05/03/17 4:14pm

The Brooklyn Derby at Greenwood Park has become the borough’s biggest Derby Day fete. Photo: Steve McFarland Photography

Happy May! The sun is out, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and those of us with seasonal allergies are sneezing through it, just happy to be part of this awesome season of rebirth and renewal. I am headed upstate this weekend with a group a friends for a birthday extravaganza, and I must say that although I am really excited for a spring getaway, I’m a little bummed that I won’t be around to watch the Kentucky Derby at one of several fun parties happening around Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.

As in years past, the Brooklyn Derby, which seems the fanciest option, will draw bluegrass bands and hundreds of be-seersuckered and be-fascinatored revelers to Greenwood Park from 4pm on to cheer on the horses. The $95 ticket price covers four-hours of open bar (including mint juleps, natch), a variety of Southern snacks, live music, a hat-making station and more. Another alternative is the Derby Party at Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, which costs $80 but includes food, drinks, a bluegrass jam, contests, and prizes, and has the added edge of being a fundraiser to help the beloved bar meet is goal of raising $65K by mid-summer in order to stay in business. Of course, if you’re not looking to break the bank on a several-minute long horse race, you can head to Northern Territory, which is hosting a free party with pay-as-you-go drinks and prizes for best Derby attire, from 3-7pm.

Not into the Derby at all? The Wythe Hotel is hosting the sixth annual Greenpoint Film Festival, which is a series of panels and screenings of carefully selected shorts and feature-length films taking place Thursday through Sunday, and there are still tickets available. Read on for more ideas about what to do with yourself for the next seven days, and enjoy the sunny Ideal Week ahead. (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.

05/03/17 12:57pm

Onderdonk & Sons is one of the stops on our Total Ridgewood Immersion with Brooklyn Brewery. You can add on a burger and fries to your visit, or just partake in the Brooklyn beer.

Join us Saturday, June 3 for The Total Ridgewood Immersion, our first Immersion of the season with Brooklyn Brewery. If you’ve never been on one of these daylong adventures with us, it’s one of the best ways to experience a new neighborhood or explore your favorite haunts with your beer-loving friends. You purchase an exceptionally cheap ticket and in exchange get a pack of WAM–walking around money–to spend throughout the neighborhood on your own, self-guided tour.

Over the past seven years, we’ve curated 25 of these epic afternoons, typically in our favorite Brooklyn neighborhoods. This year, we’re venturing to places we’ve never Immersed before–like Ridgewood, Queens, Beacon, NY, and West Harlem. (Tickets to our entire season, including a season pass, are on sale here.)

In Ridgewood, you’ll spend the day exploring quaint, leafy streets, generations-old bakeries, and laid-back bars. (For an idea of Ridgewood’s charms, we wrote this guide a few years back.)

Here’s what we’ve lined up so far, just over the Bushwick border: (more…)

05/02/17 12:13pm

This obelisk is full of secrets. Photo: Creative Time

While standing in line in Green-Wood Cemetery last weekend, I overheard a group of friends joking nervously about confessing to murders and kidnappings before admitting that yes, they really did need to unburden their true secrets to a stranger. It was a superlative spring day for confession, and for enjoying the verdant charms of one of Brooklyn’s greenest places.

A cemetery is an excellent place to store secrets. After all, barring gossipy ghosts, the inhabitants are generally quiet and trustworthy. Starting last weekend and continuing through 2042, French conceptual artist Sophie Calle will be collecting the secrets from visitors in a public art installation called Here Lie the Secrets. Calle herself was accepting secrets on opening weekend, but the project, in collaboration with the public art organization Creative Time, will be in place for 25 years, during which visitors can write their innermost thoughts on a slip of paper and insert it into a slot at the bottom of a marble obelisk nestled on Green-Wood’s Bay Grove Hill. Your confessions, incidentally, will have one of the best, and least visited skyline views. (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.

05/01/17 2:38pm

It’s finally spring! The flowers are blooming in the window boxes and the sidewalk cafe seats are being hosed down. When your umbrella isn’t flying down the street ready to impale someone on a broken spoke, you can actually enjoy the weather. Here are 10 ways to make the most of the month, including a few inspired ways to celebrate Mother’s Day.

This new neighborhood bookstore has a great children’s section, with secret nooks for reading, and knowledgeable staff full of recommendations. Photo: Books Are Magic

  1. GO: Support The Magic. There’s no better way to celebrate May Day than with a good book. Today, May 1st, Books Are Magic officially opens for business. Annaliese Griffin wrote about it in tour May Culture Essentials, but it’s so exciting, I’m including here too. We’ve been chomping at the bit, peering in their windows and stalking them on Instagram, so we know they will have an amazing kids section complete with tiny nooks to curl up with a good book. Also, on May 16th from 4-5pm, celebrate all things tacos with Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri and their new book Dragons Love Tacos 2. Books Are Magic, 225 Smith St, Cobble Hill 

    This play is Brooklyn Based suggested, Albert Einstein approved. Photo: Miller Theatre


(more…)

05/01/17 9:43am

Photo: Georgia Kral

The roar of the J/M train created a cacophonous riot overhead as I approached the unassuming spot on Broadway near the BQE. But inside the train felt very far away, or maybe I just instantly forgot about everything that came before once I saw the plates being delivered to tables.

There were sopes piled high with meat, shredded lettuce and crema; burritos painted with salsa and more crema; fajitas sizzling from direct cast-iron heat. And there was tequila.

It may be easy to categorize Mexico 2000 as just another Mexican restaurant, but the spot should actually be your new favorite in Brooklyn. Here’s why:

  • There’s a big backyard with comfortable wooden tables, umbrellas and bulb lights strung overhead at night.
  • Delicious and affordable pan-Mexican food.
  • Affordable prices.
  • Free tequila on your birthday (and Cinco de Mayo! This week!)

Sergio Romero, a former server at Delmonico’s Restaurant in Lower Manhattan, opened Mexico 2000 two years ago with Adrian Mejia, the owner of the Mexico 2000 Grocery, located just two doors up the block. The Puebla, Mexico native worked both front and back of the house in the early days. (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.

04/27/17 1:11pm

April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, right? With climate change, random 90-degree days in April, freak snow storms in March, I don’t know what that means for horticulture, but I can tell you that the month ahead is looking pretty solid for plain old culture, particularly as public art season in New York City springs into full bloom. Here are 10 movies, exhibits and events to check out this month. Admittedly, it’s a little book-heavy, but you know, reading, it’s awesome.

10. Twin Peaks, Showtime, May 21

It is happening again. I’m curious to know if this new iteration of Twin Peaks will win any new fans, or if the same folks who were baking cherry pies and brewing pots of coffee for viewing parties back in the early 90s are the primary audience here. The series was so far ahead of its time when it debuted in 1990, but if you take the first season and re-pace it in your mind into a now-typical 10- or 12-episode arc, it’s a perfect fit. Television has finally caught up to David Lynch, let’s see what he does with it. (more…)

04/27/17 11:00am

Sponsored By BRIC.

BRIC is a nonprofit arts and media cultural organization that presents free and low-cost programming to the community.

Created By BlankSlate

At the next #BHeard Town Hall at BRIC this Friday, April 28, a group of veteran journalists will discuss the consequences of hostilities between President Trump and the mainstream press—and what can be done about it.

Hosted by Brian Vines, senior correspondent at BRIC TV, the Town Hall will feature Kyle Pope, editor in chief of Columbia Journalism Review; Naomi Wolf, author, political activist and co-founder of the Daily Clout; Ali Gharib, chief politics editor at Mic; Sheryl Huggins Salomon, senior editor-at-large at The Root; and Walter Mosley, novelist and social commentator (pictured below).

The panel will use as a launching point the idea that public trust in the media has hit a new low — according to a recent Gallup Poll, 64 percent of Americans say “fake news” has left them confused about basic facts. (more…)

04/26/17 5:01pm

Check out Onderdonk House this weekend.

It’s another wet Wednesday in early spring, but never mind the rain–we’ve got galoshes and a carefully curated list of awesome stuff happening in Brooklyn over the next Ideal Week. Before we get to all that though, I have to share some exciting news, which is that after a year of sweaty workouts at the Y on 9th Street, I finally crossed paths with the mayor and his security detail there last night! Still no insight as to why he makes the commute from the UES for the Y, which it should be said was keeping its women’s locker room at a balmy 97 degrees yesterday, but it was fun to see De Blasio navigating the same tangle of treadmills and ellipticals that us hoi polloi toil away atop on a daily basis.

In other news, did you read about the new bar in the East Village that donates all of its proceeds to causes threatened by Trump and his unscrupulous, out to lunch band of hooligans? Coup, which is brought to you by the cocktail experts behind Death & Co. and Amore y Amargo, is the city’s first not-for-profit bar, and it’s an opportunity to streamline ritual happy hour de-stressing and your need to partake in some feel-good activism.

This weekend, the perennially popular Sakura Matsuri Festival hits the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, with over 60 events and performances celebrating Japanese culture and cherry blossom season taking place over both days. As I mentioned in a previous post, the crowds at this event can get pretty intense, especially in the afternoon, so it might be worth trying another option this year: The New Amsterdam Festival in Ridgewood. (You’ll be hearing us extol Ridgewood’s virtues again soon–we’re headed there for the first Immersion of the season June 3!) The Ridgewood Historical Society and House of Yes are teaming up to celebrate Dutch history and culture in style, with food, interactive arts, lawn games, an artisan market, a bier garten, and LOTS of tulips. It’s going down from 11am-9pm on both days at the beautiful and historic Onderdonk House property which, if you haven’t seen it, is definitely one of those things that you won’t be able to believe exists in the middle of New York City.

And finally, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Nitehawk Cinema will be screening Three Amigos! next weekend, complete with live music from a Grammy-nominated all-female mariachi band and a special brunch menu featuring the breakfast food of the gods, chilaquiles. The show starts at 11:15am on both May 6 and May 7 and costs $16 per person, and tickets will probably sell out so we’re giving you a heads up now.

In the meantime, please take a gander at our picks of goings on about town in the week to come. Stay dry today and make this an Ideal Week to remember. (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.

04/26/17 11:33am

Sponsored By BKLYN DESIGNS.

BKLYN DESIGNS is Brooklyn’s premier design event showcasing a cross section of design, architecture and art.

Created By BlankSlate

The creative spirit that has made Brooklyn a world-class destination for artists, architects, designers and those with excellent taste is at the center of BKLYN DESIGNS, a three-day celebration coming to Greenpoint May 5-7.

Founded by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in 2003, the borough’s premier design event will pack the Brooklyn Expo Center with a diverse array of exhibits, pop-up lounges, installations, demos and family-friendly programming. (more…)

04/25/17 2:24pm

Yesterday marked four years since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh claimed the lives of 1,132 garment industry workers when the factory building they were in collapsed. Brands like Zara, Walmart, Joe Fresh and The Children’s Place were all found to have been producing clothing at Rana Plaza.

Fashion Revolution Week, April 24-30 this year, is a movement to demand clearer supply chains and safer working conditions, and asking fashion brands for a greater commitment to cleaning up the production of clothing, which is one of the biggest industrial polluters in the global economy.

The truth is that there is enough clothing on the planet to keep us all warm and dry well into the future. Not participating in fast fashion by curbing your shopping habit, or hitting vintage and thrift stores is the best way to reduce waste. You can also shop with these ethical fashion companies that provide safe working conditions and living wages for workers.

Another tactic is to shop local.

New York City was once the capital of the garment industry, and it was also one of the centers of the workers rights movement, which was galvanized, in part, by the horrible tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The women, largely Jewish and Italian immigrants, working at Triangle were sewing a fast-fashion forerunner–the fitted, puffy-sleeved tops that were essential to the Gibson Girl look. Different century, same story as Rana Plaza.

Today, the fashion industry is still alive and well in New York City, but most off-the-rack pieces are constructed thousands of miles away in Vietnam, China and India. There are still a handful of garment factories in the city though, and increasingly young, quality-obsessed companies that sell primarily online or in pop-ups are producing New York-made garments that you can feel good about buying and wearing. As a rule they’re more expensive than your average Gap tee, but of course they are. They pay your neighbors a living wage. Here are a few of our favorites. (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.