01/31/17 9:00am
Knowing your rights and retaining heat are directly related

Knowing your rights and retaining heat are directly related.

This winter hasn’t been the coldest on record, but if you don’t have heat in your apartment, you’ll be feeling it. Or not feeling it on account of how numb you’ll be. If you’re trapped without heat or hot water, and you find yourself thinking about opening the fridge to let a little warmer air into the apartment, you may need to do something about it – but what?

Heat is a right, not a privilege. Don’t let your landlord freeze you out – fight back by knowing your rights and raising hell, the legal way! Read on for how to take action and transform your frozen wasteland into a toasty, rattling-radiator heaven. (more…)

01/04/17 9:00am
Johnny De Guzman

What’s in YOUR wallet? (Hopefully some cash.) via Flickr user Johnny De Guzman

Congratulations! You scraped by, yet again, in getting this month’s rent and bills paid. But now you don’t have much spending cash for going out, and you’ll spend the rest of the month fantasizing about ways to make more money so that you can do both.

Have you considered the counterintuitive idea of paying cash-only everywhere you go in order to save money?

In my Clinton Hill neighborhood, I noticed that a lot of places provide a discount for paying cash instead of credit. In order to try and save a buck without actually putting in any effort, I decided to test-drive my theory and see whether I could save money by carrying cash everywhere for one week. (more…)

01/03/17 11:56am
Find an expired two-trip card and try this trick. Via SoundCloud.

Find an expired two-trip card and try this trick. Via SoundCloud.

2017 finally brought a whole new subway line to New York City — and it will probably bring a whole new round of subway fare increases too. We may face a $3 subway ride by March, while delays, construction and overcrowding can still make the experience exasperating for even the most diehard public transit fan.

Savvy riders know number of tricks and hacks you can use to con a few free rides out of the MTA. Now one Reddit user has taken a classic trick that involves getting a free ride out of a two-trip MetroCard and turned it into a catchy rap song so it’s easy to remember. We’re posting this song for entertainment purposes, but if you’re desperate for a ride one day, this is way less risky than jumping a turnstile. And it’s just further proof that broke is the new bling in hip hop today.  (more…)

12/21/16 2:10pm
Breukelen is just one of the great black-owned businesses you can search on the map. via IG

Breukelen Coffee House is just one of the great black-owned businesses in BK you can find ou the map. via IG

There’s no scientific study we can cite off-hand to prove it, but we’ll say it anyway: supporting black-owned business in Brooklyn is one of the best ways to slow the effects of gentrification. Black folks make up the bulk of the borough’s veteran residency, and amidst all the “DoBro” developments and papa-riddled coffee shops, segments of the community we fight to retain can be found (and supported).

And if you’re a black-owned business in Brooklyn that’s been around for a while, you’ve maybe had at least one developer offer you a sizable sum of money to buy your property. And that may be a tempting way to go. But another thing you could do is add your business to this interactive map called “Backing Black Business.” As reported by Mashable:

The eponymous activist organization behind the Black Lives Matter movement is partnering with New York ad agency J. Walter Thompson to create a nationwide interactive map to show shoppers where to find restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and other small businesses owned by African Americans.

(more…)

12/19/16 12:32pm
Some people are just better at this. What can they say? It's a gift. via Flickr user Craig D

Some people are just better at this. What can they say? It’s a gift. via Flickr user Craig D

For those of us that lack coordination or suffer from sausage fingered hands that can’t tie a ribbon, gift wrapping during the holiday season can be as miserable of a chore as shopping for the gifts themselves. And if you have a big family that requires you to bring home 20+ gifts? Fuhgeddaboudit.

But this year there’s a better way to wrap things up before you skip town. The Brooklyn Public Library is offering FREE holiday gift wrapping at their Williamsburgh branch (yes, it has that “h” at the end) at 240 Division Ave. during opening hours. Starting tomorrow, Dec. 20 through Friday, Dec. 23 from 10am to 5:30pm, drop in with your gifts and wrapping (or use theirs) and nimble-fingered experts will assist you. They’ll even have supplies to help you decorate! (more…)

12/07/16 1:15pm
Via Flickr user wasik.

Via Flickr user wasik.

WELP our dystopian nightmare has entered the “conspiracy theories about Halloween decorations at Roberta’s” stage, so it doesn’t look like things are getting better anytime soon. We’ve been tracking lots of ways to join the resistance, from volunteer opportunities and bystander intervention training to being a DIY graffiti vigilante and attending a 31-hour anti-Trump comedy marathon. We’re just going to keep listing events and other opportunities here: If you know of any we should add, email tim[at]brokelyn.com or tell us in the comments. (more…)

12/02/16 1:08pm
8 DIY ways to turn post-Trump hate graffiti into something positive

Turn anti-semitic graffiti into a discussion of 2002’s fine cinema. Left photo via QNS; right illustration by Chris Giganti.

There’s no denying that for many of us the days since Nov. 8 have taken on a nearly apocalyptic portent. Those who warned us that no presidential election could lead to changes overnight woke up the next morning (and every morning after) to visions of a new and surreal reality, as though we had passed into the timeline of The Man in the High Castle (maybe we’re living Season 2). What’s been so world-shaking in the aftermath is that not only did we not accurately know our country, but we don’t even know our own city, or even our Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Not even a full week after the election, The F.B.I. reported a 6 percent rise in reported hate crimes, and only a few days after that Brooklyn Heights’ own Adam Yauch Park was found tagged with swastikas. While we have to leave most of the hate crimes to authorities to handle, people around the city have taken up the call to get rid of the hate messages themselves. So here are some suggestions for DIY graffiti solutions to defuse the messages of hate you may find in your own neighborhood. This is New York City, after all: if we can’t win a tagging war on home turf, what the fuck are we even doing? (more…)

11/04/16 10:50am
This is the last time you'll have to make a real phone call ever probably. Via Hillary Clinton's Facebook page.

This is the last time you’ll have to make a real phone call ever probably. Via Hillary Clinton’s Facebook page.

Before we nervously drink ourselves to literal death on Tuesday night, there is still, somehow, one more weekend of this interminable election campaign to endure. And sure, it may turn out we’ve been dead this whole time are actually have been trapped in a Shining-style campaign photo for 100 years, but until then you do still have a chance to help bring this thing home for Hillary and make sure Trump doesn’t go all Redrum over our entire country.

Here’s the last batch of GOTV and phone banking efforts you can take part in here in NYC this weekend, including some celeb-studded events (if you consider Jack Antonoff a celeb, at least) and ways to help without leaving the house.  (more…)

10/25/16 4:40pm
PSA: Don't narc out bodega cats on Yelp or you will be furiously mocked

no. Via SynKami on Twitter.

Yes, having a bodega cat is not technically “legal,” but it’s not “legal” in the way that drinking wine in the park or bringing your dog into a bar isn’t legal, which is to say it’s an accepted form of New York life that no one minds so long as you don’t make a big deal of it. Yet someone did make a big deal of it in a (what now appears to be deleted) Yelp review of S.K. Deli in the East Village last month, revealing themselves as potentially a fresh-off-the-bus noob or maybe someone who has somehow never needed beer, condoms and Windex in the middle of the night.

The, reviewer, Diana D., has been getting roasted by fellow Yelpers with comments like: “No one likes you. This deli has pretty much anything you might want out of a deli. Owner is a hard ass but the cat is awesome,” which is about the perfect description for most bodegas in New York. UPDATE: Someone created a petition to legalize bodega cats once and for all. (more…)

10/17/16 10:17am
Why Juno, the would-be Uber killer, is already winning over lots of NYC drivers

Thanks to a more driver-friendly system, drivers are telling their fares to switch from Uber to Juno. Via Twitter.

When the car service app Lyft came to New York there were a number of people (myself included) who never thought they’d make a dent. Uber, that aptly named behemoth, was already a staple in most boroughs, especially in Brooklyn where, before green taxi cabs were lining the streets, private car companies like Arecibo and Evelyn were the best option to get around. Uber, “Everyone’s Personal Driver,” was just a few taps of the iPhone away, with an approximate arrival time, payment linked directly to your credit card and no worry that your pickup might be intercepted by a roving black car with a CB radio. Now, even with competitors like Lyft, Gett, Via and Way2Ride increasing in popularity, Uber has an estimated 35,000 drivers in New York alone and is making plans to put more on the road. Yet again, it would seem impossible for any new app to make a dent with riders who already have their share of options. But, what if a company was going after drivers first and riders later?

A new company called Juno, which launched its beta app model earlier this year, is trying to do just that. It avoided the traditional route of marketing to riders first; instead, reached out directly to drivers from Uber and Lyft to join the company and help build the customer rolodex from the ground up. And with a lower commission and other perks, it seems to be working.

“Uber is losing drivers. I am working with [Uber] only to pay my lease,” one driver told me, “Once I hit $400 for the week, I turn off the app” and turn on Juno.

While other ride share app companies have found success following Uber’s lead, none have been able to actually siphon off drivers for good. So, is Juno the company that could finally push Uber out? Drivers seem to think so. (more…)