01/06/17 1:00pm
The original artisanal: 6 old-school Williamsburg businesses that are still killing it

Metropolitan Meat Market has been serving the community for years. Via @EmilyBlincoe on Instagram.

In the age of intense turnover in New York City, it feels like something is closing every week. Whole Foods, Apple, Equinox, Chipotle and the laundry list of chain stores that have opened in Williamsburg in the past year or so seems endless. It’s easy to feel discouraged when big corporations start taking over once small unassuming communities, but particularly when there are still longtime business owners in the area adapting to the changes and aiming to serve big and do it well.

The neighborhood is still home to a special class of family-owned businesses in North Williamsburg, where the Italian community’s roots stretch back more than 100 years. All are within a 10 minute walk of each other in Williamsburg. They know each other, and they often work together by selling each other’s products. Although they may get a whopping offer from a real estate agent every now and then, or even every day, the people involved in running these old-school establishments seem optimistic and sure of their method. They’re emblems of a not-going-anywhere attitude while remaining loyal to their customers, with low prices and high quality products.

Part of being a good New Yorker is embracing the things that were in a neighborhood long before you came along so the neighborhood can stave off transforming into another chain-filled anywhere, USA. Here are six old-school Williamsburg businesses still hanging on, and some good reasons to visit each one too. (more…)

01/06/17 11:52am
Via screenshot.

Via screenshot.

Nothing says “luxury living” in Brooklyn these days like a wretched and contaminated Superfund site, apparently. Anthropologie, which sells clothes to people who consider Urban Outfitters too down market, is now selling a “Gowanus” dress for $188. The dress is made by local designer UZI NYC, run by co-designer Mari Gustafson.

Via DNAinfo:

Gustafson said she was happy to see Anthropologie — which doesn’t have any stores in Brooklyn — recognize neighborhoods other than the ones typically named by corporations looking to capitalize on the borough’s cool image.

“I’m glad they didn’t name them after Greenpoint or Williamsburg or Bushwick, because that would be cheesy,” Gustafson said. “I think it’s interesting that they’re noticing that the hip factor of Brooklyn is south of Atlantic Avenue. I think it’s good for Brooklyn.”

I guess they finally moved on from $40 Bushwick jerseys.

(more…)

12/21/16 2:10pm
Breukelen is just one of the great black-owned businesses you can search on the map. via IG

Breukelen Coffee House is just one of the great black-owned businesses in BK you can find ou the map. via IG

There’s no scientific study we can cite off-hand to prove it, but we’ll say it anyway: supporting black-owned business in Brooklyn is one of the best ways to slow the effects of gentrification. Black folks make up the bulk of the borough’s veteran residency, and amidst all the “DoBro” developments and papa-riddled coffee shops, segments of the community we fight to retain can be found (and supported).

And if you’re a black-owned business in Brooklyn that’s been around for a while, you’ve maybe had at least one developer offer you a sizable sum of money to buy your property. And that may be a tempting way to go. But another thing you could do is add your business to this interactive map called “Backing Black Business.” As reported by Mashable:

The eponymous activist organization behind the Black Lives Matter movement is partnering with New York ad agency J. Walter Thompson to create a nationwide interactive map to show shoppers where to find restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and other small businesses owned by African Americans.

(more…)

12/06/16 1:14pm
Greenpointers holiday market in 2015. Via Greenpointers.

Greenpointers holiday market in 2015. Via Greenpointers.

Last week we rounded up some of the best holiday craft markets in Brooklyn this year; today we’re bringing you news about a market from our friends at Greenpointers that may help you shake off this winter chill. On Sunday, from 1-7pm, sleigh bells and palm trees, snowflakes and sunshine come together in the Greenpointers universe because they’re celebrating this holiday season with beachy cheer, at the Holiday Tropical Market.

Discover beautifully crafted high quality gifts from some of the most talented local artisans and makers while enjoying a day full of FREE fun activities, food, mojitos, mulled wine, and seasonal craft beer in the gorgeous Greenpoint Loft at 67 West St., 5th floor.  (more…)

12/01/16 3:25pm
Get your hoilday kicks, en croute, at the 'Shwick.

Get your hoilday kicks, en croute, at the ‘Shwick.

Holidays also mark the peak season of DIY, and people are scouring staples like Etsy and Pinterest to see what they can make, bake, gift or thrift for the upcoming holidays. If you are lacking inspiration needed to get those creative juices flowing, (because hey, aren’t we all) or if you just want a quick one-stop shop for all of your holiday shopping, head to your nearest holiday market.

Oh, what’s that? You need help finding one that close to you? As per usual, we’ve got you covered, with the borough’s finest in local gifts and crafts–enough to make even a scrooge splurge. (more…)

10/20/16 12:59pm
Get nasty.

Get nasty.

When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. It follows that when life gave us the current election cycle, many tried to turn a profit on it. Ample Hills kept things chill with candidate-themed ice cream flavors; a number of New Yorkers tried to profit in a different way by putting up Craigslist hookup ads for debate-watch sex; and all over the internet, people started churning out anti-Trump merchandise faster than you could say “bad hombre.”

Because we defend your first amendment right to shout “Trump sucks!” from the rooftops, Brokelyn has rounded up the best of said joke merchandise on the web right now. If you have a few dollars to spare, donate them to Hillary! But after that, buy yourself one of these neat items. You deserve it for sitting through last night’s presidential debate without imploding. (more…)

10/12/16 3:58pm
The new Century 21 in Downtown BK has ALL of the bras. via IG

The new Century 21 in Downtown BK has ALL of the bras. via Instagram

This morning, a new Century 21 opened in Downtown Brooklyn at 445 Albee Sq. It’s part of the fancy new City Point multiplex— and if you can get past City Point’s egregious use of the word “DoBro” to describe the neighborhood, then you’re actually going to like what’s there, because with the upcoming addition of a Trader Joe’s and an Alamo Drafthouse, Downtown BK is about to be your one-stop destination for groceries, entertainment… and bras.

That’s right, ladies. In addition to being a big box resource for all things cheap, Century 21 is an especial secret mecca for budget price designer bras, and by budget I mean $20 or less.

Obviously, if your bra size is anywhere from 32-36 in an A-D cup, then you can usually find something way cheap at a Target or Old Navy. But if like me you’ve been ruined by an experience where someone in a fancy bra store told you that you were a weird size you could never find in regular stores again (30DD, pour one out for me), then you’re condemned to be forever and always on the hunt for bras in your size that won’t a) make you feel like a granny or b) ruin your bank account.

Enter Century 21. You could go to the one in Bay Ridge if you live near there, but since there’s now another location for the more northerly bust-blessed Brooklynites, I feel especially obliged to shout it from the rooftops: BRAS! BUY YOUR BRAS AT CENTURY 21! (more…)

10/06/16 1:00pm
Are you in den-aisle about how much you're saving? via Brigitte / Flickr

Are you in den-aisle about how much you’re saving? via Brigitte / Flickr

The beauty of living in New York City is having almost anything you need at your fingertips whenever you need. I could take out my phone right now and order bahn mi, batteries and an eighth of sativa delivered to my door. But where cost is concerned, convenience is cruel. We don’t have the sort of expendable income to be throwing away our cash haphazardly.

Since we’re too busy paddle boarding the Gowanus Canal, cuddling kittens and confronting our inner demons to make a career out of extreme couponing or schlepping to the Costco, locating in Sunset Park off the 36th Street R stop, we usually end up shelling out the extra few cents and dollars here and there.

But how much would you actually save by going to Costco? Is it worth the train ride there and back and the membership fee to get those sweet bulk prices? We conducted a comparative shopping test of a grocery store (Key Food), a bodega and Costco, all in Sunset Park. Keep in mind that prices are going to vary depending on your neighborhood, weekly specials and bodega of choice. But if you’ve ever wondered whether you were wasting money buying toilet paper one roll at a time at the corner store, maybe this will help ease your inner Suze Orman. (more…)

Photo by Evan Scott / Wikipedia

The flea in 2010. Photo by EvanScott7/Wikimedia Commons

When the grass freezes over and droves of Brooklynites huddle indoors for the winter season, what’s a flea market to do? The Brooklyn Flea has been asking itself this question for a while now. Since moving out of their original location in the Skylight space at One Hanson in 2012, they’ve tried multiple venues for their winter market. First, they shacked up in a lofted space in Williamsburg near their outdoor market; then, they tried that warehouse on Dean Street connected to Berg’n. Finally, they opted for Sunset Park’s Industry City.

While they were valiant, none one of these attempts really stuck, and now NY Mag tells us the flea is moving (decisively, we hope) back into the iconic space at One Hanson — née Williamsburgh Savings Bank — in Fort Greene.  (more…)

05/25/16 11:00am
Ikea is fine but ugh who has the time or energy.  Via Khalid Ahmed/Flickr

Ikea is fine but ugh who has the time or energy. Via Khalid Ahmed/Flickr

The problem with shopping at Ikea — besides the couples counseling you’ll need and the literal stereotype of yuppie adulthood you’ll be snapping together like so much Grundtal pieces — is that your apartment ends up looking exactly the same as everyone else’s in Brooklyn. This is an understandable trade off for low-cost, accessible, one-stop shopping that comes with a side of cheap meatballs. The same could be said of shopping at Target or any other assemble-at-home furniture seller, the ones you find scattered around the city or huddled in gangs at the opposite ends of vast oceans of parking lots in the suburbs. The one-stop shopping angle is enticing: you buy a piece of furniture, that matches other furniture, and goes with that accent wall, and, after a few frustrating grunts and screaming at the instruction manual, you screw together a bedroom set that looks like a lot of other bedroom sets, bing bang boom.

To avoid this trap of sameness, maybe instead you can turn to the internet to try to order things, but then there’s the searching, and the pretending not to search when your boss walks by your desk, and the waiting, and the hoping to be home at the exact right moment to catch the UPS guy, who makes his rounds with ninja assassin levels of sneakiness. You can try Craigslist, but then there’s the fear of bed bugs or being sex murdered over a futon, which seems like a hassle. (more…)