Park Slope

Norman & Jules Celebrates Grand Opening Of Backyard Event Space


Norman & Jules backyard
As soon as Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz signed the lease on the future Norman & Jules space in 2012, they knew they wanted to do something with the backyard of their new 7th Avenue toy store.

“It was not in our original plan,” Avi says, “but a backyard in Brooklyn! It at least deserved a grill.”

This weekend, they’re celebrating the opening of the backyard, which is much more than just a spot for cooking hot dogs. Though if you saw their original plan, which they presented earlier this year in an Indiegogo fundraiser, it is a bit different from that.

“It was clear that we had become a tiny bit over zealous with our original plan,” Avi says. “So basically, it changed entirely!”

Norman & Jules backyard before
The backyard last year.

Avi had started working on the yard last summer in order to clean it up, fix the drainage, and grade the land. Rather than carting tons of dirt away, he had the idea of creating undulating hills into the landscape — those elements ended up remaining in the final plan, and they couldn’t be more happy that they did.

“In the end, we had to regroup and get really creative with designing a space on our own with the budget that we had,” he explains, as the project did not receive funding through Indiegogo. “We used tons of reclaimed and natural materials (even the lush turf is LEED-certified), and to save even more funds, we built it ourselves.”

Norman & Jules backyard
The result is a lovely nature-inspired yard that will host play sessions, book readings, sing-alongs, yoga, and birthday parties. Avi adds that they’re open to ideas for what else to host back there, and “will definitely want to extend our offerings in the future.”

They’re kicking things off this Friday, June 6, when they’ll have open playtime, a book reading, and yoga for kids ages 2-3 and ages 4-5 — you can see the full schedule and list of fees here.

Then on Sunday, June 8 at 11am they’ll launch their musical shows with local favorite Suzi Shelton. Tickets are $15 per child, available at the store on the day of the show.

Norman & Jules backyard
It should be a pretty fun addition to the neighborhood for parents looking for an additional option for local fun for the kids — and to find a little escape for themselves, too.

“We are seriously proud of it and hope that it inspires children to unleash their creativity,” Avi says. “It’s also super peaceful back there — a nice place for parents to relax as well.”

And even though they didn’t reach their fundraising goal, Avi and Courtney appreciate all the encouragement they received from neighbors.

“We want to thank everyone who helped this very special yard become a reality. The community support was wonderful and we are extremely grateful. We can hardly wait to see all of the children interact with and explore the space.”

Norman & Jules is located at 158 7th Avenue, between 1st St and Garfield Pl, 347-987-3323. You can see what’s coming up in the backyard, which will be open through November, on their events calendar.

All photos via Norman & Jules

Comment policy


  1. I’m happy to see that they came up with a more reasonable plan.

    For the benefit of the public’s knowledge of LEED, and sustainable buildings, LEED does not certify products, such as the green turf mentioned here, but instead LEED certifies buildings and potentially their attached open spaces if those spaces are included in a LEED project boundary. The turf used here could contribute to credits in pursuit of LEED certification but this backyard project does not qualify for certification under any existing LEED category.

    That being said, this turf is likely made from recycled materials and eliminates the use of any irrigation water so it’s a great choice for maximizing the open space. I hope to get the kids by there sometime soon.

  2. Thank you for the clarification, Kevin. We certainly did not mean to mislead anyone.

    Indeed the materials used are recycled.Using SYNLawn can contribute to LEED points in the areas of Water Efficient Landscaping, Recycled Content, Rapidly Renewable Material and Innovation in Design.

    We look forward to having you!


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