New sign sends up a ‘Flare’ in Greenpoint

Man with a message: Keith Carollo, co-founder of Fred Flare boutique in Greenpoint, puts up an inspiration note every day.
The Brooklyn Paper / Kate Emerson

The Meserole Avenue boutique Fred Flare is reflecting the thoughts, musings, and inside jokes of the neighborhood with a handmade billboard baring a different North Brooklynite’s message each day.

The tiny marquee in the shop’s window changes every day to include messages that range from the inspirational (“Lighten up”) and the indeterminable (“Goatie, oatie, bloatie”), to the personal (“Mike, you gave me the best hug. Eve”) and the promotional (“Come in. You know you want to”).

But all of the messages have come from the minds of neighbors and shoppers at the Greenpoint store.

“It’s an expression of their personalities,” said Keith Carollo, one of the founders of Fred Flare, which opened its Greenpoint store last year. “It’s a fun way to hear what’s on peoples’ minds and try to share it.”

Since the sign went up in early March, more than 500 thinkers, jokesters, and wonderers have submitted messages for the project, which is titled “Your Message Here.” The artists who created the sign, Philadelphians Stephen Loidolt and Shauna Alterio, choose their favorites each day and staffers at the Greenpoint shop update the sign.

All kinds of messages — from meta-of-fact quirkiness (“Your shoelace is untied”) to proclamations of love (“I love my lady Lainey”) — have made it on the board, but brevity is the key, according to Carollo.

“They generally are just really simple — nothing really complicated,” he said.

Being a neighborhood character or a repeat shopper can also help get your message on the billboard, as was the case when the sign read “Happy Fourteen, Michael” in celebration of a frequent Fred Flare customer’s birthday, Carollo said.

The sign will continue to show new messages until April 10, when Fred Flare will throw a closing cocktail party for Loidolt and Alterio’s project.

For those that want to publicize their short, whimsical messages, but haven’t been able to earn a spot on the sign, there’s always Twitter.

Send your message to Fred Flare at www.fredflare.com and check out the April 10 closing cocktail party at the store [131 Meserole Ave. at Leonard Street in Greenpoint, (718) 349-1257], 7–10 pm.

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