01/10/17 1:07pm
Think global, vote local: Everything you need to know about NYC's local elections in 2017

Borough President Eric Adams, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Public Advocate Letitia James are all up for reelection in November. Via websites.

While the happy liberal bubble that is NYC probably won’t vote anyone drastic into office this year (although Mayor Pizza Rat would be an interesting social experiment) brace for a good deal of local government turnover in 2017: 59 city offices are up for vote in November. The mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough presidents and all 51 City Council seats will be on the ballot this fall for New Yorkers to reelect, dethrone or, as most of the country did in November’s Presidential election, do nothing and leave it to the rest of the city to decide.

The races are all still young, and with most of the city still reeling from Trump’s unpresidented (get it?) seizing of the highest office in the free world, it’s easy to forget how important 2017 is for NYC politics. While you may be convinced humanity has doomed itself and democracy to an orange-colored destruction, it’s important to take whatever time we have remaining and channel your frustrations with the incoming federal administration into local politics. Indeed, local politics are sometimes, both in the long and short term, more consequential than national politics (and more fun too, in my humble opinion).

Don’t be just a once-every-four-years-voter, pay attention to what’s happening in your community and you’ll not only be more informed but can also hold it over the heads of those who aren’t paying attention. (more…)

11/18/16 1:23pm
Via Flickr user wasik.

Via Flickr user wasik.

Canada may sound like a chill place to move right now, but I promise that if you can’t handle the polar vortices of a Brooklyn winter, you cannot handle the sting of Canadian expatriation. If you’re still willing and able to consider a change of scenery after this election season, move to a place where your voice will have an impact on the social level, as well as the political.

Instead of buying a one-way ticket to some other idyllic foreign country, consider instead the much cheaper cost (and the ultimate moral high ground) of a domestic flight to a beautiful new home in a swing state where you can actually make a difference! That way, rather than running away from America’s problems like children, or tunnelling deeper into our East Coast bubbles, we can opt to build safer communities all around the country.

While red-state America may be the LAST place some of you are willing to venture, word on the street is that there are indeed some neater spots in Swingtopia, and I’m here to take you to ‘em. And even though some of these places are less diverse than the glorious melting pot that is New York City, if we keep our social justice goggles on I’m sure we can avoid displacing communities when moving across state lines and we can stand stronger together. (more…)

11/08/16 11:13am
We all need an escape to nature right now and this hidden Greenpoint trail is the answer

Photos by Bridget McFadden.

It’s been a long 18 months. If the all-consuming and nauseating electoral coverage we’ve been marinating in has you world-weary and longing for an antidote, it might be time for a nature walk, immediately. In this city, you can pretty much get whatever you want, whenever you want it; with the exception of “peace and quiet,” of course. So it helps to have a couple quick-fix nature tricks up your sleeve. If you need a dose of tranquility pronto, start where you least expect it: the Wastewater Treatment Digester Eggs illuminating the horizon between Brooklyn and Queens. These monuments of industrialization will actually lead you to the covert wilderness salvation of the Newtown Creek Waterfront Nature Walk.

At first, this nature walk seems ironic. Newtown Creek is one of the most polluted waterways in the nation, and was designated a superfund site in 2010. In fact, on my first visit recently I was sort of expecting the trek to be a bit of a stunt – “look at me, I hang out in oil spills” – but I was mistaken. It is hands-down the most tranquil spot in the neighborhood, and it is exactly what you need to chill out and refresh your perspective. (more…)

11/03/16 3:42pm
Here are all the cheap BK election night parties where you can drink until you die

It’s an election pile-on! via Dardy Bar’s instagram

Finally. FINALLY. After two years of political campaigns from dozens of candidates, followed by the world’s most grueling overtime face-off between semifinalists 4 prez Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the general election comes to its much-awaited end this Tuesday, November 8.

It’s sure to be a night to remember— which is exactly why you shouldn’t have to. If anything, this is our last chance to drink ourselves into a blissful Obama-livion before “the next four years” with a certain someone begin. We’ve rounded up all the cheap election night parties in Brooklyn, since you’re going to need more than one drink. We’ll keep adding to this list as more come up, so stay tuned if you don’t see one you like just yet. Though as far as we’re concerned, just about anything beats dealing with the nail-biting anxiety of the vote count alone. (more…)

10/18/16 9:00am

Once more into the breach: go ahead and down a few drinks while watching the final debate on Wednesday.

Finally, after what feels like a campaign that has lasted since before most of you were born and will still drag on until most of us are dead from exhaustion/rising sea levels/Trump internment camps, we have reached the presidential debates. The final debate of this election goes down Wednesday Oct. 19 at 9pm, and it should be a hell of a blood sport: it’ll either be Hillary Clinton’s chance to prove that she’s the only actual adult running for president who has at least read one or two books about international politics, or the chance for everyone in the nation to collectively face palm while thinking “I can’t believe she’s really going to blow this.” Either way, being out and about among your fellow Brooklynites with a drink or two or 13 in hand is recommended.

Here’s our roundup of bars showing the debate on Wednesday, including bars with drink specials, debate bingo and free Cheez-Its (because of the orange guy). Most are also showing the subsequent debates, and all are free. We’ll update the list as more roll in too. And don’t forget to bring our Brokelyn debates drinking game with you too! (more…)

10/10/16 1:00pm
So you've got bed bugs. Who do you need to tell? An infestation etiquette guide

Bedbugs: Not just a game. via Flickr user Mike Mozart

We’ve been talking a lot about bed bugs here at Brokelyn this month (an interview with Brooklyn’s bed bug queen, Brooke Borrel; a first-person account of getting a fancy hotel to pony up for a bed bug extermination), and we have one final important piece of the bed bug puzzle to add today: Who do you tell when you get bed bugs?

A lot of people who’ve had them say that finding out you have bed bugs is like finding out you have an STD. But are we talking HPV or HSV2? Who do you need to tell and why? Are you morally obligated to lock yourself in a clothes dryer until the menace dies down so that you don’t spread the infestation to others? Should you call out of work? Let’s break it down. (more…)

10/04/16 12:51pm
Pack, pray, move: a Brokelyn guide to making your next apartment move (relatively) painless

I’m already exhausted looking at this via. Instagram

Bringing up the topic of moving usually elicits groans and horror stories from all. It’s stressful, nobody likes it and since Brooklyn has been decreed the “Most Unaffordable Place to Live in America,” you’re probably pushing your luck anyway. But if the apartment you had once fallen in love with is now mouse ridden, and your current landlord has been ignoring your calls, and you’re nowhere near any good bars to make this all worth it, then it’s time to be movin’ out.

For something that sucks so much, we all keep doing it. But it doesn’t have to be completely unbearable. Brokelyn here, ready to share some insightful wisdom, reminders of the little things, and tips and hook-ups so you don’t have to go through these trying times of pre-move anguish alone. We’ve all been there, and we’re ready to help you pack up and move on to bigger, better places— ideally with a working toilet.  (more…)

09/29/16 9:15am
Even the U-racks aren't thief-proof without the right locking technique. via Rawle C. Jackman / Flickr

Even the U-racks aren’t thief-proof without the right locking technique. via Rawle C. Jackman / Flickr

Thanks to 15 new miles of bike lanes this year and half a million New Yorkers getting on their bicycles each month, it is becoming somewhat safer to bike in the city. It is, however, substantially more dangerous to be a bicycle here. In three years, I have been the dysphoric victim of four bike thefts. The vast majority of big city cyclists can regale you with similar tales of woe. There’s even a Bike Batman in Seattle who makes it his mission to return over 20 stolen bicycles a year to their rightful owners.

Until Gotham gets the bicycle-saving hero that it needs, how can you keep your bike safe? The NYPD has taken a greater interest in bike theft recently, but unless your theft was on video or your ride was equipped with some nifty GPS tracker, there’s not a ton they can do. The good news is that if you take some minimum precautions you can almost always avoid getting your ride jacked in the first place. We spoke to a few bike shops around the city and provided our own Brokelyn Bikers’ local knowledge on how New Yorkers can best secure their wheels against a five-finger discount. (more…)

08/31/16 4:03pm
If your laptop is working, this makes a great work space, but the public computers are there to catch you if you fall. Via Flickr user Sam Saunders.

If your laptop is working, this makes a great work space, but the public computers are there to catch you if you fall. Via Flickr user Sam Saunders.

For yet-to-be-determined reasons that may or may not have to do with spending a few blissed-out, half-working days at a surf house in Rockaway last week, my laptop stopped working suddenly. The Geniuses at the Genius bar couldn’t figure it out so they sent it off to Apple sleepaway camp, where it will either get fixed or have its first kiss with a girl named Planned Obsolescence. Freelancing and otherwise working from a laptop is a glorious feeling of freedom: your computer screen essentially turns into a mobile command center for all the aspects of the internet/life you need to keep tabs (literally!) on all day long. But what do you do when that command center goes on the fritz? And you need to keep working to do things like eat and not get thrown out of your home?

When this happened to me, instead of digging one of the lugubriously slow old laptops out of the bag I am for some reason saving in my closet, I instead decided to try out the Brooklyn Public Library’s free computer work center at the Grand Army Plaza brand. The library, as you already know, is a fully loaded center for helping you get shit done, but would it work for the hectic, crushingly busy, bouncing-from-page-to-page life of a freelance writer? It can, if you do it correctly! Here’s some key tips for how to pull off a full work day on the public computers.  (more…)

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…)