Spookarama today. Photo by  Sarah Ackerman.

Spookarama today. Photo by Sarah Ackerman.

It pains me to say this but the days of many of our nation’s beloved amusement rides are numbered. One way or another, beloved institutions that make up Coney Island and other boardwalks will go away, either due to time, the distractions of Pokemon Go-style games, conversion to condos or the ever-rising sea levels that will soon turn ocean-front property into deep-sea property (but keep arguing about parking spaces, everyone!). With this loss go our memories of youth and first dates and lovably cheesy rides that remind us of a simpler time before paying $20 to see The Smurfs in 3D. We got a taste of this in 2012 when Sandy whacked the boardwalk in Coney Island, damaging many of the rides; at my hometown boardwalk in Seaside Heights, that kooz of as storm sent an entire pier to amusement park heaven.

Among the most endangered of these kinds of attractions are what’s known as “dark rides” like the Spookarama at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, those single-cart rides that take you through a haunted house full of ghosts and scares. They’re prime for teenage making out, have been around for 100 years — and they’re disappearing. Only about a dozen of the old-school version are left in the United States, according to one count. Joel Zika, a 36-year-old art and design university professor in Melbourne, Australia, has been fascinated with the dark rides for years, reveling their connection to early horror effects in movies. So he decided to document them in the only way that would truly do them justice: Virtual reality. He’s crowdfunding his project now and planning a trip to Coney in October to record the Spookarama in all its old-timey glory.

“It’s not so much that these are amazing experiences, but that they’re really unique,” Zika told Brokelyn. “All this stuff that’s really immersive, 360-degree experiences, some of them up to 100 years old. That’s fascinating, that’s something that may be more valuable to me than looking at old cinema.” (more…)

09/20/16 11:47am
Do you have what it takes to fill Anderson Cooper's silver fox shoes? Via Facebook.

Do you have what it takes to fill Anderson Cooper’s silver fox shoes? Via Facebook.

I have come to learn, through my time working in an office and attending various doctor waiting rooms, that people freakin’ LOVE network morning shows. They’re sources of drama and intrigue that appeal to way more than just the stay-at-home or sick-from-work crowds, and finally provide a chance for our all-important celebrities to let us know what they’re up to. The lineage of ABC’s Live has been a long and often controversial one, giving us Regis and Kathie Lee, Kelly and Michael and now maybe Kelly and … you?

Live has been without a permanent co-host since Michael Strahan left in May; a rotating series of co-hosts have been filling in since, but now the morning show is holding a contest for a guest host to sit next to Ripa. You just have to submit a one-minute video to enter, but the deadline is tonight at midnight so cut back on your morning TV intake and get cracking. (more…)

09/19/16 1:20pm

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 1.07.14 PMVia, referencing this news story from DNAinfo about how the NY/NJ bombers were thwarted by thieves who pounced on the unattended bags. This piece of news will leave you with a very “well, huh!” feeling about living in New York while the rest of the country panics that we’re under attack from ISIS. This city may at times be a cesspool of thieves, con artists and villainy. But it’s our cesspool. Crime isn’t good, but no real New Yorker would leave their bag unattended anywhere, for exactly this reason. (more…)

09/19/16 9:32am
Via Casamigos on Instagram.

Via Casamigos on Instagram.

Did you miss Bill Murray bartending in Greenpoint this weekend? Probably! Murray was in the nabe on Friday and Saturday to help the opening of his son Homer’s new restaurant, 21 Greenpoint, and as far as opening weekend publicity stunts go, this one was a landslide victory. People went nuts at the news, and even when the event was announced to be invite-only, fans still lined up outside the bar in hordes. But don’t worry, just like every case of FOMO you’ve ever had in New York City, ample social media evidence exists to show you what you missed. Here are 15 things Bill Murray did while bartending in Greenpoint: (more…)

09/16/16 4:05pm
via Wikimedia commons

Which of these slogans is the best? via Wikimedia commons

Like us in website form? You’ll love us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list!

Bill Murray picked up a bartending shift in Greenpoint.

Brooklyn finally got our own fancy vegan restaurant.

We ranked the Welcome to Brooklyn sign slogans.

We learned how to catch your own dinner in the waters of NYC.

Cinder Block comedy fest comics shared their bounce-back stories.

Brooklyn pros shared their Kickstarter success tips.

Eliot Glazer talked about making his own way in the comedy world.

Prospect Park announced a Goonies bike-in movie night.

NYC’s other mermaid parade got ready for a return to Rockaway.

The Get Down announced a casting call for its new episodes.

Got tips? tips@brokelyn.com 

09/15/16 8:40am
For relaxing times, try Bill Murray times. Via screenshot.

For relaxing times, try Bill Murray times. Via screenshot.

As far as opening weekend gimmicks go, getting Bill Murray to be your guest bartender is right up there with “handing out free rent-controlled apartments with every taco.” Yet when Bill Murray is your dad, that’s the kind of swagger you can pull off. So we learned yesterday from an Eater report that Homer Murray, Bill’s 34-year-old son, is opening a new restaurant called 21 Greenpoint this weekend and his famous Ghostbustin’ ass pop will allegedly be pouring the drinks on Friday and Saturday nights. We are slightly skeptical of this, only because having a Bill Murray encounter in New York is a famously chimerical and unrepeatable experience, like catching a shooting star or finding an empty subway car that isn’t possessed with the ghosts of heinous odors. But Homer says it’s real.

“We want people to come and have fun,” Homer told Eater. “People can walk in; just be nice. What my dad lacks in experience, he makes up for in tequila.”

UPDATE 1pm: Due to overwhelming interest (obvs), the event is now invite-only. A rep told Eater: “For overall capacity reasons, this is not an open door event, there will be a guest list.” But ask yourself: Would Bill Murray let a guest list prevent him from attending a party like this? (more…)

09/14/16 10:12am
Photo by Cathleen Casacelli, via website.

Photo by Cathleen Casacelli, via website.

Healthy competition is good for all of us, and healthy competition among our city’s beaches only means we have more summery love to spread around to this city’s eight million people. Coney Island and Rockaway are very different kinds of places — the latter is of course more of a boardwalk amusement park, with amenities trending toward Times Square-ishness lately, while Rockaway is embracing its arty, grungy surf vibe. And now, as of last year, they both have parades featuring the march of sea creatures. Coney Island’s famous Mermaid Parade kicks off summer every June; now Rockaway has its own Poseidon’s Parade to close out the season in September on the boardwalk, which this year finally finished its post-Sandy rebuild.

The event, held this Saturday, is inspired by the peninsula’s annual in the Mermaid Parade, which means it’s a family friendly art-parade full of costumes, creativity and floats, and celebrates the Queens neighborhood’s resilience after the storm destroyed many homes (many of which are still not rebuilt btw). And since it’s a new event, it probably won’t be filled with #brands trying to get your attention just yet. (more…)

09/13/16 12:03pm
The Get Down: Jaden Smith, the Bronx, and you? Via Netflix.

The Get Down: Jaden Smith, the Bronx, and you? Via Netflix.

Make sure your Pumas shine bright and your lyrics rhyme tight because here’s your chance for a role on Netflix’s The Get Down. The show, a hyper-stylistic and magical realism-tinged fictional take on the birth of hip hop in the Bronx in the 70s, released its first six episodes on Netflix this summer and new episodes are being readied for 2017. It’s gotten mixed reviews — while Nas is an executive producer, maybe Baz Luhrmann isn’t the guy you want telling your hip-hop origin story. But it’s certainly got plenty of cool elements based on the early days of the scene, with reverence for Grandmaster Flash and DJ Kool Herc, artsy shots of graffiti-covered New York of the era and a depiction of the Bronx that is somehow always burning or recently finished burning.

It’s also a great showcase for actors of color, and this casting call is looking for even more: the show is casting African American, Hispanic and Latino young males and females, young “wisecraking, street-smart” boys, plus rappers and hip hop dancers of all ages and types. (more…)

09/12/16 3:28pm
Do the write thing: 10 things not to miss at the Brooklyn Book Festival this year

Bring on the books! Via Flickr user Betty Tsang.

The Brooklyn Book Festival is necessary methadone that helps wean us off quitting summer cold turkey. The day-long event on Sunday reminds us why fall in New York is pretty great too, as we put away the tank tops and jorts and instead pull up our big pile of books and don our best reading flannels. The annual festival is Bonnaroo for Brooklyn book worms and Lollapalooza for lit lovers, an all-you-can-eat buffet of free readings, talks and author appearance that takes over downtown Brooklyn, jam-packed with stars and illuminati of the printed word. With dozens of events on the docket this year that include heavyweights like Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Jacqueline Woodson, it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re unprepared.

We made a guide to help you navigate the vast library of choices. Here are Brokelyn’s top 10 picks for what not to miss at the Brooklyn Book Festival this year so you can take in the best of the fest, from important discussions of gentrification and voting to a fun journey into the intersection of literature and comedy. All the events are free and entrance is first-come, first-served.  (more…)

09/09/16 6:00pm
We went inside the new Brooklyn Bazaar. Photo by Photo by Emilia Aghamirzai/Brokelyn.

We went inside the new Brooklyn Bazaar. Photo by Photo by Emilia Aghamirzai/Brokelyn.

Like us in website form? You’ll love us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list!

Nitehawk Cinema took over the Pavilion, and saved us from more condos.

The MTA sought your designs for some sweet new subway art.

We looked at the strange case of Brooklyn Trump supporters.

The Stranger Things kids continued their victory tour in Coney Island.

The New Yorker tried and failed to do some Brooklyn humor.

Ample Hills entered a world of pure imagination with its Roald Dahl tribute.

We got a sneak peek at the new Brooklyn Bazaar, which has its grand opening this weekend.

You got your chance to run away with the (cat) circus.

You got a chance to punch Trump in the face while registering to vote.

A kid from Brooklyn became your new comic book hero.

Pssst … you got news tips? Send em along! tips@brokelyn.com