10/13/16 3:38pm
You might be paying way more than you should be. via flickr user {jeannine}

You might be paying way more than you should be. via flickr user {jeannine}

Brooklyn may already be the most unaffordable place to own, but many renters are still holding out for a better future. They’re not wrong to do so— there is certainly a possibility that the rental boom in Brooklyn reaches its glut in the coming years, and simmers down to provide more affordable housing options.

But what if, unbeknownst to you, you’re not subject to market fluctuation? What if you’re just being flat-out gouged on rent?

Here’s the deal: Market value has little to no bearing on what you should be charged if your apartment is rent-stabilized. But it’s easy for landlords and management companies take full advantage of how little research you’ve done on their property’s history. They might be overcharging you on rent by the hundreds, or even thousands.

But this time next week, you can start fighting back. On Oct. 20 at 7:30pm at the Central Library (10 Grand Army Plz.), the Brooklyn Public Library and ProPublica are co-hosting a forum called “How to Fight Back if Your Rent is Illegally High.” Oh, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  (more…)

10/05/16 9:07am

Should District 33 start printing its maps on dollar bills? You decide.

Do you live in North Brooklyn? Do you have a lot of big ideas for the neighborhood? If you checked yes to both of these, then you’re in luck, because North Brooklyn’s District 33 is looking for volunteer budget delegates from the community to help decide how the neighborhood should spend this year’s $1 million.

It’s super easy to get involved. All you have to do is attend a couple of training sessions — tonight, Oct. 5, and Tuesday Oct. 11 — and  commit to one meeting a month, and you’re in. At last you can champion your big Brooklyn hammock park idea (it’s a park, but instead of benches it has hammocks). (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 11:34am
No bike lane? No problem. One bike dad in Park Slope is here to fix that

No bike lane? No problem. One bike dad in Park Slope is here to fix that.

It’s hard out there for a bike.

New York cyclist deaths are up 25% this year, according to the Mayor’s 2016 management report. Earlier this summer, the Times reported Brooklyn as the most dangerous borough for cycling in the city, and Vision Zero doesn’t seem to be helping people not die at the hands of reckless drivers.

And yesterday, one cyclist enthusiast in Park Slope was so exhausted with the dangers of the city that he painted his own damn bike lane in his neighborhood. (more…)

09/07/16 2:46pm
Nitehawk is taking over the Pavilion Theater, giving hope not everything will become condos eventuallyNitehawk is taking over the Pavilion Theater, giving hope not everything will become condos eventuallyNitehawk is taking over the Pavilion Theater, giving hope not everything will become condos eventually

Andrea Dezsö, “Community Garden”, 2006, is found at the Bedford Park Blvd station. The MTA is seeking new artists for Brooklyn stations. Via Facebook.

You might not appreciate it in between bouts of playing tunnel peekaboo with the R train or gaping at these mind-numbingly pandering advertisements, but subway stations can be great places to take in some art. And by that we mean both the creatively graffitied subway billboards that turn Kevin Can Wait into Kevin Can PENIS, and also the officially sanctioned subway art like the kaleidoscope in Dekalb Avenue tunnel or the tile murals, lights and sculptures you see elsewhere. How do that art get there? It comes from creative and attractive people like you!

The MTA is currently seeking submissions for artists who want to see their work adorn five Brooklyn subway stations. The opportunity means your art can become a permanent part of the city infrastructure, and you’ll get paid a few thousand bucks too.  (more…)

06/28/16 8:19am
Via Facebook.

C’mon, you wish you went to a tutoring session in a superhero store when you were a kid too. Via Facebook.

Today you’ll walk outside and feel a tingle of freedom in the air, an echo of mischief bouncing off a widening chasm of unstructured, no-homework time, because it’s the last official day for school for all students in New York City. I don’t care what age you are in official years right now — if you can’t share that sense memory of freedom (no matter how much ruckus it causes on the subway car right after school is let out) maybe you were never a real kid to begin with.

Anyway, school can be a bummer for even smart kids because learning isn’t always fun in a rigid environment that shares the same architectural design features as Litchfield prison. But one of the groups that’s out there making learning way more fun, even in the summertime, is 826NYC, which runs the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. in Park Slope and does lots of tutoring and writing workshops to help stoke kids’ imaginations. This summer, 826 is extending its programs and is looking for more than 100 new volunteers to help staff the programs. Maybe that’s you? There’s an info session tonight if so.  (more…)

05/25/16 12:23pm

And all you gotta do is hand out programs and crack a smile once or twice.

I bet you’ve been reading our posts about summer for the past few months and thinking, why does Brokelyn love suummer so goddamn much? Well, besides all the obvious reasons I’ll tell you another one, which is that summer favors the broke. It’s one of the few times in the year when you can save on gym memberships by exercising outdoors, when you can find social activities under the stars that don’t cost a dime, and when you can actually fathom sleeping in parks if turning your entire life into a performance art piece doesn’t pan out.

And on this, the nicest day of the year so far, here’s yet another opportunity to claim summer 2016 as the Season of Not Paying for Stuff: BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is looking for volunteers to help run their summer programming, which includes over 25 concerts featuring the likes of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Violent Femmes, Jon Batiste and the Stay Human, and includes Benefit shows with Tame Impala, Ray LaMontagne, Beirut and Herbie Hancock.

In exchange for volunteering your time, you get to see every show, even those fancy paid shows, for free. Bet you’re starting to love summer even more now, huh?  (more…)

05/24/16 3:37pm
Don't let us tell you, let this quiz tell you. Chris Ford / Flickr

Don’t let us tell you, let this quiz tell you. Chris Ford/Flickr

Whether you’re new to town or you’ve been around for a bit, you know the one local issue that keeps popping up, and won’t be going away any time soon, is gentrification. Neighborhoods and demographics in those neighborhoods change, and while real estate agents love to employ the terms “transitioning” (aaaaaaaahhhhh), the reality is that long-time residents are being pushed out.

(It’s worth checking out WNYC’s new podcast on gentrification to hear just how that pushing out is happening; pretty scary stuff.)

What’s more, gentrification tends to be an uncomfortable us vs. them conversation that a lot of folks have trouble participating in, because they don’t always know which side they land on, or would rather not hear. So, for your benefit, we’ve come up with a quick and dirty quiz so YOU can see whether you are, in fact, part of the problem. (more…)

05/19/16 9:46am
These ancient gates lead to a pretty sweet pile of modern resources. David Berkowitz / Flickr

These ancient gates lead to a pretty sweet pile of modern resources. David Berkowitz / Flickr

Movies and TV shows would have us believe that the library is nothing more than a boring place to get books and be shushed by angry librarians, but here in Brooklyn, our library system is the exception to the rule. The Brooklyn Public Library is essentially the Narnia of libraries, and if you look beyond the stacks of books, you’ll find a wide array of programs, classes, and resources that can help teach you to do some really cool things, or even help you achieve your dreams.

“The era of shushing at libraries is long gone,” added BPL spokesperson Madeline Kaye. “Libraries as institutions have moved well past the old transactional relationship which had patrons checking out books and reading them in a carrell or at home. Libraries now are home to immigration services, idNYC, bike the branches, art classes, jazz concerts, Pharrell even made an appearance at the Dweck Center this year. They’re cultural hubs that extend well beyond the stacks.”

Perhaps a young, savvy Brooklynite like yourself wasn’t aware of the mighty power that lay behind the doors of the Brooklyn Public Library? Well, let us help you out. Here are some cool things the library can help you do, and some equally cool people who did them. (more…)

04/11/16 3:38pm
Give your instruments to these kids now and you can say you knew them before their song was in that car commercial. Photo via Facebook.

Give your instruments to these kids and you can say you knew them waaaaay before they got famous. Photo via Facebook.

We’re sorry to hear that your band didn’t quite make it. We heard you got a sweet guitar/timpani set for your birthday this year, with plans to create a breakout brand of Brooklyn-based nu-jazz discocore grunge, but it didn’t work out because hey, bands are tough, or maybe you weren’t very good, or maybe just Scott was so bad at avoiding parking the van in a tow-away zone in Bushwick that you were like ahh forget it already.

Your music ambitions may be on an indefinite hiatus, but there are plenty of kids out there who are just getting a taste of their musical dreams but lack the instruments to make them happen. Luckily, there’s an easy way to connect your old instruments to those kids: WQXR, New York’s classical public radio station, is holding a big used instrument drive this week for underprivileged kids in New York and New Jersey schools. You can drop off your busted gear too: they’ll fix em up before giving them to kids, and if you go to one of the drive locations tomorrow, you can meet some of your favorite WNYC personalities. Here’s how: (more…)