10/24/14 3:00pm
"Somebody Come and Play" features 20 muppets, like the elusive Snuffleupagus. Photo: Jonathan Blanc/The New York Public Library

“Somebody Come and Play” features 250 items from the sets of Sesame Street, including 20 Muppets like the elusive Snuffleupagus. Photo: Jonathan Blanc/The New York Public Library

I’m not anti-television, but my son just doesn’t watch very much, mostly because the TV doesn’t get turned on until evenings to watch Broad City and Boardwalk Empire, and unfortunately, by then, my 4-year-old is asleep. In preparation for visiting the exhibit, “Somebody Come and Play: 45 Years of Sesame Street Helping Kids Grow Smarter, Stronger, Kinder,” at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, we binge-watched Sesame Street episodes for a week after school. It was as if my son had found mecca. What is it about the show that just appeals to kids so much?

Sesame Street debuted on PBS in 1969 with a revolutionary mission: to teach children with television. According to the NYPL, founders Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett were inspired by commercials to develop a heavily researched show providing bite size lessons to young kids. Almost a half century later, the show still uses educational advisors, developmental psychologists, researchers and television producers to collaborate on curriculums, scripts and testing to make sure kids are actually learning from the show. This exhibit highlights the behind-the-scenes images, footage and documents to showcase the hard work behind each episode.

In addition to the heavy curriculum, the TV show stands out for its talent scouting. The music is by songwriters with Broadway backgrounds, who produce instant classics like “Rubber Duckie” and “C Is For Cookie.” Illustrators like Maurice Sendak and Mo Willems were commissioned to make animated shorts. Animation cels, claymation models and sheet music on the walls revisit the many hits from the show. And of course, when we think of Sesame Street, it is simultaneous with Jim Henson and his Muppets. Throughout the exhibit, it was possible to hear kids screaming with glee around every corner “BIG BIRD!”, “COOKIE MONSTER!” and (with mass hysteria) “ELMO!” These oversized friendly puppets on display behind glass cases, but don’t worry, the fact that your child can’t touch won’t be a deterrent. “That’s the real Ernie and the real Bert, right?” my son reverently whispered to me. A giant chalkboard, a Muppet photo booth, and many videos, buttons and games round out the entertainment.

One of the best characters of the program is the city of New York. Unlike Sex and the City’s glamorized version, this cityscape captures a more diverse and relatable background. The brownstone of 123 Sesame Street where Susan, Gordon, Ernie and Bert lived is replicated here for your kids to climb on. And press a button and Oscar the Grouch will clank out of his garbage can. Blueprints of set design and production photos in and around the city are displayed as a love letter to NY.

After our hour-long visit, we walked across the street to Le Pain Quotidian. My tiny art critic, sighed into his hot chocolate, and said, “I love the Sesame Street museum. It’s almost as good as watching the TV show.”

“Somebody Come and Play,” free at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Mondays and Thursdays, 12-8pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 12-6pm, closed Sundays. On select Wednesdays the exhibition will open early for children’s read-aloud programs, 11am. For more information, visit nypl.org/lpa/events.

Le Pain Quotidian Lincoln Center, 60 W 65th St, New York, NY (212) 721-4001, Mon-Fri: 7:00am – 9:00pm, Sat-Sun: 8:00am – 9:00pm

10/24/14 2:00pm
(Sacks and Co.)

Laura Cantrell Photo: Sacks and Co.

It’s going to be a Brooklyn homecoming of sorts for critically-acclaimed performers Laura Cantrell and Jennifer O’Connor, when both artists perform at Rough Trade NYC on Oct. 27. Cantrell, who is also best known as the host of The Radio Thrift Shop show on WFMU, makes music that that sounds like traditional country did years before the genre became so commercially popular–her influences are country legends like Kitty Wells and Dolly Parton. Earlier this year, the ex-Brooklyn resident released her latest studio album in No Way There From Here, which I think is her best record to date. (more…)

10/24/14 12:00pm

Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking of eating an entire crack pie from Momofuko Milk Bar or One Girl Cookies’ vanilla cake with raspberry jam filling and delectable buttercream. But when it comes to my son and his upcoming 5th birthday, he’s not as impressed with the gourmet sweets. In fact, the cake tasting is not even part of the equation for him—it’s all about the shape of a hamburger.

Brooklyn is known for artisanal delicacies, and there’s no shortage here of delicious confections. But what my son and many children prefer is a cake in the shape of a princess, superhero or Elmo. For his birthday party, I thought I’d have to dust off my cake mixer, until I realized that Brooklyn has me covered with kid-friendly cakes that also are adult edible. (more…)

10/24/14 10:43am
Photo:

Eskayel and Casetify teamed up for a line of iPhone cases with fresh and interesting patterns. Photo: Eskayel

According to The The New York Times, 39 million iPhone 6s have been sold so far, and while I know plenty of iPhonephiles eagerly awaiting their new phone (or who have one in hand after waiting in line at the Apple Store) no one I know has bought a protective case. The problem with iPhone cases is that they always seem to transform a sleek and elegant object into a clunky piece of plastic and silicone. There are cases out there though, that are as carefully designed as your phone, and it turns out that some of the best options come from Brooklyn. Here’s what I turned up while searching for the perfect case. (more…)

10/23/14 2:35pm
Samuel L. Jackson's body language is WAY too aggressive for a good negotiation.

Negotiating with Samuel L. Jackson’s is no picnic.

Dear Holly,

I own a small construction company here in Brooklyn. I often sub contract services so I’m constantly negotiating and managing contracts.

I can honestly say that I hate to negotiate, and that it’s probably the most challenging part of my job.

Do you have any advice on how I can become a better negotiator? I know that this piece of running my business is not going away, and I’d like to improve it so that it doesn’t feel like such a burden.

Thank you,

Non-Negotiator
(more…)

10/23/14 12:00pm

bric-arts-media-control-room-bk-live-brooklyn-independent-mediaThe view from the control room

Sponsored By BRIC.

BRIC is a non-profit arts and media cultural organization. BRIC's brand-new 40,000-sq-ft cultural complex opened October 3, 2013.

Created By BlankSlate

“Frack. Frack frack frack. Frack me.” It’s a little less than an hour before showtime, and anchor Brian Vines is warming up in preparation for an upcoming segment on hydraulic fracturing and its impact on Brooklyn. He’s one of a rotating cast of hosts on BK Live, Brooklyn Independent Media’s hour-long news show that tapes live at BRIC Arts | Media House every Monday through Thursday at noon.

An interdisciplinary team of producers, technicians, journalists and directors is responsible for putting together BK Live, covering Kings County in all its variety—everything from community news and politics to culture and sports. “Our audience is all of Brooklyn,” explains TV news director Gama Ramos. “We have to be as diverse as the borough itself.”

(more…)

10/23/14 9:59am

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 5.10.50 PM

I can spend 25 minutes scrolling through movies on Netflix and Amazon, feeling totally overwhelmed by everything I haven’t seen, while not really spotting anything I want to commit to watching. It’s a common affliction. Similarly, I can look at my to-read shelf (yes, it’s an entire shelf) of books and simultaneously want to read all of them, and not feel like opening a single one. It’s too much choice–I need something to narrow my selection.

Like a recommendation from Twitter.

A friend turned me on to BookVibe recently, and it’s been the perfect antidote to my reading block, as well as serving as an ongoing holiday gift list for all the readers in my life. BookVibe scours the Twitterverse for book talk and compiles it all into one big master list of trending titles, while also creating a personalized feed so that you can see what your own personal network is reading and tweeting about. Sure, you can create a Twitter list populated by people who tend to tweet about books, but BookVibe zeroes in on every tweet in your network that includes the title of a book, whether that’s @SenJohnMcCain (he’s an avid reader with wide-ranging tastes), a book blogger like David Gutowski (@largeheartedboy), or a friend who just happens to be reading something great. (more…)

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10/22/14 2:00pm

car2go-smart-car-brooklyn-new-york-city-parking-r

Sponsored By car2go.

car2go will get you to where you need to be: just take it, drive it, park it. It's fun, saves money and helps the environment.

Created By BlankSlate

On Saturday, October 25, as you emerge from your apartments to go to brunch or shop at the farmer’s market, you may start to see a strange sight on the streets of Brooklyn. Those tiny new cars you’ll see parked everywhere don’t mean that your neighborhood has suddenly become gentrified by hobbits — they’re the first sign that car2go has come to Brooklyn.

These compact wonders are fun to drive, easy to park, and have extremely low CO2 emissions. They’re perfect for all sorts of city trips: errands, shopping, commuting, a quick, one-way trip across town. Live in Williamsburg and you want to meet up with friends at Union Hall in Park Slope? Need to go to Home Depot to pick up supplies for your Prospect Heights apartment? Itching to go for a run along the Shore Parkway in Bay Ridge? Just grab a car and go.

Want to try it for free? All you need is a car2go membership and you’ll be ready to find a car in your vicinity, drive where you want, and at the end of your trip, leave the car it parked in a legal space anywhere in your home area. For a limited time, signing up for a membership is free, and comes with 30 minutes of free driving. Since there is no monthly membership fee — you only pay for the minutes you drive — that’s basically a free chance to try driving one of these stylish car2go cars for yourself.

Check out car2go’s website for FAQs on signing up, driving, and parking. Sign up now while it’s still free (Promo code: BKLYN), and get 30 minutes of free driving!

 

10/22/14 9:35am
Littlefield's Zombie Prom, complete with a blood splattered photobooth. Photo: Jacob Boller

Littlefield’s Zombie Prom, complete with a blood splattered photobooth. Photo: Jacob Boller

It’s probably time we declare the entirety of October Halloween month, rather than restricting all the costumed revelry to one night a year. In the interest of extending your spooky good times, we’ve rounded up two weekends worth of fabulous frightening fêtes, from the creepy catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery to the terrifyingly toxic Newtown Creek. (more…)