10/09/15 10:45am

9781479892945_Full“Everybody thinks they’re discovering something,” notes Alison Price, director of the documentary Lavender Lake in Joseph Alexiou’s new history, Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious CanalPrice is referring to the artists who made Gowanus home in the late 1990s, but her comments about New Yorkers’ fascination with the canal, as Alexiou’s trenchant, meticulously researched biography of the Gowanus shows, has been around for centuries.

Alexiou takes us all the way back to when the canal was a small, clean tidal estuary. The filthiness that the canal is perhaps best known for is a result of industrial pollution from the boats and factories that depended on the waterway for their livelihoods, as well as a combined sewer system that allows (still!) both excess rainwater and raw sewage to drain into it. As for the sense of discovery, before there was Whole Foods and a Superfund designation, before there were condo towers, there were Gilded Age barons like real estate developers Daniel Richards and Edwin Litchfield, who wanted to both expand and clean the canal. (more…)

10/08/15 12:00pm


Sponsored By BRIC.

BRIC JazzFest is a week-long event celebrating jazz legends and ground-breaking new artists from Brooklyn and beyond.

Created By BlankSlate

This Sunday, BRIC kicks off its annual week-long BRIC JazzFest, celebrating some of the most exciting globe-trotting jazz legends and a huge crop of groundbreaking new artists from Brooklyn and beyond. Event highlights include “The Brown Beatnik Tomes,” poetry and art by Danny Simmons accompanied by the Ron Carter Trio; free performances by Jaime Woods and Battle Trance; and a two-night marathon featuring artist such as Kamasi Washington and Dr. Lonnie Smith. You can either purchase a 3-day JazzFest Pass, or purchase tickets in advance or at the door.

10/08/15 11:28am
Shopping (Jenna Foxton)

Shopping | Photo: Jenna Foxton

When you listen to the band Shopping, a trio based in London, you can’t help but feel transported to the late ’70s post-punk scene spearheaded by great British bands like the Slits, the Raincoats, and Gang of Four. Shopping’s songs have all the hallmarks of that era: choppy guitar, urgent bass lines, disco-like drums and vocals that are both detached and feisty.

I think when we play live we have a lot of fun no matter who’s there, how many people, or if they never heard of us before. We’re confident we can win people over.

Yet while the band’s drummer Andrew Milk acknowledges that Shopping was very much influenced by post-punk, he maintains it wasn’t an intentional effort on the band’s part to emulate that sound.

“We knew that we wanted to make dance music and we were a three-piece,” he says. “You got bass, drums, and guitar: guitar where Rachel [Aggs] can’t play chords, and drums where I can’t play drums except four-to-the floor dance beats. So it happened to be danceable post-punk. It had to be that sound.” (more…)

10/08/15 9:30am
Lorely Rodriguez is Empress Of. She's also a total dream in every way. See her at TKTK. Photo: Empress Of

Lorely Rodriguez is Empress Of. She’s also a total dream in every way. See her at Terminal 5 or Cameo Gallery. Photo: Empress Of

CMJ Music Marathon, now celebrating its 35th anniversary, returns to New York on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The line-up includes some surprising big wigs, including British singer Kate Nash, and rockers Motion City Soundtrack (if you didn’t have this song playing over your blog in the early 2000s, you were doing something so very, very wrong), as well as hundreds of talented bands peeking up from the underground and flocking to the streets of New York from all across the nation. (Probably a few bands from Sweden, too.) CMJ has an app to help you navigate the waters of their insane schedule, but we’ve got a layout that’s a little simpler. Five days, five bands. You’ve got this.


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10/07/15 12:00pm


Sponsored By Luna Park.

Luna Park, in iconic Coney Island is the best place in NYC for mild, moderate, and extreme thrills!

Created By BlankSlate

Labor Day is behind us and everyone in the office is drinking pumpkin spice lattes. We’re refusing to put away our summer clothes until we absolutely have to—but we’re also starting to get excited about the impending fall chill.

For those of us ready to celebrate fall the way it’s meant to be celebrated, Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest festival happens every weekend until November 1. The family-friendly festival features face painting, pumpkin picking, magic shows, balloon artists, and more.

This year, Halloween Harvest is bigger and better then ever. Luna Park has expanded the fun into the Scream Zone section of the park where guests can pick and paint a pumpkin at Grandmas Hay Maze and Pumpkin Patch, which is just steps away from the newest addition to the fall fun, Kooky Spooky Karaoke.

10/07/15 11:01am
If you've ever been curious about Brooklyn's wild parrot colonies, you can get up close and personal at a safari at Brooklyn College on Saturday morning. Photo: Brooklyn Parrots

If you’ve ever been curious about Brooklyn’s wild parrot colonies, you can get up close and personal at a safari at Brooklyn College on Saturday morning. Photo: Brooklyn Parrots

It’s a busy week for fans in New York: Thursday marks the return of ComicCon and Tuesday is the beginning of the 35th annual CMJ Music Marathon (stay tuned for our picks of must-see shows, which we’ll post tomorrow). Thousands of fans will be attending events associated with these marquee festivals throughout the city, but if that sounds like too much to deal with there are plenty of lower-key social options on the slate as well.

Sadly, fall no longer means back to school for most of us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a new skill in your off-time. Tonight, Owl & Thistle is offering a beginners leather workshop from 7-9pm, and each student will leave with his or her own handmade leather wallet. Too last-minute for you? Then register to up your Halloween game at the shop’s Oct. 17 Sew Your Own Cape Costume class. 

Fans of hip-hop will definitely want to carve out time to see a screening of Stretch & Bobbito: Radio that Changed Lives, before its run at BAM ends tomorrow.  The documentary tells the story of the two friends behind WKCR’s legendary hip-hop radio show, which helped shine a spotlight on then-unknown acts like Nas, Jay-Z, Big Pun, and Notorious B.I.G. 

For years I have been hearing about Brooklyn’s feral parrots, which is a topic that naturally raises a lot of questions in my mind, but I myself have never seen any evidence of these marauding bands of birds. I’ve also never really known where to look, which is why I’m intrigued by Saturday’s Parrot Safari at Brooklyn College. The tour starts at 11am and is free, but requires advance registration.   

If you want to really get out into nature in a major way, though, we recommend looking into The Billycan’s upcoming all-inclusive weekend trip to the Adirondacks. Wilderness Field Notes takes place the weekend of Oct. 23-25 and features accommodations in a log cabin by a lake and tons of activities like hiking, group meals, bonfires, kayaking, archery, and fishing, and more. At $275 for the entire weekend, it’s actually a pretty good deal, and there is a round-trip bus option to and from Greenpoint if you don’t have access to your own set of wheels. 

As for this week, we’ve got a lot of cool ideas to help you ease into this cool fall weather. Read on for our tips how to make the most of Your Ideal Week ahead:

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10/06/15 12:00pm

Sponsored By BRIC.

BRIC is a nonprofit arts and media cultural organization that presents free and low-cost programming to the community.

Created By BlankSlate

BRIC TV’s edgy new current affairs show is taking on the mainstream media. Billed as Democracy Now! for the millennial generation, Maz & Juan Strike Back! premiered Monday night.

Hosted by investigative journalists Murtaza Hussain (“Maz”) and Juan Thompson—both from The Intercept—the series covers topics ranging from Cecil the Lion to the Baltimore riots. (more…)

10/06/15 9:30am

No one is going to judge you for carting your stuff around in a cotton tote–in fact certain screenprinted bags have become under-the-radar status symbols. Cheap–or free–and ubiquitous, totes broadcast your taste in radio stations, literary journals and artisanal whatever while transporting your farmer’s market finds or lugging your laptop to the coffee shop. Occasionally though, you want to wear something nicer on your shoulder (or back, or bum). Whether you’re trying to make a good impression at an interview or peeping fall foliage for the weekend, these splurge-worthy bags will be your classed-up workhorses for times when a tote just won’t make the cut.


Sunset peony

The Bali backpack in sunset or peony will brighten your fall. Photo: Pelcor

If you need a backpack… A backpack makes the most ergonomic sense as it distributes the weight on both of your shoulders. Duh. If you want something a little classier than the Jansport you rocked in middle school, check out Pelcor’s Bali Backpack (on sale $166.80). It’s got the look of the bucket bag, but reshaped as a backpack. Plus, it’s made out of cork, which is renewable, sustainable, naturally waterproof, lightweight, and a fraction of the cost of leather. (Also, it floats…just in case.) The sunset and peony colors are on sale right now and either will brighten up these cool autumnal days. Available online.


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10/05/15 12:00pm


Sponsored By 465 Pacific.

465 Pacific is a boutique condominium building featuring 30 one to five bedrooms including terrace duplex homes and penthouses.

Created By BlankSlate

Boerum Hill — especially Atlantic Avenue — has changed drastically over the past decade. The historic brownstones and rowhouses are still there, as are the antique stores and the Middle Eastern markets, but they’ve been joined by upscale restaurants, bridal boutiques, and art galleries. Add to that the proximity to institutions like Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and it’s no wonder that demand for housing in Boerum Hill has increased.

The newest change to this upwardly mobile neighborhood is at Atlantic Avenue and Nevins Street, in a lot formerly occupied by the Atlantis Super Wash Center and its oversized, largely unused parking lot.

Architect Morris Adjmi, the man behind Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel, has different plans for the space. Featuring a design meant to complement neighboring rowhouses, 465 Pacific will bring 30 new homes and plenty of retail space to the corner. The residences, ranging from one- to five-bedroom, will include terrace duplex homes and penthouses. The 1,300-square-foot rooftop garden features panoramic city views. (more…)