08/01/16 12:46pm
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They say Brooklyn is like summer camp but it’s actually way better.  via  @gabriellaregina / IG

Even amidst the ghastlier headlines in the news these days, you can wipe the sweat from your brow knowing that you decided to live in Brooklyn: land of progressives, personal freedoms and Pokémon bar crawls.

And these are just a few items on a long laundry list of small pleasures you may take for granted as a Brooklynite. Lucky for you, I’m working a brief stint at a summer camp in Northern Canada! I am writing to you from this vantage to remind you of a few things you can do in Brooklyn that you can’t do anywhere else, and especially not at Canadian summer camp. (more…)

06/16/16 9:00am
No bologna: The 9 best vegan sandwiches in Brooklyn for $9 or less

The vegan BLT at Little Skips won’t leave you achin’ for bacon. Photos by Sam Corbin.

Sandwiches are the perfect food. Why? Because they allow you to combine any number of ingredients and pile them as high as you like, so long as two wayward pieces of bread can hold the whole thing together. And though I admit I’m a kind of sandwich apologist — in my view wraps, burgers and even pizzas folded in half could be included in the category… it’s just dough on either side, right? — for the purposes of this article, a sandwich shall be known only by its more conservative definition. Two slices of bread, stuff inside.

It’s about as hard to find a vegan sandwich in Brooklyn as it is to find a vegan. In other words, not very, and more frequently in select areas. I’ve spent the last six months hunting for the best vegan sandwiches in this borough, just so you don’t have to settle for a dud. And I limited my search to sandwiches that cost $9 or less. Because the minute a sandwich costs $10, it stops being a sandwich and starts being some fancy bullshit.

With that, here are the nine best vegan sandwiches in Brooklyn, for $9 or less. (more…)

06/13/16 2:00pm
Ufomadu hosts interview guests after hours in Brooklyn. Courtesy of JACK

Ufomadu plays the after hours in Brooklyn, and you don’t need to line up for a ticket. Courtesy of JACK

When you think about it, talk shows are pretty ridiculous. From the strange formality of three piece suit-clad hosts to the absurdity of having an actual office bureau set up onstage, the talk show trope is one that ought to inspire as many questions as it does laughs.

No one knows this better than Ikechukwu Ufomadu, a 30-year-old performer who’s been staging faux talk shows for the last five years in various venues around Brooklyn and Manhattan. Most recently, you might have caught Ufomadu in Ike at Night at the Bushwick Starr, or as Barack faux-Bama in our Facebook Live interview last week. A Park Slope resident with a penchant for entertainment, Ufomadu draws inspiration from the likes of Andy Williams, Johnny Carson and David Letterman for his four pop-up talk and variety shows: Ike at Night, Ike Night, Nightcap | by Ike and Ike for the Holidays.

Like any television personality, the man is far more than the entertainer. So Brokelyn sat down with Ufomadu to talk about growing up making friends laugh every now then, and learning how to do the same for strangers five nights a week.

“In eighth grade, I asked my mom if I could be an actor,” Ufomadu recalled to Brokelyn. “She said, ‘Sure.'” (more…)

06/09/16 11:32am
Champs Jr. is now Screamer's Pizzeria, a 100% vegan slice pizza joint!

We’d call this move pretty upper crust.

Brooklyn’s vegans have long been lamenting a dearth of junk food options in the borough — sure, we have kale-infused sunflower butter milkshakes and cilantro-rubbed seitan spring rolls, but where are the un-chicken fingers? Why no vegan frito pies? What about mock-olate candy bars? Truly, a vegan’s deepest and most simple wish is to enjoy the same privileges of terrible food decision-making as their carnivorous friends.

So if you, like your trusty Brokelyn editors, are vegan and left wanting, then you’ll be as thrilled as we are to hear that the Champs Jr. in Greenpoint (620 Manhattan Avenue), which mysteriously closed last month, is re-opening this Monday as an ALL-VEGAN PIZZA BY THE SLICE JOINT in partnership with Philly-based company Blackbird Pizzeria. The micro-Champs will now be a late night mecca of cruelty-free, hot n’ crusty gooey junk known as Screamer’s Pizzeria. Open daily, 11am-midnight.

Pizza traditionalists and meat mongers, it’s safe to say stay far away; this place is going to infuriate you.🍕  (more…)

06/08/16 4:27pm
Inside Grlcvlt, a secretive 3,000-woman network against Brock Turner and the patriarchy

Grlcvlt may be a secret, but they’ve still got merch. via @beckannephoto on Instagram

By now, you’ve heard about the case of the Stanford rapist, Brock Turner, and the absurd leniency of his recent sentencing — a mere six months in jail  — by the judge presiding over his case, Aaron Persky. And the case hasn’t stopped there. From the release of the powerful letter Turner’s victim read to him aloud in court, to that of the letter Brock Turner’s dad wrote in his son’s defense, to that of the band member’s misguided character reference of Turner that got her band booted from Northside Festival, news of the trial’s unfolding and its central players has occupied the unseen chyron of the internet this week, updates ticking across our Facebook news or Twitter feeds at an unrelenting pace.

What you might not know, however, is that there’s a 3,000+ member secret society in New York that’s working to unseat the judge who sentenced Turner.

An event surfaced on Facebook this week, titled “Grlcvlt’s ‘F**ck Rape Culture’ event to unseat Judge Aaron Persky.” It’s hosted by Bed-Stuy resident Remy Holwick, Ford photographer and model, and local leader of a secret online feminist group who currently goes by Grlcvlt.

Brokelyn spoke to Holwick to get a feel for her movement, its members, and what she hopes to inspire in today’s feminist Brooklynites.

“Rape culture is problematic, rape culture is being formed and maintained by the patriarchy,” she said. “And [Judge Aaron Persky] is an instrument of the patriarchy that we can unseat.”  (more…)

06/07/16 4:09pm
Tonka and the truck. via Youtube

Tonka and the truck. via Youtube

Horses are a rare sight in this concrete jungle where memes are made of. One of last summer’s hottest news stories was that of the mysterious “Franklin Avenue Horseman,” and when the TODAY show brought in that same Brooklyn horse to meet Terry Crews on live television, we went wild all over again. Suffice it to say, Brooklyn should be as proud of its equine citizens as it is of its human ones.

This weekend, the New York Transit Museum is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a free all-day, all-ages block party on Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn. And guess who’s going to be in attendance? Yep, that’s right — besides the transportation games, live entertainment and vintage buses to board and explore, you too can now meet the blog-famous Brooklyn-trotting horse that once terrorized our streets and touched Terry Crews.

Heck, if you shake the horse’s hoof, it’s as though you met the man.  (more…)

06/07/16 1:00pm
Just like Audrey 2, the movies are doubled. via youtube

Just like Audrey 2, the movies are doubled. via Youtube

Summer in New York is a season of rituals, from the first backyard barbecue in June to the last hooky beach trip in September. Among the greatest of these rituals is the much-beloved outdoor movie, a ritual that has become something more of a rite of passage here in Brooklyn. If you haven’t been to one then you haven’t lived. At least, not by our standards.

In fact, the only thing that could beat a rooftop movie in Brooklyn in our books would be two rooftop movies in Brooklyn, screened one after the other, while taking a never-ending stream of tacos and beer to the face. And hey, would you look at that? Our Wicked Lady, the recently-opened bar and venue in Bushwick, is happy to oblige.

Tonight, the bar is kicking off a summer-long weekly series of double features on their rooftop (recently deemed one of New York’s 10 best rooftop bars in the city by no one we know) with a creature double feature, screening Little Shop of Horrors, followed by Gremlins. And all the while, you can nosh from a donation-based menu of pulled pork or sweet potato and kale tacos. (more…)

06/07/16 7:55am
The ultimate summer movie guide: All the free outdoor movies you can see in Brooklyn in 2016

Free outdoor movies in so many parks, bars and backyards it’ll make your head spin. Dan Nguyen / Flickr

I just watched the Game of Thrones pilot (late, I know) and Ned Stark keeps saying that “winter is coming.” I’ve inferred that since Westeros must be some kind of fortressed land off the coast of Australia, what he actually meant by this was that “summer is coming.” And boy, is it ever! Don’t let this week’s lower temperatures fool you; the countdown started long ago, and the Gowanus Yacht Club just declared outdoor drinking season officially open. It’s time to get outside and get lit, not to mention start racking up those demerit badges.

I’m not sure where I was going with the elegy to summer above, but it eventually leads us back to free outdoor movies. Because yadda yadda “nothing says summer like” yadda yadda. So here’s a massive list we made of all the free outdoor movies playing in Brooklyn this summer. We’ll keep adding to this list as more and more free outdoor movie schedules come out because trust us, there’s plenty more to come. Screening series will soon be announced at Coney Island Beach, Red Hook Park and at various other bars we love in the borough. Some series are more weather-permitting than others, and some make better dates than others. But don’t worry: as you’ll see from the list below, you’ve got more than enough chances to catch Purple Rain this summer.  (more…)

06/03/16 4:15pm
WATCH: New web series, 'Affordable NYC' uses actual humor to tackle the expense of living in NYC

The ‘precocious tyke’ had his own name changed.

Whenever we hear about a new web series these days, especially another one set in New York City, land of dreams crushed beneath the weight of a wayward condo crane, the first reaction we have is an exasperated one. It’s not that the subject of “Woe is me NYC” is ever closed, so much as that it’s been done poorly too many times to stomach another crack at it. Like if I have to hear one more joke about organic baby food I might just start eating it exclusively to spite everyone.

But Affordable NYC, a new web series about a queer couple of color trying to find suburban creature comforts in the big city, is actually pretty great. In just three sweet episodes, the series tackles the relatable challenges of finding a wedding venue, a suitable apartment and a good preschool for their kid, Daenaerys Stormborn. (more…)

06/03/16 10:01am
Pictured, from left to right: Ramos, Ray, Donis and Salazar. Sam Corbin / Brokelyn

Pictured, from left to right: Gamaliel Ramos, Sriyanka Ray,  Megan Donis and Raquel Salazar. Sam Corbin/Brokelyn

One of the best things about living in Brooklyn is that everyone has a story to tell, be it obnoxious and single-minded or scope-widening and inspirational. Naturally, we prefer to err on the latter side when seeking out interesting people to interview. And so does #BHeard, a public access town hall and video series under the aegis of BRIC TV whose mission is to galvanize the public into action on social justice issues by exploring them “through a human lens” (i.e. making documentary shorts), focusing especially on the stories of those whose voices are systemically silenced or underrepresented in the media.

The scope of those voices is wide: born in 2014 as a response to the fading media coverage on Michael Brown, #BHeard now covers everything from LGBTQ rights among women of color to the ongoing Key Foods fight in Park Slope. And for one-off videos that roll out as frequently as they do, the #BHeard series is incredibly well-produced. Both the videos and their subjects are colorful, vibrant and human. But between the organization’s televised town hall meetings, individual video packages and ongoing community initiatives on the ground, you start to wonder: who’s behind the camera? How do you turn a passion for social justice into a paying day job?

Well, those were our questions, anyway. So we sat down with the #BHeard team of associate producers Sriyanka Ray and Raquel Salazar, news director Gamaliel Ramos and editorial director Megan Donis. While the members of the #BHeard team have varied college backgrounds and interests, all of them began at BRIC TV and shared two things in common: a desire to tell stories, and a dissatisfaction with how the media does it.

“Even though we all work in media, we’re not happy with how media covers issues, from Michael Brown, to Akai Gurley, to Eric Garner,” said Ramos, 36. “And with #BHeard, we’re trying to right some of the wrongs that media has done.” (more…)