04/28/16 1:19pm
Words, words, words. via Sundays at Erv's on FB

Words, words, words. via Sundays at Erv’s on FB

As we journey ever deeper into the world of digital publication, audiobooks ringing in our ears and e-readers clutched to our breasts, it seems as though big publishing houses might not be long for this world. These days, you’d think that an emerging writer’s only hope to get discovered would be through a clever tweet.

But you’d be wrong. First of all, even if print is dying, publishing is not. And secondly, here in Brooklyn there’s still a loving home for the literature enthusiast (or just for anyone who prefers to write in complete sentences). If you’re eager to meet other bookworms and discover new voices, the best way to do it is through any of BK’s local reading series. Lucky you, we’ve compiled a list of said reading series, all of which feature free admission and — arguably the secret of all great writers — proximity to alcohol. (more…)

04/27/16 12:49pm
Garbage yard, before the cleaning. Photos by Caroline Shadood/Brokelyn.

Garbage yard, before the cleaning. Photos by Caroline Shadood/Brokelyn.

Six years back I struck Brooklyn gold, renting the ground floor of a semi-decent place. The backyard was pure luxury: a dust bowl with no grass or hope for plant life, a one-eyed garbage kitten prancing around, some used condoms and takeout containers strewn about for good measure … the list goes on. Somewhere between the trash and the aggressive optimism I saw something else: gorgeous sunlight, a morning glory vine creeping up the fence, various cool rocks, the perfect spot for a cheap charcoal grill. 

Maybe right now you look at your garbage backyard and feel hopeless. The sight is daunting, messy, and potentially dangerous. Plus landscaping is something for people with money, reserved for the ‘burbs and the balconies of high rises. Sure, like most things in New York, having a bigger budget can alleviate problems more easily. But that’s not why we are here. (more…)

03/09/16 11:08am
You, too, can score awe-inducing finds. Kara LaFleur / Flickr

You, too, can score awe-inducing finds. Kara LaFleur / Flickr

This week’s weather has been nothing short of glorious. Today is supposed to go up to 70 degrees. And with the fledgling springtime comes a need for a new wardrobe; you’re going to have to pare down on parkas and stock up on sleeveless tops. But surely you can’t be expected to spend big bucks every time the seasons change, and there definitely isn’t space to fill your tiny closet with both winter and summer clothing. Huh. Guess you’re going to have to swap some stuff out.

Clothing swaps, once merely the stuff of Bushwick rituals, have become seasonal mainstays in just about every neighborhood.  Some are charitable causes, and others are just basic excuses to drink with friends. After a few tries hosting and many more attended, I feel equipped to offer my guidance on the best ways to host your very own one of these swaps, replete with cheap wine, good company, and the chance to come away from it in somebody else’s clothing — no tags attached.  (more…)

02/12/16 3:00pm
It's a supermarket sweep!

It’s a supermarket sweep!

I like supermarkets. I really do. They often make their way into my dating life, and I’ve been asked more than once, “For our next few dates, can we go someplace that isn’t a supermarket?” It’s not like I want to go to every Key Foods or Met Food in the borough. And It’s not like I’m trying to map out every humdrum faux-organic-natural-food market full of overpriced kale and coconut smoothie supplements. I just really like going to supermarkets.

And I especially like going to ethnic ones. Often, I’ll try and find a restaurant nearby so that I can eat some ethnic food and then hunt down ingredients from that dish. I’ll get a little culture. I’ll ask some questions. Maybe I’ll find something questionable, like the place that sells pig uterus. Or the spot that has almost-expired dairy products for 50 percent off.

Either way, I’ve been to a lot of spots, and racked up a repertoire of gems that I’m ready to share with the world. So, here they are: the best ethnic supermarkets worth the train ride, and then some. (more…)

01/29/16 10:49am
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll drink free Magic Hat at Dear God That's Stone Cold's Music. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll drink free Magic Hat at Dear God That’s Stone Cold’s Music. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

Trying to get people out at this time of year is almost impossible: it’s cold, and the sidewalks are still piled so high with snow that you’d think the Night’s Watch was overseeing the realm. That said, the promise of free alcohol always helps get you moving. Especially when paired with comedy, which makes your body shake with warming glee.

We rounded up a whole mess of comedy shows where you can get your hands on free booze while you take in some of the city’s best comedians. So get out there, and you can thank us when you’re drunk and ROFLing. A lot of these involve going into Queens, Manhattan or (gasp!) the Upper East Side, so that just shows you how far we’re willing to go for free beer. (more…)

01/28/16 9:15am
Shady landlords will try to hide rent stabilization like it was a 4-foot guy in a purple beard. Via YouTube.

Shady landlords will try to hide rent stabilization like it was a 4-foot guy in a purple beard. Via YouTube.

The battle between New York City tenant and landlord is as old as time and as epic as the great battles of history, on par with Ali/Frazier, Luigi/Waluigi and Wile E. Coyote and the Acme customer service department. Sure, there are good landlords out there who care about preserving the neighborhood, but often as a lowly tenant you can often feel overwhelmed and outmatched by the resources of the landlord industrial complex who seem to be endlessly conspiring to turn you and everything you own into a condo. So it helps to be armed with the right tenant rights information to stand up for yourself in case the landlord tries to pull some shady moves.

The good folks at ProPublica have put together a handy 10-point list of common ways landlords try to screw you, and what you can do about it. It includes not turning on the heat, refusing to do repairs and jacking your rent up more than allowed. Keep it handy; we hope you never have to use it. (more…)

01/21/16 12:19pm
Find a sled at Flatbush Avenue's All-Star Locksmith & Hardware, and many other fine retailers. Photo by Tim Donnelly.

Find a sled at Flatbush Avenue’s All-Star Locksmith & Hardware, and many other fine retailers. Photo by Tim Donnelly.

Everyone is freaking out at the potential of a huge snowstorm hitting the city this weekend. We’ve been through this more times than the Academy has nominated minorities in the last two years, so there is a slight chance that this is all baloney and nothing will happen but a few sprinkles. There is also a slight chance that all snowy hell will drop on us and the city will resemble Tony Montana’s desk. But don’t get upset, the snow can be fun and how can it be fun? With sleds! Here’s where you can buy a sled this weekend, from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge — including lots of locally owned stores if you don’t want to go into the hell that is Target.

And don’t forget our guide to the five best sledding hills in Brooklyn too! (more…)

01/15/16 10:01am
Double tap some Brooklyn 'gram love. Photo by Halopigg.

Double tap some Brooklyn ‘gram love. Photo by Halopigg.

Sure, Snapchat is the hot thing with teens and DJ Khaled, but Instagram is still our favorite way to view the city through our phones. Most of us might use Instagram to post the same picture, in the same pose, 30 times a year, hoping people will like it just because you’re pretty (you would be right).

Thankfully, there are some Instagram profiles we like to see because they actually put beautiful photos of other things: some give us the chance to see our borough through new eyes, highlighting the hidden beauty or capturing light glinting off brownstones at just the right moment. To make your Instagram experience just a little more interesting, we picked the 10 best local Brooklyn Instagram accounts that are full of ‘grams you can’t help but double tap.  (more…)

01/14/16 4:16pm
This is almost 2x as much as it looks like. via flickr user Sara Long

This is almost 2x as much as it looks like. via flickr user Sara Long

As Brokelyn’s resident Canadian, I’ve spent a great deal of time traveling between my hometown of Toronto and my current town of Brooklyn. And that has meant carefully watching the exchange rate between the two countries. I still remember my excitement on the day, in the spring of 2010, that Canada’s dollar finally edged (ever so briefly) beyond US currency. (I also remember the smug, derisive look on all my cashiers’ faces when I tried to slide them my Canadian bills as payment. Canada has always accepted American currency.)

But I’m not here to tell you about that victory, no sir. I’m here to accept defeat, because the Canadian dollar is currently at just below .70 cents American, and is also slated to dip much lower than that by the end of the year. In other words, you damned lucky Americans: there’s never been a better time for us all to take a trip up North! Besides, many of you have already threatened to move there if Trump gets elected.

So here’s a Canadian-approved guide to your impromptu weekend getaway in Toronto, Ontario, with Canadian prices adjusted to their US equivalent in parentheses, so you can see just how easy you’re getting off because of the exchange rate. Keep the change, you filthy animals. (more…)

01/12/16 1:00pm
j'eatjet? brunch

At j’eatjet it’s more like moremosa, Photo by Dave Rosado

[We updated this list for January 2016 and added some new spots so everything is up to date!-ed.]

Brunch: it’s that magical meal that’s somehow both over- AND underrated. It’s a great way to start a weekend or coast through a Sunday morning hangover, a meal where you can order a boozy drink and loudly proclaim “It’s five o’clock somewhere, right? Who cares? It’s brunch o’clock here!” to the hearty enjoyment of nobody, because come on. Brunch can also be expensive, as day drinking is apparently a fancy affair once you introduce a fruit cup to the occasion.

Still, there’s no need to be one of the five richest kings of Europe to get your boozy brunch on. Instead of buying a sixer of Milwaukee’s Best to drink alongside some hastily-made scrambled eggs at home, class it up by heading to these eighteen restaurants (!) which offer the best Brooklyn unlimited brunch drink specials.  (more…)