The good: Spread Love Party in Greenpoing, BK (and how I avoided a fine)

Based on TV shows, articles in magazines, and my own wild imagination, I constructed a pretty solid yet possibly misguided image of what underground brooklyn dance parties are like, or should be like. I have been looking to experience this ideal since the first time I visited New York during Summer 2011 and the quest only intensified once I moved here in May. It finally came to an end last night at the Spread Love Party in Greenpoint, organized by the Brooklyn Good Guys. I am not sure who the Brooklyn Good Guys are. I just know that they are a collective of artists, musicians (and good guys?) who organize dope events. Dope as in fucking amazing. I found out about this one through a 3rdWard post on their blog about stuff going on this weekend, which you can find here.

The Spread Love Party was advertised as a live dancehall/rap/hip-hop music event with no cover, in front of the waterfront, and to which you could bring your own booze, drinks, beer, liquor, poison…. Now if that doesn’t sound like the best event, I don’t know what would. Unless you hate rap/hip-hop and happiness, in which case you should just die or something. Check out the awesome flyer below.

I went there with a new friend, Julio, who I met through couchsurfing. He’s from El Salvador, just like me! Other couchsurfers as well as my friend Jerome visiting from Quebec joined us later. Julio and I got there super early (around 8:30), with a 6-pack of brooklyn pilsen. We wanted the party to get more ballin’ before going in so just we sat down by the water, a few centimeters away from the venue which was half a construction site & half a backyard (?) behind an apartment building. Low resolution pictures I stole from twitter are below.

We started a-drinking… enjoying the New York skyline and the good enough sunset –mediocre compared to salvadorian sunsets obviously. Two guys came up to us at one point and asked us how to get into the party. Seconds after we directed them, Julio spotted a police car. I know, WHOoaaA.

We instinctively hid the booze behind a concrete slab and i lit a cigarette. Not due to stress but to seem like we had nothing to hide — it made sense in my head at that time. We also started taking pictures of each other as well as excessively and exaggeratedly pointing at the buildings in manhattan, to pretend like we were there for the view, YOU KNOW. The cops didn’t even come to talk to us or anything so IT WORKED! Unfortunately, the guys who asked us how to get in did get a fine. ha! suckers. Just kidding, poor dudes.

I actually took this one

After the cops left, we finally went into the party. I am still not sure if it was somebody’s house or maybe a studio but we definitely went through an apartment-like space. The first DJ set was very good. he was playing some cool vintage Rap and Hip Hop. The second set was OK although he didn’t have any Das Racist and was playing almost all top 40 music, which I dont mind. However, one of the highlights of the night was the live show by the band Nyle vs. the Naysayers, which played at around 10pm (after the first DJ set) and again towards the end of the party (after the second set). They were SO GOOD that Das Racist might have to make some room in my heart for them. Check their website and music here. If I had to describe their musical style, which I am not very good at doing, I would say they are a hip-hop/punk/reaggae group. But who isn’t these days? The important thing is that they fricking rooockkeedddd.

I am not sure if this would qualify as an “underground party” as ir was definitely advertised and the purpose was to celebrate the CD release of Nyle vs. the Naysayers. To be honest I don’t really care. I had so much fun and my friends did too! I think they under the erroneous impression that I am some sort of cool girl who knows about all these ~underground~ events. But I try to explain to them that I am just a really good researcher!!!

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How to find interesting things to do in NYC?

So you just moved moved, eh? There are so many things going on in this city, many art shows, clubs, restaurants, bars, weird events, etc. Alas, it’s hard to actually pick the best one or venture out to these events, especially if you don’t know anyone. But you-can-do-it! I even went out by myself one night and had a great time (read the article here).

You can start by checking out events on couchsurfing.org in the NYC group. But I warn you: events posted there are mostly get togethers, the weekly CS meeting, or bar hang outs. Sometimes someone will post information about a particular event or an interesting plan but I wouldn’t count on it as my primary source for NYC events. Remember that the majority of people who post in the new york group are tourists or clueless newcomers like us! This is not to say that you shouldn’t visit the NYC Couchsurfing group! Au contraire, I think it is a great place to meet people who will tag along and go with you to events that you propose.

If you are looking for cool, different, and interesting things to do in this city I would recommend doing the following, in no particular order. Although, I may have unconsciously ordered it from best to worst.

1. Signing up to the weekly newsletter called nonsense new york (find it here: http://www.nonsensenyc.com/). Every thursday or wednesday, they will send you an email with list of cool things to do during the weekend. I know I’ve used the word “cool” a lot but I don’t know how else to describe these things. They’re COOOL events oookaaaay?

2. Checking out Brokelyn, a guide for broke people to go out in brooklyn http://brokelyn.com/

3. Perusing oneartworld to find art gallery shoes/openings/events where you will be likely to get drunk for free whilst being surrounded by pretty people and pretty things http://oneartworld.com/ 

4. Reading or following Gothamist – they’ll often do “Food and Drinks” neighbourhood tours such as this; advertise festivals going on in the city; and present news that will keep you ~in the know~ of what’s going on. You kind of have to dig through it though, not gonna lie.

6. Checking out the Evgrieve blog http://evgrieve.com/, which is a repository for events, news, and other stuff going on in the East Village/Lower East Side area. You also have to dig through it.

Update! New sources – this time in no particular order!

7. Check out 3rdWard.com or  and/or their respective Facebook and twitters. 3rdWard is a gallery where they host this drink and draw event on wednesdays (which should be checked out by you) but they will often post about events going on in the city.

8. brooklynvegan.com (foooo shooooo) is also a really awesome website where they post about a bunch of events, most of them cool and FREE. And no, they dont just advertise events for vegans! 

9. Brooklyn exposed is similar to brooklynvegan but the events don’t overlap so you should check it out.

10. Believe ir or not Brooklyn.com is an awesome source for events! haha i know right? yeah check it out. the usefulness of the information makes up for their dreadful webpage design. Maybe they’re trying to go vintage or something. Through this website, I found out Aretha Franking played for fucking free on August 4th 2011.

8. GET A TWITTER if you don’t already have one and follow a bunch of people, pages, bands, magazinez based in New York City because they often post shit to do like gallery openings, release parties (which often have free food and free booze) and places they are DJing and stiff. Basically follow me on twitter and follow all the NYC pple I follow? Ok i’m not gonna teach you how to use twitter lol but let me tell you its hella useful.

The more things i find that I can share I will let you know. Meanwhile, feel free to check out the map I made with all my favourite spots in NYC. I shall update it the more I get to know the city.