08/17/16 11:16am
Cheap shots: 5 affordable alternatives to attending SummerSlam in Brooklyn this month

Jon Stewart traded fake news for fake wrestling at SummerSlam at Barclays Center last year. Photo via WWE.com.

If you’re watching the Olympics, you’ve probably realized that mat wrestling isn’t all that exciting. Sure, it involves a certain kind of physique and expertise that requires years of practice, hard work, and determination. At the same time, there’s no flair or showmanship, and the only steel chairs involved are the ones athletes sit on between matches. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the danger?

Why, in pro wrestling, of course! In bingo halls, basements and arenas across the country, competitors of various genders, builds and backgrounds gather to “fight” one another in 20′ x 20′ rings and tell enthralling (and oft-bizarre) stories in the process. Unlike Olympic-style wrestling, these surly men and women often eschew trivial things like rules and form, opting for more spectacle-based moves, gravity-defying stunts, and the occasional “foreign object.”

Best of all, you don’t have to travel all the way to Rio just to see the top pro wrestlers compete. This coming weekend, WWE brings SummerSlam — its second-biggest wrestling event of the year — back to the Barclays Center for the second year in a row, and they’re bringing wrestling stars like John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Sasha Banks along with them. At the same time, some of the most popular independent wrestling organizations are taking advantage on the ‘E’s presence with their own area shows this month for less than the cost of a Pay-Per-View, and with more of an emphasis on authentic, South Brooklyn-style underground wrestling events.

If you can’t afford a ticket to SummerSlam (spoiler: you probably can’t), these five action-packed events are well worth your time thanks to impressive match cards, equally impressive guest appearances, and more insanity than you’ll ever get out of a Mets game, no matter how well they’re doing this year. (more…)

The view from Sunset Park's Bush Terminal. Photo via Scott Steinhardt /Brokelyn

The view from Sunset Park’s Bush Terminal ain’t too shabby. Photo via Scott Steinhardt /Brokelyn

In 2014, a major revitalization project began to change Sunset Park. Next to the neighborhood’s decommissioned piers and shipyards, new occupants started to replace the multitude of adult video stores and industrial warehouses near the shore. Industry City opened, and along with it came a rash of expensive food options with odd operating hours. Micro Center, a Best Buy competitor, opened its doors (with a Bed Bath & Beyond due to join it in the coming months). Once-occupied buildings were being reoccupied by newer, hipper tenants willing to pay a lot more. For a place that kept quiet for the last decade or so, it sure was making its fair share of noise.

Among the new retail chains and makeshift EDM venues, however, was a small piece of heaven tucked away behind condemned warehouses and leftover trolley tracks. After decades and planning and two years of building, Bush Terminal Park quietly opened its gates in November of 2014 on the corner of 43rd Street and 1st Avenue. Yet nearly two years later, residents living in proximity to the park still do not know of its existence. (more…)

04/26/16 10:00am
How I learned to ride a bike for the first time, at age 27

All photos by Scott Steinhardt

I never actually learned to ride a bike as a kid. I spent many hours on a tricycle when I was a toddler; the trike just became less appropriate when I physically outgrew it. My friends, on the other hand, all received sparkling new Schwinns. They’d spend their summers cruising around New York suburbs’ sidewalks, weaving in and out of traffic as I watched from afar.

Simply put, it sucked. Hard. I tried and failed numerous times to balance on a beat-up girl’s bike at my grandparent’s house, but I always fell. For two decades, I attempted to ride on friends’ and family members’ bikes, but only ever moved a couple of feet before I’d nervously tip over onto the sidewalk and panic. After attempting and failing to balance on a friend’s bike in Prospect Park in 2009, I all but gave up on biking for good.

The idea of getting back onto a bike came to me five years later, when I lost my editing job in the summer of 2014. All my newfound free time as an unemployed adult came with a new determination to check off some major to-do’s in my life: applying to grad school, finishing The Wire, and, of course, learning how to ride a bike. (more…)

04/25/16 10:21am
The sign that once hung outside Supercollider. Photos by Scott Steinhardt.

The sign that once hung outside Supercollider. Photos by Scott Steinhardt.

If you’ve ever stepped off the train in South Slope/Greenwood Heights/whatever, you passed Supercollider and probably didn’t even realize it. Their signs in front of its location on Fourth Avenue between 17th and 18th streets were always barely lit and hard to read. The adjacent buildings were all but vacant and plastered with poison warnings. Even when compared to the mostly-desolate stretch of Fourth Avenue north of the bar, it still seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere.

But hidden behind its humble entrance was a large, friendly place that served as an offbeat hangout for people looking to get more than a few drinks in them, creative types looking to hone their craft and everyone in between. They were all strangely drawn to the allure of a lonely little bar in a part of town where places with more notoriety were only a block away on Fifth Avenue. It was rarely, if ever, packed to the gills, affording passersby and regulars alike a place to chill, listen to a blissed out, dreamy soundtrack and hide away for a bit in its dimly lit atmosphere.

But Supercollider abruptly shut its doors last week to make way for another condo project, further proof that small bars with a large artistic following will eventually cease to exist in favor of upscale living spaces, costly storefronts, and stylings that strip character from a neighborhood and turn it into more of the same. (more…)