10/12/16 1:27pm
Voting in Park Slope in 2008, a simpler time. Via Flickr user JoeHolmes.

Voting in Park Slope in 2008, a simpler time. Via Flickr user JoeHolmes.

We don’t know the outcome of election day yet, but we do know one thing for certain: the process of actually voting will undoubtedly be marred with problems, ballot shortages, long lines and all those other sticky problems with democracy we haven’t figured out in 200+ years. One of these years we’ll get it right!

This election day, you can be part of making sure things run a little smoother here in New York City seeing as there’s some KINDA HIGH STAKES at risk: the Board of Elections is hiring poll workers and interpreters for election day. You can make $200 a day plus the moral superiority of saying “well at least I tried to help” when everyone complains about voting problems this year. (more…)

09/30/16 1:30pm

Papa Brokelyn and son aho’ how it’s done.

Shanah Tovah! The year 5777 is almost here, and Rosh Hashana — the Jewish new year, for the unfamiliar — marks the beginning of not only a new year but also an entire series of Jewish high holidays that give the “Chosen People” ample excuses to drink Manischevitz.

Since they can’t pass a plate around, most NYC synagogues pay their bills in part by charging non-members for High Holiday tickets — to the tune of $150-250 in NYC.

But paying for services is so 5776. If you don’t have the dough to davin, here’s our annual list of places where you can pray freely for free, whether your pleasure is reform, orthodox, or modern Grindr Shabbat-only. This year, Heaven’s gates open the evening of October 2 for Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur begins sundown of October 11. Note, this article first ran in 2009 and has been updated for 2016. (more…)

09/21/16 10:00am
'Help yourself' to these affordable, sliding-scale therapy options in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Cartoon by Ward Sutton, via the New Yorker

I grew up thinking that therapy was for rich people who didn’t have decent enough friends or family to complain to about their miniscule problems. I could talk to my parents about almost anything, my friends were there when I needed them, and my sister is the patron saint of listening. Ah, privilege in hindsight is 20/20.

Then I was walking home one night in Brooklyn, and was hit by a car. This caused severe PTSD and many levels of anxiety, and I found my non-believing self in therapy each week. I realized it didn’t matter that I had a solid support system; therapy could be an essential self-maintenance tool.

But even with someone else’s insurance company footing the bills, therapy is damn expensive. So as I consider going back to therapy basically ever day, I’ve reached out to friends, coworkers, and therapists to compile this list of institutions that offer affordable therapy in Brooklyn.

I’ve also included a few in Manhattan, for those of you with a monthly Metrocard. You know I’m not about to spend that soon-to-be $3 on public transportation. (more…)

09/16/16 3:00pm
Words to live by: 9 Brooklyn celebs share their fall reading recommendations

Via Flickr user proimos.

That slight tinge of chill in the air (or at least the slight lack of oppressive humidity) means fall has finally pulled up its moving van and started unloading its stuff into our lives. We’ll miss summer, but the fall crisp snaps our academic minds back out of their sun-soaked slumber. We file away beach reads and reach instead for books that will challenge our brains or take us on long, cozy adventures. It’s the season we bring our books to read in bars and step up our subway reading game.

This Sunday, the fall reading season kicks into high gear with the return of the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, a free day of readings, author panels and other events, all centered around a street fair of publishers and booksellers. Choosing the right read to kick off the fall can be overwhelming, so we checked in with a few of our favorite Brooklyn-based comedians, musicians, models and booksellers to see what they’re reading right now. We asked not just for  new releases but for anything that matches the mood of the season or counts as necessary reading right now. Here are their picks; make sure to pick one up at your favorite local bookstore! (more…)

09/02/16 9:27am
Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.58.33 AM

Is this a room in your house? Call 555-HELP. Don’t actually, that’s not a number. via IG @ oliviyayo

There’s the obsessively neat roommate, and there’s the hopelessly messy roommate. We know these types well. But then, there are the extremes. At one end, we see the introvert disciples of the #KonMari method, who can clean out their closets so hard that they literally get diarrhea. At the other end of the spectrum is the TV show Hoarders. Also Hoarders: Buried Alive. These are the larger-than-life packrats who can’t part with a single item in their homes.

And today, Hoarders touches down in Brooklyn to ask: are you one of them?

Maybe you’ve always joked about deserving a role on Hoarders. Maybe your friends half-jokingly agreed. And while you’re likely not as bad as that woman who had dead cats in her freezer, your clutter habit might still benefit from serious intervention. If so, read on.

08/19/16 9:48am
Andrew WK, motivational speaker.

Andrew WK, motivational speaker.

There is something very mysterious about a man that burst onto the music scene sporting a bloody nose and stains on a well-worn plain white shirt. Andrew W.K. is most famous for his 2001 LP, I Get Wet which is considered by many as one of the greatest party albums in recent time. He’s performed countless concerts that have impressed fans and critics alike. During a tour in 2004, W.K. broke his foot in the middle of a show and rather than cancel shows, he finished his dates by rocking out in a wheelchair. His other two full-length albums, The Wolf and Close Calls with Brick Walls showed lyrical growth while continuing a sound that you would play during any kind of party. He also once pretended to be the ambassador of partying to the Middle East (until Brokelyn exposed it as a goof, that is).

However, the proclaimed “King of Party” is channeling his originality and raw energy in a seemingly un-party like forum with motivational speaking engagements as he embarks on a 50 state lecture tour starting in the fall. But to Mr. W.K., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-native who moved to New York City when he was 18 to pursue his music career, there is greater meaning to the word “party.”

“A fundamental part of partying (during the lectures) is being in that room, having an enjoyable time and realizing that you’re having one next to someone who could be extremely different in almost every way from you except the fact that they’re human beings,” W.K. said in an interview.

Some of his words and philosophies may echo those of famous motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins, who have made their living discussing the power of positive thinking. But there is something brewing beneath the surface with Andrew, whether it’s genuine kindness, vulnerability, or both. (more…)

07/18/16 3:22pm

From all reports, planning a wedding in NYC sounds like a similar experience to setting a pile of $100 bills on fire to keep warm on a windy night below a highway overpass, where your only company is your mother and a 200 years of societal pressure. There’s the cost, the catering, the invites and finding a venue which, ugh, who has the time, honestly.

Instead of planning a traditional ceremony, consider doing what Keith Haskel and Bethany Hall did: The couple threw a “run n gun” unauthorized wedding on the Staten Island ferry on July 8, followed by a “reception” on the subway on the way to a party at Radegast in Williamsburg. They captured the whole thing in the video above, which looks like a lot more fun than a hotel ballroom wedding, tbh, especially because the ride goes right by the statue of liberty and the bar on the ferry is dirt cheap. And all these venues cost zero dollars to use.  (more…)

07/18/16 1:30pm
Clean Vibes, which staffs festivals such as Governors Ball and Bonnaroo, is looking for volunteers for Panorama this weekend. Via Facebook.

Clean Vibes, which staffs festivals such as Governors Ball and Bonnaroo, is looking for volunteers for Panorama this weekend. Via Facebook.

In other volunteer-for-free-stuff news, here’s a chance to see Panorama for (almost) free. On Friday, the first-ever Panorama festival kicks off on Randall’s Island, bringing New York a new music destination from the folks behind Coachella. The three-day affair features headliners LCD Soundsystem, Kendrick Lamar and Arcade Fire with lots of other great acts supporting them, including Flatbush Zombies, The Julie Ruin, The National, Sufjan Stevens and a parade of sunburnt music fans hopefully not wearing any cultural appropriating festival gear. Tickets start at $125 for single-day passes or $369 for a three-day pass, which is a hefty tag if you’re one of those people who considers summer music festivals the subprime mortgages of concerts.

But there is a way to go for free (sort of) if you’re willing to work for it: Clean Vibes Labor of Love is looking for volunteers to help pick up all your beer cups and discarded molly bags during Panorama. Put in 15 hours of work and you will get your three-day pass covered, though there is a slight catch.  (more…)

07/14/16 11:23am
The modlet on the right turned this A/C into a futuristic smart A/C. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

The modlet on the right turned this A/C into a futuristic smart A/C. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

The idea of a “smart air conditioner” probably seems like some future technology you’re a long way away from actually being able to own, like the pizza rehydrator from Back to the Future II. A smart A/C means a device that can be controlled via app ( as all things in the future will be controlled), keep track of your energy usage and start up remotely whenever you’d like to come home to a frosty apartment.

But smart A/Cs are not just a dream of Shark Tank or that fancy Google tech you hear about in between WNYC programs: You can turn any A/C in your home into a smart, app-controlled device thanks to a program from Con Edison. Plus it’s free, and you can get rewards for using it too. (more…)

06/14/16 1:44pm
Last night's vigil at Stonewall, via @JillJorgensen on Twitter.

Last night’s vigil at Stonewall, via @JillJorgensen on Twitter.

When tragedy strikes afar, especially when it involves guns, sometimes we just don’t know what to do. You can grab your loved ones close, you can stand in solidarity with your LGBTQ friends, you can rage rage rage into Facebook memes and tweets, you can watch Sam Bee or John Oliver “eviscerate” the issue, but, here in New York, you still feel so far from actually doing anything. Does this online petition actually help? Does this rainbow flag avatar do any good? What, exactly, is the fuck up with the rest of the country who go buy more guns after every mass shooting so they can sit on a throne of guns and have little gun babies with gun hobbies and gun Snapchat accounts?

I don’t know the answer to these things, but at least in New York, you can take a break from arguing on Facebook about it and get up and do something about the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Here are some Orlando-related vigils and events coming up today and in the near future, and other ways to donate and help. Stay tuned; we’ll keep updating this post as more come in. (more…)