07/15/15 6:39am
07/15/2015 6:39 AM |



Weird news you may have heard already: As of today, July 15th, The L Magazine will no longer be published as a print magazine. This is neither tragic nor particularly sad nor further proof that everything is fucked. It is rather–and we realize this may seem like a line of bullshit–a decision we’ve made so that we can focus on and grow our sister publication, Brooklyn Magazine, which, starting in September, will go from being a quarterly publication to a monthly one. This is very exciting.

It’s become common to sentimentalize the Brooklyn of the very recent past; it doesn’t take much encouragement before people begin to wax nostalgic about the way things used to be before the condos went up, or this bar closed, or that chain store opened, or these people moved out, or these other people moved in. It’s an understandable tendency, this need to reflect upon a now-broken past; we do it in order to better understand our present, and to make sense of the decisions we’ll need to make to build our future.

Understandable as it is, though, we’ve always rejected this type of precious remembrance at The L—even when this magazine turned 10 a couple of years ago, we spent no time celebrating our own history, but rather took the opportunity to highlight a host of other Brooklyn businesses which had taken root and thrived in this borough long before anyone had ever heard of a ramen burger.

And so now, in this last print issue of The L, we can’t really just break character completely, can we? We can’t just reject everything we’ve ever stood for and rhapsodize about our place in Brooklyn’s recent history, can we? No, we can’t. And really, we don’t want to. Because in looking back over the things that have happened in this borough over the last 12 years, since the very first orange L box appeared on a street corner near you (or maybe not near you? we never quite perfected that part of our distribution), we realize how transient all of this stuff that makes up this borough, these neighborhoods, these streets—our lives—really is.

But don’t just take our word for it. We thought we’d take you back through the last 12 years of Brooklyn history so you could see for yourself how fleeting everything really is, yes, but also how some things might die a real death, whereas others become transformed, reborn. Ok, fine: Maybe we’re getting a little nostalgic. It happens.


March 27
The Smoking Ban
It’s hard to remember a time when going out for the night meant you were guaranteed to come home reeking of cigarette smoke—about as hard to remember as a time when a pack of Camel Lights cost $2.50. Well, this was the year everything changed; in March, Bloomberg enacted his pet public safety act—a smoking ban in all bars and restaurants—and New York instantly got healthier. And, you know, much less cool.

April 3
The L Magazine Is Born
Founded by brothers Scott and Daniel Stedman and based on the French weekly Pariscope, this designed-to-fit-in-your-pocket magazine was given what would prove to be an endlessly confounding name (is it like Elle? the L train? The L Word? uh, no) and distributed in orange boxes around lower Manhattan.

Apr 30
The Rezoning of Park Slope
While not as talked about now as the massive rezoning of the Williamsburg waterfront, the rezoning of Park Slope is to thank for all those condos lining 4th Avenue. You know, the ones that stand tall among the squat profiles of the taxi garages and auto repair shops. So, thanks?

June 21
Albany Extends Landlord Powers:
Lest you think that the high rent insanity of 2015 is a recent development, rest assured that the groundwork for all this was laid in Albany more than a decade ago, when Senate Republicans pushed through a measure allowing landlords to get rid of rent regulations on thousands of apartments. One State Senate Democrat called it a “declaration of nuclear war on rent-regulated tenants in New York.”

Murder of City Councilman James Davis by political rival Othniel Askew:
It was a dark day for Brooklyn politics when Councilman Davis was gunned down by Askew inside City Hall. Askew was at City Hall as a guest of Davis’s that day, which is why both men were allowed to skirt the metal detectors. Askew was shot and killed on the scene.

July 27
The New York Times asks “Has Billburg Lost Its Cool?”
Is there something we love more than when the Paper of Record visits Brooklyn? Not that we can think of! Crazy to think that the Times had apparently given up on Williamsburg years before it even discovered the existence of man-buns.

August 14
The City Goes Dark:
Definitely the most notable thing that happened in 2003 (sorry founding-of-The-L: You’re number two!) the Great Blackout of 2003 affected not only Brooklyn, but all of New York City. (And, you know, much of the Northeast corridor. So, like, “upstate.”) This blackout was notable not only because, you know, TOTAL DARKNESS, but also because there was very little looting or crime associated with it, and there was an overall feeling of citywide harmony and togetherness. This stood in stark contrast to the fire- and looting-filled hellscape that was the Blackout of 1977, but seemed instead to carry on the spirit of a city that had, in recent years, weathered so much worse than just a temporary lack of refrigeration.

December 10
Jay-Z and Mayor Mike Bloomberg Head Out to Brooklyn to Support the Announcement of Bruce Ratner’s New Arena:
Capping off the year came the official announcement that Brooklyn would be the home of its very own arena. Brooklyn’s own Jay-Z and Boston’s own Mike Bloomberg came out in support of the Underworld’s own Bruce Ratner as he made the announcement about the impending arrival of the as-yet-to-be-named Barclays Center.

The City Starts Counting Days Between Homicides:
While the crime rate had been steadily dropping for years at this point, this was the first time that the city was able to say, Hey! We can actually go whole days without a murder! We should record that. And so they did.

• The Mark Bar, Greenpoint
• Videology, Williamsburg
• Gimme! Coffee, Williamsburg

• Fiery Furnaces Gallowsbird’s Bark
• TV on the Radio Young Liars EP
• Jay-Z The Black Album

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Hipster Handbook is published by the people behind great local blog Free Williamsburg.

Real Estate Notes
Average sale price for a home/condo
• Williamsburg, $331K
• Park Slope, $471K
• Brooklyn Heights, $279K
• DUMBO, $908K

07/01/15 9:12am
07/01/2015 9:12 AM |


Whatever the true nature of New York City, its definition probably doesn’t include the word “natural.” After all, this is a city most closely associated with towering buildings, not towering trees (or waves, for that matter); our parks are a feat of human ingenuity, not an act of Mother Nature; it’s a place that you spend all summer thinking about escaping from, rather than escaping to. Hell, mention “surfing” here and people are more likely to think of riding the green wave of lights as they coast down Vanderbilt on their bikes, than anything having to do with the ocean. (more…)

06/17/15 11:29am
06/17/2015 11:29 AM |


Part I of this two-part Summer Museum Preview was in our May 20th issue. It featured a selection of exhibitions at a number of Manhattan institutions, including The Whitney, The Met, The Morgan, The Frick, The Rubin Museum of Art, The Museum of Biblical Art, MoMA, and The New-York Historical Society. In terms of borough-related reach, Part II is a bit more expansive, but my operative disclaimer from Part I remains the same: I’m shooting for relative thoroughness, at best, because our fine town is so full of great art and interesting exhibitions—no matter the season—that aiming for exhaustiveness is a fool’s errand. That said, I am fond of walking on my hands, and I’m a decent juggler, and I rather enjoy the feeling of accomplishment attained by running errands… Anyway, read up, mark your calendars, enjoy!


06/04/15 1:25pm
06/04/2015 1:25 PM |


The true beginning of summer is a matter of debate: Some people feel that summer kicks off on Memorial Day weekend, some don’t feel like the season really gets going till 4th of July. Others dismiss all this talk of when it “feels” like summer by pointing out that it actually begins on the solstice, June 21. And while all of these summer-sentiments are valid enough (especially the solstice-contingent, because that’s just logic), here at the L, we feel like summer only really begins with the launch of our parent company’s Northside Festival, now entering its 7th year.

Sure, maybe (definitely) we’re biased here, but think about it: Is there anything more summery than spending warm days and nights wandering around as if all of north Brooklyn was one big block party? What is summer, after all, if not a celebration? And that’s what Northside does best, it celebrates the worlds of music, film, and tech, and invites all of Brooklyn (and beyond) to the party. And what a party it is! There’s over 400 bands, 150 speakers, and 50 films spread out over seven days. But how will you see it all? Well, you won’t. But maybe with the help of our guide to Northside, you’ll manage to make your own method for dealing with the madness, and get the most out of all Northside has to offer. See ya there. (more…)

05/20/15 11:32am
05/20/2015 11:32 AM |


So, it happened: Summer came. Or, you know, it’s coming. And in the long tradition of New Yorkers, now that the weather is consistently above 60 degrees, we want to spend all our free time outside. So in the spirit of fresh air and sunny days, we present to you the 50 events we’re most looking forward to attending this summer. We think you’ll like them too.


05/06/15 8:00am
05/06/2015 8:00 AM |
All Photos by Maggie Shannon

Since 2006, we’ve taken a yearly survey of the ever-crowded field of young bands in NYC, settling on an octet that our editors bossily deem “Bands You Need to Hear.” Some, like Vampire Weekend (Class of 2007!), have become world conquering heroes, while others broke big only in our hearts. But it’s never been intended as a prediction of superstar status so much as an earnest snapshot of the music that makes our city tick at any given time. This year’s inductees—swinging all the way from sugar-sweet alt-rock to wild, frightening noise—are, right this second, the 8 New York City bands you need to hear. — Lauren Beck & Jeff Klingman

04/21/15 1:59pm
04/21/2015 1:59 PM |


 Could there fairly be called an ideal season for reading? One time of year when it seems like everything conspires to bring you and the perfect book together in peace? Well, no. Of course not. Reading is seasonless and is just as easily enjoyed on the coldest, most formidable days of winter, when you’re hopefully tucked away in some warm corner with a book in hand and a tumbler of whiskey within reach (a roaring fireplace is a nice touch, but not strictly necessary), as it is on the hottest days of summer, when you’re lying on your back on the beach, one arm flung over your brow to deflect the sun, water-warped pages sticking hopelessly to lotioned-up fingers.

And yet. There’s something particularly lovely about springtime reading. Perhaps it’s because everything seems so new and undiscovered right now; everything is refreshed, including our capacity to find wonder in the pages of a new book. Plus, there’s no denying that the balmy days of spring seem designed to make us all want to abandon work and any other responsibilities and take off to sit under a flowering tree and lose ourselves in the pages of an unfamiliar world. But what to read once you’re there? Well, that can be the hard part. But not for you. No, for you it’s easy, because we did all the choosing for you this go-around. Here are our choices for the 50 things we’re most excited to read this spring and summer in no particular order. Some are now for sale at a (locally owned, independent) bookstore near you, while others won’t come out for a couple more months. But that’s ok, you can wait… preferably under that flowering tree with one of the books already available.


04/14/15 3:53pm
04/14/2015 3:53 PM |


It’s a big week for the old practice of live music get-togethers. No? Never heard of it? Well, it’s when people gather in small to very large rooms and watch people actually sing (or scream) into a microphone and play (or bash) instruments. Yeah, weird right? There are usually no screens involved, and while many bands enjoy using synthesizers, most of the sounds are actually being made right in front of your eyes. Strange concepts I know.

Perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that even in this post-post-Internet, post-ISIS, post-Facebook world, punk is still alive and well, and that a primal urge to kick and scream and thrash about is still widely regarded as worthy of peeling off a few bucks from your big wad to go and see. And that’s exactly what you should be doing with at least a part of your week (going to New York’s Alright 2015 that is). Punk or no punk this is gonna be a glorious, rotten scene that should be cherished by any true music fan. And who knows, you might wake up tomorrow and find that you’re 70 years old. Then what? Well then you get to throw your cane at people. But the point being, stop lolling, get out there and whip your hair back and forth while you still got it.


04/08/15 10:58am
04/08/2015 10:58 AM |


Most people don’t come to Brooklyn to be alone. The borough, like the city it’s part of, is teeming with millions of people; the majority of us live in buildings with apartments stacked one on top of the other like so many chicken coops, and it’s so expensive to live here that it’s pretty rare to get alone time even in our own homes. But it’s precisely this type of semi-enforced communal living that gives New York its specific, addictive energy, one which people who live here grow to rely on, even to love. And yet. Despite how inspiring the city’s vitality can be, sometimes we crave solitude, an escape from the relentless pace that is life here. Like Greta Garbo before us, sometimes we just want to be alone. And even if that solitude is a mirage of sorts—after all, even when you’re alone in Brooklyn, you’re probably still surrounded by people—it’s still something we crave. Here are our favorite places to dine alone, drink alone, and just be alone in Brooklyn. (more…)

04/07/15 4:07pm
04/07/2015 4:07 PM |
Nervosas via Facebook

Welcome back to another installment of the best music list known to man, rated #1 on a Buzzfeed List titled, “10 Absolutely Stunning Brooklyn Music Listicles That Will Change Your Life Forever.” Sorry, we know you’re dying to see the other local music run downs that made the list, but we couldn’t find the link for some reason. Shrugs. But fact is, you really only need one number one music list in your life, am I right? Thought so. Enjoy and trust in us.