04/26/17 11:33am

Sponsored By BKLYN DESIGNS.

BKLYN DESIGNS is Brooklyn’s premier design event showcasing a cross section of design, architecture and art.

Created By BlankSlate

The creative spirit that has made Brooklyn a world-class destination for artists, architects, designers and those with excellent taste is at the center of BKLYN DESIGNS, a three-day celebration coming to Greenpoint May 5-7.

Founded by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in 2003, the borough’s premier design event will pack the Brooklyn Expo Center with a diverse array of exhibits, pop-up lounges, installations, demos and family-friendly programming. (more…)

04/25/17 2:24pm

Yesterday marked four years since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh claimed the lives of 1,132 garment industry workers when the factory building they were in collapsed. Brands like Zara, Walmart, Joe Fresh and The Children’s Place were all found to have been producing clothing at Rana Plaza.

Fashion Revolution Week, April 24-30 this year, is a movement to demand clearer supply chains and safer working conditions, and asking fashion brands for a greater commitment to cleaning up the production of clothing, which is one of the biggest industrial polluters in the global economy.

The truth is that there is enough clothing on the planet to keep us all warm and dry well into the future. Not participating in fast fashion by curbing your shopping habit, or hitting vintage and thrift stores is the best way to reduce waste. You can also shop with these ethical fashion companies that provide safe working conditions and living wages for workers.

Another tactic is to shop local.

New York City was once the capital of the garment industry, and it was also one of the centers of the workers rights movement, which was galvanized, in part, by the horrible tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The women, largely Jewish and Italian immigrants, working at Triangle were sewing a fast-fashion forerunner–the fitted, puffy-sleeved tops that were essential to the Gibson Girl look. Different century, same story as Rana Plaza.

Today, the fashion industry is still alive and well in New York City, but most off-the-rack pieces are constructed thousands of miles away in Vietnam, China and India. There are still a handful of garment factories in the city though, and increasingly young, quality-obsessed companies that sell primarily online or in pop-ups are producing New York-made garments that you can feel good about buying and wearing. As a rule they’re more expensive than your average Gap tee, but of course they are. They pay your neighbors a living wage. Here are a few of our favorites. (more…)

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Partner Post
04/25/17 10:05am

 

Learn from and network with the leaders in Brooklyn real estate at the first-ever Brownstoner Real Estate Conference next Wednesday, May 3 at Weylin in association with the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Hear about trends in the brownstone and townhouse market, Brooklyn’s multi-family and investment sale market and how notable Brooklyn office owners, developers and co-working companies are meeting the needs of creative, tech and startup tenants. (Learn more about the panelists here.)

The event, which includes breakfast, takes place from 8 to 11am. Register now at www.brownstoner.com/bkreconference, and use the code BKBASED for 20% off tickets.

04/24/17 11:29am

Just five minutes to smoothie magic with Greenblender.

Last week the internet enjoyed a rare moment of harmony as it gathered together to mock Juicero, the high tech juice company that raised $120 million to hawk $400, wifi-enabled juicers. A meticulously reported Bloomberg story and accompanying video demonstrated that despite its boasts of aircraft-grade aluminum and four tons of pressing power, it was possible to squeeze Juicero juice packs–which you cannot buy without first purchasing the juicer, called The Press–by hand, to pretty much the same effect.

A tech writer friend and I have had an ongoing joke about Juicero since this gushing New York Times profile of founder Doug Evans came out last year, the punchline being, if you’re a certain type of white guy (read: unconventional, but rich, with a charming if slightly sociopathic personality), you can get Silicon Valley dollars like you have an ATM card, no matter how dumb your idea is.

But here’s the rub–I like drinking juice or smoothies for breakfast, and most juicers really are a pain to clean and I get annoyed by my own lack of creativity when it comes to my smoothie game. Surely there must be some kind of juice interruption that actually delivers, without having to purchase a $400 lie.

There is and the company started in Brooklyn, of course.

Greenblender, to use a tired, but useful formulation, is Blue Apron for smoothies. For $49 a week (less if you commit to several months at a time) you get recipes and ingredients for five different smoothies, two servings of each. You just pop them in a blender and voila, breakfast in about five minutes. Technically these are smoothies–no pulp or fiber is removed, it’s all blended all in there, but they’re much more fruit and vegetable foward than your standard smoothie, which is really a milkshake in disguise. Think of Greenblender concoctions more like super juice. You could not squeeze these ingredients with your bare hands and get a drink from your efforts. (more…)

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04/20/17 10:54am

We interviewed former New Yorkers about their lives upstate, and we also asked them to share their favorite spots, so you can enjoy them next time you visit–or when you relocate, too.

Glasses at the Suarez Family Brewery. Photo; Suarez Family Brewery via Instagram

Glasses at the Suarez Family Brewery. Photo; Suarez Family Brewery via Instagram

Sarah Suarez

1. Suarez Family Brewery in Livingston: Nick’s brother Dan and his wife Taylor opened their brewery in the summer of 2016. They have a tasting room where we love to hang out on our days off—Dan even decided to open the tasting room on Wednesdays for Nick.

2. Montgomery Place Orchards: This is my favorite farm stand and one of our purveyors for the restaurant. They are a family run farm with the most perfect selection. They grow a huge variety of heirloom apples, as well as oodles of other fruit and vegetables. When I stop by for my weekly visits from June-November I always end up eating something on the way home, whether it’s a whole pint of black caps or a couple warm apple cider donuts.

3. Saugerties Lighthouse: I love coming here with my dog Scout. There is a nice walk from the parking lot that takes you through a beautiful marshy area and then out to the lighthouse on the Hudson. You can bring a picnic or wade in the water. We actually did a special event with some friends at the lighthouse last fall and took a sailboat ride there, then had dinner at dusk. It was pretty magical. (more…)

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04/20/17 10:50am
Photo: Casey Scieszka

The view from the Spruceton Inn. Photo: Casey Scieszka

It all started just a handful of years ago, a slow and steady migration of Brooklyn residents packing up their belongings and heading north–to the mountains, to cabins, to a respite of crisp greenery and stillness.

Or did it?

In reality, city folk have been settling in various counties of upstate New York for generations. The only reason it’s lately been deemed a phenomenon is because social media is now here to chronicle every minute detail of said migration, from photos of people packing up their Cobble Hill apartments to Boomerangs of bonfires crackling in their new yards.

Over the last couple of years, everyone from The New York Times to Vogue has covered the influx of New Yorkers foregoing the mind-numbing squeals of the subway and crowded city parks for long drives in the mountains and afternoons spent hiking, foraging, and buying fresh produce right from the farm. Plus, a hammock or two. We sought out these souls and met Megan Brenn-White (a international marketing business owner, real estate agent, and former resident of Clinton Hill), Sarah Jane Suarez (a former Dumbo resident and co-owner of Gaskins), Casey Scieszka and her husband Steven Weinberg (the people behind Spruceton Inn and former residents of Park Slope) and Alecia and Tom Eberhardt-Smith (co-owners of Eberhardt Smith and former residents of Lefferts Gardens and Sunset Park).

They settled all across upstate New York, from West Kill to Germantown, for all sorts for reasons. Some had family nearby, some had aspirations of opening up their own businesses, and some accidentally turned a vacation into real life. Pretty fabulous “oops” if you ask us. Here’s what these ex-Brooklynites had to say about their moves to the mountains.

(Note: yes, we are aware that there is some debate about the exact definition of “upstate New York.”  For the purpose of this article we have defined it as Hudson Valley towns at least 100 miles north of New York City.”)

BB: Why did you move upstate?
(more…)

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04/19/17 5:06pm
It's the anniversary of Prince's death on Friday. Photo: @brooklynbased

It’s the anniversary of Prince’s death on Friday. Photo: @brooklynbased

Hi everyone and welcome back from Easter/Passover/a weekend in which we had a totally random 90 degree day! It’s time for another Ideal Week roundup, and this week we’ve curated a well-rounded assortment of ways that you can spend your time eating, imbibing, and celebrating spring in and around Brooklyn. If you feel an extra bounce in your step (or shooting pain in your sinuses), that’s because spring really is here, and the ramp guy is at the farmers market to prove it! Why not celebrate the wonderful time before every day is 90+ degrees by treating yourself to a pedicure, a bike tune-up, or a leisurely outdoor rosé-drinking date with a friend? Or try something new on Friday, when Pioneer Works is hosting a new, experimental Groupmuse Massivemuse that is interactive and encourages audience movement. On Saturday or Sunday, you can eat, drink, and party to your heart’s content at Beer Mansion, a weekend-long beer fest brought to you by Brooklyn Brewery Mash, Eater, and a bunch of stellar local businesses. Saturday is Earth Day, which means that 30 blocks of Manhattan are being declared blissfully car-free from 10am-4pm, and it’s also time to join the March for Science, which has been garnering a lot of press of late, if you’re into public funding for science.

For those of us that are still mourning the untimely passing of Prince, the anniversary of his death on Friday is a tough reminder of the remarkable talent and personality that we lost. But it might be therapeutic to attend one of several events going on this week that commemorate the Purple One, including Questlove’s Purple Anniversary edition of Bowl Train on Thursday night, House of YES’ Dirty Thursday Prince party on the same night, or the Skint’s Celebration of Prince at Littlefield on Saturday night.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg on this Ideal Week in April–read on for many more potential plans and have a great week! (more…)

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04/19/17 3:23pm

Prince-600

It’s been a whole year since Prince joined the dearly departed and left us alone in a world that’s so cold. When he did, event and dance party meister the skint sent him off with one of their best parties yet. This year, they’re channeling Prince back down to Littlefield on Saturday night, April 22, to celebrate him and his music in style.

Get down to all things Prince spun by DJ Steve Reynolds (of Party Like It’s 1999 and Housequake). Expect a deep, deep trove of goodness: Hits. B-sides. Ladies he produced. Dudes he mentored. Stuff he wrote for other people. And video! Watch a visual smorgasbord of live clips, music videos, rare performances and movie moments from Music Video Time Machine all night long — the nastiest moves, the tightest pants… a thousand vignettes that defined his inimitable, legendary self.

Tickets are just $7 in advance ($10 at the door) to bathe in sensory purple overload and emerge fully purified. You know you need it.

(P.S.: Wear paisley, or purple, or just look damn good. It’s Prince, after all.)

04/18/17 12:33pm
Denise Mei and Cait McLaughlin team up at class 3 of the W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive on March 29 at the Lutheran Church of St John the Evangelist in Brooklyn for women/trans/non-binary identifying individuals. Photo: Kate Ryan

Denise Shu Mei and Cait McLaughlin team up at the W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive for women/trans/non-binary identifying individuals. Photo: Kate Ryan

The early birds entered through the red door of Williamsburg’s Lutheran Church of St. John the Evangelist at 5:45pm. They descended a flight of stairs to a basement with tile floors, chairs stacked against the wall, the lingering smell of incense.

And a bike workshop.

“Take a sticker, and write your name and pronouns,” said Denise Shu Mei to newcomers.

One woman carefully printed “Erika” and “she/her” before sticking it to her shirt front.

 

This was the third and final class of Mechanical Gardens‘ inaugural W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive. The hands-on classes were open to women, trans persons, and non-binary individuals.

The waitlist for the series, which stands for Women/Trans/Femme, was long and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Instructor Sera Stavroula said it will not be the last.

“People were excited that it wasn’t a 101 thing,” said Stavroula, 29. “There are classes like that: “Women’s Intro to Bikes,” “Women’s Intro to Riding,” “Women’s Intro to Flat Fix.” She said she wanted to offer something more challenging.

Erika Jozwiak ponders her maintenance options at class 3 of the W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive on March 29 at the Lutheran Church of St John the Evangelist in Brooklyn for women/trans/non-binary identifying individuals.

Erika Jozwiak ponders her maintenance options. Photo: Kate Ryan

Each night Stavroula focused on a different system, how it functioned, potential issues that might arise, warning signs, ways to fix the problem, and how much the repair should cost at a bike shop. She said students got their hands dirty and sized chains, recabled shifters, and changed tires and brake pads. They learn to diagnose and fix problems, and if they need to take their bike into the shop, this class should demystify the process.

Stavroula, who has worked with bikes for six years, was the first female mechanic at a pro-shop in Richmond, VA. Today she works as the Bike to School coordinator and a mechanic at Recycle-a-Bicycle in Dumbo.

“You go into a bike shop and it’s a lot of guys,” said Stavroula. “It’s hard to access that space if you don’t have experience.” (more…)

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04/17/17 10:54am
Photo: Georgia Kral

Photo: Faun

If you’re a wine drinker then you’ve probably heard some bottles described as “natural wines.” On menus around town from casual pizza spots to special occasion restaurants, natural wines have become wine directors’ darlings, as well as favorites with diners. Here’s what you need to know.

But what is natural wine?

It’s debatable, really. In the past 10 years, just what is natural wine has been a heated topic in certain circles. We like what Eric Asimov, The New York Times wine writer, has to say about it: “I have always considered the lack of a definition of natural wine to be a great strength … It’s an ideal, rather than a set of rules.”

Those underlying ideals include making wine with as little intervention from the winemakers as possible. That means limiting the addition of preservatives (sulfur) and flavors, and allowing each harvest–which, as with all crops, changes from year to year based on any number of factors–to sing its own tune. Many big name wines, whether you’re talking Yellow Tail or Veuve Clicquot, are made to be consistent year to year. Each bottle tastes the same. Natural wine vintages can vary wildly, and that is considered a desirable reflection of the growing season.

Natural winemakers also let the naturally-occurring yeasts act as the agents of fermentation, rather than adding other yeasts.

“You can’t be a natural winemaker if you’re using cultivated yeasts,” said Mike Fadem, co-owner of Ops in Bushwick, which pours from a constantly rotating list of natural wines. “If you’re letting it happen on its own naturally people are afraid it’s less control, or you’re less likely to get the exact same thing every year.”

But not knowing exactly what you’re going to get is part of the excitement, he added.

(more…)

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