Spookarama today. Photo by  Sarah Ackerman.

Spookarama today. Photo by Sarah Ackerman.

It pains me to say this but the days of many of our nation’s beloved amusement rides are numbered. One way or another, beloved institutions that make up Coney Island and other boardwalks will go away, either due to time, the distractions of Pokemon Go-style games, conversion to condos or the ever-rising sea levels that will soon turn ocean-front property into deep-sea property (but keep arguing about parking spaces, everyone!). With this loss go our memories of youth and first dates and lovably cheesy rides that remind us of a simpler time before paying $20 to see The Smurfs in 3D. We got a taste of this in 2012 when Sandy whacked the boardwalk in Coney Island, damaging many of the rides; at my hometown boardwalk in Seaside Heights, that kooz of as storm sent an entire pier to amusement park heaven.

Among the most endangered of these kinds of attractions are what’s known as “dark rides” like the Spookarama at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, those single-cart rides that take you through a haunted house full of ghosts and scares. They’re prime for teenage making out, have been around for 100 years — and they’re disappearing. Only about a dozen of the old-school version are left in the United States, according to one count. Joel Zika, a 36-year-old art and design university professor in Melbourne, Australia, has been fascinated with the dark rides for years, reveling their connection to early horror effects in movies. So he decided to document them in the only way that would truly do them justice: Virtual reality. He’s crowdfunding his project now and planning a trip to Coney in October to record the Spookarama in all its old-timey glory.

“It’s not so much that these are amazing experiences, but that they’re really unique,” Zika told Brokelyn. “All this stuff that’s really immersive, 360-degree experiences, some of them up to 100 years old. That’s fascinating, that’s something that may be more valuable to me than looking at old cinema.” (more…)

09/23/16 10:15am
The dapmap lets you see how bad things really are in each neighborhood.

The dapmap lets you see how bad things really are in each neighborhood.

Gentrification is New York’s white whale, and no amount of low-stakes ukulele songs about the issue are going to rein it in. Trying to determine who’s actually “part of the problem” is so 2015. Anti-gentrification sentiments are better put towards neighborhood engagement and community organizing to fight the thing, both of which are newly made easier with this ^^^ handy interactive gentrification map.

The Displacement Project Alert Map, a project of the Association for Neighborhoods and Housing Development (ANHD), lets you see where gentrification is doing its worst in the city. It’s web-based, so it updates frequently. You can search the map by council districts, community boards or zip codes. Buildings are colored along a gradual spectrum ranging from pale yellow to dark red, the darker colored buildings indicating a higher risk of its tenants facing displacement.

09/22/16 3:16pm
Have a jamboree with Queen Esther (#2) (pix by Paul Ker)

Have a jamboree with Queen Esther (#2) (pic by Paul Ker)

1. Start your weekend off with a plethora of plays at Pop! Performance Festival, with more than 30 works around Bushwick throughout the weekend. (Friday through Sunday, various locations, FREE)

2. Stomp your feet and clap your hands for the second annual Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, with nearly 50 bands at several bars and venues, from Queen Esther to The Defibulators to Alex Battles. (Friday through Sunday, various locations, FREE)

3. Blast off at Midnight Radio Show’s Tour of the Galaxy Cabaret, with shadow puppets, dance, poetry, music, and more. (Friday, Fairyland, $20)

4. Get delirious for Princess, an all-Prince cover band starring Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum. (Friday & Saturday, Brooklyn Bowl, $30) (more…)

09/22/16 3:00pm
Homeless Comedy makes a house call.

Homeless Comedy makes a house call.

For the single New Yorker, comedy shows are one of the best excuses to get out of the house. There are always free or $5 shows out there, and one or two drinks will suffice to round out the night. But once coupled, comedy night becomes a date night, and going to shows can rack up quite a sum. If you’re treating your s/o to a headliner show with tickets, drinks and maybe a bite to eat beforehand, you’ll quickly come to spend at least $50 for an evening out.

Enter Homeless Comedy, a “New York comedy club without a home” founded by 38-year-old comedian Will Mars. Homeless Comedy provides the same comedy club experience, but as DIY living room entertainment in your very own apartment. You can drink your own booze and cook your own food; all you’re paying for is the comedy.

“Just clear out a corner of your main room, turn the seats to face it, invite a bunch of friends around, and we’ll turn up to do the rest,” Mars said.

Mars spoke to Brokelyn about his idea for the group, and how he thinks it complements an already saturated comedy scene in NYC.

“I noticed that most of the exciting comedy clubs and things that were sprouting up had been comic-driven, one-off bar shows,” Mars told us. “Everything more exciting is in Brooklyn and Queens right now [because] it has more of a community feel. And I just wanted to take it a step further, like why don’t we see about putting shows on in an apartment? A bespoke comedy night, just the audience and the comedians.” (more…)

09/22/16 12:13pm
Tell us this isn't exactly what you need after a long day at work. via IG

Tell us this isn’t exactly what you need after a long day at work. via IG

If the daily grind is leaving you drained and even the thought of an after-work cocktail just doesn’t cut it anymore, then scratch that for this alternative: the Brooklyn Cat Café (149 Atlantic Ave.) is offering adults-only kitten happy hours!

Starting tonight, every Thursday and Saturday from 5-7pm is “Adults Only Happy Hour” at the cat café, for anyone 14 and over.  Sadly we’re pretty sure there’s no actual booze involved, but cuddling kittens offers a different kind of buzz, and might just be exactly what you need. (more…)

09/22/16 11:04am
Borel is no bed bug. via Twitter

via Twitter

Brooke Borel, a science reporter living in Park Slope, knows a thing or two about bed bugs. The “Bed Bug Queen,” as Business Insider called her, Borel has had bed bugs three times in New York City, and those experiences led her to write her first book, Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World, which came out last year. In their review, Library Journal said it’s “For anyone who wants to replace their fear of bed bugs with knowledge.”

Since it’s now the fall, the time a lot of people move in and out of apartments, hunt for sidewalk furniture and start wearing bed-bug attracting coats everywhere, we spoke to Brooke to hear more about what she learned going deep on New York’s most feared pest. (more…)

09/22/16 8:00am
This isn't your mother's grand piano.

This isn’t your mother’s grand piano. via Craigslist

Holiday party season is upon us. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all those Jewish ones, competition runs especially high for house parties this time of year. So if you’re planning on entertaining guests in your derelict Brooklyn abode this holiday season then you’d better be making it look classy as all fuck.

Don’t know where to look for that next-level party decor? Here’s a start: someone in Williamsburg is giving away a grand piano that’s been gutted and refinished to hold beer.  (more…)

09/21/16 4:13pm

Drink like royalty in Queens at the first Queens Beer Fest.

You know by now the Queens beer scene is heating up. The borough is becoming a great destination for beer lovers thanks to its growing number of bars and breweries, and our own Queens Beer Book (still available!) that allows you to try a bunch of those bars and breweries for barely any money. Now you get to see the beer scene in action in a whole new way.

Queens’ first-ever beer festival will be hosted in Long Island City on Oct. 15 and Oct. 16 shining a light on the borough’s growing craft beer scene and all local craft breweries. From 12pm – 6pm, attendees get to sample all Queens-based breweries, plus additions from Brooklyn, The Bronx, Long Island and Staten Island. And we’ve got a special discount for you! Find out how to get it below.  (more…)

09/21/16 2:31pm
Jalapeno Mac for all. via IG

Jalapeno Mac for all. via IG

The Brooklyn Bazaar came back to Greenpoint this month in its shiny new digs —  [SPOILERS] — and we sure are looking forward to having a place to drink, eat, see live shows, do karaoke and buy our holiday gifts all in one this winter.

But if you’re itching to get there sooner, we recommend tonight, because The Brooklyn Star is offering a smorgasbord of FREE food from the restaurant’s full menu at their Bazaar location! That menu includes fried chicken, jalapeño mac n’ cheese, ham hock collard greens, chili frito pie and more rib sticking southern-inspired dishes that’ll make you glad you can still eat red state food and retain your blue state values.

So drop by the Bazaar anytime tonight between 6 and 9pm for a taste, and while you’re there, check out the venue’s private karaoke rooms, mini golf course and ping pong in the downstairs lounge.

RSVPs strongly encouraged!

09/21/16 1:11pm
Get free Cheetos when you watch the debate at Miles in Bushwick. Via Miles.

Get free Cheetos when you watch the debate at Miles in Bushwick. Via Miles.

Finally, after what feels like a campaign that has lasted since before most of you were born and will still drag on until most of us are dead from exhaustion/rising sea levels/Trump internment camps,  we have reached the presidential debates. The first debate of this election goes off on Monday at 9pm, and it should be a hell of a blood sport: it’ll either be Hillary Clinton’s chance to prove that she’s the only actual adult running for president who has at least read one or two books about international politics, or the chance for everyone in the nation to collectively face palm while thinking “I can’t believe she’s really going to blow this.” Either way, being out and about among your fellow Brooklynites with a drink or two or 13 in hand is recommended.

Here’s our roundup of bars showing the debate on Monday, including bars with drink specials, debate bingo and free Cheetos (because of the orange guy). Most are also showing the subsequent debates, and all are free. We’ll update the list as more roll in too.