07/29/14 1:30pm
Omar Souleyman, Syrian wedding singer turned dance, plays at Glasslands next Thursday, August 7. Photo via NPR

Omar Souleyman, Syrian wedding singer turned dance music sensation, plays at Glasslands next Thursday, August 7. Photo via NPR

Before we know it summer’s going to come to a close and it’s going to be too cold to go out. Netflix and hot toddies in our bathrobes are going to replace our nights out bar hopping and seeing live bands, and we’re gonna whine about not having enough heat in our apartments. But until then let’s try and see as much live music as possible, shall we?

Here are a few recommendations: (more…)

07/29/14 10:09am

Between the Bike Cult Show—Brooklyn Bike Jumble’s annual exhibition of hand-built bicycles—coming up in Queens a couple weeks from now and the Bicyclists’ Ball being put on by Transportation Alternatives on Aug. 14, we’re definitely in a two-wheeled state of mind. Even without these upcoming events, summer in general is a busy time for cycling, and by this time every year, our two-wheelers start looking a little road weary. Here are five gear upgrades to help our bikes (and ourselves) go the extra mile. (more…)

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07/28/14 1:00pm

BeerFloatA cold, creamy beer float is sophisticated enough to banish the spring break swim-up bar stigma that’s dogged icy alcoholic drinks for years.

I went to college down South, and when it was hot (which was most of the time), my roommates and I used to make pitchers of mudslides from store-bought T.G.I.Friday’s mix, drink them in the afternoon on our porch, and think we had discovered ultimate bliss. Then again, we were also deeply invested in the interpersonal relationships on The Real World and considered our local Macaroni Grill to be fine dining. Times have changed, and frozen drinks took a major PR hit when cloying, pre-made, artificially-flavored syrups fell out of favor to make way for the current mixology trend, with its focus on high-end, exotic ingredients and silly, made-up words like “mixology.” Nowadays, outside of the occasional beachside piña colada or margarita, most discerning adults wouldn’t be caught dead with a frozen drink in hand.*

Cue the beer float.  A few summers ago while on a day trip to Beacon, New York, I happily polished off a Double Chocolate Float at The Hop, which is the sort of beer mecca that my boyfriend seems to have a knack for finding and adds to the itinerary of every excursion we take together. It’s increasingly clear that nothing can slow the craft beer industry’s roll right now, and amid the frenzy a handful of breweries have been developing chocolate stouts, so called because they are made with a darker malt that produces a subtle chocolate finish. As it turns out, a pint glass of this stuff with a scoop or two of ice cream added to the mix tastes pretty awesome, providing all of the rich, cold satisfaction that a mudslide would without the syrupy sweetness. Also, it couldn’t be easier to make at home: fill a glass partway with your favorite chocolate stout (I’m partial to Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout), and then add a generous scoop of ice cream.  Note that it’s important to pour the beer first to avoid a foamy mess. Traditionalists might stick with vanilla or chocolate, but coffee ice cream takes this treat to a higher plateau, as does a sprinkling of grated dark chocolate on top.

Of course, there’s no requirement that you use chocolate stout, and you can still have someone else make you a beer float without having to enlist the services of Metro North. As of a few weeks ago, Uncle Barry’s bar on Fifth Avenue will be serving up $8 beer floats all summer long. You know Yuengling, that beer that everyone from Pennsylvania and southern Jersey is always pushing on you? Apparently, they also make ice cream, which started when the brewery needed to find new revenue streams during Prohibition. Uncle Barry’s is stocking the vanilla and espresso-chocolate chip varieties, and will gladly enhance your pint of Yuengling lager, Yuengling Black and Tan, or good old Guinness with a scoop of either flavor.

*Note that as much as I would like to include myself in this camp I cannot, because once on a particularly scorching Fourth of July, I ordered ribs at a chain BBQ place along with something called “Allota Colada” that most certainly involved Blue Curacao and came in a margarita glass that was bigger than my face and I drank the entire thing. 

07/28/14 12:30pm
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Photo: Cat Stevens

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Photo: Cat Stevens

I don’t believe in an interventionist God/But I know darling that you do.” Those are the opening lyrics to the song “Into My Arms,” which was my early introduction to the music of the legendary Australian band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds–albeit through a now-forgotten Bill Pullman-Ben Stiller movie called Zero Effect from 1998. Since then, I have followed the band’s music off and on over the years but never really experienced their emotionally-draining power in a live setting.

That was until I saw the band perform this past Saturday at the Prospect Park bandshell. I may be exaggerating, but seeing Cave and the Bad Seeds on the stage could be compared to a religious experience.


07/28/14 9:26am

Regular restaurant-goers in Carroll Gardens were probably surprised to see popular southern-fried eatery Seersucker close its doors this spring. For my money, Seersucker was one of the better Brooklyn restaurants to open in the past five years; I can still taste the intensely chicken-y flavor of their chicken and dumplings many, many meals later. However, owners Rob Newton and Kerry Diamond haven’t hit on hard times; they’re just expanding and reworking their burgeoning neighborhood empire a bit.

The fried chicken dinner. (Photo courtesy Wilma Jean)

The fried chicken dinner at Wilma Jean. Photo: Wilma Jean

Seersucker’s shuttering is perhaps in part due to confusion about other restaurants with the same name, along with a decision to focus on more casual fare. The couple already have the nearby cafe Smith Canteen and they added Vietnam-meets-Dixie eatery Nightingale 9 last year. I was underwhelmed at Nightingale when they debuted, but I may have to revisit—it’s since drawn rave reviews and crowds every night. So what they’ve done is moved Nightingale 9 a few doors down Smith Street into the former Seersucker space, and filled Nightingale’s old space with the brand new Wilma Jean, which keeps Seersucker’s southern cuisine, but with a much more casual approach. (more…)

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07/25/14 1:00pm

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The half-a-block long stretch of Centre Street that sits under the BQE between Red Hook and Carroll Gardens seems like a weird setting for a craft brewery, least of all a full-fledged tasting room with a giant stuffed kudu head mounted on the wall (a type of antelope, in case you’re wondering). Nevertheless, that’s exactly where you’ll find South Brooklyn’s latest addition to the exploding small-batch beer production scene, The Other Half, smack between a scrap metal yard and a tired-looking McDonald’s drive-thru. Despite the decidedly unglamorous digs, this place puts out really good beer– you might have come across it at Double Windsor, Tørst, or Greenwood Park– and the tiny, bustling tap room, which opened this spring but recently expanded its hours, is a fun place to drop by when your jog or bike ride or trip to Lowe’s brings you to the area on a weekend afternoon. (more…)

07/25/14 10:08am

The owners of Red Hook Winery face a dilemma–accommodate customers who arrive at the winery after closing, or kindly ask that they return when they’re open. Photo: Red Hook Winery

Holly Howard is our go-to business consultant. She’s helped countless small businesses in Brooklyn and beyond (including us here at Brooklyn Based) with her expertise and know-how. This summer, in an unprecedented program, 10 small businesses in Red Hook, Brooklyn have come together to work as a community to grow their businesses through Holly’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program.  This program was made possible through the generous support from ReStore Red HookNew York Business Development Corporation, and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.  Over the next 10 weeks, Holly will dedicate her weekly advice column to a specific business in Red Hook that is participating in her in hopes that their journeys will bring enlightenment and inspiration to your business as well. This week, she fields a question from the owners of Red Hook Winery.

Hi Holly!

With Red Hook in general and the winery specifically “off the beaten path,” we face many exploring customers in the area.  While we are closing up shop, we often have customers who show up and approach us about coming inside because they’ve made such a long trek to get here and didn’t realize we were closed.

We feel awful turning them away, as we appreciate both the interest and the trek they’ve made to get here, but we also struggle with reopening the store after we have closed.

What’s the best thing to say/do to have customers leave happy and not frustrated?


Sandra and Mark
Red Hook Winery (more…)

07/24/14 10:35am
The co-founders of The Poetry Society of New York have found a new way to share some of the city's eight million stories. Photo: PSNY

The co-founders of The Poetry Society of New York have found a new way to share some of the city’s eight million stories. Photo: PSNY

When Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski, co-founders of The Poetry Society of New York, decided to launch The Typewriter Project—an outdoor art concept that’s attempting to tap into the city’s subconscious by offering anyone access to a vintage typewriter and writing paper on which to wax poetic—the two knew exactly where to set up the “tiniest writing den” in the city.

“Governor’s Island has always been really receptive to whatever ideas we’ve thrown at them,” Adamski said when asked how they settled upon the 172-acre isle so close to Brooklyn’s shores someone’s attempting to build a bridge to it.

The Poetry Society’s partnership with Governors Island has proven to be a fruitful one the past few years, starting with the introduction of its Poetry Brothel back in 2011.

“There are all these beautiful officer’s houses on Governors Island, so we decided to set up shop in one. We completely turned it into a brothel,” Berger explains of their initial concept, a poetic play on the fin-de-siècle bordellos of New Orleans and Paris, popularized toward the end of the 19th century.

“It’s a four bedroom house, and every bedroom had a bed in it so we would take guests upstairs and read to them privately one-on-one. We first came to check out the house, the space that we were given, [and] we looked at the giant, gorgeous triangle of grass out in front of the house called Colonel’s Row.”

Spying a second opportunity to collaborate, the Poetry Society sought permission to start The New York City Poetry Festival. The annual event now regularly draws crowds to the island for one weekend every summer to hear work from 50 poetry organizations and 250 poets on its three main stages. Headliners for this year’s festival, taking place this Saturday and Sunday, include poets Paul Muldoon, Mark Doty, Matthea Harvey and Joyelle McSweeney. The Poetry Brothel will also make another appearance in Building 408, from 1pm-5pm both days.

It’s at this year’s festival that Berger and Adamski plan to unveil the pilot test for The Typewriter Project. If all goes well, the two will launch a citywide version of the project next spring or summer. (more…)

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07/23/14 1:00pm
J. Mascis made a rare appearance on July 12 to headline the Village Voice's annual 4Knots Music Festival with his band Dinosaur Jr. Photo: Bryan Bruchman

J. Mascis made a rare appearance on July 12 to headline the Village Voice’s annual 4Knots Music Festival with his band Dinosaur Jr. Photo: Bryan Bruchman

Free music is one of most redeeming qualities of the New York summer. In exchange for sweaty and pungent subway rides, and co-dependent relationships with our air conditioners, we are rewarded with free entertainment, in settings that, with a perfectly timed breeze, make us remember why we’re here in the first place. This year’s 4Knots Music Festival, the fourth (how’s that for symmetry?), was no exception.