12/02/16 1:08pm
juwanna mann

Turn anti-semitic graffiti into a discussion of 2002’s fine cinema. Left photo via QNS; right illustration by Chris Giganti.

There’s no denying that for many of us the days since Nov. 8 have taken on a nearly apocalyptic portent. Those who warned us that no presidential election could lead to changes overnight woke up the next morning (and every morning after) to visions of a new and surreal reality, as though we had passed into the timeline of The Man in the High Castle (maybe we’re living Season 2). What’s been so world-shaking in the aftermath is that not only did we not accurately know our country, but we don’t even know our own city, or even our Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Not even a full week after the election, The F.B.I. reported a 6 percent rise in reported hate crimes, and only a few days after that Brooklyn Heights’ own Adam Yauch Park was found tagged with swastikas. While we have to leave most of the hate crimes to authorities to handle, people around the city have taken up the call to get rid of the hate messages themselves. So here are some suggestions for DIY graffiti solutions to defuse the messages of hate you may find in your own neighborhood. This is New York City, after all: if we can’t win a tagging war on home turf, what the fuck are we even doing? (more…)

11/04/16 10:50am
This is the last time you'll have to make a real phone call ever probably. Via Hillary Clinton's Facebook page.

This is the last time you’ll have to make a real phone call ever probably. Via Hillary Clinton’s Facebook page.

Before we nervously drink ourselves to literal death on Tuesday night, there is still, somehow, one more weekend of this interminable election campaign to endure. And sure, it may turn out we’ve been dead this whole time are actually have been trapped in a Shining-style campaign photo for 100 years, but until then you do still have a chance to help bring this thing home for Hillary and make sure Trump doesn’t go all Redrum over our entire country.

Here’s the last batch of GOTV and phone banking efforts you can take part in here in NYC this weekend, including some celeb-studded events (if you consider Jack Antonoff a celeb, at least) and ways to help without leaving the house.  (more…)

10/25/16 4:40pm
PSA: Don't narc out bodega cats on Yelp or you will be furiously mocked

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.
(more…)

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…)