One shop, two shop: Bay Ridge businesses celebrate Dr. Seuss Day with young readers

kids do dr. seuss day crafts in bookshop
The Art Room NYC and The BookMark Shoppe held a story time and craft in honor of the late children’s author Dr. Seuss on March 1.
Jada Camille

On the morning of March 1, Leigh Brannan, owner of The Art Room in Bay Ridge, gathered with young readers in the back of The BookMark Shoppe with bottles of red and blue paint and a copy of “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss to celebrate the famed author’s birthday. 

Mary Brannan, a retired preschool teacher who pitches in to help her daughter-in-law, held the story time before the little artists began creating their own masterpieces inspired by Seuss and his tales.  

“We’re really about making memories, it’s just nice that we’ve been able to do this to the extent that everyone’s enjoying it and it doesn’t have to be something that cost a fortune,” Leigh told Brooklyn Paper. 

The pair — who happen to be the wife and the mother of local council member Justin Brannan — focus on enriching the next generation by immersing them in literature and creativity before they’ve even begun schooling. 

woman poses with kid at dr. seuss day celebration
Little Shane and his mom stopped into The BookMark Shoppe for a quick story time and craft. The two left with a new book and toy. Jada Camille 

“We believe really strongly in enrichment in general so even if its a process that they’re learning or doing, to combine that with reading is just a beautiful combination because both things we really feel make a child grow and nurture their brain,” she said. 

Parents sat with their tots as they blotted paint on paper plates cut into the shape of a fish. Ashley Palmiotto visits the bookstore with her two-year old daughter often, but today was the first time they decided to join in on the artsy fun.

“It was her first activity. She had a really good time painting and now she wants to shop around,” Palmiotto said. “The staff is always great, always accommodating, so we frequent here a lot.”

outside of bookmark shoppe
The BookMark Shoppe located at 8415 Third Avenue originally opened in Dyker Heights in November 2002 but as the business expanded, the shop moved to Bay Ridge. Photo by Jada Camille.

Another local, Joann Marino, wanted to find a way to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with her young granddaughter, and what better way than an event hosted at their favorite shop?

“We come here all the time, it’s our favorite bookstore and they have a lot of activities for the girls so we like it,” Marino said.  

According to Mary, Dr. Seuss’ birthday is a big event for the children — and since they typically come in for crafts and book readings every other Wednesday, she and Leigh decided to celebrate the popular writer a day early. 

kids doing dr. seuss day crafts at bookmark shoppe
Just as craft time was wrapping up, the toddlers were eager to start shopping for a new book and toy.Photo by Jada Camille.

Leigh has known shop owner Christine Freglette for over a decade, and the two always had plans for a collaboration — so when Leigh’s brick and mortar shop closed in March 2020, the two finally partnered together.

“We’ve been doing a lot of events together, trying to think of ways to get the community together and do arts and crafts,” she said. “It’s a nice way to sort of combine the bookstore and what we do.”