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Wolfe, rocking his “Box Logo” tee. (Emily Tiberio/The Observer)

Staff Writer
Published: February 11, 2015

When I first meet Brian Wolfe, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’17, for our interview, he’s sitting back in his chair, relaxed and 10 minutes early. He appears considerably collected for someone who runs on “four, on a good night, five and a half” hours of sleep daily, as he later tells me. Wolfe, 19, is a full-time economics major atFCLC in addition to being the founder of street-style clothing brand NO RULEZ NY and a budding socialite. The Brooklyn native counts PR mogul Jonathan Cheban and actor Jake T. Austin as close friends (as well as brand ambassadors), so it’s no surprise that he credits his celebrity following to “a lot of networking. A lot of dinners. Even when I’m out having fun, there’s business being done.” 

Wolfe, rocking his “Box Logo” tee. (Emily Tiberio/The Observer)
Wolfe, rocking his “Box Logo” tee.
(Emily Tiberio/The Observer)

But for Wolfe, his job of overseeing operations at NO RULEZ NY isn’t much of a “job” at all. “My work is also my fun. This is what I want to do. You could call it work, but I’m really just pursuing my passion. The minute your work stops being enjoyable, you should just quit what you’re doing. In a way, my time is always free, but it’s not. Does that make sense?”  

NO RULEZ NY is a small, Brooklyn-based apparel and accessories company formed in 2013 that still works with a small team of graphic designers, webmasters and a handful of interns.

I ask Wolfe what the quintessential NO RULEZ NY guy is like. “He’s cool, he’s chill, and he sees the need to stay away from his comfort zone. He doesn’t try hard to fit in, he just embraces himself as a person instead. He realizes that the world is limitless- the world is completely his for the taking.”

NO RULEZ NY was originally known as Royal Triumph, however a spring summer line within the original collection called “NO RULEZ” proved to be a hit with customers and inspired the name change and implementation of the NO RULEZ logos and designs to comprise the full collection. “It sold like crazy, and I realized the name embodied our brand’s ideology better,” Wolfe said.

 His idea to create a line of t-shirts came to him while he was working in retail, in a shoe store, which he reflects on with a scowl. “I didn’t like it. I wanted to be my own boss, be an entrepreneur.”

As the brand preaches, there are no limitations, a message that is clearly intrinsic to Wolfe, who didn’t decide to go to college and then open a business as most do- he began designing as a senior in high school.

Wolfe recognizes that he had no proper training in the art of t-shirt designing, but over the first few months of forming his brand, he has become a self-taught expert. “I had no idea what I was doing- I had no idea what Photoshop was, I didn’t know how to use anything. So I basically spent months on the Internet, researching things like how successful brands had succeeded and how manufacturing works, and then I came up with a logo myself. Most people go to school for screen-printing … I had a Google education.”

Wolfe’s start in the fashion world was considerably backwards. The idea was born out of his passion for entrepreneurship, and his love for fashion came later. “I’ve always liked fashion and have worked on evolving my personal aesthetic, but my real obsession with fashion only began about five months into the brand. It was only then that I really began to understand trends and style and how I could make them my own.” 

Wolfe is no novice to the fashion scene these days. We briefly discuss the shows he’s planning to see during Fashion Week, and I ask him which designers inspire him the most.

“Alexander Wang and Helmut Lang, above all, for sure. Did you hear that Wang’s starting to design furniture? I saw it on Instagram today- how cool is that?” Wolfe’s eyes light up with excitement as he assesses Wang’s new work like a seasoned expert in the field. The fashion rookie Wolfe once was is clearly long gone.

It’s hard to believe Wolfe has any time for himself between juggling a full-time job and well as being a full-time student, but he assures me he makes the time.

“We all get stressed and overloaded, we’re human … but I’m doing what I want to do. I still hang out with my friends as much as possible. I’ve been playing the piano for 14 years. I like to watch a good movie. I like to read a good book. It’s a little lame, but Dan Brown is really fun for me. I’m a history nerd.”

The future looks bright for NO RULEZ NY, as it has already gained a cult following among young adults and celebrities alike, including football players, Victor Cruz, Johnny Manziel and girlfriend Colleen Crowley, Tyler Sash and Gabriel Day-Lewis, son of Daniel Day-Lewis, to name a few. So what’s next for Wolfe? “Acting, for sure. I’m getting into that soon. Finishing school, I appreciate a good education and being well-rounded. Continuing to do what I’ve been doing, obviously. Playing with some different materials, definitely denim and accessories. We plan on building a full-on empire. It’s a lot of work, but I’m crazy and I love it.”

Literary Co-Editor & Copy Editor
Published: February 11, 2015

Hello, my name is Meredith Summers and I have a Type A personality. There. I said it. I have been trying to pretend for my whole life that I’m Type B, but I just can’t hide it anymore.

Being a Type A person, I am all about maps. When I go somewhere I like to know exactly where I’m going and precisely how I am going to get there. For example, this past weekend I went to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (yes, I’m also the type of person who goes sightseeing in cemeteries but that’s a discussion for another time).  Naturally, I did some research before I went and I was assured by the cemetery’s website that I would be able to find a map at any of the entrances.

Unfortunately, when I arrived, I could not find a map anywhere.  Additionally, I couldn’t find anyone to ask about finding a map. So of course I panicked. The cemetery is almost 450 acres–how was I supposed to find any of the graves of the cemetery’s famous residents without my trusty map? I contemplated just leaving but after the 45 minute subway ride I felt like I had to see something.

I started walking around (aimlessly) and noticed that from certain points in the cemetery there are great views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and perhaps most importantly, the Red Hook Ikea.  I walked around for a few hours and I never found any dead famous people, but I did learn something.

Yes, kids, the saccharine sweet moral to this story is that I learned that I don’t always need a map.  I missed out on the graves of some of the world’s greatest innovators, but I still had a good time just walking around and taking it all in.

In the next few months, I will graduate from Fordham and thereby end my formal education (at least for now) and have to find my own place to live.  I don’t know where I’m supposed to go or what I’m supposed to do and in that sense I am now without a map.  And maybe that isn’t a such bad thing after all.

Tanel Bedrossiantz for Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85 (Photograph by Paolo Roversi, photo courtesy of http://www.brooklynmuseum.org)
Tanel Bedrossiantz for Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85 (Photograph by Paolo Roversi, photo courtesy of http://www.brooklynmuseum.org)
Tanel Bedrossiantz for Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85 (Photograph by Paolo Roversi, photo courtesy of http://www.brooklynmuseum.org)

Asst. Arts and Culture Co-Editor
Published: October 25, 2013

French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier is bringing his extravagant world overseas to the Brooklyn Museum in the show “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” starting from Oct. 25 to Feb. 23, 2014. “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” is an exclusive exhibit that will feature numerous Gaultier creations that were never seen at any other venues. Fashion pieces, such as corsets worn by Madonna at award shows and stage costumes customized for Beyoncé, will be on display with the use of moving mannequins, aided by audio and other visual materials. A select few of Gaultier’s sketches will also be presented at the exhibit, including his never-before-seen first design that jumpstarted his entire career. The Brooklyn Museum pays tribute to the edgy style and extensive attributions Gaultier has made to the fashion industry within the last four decades.

(Angela Luis/The Observer)
(Angela Luis/The Observer)
(Angela Luis/The Observer)

Opinions Editor
Published: October 16, 2013

For anyone who resides in the famous Brooklyn neighborhood, simply saying “I’m from Williamsburg,” will soon require some clarification. According to Alex Williams of the New York Times, Williamsburg is transitioning into two very distinct neighborhoods. Grand Street acts as the unofficial divider, turning into what Williams refers to as a modern-day Mason-Dixon line. Many Brooklynites view North Williamsburg as an extension of Manhattan, with its ritzy hotels, exclusive nightlife venues and waterside townhouses with price tags well into the millions. South Williamsburg, however, has a completely different vibe—the sidewalks are full of indie and artistic scenesters.

Williams’ article described how a good majority of South Williamsburg residents feel let down by what North Williamsburg has become—they claim that their northern counterparts have turned their iconic Do-It-Yourself, bohemian-rooted neighborhood into an “East Manhattan.”

The residents of South Williamsburg have every right to voice their disappointment with their Northern neighbors. Many New Yorkers admit  to taking neighborhood stereotypes into account—or, at the very least, with a grain of salt.  In this city, your neighborhood seems to be closely tied to who you are as a person, and South Williamsburg residents feel as though they’re losing their identity.

Good or bad, reputation is important to at least acknowledge. Neighborhood stereotypes do not center solely on crime—a neighborhood’s “personality” exerts a lot of influence on a person’s feelings about a certain area when deciding to move. No one wants to be considered an outcast in his or her own home. Would a hipster stand out in the ritzy, uniformed sections of the Upper East Side? Would a traditional family feel out of place living amongst party-goers in the Village? The answer to these questions is, almost certainly, yes.

While it isn’t always fair to judge a neighborhood by its stereotype, the fact of the matter is that people do. As a second-year resident of McMahon Hall, I am thinking about moving out of the dorms next school year. As I make my own apartment wishlist, I am admittedly taking the vibe of my neighborhood into consideration. For me, finding an apartment somewhere near Lower Manhattan would be ideal mainly because these neighborhoods have more of a “college culture.” I do realize that this is a stereotype—not everyone who lives in these areas are young, twenty-something college students—but I believe that neighborhoods are associated with certain images for a reason. The popular real estate marketing website Urban Edge took note of this and even included a tab that lists neighborhoods based on the type of people who generally live there, confirming my notion that young adults typically live in the Lower East Side and Brooklyn whereas families with children tend to nest in the Upper East and Upper West Sides.

I understand that it is unrealistic to expect neighborhoods to never change. Take Hell’s Kitchen, for example; once violent and gang-ridden, this New York City neighborhood has evolved into a dining and nightlife hot spot. At the same time, I can understand why South Williamsburg residents are so adamant about maintaining their artsy reputation. South Williamsburg residents aren’t judging North Williamsburg for slowly evolving its “scene” as much as they are concerned about how their own image might be perceived. If you’re an environmentalist, peace-and-love Williamsburg resident who supports a more modest lifestyle, you would be horrified to find out that someone assumes you live in a $7500-a-month, penthouse apartment due to the lifestyle of your “neighbors” a few streets down. Based on the connotation attached to a neighborhood’s name, perhaps a “Williamsburg split” truly would be for the best for both parties in question.

Japanese culture practices Sakura, a tradition in which the end of winter is celebrated in the midst of flowering cherry trees. (Courtesy of Suntory Whisky/MCT)
Japanese culture practices Sakura, a tradition in which the end of winter is celebrated in the midst of flowering cherry trees. (Courtesy of Suntory Whisky/MCT)
Japanese culture practices Sakura, a tradition in which the end of winter is celebrated in the midst of flowering cherry trees. (Courtesy of Suntory Whisky/MCT)

Asst. Arts & Culture Co-Editor
Published: April 17, 2013

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden will host its annual celebration of the blooming of its 115 Cherry Blossom trees with the two-day Sakura Matsuri festival on April 27 and 28.

The Sakura Matsuri Festival is not only the perfect way to celebrate the long-awaited spring, but also a way to learn more about Japanese heritage through a wide variety of interactive events. The festival is well-known by New Yorkers, as well as tourists. Its past success made it popular through sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor.

The events of the festival feature collaboration with the Japanese community of New York, which includes a wide variety of artists and associations. One of the bigger Japanese associations of New York, the Japanese Folk Dance Institute, will participate in the event by parading the traditional Hanagasa Odori (Flower Hat Dance) on April 27 and performing the Minbu dance on Apr 28.

Other events such as Samurai sword fighting, a Cosplay Fashion Show, the Nihon Buyo Classical Dance performances by Sachiyo Ito and Company (a non-profit arts organization that promotes the Japanese culture through dance) are just a few more of the diverse attractions that the festival has to offer.

Attendants can enjoy food from a typical Japanese delicatessen and a vast choices of teas at the Terace Café, surrounded by the blooming trees of the Steinhardt Conservatory Garden.

The Sakura Matsuri Festival will occur on April 27 and April from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn Bonatic Garden. Tickets for the event are $15 and can be found on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website.

A crowd at the 2012 Brooklyn Zine Festival. (Courtesy of BrooklynZine/Photo by Eric Epstein)
A crowd at the 2012 Brooklyn Zine Festival. (Courtesy of BrooklynZine/Photo by Eric Epstein)
A crowd at the 2012 Brooklyn Zine Fest. (Courtesy of Brooklyn Zine/Photo by Eric Epstein)

Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013

For people who enjoy creativity in the form of essays, comics and illustrations a festival dedicated to magazines approaches the neighborhoods. The second annual Brooklyn Zine Fest (pronounced Zeen) returns to Public Assembly on Sunday, April 21 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This event breeds a feted atmosphere and showcases self-published magazines of featured writers and artists at a price range between $1-$10.

According to the Anchor Archive Zine Library, noted on Brooklyn Zine Fest 2013’s official site, “Zines are self-published magazines made outside of mainstream press and media, by all kinds of people about all kinds of things.”

Since last year’s Brooklyn Zine Fest made for a surprising and successful turnout, the organizers of Brooklyn Zine Fest 2013, Matthew Carman and Kseniya Yarosh discussed this year’s goals and expectations of the event as well as what is included for attendees.

The Brooklyn Zine Fest is set up the same way a craft or art fair would be with all of the different self-published works presented on tables. Ksneiya Yarosh said, “Zines are less filtered and more personal. It is a quicker way of communicating personal aspects of your life and your interests.” Yarosh said, “This year seems bigger because we have about 20 more participants than we did last year.”

This year there will be 84 exhibitors with a wide collection of zines includes anything from relationships/dating to non-fiction writing and poetry (the list of subjects is endless). “We want to keep growing and have as much variety and different subjects covered,” Yarosh said. The organizers Matthew Carman and Kseniya Yarosh even have their own zine called “I Love Bad Movies.”

For those who are already familiar with zines, Matthew Carman said, “They are the ones who come to meet the people behind the zine that they already like.” And on the other hand, for those who are just recently learning about zines, “This might be their first exposure to self published magazines” Carman said.

Ultimately, the experience will be different for each person depending on their acquaintance with zines, Yarosh said, “The Zine Fest perpetuates the zine community but also makes people aware of this culture who have never heard of zines before.”

The Brooklyn Zine Fest is open to the public and is free to attend.

Where: Public Assembly, Williamsburg, Brooklyn 70 N 6th Street
When: Sunday, April 21
Time: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.


Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Tavy Wu/ The Observer)


Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Tavy Wu/ The Observer)
Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Tavy Wu/ The Observer)

Staff Writer
Published: April 4, 2013

Brooklyn is quickly becoming a mecca for artists, and MTV hopes to bank on the aura exuded by the borough of Spike Lee, Walt Whitman, Arthur Miller and Coney Island. The 2013 MTV Video Music Award ceremony will take place in the Barclays Center on August 25, marking what MTV says is the 30th anniversary of the show. It will also be the first major annual awards show to take place in the borough of Brooklyn.

The Video Music Award ceremony was originally created as an alternative to the Grammy Awards and presented by MTV in 1984 and honors the best artists in the music video medium. Often called “Oscars for Youth,” the awards show has drawn in millions of viewers in each year, bringing in over record 12.4 million viewers in 2011, according to TV Line.

Student response to having the awards show, known commonly as the VMAs, in the vicinity has been generally positive, especially for avid viewers Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) sophomores Janely Fernandez, FCLC ’15, and Lauren Giangrasso, FCLC ’15.

“It’s great that they’re trying something completely new and different,” Fernandez said. “It actually makes it more exciting for me because they are coming to New York.”

“I actually was recently at Barclays Center for a concert, and it’s a really nice venue,” Giangrasso said.

Sunny Kharera, FCLC ’14, said he agrees, and believes it will legitimize the new arena. “It’ll serve as a sort of commencement for the Barclays Center.”

Although disappointed with the way in which the Barclays Center was constructed by claiming property from the Brooklyn neighborhood via eminent domain, Ally Greco, FCLC ’15, applauds MTV for making the awards show more accessible.

“Taking an awards show out of the crowded streets and to a more spacious venue could definitely allow more fans to access the shows, and prevent traffic amidst normal passers-by,” Greco said.

The last time the awards show was held in New York was in 2009, when Kanye West famously crashed the stage at Radio City Music Hall and told Taylor Swift “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.”

The proximity of the VMAs has tempted some students to try to camp out to try to meet some of their music idols. “Unlike just about everyone else at Fordham, I’ve never just happened upon any celebrities, so this seems like an appropriate opportunity to change that,” Giangrasso said.

Other students, however, take pleasure from knowing the awards are so close.

“I’d rather enjoy the event from the comfort of my room,” Greco said, “and smile knowing they were only across the river.”

Clockwise from top: dinner baos and dessert bao, a view of the Baoery’s kitchen, customers sitting on the Trophy Bar’s patio, the Baoery’s menu. (Rex Sakamoto/The Observer)

Asst. Features Editor
Published: August 22, 2012

Pop-up restaurants are temporary restaurants that usually operate out of a home, a vacant factory or another established restaurant. Usually they only have service for a couple days before closing up shop. Pop-ups make use of Twitter, blogs and other social media to let their customers know where and when they will be serving their food again. Pop-ups range in prices from just a few dollars to a couple hundred dollars per meal. One of the newest pop-ups to make an appearance in New York is the Baoery, which uses the Chinese bun-like delicacy called bao as its culinary inspiration.

Clockwise from top: dinner baos and dessert bao, a view of the Baoery’s kitchen, customers sitting on the Trophy Bar’s patio, the Baoery’s menu. (Rex Sakamoto/The Observer)

A couple of friends from Williamsburg decided that they would like to share the delicious culinary treats they made for each other with NYC. What started off as an idea at a dinner party has now turned into a reality for the Baoery. The pop-up made its debut back in June and since then has made three more public appearances. When I went to the Baoery it was based out of the back patio of the Trophy Bar in Williamsburg. Each bao is packed with sweet and savory flavors.

The Baoery serves four different types of baos plus two dessert baos. My favorite was the Blessed Beef Bao, which was filled with braised beef and bok-choy and topped with crispy onions. The Lop-Cheong Bao had sweet Chinese sausage and meaty shiitake mushrooms glazed in a BBQ ginger sauce. Spicy Dick’s was filled with spicy chicken katsu and topped with cabbage slaw and scallions. While this bao had the best flavor, it was hot. They also have a vegetarian option called the Glazed Sesame Tofu Bao, which was filled with a deep-fried tofu katsu and topped with a sweet and spicy sauce and cucumbers and cilantro. These succulent treats were addicting and I gobbled up all of them.

The Baorey’s team of five takes three days to prepare for each round of pop-up service, but the process has become smoother every time they pop up. The Baoery makes everything from scratch except for the steamed bao, which is purchased from the Lotus Company. Grace Danico, one of the Baoery’s founders, commented,   “the experience has been crazy.”

The pricing was reasonable: $4 for one bao or $7 for two. Drinks are available inside at the bar. Happy hour is from 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. and drinks cost $4. Later in the evening, the guest band Onra made an appearance and played for a couple hours. I thought that this would my first and last time ever at the Baoery, so I was glad to hear that they already have their next appearance planned for Thursday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Trophy Bar. You can find more information about the Baoery on their Facebook page or online at www.thebaoery.com. 




Rating: 4/5
Price: $
Where: 351 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211




Scott Stedman and daughter Louise Stedman take part in the festivities at Northside Festival 2011. (Courtesy of the L Magazine)
Scott Stedman and daughter Louise Stedman take part in the festivities at Northside Festival 2011. (Courtesy of the L Magazine)

Asst. Arts & Culture Co-Editor
Published: May 2, 2012

Summer is fast approaching and already the city is actively gearing up for the season’s constant flow of events. The summer is always a time for excellent concert series in New York, from events like Central Park Summerstage to free shows on the Stuyvesant Town Oval all season long. One of the most exciting of these events, the Brooklyn Northside Festival, is just around the corner. From June 14-21, the neighborhoods of Bushwick and Williamsburg will become home to this festival of music, films and panels.

Though it is only in its fourth year, the Northside Festival has gained a lot of publicity for bringing in some of the best musical acts, both locally and from around the globe, to its relatively small patch of Brooklyn. The quality of the musical acts that the festival is able to bring, both unknown and familiar, have many music critics warning other festivals like Austin’s South  By Southwest (SXSW) to watch closely. This year will be no different, as well-known acts including Of Montreal, Questlove and Screaming Females have already been scheduled to appear.

In addition to music performances, there will also be four days of film screenings, both old and new. Another exciting aspect of the festival will involve over 100 visual artists in the area opening up their studios to the public to exhibit their work and promote creative collaborations.

The festival is concentrated in several venues that are only a short walk from the L or G trains.  The close proximity of all these venues is convenient, because with more than 350 bands playing more than 70 different shows, you won’t want to be hopping onto the train and wandering all across the borough to get to the next show.

The Northside Festival is presented by Northside Media Group, which also publishes periodicals including “The L Magazine,” and holds other events in the area. According to Northside Media Group’s CEO Scott Stedman, “Brooklyn has become an adjective for ‘what’s next,’ and Northside Festival defines and showcases that adjective for a regional and national audience.”

Much like SXSW or NYC’s own CMJ, you will be able to purchase badges that grant access to any show of the festival or buy individual tickets to each show. Although the festival runs for a full eight days, the different events are not spaced out equally among these dates. The concert series will run from June 14-17, at which point the film festival will begin and run until the entire festival ends on the June 21.

For anyone who will be in the city this summer, the Northside Festival promises to be one of the best cultural offerings of the entire year.


Brooklyn Northside Festival

When: June 14-21; detailed schedule pending

Where: Venues across Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. All venues are within short walking distance from stops on the L or G train.

Price: Badge prices range from $40-$250 or tickets can be purchased for individual events.

More Info: http://northsidefestival.com



Arts and Culture Co-Editor and Multimedia Producer, Features Co-Editor, and Asst. Online Editor
Published: April 26, 2012

In the first part of the next installment of Feature Co-Editor Darryl Yu’s restaurant series, Word of Mouth, the Observer visits Buffalo Cantina of Williamsburg, Brooklyn to try the infamous Seppuku wings. Complete with plastic gloves, milk and a signed waiver, the Observer crew sheds some tears for some pleasurable pain.

 Here is Part II of the Observer’s trip to Buffalo Cantina in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.