08/25/16 2:00pm
Free books abound — if you trust your neighbors' selection. Via Flickr user Squid Ink.

Free books abound — if you trust your neighbors’ selection. Via Flickr user Squid Ink.

New York City is expensive … if you actually try to pay for everything you need. The city is a giving tree that will help support your basic needs, if you know where to look, and save you the hassle of paying for stuff that is freely available everywhere: Moving boxes, magazines, condoms and more. Here are 10 things you never have to pay for in the city; add your own picks to the comments. (more…)

08/17/16 11:16am
Cheap shots: 5 affordable alternatives to attending SummerSlam in Brooklyn this month

Jon Stewart traded fake news for fake wrestling at SummerSlam at Barclays Center last year. Photo via WWE.com.

If you’re watching the Olympics, you’ve probably realized that mat wrestling isn’t all that exciting. Sure, it involves a certain kind of physique and expertise that requires years of practice, hard work, and determination. At the same time, there’s no flair or showmanship, and the only steel chairs involved are the ones athletes sit on between matches. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the danger?

Why, in pro wrestling, of course! In bingo halls, basements and arenas across the country, competitors of various genders, builds and backgrounds gather to “fight” one another in 20′ x 20′ rings and tell enthralling (and oft-bizarre) stories in the process. Unlike Olympic-style wrestling, these surly men and women often eschew trivial things like rules and form, opting for more spectacle-based moves, gravity-defying stunts, and the occasional “foreign object.”

Best of all, you don’t have to travel all the way to Rio just to see the top pro wrestlers compete. This coming weekend, WWE brings SummerSlam — its second-biggest wrestling event of the year — back to the Barclays Center for the second year in a row, and they’re bringing wrestling stars like John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Sasha Banks along with them. At the same time, some of the most popular independent wrestling organizations are taking advantage on the ‘E’s presence with their own area shows this month for less than the cost of a Pay-Per-View, and with more of an emphasis on authentic, South Brooklyn-style underground wrestling events.

If you can’t afford a ticket to SummerSlam (spoiler: you probably can’t), these five action-packed events are well worth your time thanks to impressive match cards, equally impressive guest appearances, and more insanity than you’ll ever get out of a Mets game, no matter how well they’re doing this year. (more…)

08/11/16 12:37pm
Photo via @markedanimation on Instagram.

Glorietta Baldy’s pinball machine pay tribute to the rock n roll gods. Photo via @markedanimation on Instagram.

Ever since I was a young girl, I played the silver ball. But really, my grandparents had two pinball machines in their basement where I’d spend countless hours being terrible during my elementary years when they’d babysit. Then in high school, my friends and I would road trip an hour to Ann Arbor, Michigan to Pinball Pete’s, where I’ve broken their South Park machine at least six times.

Now, in the prime of my life, I’m not only able to play pinball, but now I can drink alcohol while doing so! In the year that I’ve lived in Brooklyn, I’ve tipsy stumbled into a surprising number of bars with pinball, and left with more recommendations of bars to check out. I wanna be the very best, hence, I’ve decided to switch from aspiring Pokemon Master to Pinball Master.

To begin my journey, I’ve been hitting up my favorite spots to play in “middle Brooklyn,” namely Crown Heights, Park Slope, and Bed-Stuy. (Up next: I’m compiling a list of the best in “North Brooklyn” neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick.) I’m not an expert when it comes to playing, but I am quite good at appreciating the older machines from the 80s on and fan-girling over the more recent models. Check out my list of eight favorites. (Note: keep in mind that bars regularly rotate their pinball machines, in case you don’t see one from this list.) (more…)

08/10/16 3:40pm
I've heard of spotting someone in the weight room but this is ridiculous! Via @acusvida on Instagram.

I’ve heard of spotting someone in the weight room but this is ridiculous! Via @acusvida on Instagram.

This is certainly the worst summer of your life if you happen to be a super fan of Olympic sports who also suffers from trypophobia. All your favorite athletes are covered in spots! The hot look at the Rio games right now is definitely DalmatianCore thanks to the popularity of the practice known as “cupping” lots of the athletes have adopted. It’s got roots in ancient Chinese healing practices, similar to acupuncture. The process involves placing cups on your body, adding heat or suction to pull the skin away from the muscles. As the Times wrote, “Athletes who use it swear by it, saying it keeps them injury free and speeds recovery.” Michael Phelps does it, Hope Solo does it, Natalie Coughlin does it, and certainly a lot more people who believe in Mercury in retrograde and juice cleanses are going to try it after its moment in the spotted-light.

Should you try it? I don’t know! Definitely don’t take medical advice from us, but if you are into trying things that are labeled “pseudoscience” on Wikipedia, who are we to stop you. Maybe you’re wondering: is this some super fancy treatment you can only pay for using coins made out of smelted gold medals? No, it’s actually pretty cheap, and you can do it at lots of places in Brooklyn. It’s not for everyone though, apparently.

“With cupping, it depends on the constitution of the person,” one practitioner in Greenpoint told me. “We don’t always recommend it depending on what the person is coming in for.”

Here’s a price check of what cupping costs around Brooklyn. (more…)

08/02/16 12:19pm
Get 'em OFF! Photo via @mike mozart on Flickr.

Get ’em OFF! Photo via @mike mozart on Flickr.

Mosquitoes have got you itchin’ & bitchin’. You’re steering clear of late-night beer gardens in fear of getting unwanted attention from dirty, thirsty blood-suckers (and I’m not talking about cute goth vampire boys). You’re tired and fed up of researching DIY “all-natural” bug sprays, which involve spending $40 on essential oils, almond oil, vodka and spray bottles, only to wear your creations confidently to Prospect Park and leave with six new bug bites (like I did when I initially began working on this article).

Welcome to Summer Hell, folks. Hope here, your favorite Mom-Shorts preaching, hot dog-loving, brunch waitress extraordinaire, and I’m back today to share some tips on how to avoid those pesky little summer fuckers we all love to hate: Mosquitos. [Note: I am in no way qualified to counsel on the risks of Zika, so know that the forthcoming tips aim to combat mosquitos, the itchy annoyance, not the transmitters of virus.] (more…)

07/20/16 2:36pm
Unplug and recharge: 5 places to get off the grid in and around Brooklyn

Fight your phone addiction. Photo via @tobybartlett on Instagram.

Are you and your phone inseparable? Do you believe the adage that man can live a week without food, a few days without water but not 20 seconds without a wifi connection? You and technology may need an intervention or at least some time apart.

But it’s not all your fault. Social media regularly oversteps boundaries to the point of even trying to unduly influence your vote. Some studies have linked extended and frequent use of cell phones to increased anxiety and depression. While some people think they have an allergy to electromagnetic fields or electromagnetic hypersensitivity (a disputed disorder that may just be psychological), taking a break from tech every now and then can definitely recharge you mentally and physically — or at least give you a respite from Pokemon Go players. 

So what can you do about technology over-saturation? You could just completely unplug and move to the Radio Quiet Zone in Green Bank, West Virginia, where there is no cell service and wifi is banned. But then you’d have to live in West Virginia. You could just leave your phone at home when you go out, if you can weather the anxiety that might cause you, as well. Split the difference and take the occasional forced mini-vacation from the Internet. Here are four places in Brooklyn (and one in Queens) where you can temporarily escape from the information superhighway.
(more…)

07/20/16 12:57pm
Get ready for the DNC next week with our affordable trip tips. Photo via @philadelphia_independents on Instagram

Get ready for the DNC next week with our affordable trip tips. Photo via @philadelphia_independents on Instagram

After this week, national plagiarism scandals and speeches from orange-tinted offspring will have receded from our minds (hopefully), and we can look forward to the Democratic National Convention, which takes place Monday July 25-Thursday July 28 in Philadelphia. Considering 50,000 people are expected to head towards Philly way in the next week, chances are at least one of you reading this right now is planning to do so, and could use a couple Brokester tips for your trip. National conventions aside, Philly has much more going for it than Cleveland.

Here’s our affordable guide for how to get there, where to stay, and a selection of free or cheap parties and events to check out while you’re celebrating the hope of a non-Trump presidency in America’s birthplace. (more…)

07/06/16 1:00pm
Blend in with nature in one of these grass-green tent rentals from Traverse Outdoors. Image via Twitter

Blend in with nature in one of these grass-green tent rentals from Traverse Outdoors. Image via Twitter

One time I wanted cool outside gear so badly I got a job at a Patagonia retail shop. On my first day, the floor manager told me that I got hired because I didn’t ask about the employee discount during the interview. Score. We commenced a training activity that involved learning all the special features of a $600 ski parka. Six hundred dollars? I asked about the employee discount. It wasn’t enough to come anywhere close to me being able to afford the ski parka.

Outside gear conjures tantalizing fantasies of fresh air escapes to the Catskills, living life to the fullest while on a kayak on the Hudson, taking in a breathtaking view on a high peak in the Adirondacks, but it can come with a hefty price tag. Anyone who has spent a night in a leaky tent on an even-leakier air mattress knows that good gear makes all the difference, but how do you procure it without taking a part-time job telling rich people about hidden zippers? Lucky for us, New York is a city of renters, and that applies to camping gear too! Check out these Brooklyn-based outfitters that will rent you great gear for a steal. (more…)

07/01/16 9:00am
Soak up the sun: Brokelyn's 2016 ultimate guide to Brooklyn outdoor bars!

Soak in the sun all summer long at (clockwise from top left) Bar Chord, Our Wicked Lady, Margarita Island and a bunch more bars in our guide.

Y’all, we did it. We survived a blizzard, Ted Cruz, a weird season of Broad City, and that one night in May when we had to pull our coats out from under the bed again. Dreams of a margarita-soaked Brooklyn summer kept us warm through those cold nights— but wake the fuck up, it’s finally here! Now is your chance to fling off your comforter, don your mom jorts and man-spread all over the most wonderful time of the year: outdoor drinking season.

Eager to suck down a pitcher of sunshine but not quite sure where to go? Waste no time in the group text: Team Brokelyn has compiled a comprehensive list of nearly 175 spirited spots across the borough where you can drink outside. From wine bars to dives to every sidewalk seat in between, we’re passing along our notes on each bar’s vibe and spilling our secrets to navigating the drink menu without spending your summer allowance all in one place.

Don’t spend the prime of your young adulthood watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix — get out there and get tequila drunk! Outdoors! Simply click the ‘hood you’re headed to and let us be your patio spirit guides (and don’t forget to cop one of our new Brokelyn tank tops so you can be your best summer self).  —Meghan Stephens (more…)

06/20/16 1:52pm
How to spend every single moment of the day — and night — outdoors on the cheap this summer

Show the sun how much you truly appreciate it by never leaving it. Via Flickr user gigiwannaflickr.

This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: The first day of summer. That magical time of year when all pants end at the knee, all drinks include coconut and you finally get to spend some time outside. All winter you’ve been staying inside for your movies, music and alcohol like a rube! Well not anymore — summer means barbecues, lawn games, outdoor concerts, long bike rides and of course these strict guidelines for fun. Now normally people just do one of those, maybe two if they’re a true innovator and then retreat indoors, but why? If you’re like me that’s just not enough to quench that summer thirst, summer’s short, your AC isn’t strong enough and you need to spend as much time outside as humanly possible before the next snowstorm.

Well, we’ve laid out the ultimate guide to making the most of your summer, soaking up the optimum sun and staying outside for fun all day long, and all night long too. That’s right, you’re an adult now, nobody can scare you with threats of sun damage and if you want to stay outdoors for maximum summer without breaking the bank, here’s how:  (more…)