03/25/15 11:23am
Photo by Flickr user carnagenyc.

Right? There is, isn’t there? Photo by Flickr user carnagenyc.

Brooklyn may not be where I was born and raised, but eight years, six jobs, five apartments, three ER visits, and one Brooklyn Bridge tattoo later, it’s where I belong. I’ve been in love and had my heart broken here. I’ve trained for a marathon here. I’ve woken up to water bugs crawling out of the drain, dead rodents, and roommates’ random hookups. I’ve made friends, lost friends and attended funerals. I vote here. My nephew was born here. I’ve dipped my toes in the Gowanus, kissed on the Brooklyn Bridge, and volunteered after Hurricane Sandy. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.  (more…)

03/24/15 8:44am
typicalmarchday

A typical March day in Venice. (Photos by Dan Cerruti.)

Jay-Z. Lena Dunham. Dan Cerruti. What do all these incredibly important cultural figures have in common, besides zeitgeist-capturing appeal with legions of fans? They–we–are all native New Yorkers who have decided to move to a land of gritty authenticity where only the savvy and cunning survive. I’m talking, of course, about Los Angeles.

The name of this blog being a pun on Brooklyn, I suppose I should do what I can to make you stow away your pitchforks and torches and stymy your cries of “traitor” and “heresy” and “You’re wearing shorts in March? Go fuck yourself.” The internet is lousy with “Why I’m leaving New York” essays, but I figure I should do my best to explain why this phenomenon has claimed so many New York peeps. (more…)

03/17/15 9:29am
trash bar brooklyn

Goodbye to all this. via Flickr user All-Nite Images

The Trash Bar.

I realize that there are only a couple of dozen or so people to whom the name evokes something more than a mild nostalgia, or else a wrinkled-nose pang of disgust, if it evokes anything at all.  Say you’re new to town, a fresh face out in Bushwick or Bed-Stuy, you’ve likely never been. And that’s fine, too. Never hip, always dirty, perpetually falling apart, it’s the place with the name tourists giggle at, sticking out like a sore thumb in 2015 Williamsburg. But if you’ve been around, say, the last decade, and been at all into music here in Brooklyn, or karaoke or free alcohol, then chances are you feel one way or the other about it.

I’m a bit different. Trash is closing at some point this year, sometime before August, and after working and hanging out there for eight years, I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around what this means to me and has meant to my life. (more…)

03/10/15 12:56pm
boro-cab

Speaking up meant getting some justice for that cabbie violation (NOTE: not the taxi in question). via Flickr user Matt Green

If you remember, towards the end of 2014 I wrote about a groping incident that happened to me in the back of a green cab. In that post, I said that I planned to testify in court in order to see that this cabbie have his license revoked. A lot has happened since then—but most importantly, the TLC handed the driver an actual sentence, bringing me some much-needed peace of mind. So today, I’m writing as a reminder that reporting assault of any kind is the best thing you can do for yourself and for others. (more…)

02/02/15 1:11pm
dollar vans

Not the place you want to suddenly have to dole out relationship advice. Still, fun!

Recently, while already late to work, I opted to take a dollar van instead of a bus. It means paying a second time for the train, but I needed get the Long Island Rail Road which only comes once an hour, so drivers who even vaguely pay attention to traffic laws weren’t going to cut it. Little did I know my desperate attempt to catch a train would be almost derailed by the driver’s emotional breakdown. (more…)

01/27/15 10:00am
heavy metal yoga

Breathe, release and hail Satan. All photos by Dayvid LeMmon

I find that going to yoga is a lot like going to the post office: Sometimes you just can’t avoid it, but you know you’ll hate everyone involved.

After overhearing one too many conversations about juice cleanses while positioning my yoga mat – invariably next to a drop dead gorgeous Bendy-Wendy who warms up with effortless handstands, and contemplating murdering twosomes doing couples yoga whenever I see them tantric dry humping in the park (seriously guys, get a room), I thought maybe I was done with it. Even if I can’t deny there’s nothing like a good sweat and a good stretch, and an hour to allow yourself to just be…away from your smartphone, there’s just so much baggage. Or so I thought, until I found heavy metal yoga in the back of a Bushwick bar. (more…)

12/29/14 9:53am
sexual harassment taxi

Rider be ready to file charges? The author was groped in a green cab, but not this one via Flickr user Matt Green

Let’s get one thing straight: cabs aren’t cheap. While the reasonably wealthy may enjoy them on a daily basis, we of the lower income brackets resort to metered rides only when we are concerned with time-is-money urgency or personal safety—like after a rowdy night out in the far corners of the borough. But it’s worth it, right? Because despite all the slaps on the wrist we give ourselves for over-spending on a night out, the drunken cab hail is beyond reproach. That’s when you don’t give yourself a talking-to.

So when you can’t see straight, you’ll relish that first-world privilege of having enough money to get from A to B. You’ll say your intersection, climb into a dark backseat somewhere in Brooklyn, and then find yourself home in a warm bed. Sometimes you’ll even catch a little shut-eye along the way. And all of this will be afforded to you because cabs are the safe, door-to-door alternative to public transportation.

That is, unless a driver decides to slide his hand up your thigh. (more…)

11/13/14 11:52am
America's Kids Got Singing

America’s Kids Got Singing

An empty warehouse filling with tiny sparks of dreams is a strange place to spend a Sunday morning. To boot, it was a warehouse on the far west side of Manhattan way up in the 50s, the nearest signs of life being the Larry Flynt Hustler Club and Terminal 5, a place I try to avoid as if it were an active Ebola volcano (though the upcoming Sleater-Kinney show broke my boycott).

This is where New York got its chance to audition for America’s Got Talent which is, ostensibly, a nation-sized version of the talent shows you saw in high school. Or it’s a new version of the Gong Show, or basically like an American Idol but with magicians and puppeteers, or whatever (surprise: I don’t have a TV). The point is, the show drags its tuna net countrywide and sucks hopeful participants into the vortex that says “you, yes you!, could be the One to make it.” The prize is a million dollars, a chance to headline a show in Vegas, and all sorts of teevee. So in preparation for the 10th season, the show held auditions on Sunday that drew thousands of people. Here are your dreamers, America. And I was there too. Even more bizarre, I was asked to come by the producers. (more…)

09/04/14 9:00am
Recreating the Warriors' famous trip, leather vest optional.

Recreating the Warriors’ famous trip, leather vest optional.

I am not a bike messenger and I have never touched a “fixie.” When one of my tires goes flat, I stare at it for a while, and then I take it into the shop and pay a professional to repair it. So why did a girl like me pay $5 on a recent Saturday night to ride in a three-borough, 30-mile, sundown-to-sun-up Warriors-themed bike ride? Because it sounded like an adventure, and an excuse to stay up really, really late.

The Warriors is the 1979 cult action film that follows New York City gangs in an overnight chase from a park in the Bronx all the way down to Coney Island. For its 25th anniversary, Track Or Die and Cycle Hawk organized a ride that more or less replicated the film’s route, only on bikes, and with checkpoints and challenges along the way. The city we live in today is not quite the dystopian crime world depicted in the movie — for example, in real New York, turns out you can’t throw a baseball bat at a cop’s knees and then just walk away like it never happened — but one thing the movie gets right is that this city has secrets you can discover only if you get out of your home turf. Here’s some of what I discovered on the ride: (more…)

08/29/14 12:32pm
The sun sets on another brilliant summer. Photo by Tim Donnelly

The sun sets on another brilliant summer. Photo by Tim Donnelly

Whether we like it or not, summer is moving on without us. Sure we could point to the fact that it’s still technically summer until the Autumnal Equinox, or that summer is as much a state of mind as a season (no it isn’t). Did you use it to its full potential? Or did you sit on your couch binge watching OITNB over and over again with the shades drawn? Well now, the days are getting shorter, outdoor concerts and outdoor movies are an endangered species, kids are going back to school, and suddenly, you have to work the whole Friday. But no summer is long enough to do it all.

So let’s reflect: what didn’t you get to on your summer bucket list? What memories will you slink off into fall knowing you never had? Team Brokelyn shares some of ours below: use this list as a guide for next  year, because, as a wise man once said: the next summer is promised to no one. (more…)