Parked under a bridge in Queens is a white Mercedes Sprinter van. On the outside it looks like any other car; maybe you notice the solar panels on top, or the windows blocked with insulation. But on the inside is Nathan Staiger’s entire life. Staiger, 30, goes to school, rock climbs and sleeps in his van. Some may think he’s homeless, climbers may think he’s awesome, but Staiger and a small community of other vandwellers in the city are carrying a torch that has a deep history in climbing and other outdoor sports. More →
If you’re starting to panic about how many plastic straws you’re using on a daily basis to fuel that iced-coffee addiction, you’ll no longer have to trek all the way to Brooklyn for eco-friendly reusables. Starting this week, Williamsburg’s Package Free shop is taking Manhattan from trashy to tasteful with a Chelsea Market outpost.
Package Free Shop Chelsea Market is 300 square feet of goods that are good for the earth. The design of the store is in line with Package Free’s zero-waste model, too—all of the shelving and modular, reusable furniture was handmade by Josh Colon using sustainable wood.
“We designed everything for what happens in the future,” said Package Free CEO Lauren Singer. “So if we wanted to move locations everything is totally reusable or it could go in someone’s house.”
Other touches in the store include a locally-made arrangement of wheat and decorative items from Singer’s own home. “I wanted to make this store really cozy and really homey, and mix old and new to make it warm and have a bit of a more vintage feel,” said Singer.
The new location’s opening comes shortly after Package Free announced that a $4.5 million investment would allow it to scale its operations. The store wasn’t funded by the venture capital, though, speaking to Singer’s sustainability-focused financial model and the rise in demand for sustainable products.
“Even if we hadn’t taken on venture capital, we would have been able to support it with cash flow,” she said. “I’m very much still flexing my muscles of bootstrapping and only spending money I absolutely have to spend.”
Package Free came to be through Lauren Singer’s personal blog, Trash is for Tossers, where she shares tips for the eco-conscious consumer. Singer opened a pop-up shop on Grand Street in Williamsburg in 2017, which is now the site of Package Free’s flagship store. With the help of online marketing, Package Free has grown from a little-known startup to a major player in the zero-waste movement.
The eco brand prides itself on waste diversion across both the store locations and the e-commerce site. Package Free says it has diverted over 75 million units of trash (including plastic bags, water bottles, straws, coffee cups and disposable razors) since its 2017 launch by making its plastic-free products more accessible.
The sustainability movement is flourishing in the city. Brooklyn-based Precycle and The Wally Shop have continued to scale up their offerings of local, package and plastic-free grocery items, while clothing retailers Zero Waste Daniel and Everlane are bringing radical transparency and waste reduction to the fashion industry.
The Chelsea Market location is another way for Package Free to expand its mission of making sustainable products more accessible in New York. Singer said that she hopes more people will visit the store since the new location is off the L, A, C and E trains as well as the highway. She also wants to educate tourists visiting Chelsea Market about the zero-waste movement.
“Around six million people walk through Chelsea Market every year,” said Singer. “So being able to let that many people know that you can reduce your waste and have a more positive environmental impact is a huge opportunity to align with our mission and help make the world less trashy.”
Package Free Shop Chelsea Market is located at 75 9th Avenue and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“The toilet is a spiritual room, a place to cherish and rejoice… When you open the toilet door, it’s not the toilet inside, it’s your future.” More →
On any given day in gentrified Williamsburg you can grab a trendy breakfast, stop by Supreme for your streetwear needs and even get your waste-free shopping done. And now, for the outdoorsy types who’ve been champing at the bit, Williamsburg finally has an axe shop.
Best Made Co, a luxury adventure brand currently celebrating its tenth year in business, recently opened its latest outpost in Williamsburg. The Grand Street shop is stocked with artisanal outdoor products like a $1,795 shearling coat approved by legendary Argentine chef Francis Mallmann (who will be having a cookout in McCarren Park on Sunday, Nov. 17, in honor of their collaboration). And then there’s the Best Made Axe, an object of such simplicity, beauty and utility that it has struck a nerve with celebrities and the art world alike. David Lynch owns one and they’ve even been displayed in the Saatchi Gallery in London. The design-focused tool goes for around $350 and testing them in person is a big draw to Best Made’s shops. But if you decide to buy one, what exactly can you do with it in New York City?
In case you’re on the fence about purchasing one of the famed fellers, we’ve compiled some of the big no-nos when it comes to being an urban lumberjack.
The Lower East Side is notorious for its bars, noise and rising crime rates, and the 24-block section known as Hell Square has one of the highest densities of liquor licenses in New York City. Neighborhood activists have been pushing back against the rise of nightlife for years, and adding another watering hole hasn’t been at the top of their to-do list. But a new beer-centric bar, Pretty Ricky’s, has entered the fray right as the City enacts a new plan to improve the quality of life in the area, and it promises to be an interesting indicator of whether nightlife and neighbors can coexist. More →
Nudity, leather, kink, heavy makeup. It was a celebration of desire and sexuality, of BDSM and marginalized voices. On stage, burlesque dancer Viva Lamore took off the last layer of her Japanese maid dress and proudly showed off her body in leather dessous, earning rounds of cheers and applause from the audience. Meanwhile, rhythmic sounds of whipping from the corner turned several heads in the crowd—a petite Asian girl in a red shiny leather dress continuously lashed a grey-haired white man’s back. More →
Monday morning at 9am, a shiny new entrance to the First Avenue stop on the L train opened to the public. What’s been years of seemingly little progress on the L is finally showing some results. The entrance is located at 14th Street and Avenue A, giving easier access to residents of Stuy-Town and other areas east of the First Avenue stop.
The new opening is for Brooklyn-bound L trains, and the entrance has two sets of stairs, clean white tiles and an abundance of bright lights. It’s the first of many improvements on the docket for the First Avenue stop, including sidewalk restoration and two elevators to increase accessibility.
“For years we’ve been thinking, ‘Wow, it’d be such a great idea to have an entrance here,’” said Tim Cramer, who lives on 12th Street and Avenue A. He rides the L train about three times a week. “I think it’s a really amazing thing. Out of all the stuff they can be doing in the subway they did something here and I think it’s fantastic.”
The new entrance will alleviate some congestion at the stop and save a lot of riders that long block of walking. “It’s very good for me,” said Bestabe Marin, who works as a home helper in the East Village and uses the 1st Avenue station a lot. “I used to take the bus, but now I can have the train close and easy. I’m so glad.”
The new improvement to the station is a welcome addition to what will soon be a bustling hub. After some initial controversy, congestion on 14th Street has been eased by a well-received new busway that bans cars during rush hour. And now, a Target that opened in 2018 and a Trader Joe’s currently under construction are sure to bring more shoppers to the L stop.
With the Avenue A entryway up and running, the staircases on First Avenue will close in about a week for repairs, according to EV Grieve. But maybe this opening marks the beginning of the end. Though there’s still a lot to accomplish before the project’s summer 2020 deadline (such as elevators at 1st Avenue and other stations), it’s looking hopeful. The L train project is set to finish three months ahead of schedule. After countless headaches and delays, could the L train finally be on the right track?
Seven years after Hurricane Sandy tore more than half of Rockaway Beach’s 5.5-mile boardwalk off its stanchions, the waterfront is thriving again. Last year, Rockaway Beach welcomed a staggering 5.5 million visitors. But millennials enthralled by the cornucopia of ceviche, quinoa arepas, and kombucha on tap may not have noticed something missing: the handball courts ripped up by the superstorm in 2012 still haven’t returned to Beach 105th Street. More →
City ID holders are about to get a whole lot more worldly. The city announced today that next year, new partners in its IDNYC program will include the Whitney Museum, the Apollo Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, and a couple of cutting-edge music and performance venues: National Sawdust in Williamsburg and The Shed in Hudson Yards.
Asked for details about the benefits, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs promised them in the coming weeks. A spokesperson for National Sawdust told Bedford + Bowery that IDNYC card holders will be eligible for a Venture membership granting half-price tickets to almost every show at the new-music venue. Bargemusic, which hosts chamber-music concerts on a floating barge in Dumbo, told us that it would extend its seniors discount (typically $5 off of a $35 ticket) to IDNYC holders. Jazz at Lincoln Center said it’s still working with the city to determine which benefits it will provide. We’ve reached out to the other cultural venues as well and will let you know if they share any specifics.
Current benefits from partners that will return in 2020 include a Level 1 membership at Brooklyn Academy of Music (advance access to tickets, 50 percent off same-day tickets and more), membership at MoMA (free admission to the museum’s galleries and to MoMA PS1 as well as free same-day film tickets), a “Friends” membership at Carnegie Hall (half-price tickets on select performances), and membership at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (free admission for the cardholder and accompanied children).
Again, it’s uncertain what some of the new partners will offer. Currently, the Whitney’s lowest tier of paid membership offers unlimited express and free admission for members, half-price general admission tickets for their guests, access to preview days for major exhibitions, and discounts of up to 20 percent at the museum gift shop. The Shed’s lowest tier offers 24-hour advance ticket access. Jazz at Lincoln Center membership offers exclusive ticket discounts and pre-sale access.
In addition to the new partners, the city announced that starting Dec. 2, residents whose cards are expiring in less than 60 days, or whose cards have been expired for less than six months, can go online to renew and make changes such as gender designation. (In January, the city announced that in addition to the traditional M and F designations, it was adding an X option for transgender, non-binary and nonconforming residents.) They’ll receive a redesigned card featuring the Statue of Liberty in the background.
The first set of IDNYC cards, issued in 2015, are set to expire in January 2020. There are currently over 1.3 million cardholders, according to the city.
Update: This article was updated after publication with the specific benefits offered by National Sawdust and Bargemusic.