Everybody is welcome to pee at Sunny’s. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.
The biggest and most immediate rebuttal to the idea that a bathroom is some sort of magical gender island and not just a hole in the ground to collect your recycled Miller High Life happens in New York City bars every single night. It’s in the back of those bars in long lines of people desperate to evacuate their bowels and get back to the party that any concerns of gender roles break down in favor of the only gods New Yorkers believe in: convenience and speed. This has been the case for some time, and you’re seeing more and more bars give up the idea that anyone really cares about anything about the bathroom other than how long the line is.
A few months ago, I was standing in line for the restrooms at Sunny’s, Red Hook’s beloved bar at the end of the world, where the Saturday night bluegrass jam had drawn in its usual large crowd. The bathrooms at the time were labeled “His” and “Hers” in charming vintage lettering. But they’re single-occupancy rooms so I always use whichever one opens first. That night, the Hers room opened and I pointed out to the guy in front of me in line that if he didn’t use it, I would. His face glowed with revelation: “Yeah, I could right?! It’s 2016, right? I’m going for it!” This guy seemed to think he was making some enlightened, revolutionary stance. He was not. A bathroom is just a place to pee and occasionally do drugs in.
Sunny’s recognized this: it recently added the words “+everybody” (which I snapped the above picture of on Tuesday) to the signs to clear up any confusion, because who has time to care. Like most social debates that embroil red state America, New Yorkers are too busy to care about where you pee and do your drugs, so long as you’re not slowing them down. (more…)
As you know, thousands of Yemeni bodega workers across the city yesterday fed their cats, turned off their coffee pots, shut their gates and went on strike at noon to protest Trump’s Muslim travel ban. The strike and subsequent rally at Borough Hall were met with cheers of solidarity by most New Yorkers. But as New Yorkers asked their Yemini neighbors what they can do to help, the rest of the country was asking: “What the hell is a bodega?”
Twitter users across the country (and some abroad) were stumped when hearing news about the bodega strike yesterday, because they had never heard the word before. Merriam-Webster, better known as the official dictionary of the resistance, reported a spike in people looking up “bodega” yesterday too. We know we’re in our New York bubble here, with our own languages and habits and various ways of telling people to get the f outta here, so let’s take a minute to appreciate the parts of the country that have never known the joy of a store where you can get a hot sandwich, a six-pack, condoms AND mysterious endurance pills at 4am, even during a hurricane. We doubt any of you took your bodega for granted, but you’ll appreciate it even more now. (more…)
It’s hard, even in this week before the holidays, to look at the news and the great undulating horror of social media, and feel anything like hope for the upcoming year. We suggest a potent antidote to this kind of despair: turning your gaze away from the rest of the country and direct it inward at New York City, the magical island of misfit humans floating in the red sea of America where life goes on at its usual fever pitch.
To warm your heart this week, here’s something relatively mundane happening at the public library that will probably cause rage spasms in the parts of America where they care about things like which bathroom you use: Broadly made a video of the Drag Queen Story Hour at the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, a monthly event designed to promote the “spirit of unfettered exploration of self that great books can prompt.” The New Yorker wrote about it too last month. The idea is to subvert the forced gender coding kids face from early on — the kind of stuff that can lead to all sorts of mental health and identity problems later in life.
“Especially in these times, I think it’s really smart and necessary for us to show the next generation that people are different than them, you shouldn’t fear them,” drag queen Merrie Cherry says in the video. “There’s a beauty in that difference.”
The only consolation we’ve been able to find so far in the stunning and frightening results of this election is that everyone else in NYC feels pretty much the same way. It’s a strange feeling to leave the house the past two days and to notice that every single person you run into, overhear or pass on the street is talking about basically the same thing: When did we become so different from the rest of the country?
But this time, instead of talking about getting out of our urban bubble more often, people are digging into it, thanking our atheist gods we at least have each other to fall back on, wondering if New York, with all its diversity of people and efficient living, is the fabled Real America after all. So it’s been a week of uncertainty with few bright spots to hold onto, but here are a few good things that have happened in NYC since Tuesday, which we hope will make you feel a little bit better (and if not, there’s news about free pizza at the bottom). (more…)
Summer, as much as we hate to admit it, is winding down and soon the city will be filled with tiny, adorable new NYU students and the crisp terror of having to bring a jacket with you everywhere again. Pile all that up with the perpetual motion machine of schoolyard absurdity that is driving our current presidential election and the fact that Frank Ocean’s album finally came out, which gives us nothing to look forward to in the near future, and it’s clear you need a vacation.
Luckily, this is fall is looking to be a great time to travel, according to Travel + Leisure magazine, which reported on a study by airfare prediction app Hopper. The company’s chief scientist predicts airfare for a domestic round-trip ticket will drop by as much as 8.2 percent to a seasonal low of $213 in October. That’s about the same as last year at the same time but 16 percent lower than in 2014; you’ve got dropping fuel prices to thank. Prices will keep going lower in the winter months too, so you’re gonna have less reason not to visit your parents for the holidays this year. Good thing I heard a rumor President Hillary is going to outlaw Christmas, or something. (more…)
Prospect Park on Wednesday unveiled its very own viral Marvel advertisement in the form of a 30 ft. statue of Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America. We here at Brokelyn propose a monument celebrating the real heroes of these here United States — the residents of New York City! Whether you were born here or moved in from somewhere else, you are already at least 20 percent better and more interesting than the rest of the country. We’re constantly degraded by politicians for not being “real America,” but between leaving one of the smallest carbon footprints, to paying more into the federal government than we get back, to bringing America a proper slice of pizza, to living in a diverse city of eight million people who mostly get along, New Yorkers deserve their own champion. So we present to you the statue Prospect Park needs: Captain Real America. (more…)
Having a presidential debate come to town is apparently just like intense gentrificaiton: it makes your beloved borough look like anywhere else in America, and the people behind it act like they don’t give a shit about the people who already live there. Last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at the Navy Yard was billed on CNN as the “Brooklyn Brawl” (though we preferred to call it the Thrilla in Clinton Hilla), but there was nothing remotely “Brooklyn” about it.
As WNYC’s Brian Lehrer tweeted, the debate had “no sense of place” — it felt like the same ol’ debate topics we always hear, trapped in the CNN echo chamber forever. It’s an extremely rare thing to have any candidates for president actually campaign in New York, let alone spend so much time in Brooklyn, but last night’s debate treated us to the debate standbys again: Social Security, campaign finance reform, what one candidate said about the other oh snap you gonna take that? Why didn’t the debate cover anything that might actually change New York voters’ minds? (more…)