No Sleep Til Brooklyn

SoundCloud Hands Out Fellowships to Three New Yorkers

Mr. Noël (Photo: SoundCloud)

SoundCloud, the agreed-upon poster child for Berlin’s burgeoning startup scene, has been making aggressive moves here in the New World over the last year. So it came as no surprise when the company reached out to let us know that three users from “The city of Brooklyn/NYC” (so it’s come to this!) had fared well in the second annual Community Fellowship competition.

The local winners are a motley crew: Amy Costello of Brooklyn won support for her new investigative podcast, TinySpark, which focuses on “the business of doing good.” Nadia Wilson, also of Brooklyn, submitted a project called “From Hear to There,” about travels across the city. The third winner, Jonathan Mitchell (not a Brooklynite, but a Manhattan-dweller) wants to reinvent the radio play with his show The Truth.

We reached out to David Noël, SoundCloud’s head of community and the man behind the program, for a bit more detail about what went into the selection process. Read More

Brooklyn's Finest

The Brooklyn Tech Triangle is Getting Its Very Own Bus Line

(Photo: Brooklyn Tech Triangle)

The Brooklyn Tech Triangle already thinks it’s bigger and better than Manhattan, and now they’re getting a transportation upgrade to help them prove it.

The triangle–which includes Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard–is getting its very own dedicated bus route, according to a press release issued today by New York state senator Daniel Squadron.

Senator Squadron and MTA stakeholders will plan the new route, which is set to roll out in 2013. “Brooklyn’s tech industry is changing the face of New York — and now, we’ll have a bus route that will allow the booming Tech Triangle to continue to grow and innovate,” Senator Squadron stated in the release.

And here we thought most startup kids were fiercely loyal to the ice cream-wielding Uber team.

Brooklyn's Finest

Williamsburg Coworking Space The Yard Takes on General Assembly, Plans a Continuing Ed Program

(Photo: The Yard)

Back in February, Betabeat introduced you to The Yard, a freshly-opened coworking space in Williamsburg that we minted the “General Assembly of Brooklyn.” Turns out we’re psychic, because today The Yard announced that–just like its Manhattan competitor, GA–it will be offering continuing education courses in subjects like programming and biz dev, beginning this fall. All at “Brooklyn prices,” no less!

“We really want to cultivate a culture here that is cutting edge and innovative and collaborative,” Andy Smith, The Yard’s PR and curriculum coordinator, told Betabeat by phone. “It seems like now that we’re at a point where we are full, we can sort of branch out and extend our efforts to other aspects to cultivate that culture. Educational initiatives seemed like the next natural step.” Read More

silicon subway

After Video of People Tripping at the 36th St. Subway Goes Viral, the MTA Blocks off the Staircase for Repairs

(Photo: Vimeo)

Internet vigilantes, you’ve done it again! After a video of person after person tripping at the 36th St. subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn went viral yesterday, Betabeat–and tons of other reporters, apparently–called the MTA to ask if they had any intention of fixing the offending step. The MTA told us, “We will send someone out to take a look and take corrective measures,” and apparently they’re making good on their word.

According to NBC News, “Crews went to the station Wednesday to block off the staircase in preparation for repairs.”

We did it, Internet! Give yourselves a pat on the back–if you can bear to take your hands off the keyboard, that is.

The only downside is that NBC News reports that the MTA is unsure how long the fix will take, which means it probably won’t be done for years. Sorry, Sunset Park.

silicon subway

People at the 36th St. Subway Station Be Trippin’

(Photo: Twitter)

A Brooklyn filmmaker named Dean Peterson noticed something curious about his subway station at 36th St. in Sunset Park. One of the steps near the top of the staircase appeared to be just slightly taller than the other stairs, but the difference is so miniscule that it’s not noticeably visible. In fact, Mr. Peterson only noticed it when he realized that everyone trips on the step. And of course, being a cinephile, he decided to film it.

The Vimeo video, entitled “New York City Subway Stairs,” hit the front page of Reddit this afternoon, and as of this writing had accrued over 2,000 upvotes. Read More

Founders & Dragons

Reddit Cofounder’s Brooklyn Apartment Turned Into Set for Dungeons & Dragons Documentary

"Leave me alone." (Photo: Twitter)

Though he reportedly hasn’t played Dungeons and Dragons since high school, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian tweeted today that he will be interviewed for a documentary about the fan favorite role-playing game. Mr. Ohanian, who lives in Brooklyn Heights, will have his apartment temporarily turned into a set for Dungeons & Dragons: The Documentary. As he put it, “Wee!” Read More

Airbnb and Me

Renting Your Room Through Airbnb Can Get You Kicked Out of Your Apartment

Mr. Dannen (airbnb.com)

If you’re looking to make some extra cash, Airbnb can be an easy alternative to finding another weird Craigslist roommate or moonlighting as a rich dude’s arm candy. But if you’re going to go the room rental route, you probably want to make sure that doing so doesn’t violate your lease–or else you might just find yourself kicked to the curb (or at least served with a restraining order).

Consider the case of Chris Dannen, a Brooklyn resident who claims to have made upwards of $20,000 in nine months from renting out his two spare bedrooms on Airbnb. According to a missive he penned for Fast Company:

Read More

Movin On Up

MakerBot Picks Up Stakes and Heads for Downtown Brooklyn

Downtown Brooklyn. (flickr.com/jaywphotos)

One Metrotech’s name is now a little more apropos: 3-D printer-maker MakerBot is relocating from Boerum Hill to take over the building’s entire 21st floor, confirms  the Wall Street Journal. “We’re going to put the tech in Metrotech, literally,” said Bre Pettis. (Get it?)

As the article points out, downtown Brooklyn is currently being heralded as one point of the borough’s “tech triangle” (the others being Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard). But that name involves just a tiiiny bit of wishful thinking at the moment. MakerBot, for example, is One Metrotech’s first tech tenant, and it’ll take a while for NYU’s 370 Jay Street tech campus to get up and running. And officials are pretty upfront about the fact that the area lacks a certain something at the moment:  Read More

Rivalries

With the Rise of Digital Dumbo, Do We Detect A Beef?

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With Dumbo’s star rising, it’s time for the inevitable inter-borough smack-talking to begin. And, as often happens when boosters for Manhattan and Brooklyn go toe-to-toe, things are starting to look a little heated.

Crain’s is just the latest to notice all the fuss across the river. Etsy has long been a neighborhood fixture; digital consulting firm Takeout just relocated; Loosecubes and Docracy are homegrown efforts. Why are startups flocking to a neighborhood with a mere 3 percent commercial vacancy rate? Surely there are roomier (and therefore cheaper) environs. Turns out, Manhattan lacks a certain spark. (Manhattan, are you just going to let them talk about you like that?) Read More

Brooklyn's Finest

Don’t Believe the Hype: New York VCs Think Brooklyn’s the Illest

via itsasickness.com

A week after we wondered whether Dumbo has hit maximum capacity–cobblestone streets, now in limited supply!–venture capitalists have arrived to big ups the borough.

Will Porteous, general partner at Manhattan-based RRE Ventures, tells peHUB that Brooklyn may just be the best place to launch, pointing out that eight RRE portfolio companies call Brooklyn home. Err, make that “were.” Drop.io and Hot Potato were acquired (or acqui-hired, depending on who you ask) by Facebook in 2010, but that still leaves HowAboutWe, MakerBot, Pontiflex, and more for serious street cred.

Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder Charlie O’Donnell, formerly of First Round Capital, does Mr. Porteous one better, wondering if Facebook will even be able to make devs happy from its stodgy Midtown perch. Estimating that “50 percent of people who work at venture-backed startups live in Brooklyn,” Mr. O’Donnell thinks the exodus has already begun. Read More