02/24/17 4:26pm
Everybody is welcome to pee at Sunny's. Photo by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

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…)

01/25/17 12:47pm
Via Goodyearsarah on Instagram

Sunny passed away in March, but as of this week, his bar will live on. Via Goodyearsarah on Instagram

We’re all clinging to good news where we can find it right now, and we of course have a particular soft spot for good news that adds to the (admittedly very small) pile of old Brooklyn winning out over money and rampant new development. Yesterday, the Times reported that Sunny’s, arguably the best bar in New York City, the little misfit bar that could, a place trapped in time at the edge of the city, has won a three-year court battle to stay where it is and resist being sold off for development. Sunny passed away in March, but his widow Tone Balzano Johansen has ensured his memory won’t be erased from Red Hook as the neighborhood braces for redevelopment in coming years.

“I can’t let this be torn down for a view of the Statue of Liberty,” Ms. Johansen told the Times. “It’s ‘old Brooklyn’ wanting to hand it over to ‘new Brooklyn.’ Ironically, I am fighting to keep the story of ‘old Brooklyn’ alive.” (more…)

06/22/11 6:20pm

Red Hook, a neighborhood lost in time. Photos by Meghan Doherty.

It’s been a bit overcast, but Sunday is going to be sunny and eighty-motha-flippin-two degrees: What a perfect time to go on a bike ride together, for real this time. We’re going to a place where no subway dares to go, where only a bus (that takes forever), fisherman and cheap-furniture lovers venture. Sunday at 11am, come join me and the Brokelyn crew for a wonderful breezy bike ride to Red Hook. Never been? Here’s your chance! No money? Us too! Even if you’re saving the ride for a later date, check out our second installment of Brokelyn Bike Tour: Sunny, splashy Red Hook. (more…)