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…)

01/27/16 1:00pm
Trade that old hoodie for some sweet arm muscles. Via BKB Facebook.

Trade that old hoodie for some sweet arm muscles. Via BKB Facebook.

The weather and snow are real issues the city is still dealing with this week, but the growing homeless population is something that is going to take longer to fix. In the meantime, you can help some of those homeless people stay warm this winter, and get some free sweet arm muscles out of it. Brooklyn Boulders is partnering with Hoodies for the Homeless through Feb. 20: drop off a new or gently used hoodie at the climbing gym and get a free day pass, or half off a day pass and gear rental. If you’re a member already, you get an additional guest pass for your hoodie. And you’ll need those climbing skills to get over those huge snow mounds that won’t go anywhere for awhile. (more…)

12/01/15 11:42am
Horses! Kids love horse toys, give the one of those. via Facebook

Horses! Kids love horse toys, give the one of those. via Facebook

Christmas is on its way, and that means everyone trying to be nice and listening to Bob Dylan’s phlegmy version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and thinking about the brotherhood of humakind and of course, presents. Some kids aren’t as fortunate as others though, and rather than just treating them as the collateral damage of capitalism left to fend for themselves, you can help make sure they have a decent Christmas by donating some toys to a toy drive. And because sometimes you want an immediate reward for your philanthropy, the Big Brooklyn Holiday Toy Drive will gladly give you things, useful things, in exchange for giving them a toy this holiday season. (more…)

11/12/15 2:06pm
No, thank you. via Flickr user Bonnie Natko

No, thank you. via Flickr user Bonnie Natko

Unbeknownst to you, moments after you threw off your coat in your new apartment and sank into the couch thinking, “This is the last time I’ll ever have to move,” Brooklyn’s luxury realtors were already planning their revenge. You thought no one could possibly hike the rent on your 5th floor walkup, a 20-minute from the nearest G train stop? Think again.

The very terrible executives-only brand RealInsight is hosting their 6th annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit on November 17 at the Brooklyn Museum, where the elite retail, condo and multifamily brokers will gather to eat the bones of children discuss ways in which they can further capitalize on the booming market.

Now if, like us, you don’t want to keep seeing folks get priced out of their homes, and you’ve got a vested interested in not being priced out of one yourself, then check out Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN)’s rebuttal: they’re picketing the event on November 17. And you can, too! Here are ways to get involved.  (more…)

10/01/15 9:14am
Aw, pretty. How can we make it even prettier? via FGP

Aw, pretty. How can we make it even prettier? via FGP

Maybe you never pictured yourself as a budding urban designer, but Fort Greene Park’s pathways are getting a makeover, and you could be the Nick Arrojo to the Parks Department’s Stacy London. As part of the People Make Parks initiative, the Parks Department is committed to incorporating community suggestions about how parks should look, feel and move. FGP just got approved for capital funding, so there’s a meeting tonight to talk about those pathways.

Lucky for you, this meeting is about a public park, and not our ever-dwindling faith in the MTA, so it might be bearable—dare we say even productive? (more…)

09/21/15 12:35pm
Getting paid should not cause the same stress as paying bills. Via Facebook

Getting paid should not cause the same stress as paying bills. Via Facebook

Tonight from 6-8pm New York City based freelancers will join together to launch the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign at the Brooklyn Town Hall Meeting.

Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union, wants the non-traditional workers to know “you deserve to get paid.” If you’re a freelancer who is tired of feeling “economically vulnerable” from unfair or lack-there-of payments, unstable working conditions, or unsupportive employers join Sara, Brooklyn City Coucil Members and hundreds of other freelance workers tonight at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

RSVP here. Take control of your life by joining the #FreelanceIsntFree campaign today.

 

09/21/15 11:14am
BPL brining knowledge to the masses. Via Flickr

BPL brining knowledge to the masses. Via Flickr

Exciting news from the BPL this morning.

Today, Brooklynites will gather at Bedstuy’s Macon Library to receive free MiFi hotspots. The 4G, wireless devices are part of the Library HotSpot Program, which is dedicated to “bridging the digital divide” for patrons without at home internet capabilities.

In a press release today, Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library said: “The internet has changed the way people learn, seek employment and engage with their community.We are proud to offer Brooklynites free internet access not only in our 60 branches, but, with the Library HotSpot program, in their own homes.”

With grants from Google, The Knight News Challenge, and The Robin Hood Foundation, the program intends to put internet in 10,000 households and the BPL will loan around 3,000 of those 10. Twenty-two Brooklyn library branches currently participate, and the BPL has already distributed nearly two-thirds of the MiFi hotspots.

The devices will allow families to connect their desktops, laptops, tablets and up to ten mobile phones to the internet; and Sprint hooks the families up with free, unlimited data for a year.

Users of the BPL without access to internet at home are eligible to borrow devices for one year if enrolled in an adult education or inclusion program offered by the Brooklyn Public Library. Programs include: ESOL, Adult Basic Education or a Citizenship Preparation Class.