Welcome to 2024! A new year means a new set of resolutions. Or, realistically, the same resolutions that never quite made it into last February.
Don’t worry, we have 12 fresh months ahead of us to reset and renew. This year, let’s resolve to start small and keep it local. Why? Because being a better Brooklynite should be on all of our lists. Let’s get started — with resolutions for us, and for Brooklyn at large.
Weight loss is a classic new year resolution. But if you don’t want to join some ultra elite health club, or can’t because you’re not a billionaire, then utilize the budget friendly option: walking. It’s free and these mild New York winters mean less time on subways (sitting is the new smoking) and more time on foot (or bike) burning calories and exploring the many neighborhoods that comprise Brooklyn. Grab a coffee, grab your AirPods and grab a couple thousand steps in Prospect Park, across any of the bridges, along the water under the Verrazano.
Bike lane more
To that end! The BQE is a parking lot that was once a freeway and your subway is delayed (yes, that one. Whichever one you need to get on now is the one that is delayed.) So, bike there. Citi Bike is adding more stations and bikes every year (and, ugh, adding more fees to those bikes). But used bikes can be found for $150. More pedal power will mean more bike lanes and more pedestrian friendly streets. Also, city council, if you build them, we will bike.
We all say we’re going to read a book a week and then life happens followed by a Netflix binge of a show we’ve already seen three times, but it’s “The Wire” and it’s really that good, OK? Anyhow, while you’re on your resolution walk, pop into one of the borough’s dozens of indie bookstores like Word, Better Read Than Dead and Taylor & Co. If you really want to be community minded, get yourself a Brooklyn Library card. You can read in a quiet space and avoid at home procrastination holes like cleaning or taking 500 photos of your dog that look exactly like the previous 3,000.
Affordable housing more
Just because it’s under $7,000 a month doesn’t make it affordable. If we want to keep Brooklyn cool, diverse and fun we need to resolve to make it livable for everyone. Housing lotteries with too few (and too expensive) units are making the Powerball odds look reasonable. The city can do better.
Hobby and skill more
If you just watched “Leave the World Behind” and remembered you have zero useful skills once society collapses, then it sounds like learning ceramics or woodworking is just the thing you need. Make a table at Craftsman Ave or fire some bowls, mugs or pots at Centerpoint Ceramics. Or take a class at the woman-owned Wild Captives Archery Range in Industry City. Knowing how to shoot an arrow may come in handy in an apocalypse.
Before clicking purchase on that Amazon order, stop and ask yourself if it’s sold nearby. You live in Brooklyn so there’s a good chance the answer is yes. Need a notebook, pen or paper? Stationary stores are making a comeback. On your next walk, hit up Yoseka, Paperfinger and Yours Truly. Or check out any number of vintage shops for new (to you) clothes and home goods. Rather than fund Jeff Bezos’ weird penis rocket, let’s strengthen the neighborhoods he’s disintegrating.
A Superfund sounds like an end-of-year bonus at a tech startup with too much first round capital, but it’s actually a losing battle that needs fixing now. Brooklyn has two of them: Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. Let’s resolve for zero of them sometime before 2040.
As a proudly irresponsible millennial, I refuse to give up my fancy, expensive third wave coffee habit. It is possible however to save money and enjoy a cup (or six) by making it at home. Buy whole beans and invest in some at home equipment from Brooklyn-based roasters like Variety, which operates multiple shops in Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick. Brewing at home can save you at least a thousand a year. And you can use every penny saved on triple decker avocado toasts. Take that, Boomers! The future is ours!
Travel more — at home!
It’s important to get out and see the world. Which you can do without leaving Brooklyn. Many of us forget just how big the borough is because we stick to our neighborhoods and routines. This year, let’s try a slice shop we bookmarked five years ago, or one of the many old school diners around Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst. Hit up Little Haiti in Flatbush or one of the borough’s Chinatowns in Sunset Park, Bensonhurst or Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay. While you’re way down there, pop over to Brighton Beach to Brooklyn’s Little Odessa. Did you know Coney Island has their own aquarium? No passports required.
Less tourists more
Washington Street in Dumbo is a Superfund site of tourists. Resolve to make group photos in the streets illegal. And get them off the Brooklyn Bridge while we’re at it. You know what, let’s shoot for the moon here: no more tourists period!
Less social media more
The good news is all of the aforementioned resolutions don’t require phones so leave yours at home. Start with one day a week and work up from there. They managed in the 20th century.
Inner peace more
New York City exists between inner peace and outer madness. A daily meditation can really turn down the volume and help find that balance. Find a spot in Prospect Park or Green-Wood Cemetery and just breathe. Pretty soon you’ll be doing it on your bike ride to work. Try Brooklyn Zen Center. And if you want to get experimental, take your zen into a float spa and experience nothing like never before.
Get cultured more
Sure that other borough has The Met and The Whitney, but The Brooklyn Museum is one of the biggest in the city and always boasts incredible exhibits. The New York Transit Museum, meanwhile, will show you how the city’s subways have gone from terrible to just mildly awful back to terrible. And if you really want to be a better Brooklynite, visit The Weeksville Heritage Center and learn about the earliest abolitionist movements right here in Brooklyn.
Preserve more Protections for historical landmarks, please. Brooklyn won’t have any charm left when it’s one massive Whole Foods surrounded by Sweetgreens and Shake Shacks. Resolve to leave the brownstones and ornate wrought iron fixtures alone.