02/15/17 4:28pm
Love Your Local Business Program

From the program’s site

Perhaps the saddest casualty of recent gentrification has been the mom and pop stores which, once definitive of New York and this great city’s quirks, have been replaced by corporate chains that can afford sky-high rents in formerly destitute, crime-ridden neighborhoods. But wait, there’s hope!

The NYC Department of Small Business Services this week launched its NYC Love Your Local program, literally putting small businesses on the map to bring them love, attention and potential grant money. (more…)

02/08/17 4:00pm
Court Street is in session: 6 old-school businesses surviving a changing Cobble Hill

Photo by Yelper Hans R. I base my anticipation for a cold cut on how many signs and knives the butcher shop has

Today, Court Street is the second most expensive place for commercial real estate in Brooklyn, topped only by Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue. Pricey high-end baby clothing boutiques, such as Jacadi and Sprout San Francisco, seem to keep sprouting up, and stores like Rag & Bone have been replacing neighborhood bar and grills.

Recently, the strip of longtime mom-and-pop shops has seen some of its decades-old vendors shutter in the face of mounting rents, including two beloved bookshops. After 30 years in the neighborhood the notoriously cluttered Community Bookstore at 212 Court St. sold for $5.5 million last May, 10 times what owner John Scioli paid for the building in 1980. Then, just a few months later, fellow literary neighbor and Court Street community staple Book Court announced that they would be closing for good after 35 years of business.

An influx of Italian and Middle Eastern families immigrated to the neighborhoods in the early 1900s, setting up family-run stores and businesses. Even as the streets gentrify and become more commercial some of these businesses have stood the test of corporate greed and still stand, now generations old.

As neighbors worry that a sense of community is disappearing, they need to look to establishments like these five to be reminded that the old communities still exist. (more…)

02/03/17 2:00pm
Greenpointers Holiday Market 2016

Greenpointers holiday market in 2016. Via Greenpointers.

The world is a cold, dark, place with months till summer but that’s not stopping our friends at Greenpointers from throwing their annual holiday market this Valentine’s Day weekend. They’ve gone with a ye old-timey theme this year, complete with Prohibition-era cocktails, vintage jazz tunes, and most importantly lots of amazing local vendors, ’cause nothing is more timeless than independent businesses.

The old times-inspired market will be happening in real time next Sunday (Feb. 12), from 1 to 7pm at the Greenpoint Loft (67 West St.). RSVP here.  As always, there’ll be oodles of free shit, including tarot readings and, if the future stresses you out, complimentary Valentine’s-themed cue cards with astrological pickup lines. (more…)

01/27/17 12:01pm
Price check: Downtown Brooklyn's brand-new Target is selling cheap produce and meat

Target has dropped some ‘duce on Downtown Brooklyn. Photos by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

Brooklyn’s newest Target opened Wednesday in the City Point development, putting it in the same new vertical mall as Alamo Drafthouse and Century 21. Unlike the other Target a few blocks down the road at Atlantic Center, so far it’s not a devastating hellscape of empty shelves and unattended children playing out a Mad Max scenario with shopping carts (so far, at least). The store is clean and bright, with big windows overlooking the surrounding development so you can watch the gentrification of Fulton Mall happen in real time.

The store also offers something you won’t find in the Atlantic Center Target (though you will find it at the Brooklyn College one): a way bigger grocery section that includes fresh meats, produce, fresh (ish?) bread and more, all for pretty cheap prices. The cost on some things is similar to what you might pay at Trader Joe’s. But should you be buying your strawberries and ground beef at the same place you get a six-pack of undies and the extended director’s cut of Suicide SquadWe did a quick price check to find out: (more…)

01/06/17 1:00pm
The original artisanal: 6 old-school Williamsburg businesses that are still killing it

Metropolitan Meat Market has been serving the community for years. Via @EmilyBlincoe on Instagram.

In the age of intense turnover in New York City, it feels like something is closing every week. Whole Foods, Apple, Equinox, Chipotle and the laundry list of chain stores that have opened in Williamsburg in the past year or so seems endless. It’s easy to feel discouraged when big corporations start taking over once small unassuming communities, but particularly when there are still longtime business owners in the area adapting to the changes and aiming to serve big and do it well.

The neighborhood is still home to a special class of family-owned businesses in North Williamsburg, where the Italian community’s roots stretch back more than 100 years. All are within a 10 minute walk of each other in Williamsburg. They know each other, and they often work together by selling each other’s products. Although they may get a whopping offer from a real estate agent every now and then, or even every day, the people involved in running these old-school establishments seem optimistic and sure of their method. They’re emblems of a not-going-anywhere attitude while remaining loyal to their customers, with low prices and high quality products.

Part of being a good New Yorker is embracing the things that were in a neighborhood long before you came along so the neighborhood can stave off transforming into another chain-filled anywhere, USA. Here are six old-school Williamsburg businesses still hanging on, and some good reasons to visit each one too. (more…)

01/06/17 11:52am
Via screenshot.

Via screenshot.

Nothing says “luxury living” in Brooklyn these days like a wretched and contaminated Superfund site, apparently. Anthropologie, which sells clothes to people who consider Urban Outfitters too down market, is now selling a “Gowanus” dress for $188. The dress is made by local designer UZI NYC, run by co-designer Mari Gustafson.

Via DNAinfo:

Gustafson said she was happy to see Anthropologie — which doesn’t have any stores in Brooklyn — recognize neighborhoods other than the ones typically named by corporations looking to capitalize on the borough’s cool image.

“I’m glad they didn’t name them after Greenpoint or Williamsburg or Bushwick, because that would be cheesy,” Gustafson said. “I think it’s interesting that they’re noticing that the hip factor of Brooklyn is south of Atlantic Avenue. I think it’s good for Brooklyn.”

I guess they finally moved on from $40 Bushwick jerseys.

(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…)

12/06/16 1:14pm
Greenpointers holiday market in 2015. Via Greenpointers.

Greenpointers holiday market in 2015. Via Greenpointers.

Last week we rounded up some of the best holiday craft markets in Brooklyn this year; today we’re bringing you news about a market from our friends at Greenpointers that may help you shake off this winter chill. On Sunday, from 1-7pm, sleigh bells and palm trees, snowflakes and sunshine come together in the Greenpointers universe because they’re celebrating this holiday season with beachy cheer, at the Holiday Tropical Market.

Discover beautifully crafted high quality gifts from some of the most talented local artisans and makers while enjoying a day full of FREE fun activities, food, mojitos, mulled wine, and seasonal craft beer in the gorgeous Greenpoint Loft at 67 West St., 5th floor.  (more…)

12/01/16 3:25pm
Get your hoilday kicks, en croute, at the 'Shwick.

Get your hoilday kicks, en croute, at the ‘Shwick.

Holidays also mark the peak season of DIY, and people are scouring staples like Etsy and Pinterest to see what they can make, bake, gift or thrift for the upcoming holidays. If you are lacking inspiration needed to get those creative juices flowing, (because hey, aren’t we all) or if you just want a quick one-stop shop for all of your holiday shopping, head to your nearest holiday market.

Oh, what’s that? You need help finding one that close to you? As per usual, we’ve got you covered, with the borough’s finest in local gifts and crafts–enough to make even a scrooge splurge. (more…)

10/20/16 12:59pm
Get nasty.

Get nasty.

When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. It follows that when life gave us the current election cycle, many tried to turn a profit on it. Ample Hills kept things chill with candidate-themed ice cream flavors; a number of New Yorkers tried to profit in a different way by putting up Craigslist hookup ads for debate-watch sex; and all over the internet, people started churning out anti-Trump merchandise faster than you could say “bad hombre.”

Because we defend your first amendment right to shout “Trump sucks!” from the rooftops, Brokelyn has rounded up the best of said joke merchandise on the web right now. If you have a few dollars to spare, donate them to Hillary! But after that, buy yourself one of these neat items. You deserve it for sitting through last night’s presidential debate without imploding. (more…)