06/07/16 11:02am
Annie Novack cuts greens on her rooftop farm in Greenpoint. Photo: Naima Green

Annie Novak cuts greens on her rooftop farm in Greenpoint. Photo: Naima Green

If you were contemplating a garden for the summer and haven’t planted seed number one take heart, you can still grow plenty of veggies, herbs and flowers this summer. Yes, even tomatoes. We chatted with Annie Novak, co-founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and the author of The Rooftop Growing Guideabout how to get a garden started right now.

Can I still have tomatoes I grew myself this summer if I don’t have any in the ground right now? And, how do I successfully grow them in a container?

If you’re starting your season late, look for crops that mature within the time frame of your growing season. For example, many tomatoes will bear fruit within 55 – 90 days, depending on which variety you are growing. If the transplant doesn’t have a tag that says how long it takes to grow, you can look up the variety online and look for the phrase “days to harvest.” Then just do the backwards math of how many days you have left until the frost. In New York City, we typically get our first really cold weather around Halloween through Thanksgiving. A hybrid cherry tomato like Sungold will start bearing fruit within 55 days, and continue to bear fruit for a couple of weeks after. If you plant them as transplants on June first, you will have tomatoes as early as late July/early August, and they’ll fruit for about a month afterwards. (more…)

05/24/16 9:28am
Photo: Buzzfeed

Fanny packs are back, but they aren’t the same one The Rock rocked in the ’90s. They’re cooler. Trust us. Photo: Buzzfeed

Trends come and go, and then come back around. We may not have thought that the 90s dork capsule, the fanny pack, would be returning anytime soon. But it’s definitely here, utilitarian and without irony, and with a brand-spanking new name: The Belt Bag. Or the Bum Pack. Or the Festival Pack. Take your pick, we’re going to stick with fanny pack.

This shouldn’t take you too much by surprise, since other 90s styles like mom jeans and baby doll dresses hang in every store window. In true Devil Wears Prada fashion, you can trace the resurgence of the fanny pack back to the runways. Chanel showed the accessory in the spring/ summer 2014 show in Paris, while Alexander Wang premiered it in New York for fall 2014.

Ultimately, as mused upon in The New York Times recently, the fanny pack is not just fashion, but also puts the “funk” back into function; it allows a sense of freedom, allowing the wearer to unstrap from a tote or a backpack. It promotes the courage to leave home with minimal gear and the confidence that you have everything you need around your waist, leaving your shoulders free to do other things. Use your arms for hugging loved ones, holding a picket sign, doing the wave at a sporting event or dancing your heart out at a festival. Step out in the world and leave (most of) your baggage at home. (more…)

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05/06/16 12:25pm

Governors Island doesn’t open until May 28, but in the midst of a monsoon-like spring, we need something to look forward to. This 172-acre pocket of parkland will be unveiling some impressive new features this summer, along with its usual lineup of great events. If you always read about the fun things happening on Governors Island, but never actually end up making it there (or haven’t since Governors Ball was actually on Governors Island all those years ago), this is the year to remedy the situation. As usual, there will be ferries from Brooklyn Bridge Park and along the Brooklyn waterfront via the East River Ferry. And if you fund this Kickstarter, you could actually walk there one day–it’s only 1400 feet away.

Here’s what you can expect on NYC’s fun island this summer:

#1 Governors Island is getting enviable vistas

The view from Outlook Hill as of April 2016. Photo: The Trust For Governors Island

The view from Outlook Hill as of April 2016. Photo: The Trust For Governors Island

Unlike San Francisco, New York City is delightfully flat, which is why you’re able to see for miles on a clear day. But one of the great and let’s be honest, extremely Instagrammable features coming to Governors Island this summer will be the Hills, a series of man-made ridges and slopes that have been under construction since 2013. Each of the new, little mounds are designed around a theme and include Slide Hill, where kids and adults alike are invited to ride from top to bottom on a three story tall, 48.5 feet long slide–NYC’s longest; Outlook Hill, which at 70 feet will boast a gorgeous view of the city and the Statue of Liberty; Grassy Hill, a picnic perfect spot overlooking a baseball diamond; and Discovery Hill, a wooded hill that will feature Cabin, a sculpture by famed English artist Rachel Whiteread at the top. While there’s no opening date as of yet, locals are invited to explore the new area during free hardhat tours until the Hills officially open later this summer. (Curbed got a sneak peek.) (more…)

04/26/16 12:05pm

After using a Seedsheet last summer, we marveled at how easy it made growing plants from seed. Each Seedsheet–there are nearly 20 to choose from–includes a variety of organic nonGMO seeds and soil contained in water-soluble pods, perfectly spaced apart on a fabric that prevents any weeds from sprouting beside your tomatoes, sunflowers or basil. You just roll it over soil like a blanket, water it and wait for your perfect weedless plot of vegetables, herbs or flowers that you “planted” in 30 seconds. It’s like the Chia Pet of gardens.

There is a Seedsheet designed for every type of green thumb–foodiestea or smoothie enthusiasts, or all of the above–and every size space. It can fit in a windowsill, on a patio or a rooftop and it comes neatly folded in waterproof packaging. So while everyone else is sending their mother flowers for Mother’s Day, surprise her with a garden.

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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03/22/16 9:32am

Have you had that dream? You know, the one where you discover another entire room you had never noticed before in your apartment? It’s a weird, but true, NYC rite of passage, even for those of us who are lucky enough to love our apartments. Sadly, those are just dreams, but it is possible to eke out a little more functionality from your apartment with space-saving furniture. These five pieces (we also found some drool worthy options last year at NYCxDesign Week, if you want more options) will give you extra square footage to stretch out in, with style. They might be pricey, but think of them as investments in the New York dream.


Photo: Restoration Hardware

This home office can fold away when company comes. Photo: Restoration Hardware

Foldaway office Open offices are all the rage nowadays, but at home it’s much nicer to have a separate space so that work doesn’t intrude on the rest of your life. If you don’t have the space for an office, let me introduce the Mayfair Steamer Trunk Secretary by Restoration Hardware ($3995). This oversized trunk, crafted by Timothy Oulton, an antiques dealer and furniture maker in London, is beautifully configured with shelving and a fold-down desk. Working on something top secret? No one will ever suspect what’s in there when it’s all locked up. Otherwise, just closing down for the day will give you a true feeling of being able to leave the office. Out of sight, out of mind. Now let the happy hour begin!


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03/08/16 10:00am

I’m not saying you’ll need these things, but I’m not saying you won’t.

You don’t have to be a total paranoid survivalist to see the upside of preparation. Your Everyday Carry–it’s enough of a thing that The New York Times is on it, and take a look at #EDC on Instagram if you want to see a wild variety of pocket contents–is just what it sounds like, the gear you carry from day to day to be ready for whatever the world throws at you. It’s not about being a hero (or even a dude), it’s about being a person who is well equipped. For most New Yorkers who haven’t given survival knives, water purification or tactical skills much thought, standard #EDC includes sunglasses, wallet, keys, Metrocard and phone. If you’ve got room, here are 10 more ideas that will up your preparedness for nearly every kind of situation. I’m not saying you’ll need these things, but I’m not saying you won’t.



1. Deluxe Carabiner, $25 The locking carabiner has historically been used for mountain climbing, but can also be imperative for caving, sailing, hot air ballooning, and other rope intensive situations in which you might find yourself. This one is complete with a 3” pocket knife, saw and LED flashlight. There’s not much you won’t be able to do with this thing, and at this price, it’s worth the investment.

Available at LAB Brooklyn, 144 Driggs Ave., Greenpoint (more…)

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If you were planning on waiting till the last minute to get your Valentine a sweet token of your love, you’re in luck, because Jimena Rose Jewelry will be bringing beautifully handcrafted jewelry to Owl & Thistle in Crown Heights for a Valentine’s Trunk Sale this Saturday, Feb. 13, from noon to 6 pm. Owl & Thistle will also have special store hours on Valentine’s Day itself, Sunday, Feb. 14, from 10am-6 pm, to make sure everyone gets a little love! Here are a few gift ideas: (more…)

02/09/16 11:51am

fine and raw

At its worst, Valentine’s Day is a sheerly commercial holiday designed to mine your insecurities so that you’ll buy overpriced prix fixe dinners and mediocre Champagne. At its best though, it’s an excuse to eat more chocolate, in bar, truffle and baked good forms, than usual. Here are three Brooklyn-made sweets that also happen to be vegan and gluten-free, though you wouldn’t guess that by tasting them. Yes, that’s a compliment. (more…)

01/26/16 12:55pm


Its not always like this. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Its not always like this. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

So, how many icy lagoons did you step in, on your way into work this morning? It might seem like a strange day to talk cycling in New York City, what with the record-setting snow mounds still looming on every corner, but really, at its core, the blizzard we just experienced is a story about transportation and our frequent lack of control over how and when we get from place to place. Right now is not a great time to ride a bike, what with the rivers of slush everywhere, but for most of the year cycling gives you more control over your commute, and the way you navigate the city, than any other form of transportation, save walking in your own neighborhood.

Even before the snow, transportation woes were very much in the news, considering the possibility that the L train may close for up to 18 months for repairs (this article has an in-depth analysis of what that would mean for affected neighborhoods), and the announcement that the MTA will renovate 30 stations, eight in Brooklyn, over the next few years, which will shut those stations down during repairs. There are more bike lanes than ever in New York City, so it’s a great time to start thinking about how to get yourself off that crowded train and onto a bike.

Cycling in the city can feel intimidating though, so we spoke to Rich Conroy, director of education at Bike New York, about how to ease into riding a bike safely. (more…)