07/29/16 12:00pm

Do you know your food? Michelle Cashen, farm manager at Brooklyn Grange. Photo via @esynyc

Michelle Cashen didn’t always know she wanted to work at a farm. The 25-year-old Rockaway native studied environmental policy during her undergrad years. She knew she wanted to be some kind of environmental advocate, so she got a job right out of college as a paralegal at a law firm.

But after a couple years, she realized the sedentary, office lifestyle wasn’t for her. “I did not enjoy sitting at a desk every day and for the majority of my week being inside, sitting down, not using my body,” she told Brokelyn.

While pondering a career change, Cashen, who now lives in Bushwick, looked into opportunities at Brooklyn Grange. She had been on a tour at the farm’s flagship location in Long Island City, and knew they had a farm crew and training program. “My interest in rooftop farming originated from my love of healthy food and my desire to green the city,” she says. “After Hurricane Sandy, I kept thinking, I want to help make NYC a greener place.”

Brooklyn Grange, the world’s largest rooftop soil farm, which grows 50,000 pounds of organic produce yearly, is not a bad place to start. The two farm operation wholesales produce to more than 40 restaurants and retailers across Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, operates a CSA, and sells at farmers’ markets. They also host classes and workshops, support nonprofit education initiatives, maintain more than 30 beehives across the city—the list goes on. It’s a truly mind-blowing example of what hard work, horticulture, and a little ingenuity can accomplish within the limitations of an urban setting.

She applied to the training program and was accepted, working on the farm crew for her first season at Brooklyn Grange. “That was the first time I had done any actual farming,” she says. “I had never even done gardening before. It was all learning as you go.” (more…)

07/21/16 12:19pm
Drinking this could be considered research if you get a job as a writer for VinePair. Photo via @vinepair on Instagram

Drinking this could be considered research if you get a job as a writer for VinePair. Photo via @vinepair on Instagram

On this hot July day, as you’re going through the motions at your desk, thankful at least that you’re inside in the A.C. (hopefully), has it occurred to you that there could be a different life out there awaiting you? A job is only one facet of a life, sure, but since most of us do them for several hours every day, they tend to define us, whether we like it or not.

Here are eight intriguing hirable situations, full and part time, we dug up online, ranging from a boozy staff writer at VinePair, to a digital marketing assistant at BRIC, to a bartender at The Wilky in Bed-Stuy, to a journalist for a three month cross country road trip: maybe one appeals to you? Have a gander: (more…)

07/15/16 2:17pm
Brooklyn Wild: Meet the founder of Doggie Day Trips, who gets paid to take city dogs hiking

John Bingaman, founder of Doggie Day Trips, with pups on the Appalachian Trail in Vernon, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of John Bingaman.

Living in NYC is rarely associated with having an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. High stress levels, too many hours spent hunched over a computer screen, not enough time to exercise or eat healthy — a general lack of work-life balance. And yet, we’re in relatively close proximity to nature. We’re surrounded by water on all sides! We’re less than an hour away from the nearest beach, an hour and change from the nearest hike!

There are plenty of people who live in Brooklyn, but have found ways to engage daily with, even make their livelihood from this nature that feels so elusive to most of us. For some, it’s within the bounds of the borough: they may work on the Brooklyn waterfront, or atop a rooftop farm, or in city parks. Others go a bit farther: wilderness guides taking New Yorkers on overnight trips, graphic designers building tree houses upstate every weekend, for fun. Our idea was to talk to some of these folks and ask them how they do what they do, not only to satisfy our own curiosity, but also to find inspiration to get out there more, ourselves.

Brooklyn Wild is our new series where we tap the more rugged residents of Kings County and ask them to share some of the adventure. Every Friday, we’ll post a new interview that will hopefully inspire us, at the very least, to have a more active weekend, even if it’s just cutting down on the Netflix intake and fitting in one trip to the green space closest to our apartment. Up first is John Bingaman, founder of Doggie Day Trips. (more…)

07/07/16 1:42pm
No skills required, just mediocre looks and a great personality

No skills required, just mediocre looks and a great personality

Times sure are tough out there for white male actors, but luckily every now and then somebody throws them a bone. If they’re extra lucky, they don’t even have to have any acting talent or experience, as is the case with this call from Gotham Casting, which only requires its contender be pale as a plate of mashed potatoes, “hipster style” bearded, and evidently, simultaneously bemused yet also possessing a great personality.

If you or anybody you know looks like this sad sack, pictured above, you could get paid $125 for four hours of what appears to be a gig related to the filming of the Air Sex Championship at Warsaw in Greenpoint. Even if you’re not quite the type, you can still get paid $40 to be in the audience of the show. (more…)

07/06/16 10:48am
This could be you, on a boat in Brooklin, Maine via Flickr user @smilla4

This could be you, on a boat in Brooklin, Maine via Flickr user @smilla4

To live in New York is to routinely ponder leaving New York. There are plenty of other places to live; some cities make fine locales for a casual absconding, and others, not so much. The general rule is that you are always free to leave, so long as you don’t write an essay about it afterwards.

The state of Maine, whether desperate for bodies or eager to expedite the Brooklynification of their larger cities (err, city), has set a cunning lobster trap for any errant vacationers who were maybe starting to feel like, hey, getting into dodge is really the better idea. “Visit For a Week, Stay for a Lifetime” is a real campaign that promises to reimburse a week’s worth of trip expenses for any visitors to the state who end up dropping anchor along the rocky coast, aka, securing employment and relocating permanently. Maybe you’ve always fancied yourself to be a rugged, no-nonsense type, or you’re looking for your own L.L. Bean boyfriend? Vacationland is calling your name. (more…)

07/05/16 1:25pm
You too can be like Maher: a boss at being her own boss. Photo via Facebook

You too can be like Maher: a boss at being her own boss. Photo by Scott Levin.

Dear reader, does your summer book list include any libidinous lit? It might after your intro to Rebecca Rogers Maher, a romance writer whose stimulating fiction for women brings heart to the genre’s heat.

Over the past few years, writing short erotic novels has bloomed into a fun side gig for Maher, 41, who skips a nom de plume in favor of representing her work herself: as a mom, educator and Brooklynite of 17 years. Eight well-received ebooks in, Maher’s sizzling sentences prove more than sweet nothings—in fact, she tends to pen unconventional lovers who are working-class, complicated, and have realistic backstories. Her most recent, Just Give Me a Reason (which came out in February), presents its heroine as a pregnant woman who must confront her flirty feelings about a hunky single dad. (While her stories mainly address hetero trysts, Maher says same-sex romance is due in future books.)

As a self-identified feminist writer, Maher sees sexuality as integral to a character’s development, not just fodder for hot n’ heavy hangouts (though that’s fun too). Brokelyn joined Maher at a Cobble Hill café to talk the writing life, Brooklyn as a backdrop, and the racy genre’s surprising contribution to the self-publishing movement. (more…)

06/27/16 9:51am
Silent Barn is looking for a few good friends of the arts to join the staff. Via Facebook.

Silent Barn is looking for a few good friends of the arts to join the staff. Via Facebook.

Here is a sampling of the kinds of events that have come to Silent Barn in the past few months: An ABC No Rio in Exile party, Young Republicans (the band), Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation, Queers for Flint, The Coathangers (the band), a “Between Two Berns” Bernie Sanders benefit, a Punk + Hip-Hop Remix Against Raids and a weekly Art for Tots that temporarily lowers the average age at the venue to 5. I also once also saw a 1oo percent dinosaur party there, during which someone read dinosaur erotica and another did a burlesque dance wearing a very large purple Barney head.

This is fairly representative of the slate of culturally adventurous and DIY events Silent Barn supports in its Bushwick collective space that’s also an art gallery/studio/hair cutting salon. If these are the kinds of things that make your artistic spidey sense go all tingly, then maybe you should work there: Silent Barn is hiring two positions to help run the programming and do other administrative tasks to keep the place running. (more…)

06/22/16 10:44am
Star Wars: The Editor Strikes Back.

Star Wars: The Editor Strikes Back.

Put down that fan fiction you’ve been working on that ships Rey and Leia and that weird slash porn of Chewbacca and BB-8 you should probably keep to yourself anyway. Here’s your chance to turn your love of the Star Wars extended universe into a real job. Disney, the sweatshop factory pumping out Star Wars-related merchandise until the heat death of the universe, is hiring a “Star Wars editor,” which is probably the coolest name for an editing job to come along since Highlights magazine’s dinosaur editor. The gig is based in San Francisco and involves working on comics, magazines, books and other tie-in materials that will put your red lightsaber editing pen to much use. (more…)

06/06/16 4:00pm
Don't go it alone: A guide to Brooklyn's community arts spaces for emerging artists

Follow the party animals to the Barn. via Instagram

Solitary suffering needn’t be a rite of passage for a life in the arts, especially not if you reside and produce artworks in Brooklyn. Here, you can avail yourself of a range of free and low cost resources borough-wide without ever resorting to ramen or giving up your dating life (though occasionally, we encourage you to do that anyway). Do you seek a gallery for your sriracha bottle installation? A windowed rehearsal space for your choreo? An audience for your jazz sax? There are art-loving professionals who will take your dreams seriously, and it’s time to befriend them.

While the following list can’t hope to encompass all of Brooklyn’s incredible arts initiatives, this guide corrals arts organizations and community spaces that 1) support emerging Brooklyn-based artists of all disciplines and 2) operate as nonprofits. These groups provide creatives with a spectrum of resources — from teaching artist and residency calls to O-1 visa consultation. Whether you’re after a grant or a grant-writing workshop, a DIY playground or industry tips, the diversity of services represented by these top five picks reflects the great diversity of the borough itself. Read on to find your next creative oasis in a Brooklyn near you!  (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…)