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…)

06/14/16 4:08pm
Photo by Hope Morawa/Brokelyn.

Photo by Hope Morawa/Brokelyn.

I always hated the smell of DEET. Mosquitoes and I have never been BFFs, and as a semi-popular band/theater/show choir socialite in high school, my social life over the summers was shrouded in a dark cloud of bug spray. It was a bite or be bitten way of life, and being slightly allergic to such bites, I wasn’t one to risk walking out of the house without a can in my backpack/fanny pack.

But I’m a part-time adult in my 20s now, and recently, when on a date at King Tai with a handsome 6ft-something ginger, this boy had the privilege and horror of seeing me in my truest form as I smashed a mosquito to smithereens, smearing it’s/my blood over my face while maniacally cackling. I knew better: it was a warm night, the doors of the bar were propped open, but Date Hope opted to smell like sexy coconuts rather than bug spray, making Date Hope a stupid, sitting duck who gained a bunch of bug bites in under a hour and no boyfriend. Enough was enough. Hence, my search for a more natural alternative to getting mosquitoes to bug-OFF had begun. (more…)

06/06/16 4:00pm
Don't go it alone: A guide to Brooklyn's community arts spaces for emerging artists

Follow the party animals to the Barn. via Instagram

Solitary suffering needn’t be a rite of passage for a life in the arts, especially not if you reside and produce artworks in Brooklyn. Here, you can avail yourself of a range of free and low cost resources borough-wide without ever resorting to ramen or giving up your dating life (though occasionally, we encourage you to do that anyway). Do you seek a gallery for your sriracha bottle installation? A windowed rehearsal space for your choreo? An audience for your jazz sax? There are art-loving professionals who will take your dreams seriously, and it’s time to befriend them.

While the following list can’t hope to encompass all of Brooklyn’s incredible arts initiatives, this guide corrals arts organizations and community spaces that 1) support emerging Brooklyn-based artists of all disciplines and 2) operate as nonprofits. These groups provide creatives with a spectrum of resources — from teaching artist and residency calls to O-1 visa consultation. Whether you’re after a grant or a grant-writing workshop, a DIY playground or industry tips, the diversity of services represented by these top five picks reflects the great diversity of the borough itself. Read on to find your next creative oasis in a Brooklyn near you!  (more…)

06/02/16 12:05pm
And on the first day, God said, let there be Summer Fridays: here are the 10 commandments of summer

For God so loved the world that he gave them his only Summer. Edit credit: Sam Corbin / Brokelyn

Memorial Day has come and gone, which means the God of all seasons is upon us: summer. Over the next few weeks you’re going to see a lot of lists that tell you what to do this summer, but none of them are going to tell you how to do it. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some kind of ancient book that had guidelines for living as well as weird stories about grown men living in the stomachs of fish?

Never fear. I’m here to inject a little Judeo-Christian wisdom into your world with The Ten Commandments of New York Summer, passed down to me by the God of Summer himself —who, in case you’re wondering, looks like a giant can of beer wrapped in a Brokelyn™ koozie.   (more…)

05/27/16 12:57pm
Note the blanket.

Note the blanket.

With last minute picnic plans in the works for the holiday weekend, and summer fast approaching, it’s high time to start honing your chops in the art of the all-important summer picnic.

Picnics are the ultimate way to get outdoors with food and drink in your hand in the summertime; they cost less than dining on a patio; you can take breaks from the food to play frisbee, stickball, soccer or just take a sunny nap; and best of all, you can bring your dog.

Of course, in order to go full picnic you’ll have to stock up on essentials, so you aren’t just that sunburnt dummy with a wilted salad in a plastic bag, lying on the grass over an unwashed fitted sheet. You need a basket, you need a blanket and you need food. And while it certainly doesn’t take a six-figure salary to picnic, those elements can add up if you don’t know where to look.

Brokelyn to the rescue! We’ve put together a roundup of picnic blankets, baskets and edible bundles for every budget so you can have your picnic and eat it, too. From DIY PB&Js to prix fixe picnic deals, this list is sure to make your Memorial Day weekend one to be remembered. We’ll bet your dog agrees.  (more…)

05/23/16 1:10pm
The 2016 ultimate guide to Governors Island, which reopens for this summer this Saturday!

Slide Hill will be part of The Hills when it opens in July and will include the city’s longest slide. Rendering via website.

While the weather is having a hard time coming around to it, the opening of Governors Island (spelled without the ‘s) on Saturday (May 28) is the definite sign that summer is on its way. The sprout of land between Manhattan and Brooklyn has been undergoing enormous renovations that will include giant, sloping hills rising as high as 80 feet and a slide park that has NYC’s longest slide (57 feet!). And while you wait in the inevitable slide line, you can marvel at the spectacular views new and old.

The designs were put in place by Dutch design firm, West 8, and echoes back to the 1600s when the island (really just a glorified rock then) was “discovered” by a boat full of Dutch people. The native Americans they “discovered” it from called it Paggank, or “nut island,” for its plentiful nut trees. The name changed to Governors Island for all the British Governors that stayed there in the coming years. Several wars later, the name did not change. And only in the early 2000s did Governors Island open to the public.

But enough about history. The time is now! Well, actually, the time is May 28, when the island will reopen to a flood of visitors like you, wondering if alcohol and slides is as good an idea as it sounds. Plus, you can grill on the island for the first time! (more…)

05/19/16 1:42pm
The cat's out of the mag: 10 indie Brooklyn literary magazines, and how to submit your work to them

Whether you’re writing or reading, these lit mags are here for you. via @wordsonstrings on Instagram

You wake up. You go to work. You come back, or you shack up in a late night café. You type into the wee hours of the night, laboring your masterpieces of poetry and prose, and after a day or week or month, you’ve finally got something you think other people should see. Now what do you do? Well sure, you could spend hours on the internet, researching the coolest literary magazines and online journals in Brooklyn, but that’s a pain in the ass. After all, you’ve abandoned sleep and substituted most of your meals with whiskey. Who has the time?

That’s why we’ve compiled our brief, but important list of Brooklyn literary magazines, complete with details on how submit to each one and where to find their publications (whether in stores or online). Be sure to familiarize yourself with the work of each one before submitting! Some mags are small seedlings in the literary scene, and others are big contenders that have reached all the way to the New Yorker. Either way, you’ve got to start somewhere, so why not here? (more…)

05/17/16 2:00pm

Bat Haus is just one of Brooklyn’s many options for your home away from home office

It makes sense that Brooklyn — with its large creative class and outsized rents for small apartments — is seeing a boom in coworking spaces, a concept that was unheard of just 10 years ago. Neighborhoods all across Brooklyn now have their own places to rent a desk, or sometimes a spot at a communal table, alongside other freelancers, startup hatchers and gig-hoppers. To keep track of all the options, we compiled a list of every Brooklyn coworking space we could find, along with answers to the most basic questions (sorry, we can’t tell you whether you’ll bump elbows with your soulmate at the coffee machine.)

Each place has a different personality, from living-room casual to corporate, which is summed up in the “vibe” section. Under “perks” you’ll find what they offer beyond a desk and an electrical outlet, and here they really vary, with amenities including everything from copy machines to backyards, event spaces, bring-your-pooch-to-work policies, free ZipCars, receptionists and more. [Post updated on May 17, 2016]. (more…)

05/17/16 8:32am
This wonderful book awaits you at Hope & Anchor's karaoke night. Photo by Katy Hershberger.

This wonderful book awaits you at Hope & Anchor’s karaoke night. Photo by Katy Hershberger.

I sing a lot of karaoke. It’s not something I’m proud of, and also, it’s something I’m extremely proud of. It’s not about belting the perfect rendition of “Since U Been Gone” (that song is actually crazy hard to sing). It’s about a feeling, a community, and being a rock star for four minutes. (Karaoke rule No. 1: Please don’t sing any song longer than that.)

There are now enough karaoke bars and nights in Brooklyn that if you wanted to, you could sing karaoke every night of the week without leaving the borough. So I did. I hit nine bars in 10 days. When my friends couldn’t make it, I went solo. I sang a duet with a stranger. I saw a celebrity. I heard a lot of Prince tributes. I started using the groan-worthy term KJ (karaoke jockey). I didn’t sing the same song twice. And I learned a few things about the genre (anything from No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom is a crowd pleaser, anywhere) and myself (karaoke people are the best people). Based on my exciting and exhausting research, enjoy this guide to karaoke bars in Brooklyn including where you can find everything from new indie rock songs, a Hamilton piano singalong and heavy metal karaoke that comes with a free shot. Now, anybody have a lozenge? (more…)

05/16/16 2:15pm
I'm with her now, I guess: How Bernie fans can learn to love Hillary Clinton

No need to waste paper on new posters. Sam Weiss/Brokelyn

Well Bernie Bros and Girls, I’m as sorry as anyone to say that the guy is just about finished. I know, I know, maybe he’ll pull some superdelegate rabbits out of a hat, maybe he’ll win some more states. And if nothing else, at least we can say he really rocked the Brooklyn vote. But generally, we all share a sense of where this thing is going. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you were championing a Sanders presidency! Remember when everyone thought he was just a crazy socialist with no chance? And then he won a massive amount of votes? You did that, probably.

But now, you’re in a tough spot. You’ve been railing against Hillary Clinton for months in order to kindle the Bern-ing fire. Now that Donald Trump might actually become our next president — it’s not a joke anymore, this guy really is the presumptive candidate — you’re going to have to come to terms with Hillary. Sure, you didn’t want to vote for Hillary, but just think of it as voting against Trump.

To help you cope, however, we’ve put together a guide for moving on and learning to accept Hillary for the smart and highly-equipped presidential candidate she is. Our handy how-to includes tips on breaking the news to your Facebook feed, repurposing your campaign merchandise, and we even made some brand new banners you can post on social media.  (more…)