Making Room for a Roommate

The reality of high rent costs in NYC means that many of us can’t afford to live alone, and often you’ll need to split rent with another person or several people. Roommates can offer cost and space efficiency and become great friends, or they can be messy, unreliable and noisy. So, before you enter a semi-long-term, committed relationship with a complete stranger, here are some screening tips.

 

1cd092b0-77ed-0132-1d4f-0a2c89e5f2f5Bills, Bills, Bills
People often say that one of the biggest sources of stress in marriage is money. The same can be said for roommates. Money conversations can be awkward but are best discussed first up. It’s a good idea to establish, before you move in or someone moves into your place – obviously, can they afford rent? Do they have a steady job or is their rent paid for by someone else? How will the bills be paid each month? Who is responsible for paying them? Who will be paying who back for what? It’s also a good idea to establish an expected timeline for payments. If you pay the full rent every first of the month, do you expect your roommate to pay you back that day? A day or two before? Or is a few days later ok?

 

Experience Necessaryfriends-cast
Just like hiring someone for a job, you want to find a roommate who has been there, done that. Ask the potential candidate about the best and worst roommate experiences that they’ve had. You can learn a lot about a person by hearing about the troubles they’ve encountered and how they dealt with them. The more you talk with the potential roommate, the more you’ll get a feel for whether or not you actually get along. Do you enjoy their company? Or can you just not wait to get out of the situation? Taking the time to talk to the person and discovering if they’re the right person, could be the difference between a friend for life that you look forward to seeing at the end of the day, or horror stories that you’ll tell at dinner parties for years to come.

 

61324c703423de5f59050915a700d9b615cf1d81Shared Space
Consider the space you’ll be sharing. Apartments where autonomy is possible (e.g. having large bedrooms or two common spaces) work best in roommate situations, however this is not always possible. If you’re moving in with a friend or your roommate will never be home, it may not matter that the space is small and intimate. Think about if the space will work with your respective lifestyles. Do they have a pet? Like being alone? Watch a lot of TV? Determine how you’re going to decorate. Who will be responsible for contributing which items to the common areas? If you or they are particular about décor, let it be known up front. Talk about things you might be confronted with within your shared space – bedbugs, bad neighbors or an unresponsive superintendent for example, and how you would deal with these together.


Right to Ruleef3c99a69f8eaea5a096dd2611578cf457bb6611
Once you’ve found the perfect roommate, it’s a good idea to come up with some rules together. Talk about how often you like to have friends over, if you expect the house to be spotless and tidy all the time, if they plan on getting a pet or how often a significant other is allowed to sleep over before they have to start paying rent. Even though it’s early days and these conversations may seem premature, it’s better to have an open discussion and maybe even put the decision in writing, that way if there are problems down the line, you can refer back to what you both once agreed upon.

 

While we can help you find the perfect home in Brooklyn, check out the below services to help you find the perfect soul/roommate!

 

Labor Day in Brooklyn

Labor Day is fast approaching and while many people head out of town, there’s no place we’d rather be than Brooklyn. Labor Day was first observed in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, as a day to celebrate labor. It has come to be regarded as a day of rest and/or partying, and the last true day of summer.

 

imageJamaican Me Want To Party
Work hard, play hard, right? You will find no one partying harder in Brooklyn on Monday September 5th than the members of the West Indian Day Parade, also known as the Labor Day Carnival Parade. One of New York’s top summer attractions and biggest cultural festivals, the annual event will celebrate its 46th anniversary this year – drawing close to two million people to Crown Heights! Join the crowd waving flags from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Grenada, Haiti and other Caribbean and immerse yourself in rich Caribbean culture and heritage. The march starts at 11am and is a joyful expression of cultural pride. During the seven-hour carnival, steel-pan, calypso and reggae bands wearing elaborate costumes march down Eastern Parkway. Vendors sell home-style island grub along the route, with favorites like jerk chicken, Bajan fried flying fish, rice and beans, and johnnycakes. Admission to the carnival is free.
Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights.

 

Hair For a Good Timebeard
Did you start Movember six years ago and forget to stop? Think facial hair holds sexy secrets and not just leftover food? Here’s one for you… Coney Island’s 9th Annual Beard and Moustache Competition at Sideshows by the Seashore on Saturday September 3rd. Over the past eight years, hundreds of bearded men (and women!) have competed to take home the much-coveted Beard & Moustache Fez trophy. You will see the strangest and most extravagant beards and moustaches outside of Williamsburg, with the New York’s hairiest contestants competing in categories such as Best in Show, Worst in Show, Best Styled Moustache and Best Chops. The event is $20 for both participants and spectators. Doors open at 6pm and the main event kicks off at 8pm.
1208 Surf Avenue, Coney Island.

 

12417992_1077709758927003_6880316649301149185_nPoets and They Know it
If you partied a little too hard over summer and are ready to take it down a notch, check out this Brooklyn Heights event on Saturday September 3rd – Brownstone Poets. This group has been inspiring Brooklyn since 2005, encouraging poetry, fostering creativity and celebrating great talent. Brooklyn-born poet/collagist, Steve Dalanchinksy – winner of several awards and prizes – will present his work, along with Mike Jurkovic, whose poems and music criticisms are forthcoming globally and feature in various print media. Also performing will be poet and visual artist Yuko Otomo, who pens haiku, art criticisms and essays, and contributes regularly to a collective critical writing forum. The event starts at 2:30pm at Park Plaza Restaurant. Entry is a $5 donation, plus the cost of food and drink available on the night. Don’t be shy, there’s an open mic!
220 Cadman Plaza West near Clark St and Pineapple Walk, Brooklyn Heights.

 

Tempting TintypeCapture
If Labor Day is the worker’s holiday, there’s no better time to recognized skilled and hard-working individuals such as Julie Orlick. Julie will present her solo exhibition, Tintype Photography & Film, on Saturday September 5th between 7pm to 10pm at The Living Gallery in Bushwick. The evening of analogue experiences will feature up to twenty one of a kind wet plate collodion tintypes and five 16mm short films by Julie Orlick, a director, analogue/alternative photographer and 16mm surrealist filmmaker currently working and living in Brooklyn. The tintype work was hand processed, developed and shot in Brooklyn, featuring visual artists and “creative weirdos” that inhabit New York city’s art scene. The exclusive work featured in this show has not been released elsewhere and the selected films explore floral landscapes, in-camera edits, double exposures, the surreal experience, lust for love, confusion and wonder. $5 suggested entry.
1094 Broadway, Bushwick.

Keep Musicool in Brooklyn

There’s something about summer that makes us want to sing and dance! As summer comes to an end, Brooklyn is keeping the music alive. Listen out at these upcoming, mostly outdoor, events in the best borough!


archSwing and Sway Away
There’s something for everyone at Live at The Archway, a weekly event every Thursday night in DUMBO under the Manhattan Bridge. The 18-week series from July to September boasts the best of Brooklyn talent, with broad music and performance genres including sizzling salsa, Colombian Cumbia, swing dancing, world roots music, sultry R&B, an Italian modern dance troupe, puppetry, funk, DJs and more. The free performances start at 6pm right under the Bridge, so the events are on rain or shine. Take in the epic scenery below the Manhattan Bridge and enjoy beer, wine and bites from The Lighthouse. Visit dumbo.is to see the full schedule. All ages.
50 Adams St, DUMBO.


funkFormidable Festival
A music festival that claims to give “power to the party”, AfroPunk Brooklyn returns to Commodore Barry Park on August 27 and 28. The annual festival was created by its founders to showcase what they billed as “alternative black culture”, with acts that didn’t always fit into other major festivals. Described by The New York Times as “the most multicultural festival in the US” AfroPunk promises an impressive weekend of live music and good vibes with an eclectic line-up and diverse audience. The international event, now also held in Paris and London, is a mix of music, art and politics. Come sundown the creeps into the streets, bars, and restaurants of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill and comedy shows, dance, pop-up performances, film screenings, art installations and drink specials will feature at AfroPunk After Dark. GA and VIP tickets are available for Saturday, Sunday or both days, from $45 to $250 plus booking fee.
Commodore Barry Park, Flushing Ave, Fort Greene.

 

americanaUnited Stages of America
For the second year running, round up your favorite folks, friends and family, and mosey on down to the Brooklyn Americana Festival. On September 23, 24 and 25, fifty free shows will be held over the course of three days, on seven stages, from outdoor daytime performances to evening concerts. Festival-goers will shimmy and sway to the best original and traditional Americana musicians, playing live country, folk, roots, blues, old time and bluegrass and enjoy performances from Brooklyn’s Best plus special guests from Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee. The beloved pioneer hosting establishments in DUMBO and Red Hook include The Archway, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Gala at Jalopy, Sunny’s Bar, 68 Jay St Bar, Superfine and Bait N Tackle. All ages. Visit bkamf.com to see the full schedule.
Various locations in DUMBO and Red Hook.


Pave the Wavenext wave

Although the Brooklyn Academy of Music delivers impressive shows year-round, their Next Wave Festival is one of the largest experiments in live performance in the world. The annual multimedia, multi-genre art festival includes music, theatre, opera and dance, and runs September 7 through December 18. Opening the festival is “the loser” an opera piece by David Lang in which the title character is held in mid-air with a grand piano hovering in the distance behind him. The line-up also includes music by The Magnetic Fields, So Percussion and The Dublin Guitar Quartet. Single tickets for all shows are now on sale and range from $20-$130. Subscriptions to the festival are also available.
Various locations in Downtown Brooklyn.

Kidding Around Brooklyn

We’re about a month into summer break so odds are the kids are starting to get restless! Here are some free Brooklyn-based activities to look forward to, that will keep the little ones active and entertained.


573c8b564a761A Good Sport

As tempting as it is to set the kids up with video games, smartphones and television, they will benefit far more from fresh air and exercise. From the beginning of July until mid-September, Sunset Park Recreation Center hosts the Summer Sports Experience. Every weekday from 9:15am-4:45pm, the skilled Parks staff teach kids how to play basketball, soccer, football, rugby, volleyball, goal ball, softball and various group games. This is a friendly, small group introduction to the sports, on a drop-in basis and it’s a great way for kids to socialize and learn teamwork skills. There are separate programs for 8 month-3 year olds, 2-5 year olds and 6-14 year olds and all programs are free!
43rd Street at 7th Avenue, Sunset Park


Soaking Gunimage

Get ready to get super soaked at this water workout! The annual Squirt Gun Fight takes place Saturday August 13 at the Coney Island Boardwalk. Every year thousands of New Yorkers turn up armed and ready for the massive drench-fest. Bathing suits, towels and maybe even goggles recommended; water-spraying devices essential! This sopping-wet day of free fun starts at 1pm and is suitable for ages 6 and up.
37 Boardwalk West, Coney Island


image (1)Take the Field

Team up with the family for the ultimate day of outdoor excitement! Brooklyn Bridge Park have been running Family Field Days once a month since June, with the grand final taking place Saturday August 20 from 10am. The free Family Field Days are full of good old-fashioned recreational fun for all ages. There’s guaranteed to be something for every member of your team, including Hula-Hoop races, volleyball clinics, soccer drills and bocce. All necessary equipment is provided – just wear sneakers and be prepared to get physical!
334 Furman St (between Adams St and Atlantic Ave), Brooklyn Heights


Kites and Tykesimage (2)
Seize the breeze and take to the skies with Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual Kite Festival. Bring your kite along or purchase one there and teach your tot how to fly it! The event takes place Saturday September 10, after the kids go back to school, so you and the kids have plenty of time to practice kite flying skills and techniques. With the picturesque Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, the colorful flutter-fest is free and suitable for all ages.
334 Furman St, Brooklyn Heights

 

56b39ce479a04Afternoon Adventures
The kids might not be looking forward to going back to school, but they’ll like this type of learning! The Environmental Education Center in Brooklyn Bridge Park is open for free, four afternoons a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year from February until November. From 3-5pm kids will learn about Brooklyn Bridge Park, with a 250-gallon aquarium filled with critters from the East River, a 10’-scale model of Brooklyn Bridge Park, arts and crafts, a reading corner and more.
99 Plymouth, DUMBO

Move it, Don’t Lose it!

Summer is the busy season for the rental market in Brooklyn and throughout New York and as if finding a new home isn’t stressful enough, the move has the potential to break you! If moving is in the cards for you, here are some tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

 

Picture1Declutter to Destress
Holding on to almost empty shampoo bottles, expired medicines, worn washcloths, clothes you never wear? Now is the time to let go! Decluttering will help make your move easier and your new home easier to set-up. Start with the bathroom where there is less sentimental attachment and discard any products you don’t use regularly. Donate anything worth donating. Don’t try to declutter every room at once – getting rid of excess stuff in even just one room will make your move shorter and less expensive. When in doubt, take pictures of clothes you no longer wear but which still have sentimental value – a photo takes up a lot less space!

 

agblog.story_.decluttertoprepareformove

Move a Muscle
Now is the time to look at your family and friends verrrry closely. Are they strong? Do they work out? Do they owe you one? If not, you’re going to need some professional help. Don’t put off lining up movers. Get estimates and lots of them! The more research you do, the better deal you’ll get. Ask friends if they recommend any movers in your area, compare prices and look for a reputable company that’s bonded and insured. Check out local Brooklyn companies like JP Urban Moving, Get There Moving, Lightning Van  and Sweet Lou Moves You.

 

Picture12pngWise to Organize
Save your sanity and make your move smooth, short and sweet by preparing, organizing and packing! Start with the virtual move by backing up all your data. Next, label cords so you know which device each cord goes to – this will make setup easier later. Gather important papers like birth certificates, passports and financial documents in a fireproof lock box, and make sure this stays with you on moving day. Streamline your DVD and CD collections and save a lot of space by moving discs into binder sleeves and discarding empty cases. Come up with a labeling system – color-coding or numbering and keeping a record of the contents of boxes. Then when you are unpacking, you can simply check your master list to see which box you need. Keep a moving binder with info including your moving company, to-do lists, master packing list etc. Start a stash of essentials like toilet paper, trash bags, basic tools, bath towels and sheets, so that when you arrive you don’t have to go through boxes just to get through the first night.

 

Bust a Move
Picture13Okay so it’s time to move! If you’ve prepared properly, unpacking shouldn’t be too overwhelming. Start with assembling furniture. Items like your bed are best transferred in disassembled form. If you don’t remember how to put things back together you can often find manuals online or by calling the manufacturer. Clean and dust items before bringing them into your new, clean home. If you can manage, fill your closets first, even if it’s only temporary. Keeping clutter out of the way will leave you more room to unpack the important stuff. When you’re all done, you can get rid of boxes on Craigslist or trash/recycling, but best to check with your building’s management – some have policies that you might not be aware of yet.

In the Brooklyn Swim

We’ve just made it through the first heatwave of the year and the warm weather is set to continue! How are you going to beat the summer heat? Free outdoor pools of course!

 

red hookHook, Lane and Swimmer
80 years old and still going strong! The Red Hook Pool was a Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project that opened in 1939, deep in the Great Depression during a summer that broke local heat records. The opening of the immense outdoor pool was attended by 40,000 people. Today, the pool is popular but thankfully a lot less people are in attendance. The pool is open daily from 11am-7pm, with weekday lap hours for keen swimmers, 18 years and over, from 7-8:30am and 7pm-dusk. For lap-swimmers, on-site aquatic specialists are available to record your lengths and those with the most laps at the end of summer win prizes. Entry is free but you’ll need to register online or poolside prior to your session.
155 Bay Street.

 

Pop by the Pop-Upcarousel-large
It’s true what they say, good things don’t last forever. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pop-Up Pool is set to close at the end of next summer, after its fifth season and a highly successful run. The 30’ x 50’ Pop-Up Pool maxes out at an easy 3.5’ deep – making it just right for families with smaller kids. Entry is free and the pool also offers affordable swimming lessons. The area around the pool includes a 2,500-square-foot sandy beach, deck concessions, showers and restrooms. Open from June 29 til Labor Day, 10am to 6pm daily, for 45-minute sessions. The pool capacity is 60 and wristbands are required for each session, distributed first-come, first-served.
334 Furman Street.

 

mccarrenMega McCarren
Mini-pools are great for splashing around but if you’re serious about your swimming, you’ll want to go big or go home (hopefully to air conditioning). On the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, McCarren Park Pool is an Olympic-sized 329’ x 151’ x 4.6’ – that’s a generous 37,571 square foot swim area. Since 1939 (also a WPA project) the pool has been a cool haven and popular exercise venue for North Brooklyn dwellers, with plenty of poolside space for beach chairs and towel lounging post-swim. The pool is open daily from 11am-3pm, and 4pm-7pm, closing for an hour for pool cleaning. The pool usually draws major crowds so get in early.
776 Lorimer Street.

 

Double Fun at Double Dimage
Dip, dive and dog-paddle at the Douglass and DeGraw Pool in Gowanus, also known as the Double D. There are two separate pools here – an intermediate pool at 75’ x 60’ x 3’ and a wading pool perfect for the kiddies at 24’ x 24’ x 1’. The large concrete deck has a covered area and benches and is surprisingly uncrowded. The pool is also right next to the Thomas Greene Playground so if your little ones aren’t worn out after a splish and splash, take them to climb the monkey bars and scale mid-size towers. The pools are monitored by several lifeguards and open daily from 11am-7pm with a break for cleaning between 3-4pm, from July til Labor Day.
230 Douglass Street.

Summer Screensations

Lining up for movie tickets and popcorn then sitting in a super chilly movie theater this Summer? You’re doing it wrong! It is the season to get outside and this year’s outdoor film screenings are already in full swing. Grab a blanket and some buddies, and watch a film under the stars in Brooklyn at the following locations.

 

industry cityScreen it from the Rooftops
Bars, BBQs, restaurants, parties, tanning, watching movies… There are just some things that were made for rooftops! This outdoor summer series is now in its 10th year and has expanded to four (mostly rooftop) locations across Brooklyn on various nights throughout June, July and August. Rooftop Films brings the underground outdoors, and has grown to become known internationally as one of the most dynamic film festivals in the world. In Sunset Park, with Brooklyn’s waterfront as the backdrop, films will be screened from two of Industry City’s amazing rooftops. Enjoy breathtaking views of lower Manhattan’s skyscape, the Statue of Liberty and South Brooklyn while watching a mix of documentaries, short films and animations including Sundance Short Films and documentaries about New York, including Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death by Audio. There is a live music performance at every screening and many host dance parties after the film.
Industry City, 220 36th St, Sunset Park. $15.
Bushwick Generator, 195 Moore St, Bushwick. $15.
MetroTech Commons, 5 MetroTech Center, Downtown. Free.
The Old American Can Factory, 232 Third St at 3rd Ave, Gowanus. $15.

 

Williamsburg Watchingswburg
There’s seeing it on the big screen, then seeing it on the BIG outdoor Brooklyn screen. The borough’s longest running film and music series launched in 2006 with a screening of Do The Right Thing and 11 years later, SummerScreen is still going strong. At McCarren Park in Williamsburg every Wednesday from July 6 to August 10, spectators will be treated to cult classics like 10 Things I Hate About You and The Royal Tenebaums in the open-air, and best of all, it’s free! Bring chairs, blankets and pack a picnic, or take advantage of food and drinks from local vendors. Every show features live music, which kicks off at 6pm, followed by the movie at 8:30pm. McCarren Park, North 12th St, Williamsburg. Free.


movies with viewA View from the Bridge
On a warm summer night, spread your blanket on the luscious grass of Harbor View Lawn in Brooklyn Bridge Park, take in the spectacular sight of the Manhattan skyline and enjoy the breeze off the East River. You’re at Movies With A View. Since 2000, Movies With A View has earned a large and loyal following. One of New York City’s favorite summer film series, the line-up of films promises to wow, entertain, thrill and pull at the heartstrings of movie goers. The screenings take place every Thursday evening in July and August and include classics such as Purple Rain and American Graffiti. For the final screening of the series, the public can vote between The SandlotMilk or La Bamba. The eight-week series expects to draw an average of 7,000 film fans at each screening. The lawn opens at 6pm, with the film beginning at sunset.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, 334 Furman Street, Dumbo. Free.


Habana Good TimeHabana-Outpost

Mexican food and movies have to be two of our favorite things. Habana Outpost read our minds and combined the two. The Fort Greene restaurant projects movies on their outside wall every Sunday from May through to the end of October. Enjoy their award-winning Cuban sandwich, indulge in their bold-tasting Mexican-style corn, and order all the tacos and burritos your heart desires, because the movie is free! Films screen at 8pm and this year’s roster includes West Side StoryFlashdanceRocky,Saturday Night FeverGhostbusters and, for Halloween, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
757 Fulton St, Fort Greene. Free.

Other venues worth checking out include:
Movie Nights at Narrows Botanical Gardens in Bay Ridge
Midweek Movie Escapes in Downtown Brooklyn
Flicks on the Beach in Coney Island
Red Hook Flicks in Red Hook
Bric Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at Prospect Park
NYC Parks Classic Film Series at various Brooklyn locations