02/23/16 11:35am
You should never have bought Waterworld to begin with. Via Flickr user Will C. Fry.

You should never have bought Waterworld to begin with. Via Flickr user Will C. Fry.

Hello and welcome to weekly 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”). 

It’s strange to think now but there was a time in all our lives when we were concerned with gathering stuff. You’d go to the mall, browse the overpriced selection at Sam Goody and come home with more stuff to put on the shelves. At Christmas you’d ask for stuff to put in your VCR and then a few years later you’d ask for Blu-Ray editions of the same stuff. You’d keep old stuff from your childhood because where else are you going to get that tape with Captain N episodes on it or the cassette that documented your high school Hans and Frans comedy bit? Now all these years later, all the stuff in the world fits and boy don’t you look stupid with all that stuff taking up space in your apartment. We, as the cheapest generation, definitely don’t need stuff any more, and that’s great. But you can still keep your old media and whatnot without paying for expensive digital conversion services. And the answer is at the wonderland that is the Brooklyn Public Library. (more…)

02/12/16 10:51am
Good bagel shop, bad vestibule etiquette. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

Good bagel shop, bad etiquette. Vestibules are one of our best defenses against the cold. Don’t ruin them. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

We’re about to go into a bone-chilling, frozen-pipes-warning, the polar-opposite-from-summer, they-even-cancelled-an-ice-festival-because-it’s-too-cold weekend. So let’s take a moment to appreciate some true heroes of the season: winter vestibules. Those little pop up chambers act like an air lock between the bitter cold of the frozen tundra outside. They are crucial elements of city life, one more safeguard that makes sitting inside a bar absorbing whiskey to thaw your bones seem like the only way to wait out the cold (I wrote an appreciation and brief history of the vestibules for the NY Post last year).

But there is a problem with this system that is ruining it for all of us and rendering them ineffective: terrible vestibule etiquette. It occurs when you hold the door to the outside open, letting winter into our sanctums, violating the social contract meant to keep us all warm. Please refresh yourself on the proper way to use them this weekend.  (more…)

01/14/16 3:20pm

You no longer have to feel bad whenever you throw out the clothes your roommate of eight months ago left behind and never came back to get. Or deal with taking all of your old, now unfashionable clothes through our shoddy public transit system and wait for the person working at the thrift store to get to you.

With re-fashioNYC, a partnership between the city’s sanitation department and Housing Works, the sanitation department will pick up last seasons wardrobe, so the people at the thrift store won’t secretly judge you. You could put all of your old clothes, shoes and and ever your ex’s cut up clothing, which you may or may not have chopped to pieces once you found out they were still on Tinder (as well as other rags, towels, linens and bedding). It’s part of the city’s zero waste initiative, with the hope of cutting down on the 200,000 tons of this stuff New Yorkers throw out each year. And you can do it right from your home or office for free.  (more…)

01/05/16 10:53am
Hey look, it's you, and this is now. via Flickr user Jerry Donhal

Hey look, it’s you, and this is now. via Flickr user Jerry Donhal

Winter temperatures are finally upon us, which means it’s time to start enjoying our second wind of summer. What? But it’s not summer. Yes it is. Summer is basically just a time when you are always warm and you do beach things. And we’ve rounded up a number of inexpensive ways you can do all the beach things this season, like walking in the sand, day-drinking, playing boardwalk games, going swimming and more.

Caution: activities below should not be attempted if you have other things to do. Because much like an actual summer day spent at the beach, these things are mostly lazy, will take all of your time, and will inevitably end with you getting drunk.  (more…)

12/10/15 3:47pm
They're coming, but we can help you survive. via Flickr user xsnowdog

They’re coming, but we can help you survive. via Flickr user xsnowdog

There was a false start (false flag?) with it last year, but this year it’s an inescapable reality: SantaCon is coming to traipse through Williamsburg on Saturday for an afternoon of drunken antics. Since there’s nothing you can do to stop it, you might be wondering how you’re going to survive the most hated tradition in New York City coming to our borough. Never fear! We’ve put together a top notch survival guide that will help you get through the afternoon like it’s just a walk in the park. If you live in or have unbreakable plans in Williamsburg or the LES this Saturday, print this SantaCon survival guide and take it with you, you’re gonna need it. (more…)

09/21/15 2:54pm
Re-vamp your rescue. Via wikimedia

Re-vamp your rescue. Via wikimedia

Of course we love rescue dogs with their loving gratitude, missing fur patches, mysterious scars and little bits clipped from their ears. They’re not only cheaper and more sustainable than the breeder kind, they’re… more interesting. But sometimes those built-in quirks can be a challenge, like when they refuse to poop anywhere but your bedroom floor or snarl at anyone with a black hat on. Who knows why? If you’re a recent rescue dog owner and want to begin rewiring your newly saved canine, this seminar is for you. Join professional dog trainers and other rescue owners at Empire of the Dog from 7:00-9:00pm this Wednesday. This is a humans only seminar where you will discuss topics like how to build confidence and security; managing an overly attached dog; remedial house training for re-homed pets; and using family friendly training methods to teach new and modify old behavior. Then ask you RSVP in advance; you can do so here.

 

This is what $500,000 gets you, folks.  (via NYT)

This is what $500,000 gets you, folks. (via NYT)

I recently received a Google news alert, i.e. an ad, for a condo in Clinton Hill. I’m not in the market, but something struck me about the property. Not its precious name (Aperture 538) or the severe appointments, but its price tag: a staggering half-million dollars for a 533 square-foot studio. That is sheer lunacy — why would anyone pay that much for such a tiny space? Yeah, yeah, location, location, location. The ad says, “Clinton Hill is an ideal neighborhood to call home…”, which is true if you have no concept of the value of money. But I do; so I wondered if that cash would be better spent buying somewhere less desirable and simply visiting Brooklyn every weekend. (more…)

09/03/15 10:39am
Live alone for $500/month! But you've gotta know how to apply first. via Flickr user jqpubliq

Live alone for $500/month! But you’ve gotta know how to apply first. via Flickr user jqpubliq

Affordable housing is something that plenty of us want, but few of us take the time to actually figure out. Especially what with everyone calling themselves “struggling artists” these days but also somehow paying rent on their studio apartments in Williamsburg, it’s hard to discern who all those $867 studio apartments are actually for.

But seriously, they could be for you. If you’re struggling to make ends meet on a low-end five figure salary, or you want to invest in a long-term living situation for a low-paying career, then hit up an affordable housing workshop this month hosted by Community Board 2. Brownstoner reports that the board is offering workshops for affordable housing applications, for the City Point Towers and beyond, all throughout this month. (more…)

07/20/15 9:04am
Follow these tips and you too can be killing it on stage at the Inspired Word open mic. Via Facebook.

Follow these tips and you too can be killing it on stage at the Inspired Word open mic. Via Facebook.

Ah, the open mic. That beacon of entertainment that calls to shore new performers, experienced musicians, and shouting naked poets alike to come flex their performance muscles in front of a (more or less) like-minded audience. Whether you are a seasoned pro or you can’t get up the nerve to perform anything other than your signature cover of “TV Party” at Punk Rock Karaoke, there’s a spot for you at one of New York’s best free entertainment venues.

You’ll find open mics everywhere in the country, but the best ones are here in New York — because the hosts are usually working musicians themselves. Brooklyn alone is home to hundreds of musicians who regularly strut their stuff at Cafe Edna or Pete’s Candy Store. You never know—the practice you get and the friends you make via playing open mics could even be the first step to booking your first gig at Baby’s All Right, getting your album on the shelves of Rough Trade, or grabbing a spot on the stage at Northside. You could even end up as the next Beck or Regina Spektor — both got their start at open mics on the Lower East Side. We talked to open mic hosts from all over the city to get the inside scoop on where to go, what to expect, and why you shouldn’t be nervous. (more…)

06/18/15 9:40am
We can't guarantee anyone will quit with you, so take these tips instead.

We can’t guarantee anyone will quit with you, so take these tips instead.

Hate your boss and dream of ditching your corporate job to freelance, consult or start your own business? You’re not alone. One in five millennials plans to quit their day job and take the plunge, according to a survey of Gen Yers. But it’s not as glamorous it sounds. If you think you’ll be spending your days drinking lattes in coffee bars hanging out with the cool freelance crowd, you might be in for a shock. Tossing aside the financial safety net of Corporate America can be truly rewarding, but it can also be seriously scary, like a first time aerialist perched on a pedestal hoping to catch the fly bar.

In your next act, you need to be prepared to deal with an unsteady paycheck even though you have mammoth monthly student loans to cover and ever-rising rent. Oh, and you will be losing tech support and use of the company’s color printer so you may have to spend some big bucks getting set up. More and more of us are becoming professional stuntmen, however, and surviving the high wire act of earning a solo income you can actually survive on in the circus that is Brooklyn can be done if you organize your finances so you don’t get hurt. Here are 5 things you need to know before you quit your 9-5. (more…)