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…)

07/14/16 11:23am
The modlet on the right turned this A/C into a futuristic smart A/C. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

The modlet on the right turned this A/C into a futuristic smart A/C. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

The idea of a “smart air conditioner” probably seems like some future technology you’re a long way away from actually being able to own, like the pizza rehydrator from Back to the Future II. A smart A/C means a device that can be controlled via app ( as all things in the future will be controlled), keep track of your energy usage and start up remotely whenever you’d like to come home to a frosty apartment.

But smart A/Cs are not just a dream of Shark Tank or that fancy Google tech you hear about in between WNYC programs: You can turn any A/C in your home into a smart, app-controlled device thanks to a program from Con Edison. Plus it’s free, and you can get rewards for using it too. (more…)

06/14/16 1:44pm
Last night's vigil at Stonewall, via @JillJorgensen on Twitter.

Last night’s vigil at Stonewall, via @JillJorgensen on Twitter.

When tragedy strikes afar, especially when it involves guns, sometimes we just don’t know what to do. You can grab your loved ones close, you can stand in solidarity with your LGBTQ friends, you can rage rage rage into Facebook memes and tweets, you can watch Sam Bee or John Oliver “eviscerate” the issue, but, here in New York, you still feel so far from actually doing anything. Does this online petition actually help? Does this rainbow flag avatar do any good? What, exactly, is the fuck up with the rest of the country who go buy more guns after every mass shooting so they can sit on a throne of guns and have little gun babies with gun hobbies and gun Snapchat accounts?

I don’t know the answer to these things, but at least in New York, you can take a break from arguing on Facebook about it and get up and do something about the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Here are some Orlando-related vigils and events coming up today and in the near future, and other ways to donate and help. Stay tuned; we’ll keep updating this post as more come in. (more…)

06/08/16 10:44am
Photo by Louise Ma/WNYC.

Yeah, you can still get busted for stoop drinking, but at least you can get it cleared easily. Photo by Louise Ma/WNYC.

New York has progressed so far in recent years that getting busted for minor offenses like drinking on the street, smoking weed in front of a cop or taking a nice long post-bar piss in an alleyway fall in the category of “not that bad” punishments (well, if you’re white, at least). At the same time, other things you can still get ticketed for like riding your bike on the sidewalk or letting your dog go off-leash are still as annoying as ever. All of these can compound into a headache of warrants, unpaid fines and general NYPD harassment that could stay on your record for years or eventually get you arrested. These are also the kinds of cases weighing down the overburdened court system and delaying the actually important crimes that need to be handled.

Luckily, there is a way to get your low-level offenses taken care of without too much hassle. This weekend, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is bringing its Begin Again program to Bushwick to give Brooklynites and everyone in the city a chance to deal with summonses for low-level offenses quickly and get a clean record without having to navigate the city’s entire complex legal system.  (more…)

Get yourself some cheaper artist space, like this Art F City space in Dumbo. Via Two Trees website.

Get yourself some cheaper artist space, like this Art F City space in Dumbo. Via Two Trees website.

Whether you think all real estate companies are reshaping our city in nefarious ways or you’re likely to cut them some slack every now and then, occasionally some of them do throw a bone to the artists who have such a tough time finding places to just exist in the city. Two Trees — the company that essentially made Dumbo into Dumbo — has got one of those bones up for grabs right now. They’re offering artists, nonprofits and community service groups the chance to apply for cheap office and studio space in typically super pricy Dumbo. If you’re chosen, you get a three-year lease for $12/square foot in a building that usually rents for $40/square foot. Some of the tenants taking advantage of that program now include Radio Diaries, Art in General, United Photo Industries and a handful of individual artists. The commercial and studio space ranges from 700 to 2,500 square feet, with Dumbo’s signature natural light and high ceilings. (more…)

04/19/16 2:00pm

Voting is great, right? You get to take a cool Instagram with your “I voted” sticker and use Facebook to chastise your friends and tell them how much Better at democracy you are. But if you are a once every four years voter, one of those people who just cares about the presidential election, you are the worst. Only voting in the presidential election is a bandwagon-hopping move, the electoral equivalent of claiming to be a diehard Golden State Warriors fan in the past two weeks, or posting about loving the environment on Earth Day before driving your SUV to a Steak ‘n Crude Oil Shake restaurant the next day.

Voting in the presidential primaries and elections is important, but we put disproportionate importance on them, like the Grammys or the Jets post-season moves, when the rest of the electoral landscape is made up of races that are equally if not more important to shaping the country. Don’t be a bandwagon voter, be an all-the-time voter and you’ll actually make a difference. Here are your next chances for voter booth selfies: (more…)

04/18/16 4:54pm
How long should you wait for a train before giving up? Someone finally figured out the answer

Now you can know how boned your are even in station’s without countdown clocks. Via Flickr user Pink Iguana.

This is one of the most stressing NYC dilemmas: You’re in a rush to get somewhere and the train is nowhere to be found. You’re underground so you can’t check the train status on your phone and you have no idea what’s happening, whether the train hiding is just around the tunnel bend about to pop out or it’s been rerouted to the land of wind and ghosts forever. How long should you wait for the train before going above ground again and trying some other way to get where you’re going?

Now there’s finally an answer: An engineer analyzed the MTA’s public data to determine how long you should wait before giving up: 11 minutes. After that, the odds that you’re facing a serious delay are high so you might as well swim your ass home.  (more…)

04/06/16 11:19am
Free trees are waiting for you. Photo from the New York Restoration Project's fall giveaway in the Bronx, via Facebook.

Free trees are waiting for you. Photo from the New York Restoration Project’s fall giveaway in the Bronx, via Facebook.

New York is famous for blueballing you with the promise of a spring makeout session before realizing whoops it has to get up early in the morning and you’re stuck with winter for yet another long miserable night. The best way to deal with this cold snap right now is denial, or at least remembering that it is technically spring and nature is coming back to life all around you, beautiful life-giving nature that pumps oxygen back into your brain. Trees are Good, trees are necessary and you should never take for granted how easy it is to be among them right here in Brooklyn. You can get free ones from the city, request one be planted on your block or go build a yurt among them during a hike through Staten Island, who are we to judge, live your best life. Here is a guide to free ways to get more trees in your life: (more…)

04/05/16 5:22pm
Taxes? But I paid those last year.

Taxes? But I paid those last year.

Hello and welcome back to weekly(ish) lifehacks, a recurring series where we share a simple tip on how to make your life just a little bit easier (and we promise not to overuse the word “hack”). 

Say you are one of those people who every year vows you’ll get your taxes done earlier, and every year you end up putting it off longer and longer, and by time you finally call your tax guy, he’s all booked up until tax day, even though tax day is a few days later, on April 18, this year. This definitely a hypothetical situation that has not affected a certain blog editor who should certainly know better by now, but maybe you’ll come across it in your life because we’re all busy and who can keep track of all those receipts from last year anyway. But you don’t have to fret that the Obama tax hit squad will be coming to knock down your door any time soon. It’s really easy to get for more time to file and pay your taxes. You basically just have to ask. (more…)