Nicole Davis

Articles by

Nicole Davis

When Nicole launched Brooklyn Based in 2007, she had worked primarily as a writer, researcher and reporter for magazines like National Geographic Adventure and as the arts editor of the beloved NYC weekly, The Villager. In the process of running an indie media company, though, she's added a few other roles to her skill set, like event producer, publicist, and ad sales. She's lived in Park Slope, Gowanus, Clinton Hill, Dumbo, and Greenpoint, and now lives in Hipsturbia with her husband, daughter, son, dog and two cats. (You can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you can't keep her away from her work.) She's on Twitter at @nicolebdavis, but mainly uses her account to harass airlines.

12/28/16 1:00pm

We asked our contributors, friends and notable Brooklynites to share their favorite New Year’s in NYC. Here, Jonathan Schnapp, co-owner of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, shares his epic night in his signature, e e cummings style of email. His shuffleboard palace is throwing their third annual New Year’s Eve Flamingo Formal on Saturday, a totally free, fun night and a great excuse to dress up for the last hurrah of the year. For more ideas, check out our last Ideal Week: New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn edition.

If you have the will and the wheels, you make a progressive party out of New Year's. Photo: Torbakhopper via Flickr

If you have the will and the wheels, you can make a progressive party out of New Year’s. Photo: Torbakhopper via Flickr

hmmm-
my best NYE huh?

it might have been the winter of 1998…
earlier that year i had taken a trip to SF and ridden a scooter for the first time
it was magical and i vowed to do whatever was necessary to procure my first vespa that fall.
sure enough, when september rolled around i dragged my butt
out to up and coming williamsburg
threw down $1500 bucks for a 1976 blue sprint 150
and called her ‘putt putt’.

by NYE i’d gotten the feel of the hand shift, the tides of traffic,
and the way cabs reacted impulsively when searching for a fare.
i felt the rhythm of the lights and the pockets of space between cars-
i was all shaolin soccer with my shit… i was one with putt putt.
that NYE i decided to attend
EVERY SINGLE PARTY I WAS INVITED TO.

it turned into a tour of the greatest city in the world
on the craziest night of the year.
my itinerary:
LES, Chelsea, Hells Kitchen, Upper East Side, Tribecca, Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, Union Square
i started at 5pm and got home by around 4am.

did it all in a black suit, skinny tie, and chucks…
no jacket
(big mistake)

12/28/16 11:07am

If you need a recommendation for an epic New Year’s Eve bash, Oriana Leckert is the person to ask. The author of Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity and events editor for Brokelyn knows all the borough’s DIY venues and the parties they spawn. She used to write our New Year’s Eve party roundup for years, and she tracks quirky events and alternative nightlife for her own blog year round. So when I asked her to name her favorite New Year’s Eve out of all the parties she must have experienced over the years, I anticipated that it would be a hard decision.

“I’ve been in this city now for 15 years, so I’ve had a lot of New York New Year’s. I’ve done the gamut, I have done a ‘crazy’ rave at the Electric Factory when that was still a place, a Bushwig drag extravaganza at Secret Project Robot, and a Cheryl party at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Then, recently, I’ve been trying to do more of the quirky, iconic Brooklyn things. I did the fireworks at Coney Island a couple of years ago, and the steam whistles at Pratt, and those both stand out as kind of silly but also really memorable.”

Pratt’s now retired, New Year’s Eve steam whistle show. Photo: Pratt

For anyone not familiar with Pratt’s tradition, the annual event brought antique steam whistles from trains, factories, and ships, including a 1930s ocean liner, back to life. The art school led the resonating show for the public for 50 years, before its chief engineer performed the final one in 2014. “It’s really surreal, it feels like being in a movie, because between the darkness and the steam, you can’t really see very far in front of you, so you’re sort of stumbling a little bit manically to keep track of where your friends are, and figure out where the next steam whistle will come from. It was really fun. It was really, really fun,” said Leckert.

But it still doesn’t make her cut as best New Year’s in NYC. “I think that out of all of them, the first one I thought of when you contacted me was my second or third year in the city. Because of an array of hijinks, we had moved on December 31st so New Years was our first night for my partner and myself in our new apartment.” (more…)

12/27/16 9:59am

We asked our contributors, friends and notable Brooklynites to share their favorite New Year’s in NYC. Here, Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer tell us theirs. The comedians and real-life lovers perform at the UCB Theater and recently released the 146th episode of their podcast, Ménage à Trois Radio. In each, they chat about real and hypothetical sexcapades and sex-themed news with a special guest—download the Ilana Glazer or Amanda Duarte episodes for a raunchy intro.

Just for the record, the title of this photo is "NYE_MDMA2." Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Jut a little foreshadowing: The title of this photo is “NYE_MDMA2.” Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Brooklyn Based: What your best New Year’s Eve out in New York City, and was it together or separate?
Diana: Ours was together and it was a big night out. Probably five years ago or four.
Murph: It might have been maybe our first New Year’s together.
Diana: 2012, I think.
Murph: Some of the people from the comedy community, they throw a New Year’s Eve party every year and this one was in Midtown.
Diana: It was in Midtown at some horrible bar. I forget what it’s called. I want to say The Top Hat.
Murph: Or The Lame Horse.
Diana: It’s like The Old Beer, it’s something terrible.
Murph: It’s one of those lovely spots right by Madison Square Garden in Midtown, which is actually right where you want to be when the ball drops. [Ed. Note: No, he did not really mean this.]
Diana: My improv team at the time, Tesla, was throwing the party so we had to get there early and help out. But before we went, Murph decided to get a perm. (more…)

12/07/16 2:38pm
Emma Straub was one of the first Brooklyn residents we including in our "Five Questions, One Drawing" series a few years ago. Illustration: Steven Weinberg

Emma Straub was one of the first Brooklyn residents we including in our “Five Questions, One Drawing” series a few years ago. Illustration: Steven Weinberg

Well Brooklyn, what are your plans for the week? Oh right, I guess that’s actually our job, to help you figure out the best way to spend the next seven days. This time of year is always tough–it’s dark when you get out of work, the holidays require a good amount of organization, energy and cash, and it just seems so appealing to cozy up to a book and forget the outside world exists.

Maybe I’m just feeling that way because of the news that Brooklyn author Emma Straub is planning on opening a bookstore somewhere in the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Heights area, to keep independent book selling alive in the wake of BookCourt’s closing at the end of the year. Straub herself, not to mention her juicy novels, is a delight and I can’t wait to do next year’s holiday shopping at her sure-to-be bright and cheerful store. Somewhat related, The New York Times asked writers around the world to name their favorite bookstores and the list is like a nerd’s dream vacation planner.

Not that you asked, but the two books that have been keeping me on the couch lately are Zadie Smith’s wonderful new novel Swing Time and Eight Flavors, The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman, filled with the fascinating history of ingredients that you wouldn’t expect to make the cut. (Curry powder? What?) Like every other white, liberal American, I also have Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance on hold at the library, but that’s a whole other story.

Truly though, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the week ahead that are not in your apartment and we’ve compiled our top picks here. Get out there and have some fun.  (more…)

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10/21/16 12:49pm
We want you to play with your food at One More Bite! Private Picassos is just one of the participants that will be encouraging kids to. Photo: Shellburne Farms

We want you to play with your food at One More Bite! (And Private Picassos is just one of the participants that will be encouraging kids to.) Photo: Shellburne Farms

We are beyond excited for our first family food fair, One More Bite, this Sunday at The Green Building.

As moms, we’re fully aware of the joy—and the frustration—that comes from feeding our kids. With that in mind, we’ve planned a day that (we hope) will make trying new foods fun. As your children work their way around the room, sampling local charcuterie, Vermont cheese, chana masala, pickles of every variety, brownies made from beans, and more yummy, healthy foods, they’ll collect stamps in their One More Bite passbooks, then pick a treat at the end for being so adventurous. (We don’t want to make this high-stakes, though, so parents, we’re expecting you to do a lot of tasting too!)

Farmers and food educators will also be leading hands-on activities to teach kids about pollinators, edible plants, and the sugar in processed foods, along with art projects that will encourage them to play with their fruits and veggies!

For the grownups, we’ll have talks on raising good eaters and putting the joy into mealtime from noon till 3pm, and throughout you can purchase burgers and beverages, from juice to mimosas, from Cassette restaurant.

Get a ticket in advance—you’ll save time and money at the door—and while you’re there enter our online raffle for cooking classes and more.

And come early! The first 100 families get a bag of goodies from our vendors. Then show your ticket to Ample Hills down the block afterward, you’ll get a $1 off a cone.

Here are a few of the things we’re looking forward to tasting and trying at One More Bite. (more…)

08/31/16 12:37pm
Amy Leipziger's favorite fan of her homemade granola, All Granola. Photo: Amy Leipziger .

Amy Leipziger’s youngest fan of her homemade granola, All Granola. Photo: Amy Leipziger .

Amy Leipziger had been making granola for years, using a simple recipe she learned from her mom. Then in 2014 she became a mom herself, and started to tinker with the recipe, not because she was tired of the the way it tasted, but because she wanted to create a granola that would help boost her milk supply. (more…)

08/17/16 12:17pm
See the Rooftop Films screening of "Author: The JT LeRoy Story" in the courtyard of Industry City Thursday night. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

See the Rooftop Films screening of Author: The JT LeRoy Story in the courtyard of Industry City Thursday night. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

It feels different today, right? In the early morning hours, we’re talking before 7am, there was even a hint of fall in the air for a few moments. It might be a good day to live dangerously and eat your lunch in the park or even take a stroll, for fun, come afternoon.

Speaking of which, is anyone else’s local park looking a little rough around the edges these days? On my way to work yesterday I noticed at least four absolutely overflowing trash cans around McCarren Park. Impressively, park goers were trying to keep it in check and had semi-neatly piled excess trash next to the barrels, but it was pretty clear that no one had emptied them in some time. Then this morning when I took my son to Cooper Park it seemed like the grass hadn’t been cut in weeks and the number of cigarette butts, plastic bottles and assorted trash littered all over the place had really reached peak grossness. I know that summer must be a very busy season for the Parks Department, but we’re not talking about a big storm that brought down a ton of branches and debris. We’re talking regular maintenance. How about some teen summer gardening and landscaping jobs that also involve trash pick-up? And that concludes my New York City rant for the day.

In more adorable news, today through Aug. 21 you can adopt a black cat for free (or a black kitten for $50, usually $125) at the ASPCA’s Adoption Center on East 92nd Street. You’ll even get a free cat carrier in the deal. For those of you plan-aheaders out there, check out this adults-only camp-out at the Bronx Zoo coming up in on Oct. 14-15. Tickets are pretty steep at $350, but they include unlimited beer and wine, plus dinner, s’mores, breakfast, a tent rental and a souvenir mug. I suspect this is a childhood fantasy come true for at least a few of you. Tickets are also on sale for the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, which is coming up sooner than you think on Sept. 15-17. These shows always sell out so get your tickets now (and a few extra for your flakier friends), and then feel that smug sense of the well prepared come September. As for this week, whether you want your comedy right now, have always dreamed of entering a kimchi eating contest or just want to listen to smart people have an interesting, civil conversation, we have a whole week of fun planned out for you. Read on, friends.  (more…)

The Trump Hut outside of Realty Collective's Red Hook office last month. Photo: Sam Levinson

The Trump Hut outside of Realty Collective’s Red Hook office earlier this month. Photo: Sam Levinson

There are certain things you expect to see in the windows of real estate offices. Donald Trump’s hair is not one of them.

For the opening and closing of the group art exhibition, Gut Rehab, an installation of the Donald’s hair called the Trump Hut (which made an appearance at the Republican National Convention, along with Trump’s actual bouffant) was stationed on the sidewalk in front of the Red Hook office of Realty Collective, a boutique real estate agency owned by Victoria Hagman. (more…)

07/07/16 12:54pm

27209486If this were the one of the last summers you had with your kid before he left for college, it would be natural to begin reminiscing about your own not-quite-adult self, and reflect on how little time it took for your child to reach the same exact moment of uncertainty and promise. But let’s say you happened to be married to one of your college boyfriends, and living across the street from your best friend from college–the situation in which we find the we find the characters in Emma Straub’s new novel, Modern Lovers. The nostalgia would be inescapable, then. Your past, present and future would co-exist in every room, every glance, every moment.

Why these close-knit, well-drawn characters settled so close to each other, and did not drift apart, at least to different neighborhoods, like most of us do from the friends we met in our 20s, requires a tiny leap of believability, but it is an establishing shot that tells us that we will not be traveling very far with this coterie. Their relationships have barely strayed from their college years, and that, in large part, is the source of their mid-life crises. (more…)

06/03/16 10:38am
BEARDBOY1

From Beard Boy, illustrated by former Brooklynite and still-bearded Steven Weinberg, and written by local author John Flannery, a fellow beardo.

When illustrator Steven Weinberg was a contributor to Brooklyn Based, his bio identified him as “one on the many tall and bearded young men hailing from Brooklyn, NY.” Weinberg is still bearded, but he now hails from the Catskills, where he co-runs the Spruceton Inn, a “Bed and Bar” with his wife, and regularly illustrates children’s books. His most recent book draws upon his fondness for facial hair: Beard Boy, by John Flannery.

Just as Knuffle Bunny strikes a chord for Brooklynites who get to see their beloved brownstones, Prospect Park and Grand Army Plaza on page, Beard Boy delivers the same sweet sense of familiarity. “Ben wanted a beard,” it begins. “All the most boss people in his neighborhood had one.” Weinberg sets the initial scene with all the markers of Brooklyn: water towers, buses, pigeons, brownstones, a dude in a Nets cap, and of course the “bodaciously bewhiskered” men who little Ben wants to emulate.

He is something of an aficionado. The best baker in town has a “short boxed beard,” his friend Bobby’s dads rock “boisterous beards,” and he spots a “stacheburn”–something he’s never seen in person. Against his hot, tattooed mom’s wishes (I swear I spent time wondering whether she was the sitter), he interrogates anyone on the street sporting a beard about their upkeep–a Hasidic man, an Islander (the NHL kind), a police officer, a pizza delivery man. He’s obsessed, it turns out, because he wants to be just like his dad. No amount of consoling from his father stops him from attempting to grow one, and his alone time with a permanent marker doesn’t go over too well.

Even in a house where a five-o’clock shadow never appears, Weinberg’s very playful style of drawing and Flannery’s alliterative writing make this a fun read, particularly as Father’s Day nears. And for those who are in fact bodaciously bewhiskered, it will be an even bigger hit.