04/20/16 8:00am
Here's the part where you have to walk instead of bike. Via Flickr user Marc van Woudenberg.

Here’s the part where you have to walk instead of bike. Via Flickr user Marc van Woudenberg.

May, the amuse-bouche of summer, is soon approaching and with it comes the annual TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour. For 39 years running, the 40-mile tour through all New York’s boroughs has billed itself as “the largest charitable bike ride in the U.S.” On May 1, a stampede of 37,000 riders will shut down the automobopolis (I’m trademarking this) that is our city for half the day as they ride freely in the middle of streets, across bridges, and even on some highways. I’ve done it five years consecutively, and this year, I cannot wait to skip it.

Sure, on the surface the Five Boro sounds great: you get to tour New York on a bicycle alongside thousands of other cyclists (evincing varying degrees of enthusiasm), and go where no bicycles ever get to venture on any other day: the FDR Drive and the BQE. You’re biking 40 miles, so it feels healthy and you get to have a sore ass at the end. There’s even a festival in Staten Island at the finish line, in Fort Wadsworth, just at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge. And all of that would be great! Except you’re actually walking a lot of the time, and you only really ride through three of the boroughs, and it will cost you $94.  (more…)

04/07/16 3:21pm
The author's actual Playbill from a real-live Hamilton performance.

The author’s actual Playbill from a real-live Hamilton performance. Photo by Sam Kite/Brokelyn

$96,000. $96,000. If you won the lottery, would you invest in protest, and never lose focus, ’til the city takes notice? Or would you change the station, then teach ‘em about gentrification?

Nah. Be honest. That shit is for poor people! You’re rich now! Time to get yourself a ticket (just one, you didn’t win the Powerball) to Hamilton! You haven’t seen a Broadway musical since the tour of Rent back when you lived with your parents in San Antonio. But you’re a New Yorker now! This is your shot! You even get to post that Facebook picture (above) of your hand holding the playbill right before the curtain. “Finally seeing Hamilton, you guys! #greatestcityintheworld #blessed”

Don’t worry if you can’t get tickets, though. Unless your daily routine consists of skipping town from the teachers strike on your private jet to sweet-ass VIP house seats, you can wait for the tour. I got lucky, spent three hours sardined in the overheated Richard Rodgers on a Friday night and have some news: it’s truly not worth the hype (or price). (more…)

03/22/16 8:47am
How about living somewhere you can actually afford instead? Photo by Sam Corbin

How about living somewhere you can actually afford instead? Photo by Sam Corbin

If you’ve been riding the New York subways lately, then you’ve probably caught sight of the heavy banner advertising campaigns that both Seamless and StreetEasy — food delivery and apartment hunt companies, respectively — have been running. In the former, slogans like “The role of ‘Your Mom’ will by played by us” and “Let people who can spell ‘Baba Ganoush’ make it” adorn the overhead space on the train. In the latter, indie-aesthetic doodles depict various living factors as math equations, e.g. Manhattan apartment + English Degree = Guarantors Accepted.

In case you missed the joke, they’re saying that your parents can sign on as the liability on your Manhattan apartment because you were foolish enough to get a BA. Also, they aren’t joking.

Far be it from us to take issue with having your parents as pseudo-landlords in your first New York apartment. That’s a situation we can all relate to, and as long as they’re not your actual landlords, it’s fine by us. But where these subway ads are trying to be cute, they’re catering to a generation of soft New Yorkers by creating a virtual parents’ basement of apps — all dependency and convenience — where you’ll rot for the rest of your days. (more…)

03/17/16 3:25pm
This is actually a very seriously smart plan. Credit: DNAinfo

This is actually a very seriously smart plan. Credit: DNAinfo

Ever since they added a bar to their space to cater to the drinking populace of North Brooklyn, Greenpoint’s Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball has been making headlines almost weekly. It’s a practical date spot! It’s a uniquely vintage mainstay in a changing neighborhood! It’s one of the main reasons Chris Gethard didn’t move to LA! The laundromat made the news again this morning, when DNAinfo found that owner Pete Rose put Plan B and pregnancy tests in their vending machines, alongside the candy bars.

Apparently, Rose intended “purely for entertainment purposes.” He was browsing the aisles of CVS when, as he recalled to DNAinfo, “I saw [the PlanB] and thought, ‘That doesn’t belong in a vending machine,’ and so I bought some.”

Color me humorless, but I don’t get the joke. In fact, I think it’s a seriously great idea. There are tampon and pad dispensers in most public restrooms in America, and smart schools in NYC are going so far as to offer them for free to students. But bleeding into your underwear isn’t nearly as terrible (or difficult to resolve, I mean, it’s called toilet paper) as an unplanned pregnancy. So why shouldn’t we be able to buy Plan B in vending machines? (more…)

03/04/16 11:49am
Governors Ball: Like Coachella you have to look at this instead of mountains. Via Flickr user Mike Cicchetti.

Governors Ball: Like Coachella but you have to look at this instead of beautiful mountains. Via Flickr user Mike Cicchetti.

If the groundhogs and the occasionally warm days haven’t been enough of an indication that summer is soon upon us, let us look to the one faithful sign of warmer days: the music festival lineup announcements. This week gave us a new entry into New York’s festival scene, Panorama, and people collectively lost their shit. The three-day festival features headliners Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, the reunited LCD Soundsystem (long may they live), and 50+ other acts. Our own Dave Colon provided the high service Panorama vs. Governors Ball breakdown, and as tickets go on sale today, people will no doubt be jumping online at noon and frantically coordinating with friends to nab passes. To all those people, and, even more so, to the people wondering if they should take a chance on the new Panorama Festival or the more established Governors Ball, I have one piece of advice: DON’T. Neither of them are worth your money, because music festivals actually are a scam for your hard-earned concert cash.

At this point I can already hear people scrolling to the comments section to put me on festival blast, but let’s run through the myths of why people think they enjoy festivals, and the facts of why they actually end up having a miserable time.  (more…)

01/13/16 2:43pm
We have bigger subway problems than this little face. Via Flickr user TK.

We have bigger subway problems than this little face. Via Flickr user Seth Werkheiser.

These days it seems that we just can’t agree on anything. Did Steve Avery really do it or was he set up? Should we go to that one mediocre brunch spot we always go to, or that other mediocre brunch spot we sometimes to go? Now the issue of dogs on the subway is another of the countless things we can’t agree on. The New York Times focused an entire article on the topic earlier this week. MTA rules say a dog must be carried in an enclosed bag or container and “carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers.” But a lot of folks regularly ignore that (or just don’t know it), and these people who bring their adorable furry friends to brighten up the underground misery should be rewarded, not slapped with a $25 fine. Here are 10 real subway problems that should be banned before we worry about dogs: (more…)

08/27/15 3:28pm
You call this table service? via flickr user Wally Gobetz

Communal seating is a nice idea, in theory. via flickr user Wally Gobetz

Euro-inspired beer halls have been cropping up all over Brooklyn, with their appropriately import-heavy tap lists and their mostly pretzels signature food offerings. There’s Radegast, the Koelner Bierhalle, and Spritzenhaus to name a few. It’s also just been announced that Downtown Brooklyn is going to be getting a “massive” beer hall. But amidst all the hype, we’ve got a question: what’s so great about beer halls?

Hear us out: besides their sprawling size and trendy menu, beer halls aren’t all that welcoming. For one thing, the acoustics are terrible. In a large room made almost entirely of polished stone, you find yourself screaming just to be heard above the general din echoing off the walls. It’s like a community board meeting, that costs more money. (more…)

06/18/15 1:55pm


Despite all of our many medical advances over the decades, there’s now a dangerous new sickness sweeping the land, infecting the brains of people born in the mid and late 1980s. Doctors haven’t named it yet, but we will: It’s called Ninetiesopia, and it’s a condition that limits your ability to see the  entirety of the 1990s only through the Vaseline-smeared lens of nostalgia and declare even the most justifiably forgotten aspects of the culture to be so great as worthy of a kingly tribute.

Do you suffer from Ninetiesopia? Ask yourself the following: Have you been on the edge of your seat waiting for the Full House sequel? Did you wait on the line to get into a promotional recreation of Central Perk? Most importantly, are you foaming at the mouth at the chance to buy a VIP ticket (or a ticket at all) to Williamsburg’s 90s Fest, the newly announced festival dragging out Smash Mouth, Tonic and the corpse of Blind Melon for a big payday? Too many people are going to answer “Yes” to one or maybe even all of those questions, and it makes me sad. It makes me sad because I had a hope, maybe a foolish one, that we weren’t going to repeat the mistake our parents made and desperately try to hold on to our youth and pretend that it the era we grew up in was the only cultural era worth preserving.

We’re reaching a tipping point though, one we won’t be able to pull ourselves back from soon if we don’t take a stand today. Especially in a city where our cup already overfloweth with 90s humping, from a Saved By the Bell themed night out at the ballpark to monthly 90s dance parties at the Bell House to monthly 90s sing-alongs AND dance parties at Union Hall, the existence of an entire festival devoted to the 90s seems like just the thing to push us over that precipice of permanently being afflicted with Ninetiesopia. Repeat after me, and repeat it loudly: “Death to the fucking 90s.” (more…)

05/26/15 12:31pm
You can pry our dumb coffee shop sandwich boards from our cold, dead hands

You can pry our dumb coffee shop sandwich boards from our cold, dead hands

This morning, Slate’s Heather Schwedel penned an article criticizing coffee shop sandwich boards. She titles the article, “When Did Sidewalk Café Sandwich Boards Start Trying So Hard to Make Jokes?” I see your point, Heather, and raise you the advertising industry since the 20th century. Call us old-fashioned, but we sincerely don’t understand what’s wrong with “creative expressions of branding,” as Schwedel terms the sandwich board art.

She gets pretty rant-y, spending about 1000 words shaming pun-happy baristas. In referring to one solicitous sandwich board, Schwedel writes, “the sheer cheekiness nearly knocked me over.” Oh honey, this is New York City. If everyone’s sheer cheekiness threw me off balance, I’d spend most of the day on my back. We’ll sum the Slate article up by saying TL;DR. But let us rant for a sec, too, because there’s a fair amount of barista dignity at stake here. (more…)