It may come as a surprise but yes, there is a day recognizing one of our favorite caffeinated beverages.

In 2014, the International Coffee Organization declared October 1st as International Coffee Day, with National Coffee Day being celebrated two days earlier on September 29th. Both days give coffee lovers an occasion to celebrate their favorite beverage, which just so happens to be the most consumed drink in the world, as well as a great way to learn more about this ancient drink.

With a very long history, the start of coffee can be traced back to around 700 AD. As time progressed, so did coffee itself, receiving more attention and eventually progressing into the drink it is today. These days the caffeinated beverage is regarded as one of the greatest crops. It’s safe to say, coffee lovers have been enjoying their favorite “Cup O’ Joe” for a very long time!

If you are an avid coffee drinker, then you know what it feels like to smell the aroma of a freshly brewed pot. Day in and day out people all over the world wake up anticipating that first sip. Whether you need that first cup the moment you wake up, to get the day started, or even to help you make it through the day, there are so many ways to enjoy all of the different kinds of blends.

Did you know….

Nowadays, there are many different kinds of coffee to choose from. Whether you enjoy a latte, a cappuccino, an espresso, or maybe an Americano, the different blends, strengths, and flavors provide coffee lovers with an array of options.

With National Coffee Day right around the corner, what better way to celebrate than to try a a new coffee inspired recipe, a new flavor, or even a completely different brew than you normally drink.

Along with the larger coffee chains, there are many wonderful local coffee shops where you can grab your favorite brew. Brooklyn is filled with endless choices so ask around, check out your neighbored, or do a search online to discover some of the borough’s popular spots and hidden gems. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a few local shops to help you celebrate the day.

Sey CoffeeLocated in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the cafe offers coffee lovers a unique experience. With it’s bright and airy atmosphere, this contemporary micro roastery serves a variety of the most dynamic and complex coffee selections.  18 Grattan Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Brooklyn PerkServing up peace, love, and unity along with their coffee, this local coffee shop, located in the Prospect Lefferts-Gardens section of Brooklyn offers cool vibes and a wide assortment of caffeinated beverages to choose from, along with a selection of sweet treats. 605 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Cup of Joe Coffee Co. – This vintage-inspired boutique coffee shop offers its customers the feel of a neighborhood cafe with the convenience of a quick service shop. Here you’ll find only the highest quality beans that are freshly roasted to perfection. 7407 5th Avenue, Brooklyn,NY  11209

Social House CafeThis Williamsburg cafe offers not only an array of different coffees (the beans are imported directly from Italy) but their fall lattes, which include Nutella, lavender, and white chocolate, are the talk of the neighborhood. Along with your coffee, you can pick up a delicious French pastry or take a seat and enjoy a dish from their brunch menu. 60 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY  11249

Pep Bakehouse and Coffee Shop – With four locations within Brooklyn, Pep Bakehouse and Coffee Shop is a true artisan bakery, serving up fresh croissants and pastries daily using only fresh, local, and natural ingredients. And when it comes to their coffees, they work with the best Italian and Columbian manufacturers. From the wide assortment of baked goods, chances are you won’t be leaving empty-handed.

To help celebrate this caffeinated holiday, the Brooklyn MLS has teamed up with some local coffee businesses in bringing you some of the finest roasts. From September 29th – October 1st, we’ll be giving away one coffee basket per day. Participants will have the chance to win one of the following three:

To enter, follow the Brooklyn MLS on Instagram and Facebook. Like our post, comment, tag a friend or two (more tags = more entries). Share the post to your Instagram story for extra entries!

 

However and wherever you choose to celebrate, Happy National Coffee Day!

It’s finally here, moving day! Whether you’re heading into a new home or apartment, the excitement, and stress that comes along with the process is one that cannot be avoided.

Did you know that moving is consistently rated as one of life’s most stressful events? It ranks right up there with death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, etc. Even if your move is a happy one, it doesn’t lessen the stress that comes along with it. It is still a massive disruption of your routine, combined with all that is familiar to you. And no matter how well you plan, that feeling will not change.

Now, you’ve spent weeks (maybe even months) planning and packing, so when the actual day arrives, you’re bound to be in overdrive. Along with all of things you’re going to have to take into consideration, if you’re a pet owner, add another item to your pre-moving check list.

If you think the process is tough, imagine just how stressful it can be for your pet. Dogs especially can easily become stressed out when there is unexpected activity in the home, or even when introduced to a new environment.

Animals are creatures of habit, and for them, change, no matter how big or small we think it may be, can be both confusing and stressful.

So while you’re planning out the specifics for moving day, it’s important to also plan ahead for your pet. In order to ensure he or she is relaxed, and safe, on the big day, we’ve compiled a few top tips to help make the move a success for all members of your family.

Contact your vet

If you’re moving out of state, or out of the local area, contact your vet to obtain your pet’s medical records along with any current prescriptions. Part of relocating involves finding new doctors and that includes a new veterinarian. Ask your current vet if they can recommend a new doctor before beginning to do so on your own.

Plan Ahead

Prior to moving, it’s a good idea to visit your vet. According to Dr. Rachel Barrack, Founder of concierge veterinary practice Animal Acupuncture, you should make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations. If you’re traveling by air, Dr. Barrack stresses the importance of checking with the airline beforehand to confirm all necessary paperwork prior to the day of departure. If traveling by car, make sure your pet is used to their crate and plan ahead for bathroom and water breaks.

Pack An Accessible Bag for Your Pet

Included in your pet’s to-go bag should be a leash, bowls for food and water, food, medications, wee-wee pads or litter box, bed, and favorite toys so when you get into your new home you won’t be rummaging through boxes, Dr. Barrack points out.

Keep pets away from the action

One of the best ways to help your pet remain calm is to keep them in a quiet area although that might not be possible on moving day. You don’t want them getting underfoot or accidentally getting out. A good idea to consider is either boarding for a night or two or doggy daycare. If that’s an option you’d like to explore, Brooklyn is home to a variety of options. A few local places include:

Keep in mind, before your pet is able to board or spend the day in daycare, most animal facilities require the animals go through an evaluation to ensure they’re a fit, and to protect the safety of all the animals already at the facility. All vaccinations will need to be up to date as well so make sure to find out from your veterinarian which ones your pet will need. And lastly, some months may be more popular than others at the facility, so once you have your moving dates, call to reserve your pet’s spot.

Move the house before you move your pet

Set up as much of your new home as best you can before introducing your pet to his or her new digs. Let them slowly adjust to their new surroundings. Re-introduce familiar objects and make sure to give your pup lots of attention in the process. You can even walk them from room to room to take in the new scents they’re sure to pick up on.

Update information

Once you’re settled, make sure to update your new contact information. That includes notifying your vet, ordering new ID tags, and if your dog is microchipped, calling the company and ensuring they have all of the new and most current information.

Stick to a Schedule

Dr. Barrack stresses the importance of sticking to a schedule once the move is complete. Even though you’re in a new place, sticking to their usual eating, exercise, and sleeping schedule as best as possible will help to minimize the stress.

Most pets love predictability and routine, so a move can throw them into a tailspin. Change can be confusing and stressful so be mindful of their needs as you prepare your move.

And most importantly, Dr. Barrack stresses the importance of being patient. Once you arrive at your new home, it will often take even the most well-behaved pets a few days to adjust to their new surroundings.  Consult with your vet as well on the best ways in which to ensure a smooth transition.

It’s that time of year again, and along with the weather getting warmer and the promise of sunnier days ahead, cities around the country have begun to reopen. New York City recently made a full re-open and residents couldn’t be happier.

While it may take some time to fully re-acclimate ourselves into certain activities enjoyed pre-COVID, it’s a breath of fresh air to begin getting back to some form of normalcy. With restrictions lifted, Brooklyn businesses are ready to fully welcome back both residents along with those who live outside the borough, and what better way to do so then through local community events?

Last spring and summer were tough when it came to hosting events, and while some businesses were able to do so on a smaller scale, if at all, this year is looking brighter. Weekends no longer have to only be spent in your own backyard, now they can be enjoyed exploring the fun and unique things Brooklyn has to offer.

If you’re looking to show the borough some love, then what better way to do so then to spend the day (or night) with family and friends enjoying some of these fun-filled outdoor activities? We’ve rounded up some great ways to have a good time without having to travel too far from home.

Skyline Drive-In

Who doesn’t love a good movie and a little nostalgia? The Skyline drive-in movie theatre located in Greenpoint is a bit reminiscent of the popular drive-in theatres from the 1940’s and ‘50’s. As the sun sets and cars get situated in their spots, movie goers can enjoy some of their favorite flicks along with a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline. And what is a movie without some popcorn and snacks? Well don’t worry because this cinema experience has got their guests covered with concessions stands filled with drinks, eats, and treats!

Brooklyn Cyclones

As one of America’s favorite pastimes, baseball stadiums are welcoming back fans and what better way to spend a weekend then rooting on your favorite neighborhood team. The Brooklyn Cyclones stadium, located in Coney Island, is ready and excited to welcome back their fans. Along with in stadium seating, fans can also enjoy a game from the luxury suites or on the rooftop. And to kick off the season, we’re giving away six box seat tickets for a Cyclone’s game in June to celebrate the start of baseball and the beginning of summer. Keep a look out for the giveaway announcement on our Instagram to be entered to win!

 

Spill the Tea Comedy

They say laughter is the best medicine, and what better way to spend a night then attending, “Spill the Tea” an outdoor comedy show located at the only outdoor amphitheater in Williamsburg. Featuring some of the best stand-up comedians in NYC along with comedy professionals, entry into the event is free.

The Tiny Cupboard

If you want to keep the laughter going then head on over to The Tiny Cupboard, an underground/aboveground performance venue located on the border of East Bushwick and Bed-Stuy.  A tiny art studio, comedy church, and a large rooftop is used as a performance space and this summer the rooftop comedy shows are back. In addition, the rooftop comedy festival, hosted by The Tiny Cupboard and Penthouse Comedy Show, is going to be held from August 26 – 29th and will include live stand up shows, podcasts, and lots of laughter.

The Paint Place

If you’re looking for something fun for the whole family, head on down to the Greenpoint Terminal Market for some outdoor painting classes. Hosted every Saturday, experienced artists will help guide you in creating a one of a kind work of art to take home. Fun for all ages and experience levels, The Paint Place hosts a variety of themed events, from bachelorette parties and showers, paint and sip, and private parties for kids, there is a whole host of fun filled classes to choose from.

Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra

If you love music, then the Brooklyn Symphony orchestra should be on your summer to-do list. Founded in 1973, the orchestra is made up of a mix of talented amateur, semi-professional, and professional musicians. On the third Sunday of each month during the summer you can head on over to the BSO for a family-friendly outdoor concert at the Brooklyn Museum. The concerts are free and tickets are not required to attend.

Artists and Fleas

The fleas are back! This creative community of sellers is ready to welcome back shoppers looking for creative and unique finds. With two locations in Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Dumbo, what better way to spend an afternoon then with some shopping. Whether you’re searching for fashion, art, vintage finds, there is something for everyone at the outdoor fleas. With different sellers each week, the treasure finds are endless.

American Princess Cruises

Do you want something unique and different for the weekend? Why not spend the afternoon whale and dolphin watching aboard the American Princess Cruise line which leaves out of Pier 3 in Sheepshead Bay.  Now in its 12thyear, guests can set sail in search of these beautiful mammals and participate in the fun filled adventure. From helping the crew count how many whales and dolphins spotted, to capturing photos and/or video, this unique experience is definitely one way to spend the day.

In addition to these fun events, Brooklyn is filled with beautiful parks, beaches, street fairs, restaurants, and the world famous Coney Island.  If you’re looking to have a good time, you don’t have to go far to do so!

After a long, cold winter, springtime is back and bringing with it bright sun, breezy filled days, and a breath of fresh air. People feel energized and ready to tackle the tasks of cleaning and decluttering.

Spring is long considered the best time to sell a home, but before contacting your local real estate agent, you’ll want to ensure your home is squeaky clean. This goes beyond the general housecleaning chores—you’re going to want to do a deeper dive which is sure to make a huge difference to potential buyers.

Like the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and when it comes to your home, you’re going to want to “wow” potential buyers from the moment they arrive.

The outside of a home is just as important as the inside and oftentimes, buyers will have already formed an opinion before they’ve made it to the front door. Which is why landscaping, even if it’s minimal, of the front and back property should be on your to-do list.

Whether you’re looking to put your home on the market now, or just want to clean away winter’s mess, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get started.

 

Outside Cleanup 

Stage the Backyard

Steam Clean Carpets

 

Let in the Light

Deep Clean Kitchen and Bathrooms

Declutter & Organize

 

As we head out of winter and into lighter, brighter, and a bit warmer days, just about everyone is ready to step outside and breathe a little of that fresh spring air. This time of year always brings with it a renewed sense of excitement, along with a desire to get outside and enjoy the beautiful afternoons that become more frequent.

 

While thinking about all of the things you’d like to see and do, there’s no better place to look then in your own backyard, figuratively speaking of course. The borough of Brooklyn has so much to offer its residents and tourists alike. From 30 miles of shoreline, to the parks, boardwalks, shops, eateries, cultural institutions, and even the tree-lined streets, there is lots to see and do right here at home.

 

For anyone who loves learning about the history of our country, Brooklyn and its origins will keep you reading for hours upon end. Not only is the borough steeped in history, but each neighborhood has a story to tell.

 

Brooklyn is comprised of approximately 66 neighborhoods, each unique in its own way. Our neighborhood spotlight shines a light on four of the many areas Brooklyn has to offer.

 

Marine Park

Located on the western most inlet of Jamaica Bay, Marine Park is situated around Gerritson Creek, a freshwater stream that once extended about twice as far inland as it does today. In exploring the neighborhood, be sure to check out one of the oldest homes, the Hendrick I. Lott House, located on East 36th Street.

 

Built in 1720, the home is now a historic landmark and in the 18th century George Washington made a stop for several days on the land nearby.

 

The star of the neighborhood is the park which bares the same name. Marine Park is one of the largest parks and boasts 798-acres of land that stretches from Shore Parkway to Avenue U and offers its visitors a plethora of things to do. There are several miles of nature trails, a baseball diamond, cricket fields, tennis, basketball, and bocce courts along with several playgrounds to explore. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can paddle a kayak out on Jamaica Bay.

 

When it comes to places to eat, there is no shortage of choices in this neighborhood (or any in the borough for that matter). On your next visit to Marine Park, check out some of the following places:

Milk and Honey Cafe – Serving up a variety of brunch/lunch options, Milk and Honey cafe also features a fun take on outside seating with their heated Cinderella Carriage pod. Reservations for the carriage are a must!….1119 Newkirk Avenue

 

The Waffle Box – Home of the “Best Rotisserie chicken and waffles,” this local eatery is serving up comfort food with a Caribbean flare. Salads, milkshakes, and ice cream cones are just some of the delicious offerings you’ll find on the menu….1682 Flatbush Avenue

 

Randazzo’s Clam Bar – Calling all fish lovers!!! A neighborhood staple for over 50 years, the history of how Randazzo’s Clam bar came to be dates back nearly a century. The family has been a part of the seafood business since the 1920’s and since then each generation continues to carry it on. An old school vibe that is causal and comfortable is just one of the many reasons diners keep coming back for seconds, and thirds….2017 Emmons Avenue

 

Park Slope

Located within the area once known as South Brooklyn, the Park Slope neighborhood was mostly farms and woods until the 19th century. Today, historic buildings still remain and it is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the borough. Top-rated restaurants, bars, shops, organic food markets, the Brooklyn museum, and the Conservatory of Music can all be found when exploring the area.

 

Along with great food and shops, you’ll also find picturesque sidewalks and a neighborhood that emits a small-town vibe; it feels a lot more suburban than some of the other Brooklyn neighborhoods. The tree lined streets are home to beautiful co-ops and brownstones which add to its charm. It truly is “laid back living” here in Park Slope.

 

A highlight to the area is Prospect Park, the Central Park of Brooklyn. Due to its vast size, the park is situated between multiple neighborhoods. It spans approximately 526 acres of land and contains dozens of monuments and statues of notable figures.

 

The park officially opened in 1867 and it was during the American Revolutionary War it was the site of the Battle of Long Island (aka the Battle of Brooklyn).

 

After a visit to the park, check out some of the local eateries the neighborhood has to offer:

Union Hall – This 5,000 square foot facility is a bar, restaurant, and live music and comedy venue all rolled into one. Union Hall was originally a warehouse and now offers a cozy indoor atmosphere, along with two indoor bocce courts, a stately library, and a downstairs bar with music and comedy along with outdoor garden seating….702 Union Street

 

Bogota Latin Bistro – Dubbed one of the hottest Latin restaurants in the borough, this popular bistro has been serving up delicious Columbian cuisine since 2005. Along with some of their most popular drinks, margaritas and mojitos, are the signature dishes which include many kinds of Empanadas and Arepas….141 Fifth Avenue

 

V Spot – This Latin vegan restaurant serves up a selection of Latin comfort food based off of owners Danny and his brother Alex’s Columbian roots. A third partner/friend has helped the brothers to develop the business even further.  With a loyal following of customers, the V Spot restaurant is the only one of its kind in the neighborhood….156 Fifth Avenue

 

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach, often referred to as “Little Odessa,” a Ukrainian city on the Black Sea, is located within the greater Coney Island area.

 

Before being developed, the land consisted mostly of farms, but in 1868, a man named William A. Engelman purchased several hundred acres of beachfront property and named it “Brighton Beach.” Several years later, he built the Hotel Brighton, a 19th century resort for the NYC elite, along with a racetrack and bungalow colonies.

 

Although they are no longer in existence, their history lives on through photos which can be found along the neighborhood’s historic boardwalk. A few blocks from Brighton Beach Avenue you’ll find a few bungalows still remain.

 

When strolling through this waterfront area, be sure to check out some of the following restaurants:

Cafe Volna – Over 30 years in business, this local restaurant has been serving authentic Russian/Ukrainian dishes that will remind locals off their hometown. Situated on the boardwalk, it offers up a spectacular view while dining….3145 Brighton 4th Street

 

Tatiana & Tatiana Grill – Two authentic restaurants, both offering up spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean right from the boardwalk. The menu consists of a combination of Russian, French, and Mediterranean dishes.  Whether dining at the restaurant or grill, patrons can expect an authentic meal.

 

Williamsburg

One of the borough’s most exciting and trendiest neighborhoods, Williamsburg has been loved by artists, musicians, and creatives for quite a long time, especially since rents at one time were low.

 

Since the mid 90’s and the gentrification of this once working-class area, Williamsburg has become one of the city’s most desirable places to reside, especially for young adults.

 

Along with the trendy bars and restaurants you’ll find in Williamsburg, there are also many great experiences the area has to offer. As you explore, check out the following:

Williamsburg Bridge – Named after Colonel Jonathan Williams, the grand-nephew of Benjamin Franklin (also where the neighborhood received its name), the bridge is more than just a connection to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, it’s also a popular spot for people to either walk or ride their bicycle. From the Brooklyn side it offers a great view of the city.

 

The bridge first opened in 1903 to pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-drawn carriages before being able to handle both cars and trains. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge and was also regarded as one of the ugliest bridges. Its popularity is more so due to its size and usefulness than beauty.

 

Domino Park – Named after the original Domino sugar factory, this 6-acre public park, which debuted the summer of 2018 is situated along the East River. The refinery dates back to 1856 and was once the largest and most productive sugar refinery in the world, producing four million pounds of sugar daily in its heyday.

 

The site was also central to the growth of area surrounding Williamsburg, to the industrialization of the Brooklyn waterfront, and to the rise of New York City as a global economic powerhouse.

Today, visitors to the park can enjoy things like the elevated walkways, the sugar refinery playground, and the splash pad, along with grabbing a bite to eat at Tacocina, an outdoor taqueria. With sprawling views of the Manhattan skyline and Williamsburg Bridge, the taco stand offers a small menu of tacos, apps, and drinks.

 

Now that the weather’s getting nicer, you just might want to head on out and do some exploring!

Celebrated yearly, Black History Month is a time to learn and understand Black history and culture while going beyond the stories of racism and slavery to spotlight and celebrate Black achievement. It’s an opportunity for Americans to gain a greater understanding of the details surrounding a part of our nation’s history.

 

Many important events in Black history have taken place during the month of February. Prior to becoming a month-long celebration, Black History Month began in 1926 as “Negro History Week.”

 

Celebrated the second week of February, it coincided with Black abolitionist and writer, Frederick Douglas, and President Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays—two figures who played important roles in shaping Black history.

 

By the late ‘60s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement, Negro History Week was celebrated by mayors in cities across the country. By 1970, the event evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses, with Kent State being the first.

 

Six years later, President Ford recognized Black History Month, and in 1986, Congress passed “National Black History Month” into law.

 

It is important for Americans to be aware of and understand the struggle for freedom and equality not just in February, but all year long.

 

During this dedicated month in our country to celebrate the achievements of African Americans, one of the ways to do so is by supporting Black-owned business owners. The past year has been especially hard for small businesses trying to stay afloat during the pandemic and being able to show your love and support is extremely rewarding.

 

In a multi-cultural city like Brooklyn, our neighborhoods are filled with many wonderful small businesses. In an effort to turn the spotlight on these innovative owners, we’ve put together a selection of businesses you’ll want to support today and every day!

History & Culture

Weeksville Heritage CenterThis historic site and cultural center situated in central Brooklyn is rich in history. Founded in 1838, Weeksville was a free African American community, the 2nd largest in the pre-civil war era.

 

By the 1850’s, Weeksville was a farming village that was home to 525 families who lived in wooden framed houses. Today, there are three remaining homes which sit on what was once known as Hunterfly Road.

 

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that most of the homes were taken over by urban renewal plans. The Kingsborough Housing projects were built and Weeksville was absorbed in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

 

In 1968, a historian re-discovered what was left of historic Weeksville, and through his work, the Hunterfly Road Houses were declared NYC landmarks and the Weeksville Heritage Center was born.

 

Their mission is to inspire, educate visitors on the history of Weeksville, and illuminate a pivotal aspect of Black history. 158 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn NY  11213

Food & Drink

Cuts & Slices Located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, this local pizzeria is the vision of owner Randy Mclaran, who took his passion for food and a decade of restaurant experience to open up Cuts & Slices in 2018. Offering an array of innovative toppings (think chicken and waffles, jerk shrimp, and even a vegan daily special), customers regularly line up outside for a cut or slice. 93 Howard Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

 

Happy Cork Wine & Spirits The brainchild of Sunshine Foss, the entrepreneur has created a unique and different type of business for Black and minority owned wines and spirits. Happy Cork, located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, gives off a boutique feel with its charming decor. Along with wine and spirits, the store also features a small marketplace of specialty items from local makers of color and women artists.

51 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn NY  11233

Home & Design

BLK MKT VintageFounded in 2014 by Brooklyn-natives, Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy, the two entrepreneurs took their love of vintage wares along with their experience and opened a brick-and-mortar shop that specializes in heirlooms, cast-offs, and curiosities that represent the richness of Black history and lived experiences. While their store is currently closed due to the pandemic, their online shop is open for business. 465 Marcus Garvey Blvd., Brooklyn, NY  11216

 

Rituals + Ceremony A home goods and lifestyle store located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, Rituals + Ceremony is the dream of entrepreneur Sarah Williams. Filled with unique and aesthetically pleasing products, Sarah wanted to create the kind of space she herself had been looking for; one filled with all things zen. Having found most of these kinds of places owned by white people, her vision was to have a similar spot she could walk into and see a familiar face. As many businesses have faced struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the store is currently closed, but the online shop is open. 717B Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11216

Heath & Wellness

HealHausFor anyone looking to nurture their mind, body, and soul, HealHaus offers a wide range of holistic practices that will help guide you on your journey. With a shared passion for healing and a desire to create a therapeutic and inclusive space inviting for all genders, good friends Elisa Shankle and Darian Hall designed a wellness center and cafe that is warm and welcoming. With an a la carte menu of experiences like Vinyasa yoga, mindful breath mediation, and couples therapy, people can explore different experiences that will help guide them in the healing process, all while feeling supported by those around them. 1082 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY  11238

 

Brooklyn BraisedThis farm-to-table meal delivery service is the brainchild of Christa Lynch that provides seasonally inspired menus offering healthy food options. Using ingredients sourced through a network of local farmers, the meals are prepared from their commercial kitchen and delivered to all parts of Brooklyn. Seeing a need in her Bed-Stuy community for healthy food options that fit into busy lifestyles, Brooklyn Braised is a proud minority, woman-owned and operated business that supports local and minority owned vendors across the country.

Style & Beauty

Papa Rozier FarmsThis Bushwick boutique specializes in all-natural beauty products, while serving as a vehicle toward a more radical mission, to help build up Haiti. Owned by siblings Rubens Amedee and Fredeline Amedee-Benjamin, the two felt helpless after the 2010 earthquake that devastated their birth country. After starting an organic farm on rural land owned by their late grandfather, the natural, handmade beauty products are made from primary crops grown on Papa Rozier Farms in Haiti. While temporarily closed until May, all of their products can be found on their website.   96 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn NY  11237

 

Free Edge Beauty Studio – With extensive experience, Raven Voorhees runs Free Edge Beauty which takes a personalized, diligent approach to nail care. A Coney Island native, Raven provides her clientele with a natural approach to nail care, as well as educating them with her extensive knowledge. In addition to understanding what’s in the products used, clients can find designs that are unique and fun. Appointments are required and can be made directly online. 567 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216

 

Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s always a good idea to ask your potential real estate agent a couple of questions first before deciding who is the best person to help you with your real estate needs.

 

As 2021 is underway, many people are thinking about their next move. For almost a year, they’ve been working from home, and as of now, they continue to do so. And as we move forward in coming out on the other side of this pandemic, there will likely be changes in where people ultimately decide to reside due to both their interests and needs.

 

While some people attempt to tackle real estate on their own, it’s best to leave things in the hands of a professional. Not only are licensed agents experienced, they know the market and will work hard for their clients.

 

In seeking out an agent, you’ll want to join forces with someone who is trustworthy and transparent. A good listener is another important quality in an agent. Whether you’re buying or selling, having someone who will listen to your wants, needs, and concerns, plays a big part in the overall process.

 

And it is a process that often takes time, which is another reason why it’s key to connect on both a professional as well as personal level. Working with an agent is like entering into a relationship; true partnership works both ways. You want to not only feel comfortable in being able to express your thoughts freely, you also want to feel heard.

 

Regardless of the side of the table you’re on, the whole real estate process can be overwhelming at times; having a real estate agent who can shoulder some of that stress is priceless.

Each agent has their own working style, their own personality. No two are the same and what it ultimately comes down to is finding the “right fit.”  You want to feel confident when you’re signing a contract; choosing the right agent will make a world of difference in your overall experience. To help you get started, we’re compiled a few basic questions to ask potential real estate agent.

 

  1. How Will You Market My Home?

As a seller, one of the reasons for hiring a real estate agent is to retain their marketing expertise. The various marketing tools agents employ aides in gaining the most exposure with prospective buyers as well as real estates agents within the area. Inquire as to what successful sales strategies they employ. Will they help prepare your space for the best possible photos and will those be professionally taken? Do they utilize social media marketing and if so, in what way? The market is a competitive one and it’s important to know just how the agent plans to make you’re home stand out amongst the rest.

 

  1. How Much is the Commission Fee?

When selling your home, it’s important to know before signing a contract exactly what percentage fee the real estate broker charges. The commission fee total is dependent upon the final sale which is taken out at closing. Keep in mind that different real estate agencies may charge a different percentage and the lowest fee does not always mean its the right choice.

 

If you are on the buying side, it’s also a good idea to know how this works. We know agents don’t work for free so understanding where their commission comes from is always helpful.

 

  1. What precautions are you taking during COVID?

Regardless of whether you’re selling or buying, you want to know what safety precautions are being taken during this time. For sellers, the thought of people coming in and out of your home can be stressful, so knowing ahead of time how an agent plans to ensure your safety is important.

 

The same goes for perspective buyers. Entering into another person’s home and potentially coming in contact with multiple individuals can be a bit unsettling for some people; knowing ahead of time the safety measures that have been put in place can ease your mind,

 

  1. What percentage of your clients are buyers? How many are sellers?

Whether buying or selling, it’s a good idea to find someone who has experience in the particular process you’re currently pursuing. Agents who work with both offer an additional value. Not only can they help in finding you a new home while trying to sell your current residence, they can provide you valuable assistance when transitioning from one place to another.

 

  1. How quickly can you help me view a home?

In popular areas, homes can fly off the market as fast as they’re listed. When you see homes you love, how quickly will the agent be able to accommodate your request? What is their schedule like and does it align with yours? Are they available to work with you full time, or only part-time? Make sure the real restate agent can accommodate your day to day needs and that your overall timeline aligns with their availability to help you get there.

 

  1. How many clients are you currently working with?

You want to be sure your agent isn’t overwhelmed and he/she has the time to dedicate to providing you the time needed. For example, if you’re selling, will your agent be available on weekends to host an open house? On the buying side, what is their availability when it comes to going out to look at homes?

 

  1. In what way will you keep in touch with me and how often can I expect updates?

Whether it’s a phone call, email, or text, make sure the agent is comfortable using the communication tool that works best for you. When it comes to signing documents, do they utilize electronic signing to make the process quicker? Time is always of the essence especially in a hot real estate market. You should also make your expectations on updates clear. Buyers and sellers often become frustrated when their agent doesn’t communicate with them as often as they’d like.

 

  1. Do they offer a recommended vendor list?

One of the many challenges in buying or selling, is knowing who you can trust for help. From lenders, to inspectors, to lawyers, a good agent has a strong network of professionals that can help you. Keep in mind that while an agent can offer suggestions, they are not requirements. Buyers and sellers have the right to choose whomever they want to work with.

 

  1. What questions do you have for me?

A good agent will ask you questions as well. They should inquire as to what your real estate goals are and be able to repeat them back to you along with an explanation as to how they’re going to help you achieve them. You want to work with an agent who understands your needs and will take all of your requests seriously.

 

Referrals are always a good starting point when looking to hire a real estate agent but in the end you must feel comfortable with whomever you choose. There is no magic number of questions to ask nor are there any right or wrong ones.  What it eventually comes down to is chemistry and connection, trusting your gut will be the deciding factor in choosing a real estate agent.

 

If there is one thing, we can all agree on is, this year has been like no other. Throughout almost all of 2020, things have looked a bit different and this holiday season is no exception.

 

As we brace for a potential second wave of COVID-19 shutdowns here in New York City, independent businesses, along with the local eateries, have shifted the way in which they operate. They have faced profound challenges throughout the year and have all had to creatively come up with different strategies to stay afloat.

 

Operating a lot differently than they’re used to has been tough, especially during the holiday season. With so much uncertainty looming ahead, it is extremely important to continue supporting the people and places we enjoy frequenting year-round.

 

Along with making customers happy, the locally owned businesses play a huge role in the economy as well as the community, moving both forward in a positive way. The success of one local business can have a trickle effect – if a business is doing well, they’ll need to hire additional staff or employees, and in turn, will look towards the community to fill those roles.

 

When shopping local, over 65 percent more of the dollar stays right in the local community compared to shopping online. Supporting these types of businesses helps keep stores open and their employees employed. Another reason why it’s important to support our local “neighbors.”

 

As we focus in on the good we can do as a community, we can support our local shops, even if it’s in a slightly different way then we’re used to. If you’re wondering how, consider some of the following ideas:

 

 

As we are days away from the holiday, there is still time to grab those last-minute gifts. Brooklyn neighborhoods are bustling with local shops and we’re sharing just a small sample of what the borough has to offer:

 

In addition to grabbing gifts (or even something for yourself) from these and other independent shops, remember to also check out your local eateries. Whether you’re looking for a meal for two, catering for a bit more guests, in search of some delicious desserts, coffees, or teas, check out some of these local spots:

 

As we close out a year that has been difficult for so many people, remember we can help make a difference by choosing small businesses.

With every holiday season comes the opportunity to spread love and cheer by giving back to the local citizens in our community. For many people, the holidays are a difficult time of year, and as a result of the current health crisis, 2020 has been especially hard on our neighbors who are experiencing poverty, hunger, and even homelessness.

 

We’ve also seen many families separated, loved ones in nursing homes isolated, unable to receive visitors, and the elderly who live alone are unable to leave their homes. This holiday season, helping those in need is more important than ever. Without our volunteers, so many of the programs available would not be possible. Whether it’s helping to pack or deliver meals, donating blood, even contributing a monetary donation, every giving gesture counts.

 

Becoming a volunteer brings about an opportunity to connect with people in your neighborhood and leaves you with a sense of purpose. It also brings a sense of teamwork and camaraderie to an organization. Giving back to others happens all year round, but the holidays are always a good time to take stock in all that you have been afforded and to pay it forward. Seeing the smiles on the faces of your neighbors or someone you’ve only just met is priceless; knowing an act of kindness is going to bring joy to another human is a gift unto itself.

 

Every city has its own volunteer opportunities, and here in Brooklyn there are many ways in which residents can give back to their community.

 

Whether you’re a first-time volunteer or someone who gives back often, we’ve put together a list of local organizations who can greatly use your help, especially during this upcoming holiday season.

ChiPs – Since around 1971, this Brooklyn soup kitchen and homeless shelter for young women and their infants has been supported by a community of neighbors, friends, and volunteers, all looking to give back to those in need.

 

Due to the current health crisis, in-person volunteer opportunities are on a very limited basis with strict requirements put in place. Despite the changes, takeaway meals will be handed out on Thanksgiving Day between the hours of 11:30am – 2pm for those in need of a hot holiday meal.

Heart of Dinner – Co-Founders and romantic partners, Moonlyn Tsai, a NYC based chef and restaurateur, and Yin Chang, actor and founder of the podcast, 88 Cups of Tea, launched the #LOVINGCHINATOWN Covid-19 relief initiative to counter the racism and isolation the Asian-American immigrant elderly have been experiencing throughout the pandemic.

Hot meals, along with care packages that include fresh produce and pantry essentials along with bulk essentials are provided on a weekly basis to those in need, with a heavy focus on the homebound elderly in Chinatown, Brooklyn, and Queens.

 

Included with the deliveries are handwritten notes written in Chinese and Korean and brown bags illustrated with messages of love and support. To aid in the relief efforts, volunteers can get involved by donating, delivering meals, illustrating brown bags, and supplying heartfelt notes.

Neighbor’s Together – This Brooklyn-based soup kitchen provides food and social services five days a week and is committed to ending hunger and poverty in some of  Brooklyn’s lower income neighborhoods.

 

This holiday season, they’ve launched their annual “Thirty Thanksgivings Campaign” which raises funds for meals served between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. All of the donations made between now and December 31st will help provide more than 1,500 healthy meals to neighbors each week. In addition, all donations made to the campaign on Giving Tuesday will be matched.

 

On Thanksgiving Day, a celebratory holiday meal will be offered. As a result of COVID-19, all meals are currently served “to-go.”

 

New York Cares – Since 1987, New York Cares has been mobilizing volunteers in response to pressing community needs. Their coat drive initiative has helped to raise more than two million coats. This year they are focusing in on providing coats to communities most affected by the pandemic. With every $20 donated, a new coat is purchased for someone in need.

 

Other volunteer opportunities include packing pantry bags, delivering meals for seniors, etc, all which can be found on their website

Maimonides Medial Center – Along with other medical centers throughout the borough, hospitals are another great place to consider both donating and volunteering your time. While they are the largest hospital in Brooklyn, Maimonides, located in Borough Park, has many different opportunities to get involved.

 

Along with monetary donations to various programs within the hospital, some additional ways in which local residents can contribute is through blood donations (temporary shortages are not uncommon during the holiday season), plasma donations, as well as supplies and other needed equipment.

 

If you’d like to contribute to Maimonides, or any other hospital in Brooklyn, the best place to find information on what is needed and how you can get involved is on their website.

Rescue City – During this time, it’s important that we also remember our four-legged friends who are always in need of support, not just at the holidays.

 

In an effort to protect the dogs who are abandoned and abused, Brooklyn-based rescue group, “Rescue City,” works tirelessly to place loving pups in their “fur-ever” home. Their mission is to save the lives of dogs in desperate need wherever they are located and to spread public awareness against animal cruelty and overpopulation.

 

In order to achieve their goal, they are always in need of donations to help make their mission a success. Donations can help feed and medically care for the pups until they are adopted. Other volunteer opportunities include lending time to roles that are a bit more “behind the scenes.” To learn more about how you can get involved check out their website.

 

Regardless of whether you decide to get involved by making monetary donations to causes and organizations most important to you or if you’re able volunteer your time in person, being able to help others less fortunate is what the holiday season is truly all about.

When talking about the city of Brooklyn, one can’t help but acknowledge the fact that it is a melting pot of many different cultures which is one of the reasons why the borough is a sought-after destination.

Of the many different ethnicities that make up our country, Hispanics are the nation’s second-fastest-growing racial or ethnic group, making up roughly 18% of the nation’s total population.

According to data from The Pew Research Center, the overall total reached 60.6 million in 2019 and based on the 2010 Census, 19.8% of Brooklyn’s population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

Hispanic Heritage month, which runs between September 15th and October 15th, marks the celebration of a culture that has seen, and continues to see, great strides and accomplishments.

Originally established as Hispanic Heritage week in 1968 as a celebration that recognizes the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came to this country, it then became a month-long celebration back in 1988.

 

Interesting Fact – September 15th was chosen as the start date because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Hispanic countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

 

Over the years, there have been a great number of trailblazers and history makers who have paved the way in a variety of outlets, some names more recognizable than others.

People like Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic female astronaut (she visited space four separate times), Lizzie Velasquez, an anti-bullying advocate, Sylvia Rivera, a Venezuelan-Puerto Rican transgender person who fought tirelessly for LGBTQ rights and is credited with putting the “T” in the acronym LGBTQ, Berta Caceres, a leading environmental and human rights activist who spent her life fighting for the rights and land of the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras, and the notable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a groundbreaking figure in modern politics.

Big name stars like Rita Hayworth, Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and Christina Aguliera, to name just a few, have come out of Brooklyn or the surrounding boroughs, and went on to be a force in their respective fields.

When we speak of Brooklyn being a melting pot of cultures, there are quite a few neighborhoods with a strong Hispanic presence. Bushwick, a neighborhood originally founded by the Dutch, became predominantly Hispanic by the late 20th century, and today has the largest Hispanic community, many of whom are Puerto Rican with some Dominican and people from South America.

 

Interesting Fact – Approximately 80% of the neighborhood population is Hispanic and the dominant language spoken is Spanish.

 

Other areas with a strong Hispanic presence include:

East New York, originally founded as the town of New Lots in the middle of the 1600s, began to see a rise in the Hispanic community towards the latter part of the twentieth century.

Sunset Park, a sparsely developed area in the late 19th century, but one that would be called home by many Hispanic and other immigrant groups by the 21st century.

Williamsburg, an area that has not only gone through gentrification since the late 1990’s but has always welcomed numerous ethnic groups within the enclaves of the neighborhood.

Red Hook, originally a prosperous shipping and port area in the early 20th century is now home to many ethnic groups including Hispanic.

Puerto Viejo Dominican Bistro in 1940 Brooklyn NY

Along with the multi-cultural neighborhoods that many Brooklynites call home, the borough is also filled with an array of Hispanic-owned businesses which allow both residents and out-of-towners the opportunity to experience the culture.

With a wide array of culinary options, there are quite a few neighborhood restaurants to try. And despite the numerous obstacles businesses have faced over the last several months due to the worldwide pandemic, these tried and true neighborhood gems have continued to serve their patrons. Some establishments to check out include:

Puerto Viejo – This Dominican Bistro has been a neighborhood staple since 1986. Serving up authentic dishes using only the freshest ingredients, a meal at Puerto Viejo will leave you feeling like it came straight from your kitchen. – 564 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11238

Love, Nelly – Serving Columbian inspired sweets, Love, Nelly, located in East Bushwick, pays homage to co-owner and baker Stephanie Gallardo’s mom. All of the sweet treats are reminiscent of the childhood memories Stephanie has of visiting family in Columbia and South America. – 53 Rockaway Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11233

 

Casa Ora – This farm to table restaurant not only serves up some home cooked Spanish food, it is also focused on bringing the beauty and nature of Venezuela to NYC. In an effort to give back, Casa Ora donates a portion of their revenue to families forced to seek asylum due to lack of human rights. – 148 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, NY  11206

 

Devocion – Launched in 2006, Columbian born Steve Sutton set out to bring his customers the freshest coffee imaginable. With not one but three cafes, (Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Flatiron District in NYC,) this farm-to-table coffee can also be ordered directly from Devocion’s website for anyone who cannot make it to one of the three locations.

 

While these are just a few places within the various Brooklyn neighborhoods, authentic Hispanic cuisine can be found throughout the entire borough.

As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, it’s important to learn more about the people and brands whose roots are embedded in the Hispanic culture and continue to break down barriers, along with the pioneers who helped pave the way for others to follow.

Loading...