Posts Tagged ‘brooklyn’

My lease is up on July 1st. It’s June 22nd. Do I have a place to live? No. No I don’t. Is it from a lack of trying? Good lord no.

Myself and my roommate (Brooklyn Skeptic contributor ChezJJP) are two employed twenty-six-year olds. We live in a nice place in Park Slope in Brooklyn. Our landlady likes us, and sweetly told us that she didn’t want us to leave because we were such good tenants. We pay our rent on time. We have a combined income of over $80,000 a year. We’re handsome and polite. We give great massages. We floss. So why the fuck is it so hard for us to find an apartment?

Because New York is a cruel, overpopulated den of deception and chaos located several floors below the seventh layer of hell.

This is not the New York from the show Friends, where the characters live in huge, beautifully decorated apartments in lower Manhattan, paying the rent with the money they make being failed actors, waitresses and whatever the hell the weird one did. This is the New York where you have trouble getting an apartment in Red Hook (twenty minutes from a shitty subway which won’t even be running soon!) when you are the first person to see it and immediately ask to fill out an application. This is the New York where you see an apartment you like in Williamsburg and are so desperate to move in that you agree to give the landlord an $1800 deposit despite the fact that none of the light fixtures work and half of the apartment is flooded. This is the New York that turns you into a desperate, whorish shadow of the man you once saw in the mirror.

And apparently, this is the New York that makes you state the obvious in an effort to vent your frustrations. Clearly, if you live in New York, you’ve probably been through apartment searching hell (or you haven’t, in which case, you’re a jerk) and none of this is particularly eye-opening to you. But Jesus Christ! Who do you have to blow to pay too much to live in a cramped apartment in an already over-priced city???

Anyway, you’d better solve this problem for me, reader. Find me an apartment, pronto. Or else, you never know, I might move in with you and we’ll have a little You, Me and Dupree situation going on. And you don’t want that. Because that movie sucked.

Dont make me be the Owen Wilson to your Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson. Nobody wins in that equation.

Don't make me be the Owen Wilson to your Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson. Nobody wins in that equation.

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A first (and late on opening night) look at Brook-vin, the new wine bar by the crew of one of South Slope’s top wine stores, Big Nose Full Body, was a groovy experience. Reasonable prices, excellent wine selection, a tempting list of small plates, and thank god, some good tunes (in the form of PJ and some STP), are what you can enjoy at this valuable addition to the promising length of 7th avenue between 9th and 15th streets.

The decor is sober and tasteful. A long bar commands comfortable stools and most everything is wood and bricks. There are a small number of tables in front and back, and they have a patio (please please hold a spring pig roast!!). It’s comfortable and the lighting is dim. A small kitchen in the back is run by Chef Dave, who used to work in Manhattan at Savoy. Like ChezJJP and steaklover plainclothesman, he must like his meat – the charcuterie is made in house and cures in the cellar,  and his food items on the menu don’t go far beyond $10.

hannah whitaker

photo: hannah whitaker

Vintly-speaking, if you trusted the guys at BNFB across the street (and you certainly can, for my money), you can sit back, enjoy what the wine list throws at you and you can soon enough stumble home.

Brookvin’s house wine is a $8 Bordeaux-style blend that is  full bodied and jammy. and deserves some food to go with it (we weren’t able to order at such a late hour).

A $10 glass of 100% Grenache grape (Higo, Russian River Valley) offered all the bouquet and earthy notes I wanted for a Thursday late night after lots of pho and beer.

Brook-vin sports an interesting cocktail list that offers several concoctions at $10 a pop, with a make your own option below that involves their homemade vodka infusions (which is a great idea to do even in your own home). A watermelon and basil cocktail was on the subtle side.

BK commenter Boomstick ventured out earlier when the place was less crowded, and said the portions were really good and well-priced, but pretty small. A cured ham came in four slices, and there was a butternut squash spread for  toast points in place of butter.

The BNFB crew has always done an exceptional job at nailing the wine descriptions in the store, and this has carried on to Brook-vin. One of the sauvignon blancs by the glass is listed as having an aroma of tropical fruit punch, and that’s exactly what it smelled like.

Add to all this that manager Brian Mitchell is a pretty nice guy, and you can’t ask for much more in a neighborhood bar.

Check out more pics at Grub Street.

Brookvin is located at 381 7th Ave. between 11th and 12th streets in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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Be merry.

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I failed you my millions and millions of fevered Skep-Pics fans.

First off, I was in Florida for a while. And I had all these fun in the sun pics, which I spared you because I didn’t want to rub it in our collective reader’s beautiful faces. Then there was this extravagant loss of a precious collection of Brooklyn pics, like the one I posted last time, which were lost.

Enough of excuses. Let’s just have a new Skep-Pic from my personal archives.

Prospect Heights Alley

Prospect Heights

Also I will take this time to self promote. I have a new portfolio-style book of my work available. Take a look at a short preview, buy a copy, and be able to tell people that you know me back when I was still a pauper.

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*Spoilers ahead. Including the spoiler that this movie sucks.

This past weekend I somehow got tricked into seeing the Sex and the City movie. Sure, I’d seen the show before and even enjoyed some of it. I’ve found the characters amusing and some of the writing to be witty and intelligent. However of all the movies that were supposed to come out last weekend, it was last on my list. I’d read advance reviews that were mostly awful, and the movie had a two and a half hour running time. 

Before the movie, we had brunch in Manhattan. It seemed an appropriate appetizer for a movie that celebrates drinking and being classy in the big city. After some mimosas and bloody marys however, we decided to bring Bud Lights tallboys into the theater. Clearly we had thrown class out the window. By this point I had the kind of buzz going that you’re familiar with if you’ve ever had a few drinks on a sunny day in Manhattan. Life was good. The sun was shining and I was with friends. I started to think “maybe this movie won’t be so bad.” 

The theater was filled with women, gay men and the odd straight guy who was dragged to the theater by his girlfriend. The women in the audience were dressed to the nines, and looked like most of the people in the East Village now look – like they used to live on the upper east side. I myself was there with one gay man and four straight girls, none of whom seem like they would be Sex and the City’s typical audience. Anyway, we all cracked a beer, and the film commenced.

First they brought the audience up to speed with everything that had happened on the show. Charlotte had adopted a kid with her bald husband. Miranda lived in Brooklyn. Carrie was with Mr. Big. Samantha loved penises, and seemed to enjoy talking about them too. Life seemed good. But then came the problems. Samantha gets bored with her boyfriend. Miranda’s boyfriend cheats on her. Big and Carrie were getting ready to get married, but Big didn’t want to make it a big thing (oh, men…) and Carrie wanted it to be an elegant affair at the New York Public Library. Big ditches her at the wedding with a phone call (complete with slow motion shot of a cell phone dramatically falling out of Carrie’s hand and on to the marble floor), so the gals decide to go crazy and head to Mexico. This allows for jokes about Charlotte not trusting the water or food at a five-star Mexican resort, and, after accidentally drinking water in the shower, literally shitting her pants. 

It was the funniest joke in the movie.

Like Charlotte, my intentions here are not to shit all over this movie. I just found that it managed the small feat of removing all of the charm that the show had while simultaneously adding absolutely nothing of value. Jennifer Hudson shows up for about ten minutes as a young, romantic woman who hopes to find love in Manhattan only to retreat to her former boyfriend in St. Louis. The other characters, who might as well have been extras in the movie, were the men. As a guy, I’ve often been able to identify (if only slightly) with some of the male characters in the show. But they’re pretty much absent from the movie. They exist purely to fuck up the lives of these four women, by cheating, not having enough sex and calling off weddings. And the bald guy doesn’t even get to fuck anything up. Maybe your time will come in the sequel, bald guy…

Normally people say that if you go into a movie with lower expectations, there is a chance that you will enjoy it more. This was obviously not the case with me. My expectations were perilously low, and I hated it. What I can say is that everyone I know who had high expectations for the film loved it, and chances are that all of those people saw it opening weekend. So now, as the weekend is over and a new group of weekend films are set to come out, I advise you to see something else. Or, if you have to see it, bring something harder than a few tallboys of Bud Light. 


Image taken from someecards.

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Welcome to Brooklyn Skeptic’s newest (god-willing) weekly photoblogging extravaganza.

Kentile Floors Sign from 9th Street – Gowanus

Right now we are tentatively calling this “Brooklyn Skep-Pics”. Now I say tentatively because I’m open to ideas and because I worry about misleading droves of the good natured “skep” enthusiasts in Brooklyn. There’s a group of people you don’t want angry at you. If you are a lost and confused honey bee fan, please click here to be redirected.

For those of who have stuck around, let us know if you have any name suggestions and please feel free to shower my pictures with compliments.

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One Sunday matinée of Milk-n-Honey + One Monday night Foundry Theatre Free-Range Thanksgiving = Whoa! Amazing!

Sunday was the final day in the inaugural run of Milk-n-Honey, a multimedia theater piece put on by LightBox at 3-Legged Dog Theater. After interviews with eaters, chefs, pickers, doctors, food scientists, dumpster divers, farmers, and more, they came up with a series of short vignettes following a collection of stories about how food affects all these people.

Two supermarket clerks crushing on each other figure out if going on dumpster diving, urban foraging dates are romantic or gross. After regaining his taste buds from a jellyfish sting, a flavor scientist searches for the elusive flavor of light. A Mexican man takes a new job in America as a picker, trying to make the money to send back to his family while coming to terms with what it means to be living in the United States illegally. A sugar fiend gets diagnosed with diabetes, and tries to learn to navigate the supermarket without going into diabetic shock.

These stories were told in a dynamic, mobile set – supermarket shelves on wheels were whirled around to create evocative spaces. A camera mounted to a supermarket cart added a degree of meta-awareness to a scene unfolding directly in front of you.

An after show cafe featured homemade brownies by the Lower East Side Girls Club and a presentation from NYU students in an Oxfam Chapter about the Farm Bill.

After being an audience-member at Milk-n-Honey, I was thrust into the spotlight at The Foundry Theatre’s fully participatory Free-Range Thanksgiving.

Ten playwrights had been commissioned to write short plays for the event, and each of them, paired with a director, were charged with turning a dinner table of strangers into the stars of the premiere of their new work.

Each table was named for one of the plays, and sitting at “And Only Now Is It As Clear As It Has Ever Been,” I was not sure what was coming for me from award-winning playwright Carl Hancock Rux. What I was sure of was that I should take advantage of the copious amounts of free NYS wine that were provided, and get a little smashed. That was the whole idea of the event! Get everyone smashed and acting. A high school drama geek’s wildest fantasy.

When combined with a surprising and seasonal menu prepared by Chef Eric Hunter with food from Golden Earthworm Organic Farm and Roxbury Farm, and an audience made up of writers, actors, directors, and food activists, it was an exciting and totally original night.

I learned that I like Lily Flower, a pickled-tasted bundle of petals added to the salad varietals and doused with grapefruit-lemon thyme vinaigrette. To describe the savory back-of-tongue feelings from the miso-marinated local greens I drew back on the Milk-n-Honey flavor scientists’ explanation of the way our tongues and noses decipher tastes and memories. The dessert, homemade gingerbread with poached apple-rosemary sauce, was as delicious as it sounded, and possibly even more so at ten minutes to midnight and some number of bottles of wine in, as it was served.

So, congratulations to LightBox and The Foundry Theatre! These were fantastic and innovative events, and completely proactive at involving people from many and varied experiences with food, eating, living, and performing.

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