07/09/14 1:54pm
crumbs bake shop

Taylor Swift’s anti-Midas touch strikes yet another national retail chain. via Facebook

As a budding journalist/writer these posts aren’t all that pays the bills, if at all. Like so many freelancers, I had a second job in the service industry, serving coffee and sweets, in this case, at Crumbs in Brooklyn. Emphasis on the had. This past Monday, after coming home from a shift, my boss called me to let me know that Crumbs was no more and neither of us had a job.

It happened so suddenly I was shocked, exhilarated even. One retailer who doesn’t appreciate its employees down, a bajillion more to go. For the whole company to go under is one of the most dramatic and epic of ways to lose your job. Not every day does a fellow employee get quoted in The Wall Street Journal. (more…)

07/08/14 10:03am
brooklynettes audition

You thought you could dance, until you wound up here. Photos by Gabrielle Westfield

When I originally heard about the Brooklynettes open tryout I knew immediately I had to see what it was like. I also wanted to see how far my background in gymnastics and collegiate cheerleading, and the 3.5 hip-hop dance classes under my belt, would get me in the process. My preparation for this tryout was simple: nothing but salads for the 2 days prior, attend Chelsea Piers adult gymnastics class to see if I could still tumble (flip), and watch videos of the Brooklynettes’ routines on YouTube the night before the tryout. This was about the most preparation I’ve ever done for a personal endeavor… and I felt like a well-oiled machine (cue the Rocky theme song).  (more…)

05/29/14 7:00am
bar brooklyn sweden

First sign somethings amiss: velvet ropes. All photos by Madelyn Owens

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – Tucked away on a dark waterfront street, there is a crowd of young men in beanies and skinny jeans smoking cigarettes outside of a dark bar advertising Brooklyn Lager. Its been several blocks since you saw the last local “micro-chain” cafe, and the area is starting to look a little shady. You appreciate the view of the city across the water as you walk under the bridge to approach the bar, but you’re not in DUMBO anymore, Toto. This is Bar Brooklyn in Stockholm, Sweden. (more…)

04/16/14 9:09am

Meet your new roommates! Photo by Fikriyyah George

You know when you find roommates on Craigslist, you never know what you’re gonna get. In this case a beautiful loft in the northern reaches of Bed-Stuy with two artists and two cats eventually became a beautiful loft in the northern reaches of Bed-Stuy with two artists, two cats and two pigeons. Yes, PIGEONS. Pigeons brought inside my apartment, on purpose. (more…)

Rod Stewart shirt not included.

Jamie, this is your jacket. Rod Stewart shirt not included.

Hi Jamie – I don’t know your name or much about you but I assume you’re a girl because the keychain I found in your pocket said “Jamie” in big block letters on a plastic neon flip flop keychain and I feel like that’s probably a girl thing to carry. I also assume you were the one who took my coat last Saturday night at Death By Audio, which I’m not really that mad about because I’m pretty sure you didn’t do it on purpose. But that caused me to in turn steal your jacket, which I also don’t feel bad about, circumstances considered. This is all a product of my reliance on the practice of stashing my coat under chair, in a corner or wherever else I can find at a venue that doesn’t cost money to store a piece of clothing, due to a combined hatred of both winter jackets and carrying extra clothing. It’s part of the Brooklyn nightlife gamble, but here’s how this particular gamble played out: (more…)

02/20/14 9:16am

Life with a flip-phone is nothing to be nervous about

Last summer, when it seemed everyone was lining up around the block for a new iPhone5, I spotted the shortest line at the Verizon store: the one for the flip-phone. So, I stood in it.

“You’ll be the only person in Brooklyn with a flip-phone.” The salesman told me, menacingly. I told him not to be silly.

Turns out he was right, sort of. According to an outdated survey done almost a year ago, only 61 percent of Americans use smart-phones – but, as soon as I got to Brooklyn, I realized my phone was going to be pretty lonely. Everyone, from the eight-year old next to me on the train to the doorman at my office appears deeply absorbed in games of Candy Crush at all times. But even though I really like candy, I’m not jealous. You might be carrying around a tiny computer in your pocket, but there are plenty of reasons why I’m doing just fine with my Verizon Samsung Gusto 2 U-365 Phone:


09/23/13 8:00am
at least it's not Jersey

On the Westside Highway, looking across that other river. Photo by Garrett Paknis.

“What are you doing here?” a confused Evan asks me at Doris, the new Clinton Hill hot spot. He is my barista at the Chelsea Cafe Grumpy that I frequent on my way to Vinyasa yoga class. For more than a year, Evan has seen me in my natural West  Side habitat, making my soy cortados and engaging in pleasant/flirty conversation. His surprise at running into me in his Brooklyn stomping grounds puts what I have feared all too long into perspective: Manhattan has turned monochromatic. It is stagnant, boring, and a nightmare, which is why four to five nights a week I get on the train at some ungodly hour to the leave what is globally deemed the epicenter of the most desired city in the world to sip pale ale at an establishment made of reclaimed wood on the other side of the river.

I tell him I’m there for a friend’s party, worried that I have been recognized as an impostor. I’m some endangered creature still gripping on to my past. What’s a Manhattan girl to do in the era of Brooklyn’s turn as the star borough? (more…)

07/19/13 11:07am
Photo by Zach Adams

Our life philosophy, in sign form. Photo by Zach Adams

New York devours money, we know this. All bills aside, it’s the eating (and drinking) out that really kills your budget. When the weekend rolls around, and you’re low on cash, deciding between drinking money, dinner money and blowing out next week’s budget can put a serious damper on your plans. But, after savoring literally 6 types of nut butter at the McGolrick Park Farmer’s Market one morning, I remembered all the weekends I’d unintentionally stumbled upon a literal buffet of free samples–one after the other after the other–on my way to meet friends for an expensive meal. Brooklyn has an unusually high concentration of sample-hawking food establishments.

Then it hit me: “I bet you could sustain yourself purely on free samples for a whole day.” So here’s my attempt to do just that while shuffling around the borough one Saturday, with two friends from out of town. (more…)

04/24/13 1:00pm
What's a financial self-help book when you can read this? (via Amazon)

What’s a financial self-help book when you can read this? (via Amazon)

On Saturday, celebrated children’s author E.L. Konigsburg died at age 83, at a hospital in Falls Church, VA, following a stroke. And while Konigsburg didn’t have the same literary cache or trigger the same kind of post-childhood hipster nostalgia as, say, Maurice Sendak, and though most of her stories weren’t particularly New York or Brooklyn-centric, her death hit the brokester in me, hard. (more…)

12/24/12 7:00am
50 Shades took a lot of shade this year. Via Nova FM.

50 Shades took a lot of shade this year. Via Nova FM.

If you wanted to feel even worse about that tortured-genius manuscript you have floating around that no book publisher will even sneeze on, this will make you feel even worse. Mom bondage porn phenom 50 Shades of Grey sold so well this year — more than 35 million copies and staying at the top of the best seller list for 40 weeks now — that all the employees of publisher Random House are getting a year-end bonus. A $5,000 bonus, which is a lot of money that cash-strapped publishing industry workers could sure use. But do they feel dirty about taking dirty (talk) money? We asked this 28-year-old Random House employee from Boerum Hill (who asked to be anonymous lest he wake up bound and gagged in the RH dungeon) to walk us through the feels. -Td.

If there was one heartening story that came out of the publishing industry this year, among the mergers, e-books, and lawsuits, it was the success of 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I should disclose right at the top that I haven’t read 50 Shades or its sequels, but I do work for the company that published it and will soon be receiving a $5,000 bonus because of its outsized success. About all I can say about the tomes is that women (and sometimes men) really seemed to get their panties in a twist about it (sometimes literally). It was the book everyone from my mom to my girlfriend wanted a copy of, and when people weren’t discussing their favorite new boudoir tip they were complaining about the quality of the writing. For whatever reason it caught the public’s indecent imagination, and we were the publisher fortunate enough to deliver it to them. Should I feel bad about this? (more…)