10/31/14 3:14pm
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photo via Brownstoner

Crazy real estate stories abound in Brooklyn. This is just a fact of life right now. But that doesn’t mean we’re immune to whatever the latest crazy real estate story is, rather we tend to get even more surprised than ever, because new crazy stories mean we haven’t hit rock bottom yet, and that there’s still crazier things to come. (more…)

10/31/14 3:03pm

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Doesn’t a second-hand grave just sound like the creepiest possible commodity? We know, it does. But with the price of being buried in New York is soaring. Real estate, even a small patch of it, isn’t cheap. Price at Green-Wood Cemetery start out at $12,000 for a three-person grave and go up to $320,000 for full mausoleum. So in the interest of thrift, some New Yorkers are buying previously owned plots.

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10/31/14 2:20pm

Halloween the Shining bar Jack Nicholson

If you missed Hallowmeme at the Bell House last night, don’t feel bad. There are a ton of other costumed events to showcase your clever and refined sense of humor, places where people will get you. If the Halloween party of your dreams is sold out, or if you don’t feel like buying tickets to go to a bar and buy drinks, or if you just can’t commit, behold: a random assemblage of good bars with good Halloween happenings, in no particular order and for no particular reason. Happy Halloween! (more…)

10/31/14 12:23pm

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While I was planning a recent whirlwind, beer-soaked trip to Berlin, almost everyone I spoke to said the same thing: “Oh, you’ll love staying in Kreuzberg—it’s the Brooklyn of Berlin.” Kreuzberg is a well known West Berlin immigrant hub, with busy, winding streets full of beautiful old apartment buildings, Turkish falafel and Doner Kebab, young hipsters and ex-pat artists who seem completely immune to the Capitalist grind and many, many fantastic-looking bars—the place to be when it comes to Berlin’s slowly emerging craft beer scene. As soon as I deplaned and stretched my legs along X-berg’s (as it’s known to the locals) intersecting canals, I understood where these folks were coming from; for all the reasons mentioned and more, it did feel a bit like Brooklyn.

But, I thought, no one can beat Brooklyn’s beer bars, especially not some gentrifying ‘hood on the Spree river in a city known more for EDM clubs and ketchup-smothered hot dogs than artisanal products and discerning palates. Germany’s brewing history was born in the country’s southern region and, due to strict mandates like the German Purity Law, the Reinheitsgebot, which limited brewers to three ingredients (they hadn’t quite figured out yeast yet…) as well as the dominance of a few centuries-old brewing families, the German craft market has been relatively slow to cultivate. It’s not that the German people aren’t thirsty—it’s that they’re almost over-saturated with well made, traditionally brewed Pilsners, Dunkels and Hefeweizens from the same breweries that pioneered the styles. Compared to the states, there just hasn’t been as much of an impetus to innovate.

So, Brooklyn? Maybe not, but I was game to find out. To make things interesting — and to pass off a pub crawl as pertinent research — I decided to compare Berlin’s craft culture head-to-head with our fair borough’s, pitting the best brew-focused Berlin bars I could find against similarly-styled Brooklyn’s outposts in a tap-to-tap showdown. May the best pint pusher win.

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10/31/14 12:18pm

dentist

Nothing against dentists, but they are basically the Grinches of Halloween. The dudes looking after your molars are not amped about the annual influx of fun-sized Snickers bars and mini tootsie-rolls into your diet, and for probably a good reason. So a group of New York City dentists have teamed up to offer bribes to kids in exchange for some of their sweet, sweet trick-or-treating dividends. The War on Halloween is real.

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10/31/14 11:48am

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Requiring tremendous amounts of teamwork, trust, compromise and compatibility, restaurant relationships can be every bit as tenuous as marriages (and both are frequently tested by money issues). Which means that eateries—as opposed, hopefully, to marriages—are often treated like revolving doors, changing out chefs, managers and partners as readily as dishes during a new season. And The Pines in Gowanus is hardly unique in this regard; which is why it’s so odd that they’re persistently dogged by an ancient storyline—that the guys from Littleneck have a stake in the business (they sold their shares less than a year in), and chef Angelo Romano runs the kitchen (he jumped ship last September, more than a year ago).  (more…)

10/31/14 11:39am

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I’ve complained in the past about movie studios underprogramming the actual Halloween season even as many of them make horror movies a big part of their business plan. Last year, for example, the anticipated ghost sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 came out in September, while the weekend before Halloween saw Paramount deviating from its Paranormal Activity strategy in favor of Jackass: Bad Grandpa. I actually kinda liked Bad Grandpa, but the move made it clear that the Paranormal movies were not a seasonal tradition for Paramount so much as one of several low-budget components that could be plugged into a number of low-competition release dates. January gets as many, if not more, horror movies these days: Mama would have made a particularly spooky Halloween release, and the latest Paranormal spinoff came out this past January when Jackass took its place on the schedule.

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10/31/14 10:54am

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George Clinton, our nation’s greatest ambassador of funk, published a memoir lately, the amazingly titled Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?, co-written by New Yorker writer Ben Greenman. On Wednesday night, Clinton descended from his mothership powered by the universal groove (or really, Tallahassee, where he lives when he’s not touring) to talk about his book at the New York Public Library. The Clinton that stepped up to the podium was not the same as his touring persona: He looked dapper in a suit, with a polka-dot tie and striped shirt power-clashing mightily. There was no rainbow colored hair or ski mask or feathers. But Clinton brought the funk to the conversation nonetheless Topics included: Hanging out with Sly Stone, Motown, Jerry Lee Lewis, and oh so many drugs.

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