05/06/16 12:00pm
Sunshine Gun Club is actually a four piece. I was told this photo was cropped due to a "drummer situation." I'm pretty sure that means he got murdered by Teletubbies.

Sunshine Gun Club is actually a four piece. I was told this photo was cropped due to a “drummer situation.” I’m pretty sure that means he got murdered by Teletubbies.

If you’ve been in New York City for a couple of years, you’ve probably heard someone talk about how things have changed. You’ve probably noticed it yourself: rent goes up, places close, people move away. Nowhere are these changes more apparent than in Brooklyn’s DIY music scene: bands get together, bands break up, venues close. But then new venues open, and new bands form: bands like Bushwick’s Sunshine Gun Club, whose new album Heaven is out today via Weiner Records.

It’s being released on both cassette tape and digital download, which is pretty cool. I got to talk with Dan Walker, singer, songwriter and mastermind of the skuzzy, melodic punk rock quartet. Sunshine Gun Club is recommended for fans of lo-fi, DIY and deranged Teletubbies on a drug-induced murder rampage— read to the end to make sense of that last one. (more…)

05/06/16 10:00am
The science has 'spoke'-n: bikes are safe! via BikeNYC

The science has ‘spoke’-n: bikes are safe! via BikeNYC

Nothing quite compares to the feeling of cresting the top of the Williamsburg Bridge bike lane, surveying our badass city before you shift into high gear (or not, you fixie kids) and coast the well-deserved downhill slope to the finish line on the other side. I doubt I’m the first to say it: New York is one of the world’s best cities for cycling — Bicycling Magazine named it as such in 2014— and this year we’re getting more than 15 miles of new lanes laid down.

But some of you, and you know who you are, remain terrified of riding a bike in the big city. You claim to “prefer the G.” You think that getting on a bicycle here is tantamount to joining the War Boys on their next raid for Immortan Joe.

The fact is, most of the people who worry it’s too dangerous to bike in NYC haven’t actually tried biking around the city. At least not recently. Compared to other transportation options here, biking is actually one of the safest (sorry, buses). Don’t believe it? Let us offer up a few stone cold facts about biking that might just get you two-wheeling, after all. (more…)

05/05/16 3:40pm
Take a dramatic journey into the park (#2)

Take a dramatic journey into the park (#2)

1. Honor the legacy of urban activist Jane Jacobs by taking a Jane’s Walk: there are 200+ on offer, from “Hipsters & History in Greenpoint” to “The Brownsville Experience” to “Go Dutch in Flatlands.” (Friday through Sunday, FREE)

2. Find the light at Tunnel Odyssey, an immersive dance-theatre production combining the Odyssey and The Oregon Trail, with folk music by the Oshy Annas. (Friday through Sunday, Grand Army Plaza, FREE)

3. See some tunes at the NYC Soundpainting Festival, three days of multidisciplinary live-composing performances and workshops. (Friday through Sunday, Firehouse Space, $10) (more…)

05/05/16 12:29pm
Soft Spot's two-for-one happy hour is so good it's trouble. Via Facebook.

Soft Spot’s two-for-one happy hour is so good it’s trouble. Via Facebook.

We at Brokelyn certainly write about lots of things besides drinking and bars (like, you know, reading in bars, dates you can go on in bars and bars with wifi), but we happen to be very good at bars, especially knowing how to drink cheaply in Brooklyn. That’s why amNY turned to us for tips on the best bar deals in Brooklyn: We put together a list of Team Brokelyn’s favorite beer and shot specials, $2 cans, happy hours, free pizza with drinks and more ways to fill your liver without emptying your wallet, from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint: Check out our list of our recommendations here.

As always, don’t forget to check our 2016 Bar Guide to find more of our Brokelyn recommended bars around the borough; and if you like beer but really hate paying for it, the literal best deal in the city is here for you: Our new Queens Beer Book is on sale now, and gives you more than 30 beers at Queens’ burgeoning beer scene for less than a dollar each!

05/05/16 11:08am
Charley Layton and Jenny Harder, seen here not working for a real estate company.

Charley Layton and Jenny Harder, seen here not working for a real estate company.

Jennifer Harder is a performer, actor and musician who’s been in a rotating stream of projects that would fall under the “alt,” “anarchist” or “steampunk” categories ever since moving to the city about 18 years ago. So she was surprised to find her picture on Brokelyn the other day under the headline “Here are some signs you’re about to gentrify a building” (Note: the headline has since changed for internal reasons). The post, written by me, called out an event a real estate company working for a landlord with a shady past used to help sell some Crown Heights units that had recently been flipped from apartments into pricey condos. The company lured buyers by throwing a steampunk/vaudeville party on April 20, with magicians, music and a bourbon tasting. Harder, 35, was upset at being pictured as the literal face of gentrification: “All of the entertainers are pros who were doing our jobs,” she tweeted at us. “The real estate agents should have been pictured instead.”

Harder and her fellow performer in the picture, Charley Layton, both consider themselves starving artist types: they’ve been in the city since the 90s and and have balanced intense creative pursuits — Harder plays in the legendary Hungry March Band and has toured with Gogol Bordello — with day jobs, side gigs and the occasional corporate event. The real estate job fell right on the the fault line many New York artists and musicians tiptoe every day: When should you take a gig just for the paycheck and when does a higher value demand you say no? There’s no easy answer, so I sat down with the two at Dixon Place on the Lower East Side the other day to talk about how they ended up taking the job and how they balance a career in the arts with the need to survive in an increasingly expensive city.  (more…)

05/04/16 4:00pm
See, you can definitely still look cute with a helmet. via Flickr

See, you can definitely still look cute with a helmet. via Flickr

It’s finally bike month, and while riding on two wheels may be the best way to see the city, bicycle safety is no joke. If accidents do happen, they can be pretty bad unless you’re taking basic precautions, including wearing a helmet. Sure, maybe you don’t look as cool with that man bun all covered up. But even a slight docking of cool points is better than being memorialized with one of those ghostly white bikes on the Brooklyn streets.

In partnership with the DOT and in preparation for this weekend’s Bike the Branches tour — sure to be a helluva lot better than the Five Boro — the Brooklyn Public Library is hosting a free bike helmet fitting tomorrow (Thursday) at their Central Library in Prospect Heights. Free helmets will be available all day while supplies last. A good helmet will normally run you anywhere from $50-100, so this is a sweet deal.

If you ride regularly but haven’t been playing it safe, it’s never too early to start! And if you’ve never ridden a bike before, it’s never too late, either.
(more…)

05/04/16 2:00pm
This sign means trouble.

This sign means trouble.

Moving to NYC is to be in a relentless state of attack, to have your credentials questioned at every turn, both literally and existentially, and to constantly be slapped with the question: Do you belong here? You could spend your whole life in New York City defending yourself against territorial natives, who, to be fair, have plenty of cause for concern that every day a new 23-year-old from somewhere else hatches in Chelsea or Bushwick, ready to overwrite the source code of the city. One of the most common tropes is that Ohioans and other midwesterners are the culprits — they borne of the land of SUVs and McMansions, chain stores and chicken fingers and whiteness, who flee to the city in search of something interesting without bringing anything to the table themselves.

Well, according to this chart culled from census data, that perception is all wrong: It’s those lousy New Jerseyans who are coming to Brooklyn and NYC more than anyone else, according to this map from wonderful data viz blog Very Small Array. (more…)

05/04/16 1:13pm
Trans theatre. No braids attached.

Trans theater. No braids attached.

If you’re tired of seeing cis performances, reading cis thinkpieces and doing things that generally rely on binary gender constructs, then drag yourself over to New York’s first ever trans theatre festival, courtesy of The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tucked unassumingly behind a red door at 579 Metropolitan Avenue, the Brick is a burgeoning theatre venue known for its support of underground artistry (especially attractive, single ones). They regularly host ‘niche’ theater festivals about sex, clowns and comic books, but the trans theater festival marks a step toward a more sobering issue facing New York’s theater community today— namely, the lack of trans artists and trans stories onstage.  (more…)

05/04/16 10:26am
Last year's celebration at Littlefield brought fans together from all over the city. Via MCA Day Facebook.

Last year’s celebration at Littlefield brought fans together from all over the city. Via MCA Day Facebook.

Like Ted Cruz, cancer is a miserable son of a bitch, but unlike Ted Cruz it refuses to go away and stop assaulting our friends, family and public figures and just generally making us sad all the time. Four years ago today, we lost beloved Brooklynite, talented musician and all around Good human being Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, to cancer. It’s a bummer to remember that cancer is out there lurking in the shadows and could take any of us down at any moment (sorry), but instead let’s focus on the good things: We now have MCA Day, an annual holiday celebrating the life and times of all things MCA, and think about the generally good things about being alive. The first part is this weekend. (more…)

05/03/16 3:52pm
Chiktay herring at La Caye. Thank me later.

Chiktay herring at La Caye. Thank me later.

I grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and I never really felt like I “fit.” The neighborhood was largely Caribbean, but the only people I had interactions with were my fellow Haitians. Most of the kids in my school were either Irish or Italian, and I was one of three black students in my class. It’s safe to say I didn’t identify with any of my peers on a cultural level — especially where food was concerned. New York is America’s little melting pot, and there are dozens of restaurants that represent each respective country. But this has never been the case with Haitian restaurants.

Once I got to college, I made it my duty to throw house parties for my friends whenever I came back home to Brooklyn between semesters. I would beg my mother to prepare a buffet of traditional Haitian food for my friends to try. Everybody loved those parties, and I’ve wanted to share the food with friends and strangers ever since.

Good Haitian food takes love and time— from cleaning the meat, to seasoning it using authentic imported spices, to ritual meals like soup joumou, a yellow pumpkin soup we eat on New Years’ Day. And while I’d love to have my mom cook you all some Haitian food, it’s much easier to share my secrets about where else you can get the good stuff. So here’s a list of the best Haitian restaurants in Brooklyn. If you’re feeling really adventurous, double down (get it?) with our Caribbean snack crawl picks along the way.  (more…)