Archive for March, 2009

Sweet delights in an Alley in NYC?

Hazelnut Praline (Vegan)When you think of NYC, you know what to avoid, lonely alleyways make it to the top of that list.

When I spotted a chalkboard sign yesterday in the East Village, I thought I was walking into a trap, a trick of some sort. But curiosity overcame my fear and training not to enter lonesome alleys. And I was rewarded deliciously.

I had walked into Bespoke Chocolates. Immediately, I was caught in a cocoa infused spell. I asked if they had vegan chocolates and they had all of 2 options. I was not complaining. I was looking to put that smell into my mouth and cherish it.

I had the hazelnut praline and also bought a dark chocolate covered pretzel. Apparently, I’m not the first to sneak into this alleyway.

Located between Bowery and 2nd avenue, at 6 Extra Place, Bespoke is the brainchild of Rachel Zoe Insler; a chocolatier with some history in the business. The folks I spoke with assured me that there are even more vegan options on their way. Exciting!

So I learned 2 things yesterday.

  1. It pays to take the path less traveled on (as this was not my usual walk)
  2. Alleyways are not always spooky.

Thank you Bespoke for returning my faith into chalkboard signs and dark alleyways and for treating me to an absolutely delicious treat.

A Nice Day in NYC

It’s getting nicer out. Shot this portrait of a friend of mine visiting from New England at Coffee shop.


Saturday Things to Do in NYC

Here are some things you can be doing tonight.

Free Workshop on Yoga, Meditation, and the Science of the Mind

Date: Saturday, March 21st
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Art of Living Center (127 W 25th St., due to renovations look for a large wooden frame in front of the building. The code to get in is 1-3-5)
Cost: Free

Cut & Paste

Webster Hall
125 E. 11th Street
New York, NY 10003

A crazy mad graphic design competition event.

Saturday Storytime: Captain Stewart Walks the Plank! Print
Saturday, March 21 2009, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Join the Storytime mutiny with McNally’s own Stewart Dawes. Kids will know We’re All in the Same Boat (Shapiro) as we follow Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs (Andrea) to the mysterious world of The Night Pirate (Harris). If you’re conscripted against your will, like The Pirate Girl (Funke), you might find yourself rescued by the brave Captain Stewart. After plundering pirate books for treasure and lore, Captain Stewart will teach every young matey to make their own eyepatch and draw their own pirate ship. Ages 3 to 8.

Where? 52 Prince St.
(b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012
Mon – Sat: 10am – 10pm
Sun: 10am – 9pm


Peanut Butter Shortage in Manhattan

Stewart Parnell; the peanut contaminating CEO

Stewart Parnell; the peanut contaminating CEO

Trying to eat healthier and with a more holistic approach, I was advised by my counselor yesterday to find some whole wheat toast and peanut butter. Done (is what I thought). But I was not aware that the salmonella spread has affected nearly every Guy & Gallard, corner generic deli of New York and major stores.

I went downstairs and failed to find peanut butter at two large locations. If they don’t have peanut butter, what is the hope for the future?

The reason the scarcity of the peanut butter was shocking to me, in particular, was because I had purchased the “grind it yourself” fresh peanut butter from Whole Foods prior to, during and after the salmonella scare at Whole Foods. Their stock clearly stated that the batch of peanuts they have was not affected by the salmonella stained ones.

I did not check Duane Reade, but I wonder if even they have stopped selling anything containing peanuts to avoid a lawsuit. All I know is that I hope peanuts make a come back in NYC because I miss them dearly.

But it seems that as soon as yesterday that even MORE PEANUT RECALLS are hitting the street.


Prayers for Natasha Richardson — Actress at Lenox Hill, Family at Bedside

After her accident on a beginners’ ski slope outside Montreal, actress Natasha Richardson is in
critical condition at Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side. She is surrounded by her famous family, including her husband, actor Liam Neeson, and mom actress Vanessa Redgrave.

Although rumors abound about her condition, some reports even saying she is “brain-dead” [we hope not], spokespeople will only confirm Richardson is in very critical condition, probably suffering from a traumatic brain injury. The actual extent of the injury, much less the prognosis, has not been confirmed yet.

Our prayers go out to Ms. Richardson and her family, as well as the doctors, nurses, and staff at Lenox Hill Hospital. Hopefully, a miracle will help everyone pull her through this sudden tragedy, which is proof again that every minute of life is precious.Natasha Richardson is in critical condition at Lenox Hill Hospital

Avoid the multiplex

If you’re sick of seeing the same old crap at the multiplex and lament the slow but sure demise of small theaters, you might try going to the IFC Center and checking out some of their special series. I used to go to these a few years ago when I had this glorious thing called “free time”, but with the slowdown in freelance work lately I now find myself with some extra time and wanting to take my mind off things. Perfect timing, as they are currently running a series of Cronenberg Classics. This series started on March 6-7 and each Friday and Saturday they run a special showing of a David Cronenberg film.

As anyone who knows me knows, I have an obsession with David Cronenberg films that borders on the unhealthy, so understandably I am quite excited about this. If you’re hanging out right now and want to go see a weird film that will leave you with a sort of… “huh?” feeling, they’ve got a midnight showing of his 1999 film Existenz tonight. The schedule for the next few weeks is as follows:

Mar 20-21: THE DEAD ZONE (1983)
Mar 27-28: VIDEODROME (1983)
Apr 3-4: NAKED LUNCH (1991)

As Videodrome is in my top 10 favorite films of all time, I will certainly be there for that one! I think it’s a great opportunity to see films in the theater that I’ve only seen on a wee TV screen.

IFC Center is located at 323 Sixth Avenue at West 3rd Street. You can check out the rest of IFC’s current schedule here.

African-Americans Needed to Save the Life of a Six-Year-OLD

Little Jazmina only has 2 months to live, at best, if she doesn’t get a bone-marrow transplant right away. Jazmina, a 6-year-old, who attends PS41 in Greenwich Village, has a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. She is adopted, so there is no access to her biological family.

All New Yorkers — but especially African-Americans — are needed for a bone marrow screening today [Saturday] at PS41 from 10am to 2pm, at 116 W. 11th Street, west of 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village. This screening will put you in the National Bone Marrow Registry, so even if you are not a match for Jazmina, you may be able to help someone in the future. And it’s completely painless; no blood, and no needles. The screening is done by a saliva swab from the inner cheek.

Who are the Hare Krishnas?

Singing in the Montreal suwbay

Singing in the Montreal suwbay

I’m familiar with the Hare Krishna movement – followers of ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) are often misunderstood as a cult. When they’re doing chant sessions at the Union Square L train stop, people sometimes keep smiling and walk away.

Some, however, stop to learn a little more. I should just say that I’m a big fan of their movement and what they try to achieve – peace for themselves and others through harmless means.

The origins of ISKCON happened on 2nd Avenue by Srila Prabhupad. The temple he founded was on 2nd Avenue and 1st street. At that time, several people who were seeking happiness were looking to do it through artificial means of drugs and free “love.” Not much has changed since that time. People are always searching for happiness – it is human nature to do so.

So what the Krishna lovers do is spread the ancient religion of Bhakti – connection through devotion (which may include, singing, dancing and meditating) so that this happiness can be derived through natural means. A lot of misconceptions can be cleared by visiting the Krishna NYC site’s FAQs.

Getting back to the East Village, their program has become superbly popular and each week more and more devotees show up for the chanting sessions. I had the opportunity to go there and record the session (episode 16). I’ve always found them to be peace bringing and meditative. Hopefully, if not all, at least one person attains that meditative state that I do when I attend by listening.

And the next time you see them chanting on the subway, stop and ask a few more questions. They’re not weird at all, in fact, they happen to be super nice!

Dear Bus Drivers, Slow Down for Ice

Today on the bus ride home, I got freaked.

  1. I realized that when a bus is 11 minutes late and it’s below freezing outside, time seems to slow down.
  2. I realized that standing on ice makes you colder.
  3. I realized was that bus drivers should not speed when it’s snowing and there is ice on the ground.

And if they do speed, they should give themselves enough time to brake for red lights – instead of carrying on with their speed through red lights…

Bus drivers in Queens, if you’re reading this, please for the love of life, do NOT speed after it has just snowed.

I’ll appreciate it. Mmk, thanks.

Snow Day for Schools – Rejoice!

Snow Day in NYC!

Snow Day in NYC!

All schools (and also most if not all universities) in NYC are closed today due to the snow.

I found out first from my friend Annie on Facebook…she knows, she’s a teacher.

Hooray! Kids in NYC! This is like a major event. The last time we had a snow day – well we never had a snow day while growing up in the late 80s early 90s. It was always delayed school openings or leaving a little early and a weird bell schedule with strange lunch.

Make the most of this day!

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