Best of Brooklyn, 2009

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We don’t pretend to know how your year went, but whoa nelly, 2009 was kind of a doozy around these parts. It was a year to grow on, for sure. Momentous changes, interesting developments and unexpected success stories abounded throughout Brooklyn and here are nine of our favorites from 2009. Share your top moments of the year in the comments.

Best Lesson in Love: When we threw the first Meatup in October with FIPS and Brokelyn, we secretly worried that no guy would enter the “Male Wet T-Shirt Contest” we planned that night. But lo and behold, so many men lined up we had to turn some away! The lesson? Offer drunk guys the chance to show off their chests and they’ll gladly strip down to their boxers. (Stay tuned for our Valentine’s Meatup, where we’ll be asking men to give lap dances.)

Best Pick-Me-Ups for Penny Pinchers: Brokelyn and The Skint both have impeccable timing–they turned the potentially depressing topic of your bank account into a source for inspired stories and cheap fun.

Biggest One-Block Sea Change: Red Hook is a long haul for 99% of us, but this year the trek became even more worthwhile with the openings of seven new shops and restaurants along Van Brunt, including the new Fort Defiance, O’Barone, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Tiburon, Foxy + Winston, and Red Lipstick (which we loved in its two previous locations). We’re especially excited to figure out how to get into the Katie Brown Workshop, too.

Best Big Idea Made Real: We’ll admit it, when we first heard about Ben Flanner’s plan for a rooftop farm in Greenpoint we were dubious. But he and fellow farmer Annie Novak not only made it happen, Flanner is moving forward to spread his urban farming gospel through a new project, Brooklyn Grange.

Best Extreme Makeover for a Business: Bonita II –> Roman’s. Sure there are plenty of folk (Cleaving author, Julie Powell for one) mourning the loss of both Bonita restaurants, but Roman’s, which replaced Bonita II on DeKalb in Fort Greene, has turned out to be a great showcase for chef Dave Gould. If only we could still get a plate of tacos on the side — it would be like a high-end combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Brooklyn Books That Made us LOL: If you don’t want to look like a crazy person laughing to yourself on the train, then you have no choice but to read Amy Sohn’s Prospect Park West at home. Ditto for Sex, Drugs and Gefilte Fish and its crazy-ass stories (like giving poop sandwiches to Rabbis).

Most Awesome Show About Brooklyn Ever: For a while there, we thought the last, best trick Jonathan Ames had up his sleeve was that freakin’ Hairy Call. Then came his HBO show Bored to Death, which contains so many gratuitous scenes in Brooklyn it’s like porn for the borough-obsessed. We can’t wait for the second season (and the HBO version of Prospect Park West), especially now that the Williamsburg-heavy Flight of the Concords has been canceled.

Most Boroughrific Beef: The Bedford bike lane battle between bicyclists, Bloomberg and the Hasidim (with plenty of commentary from their respective detractors) pretty much sums up South Williamsburg life.

Tastiest Team: SCRATCHbread in the South Slope is tearing up Brooklyn’s starch scene with unbelievably great focaccias, country loaves, scones and the inimitable South Slope Sour. Mastermind Matthew Tilden bakes the night away in the kitchen of Toby’s Public House–a deliciously symbiotic partnership.


Sent by Annaliese, Nicole and Chrysanthe. Photos courtesy of Tod Seelie for Metromix, Brooklyn Based, and HBO.

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