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…)

05/16/16 11:00am
Yeah, okay, okay, it's really pretty. dumbonyc / Flickr

Yeah, okay, okay, it’s really pretty. dumbonyc / Flickr

The start of summer comes with an influx of pests: mosquitos, pantsplainers, street harassers… and of course tourists, some of whom happen to be your friends and family. As quaint as it can be to show them around and do a few touristy things, it can also be exhausting. There’s no doubt you’ll feel a financial strain within minutes of your first meal out, and a mental strain as try you explain to your beloved out-of-towners that he Rainbow Bagel isn’t worth the hype. But the next time your regularly-scheduled programming is interrupted by someone’s first trip to New York City, and Brooklyn at that, you won’t need to flounder for options, because you can simply take them on our Broketown Tours (TM) journey through DUMBO.

First an underutilized waterfront, then a refuge for artists, Dumbo has shifted from an area with one of the highest rents in the city over the course of just a few decades. So bring it back to its roots and still take in everything it has to offer without being an overcharged dumbo! We’ve put together a roundup of neighborhoods spots and sights that cater to tourists and locals alike in both their hype factors and their price points. Pace yourself and split food, and you can probably do most everything on this list for $20. After all, your tourist friends may only be here for a few days, but you live here, and you’ve still got a ways to go before you can afford your next vacation.  (more…)

05/11/16 3:00pm
A spirit guide for every occasion.

A spirit guide for every occasion.

The subway can turn even the most tranquil soul into a raging beast. MTA ridership is clocking in at nearly six million daily riders, and sometimes it feels like all six mil are going out of their way to make your commute miserable. As George Costanza would admonish, “You know we’re living in a society!” For real: it’s wild out there. And in order to make it from point A to point B in this crush of savage mammals, you need a little help. You need to be feisty, fierce, instinctual, calm, and compassionate. You need to channel your animal spirit guide.

Traditional thinking on spirit animals is that you don’t choose your animal; it chooses you. But this is the rush-hour NYC subway we’re talking about, and you don’t have time to wait for your unconscious mind to discover things (unless you’re waiting for the G to arrive, in which case you’ve got all the time in the world). Take the bull by the horns (see below) with these six spirit animals that can help you navigate your subway ride peacefully. We’ve provided a guide on how to channel each one. Here’s hoping that summoning these creatures can help you tame the beast within. (more…)

05/10/16 10:00am
Heckling can be a bit more intense nowadays. Via Flickr user Matthias Weinberger.

Heckling can be a bit more intense nowadays. Via Flickr user Matthias Weinberger.

We’ve all seen the hyperbolically labeled YouTube videos that claim comedian destroys, shuts down, eviscerates and defenestrates heckler. Okay, well, maybe not that last one. But anybody that has gone onstage to do comedy will tell you that heckler takedowns rarely make the crowd applaud like you just scored the winning touchdown at Homecoming. Shutting down a heckler is often a laborious, tiresome and very un-funny process.

If you’ve seen your fair share of comedy shows, then you’ve probably also seen a heckler. Maybe you’ve even been one (in which case, stop). In many cases, a skilled and veteran comedian knows how to handle the situation. But what is it actually like on the front lines for newbies, open mic-ers, up-and-comers and showcase comedians that have to deal with the everyday reality of hecklers? Are hecklers frustrated artists that don’t know how to express themselves? Are they just unrepentant jerks? Can they make you better at doing comedy? How can you survive the ordeal? We asked some comedians for tips on not letting a heckler mess up your game: (more…)

05/02/16 10:57am
Stay Lassie: 5 ways to hang out with dogs in Brooklyn (if you can't actually own one)

This person is not being weird. She is merely sitting *near* the dog. via Instagram user @sourayajureidini

I want a dog. Bad. I’m suffering from retriever fever; I’m not sound without a hound; I’d be merrier with a terrier. I long for a pup of my own, but I know I can’t get one. I’m too busy to give him the attention and exercise he needs, and too broke to afford a dog walker. Plus, the idea of keeping a dog locked up by himself in my apartment all day just sucks.

I know I’m not the only one in this predicament, because I talk to lit’rally everyone I know about it. They all want dogs, too. And why shouldn’t they? Dogs are happy, silly, fluffy bundles of unconditional love. You’d have to be crazy to not want one! Dogs have health benefits too, including lowering your stress and blood pressure levels. Maybe our hectic New York lifestyles and tiny, non-pet friendly apartments won’t allow us to be happy dog owners, but we can persevere. There are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of puppy time even if you can’t adopt one yourself. We’ve compiled just such a list of ways to seek out temporary canine companions in the city (and tips on how not to come off as a creepy weirdo while doing so).  (more…)

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…)