08/31/16 10:42am
Enter the Prospect Park camping lottery to spend a final summer night under the stars

Just think, this could be you under a clear night sky. via flickr user Arup Malakar

And just like that, it’s September. Summer has come and passed, the innocent can never last. But so long as these warm temperatures do, you should keep spending as much time as humanly possible in the great outdoors. And what better way to do it than with a good old-fashioned camping trip in nearby Prospect Park?

But the park closes at 9pm, you say. But we tried once and got arrested, you say. Well, you were doing it wrong. The only way to be in Prospect Park after dark is with their annual camping lottery, which officially opens today!

If your name is drawn, you and your friends will get to camp out in the park on Saturday, September 17. Think s’mores around the campfire, starry hikes, and whatever other “what happens on camping trips” mishigas you plan on getting up to.  (more…)

07/18/16 3:00pm
A Tentrr campground, all set up for you. Via Tentrr.

A Tentrr campground, all set up for you. Via Tentrr.

The approach to the campsite was hidden in the woods of a remote Catskills neighborhood — we passed it at least once. When we discovered it, we turned our white minivan onto the dirt road and rumbled uphill through the trees. The road turned to grass, but we knew we were on the right track as we could make out two grooves that extended further through a grove of trees.

Beyond the trees was a large field on the crest of a hill. It was foggy and misty when we arrived — we could just make out the field’s size and shape by the line of trees that ran around it. At the far end the rough shape of a valley emerged from the mist. It was mysterious and beautiful, like something from an ’80s fantasy movie. Was all this ours? Yes, it was! At the field’s edge was what we were looking for: our own Tentrr campsite.

We pulled up to the site and hopped out to survey our new home in the wild. It was unmistakable: a handsome square beige canvas tent, like something out of a Napoleonic campaign, stood about three feet off of the ground on a solid wooden platform. Next to it was a custom wooden picnic table, benches and a little wooden cabinet. Nearby was a deep fire pit and a pre-cut pile of wood. Here was our weekend escape from the city, all set up and waiting for us. (more…)

06/20/16 1:52pm
How to spend every single moment of the day — and night — outdoors on the cheap this summer

Show the sun how much you truly appreciate it by never leaving it. Via Flickr user gigiwannaflickr.

This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: The first day of summer. That magical time of year when all pants end at the knee, all drinks include coconut and you finally get to spend some time outside. All winter you’ve been staying inside for your movies, music and alcohol like a rube! Well not anymore — summer means barbecues, lawn games, outdoor concerts, long bike rides and of course these strict guidelines for fun. Now normally people just do one of those, maybe two if they’re a true innovator and then retreat indoors, but why? If you’re like me that’s just not enough to quench that summer thirst, summer’s short, your AC isn’t strong enough and you need to spend as much time outside as humanly possible before the next snowstorm.

Well, we’ve laid out the ultimate guide to making the most of your summer, soaking up the optimum sun and staying outside for fun all day long, and all night long too. That’s right, you’re an adult now, nobody can scare you with threats of sun damage and if you want to stay outdoors for maximum summer without breaking the bank, here’s how:  (more…)

10/02/15 10:32am

Camping in Brooklyn

This post is brought to you by Sorta Outdoorsy, a weekly newsletter full of inspiration for outdoor adventures around New York City. Like what you see? Subscribe to Sorta Outdoorsy.

My friend promised his fiancé there would be no strippers at his bachelor party. Which is how I found myself sparking a campfire right here in Brooklyn.

While this might not be the perfect weekend for camping, it is possible to heed the call of the wild without leaving the borough of Kings. Or doing anything that might jeopardize your marriage.

And we aren’t talking some illegal overnight deep in Prospect Park. We’re talking about a Sorta Outdoorsy spot at New York City’s very first airport—Floyd Bennett Field. (more…)

06/24/15 7:00am
floyd bennett field

This is Floyd Bennett Field, right here in Brooklyn! Photo by Matt Septimus

So warm weather is here (there’s photographic evidence and everything), and you’re looking for a little life-saving peace and quiet in nature somewhere outside of (or perhaps inside of) this sprawling metropolis, but you think you need a car and a bunch of cash, or the luck to win the camping in Prospect Park lottery, to really take advantage. Think again, blog-readers of Broketown! You don’t need to be a car owner to get yourself deep into the woods, and supplies don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Read on and we’ll show you how to camp (and not just in coffee shops!). (more…)

05/19/14 3:51pm
camp rockaway

Not pictured: People being laughed out of existence for saying “glamping.” via Camp Rockaway Kickstarter

Sometimes near the end of a long day at the Rockaways, you might be beaten down by the sun and the alcohol you’ve enjoyed all day, and you might not want to leave. You can’t just collapse on the beach and stay there though, that’s frowned upon. You could get an AirBnB maybe, or, in the future, you might be able to collapse in a “tent hotel” called Camp Rockaway that’s set to open in 2015. Of course, we’d only recommend doing that if you think that combining camping with a “high-end boutique hotel” is alright. Which it clearly isn’t. (more…)

bush smarts griddle

You gotta know how to use a griddle if you’re gonna go camping

The temperatures might be dropping, but that doesn’t mean it’s time for you to pack away your camping dreams, far from it. Winter camping means drinking whiskey, it means appreciating that fire even more and it means sleeping bag sex holding on for dear life to the person you’re in the sleeping bag with. Next Thursday you can get a look at some sweet gear that’s good for winter camping, drink free whiskey (an winter camping essential) and possibly even win some free camping gear, courtesy of Bush Smarts and Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. (more…)

07/29/13 9:58am
You can tell scary stories about late rent payments. via Facebook

You can tell scary stories about late rent payments. via Facebook

Want to camp, but don’t want to go far from the bright lights of New York? Usually, that presents a problem. Not this summer though. Bivoauc NYC, an art project/rooftop camping night run by Thomas Stevenson has held a few nights of camping on a roof in Brooklyn this summer, and if you thought you’d missed out, good news: there’s a few more in August. (more…)

07/03/12 8:54am

Not a hobo city: It’s real camping in Prospect Park

Yesterday morning I was rudely awakened by the sound of a chopper apparently preparing to land on my roof. No big deal, just a partial building collapse a few blocks away. Living in New York we get used to falling asleep to the piercing drone of sirens and jolting awake to a violent symphony of dump trucks and jackhammers. But we live within a diverse urban ecosystem that includes many acres of wooded refuge. This summer, the NYC Parks Department is encouraging us to “unplug from the diversions of everyday life,” and “connect with the natural world,” by offering free camping in public parks in all five boroughs. Registration is extremely limited and will be assigned via lottery for each program including dates in Brooklyn’s Prospect, Marine and Fort Greene Parks this week. (more…)

06/25/12 10:15am

When you rent, you can afford more than this

We’ve all been there: wistfully admiring the cover of National Geographic Traveler at Barnes & Noble while waiting for a movie at Court Street Cinemas. On the cover are happy, wealthy suburbanites traipsing along a wooded ridge, a family huddled around their freshly-caught fish or the sunrise on a distant lake. They are miles away from the city and loving it. You think, “Camping must be for rich folk who can afford all that gear.” And you never go often enough to justify dropping hundreds of dollars on the necessities. Dejected, you turn and head to the 9 o’clock showing of That’s My Boy, alone.

But fear not, potential backpacker! Brooklyn has two home-grown outdoors stores that rent camping equipment to the casual camper without the REI (Really Expensive Items) or EMS (Extreme Measures Suggested) prices. No more eating ramen for a month just so you can go to the woods and eat ramen! (more…)