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…)

03/13/16 8:41pm
Yes, you can get a Guinness at Hartley's. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Yes, you can get a Guinness at Hartley’s. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Americanized Irish pubs in New York all have the same basic blueprint: giant spaces with loud TVs, greasy fish ‘n’ chips, and an array of faux-vintage “Lovely Day for a Guinness” signs hung on dusty exposed brick walls. When Mike O’Sullivan and Jim Dunn, who worked together at Sláinte in downtown Manhattan for several years, along with Dan Grace, a rugby teammate of O’Sullivan’s from back home in Ireland, opted to open their own pub in Brooklyn, they set out to do something decidedly different. (more…)

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05/15/15 9:00am
Mauricio Lorence has lived in Clinton Hill more than half his life. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Mauricio Lorence has lived in Clinton Hill more than half his life. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Though we’re fans (and publishers) of neighborhood guides and lists of where to eat right now, we also recognize that they tend to follow trends and overlook neighborhood gems. To that end, we’ve started a new series called Neighborhood Expert in which we chat with a longtime local for the scoop on their favorite spots and their take on how the area has changed.

Name: Mauricio Lorence

Neighborhood: Clinton Hill

How long have you been in Clinton Hill?
It is going to be 41 years—it has been a long time. When my family first immigrated to New York from Panama, we lived in Bed-Stuy for two years. And I spent about 20 years in Park Slope. But I moved to Clinton Hill when I was about 29–30 years old. My mother, brother, sister-in-law—we bought a brownstone.

For how much?
Oh, about $40,000. You could have gotten two houses for $20,000 at that time depending on the block; people were giving them away. Now people come by the house or call us up, ask if we are selling. I tell them, if you want it give me $90 million. But the thing is, black and Hispanics in the neighborhood have been encouraged to say no. Otherwise we would all be getting pushed out of the neighborhood. But of course, when we first moved in, it was different times. I remember Myrtle Avenue when no one wanted to walk on it.

Do you think people feel safer now?
They do. The thing is, they feel safer because of the renovations, the changes that have taken place, the fact that there is security around. But the neighborhood declined because people had moved to the suburbs to live. There wasn’t a variety of restaurants and things like that, that you have now around Clinton Hill and Fort Greene.

It has always been a family place though, very family oriented. Before I moved here, I used to come because I had a friend here. We used to go party, it was the 1960s, we would cross over the park and party. There was a church, St. Edwards, and they had dances, and we used to go dancing. I used to walk a lot on Fulton Street, check everything out. I had a job as a proof reader at one point, and we had the late shift which ended at 2am, and when people were leaving, everyone was trying to get taxis back home because there was nothing going on in Clinton Hill and no way to get home.

What about the subway system?
The train stop was there, but it would close. When John Lindsay was mayor the subway stations remained open. But after that they started closing them earlier, and the Clinton/Washington stop would close at about 10–11pm. Everyone knew it was about the neighborhood around the stations. It wasn’t a trendy place so the MTA would do it, close the gates. But once the area started coming back up the subway exits would be open. I remember when the G was not a good train, coming from Queens, that was a bad train.

Do you ever see tension between the old residents and the new? (more…)