2013: The Year in Broketown

nick gilronan

We don’t do the “Man of the Year” thing, but if we did, ours would be Nick Gilronan, aka The Delivery Man. Photo by Mary Dorn

Man, 2013. It’s gone already, and thankfully, it didn’t have anything near as devastating as Hurricane Sandy. We just had a sleepy mayoral election, mostly because we used up all of our best jokes (and joke candidates) on the Democratic primary. But just because 2013 didn’t have a signature local cataclysm (unless you really do believe all that #deblasiosnewyork stuff), it doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting.

This was a year marked by bravery, at least by those brave enough to enter Brooklyn’s Smallest Penis Pageant. Anyone who went to the content this summer will never forget it, both because of the incredible weirdness going on around us and the burst sewage line that almost cleared out the bar near the end. Still, Nick Gilronan, up on stage as the Delivery Man, was the perfect man to take the crown home, and would probably be our Man of the Year if we did something like that.

Our Woman of the Year award would go to Amy L. Hayden, who survived in New York on just $1000/month, and who was also willing to share those secrets with Brokelyn readers. It turns out you can do that and not be a hermit. Who knew.

We sent an intrepid correspondent to learn about Manhattan. Photo by Mary Dorn

We sent an intrepid correspondent to learn about Manhattan. Photo by Mary Dorn

Weirdness like the Smallest Penis Pageant was no doubt what led some people to wander across the bridge and “discover” Brooklyn, to report their stodgier audiences. Both Henry Alford and Vogue magazine came to Brooklyn. And while Alford’s trip earned a response when we sent one of our own to see what the fuss was about Manhattan, only Vogue could find someone to talk about how their apartment blocks from the projects was akin to living in the country. Kudos, rich folks.

Speaking of rich folks, the year in real estate was as absurd as it’s ever going to be. Micro-apartments appeared on the horizon, and someone began cataloging Brooklyn’s terrible rooms for rent. Biggie’s old apartment went on the market, and someone tried to name a street corner after him. One couple paid one million dollars for Bed-Stuy’s “grit,” we learned about the exciting new neighborhoods of Bedwick and East Bushwick, and best of all, it turned out that Bed-Stuy was the new Williamsburg.

mccarren park ice rink

Figure skating moves in Williamsburg. Who could have seen that coming? Photo by Camille Lawhead

Though that was probably because despite its nice new (temporary) park and its new ice skating rink, the old Williamsburg is lame now. Your parents are moving there, and so is Starbucks and Urban Outfitters. It’s only a matter of time before Williamsburg’s iconic music venues are all Pinkberrys.

But at least there’ll always be Bushwick, where people live on boats, but only to escape rent so high that it’s illegal. The neighborhood definitely changed, what with the McKibbin Lofts banning parties, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t come across people waiting in a ditch to hop a freight train. Plus, it still is home to at least seven great art galleries.

A cat lady offered cheap rent. Very cheap rent. It just came with the kinds of conditions that would make you think twice, or even maybe three times before agreeing to live with her.

We accused Brooklyn dudes of not holding up their end of the bargain when it came to dating, but to be fair, it’s easy to be intimidated in the face of such accomplished women. And if it wasn’t a sure thing already, the reputation of the feckless Brooklyn dude was cast in bronze thanks to the inanities coming out of the mouth of the male half of the couple whose breakup was livetweeted for the whole internet to enjoy.

brooklyn nine nine

Like Girls, Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t mind a little casual nudity

In the entertainment world, Girls was everywhere, from porn parodies to threatened bus tours to walking tours that were possibly fake. But it wasn’t totally Dunham’s world. There was theater to go to, street art to see and Brooklyn got a cop show in Brooklyn Nine-NineHey, we liked it!

Sandy still lingered in Brooklyn (how could it not?), closing both Fort Tilden and the R train tunnel to Manhattan and providing a terrible place to do fashion photography. But we started picking ourselves up from it. Fairway was welcomed back by Miss America, Sunny’s made it back alive and Sheepshead Bay eateries were open for (delicious) business. Still, there’s plenty of work to be done, so get out there if you’ve got a minute.

The year in crowdsourcing was mixed, with people pooling cash for a survivor of the Boston marathon bombing, but other people asked strangers to pay their rent and fund their moves to New York.

We had visitors, so many visitors. The President came to visitAnchorman shot scenes here and Beyonce graced Coney Island with her presence. Although some tourists were clearly smarter than others.

We gave you good food tips, like where to find Brooklyn’s best bloody marys and best BBQ, and where the best tacos in Sunset Park were hiding. We broke down whether Whole Foods was worth it compared to Union Market, explained how to walk into Smorgasburg with a $20 bill and walk out stuffed full of food and how to walk the Brooklyn spirits trail.

Among those we lost were Richie Havens and former Mermaid Parade king Lou Reed. MCA, who died last year, got a park named after him. In less corporeal losses, 5 Pointz got whitewashed, 3rd Ward went under, and it looks like the last note was played at 285 Kent.

ramen burger

Don’t just stare at it, make it! Photo by Dan Cerutti

In the end, we learned a lot. We learned how to make energy bars (that might save our lives), tips to avoid hitting cyclists on the road, how to have a great swap meet and how to predict where the train doors will open. There were lessons on how to make our own lip balm and ramen burgers, how to make a brass monkeyhow to shop at Fulton Mall and why to not bother leaving Greenpoint. The one thing no one seemed to learn how to do was spot an April Fool’s Day article. But hey, there’s always next year!