01/30/15 10:50am


A very important hearing was held yesterday morning at City Hall. And bear with us, because there’s a lot of complicated stuff going on here, but you will feel way, way more informed about the current state of affordable housing in this city if you take a deep breath and listen up for this twisted tale. The City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings met for a hearing regarding a lil’ old tax exemption called 421a. Sound familiar? Probably not unless you’re a real estate dork, local politician, billionaire developer, or affordable housing activist.

But 421a is something every New Yorker should understand, because it’s a program that in 2014 alone ate up $1 billion in foregone tax revenue. Yep: $1 billion. That’s the city’s largest tax cash cow when it comes to housing. What’s more, critics of the tax incentive program say that luxury condo developers are seeing undue benefits from a program that’s functioned under the guise of an incentive for developers to build affordable housing.

The program has generally been approved and re-approved in the past, but on June 14th of this year 421a is set to expire and there’s a chance that representatives in Albany won’t vote for its renewal. The change could have enormous consequences for the real estate market, and some say it could even threaten affordable housing development, but as Council Member Jumaane Williams said on Thursday: “The way that it exists now is a debacle.”


01/30/15 9:47am


Crazy Legs Skate Club, the last remaining roller disco in Bed-Stuy, has been shut down. The weekly roller-skating club, which was held in the gym of a Salvation Army center on Kosciusko Street, had been operating for six years on Wednesday nights, one of the last remaining places for adults to get their disco skate on after the closing of Empire Rolling Skate Center in Crown Heights in 2007. (We reported on a night in the place just last September.) But it looks like the die-hard roller skating fanatics are losing their weekly fix: As of January 1, the club has been kicked out of its space.


01/29/15 5:07pm
Your new apartment, probably (via Wikimedia Commons)

Your new apartment, probably (via Wikimedia Commons)

In case you had plans to go outside this weekend, you might want to seriously reconsider, or at least break out that extra-serious fur hat. The city’s Office of Emergency Management has sent out a weather advisory because things are about to get really serious  starting tonight. Like “dangerously frigid” serious. Like temperatures bottoming out in the teens with windchill hitting between five and ten below zero. That’s negative ten.


01/29/15 3:52pm

Paris via Wikipedia

In the last ten years or so, if Americans have been told one thing over and over about France it’s this: The French do everything better. From raising children (or, you know, bébés) to dieting to the amount of vacation time they get, the French apparently have everything all figured out. It would be enough to cause an inferiority complex among the most secure people, and so, luckily enough, most Americans have remained immune to the seductive lure of Francophilia, choosing instead to raise kids the ‘Murican way—fat and with little free time. (more…)

01/29/15 1:56pm


Miranda July and Lena Dunham at BAM photo by Rebecca Greenfield c/o BAM

Miranda July and Lena Dunham at BAM
photo by Rebecca Greenfield c/o BAM

“Are you here for the Miranda July event?” the woman asked my companion, grabbing him by the arm. “I’m from New York magazine and we’d love to take your picture and ask a few questions.”

There aren’t many literary events that have New York staffers staking out photogenic attendees, but this wasn’t just any literary event; this was Miranda July in conversation with Lena Dunham (“Brooklyn’s own,” as she was introduced) on the occasion of the release of July’s new book. The event took place at BAM, and had, I was told, “sold out in a second.” And while my friend (who had declined to appear in New York, because he didn’t feel like signing the model release, and because the room he’d been taken to for photos was, he thought, “too quiet”) was surprised that the New York staffer had described the night’s program as being a “Miranda July event” rather than a Lena Dunham one, it was soon pretty clear that the audience had indeed come mainly for July, who was greeted with wild cheers and applause the moment her name was announced from the stage. (more…)

01/29/15 1:48pm


Oh cool, guys, as if the L train wasn’t unpleasant and gropey enough: For six straight weeks, starting on April 11, no L trains are going to run between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue on weekend. Yep! No L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn until late May. Hope you didn’t have any plans to leave Williamsburg/Bushwick, because that will not be happening, unless you want to contend with the shuttle bus from the Lorimer Street stop to the J/M/Z. Or, you know, the G train.


01/29/15 1:06pm


I ain’t afraid of no ghost. I ain’t afraid of no Ghost Bottle, neither. While I prove the former assertion nightly by watching episodes of The Real Ghostbusters on my iPad before bedtime, my first demonstration of the latter was attending an installment of Brooklyn Brewery’s Dinner Party series last September.

A stationary contrast to The Mash, an annual worldwide tour of weeklong festivals, Dinner Party is headquartered monthly at Humboldt and Jackson in Williamsburg. This provides a base for Brooklyn Brewery’s chef, Andrew Gerson, to showcase beer-paired dishes “inspired by the unique ingredients and talented producers found in our local community.” The first dinner partnered Gerson with Momofuku Culinary Lab’s Kaizen Trading Company, and the second with Brooklyn Grange. I attended the third, which celebrated a milestone at the brewery: Garrett Oliver’s 20th anniversary as brewmaster.