Nicole Davis

Articles by

Nicole Davis

When Nicole launched Brooklyn Based in 2007, she had worked primarily as a writer, researcher and reporter for magazines like National Geographic Adventure and as the arts editor of the beloved NYC weekly, The Villager. In the process of running an indie media company, though, she's added a few other roles to her skill set, like event producer, publicist, and ad sales. She's lived in Park Slope, Gowanus, Clinton Hill, Dumbo, and Greenpoint, and now lives in Hipsturbia with her husband, daughter, son, dog and two cats. (You can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you can't keep her away from her work.) She's on Twitter at @nicolebdavis, but mainly uses her account to harass airlines.

05/17/17 3:03pm

At Sycamore’s 8th Annual Crawfish Boil on Saturday, you can dig into the traditional Louisiana fixins and benefit the Billion Oyster Project at the same time. Photo: Sycamore

In no way do I want to discourage you from any of the fantastic events we’ve selected for this Ideal Week. And certainly, the most astounding drama of our time is unfolding in front of our eyes in the White House in ways pretty much no one could have ever imagined. However, I do feel like I need to point out just how much excellent television is on offer right now. Like, really an insane amount of good stuff. Are you watching The Americans? How great is this new season of Master of None and how mesmerizing/terrifying is The Handmaid’s Tale?  I haven’t even had the time to watch I Love Dick or the new season Bosch on Amazon. And man, after the burn of Arrested Development 2.0 I’m trying not to get my heart set on the new Twin Peaks being the show I’ve dreamed of watching since I binged the original one August weekend in 1998, but boy am I looking forward to it.

In news that is happening here in the physical world and not on a screen or in the Black Lodge,  Littlefield is in the last day of its Kickstarter to raise money for its new space, which includes brand-new bar and restaurant, Parklife, that will be a part of our Total Gowanus Immersion this summer. They’re so close to their goal, help them reach it before midnight on Thursday. One of our favorite local institutions, the Brooklyn Historical Society, opens a new space in DUMBO this week. The first show is called Shifting Perspectives, and it’s a group show of photography depicting the Brooklyn waterfront, opening May 19 (though there is a private event at the gallery on Friday evening). Admission is free all weekend long. 

Go forth, or hang on the couch with some popcorn and cherry pie, either way, have an ideal week! (more…)

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03/14/17 3:31pm

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Throwing a spectacular, 80-person wedding in Brooklyn for anything less than $40,000 is a feat. (That’s the low-end, average price of hosting your nuptials here–The Knot estimates the cost is closer to $60,000.) Throwing a wedding here for $14,000 is a bit of a miracle. But Laura Dolce-Bun, a teacher, and Mey Dolce-Bun, a farmer, managed with the help of talented friends and a lot of hands-on planning.

Of course, not everyone has a wedding photographer friend they can ask to shoot their weddings, as Laura and Mey did. Their connections at their venue helped, too, but they rented it at an opportune time when it was just getting started. Any couple can do this and expect to save money, as brand-new or soon-to-open venues often discount their prices to fill the calendar quickly and get cash flowing.

Laura and Mey also kept costs down by doing a lot of the work that a caterer would typically do, like arranging for the rentals of tables, seating and dinnerware, procuring all the meat, produce and alcohol themselves, and asking friends to bartend.

Even if you don’t intend to go DIY like they did, their tips, particularly for savoring the moments of a day you’ve spent a year planning, are worth heeding. Here’s how planned their October 2016 Williamsburg wedding. (more…)

02/09/17 1:17pm

After interviewing four former Brooklynites about their move to L.A., we asked them each to share five favorite spots in their new city for food, drink, and exploring. Use their picks the next time you visit. (Who knows, they may tempt you to relocate, too.)

Yes, this is L.A. Photo: @emilioolivasphotography

Yes, this is L.A. Photo: @emilioolivasphotography

Heather D. Orozco’s Picks:

1. Santa Anita Canyon: If you live on the Eastside you’re about 20 minutes from another world in Santa Anita Canyon. Inside the canyon you’re surrounded with oaks and willows, the ground is green and mossy, and the landscape is peppered with super cool tiny little turn-of-the-century cabins. You can take the short version and end it at a waterfall and loop back, or spend the day branching off into an assortment of mountains and valleys, depending on the level of difficulty wanted. Not only does it not feel anything like L.A., it feels like you’ve been transported into some kind of secret magical medieval elf village.

2. Santa Anita Horse Races: Another gem in Santa Anita. Located at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains this is widely considered one of the prettiest racetracks in the world. For about $30 per person you can have lunch and a few drinks at their outdoor restaurant on the finish line while placing bets on horses. Great for kids, families, a date, or just friends hanging out day-drinking; this is one of my all-time favorite things to do on a weekend afternoon. (more…)

01/30/17 11:05am
Kira Smith, Pete Sinjin (center) and friends leading families in their election response sing-along and find raiser, "Rise Up And Sing!”

Kira Smith, Pete Sinjin (center) and friends leading families in their election response sing-along and fundraiser, “Rise Up And Sing!” Photo: Hootenanny Art House

The Women’s March felt like a ray of hope in an otherwise dark start to 2017. But as this past week has proven, we had no idea how dark it could get, or how nimble we would need to be to protest this administration’s unAmerican edicts. For parents, it will never be easy, on weekends filled with birthday parties and basketball games, to join an impromptu rally. But Hootenanny Art House in Park Slope is making it possible to for families to be politically active at times they can plan for–Monday afternoons and evenings, starting today. Their Monday Activist Coffee Hour from 3:30 to 4:30pm, and BYOB Activist Happy Hour from 6 to 7pm will provide a kid-friendly space and guidance to make calls, write letters and take action together. (more…)

12/28/16 1:00pm

We asked our contributors, friends and notable Brooklynites to share their favorite New Year’s in NYC. Here, Jonathan Schnapp, co-owner of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, shares his epic night in his signature, e e cummings style of email. His shuffleboard palace is throwing their third annual New Year’s Eve Flamingo Formal on Saturday, a totally free, fun night and a great excuse to dress up for the last hurrah of the year. For more ideas, check out our last Ideal Week: New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn edition.

If you have the will and the wheels, you make a progressive party out of New Year's. Photo: Torbakhopper via Flickr

If you have the will and the wheels, you can make a progressive party out of New Year’s. Photo: Torbakhopper via Flickr

my best NYE huh?

it might have been the winter of 1998…
earlier that year i had taken a trip to SF and ridden a scooter for the first time
it was magical and i vowed to do whatever was necessary to procure my first vespa that fall.
sure enough, when september rolled around i dragged my butt
out to up and coming williamsburg
threw down $1500 bucks for a 1976 blue sprint 150
and called her ‘putt putt’.

by NYE i’d gotten the feel of the hand shift, the tides of traffic,
and the way cabs reacted impulsively when searching for a fare.
i felt the rhythm of the lights and the pockets of space between cars-
i was all shaolin soccer with my shit… i was one with putt putt.
that NYE i decided to attend

it turned into a tour of the greatest city in the world
on the craziest night of the year.
my itinerary:
LES, Chelsea, Hells Kitchen, Upper East Side, Tribecca, Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, Union Square
i started at 5pm and got home by around 4am.

did it all in a black suit, skinny tie, and chucks…
no jacket
(big mistake)

12/28/16 11:07am

If you need a recommendation for an epic New Year’s Eve bash, Oriana Leckert is the person to ask. The author of Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity and events editor for Brokelyn knows all the borough’s DIY venues and the parties they spawn. She used to write our New Year’s Eve party roundup for years, and she tracks quirky events and alternative nightlife for her own blog year round. So when I asked her to name her favorite New Year’s Eve out of all the parties she must have experienced over the years, I anticipated that it would be a hard decision.

“I’ve been in this city now for 15 years, so I’ve had a lot of New York New Year’s. I’ve done the gamut, I have done a ‘crazy’ rave at the Electric Factory when that was still a place, a Bushwig drag extravaganza at Secret Project Robot, and a Cheryl party at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Then, recently, I’ve been trying to do more of the quirky, iconic Brooklyn things. I did the fireworks at Coney Island a couple of years ago, and the steam whistles at Pratt, and those both stand out as kind of silly but also really memorable.”

Pratt’s now retired, New Year’s Eve steam whistle show. Photo: Pratt

For anyone not familiar with Pratt’s tradition, the annual event brought antique steam whistles from trains, factories, and ships, including a 1930s ocean liner, back to life. The art school led the resonating show for the public for 50 years, before its chief engineer performed the final one in 2014. “It’s really surreal, it feels like being in a movie, because between the darkness and the steam, you can’t really see very far in front of you, so you’re sort of stumbling a little bit manically to keep track of where your friends are, and figure out where the next steam whistle will come from. It was really fun. It was really, really fun,” said Leckert.

But it still doesn’t make her cut as best New Year’s in NYC. “I think that out of all of them, the first one I thought of when you contacted me was my second or third year in the city. Because of an array of hijinks, we had moved on December 31st so New Years was our first night for my partner and myself in our new apartment.” (more…)

12/27/16 9:59am

We asked our contributors, friends and notable Brooklynites to share their favorite New Year’s in NYC. Here, Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer tell us theirs. The comedians and real-life lovers perform at the UCB Theater and recently released the 146th episode of their podcast, Ménage à Trois Radio. In each, they chat about real and hypothetical sexcapades and sex-themed news with a special guest—download the Ilana Glazer or Amanda Duarte episodes for a raunchy intro.

Just for the record, the title of this photo is "NYE_MDMA2." Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Jut a little foreshadowing: The title of this photo is “NYE_MDMA2.” Photo: Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer

Brooklyn Based: What your best New Year’s Eve out in New York City, and was it together or separate?
Diana: Ours was together and it was a big night out. Probably five years ago or four.
Murph: It might have been maybe our first New Year’s together.
Diana: 2012, I think.
Murph: Some of the people from the comedy community, they throw a New Year’s Eve party every year and this one was in Midtown.
Diana: It was in Midtown at some horrible bar. I forget what it’s called. I want to say The Top Hat.
Murph: Or The Lame Horse.
Diana: It’s like The Old Beer, it’s something terrible.
Murph: It’s one of those lovely spots right by Madison Square Garden in Midtown, which is actually right where you want to be when the ball drops. [Ed. Note: No, he did not really mean this.]
Diana: My improv team at the time, Tesla, was throwing the party so we had to get there early and help out. But before we went, Murph decided to get a perm. (more…)

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…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

10/21/16 12:49pm
We want you to play with your food at One More Bite! Private Picassos is just one of the participants that will be encouraging kids to. Photo: Shellburne Farms

We want you to play with your food at One More Bite! (And Private Picassos is just one of the participants that will be encouraging kids to.) Photo: Shellburne Farms

We are beyond excited for our first family food fair, One More Bite, this Sunday at The Green Building.

As moms, we’re fully aware of the joy—and the frustration—that comes from feeding our kids. With that in mind, we’ve planned a day that (we hope) will make trying new foods fun. As your children work their way around the room, sampling local charcuterie, Vermont cheese, chana masala, pickles of every variety, brownies made from beans, and more yummy, healthy foods, they’ll collect stamps in their One More Bite passbooks, then pick a treat at the end for being so adventurous. (We don’t want to make this high-stakes, though, so parents, we’re expecting you to do a lot of tasting too!)

Farmers and food educators will also be leading hands-on activities to teach kids about pollinators, edible plants, and the sugar in processed foods, along with art projects that will encourage them to play with their fruits and veggies!

For the grownups, we’ll have talks on raising good eaters and putting the joy into mealtime from noon till 3pm, and throughout you can purchase burgers and beverages, from juice to mimosas, from Cassette restaurant.

Get a ticket in advance—you’ll save time and money at the door—and while you’re there enter our online raffle for cooking classes and more.

And come early! The first 100 families get a bag of goodies from our vendors. Then show your ticket to Ample Hills down the block afterward, you’ll get a $1 off a cone.

Here are a few of the things we’re looking forward to tasting and trying at One More Bite. (more…)

08/31/16 12:37pm
Amy Leipziger's favorite fan of her homemade granola, All Granola. Photo: Amy Leipziger .

Amy Leipziger’s youngest fan of her homemade granola, All Granola. Photo: Amy Leipziger .

Amy Leipziger had been making granola for years, using a simple recipe she learned from her mom. Then in 2014 she became a mom herself, and started to tinker with the recipe, not because she was tired of the the way it tasted, but because she wanted to create a granola that would help boost her milk supply. (more…)