Police Hunting for Williamsburg Sex Assault Suspect

And now, a break from our usual indie music musings and breaking brunch news to share some more serious info:

Police are searching for a man who sexually assaulted a woman around 4:20AM the night of New Year’s Eve on Maspeth Avenue (near the Graham Avenue L).

Crime sketch provided by the NYPD.

The woman was walking alone in the early morning hours when a man grabbed her and pulled her into a parking garage adjacent to a modern condo building. He indicated he had a gun, told the woman to stay quiet, and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the scene.

Cops say they’re looking for a man 20-25 years old, about 5’8” and 150 pounds, wearing a gray hoodie and a dark baseball hat. (What’s that, you say? That could fit the description of almost any guy you see on the street? Yeah, us too.)

If you have any information, please call CrimeStoppers: (800) 577-TIPS, or submit tips at  www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting CRIMES (274637) then entering TIP577.

And in the meantime, please, let’s all stay extra-vigilant on our late-night walks home.

Dram gets divey in mid-July

South Williamsburg cocktail bar Dram made a name for itself serving up carefully blended seasonal drinks — it’s even drawn some national publicity, as evidenced in this perpetually hilarious clip of Martha Stewart getting a little toasted there (and then drunk-eating some Pies n’ Thighs deliciousness). But the NYT reports that from July 20-23, Dram will be taking a brief hiatus from mixology to moonlight as a bona fide dive bar — complete with cheap drinks and decidedly low-brow snacks.

The pop-up dive, appropriately called 86’d, takes place during the New Orleans drink convention (umm, why aren’t we there?) Tales of the Cocktail, a four-day long mixology smorgasbord complete with competitions, tastings and seminars. Since Dram is losing several of its best bartenders to the Big Easy for the weekend, they’ll be turning over the reins to two of the bar’s lesser-known staff members.

So for the second-to-last weekend in July, expect to see the bar’s typical $10-14 cocktails replaced with noncraft domestic beers, Jagermeister, and pickleback shots. If you’re set on a more, uhm, elaborate drink you can enjoy a White Russian or Salty Dog. All drinks will be $4-8. As for food, the bar will be nixing the typical tapas-style small bites in favor of pimento cheese bites and boiled peanuts ($2).

What can we say? You get what you pay for.

Dram, 177  S. 4th  St, Williamsburg. 718.486.3726.

L Train Alternative: East River Ferry Provides Free Service, June 13 – 24

This could prove useful, especially considering how the L train’s weekend “service” has seriously made us question the MTA’s sanity of late: the new East River Ferry, with three pickups in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area (India St. in Greenpoint, N. 6th St. in N. Williamsburg, Schaefer Landing in S. Williamsburg) will be offering FREE ferry service for its first few days of operation – from June 13-24.

The ferry operates from 7am-8:30pm, with pickups every 20-30 minutes. It also offers a free connecting bus service from the East 34th St. terminal and into east midtown.  No word yet on how much the ferry will cost Edit: from a helpful commenter: After the 24th, 1 way trips will be $4, all-day hop-on hop-off passes will be $12, a monthly unlimited pass will be $140, and monthly unlimited with bike $170.

Check out the service map below for more info, or visit the ferry’s website.

Image courtesy nywaterway.com.

We’re fine with the world ending, now that we’ve seen the Fleet Foxes perform live

If the streets of Williamsburg felt a little empty the past two nights, it’s not because The Rapture struck New York’s hipster elite a few days early. The real culprit for the L-train exodus: cult favorite Fleet Foxes, which played two sold-out shows way, WAY uptown at the massive United Palace Theater venue Wednesday and Thursday night. The converted movie theater (which has been characterized as “Byzantine-Romanesque-Indo-Hindu-Sino-Moorish-Persian-Eclectic-Rococo-Deco” ) holds 3,293 people — that’s an awful lot of facial-haired, horn-rimmed glasses-wearing 20-somethings migrating to the northern tip of the city.

The six members of Fleet Foxes fit that description to a tee, but the Portland-based band’s image took a backseat to what these guys are really known for: lush, pure acapella harmonies coasting seamlessly into a neverending rotation of string instruments (which – impressingly – several members of the band often switched mid-song).

“We just randomly met Art Garfunkel,” frontman Robin Pecknold told the audience after a few opening songs. “He was like, ‘Hey there, I heard you guys have been copying my style…”

[Read more…]

Moomba Brooklyn

A warm welcome tonight for the newest addition to Williamsburg’s burgeoning restaurant scene, Moomba. Soft-opening this evening in the space formerly known as Vertuccio’s, Moomba’s prime real estate – it borders McCarren Park on North 12th – should make it a popular stop for the neighborhood’s brunch aficionados and late-night diners alike.

Offering a diverse (and ambitious) menu including wood-fired pizzas, a wide-ranging but well-priced list of small plates and tapas, and a fantastic selection of wines, Moomba seems perfectly positioned to accommodate larger groups looking for a family-style meal sharing experience. Adding to the party atmosphere: live music from a rotating list of local talent, as well as theme nights starting in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned for a full review of the restaurant, as well as a PDF copy of the menu. For now, here’s a sneak peek at the bar – made with repurposed wood! – and the place where the magic happens (also known as the pizza oven).

Moomba Brooklyn, open tonight, 232 N. 12th St btn. Driggs and Roebling; 718.486.3900

An Interview With New York’s Most Famous Gnome

It’s hard not to be captivated by Gnome Life, a Tumblr documenting the urban adventures of an anonymous gnome living in New York. The artful composition of the Gnome’s photos, paired with his candid and often poignant musings about the city, are enough to pique anyone’s curiosity, but the identity and whereabouts of the Gnome remain shrouded in mystery. So it came somewhat as a surprise when the Gnome agreed to a rare interview with Free Williamsburg — but only under the condition that the details of his life remain anonymous.

And so, without further ado, an interview with New York’s most famous Gnome:

Where do you live? What do you think of your neighborhood?

I live in Manhattan. In New York, I am surrounded by so many people, but there are still mornings, whole afternoons, where I feel alone. I am most taken by the sheer amount of people and the energy that grabs you.

When I came here, I remember I would fight against New York, for myself. Now, I know it is always better to play along with the city. At this point, I am happy I left the garden for this place. I love it for its differences not despite them.

[Read more…]

Today: Save lives at the corner of Driggs and N. 11th

With less than a week left until V-Day, it’s hard to walk a block without running smack-dab into reminders of our own romantic ineptitude: the tangle of heart-shaped tinsel on the storefront of a jewelry store, the plastic Cupid lawn gnome half-hidden by a skiff of snow, the sudden surge of pink and red in the greeting card aisle (nevermind the fact that most of us haven’t sent a card in the mail since 2007….).
Eschew the idiocy of this saccharine, Hallmark-fueled holiday by taking the time to acknowledge the muscular organ responsible for all that fanfare: your heart. Today’s blood drive, co-sponsored by Jauntsetter, the Makery, Small Girls PR and the North Brooklyn Breakfast Club, runs from 3:30-9pm on the corner of N. 11th & Driggs.
Click here to sign up for a slot in advance, or just stop by. The whole production shouldn’t take more than an hour, and afterwards, you’ll be plied with tasty treats to give your blood sugar a boost. Bonus: if you decide to go out for drinks after, it’ll hit you like nobody’s business. Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like saving three lives and being the cheapest date at the bar.

Streaming now: Jaime xx and Gil Scott-Heron

Cutting-edge British instrumentalist Jaime xx (better known as 1/3 of the critically-acclaimed the xx) makes admittedly strange bedfellows with Gil Scott-Heron, the 61-year-old soul singer whose signature spoken-word style influenced generations of hip-hop greats, as well as black militant activists back in the 1970s.

But collaborate they have, and the result is something unlike anything we’ve heard before. “We’re New Here,” Jaime xx’s album-length remix of Heron’s latest album, adds dubstep-inspired underpinnings to Gil Scott’s gravelly vocals, with warm waves of reggae marrying electronica and hip-hop with remarkable ease.

The album doesn’t drop until February 22, but for a limited time smartphone users with HTML5 can stream the entire thing here, via the XL Recordings/Young Turks “We’re New Here” album transmitter.

The stream is limited to users located within the range of one of the broadcast stations, but that shouldn’t be a problem: according to the website, there are three transmitters in Williamsburg alone, including one near Hope and Roebling, a second at N. 5th and Bedford, and a third at N. 6th and Berry.

If the radio gods still refuse to smile on you this dreary Wednesday day, you can preview one of the album’s most affecting tracks, the hypnotically beautiful, reggae-tinged “I’ll Take Care of U,” here: