09/06/16 11:24am

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Welcome back from the long weekend! Now let’s get right into it, Brooklyn.

If there’s one theme that has emerged in this long, strange trip of an election cycle, it’s that Americans, New Yorkers included, are ready for political change. If you are dedicated to change then you have to vote–not just every four years in November, but in election cycles big and small. It just so happens that the New York State and Local Primary is next week on Sept. 13 and you should vote in it.

Why? Here’s a quick and dirty explanation. New York City leans heavily Democratic in most races, state, local and national. If you are a new candidate challenging an incumbent of the same party, as is usually the case, that means that your state and local contest is in September. Come November, the Democrats who win next week (again, most state and local offices in NYC are held by Democrats) will be largely unchallenged on the ballot, either running unopposed or against Republicans with minimal backing, funding or actual intention of serving. When very few people vote in September, and the people who do vote are dedicated to the status quo, it makes changing up our representation in Albany very difficult–and leads to the incredibly long terms in state office that we see so often in New York City.

What does that matter? Well, did you know that New York state had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country during the national primary? Did you read that only 9% of the entire U.S. voted for Clinton or Trump? Do you find it disappointing that pretty much every major candidate in this election cycle is close to 70 years old? There can be no new energy in politics, no new ideas, if voters don’t vote, starting with state and local elections.

Here are two Brooklyn candidates who will be on the ballot for State Senate next week, each running against other Democrats who have been in office for more than a decade. (You can view all the seats up for election here.) We’re not endorsing these candidates–we’re not here to tell you how to vote. We’re making the point that if you actually care about the system as whole, every race matters and there’s more opportunity to get involved in our political system than you might think. It’s also a chance to make sure that you are registered to vote on Nov. 8–the deadline to register for the general election in New York State is Oct. 14.  (more…)

06/01/15 9:00am

It’s hard to say that any single location in Brooklyn is still an “unsuspecting” place to find a trendy New American restaurant. But 506 Franklin Avenue in Bed-Stuy–a former tax prep storefront wedged under the elevated entrance to the Shuttle train–comes pretty darn close. An oddly angular room with soaring ceilings topping awkward little nooks and crannies, it does not seem like the likeliest place for chef John Poiarkoff and owner Carver Farrell of The Pines in Gowanus to open their second neighborhood restaurant, Willow, which debuted about eight weeks ago.

It is however, the best restaurant I’ve been to in Brooklyn this year.

Willow is the kind of place you’re going to try not to like if you’re a hipster-hating, foodie-bashing variety of Brooklynite. The menu starts with “pickled things” and “four bites”–a daily-changing selection of four bite-sized morsels served on a thick wooden slab, for $10 a person. I was highly skeptical of spending four pizza slices worth of moolah on what is essentially four amuse bouches, but any doubt washed away with each tiny bite I dropped into my mouth. From simple Meyer lemon cream-topped stalks of asparagus to a velvety fish mousse on a sunchoke crisp, each of these four bites burst with unique flavors–salty, spicy and lots of citrus in all of them–setting the tone for a very exciting menu.

Uni with fluke, green strawberries and tapioca crisp.

Uni with fluke, green strawberries and tapioca crisp. (Photos: Willow)

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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…)