Monday, September 19th, 2011

A Report from the Occupation of Wall Street

Zuccotti Park is a well-manicured, block-long park in the heart of New York City’s financial district that, for the past two days, has been home to a few hundred squatters, anarchists, activists, students, a few drug addicts, several undercover cops and one lone man in a suit. Alternately calling themselves Occupy Wall Street or Take Wall Street or the 99%, they have set up camp, spending the night on rolls of cardboard, yoga mats and bare concrete, as a protest against the abuses carried out by various financial institutions and banks against the people of this country.

The protest, loosely organized by Adbusters and the internet activist group [...]


Welcome to the Hipocalypse

What, you thought we’d been canning our own goods for fun? That we set up farms on the roofs of buildings because we had nothing better to do? Carved “artists' lofts” out of crumbling factories because they’re so much more aesthetically pleasing? Let me let you in on a little secret here: for any disaster that's coming, the young Brooklynites? We’re ready to survive it.

We’ve already been experimenting with setting up our own sustainable communities. In fact, you may have read about them in the New York Times, in articles such as “A Commune Grows in Brooklyn” or pretty much any other Styles-section article with “Brooklyn” [...]


How to Plan a Road Trip

You're going on a road trip? Marvelous idea! This classic American adventure is a wonderful way to see unique parts of the country, travel to new and interesting places and, according to a number of movies I’ve seen on the Lifetime channel, find yourself while escaping a negligent and/or abusive husband.

Since road trips involve traveling large distances and operating fast-moving motor vehicles, a few steps of precaution are always necessary. But remember: whether it’s driving west on highway 24 from Manhattan, Kansas to see the world’s largest ball of twine, or finally conquering anorgasmia in a dirty motel room with a cowboy or cowgirl who might steal all [...]


How to Pick Up a Hipster Girl

I'm not sure why you'd actually want to know how to pick up a young hipster woman. We're all too-skinny obnoxious know-it-alls who sneer at you for listening to last year's Billboard Charts topper (unless it's Lady Gaga, of course). Maybe you like the masochism, I don't know. Maybe you have a tattoo fetish. Maybe going to rock shows and eating all-organic locally sourced beef and/or vegan meals found in dumpsters is cheaper than that new Ferrari you'd otherwise get in your quarter or mid-life crisis. Maybe you've been reading the collected works of Mystery the Pickup Artist and want to expand your repertoire (in which case, stop; [...]


Money Is No Object! The Brooklyn Free Store

Anarchist utopia has been realized. It's on Walworth Street, in Bed-Stuy, just behind the Home Depot, nestled between a clapboard house and overgrown parking lot. You'll recognize it by the pile of bikes chained outside and the trickle of community members wandering in and out on the otherwise empty block. And, of course, by the black flag with an anarchist "A" flying proudly out front. This utopia is known as the Brooklyn Free Store.

The space came into existence on July 1, and held its official grand opening on September 11. Like a Freecycle incarnate, it's a place where anyone, at any time, can leave something they don't [...]


Paris Is Incinerating

It's hot out! And this is the unofficial start of summer. Hence our series of essays this week: Here Comes Summer!

My friend Sarah [not her real name!] and I were wandering the streets of Nice, wearing 60-pound backpacks. We needed a place to stay. I hadn't made a reservation. I hadn't thought you needed to make reservations at the kind of cheap youth hostels I'd been planning on staying in. My Lonely Planet guide hadn't mentioned that part, or at least I hadn't paid attention. Let me tell you, should you ever plan on making such a trip, to a vacation destination like Nice in the middle of [...]


The Spandex Report: The Bushwick Book Club

A woman is onstage, dressed as Dolly Parton, leading the audience in a group yodel. Everyone sings and stomps, seated in the haphazard arrangement of chairs and tables scattered through the jumbled room. Records line the walls; antiques, lamps, toys and antique serving dishes that invented to gather dust in your packrat grandmother's basement clutter all available counter space. Christmas lights and dolls hang from the ceiling. Piles of books and records overwhelm the entrance.


The Spandex Report: Williamsburg Fashion Weekend

On Saturday night, about ten men and women in white body paint and blue lips were standing on a stage; they wore knitwear short shorts made from recycled sweaters. Only one was wearing a furry bunny mask but they all held croquet mallets. Surf music played in the background as styrofoam "snow" fell from the ceiling. Then Arthur Arbit bounded onstage holding a tallboy can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and welcomed us all to Williamsburg Fashion Weekend.


The Spandex Report, with Erica Sackin: The Great Bedford Avenue Bike Lane Debate

On Monday night, Pete's Candy Store-on Lorimer Street, in Williamsburg-was packed. Flannel shirts, skinny jeans and thick-framed glasses with people inside them filled every seat, blocked the door and spilled out into the street. Outside the bar, there were two cops wearing "Community Outreach" jackets and also a smattering of Hasidic men. This was because people in Williamsburg really care about bike lanes, and so they had all showed up for a "debate" about a recently-disappeared Bedford Avenue bike lane.


The Brooklyn Craft Fairs Write a Love Letter to You

Brooklyn had about 12 craft fairs this weekend, with four or five taking place in Williamsburg-Greenpoint alone. There was the 3rd Ward Fair in Williamsburg, and the Hearts and Crafts Affair at Cafe Grumpy, in Greenpoint. These are often grandiose affairs, like Etsy on acid, with DJs and gift bags, and someone serving happy hour-priced mixed drinks and Colt 45 in juicebox-size bottles. For sale, everything from clothing to recession-based holiday gifts, like keychains for keys to things you do not have. It makes sense, of course. With so many struggling artists per capita, why not connect them with the masses desperate to buy that one unique [...]


The Spandex Report, with Erica Sackin: The Underground Press

Joe is a bearded 24-year-old who tends to wax philosophical. Julian is 18 with a cloud of frizzy hair who plays drums for 13 bands. On a recent Saturday, I ran into both of them at a Bushwick swap meet. This was held in a warehouse. There were 4-dollar Bloody Marys, David Hasselhoff tote bags, used t-shirts and furniture that you could only pray didn't come from someone's bedbug-infested loft. Joe and Julian were monitoring the influx of used CDs at the swap meet's used music section. Neither can remember their first concert, only that they've always been going to shows.