Brooklyn is one of the most dynamic places in New York City. From fantastic food options to great festivals for the family to enjoy, there’s a lot to explore, but there’s one day that we think everyone should be in Brooklyn: Halloween!

Bursting with events to choose from leading up to the holiday and then the day-of, it’s perfect to enjoy with or without little ones. We pulled together a list of the best-of for Halloween in Brooklyn and we are looking forward to seeing you there!

Halloween comes early to Prospect Park this year. On Saturday, October 29th from noon to 5 PM, the Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair will be taking place -- it is a frighteningly good time! A haunted walk, scary stories, a haunted carousel and more await you. Most events are free and it’s appropriate for kids of all ages.

Heroes and horrors convene at Prospect Park for Halloween.

Also on Saturday, October 29th, the Botanical Garden is hosting their Halloween celebration with their Ghouls and Gourds event. Free for kids 12 and under, this 6 hour annual event offers a different program to check out every 20 minutes, along with music and live entertainment to enjoy. There’s a lot to see and do here, so make sure everyone is dressed comfortably -- sneakers are a great idea.

Ghouls and Gourds transforms the Botanical Garden into a spooky adventure.

For October 31st, the three best events to visit are the BAMboo, Halloween 313 and the Park Slope Halloween Parade, and in that order if you can do it! It would be a fast race from event to event, but each one is sure to be a hit.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), is hosting BAMboo, starting at 4 PM. A Halloween outdoor block party, BAMboo will have a costume contest, candy giveaways, a bounce house, games as well as arts & crafts to welcome the spookiest night of the year.

Halloween 313 is a free 30 minute spectacle located at 313 Clinton Avenue (between Dekalb and Lafayette) in Clinton Hill. Halloween 313 has been part of the community since 1994, when it was started to make the neighborhood safer for trick-or-treating. Over time it’s become a Brooklyn tradition that has a new theme every year -- this year is Abra Cadaver and will feature magic, mystery and murder. Appropriate for kids and adults alike, it’s spooky and scary but an utter delight!

For over twenty years, Halloween 313 has been making Brooklyn scary once a year!

In Park Slope, the heart of family-friendly activities, the annual Halloween Parade is a must-see event. This year marks its 30th anniversary in the neighborhood and it is rumored to be the largest children’s parade in the nation. The kids get full reign of the streets as they enjoy the parade route and all of the candy that’s handed out by shop owners along the way. The parade ends in the JJ Byrne Playground at the Old Stone House.

We hope to see you in Brooklyn for Halloween this year and that you have a spook-tacular time!

Posted in:General and tagged: Park SlopeBrooklyn
Posted by Nelson Aybar on October 27th, 2016 1:35 PM

Once you’ve moved into your new apartment in New York City, the thought of decorating it might be a bit overwhelming. How do you create a space that reflects “you” but doesn’t leave your bank account dry? How do you bring life and laughter to your kitchen and ensure it’s a space that invites hours of conversations? Because kitchens seem to be the most challenging space to decorate, we turned to Ada Gonzalez of Ada’s Interior Design based in New York City for her insight and advice.

Photo courtesy of Ada’s Interior Designs.

An interior designer since 2005, Ada launched her own firm in 2006. With her motto being, “Economical is Elegant,” Ada understands the importance of the costs around decorating being reasonable while still creating the space you want. Her maxim when decorating a kitchen is, “maximized beauty and functionality,”.

She goes on to say, “Aim to hardly have any items on your countertop thereby maximizing your counter space for (function) prepping food and beauty (no cluttered look). Also, find creative ways to store item when items no longer fit in cabinets,”.  To do so, Ada suggests using:

  • Floating shelves,

  • Wall hooks

  • Pot & pan racks

  • Drawer organizers

  • Shelf double decker organizers

And while being organized is a goal, it isn’t the only goal in kitchen decor. To up the ante, Ada says to “Add wow fun elements to your kitchen design like an unexpected paint color on just one area, or fun door handles, or a huge wall decal (decals are flat, just like paint so they take up no room yet fill up a space so beautifully). Decorating with unexpected fun elements takes away from the ‘‘Wow, this is a small kitchen’, and invokes a ‘Wow, this is so beautifully creative,’”.

Kitchen design and photo by Ada’s Interior Design

Ada goes on to say, “Most kitchens can get a quick, beautiful upgrade by changing wall paint colors, decluttering creatively, and adding window treatments that beautify the space. My favorite economical add-on to kitchens that have plain backsplash is applying peel-and-stick mosaic tiles. Yes, you simply peel-and-stick these tiles to look like beautiful backsplash tiles,”.

A backsplash that Ada’s contractor installed in a small kitchen. Photo courtesy of Ada’s Interior Designs.

Ada’s blog gives step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the peel-and-stick backsplash look in your own apartment, along with four stores where you can buy the adhesive.

Since the kitchen is one of the most-used spaces in a home, Ada suggests having “elements that make you smile. Maybe even create (DIY!) your own decorative elements,”.

Ada achieved that in the photo below by creating leather pulls for the drawers by braiding strips of leather together, and all the steps are explained on her blog.

Photo courtesy of Ada’s Interior Designs.

When Ada isn’t consulting on how to beautify kitchens or other spaces in an apartment, she keeps busy with her eDesign service. Ada’s eDesign allows her to create an economical design plan for clients within two weeks who send her the measurements of their spaces and fill out a “get to know you” form.

If the kitchen still seems too overwhelming to tackle, perhaps consider reaching out to Ada to see what ideas she has to transform your space. Since home is where the heart is, you want yours to be as warm and inviting as you are.

Posted in:General
Posted by Nelson Aybar on August 5th, 2016 12:03 PM

With the heat of the summer upon us, strolling down the street in Brooklyn can feel like a veritable ice cream advertisement. Almost everyone you encounter is grasping a cone, heaping with ice cream and a smile on their face as they lick their way through. Brooklyn has a bevy of excellent ice cream shops, so which one should you visit next? In advance of National Ice Cream Day on Sunday, July 17th, we found some of the neighborhood’s best ice cream spots for you to check out.

Blue Marble, a Brooklyn-based ice cream shop that has partnerships with Bareburger and Barclay’s, has scoop shops in Prospect Heights and Industry City. Earning rave reviews for their organic ingredients and creative flavors like Green Tea, Midnight Mint Cookie and Mexican Chocolate, their delicious ice cream is also available for purchase in many grocery shops.

Blue Marble can be enjoyed at a Scoop Shop or via the grocery store.

Ample Hills Creamery has locations in Prospect Heights and Gowanus. Their Facebook menu is kept up-to-date with what ice cream flavors they are offering, which currently includes Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, which is their creamy vanilla ice cream with “gobs of St. Louis Ooey Gooey Butter Cake pieces” as well as The Munchies, which is, “Pretzel infused ice cream with clusters of potato chips, pretzels, Ritz crackers, and mini M&Ms”. If that’s not enough to satisfy your ice cream craving, they have 19 other flavors to tempt your palate.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 4.38.05 PM.png

A small sampling of flavors offered at Ample Hills Creamery.

Starting on National Ice Cream Day and running through Labor Day, Ample Hills Creamery has a loyalty card that gets stamped with each purchase and after 5 stamps you’ve earned a free scoop!

A Brooklyn mainstay, Uncle Louie G’s has been in the neighborhood since 1959 serving up delicious homemade gourmet Italian ice and ice cream. Offering samples to anyone who comes in with a smile and NYC-pride Italian ice flavors like FDNY Cherry or NYPD Blue, visiting Uncle Louie G’s is a Brooklyn rite of passage.

Continuing with the Italian inspired trend, L' Albero Dei Gelati, located at 341 5th Avenue in Park Slope, is the outpost of the Italian brand. With delicious gelatos that make the mouth water, this spot is a not-to-be-missed shop on your ice cream touring adventures. With amazing flavors like chocolate mixed with hazelnut, you’ll quickly understand why there are lines down the block to get a scoop of their creations.

The gelato that you may never get enough of, at L' Albero Dei Gelati.

Additional shops that shouldn’t be missed include Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream in Greenpoint and Boerum Hill which has vegan ice cream along with their traditional ice cream.

Odd Fellows in Williamsburg has flavors that are updated daily which makes each visit a special treat. They carry a flavor called Roberta’s Sticky Bun and Bacon which sounds deliciously addictive and Coffee Crunch which could easily replace our afternoon coffee.

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory in Brooklyn Heights and Greenpoint has traditional flavors along with Chocolate Chocolate Chunk and Peaches & Cream which will make anyone’s mouth water.

Finally, The Good Batch has decadent ice cream sandwiches using Blue Marble ice cream that are sold in shops throughout Brooklyn. Should you find yourself on Governors Island, both Blue Marble and The Good Batch have an ice cream stand there so you can satisfy your ice cream craving.

The Good Batch’s ice cream sandwiches come in a variety of flavors with different toppings.

Brooklyn has so many great ice cream shops that it may take all summer to visit each delicious store. Although we’ve drooled over many here, Yelp has an even more complete listing of ice cream shops in Brooklyn.

With so many choices available and such terrific flavors the question becomes when can you visit each of these great options. We’ve signed ourselves up for an ice cream challenge to work our way through the flavors and shops of the borough and look forward to seeing you out there, too!

Posted in:General and tagged: Park Slopeice cream
Posted by Nelson Aybar on July 14th, 2016 1:55 PM

With July 4th right around the corner, it’s a good time to figure out where the best view for the fireworks displays will be in Brooklyn. The fireworks are taking place on the East River this year before taking a hiatus and moving back to the Hudson River next year. Brooklyn is one of the best boroughs to get a fantastic view of the spectacle. But where to watch them?

Boats fill up quickly so if you’d like to hop aboard to check out the fireworks, maybe while having dinner or enjoying a drink, it’s better to get tickets sooner rather than later.

Setting sail from Sheepshead Bay, the Sheryll Princess is $125 per person. Boarding starts at 4pm and sets sail at 5pm. This is a long cruise, so consider going sans-kiddos, but there is a buffet included and a cash bar available.

Freedom Cruises, also leaving from Sheepshead Bay, offers another option at $159 per person. This package also includes a buffet dinner, the option of a cash bar and sets sail at 5.30pm. After being on board for several hours to enjoy the fireworks, you’ll be returned to Sheepshead Bay around 11.30pm.

If you can’t make it out to Sheepshead Bay, there are also boats available leaving from Manhattan’s Pier 15, like the Hornblower Cruises which offers a buffet and an open bar for $250 per person.

Freedom Cruises’ Pink Lady will sail by the Statue of Liberty on its way to the fireworks.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park, located in Brooklyn Heights, is expected to be open on the 4th of July so you can set up your picnic there to watch the fireworks. It is considered the gold standard of locations in Brooklyn to see the East River fireworks. As a result, this park is expected to get crowded, so if you are planning on going to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, make sure to get there early so that you can get a good spot.

The South Street Seaport will be bustling on the 4th of July, but it’s also a great spot for a view of the fireworks. With plenty of great restaurants and bars to choose from in the area, it will also be the setting for a street festival from 1pm - 8pm. There will be music and a variety of food vendors set up, as it will be the setting for Smorgasburg.

Smorgasburg in Brooklyn is a classic experience that brings a great variety of food vendors together.

The Brooklyn Promenade is another option to see the fireworks this year. Stretching a third of a mile along the East River, it’s one of the most idyllic spots in New York City. Located above the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway, the Promenade was built to muffle the sound of traffic below. The views of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan make it a perfect spot to enjoy the 4th of July celebration.

The Brooklyn Promenade overlooks the East River and is the perfect spot to see the fireworks.

If what you want this 4th of July is a bit of peace and quiet, check out Grand Ferry Park in Williamsburg. Tucked away and without perfect views, it should be a calmer scene than the other options listed above, but still provide a peek at the fireworks display.

The 4th of July can be overwhelming, but with all of these options available to see the fireworks displays, it’s worth the effort to meet up with your local neighbors to enjoy the evening. We hope you enjoy the show!

Posted in:General and tagged: Park SlopeBrooklynJuly 4th
Posted by Nelson Aybar on June 27th, 2016 10:28 AM

As summer starts to heat up, so does the real estate rental market in New York City. This is the time of year when most leases are signed. Sometimes, leases are signed in the apartment as it is being shown. Apartments move fast, especially the nicest ones and the best deals.

Since it is such a quick market, it makes sense to be as prepared as possible and to position yourself to be the best applicant. How to stand out in a sea of paperwork? We’ll walk you through the process and how to prepare yourself to shine in the hottest rental market.

Although it might seem like it’s early in the process, June is a great time to get started researching apartments and neighborhoods for an August rental. Giving yourself close to 60 days will ensure that by August, you will know exactly what you are looking for and in which neighborhood. It will also give you the opportunity to meet with different real estate agents and find someone who you enjoy working with, because finding an apartment in New York City is not for the faint of heart.

Keep in mind that housing expenses should not exceed 25% of your income and that many landlords require that you earn 40 - 50x the rent. If you don’t earn 40 - 50x the rent, you will most likely need a guarantor to sign the lease with you.

What’s a guarantor, you might ask? It’s someone who makes 75 - 100X the rent who is willing to sign onto a lease, basically vouching for you that you will pay the rent. Parents and relatives are likely suspects for this role and with strict income requirements, it shouldn’t come as a shock that you might need one in order to get your dream apartment. All landlords are different and some may want a guarantor to reside in the tri-state area, or in New York. With each apartment you apply for, check for the landlord’s requirements.

If you do not have any credit history, social security number or guarantor, you can look into working with INSURENT, which is a lease guaranty company that many landlords will accept as an alternative. Click here to learn more about Insurent.

Since you are starting the process with plenty of time, also take a moment to run your credit report through a free service, like or  Credit Karma. Running your own credit is a soft inquiry and does not affect your credit score. By doing so, you’ll get a good idea of just how strong your credit is. And although 60 days most likely isn’t enough time to fix any errors on your credit report, at least you’ll be prepared to present your side of the story to potential landlords if there are red flags on your report and offer incentives, like a higher security deposit or an additional month of rent paid up-front for free market or decontrolled apartment. As for rent stabilized apartments, the most a Landlord can accept is first month and one month security deposit.

There are about 38,000 rent stabilized apartments in New York City. They are in buildings that were built before 1974 and have more than six units. The rent for these apartments are normally less than $2,700 a month, but can be more if the owners have received a J51 or 421A abatement, a tax break that landlords get for undertaking significant improvements to the building.

If you do find a rent stabilized apartment, make sure that the lease reflects that it is and what the breakdown of the monthly rent will be and what the allowable rental increases will be from year to year. We have an excellent selection of no-fee, rent-stabilized apartments that are on the market now.

After you have your credit report ran, the next step is to put together all of the documents that most landlords in New York City want.

  • A completed application

  • Employment verification letter on a company letterhead and signed stating: (1) Position (2) Length of employment (3) Annual salary (plus any bonus or commission)

  • **If self-employed, a letter from CPA stating: a. Nature of business, length of time in business, position, and last years’ income, this year’s projected income and signed contracts from your clients showing contracts if applicable

  • 2 - 3 most recent consecutive pay stubs (If applicable)

  • Recent bank statement (checking and savings/investment)

  • Copy of Government photo I.D.

  • Last 2 years of W-2 and 1st two pages of tax return and schedule C if available

  • Letter from current or previous landlord stating address, rent amount, that applicant was in good standing since they paid rent on time and has been a good tenant

To help yourself stand out from the crowd, consider writing a personal letter to the landlord, explaining why you love the apartment so much, and a bit about yourself. Another way to do this would be to include a resume so the potential landlord can learn more about your background and see that they would be renting to a trustworthy person.

Since there is so much documentation that is needed, it makes sense to scan all of your documents ahead of time and combining them to make one neat PDF file. You can keep this PDF in an email draft so that when you come across your ideal apartment, you’ll be able to forward everything to the agent in an instant.

Consider printing all of these documents out as well and keeping a copy of them with you so that you can hand everything over to the agent showing the apartment when you fall in love. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to fill out an application for each different landlord, but having the supporting documentation organized and pulled together ahead of time will put your application at the top of the heap.

Sometimes the first apartment that you apply for might not work out. While you’re waiting to hear back about that first apartment continue looking at additional apartments, since until you have a signed lease, anything can happen. Good luck and happy hunting during this real estate season!

Posted in:General and tagged: Park Slope
Posted by Nelson Aybar on June 11th, 2016 9:35 AM

Nestled in Park Slope is the famous Park Slope Food Coop. Established in 1973 by a group of neighbors who wanted fresh food options, the Coop now has over 16,500 members. One of the biggest perks of shopping at the Park Slope Food Coop is that everything in the store is about 20-40% less expensive than in other shops.

The Park Slope Food Coop is located at 782 Union Street in Brooklyn.

Organic food is abundant, but not offered exclusively. The province of where the items are from are listed in the produce section. Pasture raised and grass fed meat is available, along with free-range poultry. Delicious treats like chocolate and coffee are also at the Coop, in addition to necessities like imported and artisanal cheeses. Fresh baked bread is there as well and supplies are replenished multiple times a week, ensuring freshness.

Produce is abundant at the Park Slope Food Coop.

The savings that shoppers get at the Coop is attributed to the mandatory service that each adult in a household needs to sign up for: working at the Coop. This is done in shifts, typically for about 3 hours in length, and 13 of those shifts need to be completed in a year. In addition to keeping prices down by having members take work shifts instead of hiring employees, the Coop’s founding members also believe that this kind of investment would help members feel more connected to the Coop and more invested in its future.

The work slots are as varied as the produce that’s available for purchase in the Coop. There are opportunities to work in the office, answering the phones and helping with administrative tasks, maintenance opportunities to help keep the Coop clean, childcare providers, working as a cashier and many other options. If something comes up and you aren’t able to make your scheduled work slot, you can swap with other members and take their shift and they will cover yours.


Seasonality determines what is stocked, though FL and CA help out in cold months.

But before you are able to start your shift, there are a few steps that need to be taken in order to become a member of the Coop. First, prospective members need to attend a 2.5 hour orientation training. These take place three times a week: Mondays at 7.30pm, Wednesdays at 10am and Sunday at 4pm. Proof of identity and residency has to be established, usually with a driver’s license and a bill that was sent to your home.

Once these criteria have been met, then you’re all ready to become a member and shop away at the Coop. Most of the products at the Coop come from within a 500 mile radius of New York City. 500 miles was chosen because it is roughly a one-day truck drive away, which means that the lettuce you pick up today from the Coop was most likely just picked and trucked over to Park Slope the day before. This keeps produce very fresh and supports a considerable number of small, local farms.

Posted by Nelson Aybar on May 25th, 2016 9:37 PM

It seems like everyone has an opinion on bringing babies to bars in Park Slope and the surrounding neighborhoods. What is indisputable is that Park Slope has a large offering of kid-friendly restaurants, and the numbers only seem to be growing. Little ones being such a large part of the community in Park Slope comes as a surprise to no one these days, and can be the motivating factor for a young family to move into the neighborhood.

Chowing down at a local eatery.

But where to go and what to do if you’d like more than the local bar scene? Park Slope has an array of offerings for families, kid-friendly and fun for everyone. To get on the inside track of all things kid-related in Park Slope, there is Park Slope Parents, an online listserv that aggregates information about the neighborhood.

There is an Advice, Classifies and Career Networking listserv and a passionate community that supports it. Founded in 2002, it has a huge presence in the online lives of Park Slope’s parents. Everything from clothing swaps being arranged to hearing about which handymen to hire, the group is a wealth of information for those moving to the neighborhood. Membership is $40 a year, with discounted options available for purchasing multiple years at once.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 4.35.53 PM.png welcomes new members.

Being situated so close to Prospect Park, it comes as no surprise that Park Slope has an abundance of playgrounds for the kiddos to play in. From the newly renovated J.J. Byrne Park, located between 3rd Street and 4th Street on 5th Avenue to the gems found scattered throughout Prospect Park, finding a space to play in Park Slope will never be a challenge.

Prospect Park is filled with great playground options.

If you’d like to get your kids some exercise beyond the monkey bars, tucked away at the back corner of Prospect Park are the Kensington Stables, which offer horseback riding lessons to those 6 years old and older. It might be hard to wait for the little one grows up enough to enjoy this, so don’t feel shy signing up for a course yourself -- adults are welcome to take classes.

Horseback riding in Prospect Park

Finding yourself with a rainy day with kids in Park Slope is no problem thanks to Barnes and Noble's extensive toy section, located on 7th Avenue, near 6th Street. There is a special reading area for the kids with well-loved books and scheduled story times to check out.

If you still feel stuck for ideas on what to do in the neighborhood, this list contains 100 ideas of activities in Park Slope for parents. For freebies around town, check out this roundup of 20 free things to do with kids.

When you’re stuck at work late, there are many daycares in Brooklyn that offer extended day-care options. Or, if you’d like to get a bit more enrichment in, there is always The New York Kids Club or Kidville, both of which offer a great array of classes for the little ones, including music, art, gym and dance classes. FasTracKids offers preschool programs throughout New York City that are geared toward getting your little one on the gifted track early, through a multi-sensory approach which exposes kids to 12 subject areas.

For the little ones who are into superheros, Park Slope has just the shop for them: the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. Located on 5th Avenue between 5th and 6th Street, the location serves as a venue dedicated to helping kids with their writing skills.

The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company is creating lifelong readers.

Tutors, storytellers and workshop leaders come together in the space to foster creative writing skills. Additionally, kids can get De-Villainized, try out capes and try to find the secret portal which leads’ll just have to find out yourself!

Posted by Nelson Aybar on May 19th, 2016 9:41 PM

Nestled south of Park Slope and north of Sunset Park is a dynamic Brooklyn gem. Named Greenwood Heights after the historic Green-wood Cemetery, the borders range from the Prospect Expressway to the Gowanus Canal, stretching to Eighth Avenue and 39th Street, which is the southern boundary of the Green-wood Cemetery.

The Green-wood Cemetery is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

Over the last few years, Greenwood Heights has been undergoing a revitalization. In 2013 The Wall Street Journal and The Real Deal pointed to Greenwood Heights as an emerging haven for hipsters, and more recently The New York Times covered it as one of NYC’s “Next Hot Neighborhoods”. Having a large number of 25-34 year olds living there combined with low vacancy rates and an influx of coffee shops, bars and restaurants like Jeatjet?, Greenwood is on track to becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

Jeatjet?, which boasts an impressive 4 stars on Yelp, features fried chicken with waffles, mac & cheese balls, a lamb burger and more. The question isn’t if to go, but how many plates you can order with each visit.

Greenwood is also home to Industry City. Built in 1895 by Irving T. Bush and originally referred to as “Bush’s Folly” before his vision for a shipping terminal caught on, Industry City has been transformed into a multi-dimensional innovation lab, that boasts a food hall, fitness center and is home to many businesses.

Those businesses include Industry City Distillery, which has the only vodka distilled in New York City and Suneris, an innovative bio-tech start-up. Pop-up shops also abound in Industry City and the Nets operations team has recently moved in.

Industry City is spread out over sixteen building in Greenwood Heights.

Yet Industry City is also rapidly changing: in a space that used to be dominated by recent art-school grads, more and more of the tenants are being replaced with new residents who can afford higher rents. Where there used to be trash in the hallways, they are now brightly lit and swept clean. Industry City has started to transform into one of the hottest start-up spaces in New York City and attractive to maker-industries, including MakerBot, who just moved in.

Being a hub for innovation, it comes as no surprise that Industry City hosts events each month. The Brooklyn Crush Wine and Artisanal Food Festival is coming up later this month where over 175 wines will be featured over the course of two 3 hour events on May 21st. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served and there will be live music.

The upcoming Brooklyn Crush is an event not to be missed.

Deemed by Thrillist as one of the things “You absolutely have to do in NYC,” the event promises to be as successful as prior ones. Since its inception, Brooklyn Crush events have seen over 33,000 delighted attendees.

To get to this and other exciting events, keep in mind that Greenwood Heights is well served by the D, N and R trains, and of course the bus system. Mayor de Blasio recently announced plans to build a tram that will connect Brooklyn to Queens, so in the future there will be even more transportation options.

But if you decide after visiting and seeing the vibrant culture that there’s no other place you’d rather call home, there are some great apartments available to check out.

Located at 134 29th Street, an enormous 2 bedroom, 1,000 square foot apartment awaits.

Home, sweet home: 134 29th Street in vibrant Greenwood Heights.

Being newly renovated and with a washing machine and dryer in-unit, this apartment is a steal at $2,650 per month. Pet friendly, it’s 3 short blocks from the R train and heat and hot water come included.

With rentals like this available in Greenwood Heights, it comes as no surprise that it is one of Brooklyn’s most exciting places to live.

If you are interested in learning more about 134 29th Street or other options in Greenwood Heights, I’d be delighted to show you around. I’m looking forward to welcoming you to your new neighborhood!

Posted in:General
Posted by Nelson Aybar on May 12th, 2016 8:11 AM

The ad on the subways tell a story that we all know by now: if you want to live in New York City with your best friend, Brooklyn is the place to be. And not just any Brooklyn neighborhood will do -- Park Slope is known for welcoming four legged buddies and having a variety of accommodations from parks to bars that are built for your best friend to enjoy with you.

StreetEasy ads lure dog lovers to Park Slope, where amenities abound.  

I’ve had my Boston Terrier, Hunter, for the last 6 years and seeing him wag and jump around when I walk in the door always makes my day. I love finding new places in Brooklyn that are pet-friendly so I can bring him with me. Whether it’s to the grocery store, a bar for drinks with friends or the park to visit Hunter’s buddies, Park Slope is one of the most pet-friendly neighborhoods we’ve found.

Hunter, at rest.

Prospect Park, the sprawling and beautiful backyard for Park Slope, offers off-leash hours for dogs daily, from 9pm - 1am and 5am - 9am. Settled in the midst of Prospect Park are several lakes where dogs from the neighborhood can go for a swim.

FIDO, the Fellowship for the Interest of Dogs and their Owners, has community events in Prospect Park for dog owners. On May 6th, they’ll have free coffee for the owners and free biscuits for the pups through their “Coffee Bark”, which takes place the first Saturday of each month.

TimeOut New York has assembled a great list of dog friendly bars, while has put together lists of all of the Restaurants & Bars, Delis & Groceries or Shops in Park Slope that allow your pup to come in with you. Yelp and BringFido are additional resources to find pet-friendly establishments in the neighborhood.

Many bars in Park Slope are pup-friendly, though all they get is water to drink.

Of course, the hardest part with any pet is finding a home that will allow them. I always keep an Apartment List of pet-friendly homes available for my clients. Additionally,’s advanced search feature allows prospective tenants to search for a home with a pet-friendly filter.

However, since Brooklyn abounds with those gorgeous brownstones which are usually owned by local landlords, don’t be discouraged if your dream apartment doesn’t specify that it’s pet friendly. Instead, reach out to the listing agent to see if the landlord would consider your well-behaved pup. You might be delightfully surprised to find that the answer is yes.

Apartment living with a dog can be a breeze in a pet-friendly neighborhood like Park Slope.

Living in Park Slope also means access to a host of different dog caretaking services. From walking to grooming or training, Park Slope takes its canine population seriously. Brownstone Dog Walkers will take a pup out for a walk and also offers boarding services. Jason the Dog Walker & Co offers GPS tracking as your dog is walked so you can see exactly where they are going on a walk so you can go on a different route with Fido that night. Brooklyn Bark offers walking services, along with training and “baby watch” to keep an eye on a pup when the newest member of the family is coming home.

What is the best part about having a dog in Park Slope? While access to great parks, pet-friendly restaurants and shops are wonderful, Hunter’s favorite thing is meeting all his dog buddies on the street as we walk through the neighborhood. And their owners? They are pretty great, too.

Posted in:General
Posted by Nelson Aybar on May 4th, 2016 12:42 PM

Moving to Brooklyn is a dream come true for many. The neighborhood, the shops, the endless eateries…there are many reasons why Brooklyn has the reputation of being a hip place to live. Yet with so many different real estate choices in the borough, deciding between living in a brownstone or a brand new high rise can become quite the dilemma.

The beauty of brownstones on a tree-lined street in Brooklyn is always stunning.

Brownstones were generally built in three different styles: Renaissance Revival, Italianate, and Greek Revival. Generally grouped together on tree-lined streets, their solid and beautiful construction evokes the glamour of a by-gone era. Imbued with nostalgia, brownstones in Brooklyn have enough crown molding, built-in architectural details and marble fireplaces to make anyone swoon. Combining this elegance with the practicality of durable hardwood floors, it makes sense why brownstones in Brooklyn are in such high demand.

Brownstones can come with a flight or two of stairs. That can make moving in or out a little bit of a challenge, but one that experienced moving companies handle with ease. There are also the coveted garden apartments in brownstones, which usually have exclusive access to the backyard. This can be a haven from city life, extend the square footage of the unit and provide a bit of space for pets or kids to roam.


A renovated brownstone in Brooklyn combines old-world beauty with modern appliances.

Yet there are some aspects of brownstone living that bear consideration. For example, most brownstones are tucked between others on quiet, tree-lined streets. This means that generally, the only windows a brownstone has are in the front and back of the building which can limit sunlight. But what windows they are! Generally larger than in other buildings, brownstone windows let the light gush in. Some brownstones may lack some updated appliances found in other buildings, like laundry facilities or dishwashers, but many landlords are becoming aware that these are amenities that their tenants would like. As a result, more and more brownstones are being renovated to include modern appliances.

But if those are amenities that are required, Brooklyn still has many options for a househunter. New apartment buildings are being constructed in Brooklyn at a frenzied pace and most units come outfitted with their own laundry machines inside the unit. Dishwashers are standard in these apartments, as are luxury bathrooms and plenty of closet space. What Brooklyn charm may be missing from these glittering apartment complexes with cookie-cutter units can be made up for in the shared spaces, including gyms, pools, roof decks and sometimes, movie theaters or playrooms for kids.

High rise living includes lots of glittering glass windows.

Package delivery is another differentiator between high rises and brownstones. In most high rises, a doorman can sign for and keep packages for residents. For those living in brownstones, a new service called FromParcel is removing all the headaches from receiving deliveries in a timely manner. For only $5 a delivery, FromParcel will schedule a delivery of packages when someone will be home. That creates peace of mind, knowing that each delivery will be able to arrive without unneeded stress.

High rise living can become a bit lonely. Since the buildings are so large, residents can make an effort to get to know each other, but with busy schedules and a rush of residents through the lobby, many stay to themselves. In brownstones, there are fewer units per building so residents generally get to know each other and become friends.

Many times, heat and hot water are not included in new construction which creates an additional monthly cost. In brownstones, heat and hot water is almost always included. Generally radiator heat, brownstones stay warm throughout the cold Brooklyn winters.

So which to go for: the brownstone or the brand new high rise? It’s an on-going debate for any house-hunter and difficult to weigh the pros and cons of each. However, once moved into a new home a more pressing dilemma arises: which restaurant in the new Brooklyn neighborhood to check out first.

Posted in:General
Posted by Nelson Aybar on April 27th, 2016 8:43 AM

Growing up, Sarah Metz was obsessed with recycling and the environment. Together with her twin sister and a handful of friends, she started an environmental club at her high school in the 1990s. It’s only fitting that she is channeling her passion into launching a package-free grocery store in Brooklyn called The Fillery. The store will be stocked with all kinds of grains, teas, coffees, spices and more...but no plastic.

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Metz has drawn inspiration from stores like above, found in Lille, France.

Metz has been thinking about opening up a package-free grocery store in Brooklyn for over five years and has spent the last three years carefully planning it. The Fillery is quite literally filling a space that Metz has seen as lacking throughout the past nine years that she has lived in Brooklyn.

“I saw a bulk store in Michigan and loved the concept...I kept looking for something like it in Brooklyn but haven’t come across anything similar, so I decided to create it,” Metz said.

Metz noted that she has found several stores that offer bulk food options around Brooklyn, yet none of those stores are concerned with the waste that is generated. Over the years, Metz has become more and more aware of the amount of packaging associated with food products and she finally decided to act upon her ideas.

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Another package-free store Metz found was in Berlin, Germany.

The Brooklyn Public Library has a business plan competition every year, and Metz entered the idea of The Fillery in the event for the past two years. She won second place last year, and through the process of entering the competition she has met with business advisors and went through a variety of workshops to prepare her for building and launching her business.

She has the backing of an investor for The Fillery, but perhaps even more importantly, she successfully raised $15,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. Raising capital for the project through the online platform has opened additional doors to Metz. It’s also provided fantastic publicity around the project while creating an early buzz for the yet-to-be-opened market.

Metz’s twin sister, an architect who is also taken with the idea of sustainability, is drafting plans for the space which will use repurposed materials.

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Rendering of The Fillery by Metz’s twin sister, who is an architect.

The Fillery will partner with farms to provide jams and jellies along with milk in glass bottles, butter and eggs. Metz has The Fillery slated to be a CSA pick-up spot 2-3 times a week, as she is not anticipating that there will be a produce section.

“Space is tight in Brooklyn, so we’re trying to maximize our offerings by partnering with CSAs so people can still get all of their produce with minimum waste,” she said.

Metz is planning on a late summer opening for The Fillery and has the vendors lined up for the space. Autumn is the busiest time of year for stores like The Fillery, so Metz is working to open the store before then so that she can get some experience under her belt before the crush arrives in September.

And if The Fillery becomes the rousing success that it is expected to be? Metz would love to see the concept expand beyond Brooklyn to others parts of the country.

“I see it as a movement; a movement with less waste and towards sustainability,” Metz said.

And indeed, the concept will resonate with Brooklynites who are ecologically concerned as well as those who know that grains look much more aesthetically pleasing in a glass jar than a plastic bag.

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The Fillery is coming to Brooklyn soon!

Posted in:General and tagged: BrooklynThe Fillery
Posted by Nelson Aybar on April 19th, 2016 10:24 AM

The fresh air of spring inspires many to open their windows to let the fresh breeze in and hopefully clear away the clutter that has accumulated in their home over the past few months. In order to actually see that clutter disappear, one of the most effective ways is to have a stoop-sale.

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Jeni Aron, a professional organizer and professionally known as the Clutter Cowgirl, lent us some ideas on how to make sure your stoop-sale is a success.

Some things to consider first before getting into the nitty-gritty of having a stoop-sale:

  • Aron warns that sometimes people don’t consider how they would feel when their neighbors see them with their wares on sale. Make sure that you’re okay with this before you proceed.

  • With stoop-sales comes lots of strangers; Aron recommends that you become comfortable with the idea of others handling and going through your things.

  • Although you might consider something valuable, that doesn’t mean that everyone else will -- so prepare yourself for low-bidders or people not wanting to buy what you have to sell.

  • If you have something valuable that you would like to sell, go through more traditional channels like or to sell them, rather than anticipating that you will find just the right buyer who happens to be walking by.

With those considerations addressed, Aron has a few tips on ensuring a successful stoop-sale.

  • Although it might be tempting to put anything you have out for sale, Aron suggests really curating the items that you offer. Putting junk in either a “free” bin or not out at all, Aron thinks that the best strategy is to offer items that have a true value to others.

  • Look to get 25% of the price that you paid for an item, though Aron reminds us that getting stuff out of the house is better than getting the full price that you are asking.

  • Which leads us to: don’t be afraid to haggle! People who stop by may be inclined to ask for a discount. This is your chance to shine and offer a 2 for 1 deal, moving more items out of your apartment and still making some cash.

  • Try to keep all items at eye-level, so bring out some tables and chairs to prop items on, rather than putting them on the ground.

What are some items that sell well at a stoop-sale? Aron suggests that the following are always big winners:

  • Comic books

  • Vinyl records

  • Books

Price these items low, at $1 each and you’ll see them float away to new, happy homes.

As far as items that should never be included in a stoop-sale, Aron has some ideas on that as well. Avoid putting out for sale:

  • Any used cosmetics

  • Opened food of any sort

  • Lingerie

While you may think, “But this eyeshadow has only been used once!” -- and that might be true, the sanitary considerations outweigh anything that you might earn from selling it. Besides, lumping used cosmetics with some other great stuff that you might have to sell casts an unsavory pallor on the other items.

Finally, put out old-school, handwritten signs to advertise for the big day. Attract customers to your stoop-sale by using chalk on the sidewalk of your nearest major avenue to advertise the location, and go ahead, put arrows leading the way! Be friendly and chatty with your guests -- you never know who will buy what and it’s best to treat the entire day like an adventure, which is exactly what it is.

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Posted by Nelson Aybar on April 14th, 2016 9:04 AM


The ever-changing landscape of Brooklyn’s real estate market has found itself as the center of an art show. From brownstone renovations to luxury high rises springing up in the neighborhood, the borough has seen a dramatic and rapid transformation. While there are some who are thrilled with the new developments and improvements in town, there exists a tension that between lifelong residents and the new blood that is bringing rapid change to the neighborhood. The art show explores the changing demographics of the neighborhoods, the American dream of home-ownership and the language used in advertisements to attract residents.

Art by Becky Brown

Titled, “Artistic Developments: Artists and the Language of Real Estate” and hosted by The New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation ”, the show aims to “feature artists appropriating the techniques of real estate advertising in order to comment on the state of development in NYC and beyond,” according to the NARS press release. The show is on exhibit until April 8, 2016 at the NARS Foundation, located at 201 46th Street 4th Floor in Brooklyn and is free and open to the public.

Art by Daniel Bejar.

Curated by Katherine Gressel, winner of the 2015 NARS Emerging Curator Program Open Call, the exhibition has drawn interest from the art community and real estate professionals alike. Gressel, a native New Yorker who has lived in Brooklyn since 2006, has seen a wave of transformation over the past decade. Most of her work has focused on the intersection of urban planning, its impact on local communities and the gentrification that has come as a result of new buildings.

“I have seen a profusion of advertising,” she said, “I wanted to focus on how real estate developers use advertising and make a lot of promises.” Indeed, has noted that in 2013, one-third of real estate purchases were made, “solely on floor plans and renderings in developments that'll take years to complete.” And when will those renderings be completed? And will they be completed as promised? Those are still lingering questions on buyers’ and neighbors’ minds.

Starting in 2009, Gressel has made gentrification and urban planning the center of her work as a curator. She has curated exhibits around income inequality (including projects on tenants rights) at other venues and is happy about the exposure that “Artistic Developments” will bring to the artists who are features in the exhibit.

Art by Leslie Kerby.

Utilizing real estate advertisements and 3-D reconstructions of buildings, the exhibit features the work of eight artists. When combined into one show, these artists create a compelling narrative about the dynamics of real estate in Brooklyn and beyond. From juxtaposing Greenpoint’s older aesthetic to the new construction springing up in the neighborhood to examining how “properties (are) being described as aspirational…a thing that defines you—a selfie so to speak,” says artist Leslie Kerby, the show touches on many hot-button topics in Brooklyn communities.

From the show’s Opening Night on March 11, 2016, when Gressel gave a Curator’s Talk, the reception has been genuinely positive. What surprised Gressel the most was how well the professionals within the real estate community responded to the show.

“I thought they might be offended,” she said. “Instead, it seemed like they not only understood what the artists were saying through their work, but they saw the humor in the juxtapositions themselves.”

Art by Lisa Dahl.

Posted in:General
Posted by Nelson Aybar on April 5th, 2016 11:54 AM