04/12/17 1:17pm

Weird week so far, huh? A couple of days of incredible weather felt like a fresh, hopeful beginning, but then all it takes is a glance at the internet to reveal another elementary school shooting, airlines committing assault against their customers, David Letterman’s mom dying, and the usual stream of myriad abominations from the Trump show. It would be great if we could all just have a really good stretch of positive stuff only (or at least not actively bad stuff) for a while, don’t you think? Excessive optimism can feel a little phony and is tough to muster in a constant onslaught of somber news, but the internet sometimes delivers a glittering shard of seaglass amidst the gloomy flotsam. Case in point: I ran across this poem by Maggie Smith (no, not the Dowager Countess) on Twitter the other day and it struck me as at once lovely and grim and encouraging and an utterly fitting reflection of my mood these days:

Good Bones


Life is short, although I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.

This week is an ideal one to add something good of your own into the mishmashed kaleidoscope of heartbreaking, happy, gorgeous hideousness that is life on this planet at the present moment and push for a collective net positive. I’m gonna give it a shot, anyway. But that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t get good and mad and head on over to the Tax March at Bryant Park at 1pm on Saturday–hope to see some of you there! In the meantime, keep your head up everyone, and check out our other ideas ideas of ways to fill up your time between now and next Wednesday. (more…)

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04/12/17 10:20am
The flower arranging class at Rose Red & Lavender's Earth Day Intensive will be in the style of Francoise Weeks, a floral designer who uses twigs, branches, moss and earthy elements. Photo: @FrancoiseWeeks via Instagram

The flower arranging class at Rose Red & Lavender’s Earth Day Intensive will be in the style of Francoise Weeks, a floral designer who uses twigs, branches, moss and other earthy elements. Photo: @FrancoiseWeeks via Instagram

Earth Day is not slipping by unnoticed this year. Most of the commemorations planned involve marches protesting Trump’s blatant disregard for the environment and science, but local floral design studio and workshop space Rose Red & Lavender has a more holistic, joyous experience planned. 

On Thursday evening, April 20, Rose Red is offering an immersive class in floral design, scent blending, and wine tasting, in celebration of the natural beauty and richness of the planet. “Earth is our life and is represented as a mother and a goddess in many cultures,” says owner Kimberly Sevilla. “Now more than ever it is important to protect her and all the women on our planet.”

The workshop will lead attendees in a flower arranging class in the vein of Francoise Weeks, a floral designer whose signature “woodland” style uses twigs, branches, moss and earthy elements. (Whatever you create is yours to keep.) Guests will also learn how to blend their own earth-inspired scents using fragrance and essential oils with Soap and Paper Factory to create a bespoke fragrance in a diffuser or room spray.  The Moore Brother’s wine shop is providing tastings of wines with mineral tones that showcase the importance of the soil for terroir and taste. Chef Holly Sheppard of Fig and Pig catering, who emphasizes great ingredients that are locally sourced, will be pairing these with earthy light bites. And celebrity DJ Jasmine Solano will complete the immersive experience that celebrates the smell, taste, smell, beauty and sounds of Mother Earth.

Tickets are $250, and proceeds from this beautiful evening will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

04/05/17 1:00pm
Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, by Marsden Hartley

Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, by Marsden Hartley

Hey everybody, we’re back! It’s another Wednesday in this marvelous County of Kings and we’ve got yet another Ideal Week of fun, friends, food, tunes, booze, activism, and activities for you to peruse, so see if you can tear yourself away from S-Town for a minute or two to make some plans. We’ve just gotten word that the inimitable tag team of Frank Facinelli and Frank Castronovo have a pretty awesome-sounding Backyard Chef Series in the works for this spring. Once a month starting in May, the duo will host famous chef pals from all over the world (think Philly’s Marc Vetri, LA’s Jon Shook and Vinny Doloto, Montreal’s David MacMillan and Fred Morin, and NYC’s own Daniela Soto Innes) to collaborate on one-of-a-kind dishes at Frankies 457 Spuntino’s bucolic outdoor space. The full lineup is listed here and we suggest booking now because I’m sure these seats will fill up fast–tickets are $100 per person, which includes drinks and a multi-course meal.

In other news, Coney Island officially reopens for the season on Sunday, and it’s as good a time as any for a spin around the Cyclone, which celebrates its 90th birthday this year. Also on Sunday, Alec Baldwin will be appearing in conversation with Anna Sale to discuss his new memoir, Nevertheless, at BAM at 6pm. Tickets start at $35 ($55 if you’d like a copy of the book too) and are available here. If you’re looking for a fine art experience, I’ve personally been itching to get to the Met Breuer to see both Marisa Merz’s The Sky is A Great Space exhibit as well as the Marsden’s Hartley’s paintings of Maine. And, I’m not sure how, but after living in this town for almost my entire lifetime I only recently discovered two major Walter De Maria installations that are located in unmarked, unassuming buildings a few blocks away from one another right smack in the middle of Soho. The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer are both free to experience during visiting hours from noon-6pm on Wednesday through Sunday, so it’s kind of like a mini-trip to Dia:Beacon with none of the expense or hassle.

But those are just a few of our thoughts on how you can fill up your calendar–read on for more tips to squeeze the most out of Your Ideal Week below. (more…)

03/29/17 7:28pm
Last year we couldn't get enough of Wowfulls at Smorgasburg. What new treat will wow us this time around? Photos: Spencer Starnes

Last year we couldn’t get enough of Wowfulls at Smorgasburg. What new treat will wow us this time around? Photos: Spencer Starnes

Greetings, all, and welcome to another installment of Your Ideal Week, our roundup of suggestions for the best ways to kill time in and around our fair borough over the next seven days. I’ve been hitting the Park Slope Y with some regularity for the past few weeks (no sign of Blas yet but, then again, since my co-worker told me you can now download Netflix shows onto your phone it would take Obama himself to turn my attention away from whatever obscure BBC crime procedural I’m watching during my workout), so I thought I’d try to squeeze into a pair of old, tight jeans today to see if I’ve made any progress. So far, not so good, as I’m basically gasping for air and unable to sit for extended periods, so I probably shouldn’t be so pumped about the news that Smorgasburg is back for the season this weekend, in the Williamsburg and Prospect Park locations on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Ditto the outdoor version of the Brooklyn Flea, which brings dozens of vendors of vintage wares to Williamsburg on Saturday and the Dumbo archway on Sunday.

While we’re on the subject of being outdoors, did you get a chance to go outside today? It was perfect! Celebrate this weekend at Rooftop Reds, which is reopening its roof space on Friday to accommodate visitors who want to guzzle vino while staring out at the lower Manhattan skyline. It’s hard to feel too glum when the sun is out, birds are chirping, the farmers’ market is full of beautiful blooms and vegetables, and it looks like the wheels might finally be coming off the bus of the national nightmare we’ve been embroiled in for what feels like a lifetime.

Take the good vibes and spread them around this week, grab a few friends and check out some of our tips on what to do with yourself below. Happy almost-April and we’ll see you back here next week. (more…)

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03/22/17 5:07pm
Photo: Dessert Goals

Photo: Dessert Goals

It’s officially spring, can’t you tell? Nothing like putting the old parka away for the season, busting out the sunnies, and feeling the sun on your bare arms, am I right? Ugh, seriously, why is this weather so confusing? I’ve been upstate near New Paltz for a work conference this week and was snowshoeing and ice skating yesterday, which was awesome, but which is not part of my normal late-March routine. Incidentally, if any of you can get away for a random weekday night, I highly recommend taking advantage of the mid-week, off-season price specials at Mohonk Mountain Lodge, which is the all-inclusive, Kellerman’s-type establishment where we stayed. The food was incredible (Bourdain even visited on an episode of No Reservations), and we each had a working fireplace in our rooms, which sealed the deal for me, personally.

Anyway, if you don’t have plans tonight and have a C-note burning a hole in your pocket, Norah Jones is performing a benefit concert at 8pm at The Bell House for the Child Life Program in The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s Pediatrics Department that will likely be a really special evening. Alternatively, I’ve been meaning to check out the sound and light installations at the Mela Foundation’s Dream House in Tribeca for months now, and tonight seems like a great night for “a weird and immersive art experience,” as per Yelp, but I’ve got much less meditative plans in store because it’s a friend’s birthday and so we are meeting at The Strip House’s Speakeasy to see if we can get our hands on one of 10 special $26 burgers released every day in March. I’ll let you know if it’s worth the price tag.

If that isn’t enough decadence for one week, Dessert Goals, a dessert fest featuring treats from vendors like Coolhaus, Mochidoki, baonanas, and more, is at Dobbin Street on both Saturday and Sunday. GA tickets are unfortunately already sold out, but if you are interested in attending one of several workshops on topics like how to start a food business or how to grow your Instagram following, you can sign up for $50 and get admission to the main event too.

Otherwise, check out our list of other options to add to your social calendar for the Ideal Week ahead, and try to take advantage of the long hours of daylight that are finally here (even if your winter wardrobe is sticking around a little longer). (more…)

03/15/17 2:13pm
We were all expecting more snow yesterday, even Hurley. Photo: Kate Hooker via @BrooklynBased on Instagram

We were all expecting more snow yesterday, even Hurley. Photo: Kate Hooker via @BrooklynBased on Instagram

Back to the grind, everybody! One of the awesome conveniences of modern life is that for the majority of us who aren’t ER doctors or something, there’s no longer any need to brave angry sheets of falling ice to physically be in the office on a day like yesterday. The bummer side of this, though, is that the notion of a true snow day has gone completely out the window.

I personally logged something like 16 hours in front of my laptop yesterday, breaking only to walk my dog and to watch one eensy episode of Love on Netflix, the second season of which I’ve been inhaling. Today I feel more burnt out than I would have if I’d just had a normal day yesterday that included a subway commute, lunch with a friend and a stop at the gym, and I’m moving at a glacial pace. Gotta find some espresso somewhere though, maybe at the Coffee and Tea Festival happening in Greenpoint this weekend, because this Ideal Week is action-packed and I don’t have time to dawdle.

First of all, I have to fill out three different brackets for various March Madness pools before noon tomorrow, and I know less about the field this season than I ever have (although I did have the amazing opportunity to watch my beloved Blue Devils win the ACC championship IN BROOKLYN (!) last weekend, complete with NC-appropriate ad signage at the Barclays). I also need to make St. Patrick’s Day plans which, depending on my end-of-the-week mental state, will either mean hightailing it out of the city, or finding a way to get into the center of the action.

And then of course we’re hosting one of our favorite events of the year, Wedding Crashers, on Sunday at The Green Building and 501 Union from 11:30 am on. This year, we’ve got more than 70 of New York’s best wedding vendors and seven bands performing, so there’s a lot to see and take in if you’re planning on stopping by.

In other news, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. is hosting a five-course prix fixe Italian dinner tonight for $45 if you ate every scrap of the food you had at home yesterday, and Eugene Mirman has announced a live recording of his Hold On podcast featuring guests David Cross and Jon Benjamin at The Bell House on Saturday, April 8. This will for sure sell out so you should pick up a $20 ticket for yourself pronto. Otherwise, take a gander at our suggestions to help you maximize your fun quotient in the Ideal Week ahead. (more…)

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03/15/17 8:12am

Kids having fun

Join the A Child Grows in Brooklyn community for the 2nd Annual Brooklyn Camp Expo, March 26, 2017, from 12pm to 3pm at Williamsburg Northside Lower School (299 N. 7th Street),  presented by A Child Grows in Brooklyn.

This is a FREE family-friendly event for parents looking for summer camps, holiday camps and after-school programs for their children. Over 30 camp and after school program directors will be onsite to talk to parents about all the wonderful things their programs have to offer local families.

Capacity is limited, so please be sure to register!

NOTE: Face painting and kids crafts will keep kids busy while parents speak with camps, AND Brooklyn Robot Foundry will provide FREE 45-minute Robot Building Workshops for kids ages 5+ at 12:15, 1:00 & 1:45. To sign up your child for one of these workshops, please click here.

03/07/17 1:36pm

Gemini and Scorpio

So we’re changing things up a bit this week and dispatching our Wednesday Ideal Week post on Tuesday, because we won’t be publishing anything tomorrow in honor of the A Day Without A Woman strike. Onward in solidarity, sisters–only by sticking together will we vanquish the small-minded demagoguery that seeks to inflame our prejudices and create dissension within our ranks. If you’re not able to actually skip work tomorrow, there are other ways to raise your voice in support of the cause, including wearing red, attending a rally like this one at noon in Central Park, and making a commitment to not spend any money.

After a day of empowering yourself through political action, you might want to hurry over to Crown Heights on Wednesday evening to see the series premiere of Locality, a new hyperlocal web series created in and about the neighborhood by a group of filmmakers called The New Regulars. The screening starts at 8pm and will be followed by a reception with wine and local eats–you can register here to attend. In other news, Groupmuse just today announced its next Massivemuse, which will happen on Friday, March 17, in The Bogart House. Tickets are $20, which includes the concert, Bronx Brewery beers on the house, and afterparty involving multiple DJs and a roof deck.

Turning back to the week ahead, there are plenty of ways you can fill the next several days with food, fun, film, feminism, and more stuff that begins with letters other than F. Happy Ideal Week, and we’ll see you next week on the regularly appointed day. (more…)

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03/01/17 2:25pm
It's a new leaf kinda week, right?

It’s a new leaf kinda week, right?

On this rainy yet bizarrely warm Wednesday, we’re coming off an entire week of unseasonably warn, yet undeniably pleasant weather, an Oscars ceremony with a surprise twist ending, and a presidential address marking an unexpected shift in terms of tone and sentence completion proficiency (if not actual content), and on top of all that, we’re now in a brand new month. I must admit that it all makes me feel like doing my part to change things up a little bit, too.

To that end, I’m committing to booking myself the real, no email access type vacation that I’ve been talking about for ages, and I’m going to make myself go to the gym today for the first time in so-long-that-I-don’t-even-really-know-when-the-last-time-was-but-definitely-not-in-2017. Maybe you have some stuff you’ve been putting off, and maybe this is a good week to just make it happen, whether it’s doing your taxes, or taking your pet to the vet, or any number of those mundane, adult-y tasks that pile up and make you feel increasingly uncertain about your general adulting skillset.

No cause for alarm, though, you know that we’d never suggest that you fill up all your time with boring admin–this is Your Ideal Week, after all. So try to carve out some time to check out one of the NYC Beer Week events, which run through the weekend: this Ruppert’s Cup Awards tasting at Barcade on Saturday afternoon sounds especially easygoing and fun. Or you could treat yourself to a delicious dinner out and help find hunger right here in Brooklyn by heading to one of the many participating restaurants taking part in the inaugural Brooklyn Feeds campaign this coming Tuesday night.

A couple of us here at BB have tested out Dale Talde’s giant new spot, Atlantic Social, and I can personally attest that the nachos are as good as you remember them being from Pork Slope and it’s an excellent place to watch the college basketball conference tournaments this weekend, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. We’re just getting started here–read on for a whole slew of other potential experiences and adventures that we rustled up for the coming week.  (more…)

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03/01/17 11:57am
Drink a beer at Three's Brewing on March 7, or any one of roughly 20 restaurants and bars participating in Brooklyn Feeds, a borough-wide event on March 7 to help combat food insecurity. Photo: Three's Brewing

Drink a beer at Three’s Brewing on March 7, or any one of the 20 restaurants and bars participating in Brooklyn Feeds, and help combat food insecurity. Photo: Three’s Brewing

This coming Tuesday, March 7, roughly 20 restaurants around Brooklyn will be offering a deal for diners: eat or drink at their restaurant, and they will help feed people who cannot afford basic meals.

The event, called Brooklyn Feeds, is the brainchild of Jennifer Friedlin, a former journalist and founder of the marketing firm Hungry Marketing, whose clients include both non-profits and restaurants. For a while, she’d been cognizant of the disconnect between those well-off enough to dine out in Brooklyn, “where everyone comes to eat, while there are many people in the borough who are going to bed hungry.” Then a story last fall spurred her to action. As The New York Times reported in September, we have the highest rate of food insecurity in New York City, meaning 20% of households here have “limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”

“When I saw that, it backed up what I’d been feeling and thinking,” said Friedlin. So she decided to do something about it, and created an event that would benefit restaurants at a time when business is generally slow, while also serving non-profits that help the hungry.

The restaurants, bars and cafes who are a part of the inaugural Brooklyn Feeds are all donating a portion of their proceeds on March 7 to CHiPS, a soup kitchen and homeless shelter for young women and their babies in Gowanus, and Neighbors Together, an organization in Bedford-Stuyvesant that provides food to over 10,000 New Yorkers a year. Neighborhood staples like Three’s Brewing, Therapy Wine Bar and Franny’s are all taking part, and Applebee’s has agreed to donate 10% of revenues from all seven of its Brooklyn locations.

Friedlin expects to raise several thousand for the two charities. Help Brooklyn Feeds meet its goal and pave the way for future editions by eating or drinking here on March 7: