09/30/14 8:57am
Practicing archery is actually surprisingly relaxing. Photo: Brooklyn Based

Practicing archery is actually surprisingly relaxing. Photo: Brooklyn Based

Welcome to Date Night, our new monthly series where we suggest a date that will shake up your night out routine. Whether or not it’s the kind of date that might end up between the sheets is entirely up to you–we’re just here to tell you about a good time that’s ready to be had somewhere in Brooklyn. 

The date: My new favorite night out with my husband is a trip to Gotham Archery in Gowanus, followed by dinner somewhere in the neighborhood (he favors Dinosaur BBQ, my vote is for Littleneck). If you really wanted to gild the lily, you could even follow dinner with a barrel-aged cocktail and a round of shuffleboard at The Royal Palms (or check their food truck schedule for dinner options there), and then a cone at Ample Hills. But let’s start simple.

If archery sounds like something that will make you feel frustrated and grumpy and un-datelike, take it from me, it won’t. I am the world’s worst sport at doing new things that I’m not good at, and I’m also competitive, and married to someone who is great at target shooting. I was sure the whole archery experiment would end in tears, or at the very least, bickering. Instead, it was mellow and fun and left me wanting to go back.  (more…)

09/29/14 4:27pm
Carolyn Murnick, and editor at New York Magazine, hired Homepolish to help her turn her Bed-Stuy apartment from this...

Carolyn Murnick, and editor at New York Magazine, hired Homepolish to help her turn her Bed-Stuy apartment from this…

..into this. Photos: Homepolish

..into this. Photos: Homepolish

As New Yorkers we pay dearly for limited space, and this can lead to a bad Ikea habit–when close to half your income goes toward rent each month it can be hard to justify investing even more in your apartment. We’re here to tell you though, creating a beautiful and comfortable oasis in the middle of a city where personal space is at a premium is SO worth it. And professional help transforming your home into exactly what you want it to be is not nearly as expensive as you might think.

Homepolish is a genius new service that connects you to an interior designer for totally reasonable rates. They do full home designs like the one pictured above (more on that in a minute) and renovations, or they can help you turn an office into a baby’s room, or an underused space into a dining area, working within your budget. In fact we like what they’re up to so much that we teamed up with Homepolish and WorkOf–which curates and sells apartment transforming furniture and accessories–to give you a chance to win a modern and elegant piece that will set your bedroom aglow or completely transform your living room. Enter now. 

We also chatted with Anna Gray, a Homepolish editor about a dramatic design job their designer Adam Verboys recently did in Bed-Stuy (it caught our eye on their portfolio pages), and how less extensive projects can also transform a space.


09/29/14 11:54am

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There are a few things to know before heading to Ozone Park to eat at Don Peppe, one of New York’s classic red sauce Italian restaurants. They don’t take reservations. Cash only. Everything is served family style, so it’s best experienced in a group (but the maximum party size is 12). There are two kinds of wine on the menu, red and white, both come chilled in carafes, and both are a little sweet. It’s not easy to get here. The room isn’t fancy–it’s brightly lit, has a drop ceiling and is lined with photos of horses and jockey jerseys from the nearby Aquaduct Racetrack. Their cult menu item, Chicken Chinese, pales in comparison to other dishes. 

In short, it’s a real New York experience in a city full of carefully curated New American restaurants with farcically elaborate menus and trendy ingredients. And the food is ridiculously good.


09/29/14 8:00am

KWL_8226Oops! | Kenny Louie via Flickr

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Lots of us have stories of close calls with apartment disasters — the time we forgot about oil heating up on the stove or locked ourselves out while the bathtub was running. Fortunately, if things go bad, apartment insurance from Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc can help you replace your belongings and cover the cost of repairs. Gotham knows NYC apartment owner and renter needs better than anybody else, which means they can help you find the right coverage in the time it takes you to almost flood your apartment.

09/26/14 9:56am
After one day in Deb Winsor's Construction Kids' studio, your daughter will be handier than you. Photo: Construction Kids

After one day in Deb Winsor’s Construction Kids’ studio, your daughter will be handier than you. Photo: Construction Kids

Picture this: It’s a rainy day, and you’re in an eerily quiet room with 25 kindergartners. All of a sudden you notice that they are all holding metal hammers and buckets of nails! You try to run, but you can’t leave because you realize…one of them is your son! [Insert evil laugh here.] This actually happened to me, only it wasn’t a nightmare, it was a birthday party in a spacious, light-filled workshop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard called Construction Kids.

This amazing concept is the brainchild of Deb Winsor, a carpenter and educator, who founded the company in 2009. It has expanded to be the only place of its kind that allows kids to build objects using real tools in the safety of a highly supervised classroom. Anything your kid can dream up can be built here: skateboards, guitars, and forts for example. My 4-year-old son has never used a hammer of any kind, but by the end of the party, he had proudly built his own toy boat out of actual wood and nails–and to my surprise, he still had all his fingers and toes. I spoke with the brave woman behind the power tools, to find out how she came up with the idea, how much research she puts into her program and how many major injuries they have per minute (spoiler alert: zero). (more…)

09/26/14 7:41am
The view from the top of Photo: Kate Hooker

The view from the top of Overlook Mountain makes the hike well worth the effort. Photo: Kate Hooker

Everyone loves autumn in New York City, but it’s also a fantastic time to ditch the asphalt and head upstate for relaxing weekend of brilliant fall leafscapes and star-splattered night skies. About five years ago, a super-organized friend of mine rented a 10-person VRBO house outside of Woodstock one October weekend and started an annual tradition. Over time, couples broke up, people had babies, and the friend who started it all moved abroad, but some permutation of our original crew (along with a rotating cast of dogs) still finds our way to a rented house in the Catskills for one weekend every fall. For city dwellers like us, the call of things like giant decks with firepits, the opportunity to cook for more than two people in a real, adult kitchen, and watching the sun sink into the mountains from the back porch is tough to resist.

The area around Woodstock is particularly great for a group with disparate interests because there are so many different ways to fill up the day. In five years, I haven’t come close to doing it all, but here are some highlights that are worth exploring if a weekend upstate is part of your plans this fall. (more…)

09/25/14 11:06am
The exterior of The Knick is actually the Boys High School in Bed-Stuy. Photo: Cinemax

The exterior of The Knick is actually the Boys High School in Bed-Stuy. Photo: Cinemax

If you haven’t been watching The Knick, it’s well worth cozying up to someone with Cinemax (yes, they’ve got more than soft-core porn). As the initiated know, it’s an unsparingly gruesome portrait of Gilded Age New York, told through the framework of The Knickerbocker, a Victorian hulk of a hospital, which is struggling to modernize as its star surgeon, played by Clive Owen, battles the limitations of technology, and his raging drug addiction, to move medicine forward into the newly-hatched twentieth century.

The New York depicted on The Knick is both utterly recognizable to present-day inhabitants and also another place all together. And a lot of it is filmed in Brooklyn, from The Knick itself to the sets at the show’s Greenpoint studio. We chatted with Howard Cummings, the show’s production designer, who also worked on Behind the Candelabra and Contagion with Knick director and showrunner Steven Soderbergh. (more…)

09/25/14 9:55am

UPDATE: Brooklyn Vegan reports that the show is at Erasmus High School tonight, tickets are first come, first served starting at 3pm, and the school asks that no lines form prior to 3. So hop on the B, Q, 2 or 5 train now for a chance to see a legend play at his alma mater. 

For one night, Brooklyn’s native son is coming home. Music legend Neil Diamond–who graduated from Erasmus Hall High School (where Barbra Streisand also attended)–is playing a secret show somewhere in the borough on Monday, Sept. 29, Brooklyn Vegan reported Wednesday. The venue will be revealed by Diamond around 8am the day of and tickets will be made available on a first-come-first-served basis at 5pm and Diamond will perform starting at an hour later. No specific details have been offered on where to hear the announcement, so the best thing to do is probably check his website and social media like Twitter and Facebook.


09/24/14 5:00pm

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 Red Hook Winery. 

Hi Holly,

This hasn’t happened recently, but it has happened in the past, and I think it is a growing problem/concern with businesses…the dreaded Yelp review!

As a small business owner, the reviews often feel out of balance or focused on things that can’t always be controlled.  I hear lately how small businesses struggle with this topic.  It seems like consumers tend to write reviews when things are negative, and often they focus on bizarre parts of the experience. There are frequent tangents that may be off base or even just one side of the story.  

Any ideas on how to better address how to deal with Yelp reviews? (more…)