11/14/16 10:07am
Green eggs and ham risotto is one of The Good Fork's signature, playful dishes. Photo: ABRAMS

Green eggs and ham risotto is one of The Good Fork’s signature, playful dishes. Photo: ABRAMS

Sometimes, a restaurant and its location are so intertwined that one seemingly can’t exist without the other. This is the case with The Good Fork in Red Hook.

When The Good Fork opened 10 years ago getting to Red Hook was a serious undertaking. The area was a world away from the rest of Brooklyn; cut off by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and the Hugh Carey Tunnel, then known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Buses were infrequent, and there was no Uber, or even an IKEA shuttle or water taxi.

But the neighborhood’s unique, remote feeling appealed to some people, among them Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider, a married couple who moved to Coffey Street in the early 2000s. They opened The Good Fork because they wanted to work together (she was a chef and he was an actor and woodworker) and they wanted to entertain more people than they could in their backyard. He built the restaurant in a rowhouse on Van Brunt Street; she created the seasonally-driven, New American and Asian-influenced menu.

Within a month of opening, they had a rave review in The New York Times. The location, surely, was part of the charm.

In Peter Meehan’s review, talk of Red Hook preceded talk of the food: “What Red Hook needed was a place with an accessible menu that neighborhood folks could rely on and bridge and tunnel folks (that’s you, Manhattanites) could use as an anchor for a night out in the neighborhood. What Red Hook needed, it turns out, was the Good Fork.” (more…)

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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…)

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.

(more…)

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03/10/16 10:04am
Brooklyn Raga Massive performs every Wednesday night at Pioneer Works through April.Photo: Andrew Mendelson

Brooklyn Raga Massive performs every Wednesday night at Pioneer Works through April. Photo: Andrew Mendelson

Forget the shoe gazers and folkies. The burgeoning hip hop artists and the sincerely bearded. Even the singer songwriters. Okay, don’t forget those Brooklyn music scene staples, but set them all aside for a moment to consider the possibility that the most exciting music in Brooklyn is happening Wednesday nights in Red Hook through the end of April. And you’re invited.

Brooklyn Raga Massive is in the midst of a three-month residency at Pioneer Works, and every Wednesday night they start with a different set of themes or performers and end with an exuberant, all-comers jam session that may or may not end in a huge dance party.

BRM has become known for their high energy jam sessions, fusing traditional melodies with elements of jazz, rock, western classical and any other genre they can get their hands on. While they’ve been performing around New York City since 2012 this residency in Red Hook has allowed the group the space to add even more elements of dance and movement.

Raga means “that which colors the mind,” says Neel Murgai, BRM sitar player. The simplest way to translate the term, as it’s used in Indian classical music, is to call it a scale, but that really falls short. The music is built on a rage consisting of five to nine musical notes that are used as the basis of a melody, and played with sitars, tabla, and other instruments, and designed to evoke particular moods and feelings. Some musicians only use certain ragas at particular times of the year, and there are melodic parameters that musicians are expected to follow, but “artists are able to improvise and show a lot of personal input,” says Murgai. (more…)

11/14/14 8:54am
This storage bench, upholstered with reclaimed coffee sacks, is one of Recycled Brooklyn's signature designs. Photo: Levi Sharpe

This storage bench, upholstered with reclaimed coffee sacks, is one of Recycled Brooklyn’s signature designs. Photo: Levi Sharpe

When you start a woodshop in your kitchen, you have to make some sacrifices, starting with dinner.

“We were making dinner and building tables at the same time,” said Matt Loftice, 44, a thick-bearded former screenwriter. “It was a lot of dust, man—dusty pasta.”

Brothers Matt and Steven Loftice share a love for breathing new life into recycled materials by transforming them into furniture. After building pieces on nights and weekends for several years as a hobby, Matt gave the business a name, Recycled Brooklyn, and launched an Etsy shop in 2010. Steven, disenchanted with his career in advertising, quit his job and hopped on board full time, two months later.

Though their price point is slightly higher than entry-level Ikea–items start at around $180–it’s not far off mass market staples like West Elm and Pottery Barn, and their pieces are handcrafted. “I could never afford custom furniture, and most people can’t,” said Steven, 42. “That’s why at 10 o’clock in the morning the line at Ikea is half a mile long.” (more…)

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