06/06/16 9:29am
Photos: Two Yutes

Photos: Two Yutes

When Michael Bruno opened Michael & Ping’s Modern Chinese Take-Out in Gowanus six years ago, the restaurant may have seemed a bit random. Bruno, who grew up in an Italian-American family in Bensonhurst, didn’t actually know that much about cooking Chinese food (and there’s no actual Ping, the second name’s just for effect), but he’d eaten loads of takeout growing up in New York, and saw an opening for an eatery focused on American-style Chinese classics like Kung Pao chicken and beef and broccoli, but made with high-quality local ingredients. Industrial Third Avenue was nowhere near the foodie destination it is today, but it was the perfect location for a delivery-focused spot, given the proximity to Park Slope, Cobble Hill and other booming neighborhoods.

Fast forward six years later: Michael & Ping’s is thriving, while the neighborhood long mocked as a fetid Superfund site is filled with shiny condos, farm-to-table restaurants, and lots of new businesses. For his second enterprise, housed within Michael & Ping’s, Bruno opted for something a little closer to home. 2 Yutes, billed as “a Brooklyn panini pop-up” is “a little more in my wheelhouse,” says Bruno. “It’s all what I grew up eating in Bensonhurst–at places like John’s Deli and Lioni’s. There’s no great sandwich shop in this neighborhood, so I decided to give it a try.” (more…)

05/10/16 11:43am
Seeing Brooklyn by boat offers a whole new perspective on the borough Photo: Circle Line

Seeing Brooklyn by boat offers a whole new perspective on the borough Photo: Circle Line

You probably think of the Circle Line, the floating equivalent of double-decker tour buses, as the sole domain of tourists or newbies. Not anymore. The sightseeing cruise line recently launched a Hello Brooklyn cruise, which is a surprisingly relaxing and information-packed river ride that shows you a side of our borough you likely haven’t seen before.

The two-hour cruise boards every afternoon at 2pm from Pier 83, on the West Side, motoring down the Hudson to the East River and returning at 4:30pm. While Brooklyn is the intended highlight, there’s plenty to see on the other side of Manhattan, including Lady Liberty, where the cruise pauses long enough to get a good photo. The two-decker boat then bends on its way to the East River, hugging the waterfront along South Brooklyn neighborhoods you usually only view from land: Gowanus, Red Hook, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.

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03/29/16 11:14am
Climbers prepare to scale a surface at Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus. Photo: Kathleen Wong

Climbers prepare to scale a surface at Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus. Photo: Kathleen Wong

Heading to the gym and hopping on a treadmill or the elliptical machine for your workout is so early aughts. These days a fitness routine also doubles as a hobby, a community and, in some cases, a belief system. Rock climbing gyms are joining yoga studios and Crossfit boxes in the destination fitness niche in Brooklyn, and whether it’s because of the ready availability of large spaces and former warehouses, or the built-in clientele, like craft cocktails and high-end pet supplies, they’re popping up in some of New York’s most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.

Later this spring MetroRock, a rock climbing gym with three locations in New England, will unveil a hand- and foothold studded climbing wall on Starr Street in Bushwick. The facility will feature 50-foot walls, bouldering, lots of natural light and “an airy, open feel,” said Pat Enright, MetroRock owner, over email. There’ll be a fitness and yoga studio and retail store, too. “We think our location is in an area that has a huge potential,” Enright says. (more…)

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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…)

03/03/15 9:45am
Church service at St. Lydia's takes place over a communal dinner served Sunday and Monday nights. Photo: St. Lydia's

Church service at St. Lydia’s takes place over a communal dinner served Sunday and Monday nights. Photo: St. Lydia’s

If I’m being really honest, I’m not a person who has spent significant time wondering whether I need more organized religion in my life. It factored pretty minimally into my upbringing and, although my Bible ignorance was an issue when I had to study Milton in college, I never felt like I was missing much. Obviously, I can respect religion to the extent that it provides comfort and ethical guidance—not justification for close-mindedness, judgment and the Fox News politics I happen to abhor—but I’ll confess that I might sometimes be a little cynical about how that often shakes out based on my limited exposure to religion as an adult. At any rate, I was thinking a lot about my beef with organized religion on a recent arctic Monday night, as I trudged over the Gowanus to attend Dinner Church at St. Lydia’s, a nontraditional church/co-working space that recently set up shop on Bond Street.

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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…)