12/07/16 2:38pm
Emma Straub was one of the first Brooklyn residents we including in our "Five Questions, One Drawing" series a few years ago. Illustration: Steven Weinberg

Emma Straub was one of the first Brooklyn residents we including in our “Five Questions, One Drawing” series a few years ago. Illustration: Steven Weinberg

Well Brooklyn, what are your plans for the week? Oh right, I guess that’s actually our job, to help you figure out the best way to spend the next seven days. This time of year is always tough–it’s dark when you get out of work, the holidays require a good amount of organization, energy and cash, and it just seems so appealing to cozy up to a book and forget the outside world exists.

Maybe I’m just feeling that way because of the news that Brooklyn author Emma Straub is planning on opening a bookstore somewhere in the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Heights area, to keep independent book selling alive in the wake of BookCourt’s closing at the end of the year. Straub herself, not to mention her juicy novels, is a delight and I can’t wait to do next year’s holiday shopping at her sure-to-be bright and cheerful store. Somewhat related, The New York Times asked writers around the world to name their favorite bookstores and the list is like a nerd’s dream vacation planner.

Not that you asked, but the two books that have been keeping me on the couch lately are Zadie Smith’s wonderful new novel Swing Time and Eight Flavors, The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman, filled with the fascinating history of ingredients that you wouldn’t expect to make the cut. (Curry powder? What?) Like every other white, liberal American, I also have Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance on hold at the library, but that’s a whole other story.

Truly though, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the week ahead that are not in your apartment and we’ve compiled our top picks here. Get out there and have some fun.  (more…)

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11/30/16 5:49pm

 

short-stack

Welcome back from what I hope was a relaxing long weekend! If the amount that I’ve heard that weird version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside (which Shazam tells me features Seth McFarlane, for some reason?) while going about my daily routine is any indication, the holiday season is upon us. And while that means lots of running around and stressing about what to buy people and eating and drinking too much, ’tis also the season to remember those around us for whom the holidays are not the whirlwind of cocktail parties and high-stakes cookie exchanges that the TV commercials would have you believe. Especially given the heightened anxiety and vulnerability caused by the recent ascension of our orange overlord, it’s a good time to donate time or money or coats to help people who need it, and to reach out to that friend who had a particularly tough 2016 and ask them if they want to go for a walk or get a drink. It’s a nice way to show you care, obviously, but I bet it will make you feel more connected, grounded, and focused on what’s really important too.

This week, we’ve found a ton of fun ways for you to spend your spare time—whether you want to watch a movie, hear jokes, cook, eat, create, give back, ride, or shop. Read on and take note of the things that strike your fancy, and make sure you make the most of another Ideal Week. (more…)

11/16/16 12:08pm

the-tree-of-life

Well, it’s been a week, huh? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m fried, emotionally and physically. I think I’ve put on five pounds and slept no more than five consecutive hours since last Tuesday, and my stress levels are through the roof. There’s a lot we can do to try to mitigate the effects of the president-elect’s already disastrous policy and personnel choices (look for tips on that in coming weeks), but the realization that we are stuck with him for now is setting in. So, time to think about what’s important, and what we are willing to do to ensure that our friends, neighbors, and family members are safe kept safe in this time of especially hateful invective and incredibly short fuses. Thanksgiving feels extraordinarily well-timed this year, and hopefully we’ll all get a chance to strengthen our reserves and really reflect on how to best proceed in this new world. 

It may feel bleak, but we’ve still got art, literature, music, crystal clear crisp fall days like today, people willing to be brave and stand up for strangers, and a fast-approaching Thanksgiving feast to keep us going. One thing I’ve learned over the course of the past year, which has sucked for me generally as an American but also for specific, personal reasons, is that in times of sustained, ongoing crisis you are absolutely no good to anyone if you don’t take time to take care of yourself. So please, by all means, do keep your eyes on the prize–we’ve got a long, hard fight ahead of us–but, in the meantime, give yourself the opportunity to enjoy all that is good out there. Here are some of our favorite ways to do that in Brooklyn over the next seven days. 

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11/09/16 3:12pm
Voters cast their shadows, votes, on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Voters cast their shadows, and votes, on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Greetings from the other side of the tipping point. I’ve been trying to avoid social media and TV today, but I must say that the little I have seen has impressed me. There are a lot of people out there writing and tweeting about how, now more than ever, we need to feel hopeful, to remain committed to fighting for our country, and to take comfort in the fact that people are basically decent and there are many Americans who are not full of hate and anger.

I am in awe of the people who have the strength and optimism to feel those things right now. I am also just not there yet myself. I wish I could relay a positive message but all I can think about is that we just handed everything over to an unrepentantly ill-informed narcissist who embodies the belief that a majority of this country’s population (myself included) is inherently “less than.” It’s grim. It’s unthinkable. It’s still very raw.

I know that in coming days and weeks we’ll all find it somewhere in us to be energized to fight the good fight again. The numbness and helplessness will give way to tenacity and we will come back stronger and more determined and most of all wiser because of this setback. Time and time again it’s been proven that humanity’s limitless resilience is among our most profound and remarkable strengths. But there’s also no shame in needing to take time to recover and recharge. 

So I’m giving myself a break today, and maybe tomorrow, and however long it takes. What I do know is that it isn’t over. We are stronger than bigotry and stupidity. Somehow, it will eventually be okay. But for now, I’m exiting the echo chamber and focusing on things that don’t make me feel alienated and apoplectic, which include getting out and about in the beautiful, diverse, and forward-thinking borough that we are lucky to call home. It might not be an Ideal Week, but the show must go on, and it might be a little easier to get through if you get yourself back in the game out to one of the many great events going on this week.  (more…)

11/02/16 1:28pm
Get ready to wade through tiny paper cups--the New York City Marathon is this weekend. Photo: NYC Marathon

Get ready to wade through tiny paper cups–the New York City Marathon is this weekend. Photo: NYC Marathon

I must say that it’s weird to sit down and write a roundup of the events of the coming week when the only thing on most people’s mind is the feeling that fate of the human race will be decided in a mere seven days. But the time is finally here, everyone, and so I will start this week’s edition of Your Ideal Week by telling you what you already know: There is nothing more important you can do this week than cast your ballot on Tuesday (if you haven’t already).

That said, I’m willing to wager some of you might be looking for some stress relief until then, and as luck would have it there are a bunch of fun things happening in and around Brooklyn to help you pass the time.  This weekend brings the Marathon, the New York Comedy Festival, and the Brooklyn Electronic Music FestivalIn addition, Creative Time has installed another awesome-sounding public art project, Doomocracy, at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and it’s running through Nov. 6. An interactive haunted house based on our current political situation, artist Pedro Reyes’ work is causing a stir and has already sold out, but if you register here you can get on a list to be notified when additional tickets are released.

But we’re just getting started, so be sure to peruse our day-by-day tips on how to squeeze the most out of the next seven days and make an Ideal Week of it. See you next Wednesday, when, with any luck, we won’t have handed over the reins to a tasteless, dim-witted misanthrope who has spent the better part of the last two years deliberately stoking the flames of racism, sexism, selfishness, and disregard for the truth in his quest to emblazon yet another piece of property with his undeserving, ignominious name. Please let it be a great defeat. A tremendous defeat. A big league defeat. The best defeat. [And then let us all in the media make a pact to never, ever mention his name again, unless it’s “that guy who lost the election that time.” –Eds.] Happy Ideal Week!  (more…)

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10/26/16 1:30pm
A pug dressed as the Cowardly Lion--what could be more fitting for the season? Photo: Fort Greene PUPS

A pug dressed as the Cowardly Lion–what could be more fitting for the season? Photo: Fort Greene PUPS

Greetings and welcome to a very spooooky Ideal Week as we all scramble to stock up on fun-sized Snickers bars and think of costumes ideas that aren’t “sexy Ken Bone.” Halloween falls on a Monday this year, which means that the party is starting on Thursday and is probably going to push us all to the outer limits of our tolerance for sleep deprivation/sugar and alcohol consumption. That’s precisely why now is the perfect time to make a comparatively chill plan and get it on the books. You could take in a movie at the Brooklyn outpost of The Alamo Drafthouse, which finally opens this week (we’ve got tickets to give away), or make a date with your Netflix account and the new season of Black Mirror, or one of these million other shows everyone is talking about like Westworld or Luke Cage. A couple of friends from work and I have a night set aside for a meditation class at this place ($10 for your first class) and dinner at Veselka (my friends are both West Coast transplants who have never been–wtf?!). Or if you want to just laugh like you’ve never laughed before, I highly recommend snagging a ticket to Oh Hello!, the Nick Kroll/John Mulaney play now in a limited run on Broadway.

All the Halloween hoopla of course means that Christmas is waiting in the wings, and if your holiday routine involves watching the Bill Murray classic Scrooged more than a few times, you’ll be glad to know that Nitehawk is arranging to screen it along with one of its famous themed dinners on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Tickets to these feasts sell out fast, so pick one up now.

As for this week, read on for our roundup of excellent activities, Halloween-related and otherwise, going on around here. Just remember, you earned that candy! Your parents have no right to take it from you and ration it out day by day. I mean if they really want to keep the Almond Joys and the Raisinets, fine, but you should get to enjoy the rest of it. You’re gonna need all the chocolate-induced serotonin you can get as we head into a truly terrifying Election Week. (more…)

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10/19/16 2:54pm
The Adirondacks are so beautiful this time of year it almost seems fake. Photo: Kate Hooker

The Adirondacks are so beautiful this time of year it almost seems fake. Photo: Kate Hooker

Wowie, would you get a load of this weather?! I don’t know whether to be happy or slightly alarmed that it’s late October and I had to run my AC for the past two nights, but I gotta admit that the sun feels good on my face this afternoon so I’m going with it! It’s sort of hard to fathom that I had to buy wool gloves when I was up in the Adirondacks this past weekend for The Billycan, a fun and activity-filled retreat at the beautiful Morningside Camps (see my borderline fake-looking Instagram pic above). If you can swing it, I highly recommend a trip out of the city while we’re in this sweet spot of comfortable temperatures and explosive fall foliage because it was a much-needed reset for me. For example, this weekend is a great time to explore Storm King before it closes up for the winter, or you can head out to the North Fork for this weekend’s Communion Fall Weekender music fest by the beach.

If a lack of wheels makes an apple-picking or pumpkin patch foray more trouble than it’s worth, don’t sweat it. There’s plenty happening here over the next seven days to put together an Ideal Week with nothing more than a Metrocard. For starters, I’m going to plug our very own Brooklyn Based family food fair, One More Bite, which is going down on Sunday from 11-3pm at the Green Building. But there are loads more ideas to keep you busy between now and next week, assuming we can all get through the third and final presidential debate tonight without being driven to madness. Enjoy summer, the remix, while it lasts and best wishes for a terrific week!  (more…)

10/12/16 11:21am
The fifth annual Beer for Beasts fundraiser is at The Bell House this weekend. Photo: Beer for Beasts

The fifth annual Beer for Beasts fundraiser is at The Bell House this weekend. Photo: Beer for Beasts

This is the week that introduced us to Ken Bone, the bespectacled, mustachioed hero who injected some humanity and levity into the otherwise thoroughly depressing second presidential debate. The tweets about him alone have been, for lack of a better word, art. If Bonemania has left you curious about other civilians who have tried to add some cultural context and even beauty to the nightmare that is Trump’s ultimate reality show, you might want to check out Two Face, a solo exhibition by Mark Abramson on view at DUMBO’s United Photo Industries Gallery through Oct. 29 that explores the complicated emotional landscape surrounding the 2016 presidential race. 

The 5th annual Beers for Beasts, which is a can’t lose situation involving one-of-a-kind craft beer collaborations from Sixpoint and special guests, food from Calexico, Pizza Moto, and Dub Pies, and fundraising for adorable puppies and kittens who need homes, is back at the Bell House on Saturday. Tickets are $70 but include food and drinks and excellent karma, as 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Humane Society. And our friends at LoftOpera have started selling tickets for their December run of Verdi’s MacBeth, which will be performed in the MAST Chocolate Factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (yes, there will be chocolate to eat), so you might as well get that on the books now in case it sells out. 

Otherwise, there is an abundance of activities to choose from during this pleasant mid-October stretch in Brooklyn, so read on and start making plans for your Ideal Week. (more…)

10/05/16 12:20pm
Photo: Green-Wood Cemetery

Photo: Green-Wood Cemetery

October is here with all of its trappings, and hopefully in between all the apple picking, leaf peeping, pie tasting, pumpkin carving, and costume making, you’ve got time for some of the fun stuff happening around town this week. ComicCon is back at the Javits Center from Thursday through Sunday, if that’s your thing, or you can watch the world’s most skilled (and daring) urban cyclers vie for the North American Cycle Courier Championship crown this week, too. Finally, DUMBO’s Archway is hosting a three-day, beer-soaked Oktoberfest extravaganza featuring brats, music, arts and crafts, costumes, and a temporary outdoor German beer hall.

But that’s just the beginning of what’s in store for this Ideal Week, folks–read on for tips on where to eat, drink, and be merry in our fabulous borough over the next seven days.
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09/21/16 11:38am
Join us on Saturday for the last Immersion of the season, in Bed-Stuy.

Join us on Saturday for the last Immersion of the season, in Bed-Stuy.

Friday, September 23
WILLIAMSBURG LoftOpera presents Cosi fan Tutte 7pm, tickets $30↠

Saturday, September 24 BED-STUY The Total Bed-Stuy Immersion, noon, tickets $15-$25↠ • WILLIAMSBURG The Grat Big Bacon Picnic, events all day, tickets start at $79↠

Sunday, September 25 WILLIAMSBURG The Great Big Bacon Picnic, events all day, tickets start at $79↠

Monday, September 26 GOWANUS debate party at The Bell House, 8pm, free ↠ • BUSHWICK debate party at Pine Box Rock Shop, 8pm, free ↠

Tuesday, September 27 COBBLE HILL The BackFatlorette, 8pm, free↠

Wednesday, September 28 PROSPECT HEIGHTS From Field to Table: A celebration of local grains, 7pm, tickets $125↠

The end of summer always feels a little bit like an alarm clock rudely interrupting a listless, kinda sweaty dream. HEY, YOU, time to go back to school, time to buckle down for the end of Q3, time to find your missing socks and buy some absurdly priced “it” boots because those flip-flop days are waning, time to remember deadlines because your editor/boss/client is back from the Hamptons for real now, time to do that cleanse you’ve been saying you’ll start, time to weigh in on the fall TV lineup! Do you think that Halloween costume is going to make itself? Oh and, by the way, what are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Ahhhhh! What happened? It feels like five minutes ago you were barefoot in the park with nothing going on all weekend and a crappy beach read in hand and now there’s so much to plan and organize and obsess about that your subway commute feels like a fugue state. Add to this the anxiety produced after an act of terror earlier this week, the increasingly disturbing level of violence in routine traffic stops, and the fear that we might NOT be able to escape disaster come November, and it’s enough stress to make you want to cash in your chips and check out.

Here’s where it’s important to keep in mind all the fun that fall in NYC promises. Take this weekend alone: We’ve got the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair, the Great Big Bacon Picnic, the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, the Red Hook Regatta, the Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival, the 42nd annual Atlantic Antic, and our very own Brooklyn Based Bed-Stuy Immersion going on, and that’s just an overview of Saturday and Sunday’s events. Read on for other ways to fill up your Ideal Week planner, because we all need a break from the grind right now. (more…)

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