the rotten wood panel (which the old signs was attached to) and replaced it with Pressured-Treated plywood to protect the back of the signs from different weather. Prince got the measurement, and off to Home Depot again for the millionth time. If you ever have this happen to you, you will need the following materials plywood, self tapping screws, 5 gallon roofing cement and rolls of membrane.

The Usain Bolt of the electrician world- Dwayne (left), Dwayne (middle) and Damian (right). If you need any electrical works we highly recommend them! Call them up- (347) 893-3561 or email

Once the store was painted our next step was to get some juice into our store so we can have beautiful lighting and fans to keep us cool. Prince and Curtis recommended Dwayne and his crew for the job, he came on the same day we called. Unlike the demolition and painting we knew that electrical work was nothing to joke about, so we depended on Dwayne and his team Dwayne (#2), Damian and Rick. The ex-tenant, who planned to open an ice-cream shop at the premises, converted the grid into 220 volts to feed the industrial ice cream makers – the result complete revamp. We went to Home Depot and got 250 feet of BX Armored cable (not cheap!) with cover plates, lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, and switches to name a few.

Dwayne, Dwayne, Damien and Rick are the Usain Bolt of the licensed electrician world. They showed up on time, worked hard and very efficiently. We had some mis-communication about the position of the warehouse pendant lights and they respond promptly to our request. The team was very detailed and prompt but they also shared passion for food like us. A heated discussion erupted while we worked, some thought Vee’s Jerk Chicken was hands down the best, while others thought otherwise but when it came to Rotis everyone said Ali’s Roti Shop had the best in town. The Winey Neighbors never had Vee’s or Ali’s so we are very excited to try these recommendations after all the hard work is done.

As we mentioned the bathroom needed renovating,  Curtis and his right hand man Robert was on the case. Both fellow Trinidadians told us stories of J’ouvert, Carnival, West Indies Labor Day Parade and “Panyard” (where all the Steelbands practice) around the hood. We happen to have a pretty large collection of Calypso and Soca so the entire time we were “Trippin” to the music while we were working.

Contractors drink of choice- It works everytime!

Get back to work Kenneth! Chop Chop Chop!

Sanding the ceiling plaster is a real pain in the butt!

While the boys are partying Young is smoothing the wood crates. The crates are from US Navy dating back WWII, used to carry aircraft batteries. It was our vision to use mostly reclaimed wood keeping ourselves sustainable. Since the crates are old growth pine and poplar wood we decided display them as is and show off their natural beauty. With the leftovers we are considering a countertop or a table.

Young went berserk priming the bathroom wall.

Our awning finally come!!! Wow its HUGE!!!

The awning installers from Paul Signs, they are both very nice and efficient! Paul Signs did a FANTASTIC job we got lots of complements already! The day after it was up Brownstoners already wrote about us!

It was not an easy sign to make and their execution was absolutely perfect. Jeff the sales executive of the company was on top of things offering excellent customer service prompt, fast and reliable. The day after we placed the order they came and took the old signs down. Within 18 days after we placed the order the new awning was installed. Great company to work with!

Before we paint the floor we have to sand it first. The original flooring are plywood subfloor with lots of harden glue on it. We have to sand them all down in order for the paint to adhere properly. We start with 40 grit and later on finishing the floor with 60 grit sand paper.

Young and Kenneth “cutting” the corners. Butt to Butt competition! This machine is a back breaker! Our core were so sore for the next several days.

Young is painting the first coat “Champion Cobalt”

After several clean mopping action we start painting the floor, originally Kenneth wanted to put oil-base paint for maximum adhesiveness but NY State prohibited it due to VOCs health issues. We tried to find one with Allkyd but Benjamin Moore doesn’t custom mix those color in NYC anymore. Our last resort to picking durable paint was an easy process it was the one and only choice- the Benjamin Moore Floor & Patio paint that has epoxy resin which contains fiber-reinforced plastic. Hope it will last long. We painted the first coat with the color “Champion Cobalt” but after it dried we didn’t like it, too light in daylight. We went back and got a different color and repainted it two times with “Blue Coal”, this color was more warm and soothing to the eyes hope you guys think so too.

Polyurethane getting to Prince, his eyes are like a waterfall.

To protect the floor paint from chipping we put two coats of MiniWax Oil Based Polyurethane, first coat we used a Lambswool Applicator and the second coat we used a roller. We have to use oil-based formula due to our water-based floor enamel. To prevent dust and other particles from coming in from the street we had to close the doors while we were applying it- an instant gas chamber of toxic poly fume! Prince taught us to take a shot of hard liquor before we sealed the floor to prevent the polyurethane fume from settling in your stomach. After the second coat we let the floor cured for several days which means finally a mini vacation for us!

After two attempts to seal our roof it still have water leaks. After hurricane Irene hit NYC we found puddles of water in the store right in front of the entrance. We suspected it came from the gap of the door. We needed to re-flush and reseal the door. Also we have to re-seal the roof one more time there are minor drippings. You can see the culminated damages from last several leaks from the picture above.

Time flies and finally:

WE GOT OUR LIQUOR LICENSE!!! This picture was taken right after the SLA hearing with Park from the dynamic lawfirm RK Adler! THANK YOU SO MUCH Park, Randy, Michael and everybody at RK Adler for the service!!! If you need to apply for liquor licenses or any other legal business call them up we highly recommend them!

17 Comments + Add Comment

  • OMG OMG OMG!!! this is amazing! I’m so proud of you guys. HA! the winey neighbor. you crack me up. can’t wait to come and buy some wine.

  • OMG this is so awesome you guys! I’m so excited for you! And this blog is awesome! :)

  • wow you guys! i had no idea you were up to this. VERY exciting. now i wish i didn’t live on the other side of the country. otherwise i’d be sure you give you lots of business. good luck!!!

  • You two are amazing! Wish we could come over for wine tasting… hope the Winey Neighbor will be a huge success and please open your next one in our neighborhood :)

    • Thanks Nicole
      Hope to see you around the neighborhood and we’ll announce our opening day once we get our liquor license.


  • Thanks everyone for all the warm words, it means a lot and we look forward to working hard and sharing our passion with you all.

  • So sorry Irene screwed our chance to get together over the weekend – that bitch! This is super cool, best of luck to you guys and I can’t wait to come over and buy wine the next time we’re in NYC.

  • Awesome! I can’t wait to visit. Good luck with the final push. It looks like you’re on the right track.

  • Hi Young and Kenneth, Its clear you don’t let the grass grow under your feet….. cant wait to see the ‘Winey’ for my self. I love the history of the shop and all the pictures of your great neighbours and workmen who have helped you make it into, what I am sure will be, a great Success.

    Good luck with everything in this coming year and hope I get a chance to visit from the UK very soon.

    Much love

  • Love the Polka Dotty… ;) Do you deliver??? Ha Ha Ha!!!

  • Things look great so far. Are you planning on this being a retail store or a consume on-site store?

    Looking forward to seeing you in Ixtapa next month.

  • So~~~Good, please tell me the Opening day!!

  • This could be a book. Wonderful energy from Kenneth, YOung, and all who worked for them.
    I want to visit when next in New York.
    When is the Opening?
    your loyal fb friend

  • Congratulations! Wonderful energy and vision Young and Kenneth. This should be a book and offered at your opening.
    When is the opening?

  • Good work plugging your contractors

  • THIS ROCKS! I love everything about this place and I haven’t been there! If I get to NY, I will stop by :) Congrats…this is very exciting!! Great website, too.

  • […] We are very happy that our Prince, Curtis (hey you got a HOT wife!) the contractors and Dwayne, Dwayne and Damien da Usain Bolt of Electricians World made it to the party! For more of their stories click here! […]

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