Head Hi in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene is a state of mind, an exchange of opinions, a hearty cup of coffee, the spark of an idea, a call for justice
Alexandra Hodkowski and Mösco Alcocer founded Head Hi almost by accident. After organizing two successful art shows in Queens, they noticed an empty retail space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The idea of starting a café bookshop came to them on their way to Europe. By the time they returned to New York, Alexandra and Mösco started working and opened Head Hi in 2018.
Head Hi encompasses Alexandra and Mösco’s passions for surfing, books, art, and their roots in the community. They aimed to create a neighborhood bookshop café where people could come together, talk, and read new books, whilst enjoying pastries with high-quality cups of tea or coffee.
The space at Head Hi can also be transformed to host a variety of events, ranging from book launches, art shows, readings, live music performances and screenings. Moreover, Head Hi participates in events outside of their bookshop, bringing with them a portable Head Hi Book Kiosk. The publications in the kiosk are chosen for the specific events, showcasing the wide selection of material they stock. The kiosk is a mobile representation of their shop and ‘a hub for inspiration, dialogue and reference’. The kiosk aims to ‘provide visitors with a welcome and informative experience; a chance to learn more about the event’s key themes and participants’.
During events, guests can read and look through the publications in the kiosk and buy anything they like. In the past, Head Hi has not only worked with local artists such as Bunny Lampert and Scott Ferguson, but they have also organized exhibitions with international artists such as Rich Gilligan aiming to host a variety of events, ranging from art shows, readings, and poetry to live music and performances.
From the get-go, Head Hi has promoted a sense of community. Outside the bookshop, there is a ‘Community Message Board’ which anyone can use to upcoming events, initiatives or even poems. The message board is a space for everyone in the neighborhood and is there to inspire conversations and expose people to new poets or artists. Both Alexandra and Mösco have ensured that Head Hi is more than just a bookshop or a café. It also reflects their interest in surfing. Head Hi gives a voice to people, such as female surfers. Historically, surfing has been perceived as a male sport, and Head Hi aims to uplift female surfers by promoting and selling magazines such as She Surf, which celebrates women in surfing.
Most recently, Head Hi has shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. In June, Head Hi participated in a ‘Paddle Out Against Police Injustice’ event, where people were invited to come together and peacefully protest the death of George Floyd and other victims of police brutality. In August, Head Hi took part in another paddle out, this time in memory of Breonna Taylor. Head Hi provided donation-based coffee for the racial justice group, Color of Change. Alexandra and Mösco have made sure that they use their influence to promote equality, not shying away from public statements of support.
In March 2020 Head Hi had to close their bookshop due to COVID-19. Alexandra Hodkowski and Mösco Alcocer recognized the importance of protecting their community and keeping people safe. Not only do they now offer books and magazines online but, for a small fee, clients are able to watch exclusive films, not available on streaming sites. For example, the Head Hi virtual cinema presented ‘Martin Margiela: In his own words’ in August.
During the height of the pandemic, Head Hi would stream a live feed of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a busy road near the bookshop. Mösco personally curated the music playing in the background. Before the pandemic, music was always playing — as Alexandra Hodkowski and Mösco Alcocer ensure, «music is an important element of who we are, it inspires us and gets us going». This online event aimed to keep the community in good spirits. In the words of the co-founders, «We’re in this together, keep your Head Hi».
14 Clermont Ave #1L
Brooklyn, New York