Tag Archives: brooklyn

The addictions I have had or sorta almost had

smoking sucks.

smoking sucks.

I have, at several points in my life, found myself on the precipice of addiction to various things, real or imagined. Here are the top 5:

5. Cigarettes

There were two times in my life where I actually craved a cigarette, at least craved one not just in that drunk-freshman-year-trying-to-impress-girls-who-wouldn’t date-anywhere-near-the-upper-echelons-of-my-family’s-income-bracket way. The first was during my brief but fruitful stint as a waiter at Darryl’s restaurant in Raleigh, a job I interviewed for mere days after 9/11, which is not a cultural benchmark to this story as much as it is just a relative note about how stressful and emotion-consuming time it was. That was amplified by (though no way on the same level as) the personal turmoil I was dealing with, having just quit school at GW after two years, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was all wrong, that the school did not feel even close to right for me, and was at risk of sucking me into a future of politics and polo shirts, incomparable student debt and friends who only liked you for the K Street connections you might have. Continue reading

Super Mario: 25 years reppin’ Brooklyn

Let’s say you’re in bed a little bit longer in the morning than usual due to the previous night’s very fun but very nerve-wracking stand-before-and-audience-and-talk event. Let’s say a friend recently gave you access to her Netflix Instant password, and you just realized the wealth of nostalgic 80s cartoons on the site (Voltron … vehicle edition anyone??). Maybe you notice things you’ve never seen before. Like, apparently, the Mario Bros. lived in Dumbo?

Plumbers: the first step to gentrification

via the Super Mario Bros. Super Show starring Capt. Lou Albano.


16-bit DUMBO, via lovebryan.com

Maybe you would have read about them in the local print media at the time:

Brooklyn Times was in the tank for the Marios

Apparently in 1989 Brooklyn Times, you could buy a front-page centerpiece display ad, which crowded out the lede story about a teacher’s union contract. Does anyone know if the cartoon counts as canon? My guess is not, seeing as I don’t remember Cyndi Lauper appearing in any game.

Anyway, I know it’s 10 days late, but happy 25th anniversary Mario! Who knew that when my mom bought you used from some local college kids for my fifth birthday that you’d implant yourself in our collective consciousness  be the most influential art form of our generation.

#Sigh. I’m going back to bed.

getting serious Inc.

Thanks to Christine for this one! via Inc. Magazine:

How to Open a Business in Brooklyn

New York’s biggest borough is as much a brand as a location, and it is ripe for start-ups of all stripes.

blue marble

Jennie Dudas and Alexis Miesen of Blue Marble

Jun 28, 2010

For Alexis Miesen, Atlantic Avenue had all the makings of the quintessential Brooklyn thoroughfare that combines the charm of a small town with the pace of city life. With its colorful boutique storefronts, diverse dining options, smattering of coffee shops, and antique stores, she expected to see happy families strolling along the street sharing ice cream cones.

There was one problem: There was no ice cream anywhere around.

“It’s filled with all these fantastic bars and restaurants and shops and it just has this really great kind of energy. They have all these great amenities to the community but no great ice cream shop,” she said. “This is a gap in what other people are offering.”

Less than three years later, Miesen and her partner Jennie Dundas had opened not only an ice cream shop on Atlantic Avenue, but also had rapidly expanded the franchise to two other Brooklyn locations, feeding summertime crowds that often form lines winding out the door. Blue Marble’s organic, grass-fed dairy-based ice cream has been praised on The Martha Stewart Show, CNN, and in a bevy of New York publications.

Brooklyn has become as much a brand these days as a location. Slap the word “Brooklyn” on a piece of clothing and it’s instantly edgy, and quite likely to sell. New York City’s most populous borough remains a popular place to start a business, and Miesen and Dundas are emblematic of the grassroots, DIY entrepreneurs across the borough who’ve found a niche, and a loyal fan base that helps spread their brand along the way.

The surge of creative energy, young artists and recent graduates is putting Brooklyn on the map not just for its booming music scene but also as competition with San Francisco to see who will lead the next Internet revolution.

Business owners say starting a venture in Brooklyn requires creativity, a careful study of neighborhoods, and a good deal of Web 2.0 savvy. We talked with several successful companies about why the county of Kings is a bubbling cauldron of entrepreneurship, and how to get in on the action.

READ THE REST because it’s a clip not about drinking cheap beer or black-jeans wearing rock bands for once!

Brooklyn War Stories: Casualty of the Saturn edition

Battle of Brooklyn, still being fought to this day

Moving to Brooklyn war stories: if you’re here now, you’ve got em; I’ve got em, we all do, especially Mr. Darcy, who was bounced around our fine borough like a pinball with tourette’s syndrome during his first few months and can (and maybe will?) share stories of being woken up in a sublet by cops banging down the door and a horribly unfortunate end to an ill-fated internship at certain hippness-centric magazine (hint: its name is synonymous with “lechery.”)

Buddy Alex Weisler over at Brokelyn had an interesting idea: he’s starting his senior year at Penn State soon (managing editor of the Daily Collegian too: Student journalism represent!) and noted that, for many college kids these days, Brooklyn remains the shining holy city on the hill for post-graduation adventures, “a sort of hipster paradise of bloggers, vegans, flannel shirts and facial hair.”

To throw some ice water on those raging hard-ons for Brooklyn, he’s soliciting war stories about what it’s really like to throw yourself at the mercy of the county of Kings. All told, I had a pretty good streak of luck transforming from jobless-homeless-dollarless scalawag to semi-employed semi-housed NY-license holding resident (my main goal was to tread water, and I feel OK at least declaring this one a win).

But I did have one karmic slap-around of note. I sent it to Alex to run on the site (along with my picture again, apparently. … thanks gang). As per usual, I overwrote it by far, so here’s the full version, for your enjoyment or schadenfreude: Continue reading

Underemployment, latest edition

Where our creativity goes during the day: a party planning e-mail from El Golfer,

To ring in 2010, we should celebrate the early 90s. Flannel and grunge. Not that it would look any different from Brooklyn right now….which means the theme could be the appropriate “Come As You Are.”

Man, I am a waste of talent at this job…

Friday Happy: A State Street of mind

Barry Schwartz has a mortal, inexplicable fear of Brooklyn. Barry, a former music writer, once had a Facebook status slagging off the county of Kings, and I responded, “But Brooklyn, we go hard. Or didn’t you hear?”

His response, in an attempt to demean me and associate us with that stroller-laden bastion of yuppiedom nearby, was: “I’m sure Jay Z wasn’t talking about Park fucking Slope.”

ORLY? From NY Mag’s Vulture

The address in question.

560 Stash Street

We Check Out Jay-Z’s Old ‘Stash Box’
via Vulture by Martin Mulkeen on 9/16/09

Jay-Z’s latest single, The Blueprint 3’s “Empire State of Mind,” has been blaring from plenty of cars of late, and while the soaring, cinematic tour of Jay’s rise to success, fame, and his subsequent enjoyment of the most sought-after seats at local sporting events (“I could trip a referee”) hasn’t turned rap on its head, the rapper does do something unique: He drops an actual address in among the self-aggrandizement and neighborhood shout-outs.

I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicanos
Right there up on Broadway, pull me back to that McDonald’s
Took it to my stash box,
560 State Street
Catch me in the kitchen like a Simmons with them pastries.

The whole world knows Jigga grew up in the Marcy Projects in Bedford-Stuyvesant. So why is he bigging up Boerum Hill? What exactly is at 560 State Street? Vulture investigated.

“I guess after Reasonable Doubt, it was time [for Jay-Z] to move somewhere else,” says Morgan Lieberthal, a resident of 560 State Street since 1997 (who also saw Jay-Z in concert at Madison Square Garden last week). According to him and other residents who have been there since the mid-nineties, Jay moved into apartment 10B sometime in late 1996 or early 1997.

Allowing for the obvious narrative liberties a rapper might take, the 500 block of Brooklyn’s State Street would seem to be an ideal location for a stash box. Sheltered from the roaring intersection of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth Avenue, this serene, verdant brownstone block is hidden in plain sight. It’s just steps from the busiest intersection in Brooklyn, and yet the only consistent noise is the five-times-daily call to prayer from a mosque across the block on Atlantic Avenue.

Did it seem like Jay-Z was engaged in anything shady? “That was just so not the vibe,” says Stephanie Jones, a writer and performer living in 9A since 1993. She remembers the apartment complex as an enclave for black artists at the time, including Lord Jamar of the rap group Brand Nubian and later of HBO’s Oz. She recalls a building populated with filmmakers and musicians. And Jay was, by all accounts, a cordial and respectful neighbor. “He would nod his head to you in the hallway. He’d open the door for you,” says Jones’s husband, Nathan Dudley, a Brooklyn school principal who moved into the building in 1998. “He always had a group of people with him, but not many going in and out.”

Dudley says that over the past few days he has seen kids in front of the building, awestruck and pointing, and employees at the Radio Shack around the corner, arguing over Jay-Z’s connection to the address. At the time he lived there, “he wasn’t mainstream or commercial yet,” says Jones. “He worked out of his apartment. Everyone here did. It was just a normal thing.”

For reference, here is the rough location of our apartment (B) in relation to Jay’s stash box (A). The Google Map isn’t exact and I’m workin on editing it. But as roommate Brittany put it “me and jay-z. roughing it in boerum hill, on state street, together. forever.”

so it is only appropriate that we devote today’s Friday Happy to our coulda-been neighbor, Mr. Brooklyn himself, JMZ Carter, with this song from the live MSG performance of “Empire State of Mind” last week (a song off the more or less underwhelming Blueprint 3. Sorry buddy, but beers are on us on the roof of our crash box down the street this weekend. Assuming you aren’t hanging out with another neigbhor):

Brooklyn is lousy with editors

From the recent excursion to the Score! free swap at BKLYN Yard, I encountered, in the space of an hour:

Patrick, an editor at Birkhauser (a publisher of books and journals)

Erin, an editor at Lemondrop.comJessica Belanger (l) and sister Rebecca, 20

Kristin, an editor for Real Simple magazine

Jessica, an associate editor at (“pleasepleaseplease don’t put where I work!”) Magazine

All were people I interviewed for that post on Brokelyn. And all were combing through the vast and ever expanding sea of free crap on the edge of the Gowanus.

I’ve been trying to divine whether there’s a deeper meaning to this, but I’m not sure if there is one, except maybe that everyone, from the lowly unpaid blogger to the fully employed magazine editor, appreciates the sweet offer of free, gently used goods on a sunny summer day.

The event also had a surprising dearth of homeless people, who you would figure would have been lining up at the door to pick up discarded French art prints and record players that may or may not work (and maybe some clothes) in exchange for their unused … whatevers. They must not have known about it. I mean, don’t they read the internet? How do they update their Facebook statuses? How will their friends ever know which “Martin” character they are?

Even more so than editorship, 100 percent of people I talked to shared one common trait: they all had Gmail addresses. And the meaning of that is clear: 20-somethings in Brooklyn are at least as cool as my 70-year-old grandmother.