10/25/16 4:40pm

no. Via SynKami on Twitter.

Yes, having a bodega cat is not technically “legal,” but it’s not “legal” in the way that drinking wine in the park or bringing your dog into a bar isn’t legal, which is to say it’s an accepted form of New York life that no one minds so long as you don’t make a big deal of it. Yet someone did make a big deal of it in a (what now appears to be deleted) Yelp review of S.K. Deli in the East Village last month, revealing themselves as potentially a fresh-off-the-bus noob or maybe someone who has somehow never needed beer, condoms and Windex in the middle of the night.

The, reviewer, Diana D., has been getting roasted by fellow Yelpers with comments like: “No one likes you. This deli has pretty much anything you might want out of a deli. Owner is a hard ass but the cat is awesome,” which is about the perfect description for most bodegas in New York. UPDATE: Someone created a petition to legalize bodega cats once and for all. (more…)

10/17/16 10:17am
Why Juno, the would-be Uber killer, is already winning over lots of NYC drivers

Thanks to a more driver-friendly system, drivers are telling their fares to switch from Uber to Juno. Via Twitter.

When the car service app Lyft came to New York there were a number of people (myself included) who never thought they’d make a dent. Uber, that aptly named behemoth, was already a staple in most boroughs, especially in Brooklyn where, before green taxi cabs were lining the streets, private car companies like Arecibo and Evelyn were the best option to get around. Uber, “Everyone’s Personal Driver,” was just a few taps of the iPhone away, with an approximate arrival time, payment linked directly to your credit card and no worry that your pickup might be intercepted by a roving black car with a CB radio. Now, even with competitors like Lyft, Gett, Via and Way2Ride increasing in popularity, Uber has an estimated 35,000 drivers in New York alone and is making plans to put more on the road. Yet again, it would seem impossible for any new app to make a dent with riders who already have their share of options. But, what if a company was going after drivers first and riders later?

A new company called Juno, which launched its beta app model earlier this year, is trying to do just that. It avoided the traditional route of marketing to riders first; instead, reached out directly to drivers from Uber and Lyft to join the company and help build the customer rolodex from the ground up. And with a lower commission and other perks, it seems to be working.

“Uber is losing drivers. I am working with [Uber] only to pay my lease,” one driver told me, “Once I hit $400 for the week, I turn off the app” and turn on Juno.

While other ride share app companies have found success following Uber’s lead, none have been able to actually siphon off drivers for good. So, is Juno the company that could finally push Uber out? Drivers seem to think so. (more…)

10/12/16 1:27pm
Voting in Park Slope in 2008, a simpler time. Via Flickr user JoeHolmes.

Voting in Park Slope in 2008, a simpler time. Via Flickr user JoeHolmes.

We don’t know the outcome of election day yet, but we do know one thing for certain: the process of actually voting will undoubtedly be marred with problems, ballot shortages, long lines and all those other sticky problems with democracy we haven’t figured out in 200+ years. One of these years we’ll get it right!

This election day, you can be part of making sure things run a little smoother here in New York City seeing as there’s some KINDA HIGH STAKES at risk: the Board of Elections is hiring poll workers and interpreters for election day. You can make $200 a day plus the moral superiority of saying “well at least I tried to help” when everyone complains about voting problems this year. (more…)

09/30/16 1:30pm

Papa Brokelyn and son aho’ how it’s done.

Shanah Tovah! The year 5777 is almost here, and Rosh Hashana — the Jewish new year, for the unfamiliar — marks the beginning of not only a new year but also an entire series of Jewish high holidays that give the “Chosen People” ample excuses to drink Manischevitz.

Since they can’t pass a plate around, most NYC synagogues pay their bills in part by charging non-members for High Holiday tickets — to the tune of $150-250 in NYC.

But paying for services is so 5776. If you don’t have the dough to davin, here’s our annual list of places where you can pray freely for free, whether your pleasure is reform, orthodox, or modern Grindr Shabbat-only. This year, Heaven’s gates open the evening of October 2 for Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur begins sundown of October 11. Note, this article first ran in 2009 and has been updated for 2016. (more…)

09/21/16 10:00am
'Help yourself' to these affordable, sliding-scale therapy options in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Cartoon by Ward Sutton, via the New Yorker

I grew up thinking that therapy was for rich people who didn’t have decent enough friends or family to complain to about their miniscule problems. I could talk to my parents about almost anything, my friends were there when I needed them, and my sister is the patron saint of listening. Ah, privilege in hindsight is 20/20.

Then I was walking home one night in Brooklyn, and was hit by a car. This caused severe PTSD and many levels of anxiety, and I found my non-believing self in therapy each week. I realized it didn’t matter that I had a solid support system; therapy could be an essential self-maintenance tool.

But even with someone else’s insurance company footing the bills, therapy is damn expensive. So as I consider going back to therapy basically ever day, I’ve reached out to friends, coworkers, and therapists to compile this list of institutions that offer affordable therapy in Brooklyn.

I’ve also included a few in Manhattan, for those of you with a monthly Metrocard. You know I’m not about to spend that soon-to-be $3 on public transportation. (more…)

09/16/16 3:00pm
Words to live by: 9 Brooklyn celebs share their fall reading recommendations

Via Flickr user proimos.

That slight tinge of chill in the air (or at least the slight lack of oppressive humidity) means fall has finally pulled up its moving van and started unloading its stuff into our lives. We’ll miss summer, but the fall crisp snaps our academic minds back out of their sun-soaked slumber. We file away beach reads and reach instead for books that will challenge our brains or take us on long, cozy adventures. It’s the season we bring our books to read in bars and step up our subway reading game.

This Sunday, the fall reading season kicks into high gear with the return of the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, a free day of readings, author panels and other events, all centered around a street fair of publishers and booksellers. Choosing the right read to kick off the fall can be overwhelming, so we checked in with a few of our favorite Brooklyn-based comedians, musicians, models and booksellers to see what they’re reading right now. We asked not just for  new releases but for anything that matches the mood of the season or counts as necessary reading right now. Here are their picks; make sure to pick one up at your favorite local bookstore! (more…)

09/02/16 9:27am
Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.58.33 AM

Is this a room in your house? Call 555-HELP. Don’t actually, that’s not a number. via IG @ oliviyayo

There’s the obsessively neat roommate, and there’s the hopelessly messy roommate. We know these types well. But then, there are the extremes. At one end, we see the introvert disciples of the #KonMari method, who can clean out their closets so hard that they literally get diarrhea. At the other end of the spectrum is the TV show Hoarders. Also Hoarders: Buried Alive. These are the larger-than-life packrats who can’t part with a single item in their homes.

And today, Hoarders touches down in Brooklyn to ask: are you one of them?

Maybe you’ve always joked about deserving a role on Hoarders. Maybe your friends half-jokingly agreed. And while you’re likely not as bad as that woman who had dead cats in her freezer, your clutter habit might still benefit from serious intervention. If so, read on.

08/19/16 9:48am
Andrew WK, motivational speaker.

Andrew WK, motivational speaker.

There is something very mysterious about a man that burst onto the music scene sporting a bloody nose and stains on a well-worn plain white shirt. Andrew W.K. is most famous for his 2001 LP, I Get Wet which is considered by many as one of the greatest party albums in recent time. He’s performed countless concerts that have impressed fans and critics alike. During a tour in 2004, W.K. broke his foot in the middle of a show and rather than cancel shows, he finished his dates by rocking out in a wheelchair. His other two full-length albums, The Wolf and Close Calls with Brick Walls showed lyrical growth while continuing a sound that you would play during any kind of party. He also once pretended to be the ambassador of partying to the Middle East (until Brokelyn exposed it as a goof, that is).

However, the proclaimed “King of Party” is channeling his originality and raw energy in a seemingly un-party like forum with motivational speaking engagements as he embarks on a 50 state lecture tour starting in the fall. But to Mr. W.K., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-native who moved to New York City when he was 18 to pursue his music career, there is greater meaning to the word “party.”

“A fundamental part of partying (during the lectures) is being in that room, having an enjoyable time and realizing that you’re having one next to someone who could be extremely different in almost every way from you except the fact that they’re human beings,” W.K. said in an interview.

Some of his words and philosophies may echo those of famous motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins, who have made their living discussing the power of positive thinking. But there is something brewing beneath the surface with Andrew, whether it’s genuine kindness, vulnerability, or both. (more…)

07/18/16 3:22pm

From all reports, planning a wedding in NYC sounds like a similar experience to setting a pile of $100 bills on fire to keep warm on a windy night below a highway overpass, where your only company is your mother and a 200 years of societal pressure. There’s the cost, the catering, the invites and finding a venue which, ugh, who has the time, honestly.

Instead of planning a traditional ceremony, consider doing what Keith Haskel and Bethany Hall did: The couple threw a “run n gun” unauthorized wedding on the Staten Island ferry on July 8, followed by a “reception” on the subway on the way to a party at Radegast in Williamsburg. They captured the whole thing in the video above, which looks like a lot more fun than a hotel ballroom wedding, tbh, especially because the ride goes right by the statue of liberty and the bar on the ferry is dirt cheap. And all these venues cost zero dollars to use.  (more…)

07/18/16 1:30pm
Clean Vibes, which staffs festivals such as Governors Ball and Bonnaroo, is looking for volunteers for Panorama this weekend. Via Facebook.

Clean Vibes, which staffs festivals such as Governors Ball and Bonnaroo, is looking for volunteers for Panorama this weekend. Via Facebook.

In other volunteer-for-free-stuff news, here’s a chance to see Panorama for (almost) free. On Friday, the first-ever Panorama festival kicks off on Randall’s Island, bringing New York a new music destination from the folks behind Coachella. The three-day affair features headliners LCD Soundsystem, Kendrick Lamar and Arcade Fire with lots of other great acts supporting them, including Flatbush Zombies, The Julie Ruin, The National, Sufjan Stevens and a parade of sunburnt music fans hopefully not wearing any cultural appropriating festival gear. Tickets start at $125 for single-day passes or $369 for a three-day pass, which is a hefty tag if you’re one of those people who considers summer music festivals the subprime mortgages of concerts.

But there is a way to go for free (sort of) if you’re willing to work for it: Clean Vibes Labor of Love is looking for volunteers to help pick up all your beer cups and discarded molly bags during Panorama. Put in 15 hours of work and you will get your three-day pass covered, though there is a slight catch.  (more…)