05/25/17 10:50am

It’s that time of year again, when you want to drink your favorite cocktail, spritzer or beer outside. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite places in Brooklyn (and a couple in Queens) for sips in the sunshine.

Coming Soon

Parklife in progress: the brand-new bar and restaurant will be open year-round with indoor seating for 20 and a 4,000-square-foot lot for outdoor eating and drinking. Photo: Parklife

Coming soon to 636 Degraw St.
When Julie Kim and Scott Koshnoodi were forced to relocate their beloved Gowanus venue Littlefield because the landlord wouldn’t renew its lease, they not only found a great warehouse around the corner, they got a lot of open space to work with—4,000 square feet to be precise, directly in back of the new Littlefield. When it opens in June, Parklife will become a year-round bar and restaurant featuring Mexican food from the geniuses working the kitchen at El Atoradero in Prospect Heights. Parklife will be most pleasant, of course, in summer, seated at one of the 12 communal tables outside or on a lawn chair, sipping one of their new signature cocktails like a mezcal, jalapeno syrup and citrus blend called Summer Friends or the Fake It Till Ya Make it—a frozen spin on the classic Penicillin cocktail with blended scotch whiskey, lemon ginger honey syrup and a single-malt scotch. The anticipated opening of the new Littlefield is next week, Parklife should follow the second week of June. –Nicole Davis


Rooftop Reds
Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building #275
Open Wednesday through Sunday

Take a friend, or a date, to Rooftop Reds in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and your cred for knowing the most interesting places for a drink will go through the roof–pretty literally. This rooftop spot is a little walk into the Navy Yard, up a few flights of stairs, to a heavenly roof topped with grape vines, hammocks and tables for drinking wine. (That is one caveat to this experience, if you don’t like wine, there’s not a lot here for you, other than the spectacular view of the river and Manhattan.) Order a flight of rosé and then continue with a bottle of whichever one you liked the most. New this year they’ve started a reservation service–you can do it online, even just minutes before you show up, so that when you go through the security booth at the Sand and Navy St. entrance, your name will pop right up and you can enter with zero hassle. –Annaliese Griffin

The view from the Westlight. Photo: @thewilliamvale

Westlight at William Vale
111 N. 12th St. 

Yes, Westlight was featured in the new season of Master of None, so you know it’s hip. But beyond that, the cocktails are large and stiff, the small plates (under the auspices of Chef Andrew Carmellini) yummy and the views incomparable. Located on top of the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, this spot is the tallest in the area. –Georgia Kral


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11/15/16 11:48am
You'll want to add at least one of these to your most-used cookbooks shelf.

You’ll want to add at least one of these to your most-used cookbooks shelf.

The holidays are upon us. We’ve already started spotting Friendsgiving photos on Instagram and Facebook and Thanksgiving is next week. Whether you’re looking for a dish to wow your family with, planning a dinner party, or just storing away recipes for the January hibernation, you’ll find something wonderful in one of these new cookbooks.

Dinner at the Long Table, by Andrew Tarlow and Anna Dunn

No restaurateur has shaped the Brooklyn dining scene quite like Andrew Tarlow. When he opened Diner on New Year’s Eve 1998, on a stretch of Broadway in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge, it was one of the only places to eat in the area. The restaurant quickly became a neighborhood anchor, and the restaurants he’s opened since then have all served a similar purpose: to bring people together over food.

Dinner at the Long Table is (unsurprisingly) concerned with that same idea. The recipes in the cookbook, co-written with Anna Dunn, are collected into meals for different occasions. This is not a book organized by season or course. Instead, the celebration (with food as the star!) takes center stage–lunch for eight, a birthday dinner for 15, a Harvest Moon supper.

The recipes are wild: not in that they are untameable, but rather they feature the seasonal ingredients you’ve come to associate with the new Brooklyn cuisine: beets, tomatoes, fennel and herbs appear frequently. There is a Mediterranean streak running through it, too, with plenty of tapenade and green gazpacho. (more…)

11/10/16 9:29am
Write a thank you note to Hillary Clinton.

Write a thank you note to Hillary Clinton.

Yesterday was a difficult day. Many of us went to bed too late on Tuesday night, after drinking too much, and woke up to a political reality that we find personally terrifying and morally appalling. One friend told me that her college students, many of whom are minorities, are actively scared. Many friends worried about the state of women’s health care. I personally wonder if my family’s health insurance will be taken away, or become even more expensive if our subsidy is reduced or eliminated. I worry about families who receive food stamps and non-profits who receive government funding. I worry about my son growing up with a president who rates women on looks and compliance alone.

At the same time, we can and must move forward.

Racism, xenophobia and misogyny are factors in how we got here, yes, and we must stand against their enduring legacy in our country, but there is no one answer. As compassionate, curious citizens in a democracy we must also concern ourselves with how to improve life for everyone, yes, including those who just elected Donald Trump as our next president, while upholding the values of inclusivity and diversity.

There are a few smart lists of how to do this circling the internet. This open letter from 100 national leaders who are women of color is a good place to start. Jake Dobkin at Gothamist and Anil Dash both managed to clear their heads yesterday and write reflections and calls to action. If you need permission to step back for a bit, I’m troubled by this Garrison Keillor piece from the Washington Post, but there’s a place for it. And, after staring at my screen, reading everything on the internet until it felt like my eyes were bleeding, I talked to a few kind people in Brooklyn about their advice for this difficult time, compiled below.  I also think step one is taking a media break for a few days–including social media–to eat dinner with people you love, hug your kids and be thankful for all we have and the opportunity to stand up for it. After you read this, of course.

Join a new community

I wasn’t happy when George W. Bush won in 2000, or 2004, but the way I feel about this election has a deep sense of moral crisis for me. I’m not religious, but in search of spiritual guidance, I reached out to Reverend Vince Anderson, who you may know from his Monday night services at Union Pool with his band, The Love Choir. Anderson is serious about music and faith, beauty and art in a way that is expansive, inclusive and profound. Maybe you’re repelled by anything that smacks of religion, or maybe there’s something comforting and positive about connecting to community in a different way than you’re used to–which is something we will all need to embrace in the years to come.

I emailed him yesterday morning to ask his thoughts and this is what he wrote back:

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Since it opened its doors in Crown Heights four years ago, Owl and Thistle General Store has stayed true to its “general store” moniker. Owner Keri Cavanaugh has a knack for finding precious, but not too pricey Brooklyn-made, Fair Trade and sustainable gifts for all ages, so you can easily walk in here and cross multiple generations off your list. (Trust us, we’ve done it.)

Cavanaugh also offers terrific crafty classes, too—like a Sew Your Own Stocking workshop this Thursday—so if you’re shopping for a DIY lover, a gift card that they can apply toward any class makes a thoughtful gift.

The shop’s holiday hours are Monday through Friday 11-8pm,  Saturday 10-8pm, Sunday 10-7pm, and you can always purchase gifts online, too. Just order by Dec. 20 for guaranteed Dec. 24 delivery, or choose the next-day shipping option.

Here are five great ideas for holiday gifts. (more…)

05/21/15 10:27am
A night at the former home of Rubulad, host of Brooklyn's longest-running underground art party. In Oriana Leckert's new book, "Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity," she calls it "the matron saint of Brooklyn's creative class." Photo: Tod Seelie

A night with Rubulad, host of Brooklyn’s longest-running underground art party. In Oriana Leckert’s new book, “Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity,” she calls it “the matron saint of Brooklyn’s creative class.” Photo: Tod Seelie

Given the chance, most of us would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at Andy Warhol’s Factory parties, or checked out the Mudd Club when it was still around. Even now there is a generation of music fans who will only be able to read about shows at legendary DIY venues like 285 Kent or Death By Audio. But such is the nature of creative, DIY spaces. Whether they abide by all of the rules or fly under the radar of liquor laws and building codes, they are forever subject to the whims of development and the stamina of their founders, existing only temporarily in the evolution of New York. So when Oriana Leckert visited three of these spaces over the span of a weekend around six years ago—The House of Yes, the Bushwick Trailer Park, and 123 Community Space—she recognized that she was witnessing the work of some creative, adventurous spirits that would not be around forever.

“When I saw those three completely diverse and just completely over-the-top insane spaces, I said, ‘This is crazy. These spaces are so incredible, how is nobody making a record of what’s going on here today? This is more than just, ‘We threw a party and put out some streamers.’”

Since then, Leckert has become the unofficial record keeper of Brooklyn’s creative, and often fleeting spaces that house parties, art shows, aerialists, collectives and concerts, both on her site, brooklyn-spaces.com, and in her new book, Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, which was released yesterday. (more…)

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02/27/15 9:21am


    Awards season is finally over (with the exception of a few fallout ripples from last Sunday’s Oscars); the World Wide Web is no longer the Wild West it once was and we’ve finally found someone to explain to us what ISIS really wants. Here are 10 stories to keep the conversation flowing this weekend.

  1. I guess it’s still OK to talk about the Oscars? I dunno. We all endured that brutal NPH lockbox bit, John Travolta’s straight creepin’ and the frankly INEXCUSABLE omission of Joan Rivers from the In Memoriam segment. I feel like all the hot takes on the telecast itself dried up immediately, though, because, in the end, we’re talking about an environment that generates actual conversations about mani cam vs. clutch cam. However, if you’re in the “Boyhood was robbed” camp, you’ll appreciate this Slate piece arguing that by awarding Birdman Best Picture, the Academy screwed up on the level of when it snubbed Citizen Kane or The Graduate. Linklater might get another shot at a gold statue though—rumor has it he’s considering making a sequel.

  1. Michael Pollan’s long read about the rekindling of the medical community’s interest in “trip treatment,” or the use of psychedelic drugs to treat depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, will give you lots of fodder to fall back on when the topic of how cold it is out has been utterly exhausted. (more…)

12/05/14 9:22am
Cream, a new shop in Bay Ridge, bakes a hot chocolate and marshmallow doughnut. Photo: David Chiu

Cream, a new shop in Bay Ridge, bakes a hot chocolate and marshmallow doughnut. Photo: David Chiu

We’re in it–holiday party season. Whether it’s chatting up your boss at your work party, or charming your significant other’s family over dinner, you’re going to need something to talk about in the coming weeks. Here’s what we’ve been reading lately.

1. It’s a heavy shopping time of the year (check out all our holiday gifting coverage, if you’re still in a buying mood). Some parents, though, have had it with all the toys, clutter and kid junk, and are taking drastic steps toward minimalism, with interesting results.   

2. Remember when there was a huge black market for stolen Tide? Well, baby formula is the new Tide, says Vocative, complete with formula fences and kingpins.

3. Racism, police brutality and the deep flaws in our justice system are THE issues of the day. At The Atlantic, Peter Beinart argues that if Eric Garner, the Staten Island man killed by an NYPD chokehold, had been white, he would now be a Tea Party cause celebre and martyr. Chris Rock told Frank Rich that “racial progress” has nothing to do with black people and everything to do with the gradual decline of white ignorance.  Salon counseled Democrats on how to address systemic racism in a meaningful way, and our own borough president, Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer, took to the pages of The New York Times to explain and condemn the police culture that led to Garner’s death. (more…)

11/14/14 2:19pm

In my daughter’s bedroom is a book we bought from The Children’s Book Fair, held annually at the Brooklyn Museum. The special thing about What Animals Really Like, aside from being a fun book to read aloud, is that it’s signed by the author, Fiona Robinson, and addressed to my girl. She doesn’t remember getting the autograph, but it still makes her smile each time we open the book and see her special note. You can get children’s books signed at many a bookstore, of course, but the Children’s Book Fair is unique in that there are just so many authors and illustrators in one place, waiting to talk with your children and sign their favorite books.

Tomorrow’s installment brings together nearly 40 local authors and illustrators like Brian Floca and Oliver Jeffers, whose books are notable not just because they’re Brooklynites, but because their work is beautiful. Below are a few of the titles currently in bedtime story rotation at Meredith Craig de Pietro’s house, and mine, that you can add to your collection at the fair. And if you’ve got an Ivy & Bean fan in your house, be sure to carve in time for a reading from Sophie Blackall at 3:30.

LocomotiveLocomotive by Brian Floca (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books)

Ages 4-10

This Caldecott Medal book is a riveting ride through the history of the American transcontinental railway. This story takes place in 1869, and focuses on one family’s trip from Omaha, Nebraska heading all the way to Sacramento, California in search of a new life. Warm watercolor illustrations showcase the changing landscapes of America’s “rugged country” with fields “as empty as an ocean.” A slender book packed with accurate information and research explains in detail the mechanics of the engines, the job descriptions of the men who work the rails, as well as the logistics of using the steam engine’s toilet. Bright font and entertaining onomatopoeia help to engage young train lovers and their American history loving parents.—Meredith Craig de Pietro (more…)