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…)
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…)
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…)
In the latest move of a #brand trying to connect with you, one Manhattan-based private video-sharing and storage system is trying to be your mother. Or your mother’s mother, at least. DNAinfo writes:
“Office workers in Manhattan can book a free visit and hug from a ‘Granny-on-Demand’ this Friday in advance of Mother’s Day, courtesy. … Users of the promotional service will have their choice of four grannies, each fitting a different stereotype: the ‘worrier,’ the ‘talker,’ the ‘forgetter’ and the tech-savvy ‘Insta-grandmother.’ ”
Why is this a promotion for a video service? General manager Brody Ehrlich told DNAinfo: “[People] can use KeepTree and be like, ‘Hey Ma, I love you, but I kind of replaced you with a new grandma.”
Thanks, brands; we’ll make sure to call you at least once a week just to say hi.
Get ready to Get Summered: Your beach party this year is getting the Brokelyn treatment. Via Riis Park Beach Bazaar.
We’ve been gleefully beating the drums of the coming summer for weeks already but this is one of the announcements we’re most excited for: The Riis Beach Bazaar is coming returning this year! The inaugural Bazaar (an offshoot of the Brooklyn Night Bazaar) last summer brought music, great food, vendors and a chill party vibe to an underused stretch of beach and making Jacob Riis Park in Queens rival any beach town in California. Now it’s back for 2016 with a new the lineup of music, parties, volleyball tournaments and events — and us! Brokelyn and our colleagues at QNS.com are presenting some of the Get Summered dance parties throughout the season, so you’ll catch us down there on a handful of weekends (and a lot of other weekends too honestly, becuase the beach is best — there’s even campfires this year!). See the full lineup below: (more…)
There is nothing inherently wrong with steampunk on its face, other than how ridiculously loud a crowd of steampunks can get outside the Way Station every single goddamn night of the week. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with magicians or whiskey tastings either, nor even anything inherently wrong with condos, to be honest (they’re just little houses stacked on top of each other, an efficient way to live, and efficient living is one of the reasons New York is great). But throw all these things together in a cauldron of real estate and they start to emit an odor that smells a lot like gentrification.
This is what happened in Crown Heights last week, at a party celebrating “condo conversion:” aka turning a pre-war apartment rental building into much less affordable condos starting at half a million dollars. The party “kicked off with a splash at a Steampunk/Vaudeville-themed launch party,” according to a press release. If a real estate agent is trying to get you to buy their property by throwing you a steampunk party, there’s a good chance you might be a gentrifier. [UPDATE: We talked to the pair in the photo above about why they took the gig; read that interview here]. (more…)
We don’t know exactly what, we don’t know exactly when, but some time in the near future, the L train is going to really screw up your life in some ways. And yes, this means even you, person who doesn’t ride the L train and makes fun of people who do — because all those people, the young tattooed folks, the people who’ve lived in Bushwick for generations, people in hats, ya uncle from Canarsie, are gonna dump into the rest of the MTA system and cause ripple effects all over your commute. We know so far the MTA is thinking of shutting down the L train completely for 18 months or partially for a few years to repair damage from Hurricane SAndy, but nothing is going to happen until 2019. So while you’re debating whether you can get to work via tugboats or hovercrafts, you can actually go talk to the MTA to give them your feedback on the L train plans and maybe get some more info on what the L is going on. (more…)
There will be days soon when the summer sun is so punishing, the still air of the underground subway station so menacing, that your thoughts will conquered only by only visions of relief. It is then that walking down Smith Street, your eyes hazy with the reflective heat of the blacktop strangling the city, you’ll spot what is surely a mirage of an oasis chipped off the side of a building. It’s not much: just some picnic tables, umbrellas, pitchers of cold beer poured into plastic cups while hot dogs and burgers conga line off the grill, but it is real, and its relief is powerful. It’s no mirage and it’s no longer a fantasy of a summer to come: The Gowanus Yacht Club, summer’s advance rider, banging loud on the drums of war against cruel memories of winter, is back open for the season. (more…)