The ‘Only in New York’ Podcast Goes to Brooklyn Nightlife Institution House of Yes

The ‘Only in New York’ Podcast Goes to Brooklyn Nightlife Institution House of Yes
In the first episode of Culture Trip’s Only in New York podcast, we head to House of Yes in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Co-founders Kae Burke and Anya Sapozhnikova tell us how House of Yes morphed from an illegal DIY arts space to an exciting nightlife destination known for its brilliant events – from awe-inspiring acrobatics to dirty dance parties and deep house yoga.

House of Yes, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is a nightlife institution. With daily, constantly changing events including wild dance parties, daring aerialist performances and risqué burlesque shows, everyone (and we mean everyone) is invited to chase their bliss here. House of Yes co-founders Kae Burke and Anya Sapozhnikova tell hosts Jillian Anthony and Alex Shebar how they transformed House of Yes into Brooklyn’s top nightspot.

Below, you can listen to the episode – and remember to subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts so you can explore the other five boroughs with us. You can also read a transcript of the full conversation. And for even more fun, check out our guide to Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhoods and best cocktail bars.

Subscribe to the Only In New York series on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode’s Transcript:

Kae Burke: Hi, my name is Kae Burke. I’m one of the co-founders and creative directors at House of Yes. And only in New York can you sit on a sidewalk, at any intersection, for 10 hours straight and not be bored, and just watch people and watch the city happen. It’s very entertaining.

Anya Sapozhnikova: Hi, my name is Anya Sapozhnikova, and I am one of the co-founders and creative directors at House of Yes. Only in New York can you discover a SoundCloud rapper on Rollerblades in a golden cloud costume, then 24 hours later, have a sit-down, two-hour dialogue about art and philosophy.

Jillian: New York City is the greatest city in the world. That’s just a fact.

Alex Shebar: We’re New Yorkers, and we’ll fight you on this.

Jillian: We’ve got 8 million people and 62 million visitors a year who love our world-famous entertainment.

Alex: So many dining options, you couldn’t get through them in a lifetime.

JA: The breathtaking skyline.

Alex: And of course, the terrible weather.

JA: The world-reviled subway system.

Alex: Rats the size of your face!

JA: But it’s all worth it because the city surprises you every New York minute.

Alex: No one says New York minute.

JA: Okay, then, a lot.

Alex: Okay, want to know the best things to do in each of the city’s five boroughs?

JA: Guess what? You’re in the right place.

Alex: I’m Alex Shebar.

JA: And I’m Jillian Anthony, and we’re from Culture Trip.

Alex: This is a podcast for people who live in New York, love New York or are traveling here to find out why everyone else does.

JA: This is Only in New York by Culture Trip.

Alex: Let’s visit Brooklyn.

JA: I don’t need to visit. I live there.

Alex: Me too.

JA: So I’ve lived in Brooklyn for eight years and I’ve been through a lot of nightlife there. How about you, Alex?

Alex: I recently moved to Brooklyn and it’s phenomenal. And I am exploring everything this neighbourhood has to offer, and every night seems completely different, which is really cool.

JA: There’s so much to do in Brooklyn. I would say nightlife, especially, is known in Williamsburg and Bushwick, which is where House of Yes is, which is one of our favourite nightlife venues in Brooklyn.

JA: And a lot of warehouse parties.

Alex: Oh my god. How many warehouse parties have you been to, Jillian?

JA: Um… a lot.

Alex S.: I think that “Um” says enough.

JA: Too many, probably. You know, I haven’t aged out yet. I’m still going strong.

Alex: You’ll never age out. You’ll be that 80-year-old dancing it up until 3am, and you’ll be that cool grandma who is just, like, the kids want to hang out with.

JA: And you know, you can see cool grandmas at these parties, for sure.

Alex: Yes, all the time. Isn’t it amazing when there’s a cool grandma? It’s my favourite. Those are the moments that make Brooklyn worth it.

JA: But House of Yes is really special. I’ve been there several times for all sorts of different parties, but I actually celebrated my 30th birthday there. So you know, that’s the place I was, like, “Me and my friends are going to go here to celebrate this life milestone.”

Alex: What did you do at your 30th birthday? What was it like?

JA: The party was called Flower Power, and it was just a big dance party and we all dressed up as different flowers.

Eden at House of Yes Courtesy of House of Yes / © Kenny Rodriguez

JA: The schedule changes every single week. And there’s something, you know, if you look on the schedule one week it’ll be completely different from the next, which is so fun about House of Yes. They’ve got yoga there, you’ll get deep house beats, that’s a really popular event they do every week. They’ve got film events, they’ve got live music. So it’s everything you could ever want in one venue.

Alex S.: And more.

JA: And we got to talk to the founders of House of Yes.

Alex S.: Yeah, we did. We chatted with them, a few things about how they burned down their first DIY space in a toaster fire, the mix of celebrities that have come through, which ranges the gamut. You’re going to want to hear that. And of course who is welcome at House of Yes, which is, spoil alert, everyone.

JA: There’s definitely a feeling of belonging there, no matter who you are.

Alex S.: After we did this interview, we 100 percent say yes to the House of Yes. We’re not the only one with opinions about House of Yes and Brooklyn. Here are a few thoughts from people who were actually at the venue.

Partygoer: I have never been to New York before, and it just looked like an insane place. It’s nothing like we’ve ever seen before or anything we have at home. You know people talk about how like Brooklyn is really unique and the vibe of it is really special, and coming somewhere like this you get a sense of that, of like the people you see coming in here, it really gives you a sense of like, “Yeah, this is Brooklyn.” Like you can’t misidentify this as any other area or any other city. I just know it’s going to blow my mind. That’s kind of it.

Madame Vivien V: That is wonderful. Thank you so much. Oh my God. Wow. Everybody, my name is Madame Vivien V. Thank you. But you can call me Viv because we’re casual here. And you are at Dirty Circus. How marvellous, how wonderful, you made it here, and such a beautiful, attractive crowd of gentrifiers. You know who you are. You know what you’ve done. We’re all in this together. And you are here at the place where everything is possible, the House of Yes.

JA: Kae, Anya, you guys are the co-founders of House of Yes. We’re so happy to have you here. Welcome to the show.

Alex S.: We’re going to kick this off real fast. Tell us a secret about House of Yes that very few people know.

KB: Well, we can’t tell secrets.

Alex S.: That’s what makes them secrets.

KB: Yeah.

Alex S.: All right, well, tell us a fact then.

KB: We could tell some factoids.

Alex S.: Sure. Anything interesting.

KB: I mean, it was an industrial laundromat, so we didn’t get it as a nightclub. It was not a nightclub before we had the building, and we did make this ceiling as tall as it is in the theatre, so it was a one-level industrial laundromat.

Alex S.: And you built it up.

Anya S.: Yeah, they decided, our new partners that jumped on for this project, they decided that it was going to be very easy to just rip the roof off and build it taller.

Alex S.: That’s got to be an interesting conversation. You just look at, be like, “No roof.”

Anya S.: They were very relaxed about it.

Alex S.: Maybe too relaxed? Or?

KB: Blind optimism.

Alex S.: I love blind optimism. That’s how I live my whole life.

KB: Yeah, fearless optimism, which actually you kind of need if you’re going to open a nightclub.

Alex S.: I think that’s absolutely true. So what is House of Yes? I think that’s a good initial question.

KB: Well, it’s a nightclub. Surprise.

Alex S.: But it’s more than a nightclub.

KB: It is more than a nightclub.

Anya S.: So it is as much a theater as it is a nightclub as it is a market as it is a deep house yoga studio as it is –

KB: Oh, a bar, it’s a bar, a mixer, a community space.

Anya S.: The most high-end, elaborate, Ibiza-meets-Studio 54-like nightclub of your dreams to, like, the dirtiest, sleaziest nightclub where everyone is just there to get trashed and make mistakes and everything in between. I think what makes it really special is that whatever we do it’s not like, “Well, we’re a nightclub, but we do theatre.” Or, “We’re this, but we do that.” Every single thing that we do, it’s done fully to the max and when you walk in there, that’s the only time you’ve ever been there is for that specific event, you’ll be really surprised when you come back and you’re like, “This is completely different.”

Alex S.: Yeah, I would say sometimes beyond the max what you guys can do. It’s amazing. Give us a brief history of basically how you started. Especially because in your own words, as I pulled from you, you were trying to open the damn thing and having no money. So how does one open a nightclub that way?

KB: Okay, well –

Anya S.: Blind optimism?

KB: Yeah, I think it’s fearless optimism. I mean, the shortest version: Anya and I have known each other since we were 16, ended up in New York, ended up having a couple of different spaces that were live-work, illegal living situations that we would have parties in sometimes, but it wasn’t really the point. The point was to have a place for us to make our art with our friends. And the original one was a House of Yes, but it was, you know, eight people living there. And then there was this second House of Yes that was a little more legit but not completely legit, if you know what I mean?

Anya S.: It looked more like a nightclub, but it wasn’t legally a nightclub.

KB: No, it was a warehouse, but that’s where we really cut our teeth on theatre. And there was an aerial school operating six days a week. And then taking the aerial practice and putting it into shows. That’s where I feel like we really started doing show after show after show.

Anya S.: And the venues kind of always supported what we do as artists individually and what our friends do as artists individually. And then that kind of just grew and grew and grew. And then there were more people that wanted to make bigger versions of that. And so the venue has always grown in tandem with us as individuals, but also our friends as individuals. And then that just grew into like a community.

KB: Yeah.

JA: So it’s always been a collective of artists, performers, creators who wanted their own space.

Neon Dream at HOY Courtesy of House of Yes / © Kenny Rodriguez

KB: Right. And so it’s not heavily curated in the part where it’s not just me and Anya’s vision – that is, every night of the week is something that Kae or Anya has produced or loves.

Anya S.: We’ve just become these, like, masters of facilitating collaboration. I think that that’s something that… We’re really, really good at that. And I think that that’s been our strength the whole time, is that you’re recognising all these amazing things about different people and artists and anyone who wants to create. And then you’re making a venue that supports them and you make a venue that can support just about anything.

JA: You said that you guys met at 16. But [could you talk about] how you came up with this idea and your past as artists and performers, just a little bit?

Alex S.: Because you guys were stilt walkers and aerialists, right?

Anya S.: I’m still an aerialist.

Alex S.: You still are? You’re still doing it.

KB: I’m kind of more of a hobbyist, retired, like I don’t know.

Anya S.: I think that all of these seemingly random things, they actually have a simple through line, so I will show it to you now.

JA: Great.

Anya S.: We started to get into nightlife, but we were underage. So the easiest way to be in nightlife is to pretend like you were working or look like you’re working and like you’re supposed to be there, right? So then that turned into some fashion, turned into elaborate costume making so that you can get into a club. And then that turned into just looking really weird and meeting somebody on the subway who says, “You should learn how to stilt walk, for sure.” Learning how to stilt walk and being like, “Wow, stilt walking makes me a much bigger walking, sparkly oddity now. Oh, and they want to pay me $30 and five drink tickets to come to this party now and no one is even asking about my ID.” And then, “Oh, I’m doing circus all of a sudden, like, cool, what other circus is there? Oh, let’s look up aerial classes on Craigslist.” Because that was before social media, and then getting into aerial and then becoming a part of the circus community, which was like very tiny and budding. Then performing at all of these crazy underground parties and deciding like, “Well, I actually want my performance piece to not just be plowed over by 5,000 people dancing to a DJ, so maybe I’ll create my own venue that’s designed specifically for me to do my own art, that I could have more control creatively over that. Maybe I should make that venue legal so that I don’t…”

Alex S.: We’ll get to that.

Anya S.: “…just get taken away.” And then it just grows and grows and grows, but they’re all completely connected.

Alex S.: That’s so cool.

JA: Thank you –

Anya S.: Does that make sense?

JA: Yeah, absolutely.

KB: That was, like, the most succinct.

JA: That was very succinct. That’s so inspiring too. I love how, I mean, New York has that absolute way of you come here for one spark thing and if you keep on that path in some way it will spark so much more. So that’s amazing.

Alex S.: Yeah. And then leading up to the current iteration of House of Yes, there was a toaster fire?

KB: Well, yes. So that was –

Anya S.: That was the first one.

KB: That was in the first illegal living situation House of Yes.

Alex S.: Okay.

KB: The second one we had for five years in a warehouse. We lost the lease – it expired. Then we looked for some partners because we were ready to level up and get an actual place that could have a liquor license and all the permits and all the things. You know, we’re talking about making art with these collaborators, and that’s really fun, and then there’s this whole other side of making sure those artists have a place to make their art. What’s been really exciting is to find people that that’s exciting for them.

Partygoer: You find like-minded people, you get to dress up, be yourself. Smile, you get to smile a lot. That’s really what it comes down to for me. A lot of ability to just do things outside of what is the cultural norm of everyday society and let you be yourself. I feel like Brooklyn is a bunch of small little spots that are completely different from what you find elsewhere, right? So there is really no, to me, “What is Brooklyn?” But it has a bunch of hidden little gems that you can find if you seek them out and you look hard enough, right? House of Yes, another part of the things that you can find and the beautiful people and beautiful personalities and a part of the Brooklyn experience.

JA: We hope you’re loving the Only in New York podcast as much as we are. Head to theculturetrip.com/onlyinnewyork to find every episode on our website. That’s theculturetrip.com/onlyinnewyork. We wouldn’t want you to miss a single episode as we explore the five boroughs in New York City, so please make sure you subscribe and follow us along on this journey. And while you’re there, we’d love to hear what you think about the podcast. Leave us a review, and five stars is a great way to show the love!

JA: Can you kind of maybe go through a week of what events you might see there for somebody who’s never been to House of Yes?

KB: Monday of this week we had deep house yoga at night, and then last night we had –

Anya S.: Pass the Porn.

KB: Yeah, Pass the Porn.

Anya S.: A film screening.

KB: Tonight we have the Bushwick Film Festival opening gala, so it’s a little more of a party with some film screenings. Tomorrow we definitely have Dirty Thursday, which is our free, crazy, sweaty dance party. Friday –

Anya S.: It’s like the most stripped-down version of a dance party, but it’s grown, so it’s like people are there… That’s what I was saying, like you go there, you dance, you might make some mistakes and you dance and that’s it.

KB: Yeah, so we have a party from our friends BangOn! So that’s part of what’s cool about a nightclub is sometimes your friends also throw parties, so then they could throw their party at your nightclub.

Anya S.: Like on Wednesday for the early slot, we have Dirty Circus, which is… Which I’m so sad you’re not going to be there. Dirty Circus is like me and Kae’s thing. It’s a variety show. It’s been around for forever. So that’s the early thing on Wednesday, followed by Funk You or something. Some dance party.

Fuck Love at HOY Courtesy of House of Yes / © Kenny Rodriguez

KB: Yeah. House of Vogue, I think?

Anya S.: House of Vogue. And then, yeah, so there’s like early slots, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, sometimes Wednesdays, there’s the 7 o’clock doors, 8 to 10 show, push everyone to the front, flip the room, turn the theater into a party, a party 4.00, 4.30, 5.00.

KB: Yeah, and then do it all again the next day.

JA: And I think that’s, I mean –

Alex S.: When do you sleep?

JA: That’s the best part of your venue. There’s so many different things going on. Truly something for everyone. I celebrated my 30th birthday there in April of 2018. It was like a tropical party. We all dressed up as flowers and went and it was so fun.

KB: Cute.

Anya S.: Oh, that’s amazing.

JA: So yeah, I think it is a venue where people of so many different ages and interests can look to and you’re like, “What’s going on there this week? I’ll go find something fun to do.”

Alex S.: Yeah.

KB: Well, I think that one of my favourite things about House of Yes is the diversity of the audience, and not even like a social-justice kind of diversity, it’s just random.

Alex S.: It just is, it’s everyone.

KB: It’s everyone. And that’s, I think, because the events are so random as well. Even the, during the week you get some film screenings and a gala or two or a fundraiser for some very obscure cause and those people get really excited. They end up on the mailing list and then they end up coming to the parties mixing with these people that are total tech house music aficionados mixing with some drag queens who are just totally obsessed with glamor, mixed with people from Europe that are just like there to dance. And that’s what’s really cool is that at any given night at House of Yes there’s just really, really random people in there and it’s really interesting to see how they all just mix.

Alex S.: Yeah.

Anya S.: And then another thing to mention is outside of the programming, the space is always active. If there’s time in the space, people just grab onto it and then they like make art, they rehearse. It’s three a week now, open workouts, a week?

KB: Yeah.

Anya S.: So we have three open workouts a week, which is open to all of our resident performers and acrobats, aerialists, circus artists, and they’re in two-hour sessions. And that’s where people just like work on their stuff. Or we might workshop something with them or they might try out some new stuff. And then aside from that, it’s just like rehearsals all the time.

KB: And that’s what makes the performing arts during the nightlife, or doing Dirty Circus and other variety shows really, really next level and pushes that into super artsy professional. And you know, we’re not just casting people that we find and plugging them into the stage.

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Partygoer: Brooklyn is always that place where you walk down the street and you walk through a door into a building that you’re not sure what you’re going to see on the other side, and then it’s this huge wild thing on the other side of the door. And that’s what House of Yes is too.

Alex S.: Why the name? Yes to what?

KB: It’s evolved. The name House of Yes has evolved over the years. I mean it was originally, Anya –

Anya S.: It’s just catchy.

KB: It’s catchy.

Alex S.: I mean it’s very catchy, 100 percent.

KB: But it’s not like we sat around in a marketing meeting and be like, “What is really going to drive home the strategy?”

JA: Our DIY art space.

Alex S.: Focus-testing that name.

Anya S.: Like the other options sounded like a trance festival or something and was like really trippy.

Anya S.: No, the thing that was competing with House of Yes.

Alex S.: What was it? Or can you not say?

Anya S.: I don’t remember. It was like just all the other options that weren’t House of Yes were like –

KB: Oh, there was Action Adventure, there was Troutwick Bushman. Remember?

Anya S.: Yeah.

KB: There was like a lot… I mean we were also stoners. We were young 20s, smoking weed. So there were a lot of bad ideas. They were really good ideas.

JA: They were really good ideas at the time.

Alex S.: In the moment.

KB: Unrefined brilliance. But yeah, House of Yes.

Bad Behavior at HOY Courtesy of House of Yes / © Kenny Rodriguez

JA: I’m sure that House of Yes can be many things to many people, but when I think of it, I just think like, “Yes, you are welcome here.”

Alex S.: Yeah.

JA: You know?

Alex S.: “Yes, it’s for you.”

Anya S.: Like “Yes and…” in comedy I think is like a great example.

KB: Yeah. It’s a lot of positive affirmations sort of thing. What’s funny is we absolutely say no to things like sexual…

Alex S.: At House of Yes?

KB: I know.

Anya S.: You have to say no to say yes.

KB: Yeah. You have to say no to say yes. If you’re saying yes to your self-expression, it’s like, how about we say no to people negatively judging you? Or you know, violence generally, whether that’s verbal, sexual, physical, whatever, you know, like let’s be nice to each other. We have a very strong consent program. That’s definitely an experiment. We’re still refining and figuring that out. I think society and culture are refining and figuring out how to protect people, but without creating more victimisation, creating more social violence by this complicated thing of dealing with people and their boundaries. And sexuality and humanity. You know? We’re all dealing with that in this little Petri dish of a nightclub. So it’s really empowering but also very fascinating. It’s like a science experiment sometimes.

JA: After we talked about all the different kinds of events, Brooklyn nightlife is pretty legendary around the world right now, I would say. I do think House of Yes is one of the more well-known venues now, which is amazing. But how would you describe Brooklyn nightlife in general? And how do you think House of Yes figures into that?

Alex S.: Great question.

Anya S.: I think especially in Bushwick – so we are very “of Bushwick,” that’s where we’ve been since we’ve moved to New York ourselves. And I just feel really fortunate that I am growing with Bushwick, that nightlife and entertainment and the bar scene and what was available was always like tailor made for where I was in my life. Which is a very unique situation to be in. But like when I wanted to party like a 20-year-old, there was like plenty of rooftops you’re not supposed to be on with, like, parties on them. And when I want to go out as a 33-year-old, I can go to see like a gorgeous, well-lit artisanal cocktails like Company XIV, a neo-burlesque ballet.

JA: Love that.

Anya S.: Like down the block, like 100 feet away from where we do.

Alex S.: Just another Tuesday at House of Yes.

Anya S.: Yeah. And the venue owners are living in the neighbourhood and everyone knows each other.

KB: I feel like that secret sauce or that magic is from money not being the only motivator. If you’re trying to do something just for financial gain, you’re not actually going to succeed, because you’re going to give up because it’s going to suck so bad. You have to have that little spark in your heart that’s like, “But I want it and I want it to happen. It’s going to happen no matter what. I don’t care if I lose everything. At least I’ll do it.” And that’s kind of what you’re talking about, kind of like, yeah…

Alex S.: So if you’ve never been, what’s a good event? What are some of your popular events that people come and they go, “Wow, this is an amazing introduction”?

Anya S.: So that’s a loaded question because who is this newbie?

Alex S.: That’s true. All different interests.

Anya S.: Are they just turned 21? Or they just got a divorce and they’re like 60-ish?

Alex S.: Oh god, now you’re hitting our target demographic and we’re not quite sure what that is yet.

KB: Okay, so I would say go through the House of Yes website or Facebook and just go with what resonates with you, which is like life, follow your bliss, whatever that is. But from the flyer to the name of the party, to the description, just whatever you’re attracted to is probably the vibe that you want to follow and the kind of night you want to have.

Anya S.: Maybe go on a night where you don’t have a time where you have to go home by? Go on a night where you can just go there but then get kind of stuck there indefinitely.

Alex S.: Cool. Do you have any great stories about celebrities at House of Yes? Anything that obviously you can share?

KB: Oh my gosh, this is a podcast, so people who are listening might get really excited, but Ira Glass came to House of Yes.

Anya S.: On his birthday.

KB: On his birthday.

Anya S.: To what show was it?

JA: That is so cool.

KB: I believe it was Extra Burlesque. It was a burlesque show and it was –

Anya S.: But like an out-there burlesque show.

KB: Yeah. Very avant garde, interesting burlesque show by Eric Schmalenberger. And it was Ira Glass and he called and made his own reservation and we didn’t believe it was him.

Foreplay at HOY Courtesy of House of Yes / © Kenny Rodriguez

Alex S.: That’s amazing.

JA: But the voice, I mean, it’s –

KB: It sounded a little different on a telephone recording than a podcast.

JA: Oh.

Alex S.: I wonder if his real voice is different than his podcast voice.

KB: I wonder.

JA: That’s a very Brooklyn celebrity. I would love to hang out with him.

KB: This guy, Adrian something something from Entourage, I’m so sorry.

JA: Adrian Grenier.

Anya S.: Oh, Brian from The Beach Boys came –

Alex S.: Brian Wilson?

KB: No, Christian.

Anya S.: They said it was Brian.

KB: Whatever. The weird one.

Alex S.: Brian Wilson is a notorious recluse, so that would be very cool to get him out.

Anya S.: Well, I got an email saying –

Alex S.: No, it’s possible.

Anya S.: “Thanks for last night and Brian Wilson would like to maybe play here.”

Alex S.: That is phenomenal. You should let Brian Wilson play there.

KB: Oh, Norah Jones.

Anya S.: De Blasio.

JA: Wait.

KB: The mayor of New York.

JA: What party?

Anya S.: No, he had his own party.

JA: Okay, okay.

Anya S.: It was the… Not the repeal, it was the signing of the nightlife reform law.

JA: Oh yes, yes.

Anya S.: Into, I don’t know if that’s officially what it’s called, but it’s putting in an office of nightlife into New York City, which was huge because it recognises nightlife as a cultural institution and not just as a nuisance. And they brought in his desk for the bill signing.

KB: And there were fancy pens.

Alex S.: Like the mayor’s desk? Like they shipped it in?

Anya S.: The mayor’s desk. I don’t know if he has one or multiple, but there’s –

Alex S.: That’s amazing.

Anya S.: It’s like a bill-signing desk, which looks exactly like what you think it would look like with the seal and –

Alex S.: I love this idea of a mobile desk for like –

Anya S.: It’s not mobile. It’s huge. It’s like a massive desk and then they brought that in.

JA: Could you tell me in like one sentence, what makes House of Yes a premier destination for any visitor or local to go to in New York City?

Anya S.: I think House of Yes is a distilled version of New York and all of its diversity and all the fun to be had. And I think it’s really hard to find that in one place if you are visiting.

Anya S.: It’s a really easy place to make friends.

KB: Yes.

KB: Yeah, it’s a little slice of friendship heaven.

Partygoers at HOY Courtesy of House of Yes / © Kenny Rodriguez

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Alex S.: Jillian, what are some of your other favourite parts about Brooklyn?

JA: As I said, I’ve lived in Brooklyn for eight years and I love so much about it. And it definitely is my favourite borough and my favourite place to be. Right near House of Yes is my favourite restaurant in New York, Roberta’s. It’s a very special pizza place. The Clintons have eaten there as well as everyone else on earth. But me and my friends go about once a quarter to hang out in their backyard, eat pizza and get their frozen drink, which changes seasonally.

Alex S.: Except me. I’ve never eaten there.

JA: Well, change that.

Alex S.: I know. This is my moment. I love a great show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I’ve seen a bunch of things there. It’s just incredible. I also love, as cliché as it is, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge because you get that incredible view and it’s just a beautiful trip. Yeah, it’s one of my favourite things to do. I take tourists there all the time.

JA: I also love walking the Brooklyn Bridge, but only do it very early in the morning or very late at night. You will not have a good time otherwise. It’s just too crowded.

Alex S.: True. And then, Jillian, have you been to Coney Island? Because I think Coney Island is a gem, that obviously it was cool and then wasn’t cool and now I think it’s super cool again.

JA: I absolutely love Coney Island. Again, we love Coney Island so much. Once a year me and my friends do a whole day there. We go out, we do the beach.

Alex S.: Yes.

JA: You come in and you eat. There’s pizza, ice cream, popcorn, everything you could want.

Alex S.: Oh my god, so much food.

JA: We go to a baseball game at the minor league stadium there, the [Brooklyn] Cyclones.

Alex S.: Is this after the drinking?

JA: Well, you know, there’s some drinking throughout probably. From the Cyclones game there’s this gorgeous sunset over the ocean. It’s so amazing. And then from there we go to do all the carnival rides and then we go to this amazing bar called Margarita Island. It’s truly fantastic.

Alex S.: Is it literally an island or they just want you to capture island atmosphere?

JA: It’s a drinking island.

Alex S.: It’s a drinking island. The best island there is.

JA: It’s just a bar in the middle of all the carnival rides and everything.

Alex S.: That’s so great. So here’s what Kae and Anya had to say about their favorite spots in Brooklyn.

Anya S.: I think renting a bike and spending a lot of time biking around Brooklyn would be amazing. Brooklyn is not the easiest place to get around on the train. And I think train is a very New York thing, and the trains are clean and the people on the trains are very weird and interesting, and I think definitely take the train if you come to New York. But I think getting a bike, if you’re going to spend time in Brooklyn, is key because if… Get a helmet, but aside from that, it’s the best way to see the city.

KB: Yeah.

JA: I totally agree.

KB: And I would say remember that Brooklyn is not Williamsburg and Bushwick.

Alex S.: It isn’t? There’s more?

KB: There’s so much more.

Alex S.: Oh my.

KB: There’s Sunset Park, there’s Gravesend, there’s Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay. There’s so much.

Alex S.: Brooklyn is gigantic.

Anya S.: And there’s all these things in between that we’ve never even –

KB: There’s all these things. And so go to Coney Island. That’s just so iconic. Go get ice cream at Coney Island. I don’t even care if it’s January.

Anya S.: There’s a lot of like cool classes. Like you could go to the Brooklyn Zoo, the parkour studio and take a parkour class in like an amazing state-of-the-art –

KB: Go to another neighbourhood. Go to a neighbourhood that no one’s actually told you to go to yet. I mean there’s a Chinatown in Brooklyn. It’s bigger than the New York one. When people think, “Oh, I’m going to go to Chinatown,” that one’s for tourists.

JA: For even more to do in Brooklyn head to theculturetrip.com. We’ve got insider guides, great tips and surprising finds all over the borough. I’m Jillian and I’ve lived in Brooklyn for eight years and may never leave.

Alex S.: And I’m Alex and I just moved to Brooklyn, but I’m already that person who can’t stop telling people that I live in Brooklyn.

JA: Can’t wait to hear more Only in New York? Great news – there’s another episode coming your way this Monday. Come along with us to explore another amazing borough of New York City. See you then.

HOY performers Courtesy of Kenny Rodriguez / House of Yes

Alex S.: The Culture Trip podcast is presented by Culture Trip. Copyright 2019. Produced by MouthMedia Network. Read more about New York at theculturetrip.com and follow us on Instagram and Facebook @culturetrip. Thanks for listening and happy travels.