North America’s Largest Pumpkin at NYBG this Weekend! 10/25 & 10/26

Hello, hello. Halloween is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it – the candy, the costumes, the movies. And of course all of the traditions that go along with it, like carving pumpkins. Unfortunately, I have a cute (but admittedly boring) styrofoam glitter pumpkin I got from Party City and didn’t have a chance to get a real pumpkin this year. :(

BUT! Maybe I can live vicariously through one of you if you attend the viewing of North America’s largest pumpkin at the Botanical Garden this weekend. I’ll be away, so I’m trusting you guys to take lots of awesome giant pumpkin selfies! [Insert clever Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin Joke here :) ]

More information from NYBG:

 The largest pumpkin in North America — it is 2,058 pounds! — will be on display at The New York Botanical Gardenthis Saturday and Sunday, October 25 & 26. It will be featured at the Botanical Garden’s Leon Levy Visitor Center Reflecting Pool. Other prize-winning pumpkins and gourds will also be on display at the Clay Family Picnic Pavilions, arranged in collaboration with the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth.

There’s a lot going on at the Garden this weekend, including Spooky Nighttime Adventures on Friday and Saturdaynight for children and The Haunted Pumpkin Garden in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.

Tribute to Bronx Living Legend Bertha Hope This Sunday! 10/26

This Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 4 pm, the Bronx Music Heritage Center will be hosting a tribute to Bronxite and jazz legend Bertha Hope. Check out the details below:

The Bronx Music Heritage Center honors jazz pianist Bertha Hope, who lived on Lyman Place with be-bop legends Elmo Hope and Thelonious Monk, and formed the all-woman Jazzberry Jam. Join Grammy-nominated host Bobby Sanabria in the landmarked

Morris High School auditorium, in the heart of Morrisania—a celebrated jazz mecca of the Bronx. Featuring a performance by the Bertha Hope Quintet with special guest Antoinette Montague and interview by internationally-acclaimed pianist Valerie Capers.



Morris Campus Auditorium

1110 Boston Road, Bronx, NY

*parking available onsite


FREE ($5 suggested donation)






Jazz pianist Bertha Hope was born on November 8, 1936, to Corinne Meaux and Henry Rosemond. Raised in western Los Angeles, California, Hope-Booker attended Manual Arts High School. As a youth, Bertha played music with and learned from other young musicians in her neighborhood. Some of them became famous later, including Richie Powell and Elmo Hope, the latter becoming her husband in 1957. Bertha studied piano at Los Angeles Community College and later received her B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from Antioch College.

She moved with Elmo Hope to the Bronx, New York, where she worked at a telephone company during the day while performing at night. After her husband’s passing in 1967, she continued to present his music and remained an active force in the New York jazz scene. Bertha served as an artist-in-residence under the auspices of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and through this program, she performed in statewide New Jersey music workshops with Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Nat Adderley and Philly Joe Jones.

She has worked extensively over the years to transcribe many of the Elmo Hope compositions so that they can be performed and in addition, pay tribute to one of “be- bop’s” underrated contributors. Bertha later married Walter Booker, Jr., and the two worked to keep the music of Elmo Hope alive through her tribute ensemble called ELMOllenium. ELMOllennium featured Walter Booker (bass), Leroy Williams (drums), Virgil Jones (tr), Charles Davis (ts), Roni Ben-Hur (g), Amy London (guest vocalist).  She also plays with another group which she co-founded, the all-female Jazzberry Jam. In addition, She is the leader of The Bertha Hope Trio, which includes Walter Booker and Jimmy Cobb and which has toured extensively throughout Japan. She is an active force in improvised music, as well as a composer and arranger with several recordings under her name, including In Search of Hope and Elmo’s Fire (Steeplechase); Between Two Kings (Minor Records) and her latest on the Reservoir label, Nothin’ But Love.

Bertha has also taught an advanced jazz ensemble at The Lucy Moses School and an Introduction to Jazz program at Washington Irving High School in New York City, which was sponsored by Bette Midler.



Morris High School is part of the Morris High School Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historical Landmarks. Founded in 1897, it was the first high school built in the Bronx and one of the original New York City Public High Schools. Originally named Peter Cooper High School, the name was changed to Morris in honor of Bronxite Gouverneur Morris, a signer of the Articles of Confederation and considered the primary author of the preamble of the Constitution. The campus served as Morris High School until 2001, when it was divided into five separate schools: Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies; Bronx Leadership Academy II; Bronx International High School; School of Excellence; and High School for Violin and Dance.

Morris High School was a musical haven for many students over the years, spawning many groups such as the Chords, particularly during the doo-wop era. The area around the school, especially Boston Road, was once a jazz mecca with dozens of clubs where music was played nightly by greats such as Thelonious Monk, Elmo, and Bertha. Notable alumni of the school include United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, United States Attorney Benito Romano, comedian Milton Berle, and dancer Arthur Murray.

The building is a collegiate Gothic Revival structure designed by C.B.J. Snyder and completed in 1904. The auditorium, now named Duncan Hall, contains elaborate Gothic plasterwork, steel-ribbed vaults set within Tudor arches, stained-glass windows, and a pipe organ facade. It is decorated with several murals, most prominently the French artist August Gorguet’s monumental 1926 World War I memorial entitled After Conflict Comes Peace. In 1982, the auditorium interior was designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.



Honoring acclaimed jazz pianist Bertha Hope

Featuring a performance by the Bertha Hope Quintet, with a newly composed piece by Ms. Hope:

Bertha Hope, piano

Kim Clarke, Bass

Lucianna Padmore, drums

Jura Pukl, tenor sax

Angelisha Rodgers, trumpet

With special guest Antoinette Montague

Hosted by multi-Grammy-nominee Bobby Sanabria

On-stage interview by pianist Valerie Capers


R.I.P. Morgan Powell

This week I learned of the passing of Bronx historian and blogger, Morgan Powell. You may remember when he was featured right here on The Bronx Socialite’s Spotlight.  An avid enthusiast for sharing his vast knowledge of the Bronx’s environmental history and the contributions of black activists in our borough, Morgan’s  presence will be sorely missed.


Win Free Crab for a Year at Grand Opening of Joe’s Crab Shack at the Mall at Bay Plaza

Tomorrow marks the grand opening of Joe’s Crab Shack at the Mall at Bay Plaza. Further, the first 100 customers will win free crab for a year!  Unfortunately, I am allergic to shellfish, but I can certainly live vicariously through one of you!

You all know I love City Island and its amazing locally owned seafood restaurants, but if you’re at the mall and happen to crave seafood, you can now just stop by Joe’s Crab Shack.

For more info, see below.

Bronx, New York residents can now enjoy a taste of the shore while they are out shopping, thanks to the opening of a new Joe’s Crab Shack location in the borough. The new restaurant will be located at 200 Baychester Ave in the Bronx, in the Mall at Bay Plaza.


Doors to the restaurant will officially open at 11a.m. September 23, 2014. The first 100 guests who dine at the new location on opening day will be awarded free crab for a year and one lucky guest will win free crab for life!


“We’re excited to be a part of the neighborhood and bring the Joe’s dining experience to the Bronx,” said Juan Sanes, general manager, Joe’s Crab Shack, Bronx. “Our guests may even recognize a familiar face or two, as we’ll have more than 150 local residents working in this location. We look forward to greeting our guests as they tie on a bib and crack into one of our famous crab buckets.”


The Bronx location guests also have the opportunity to participate in the restaurant’s national fundraiser for the
No Kid Hungry campaign through the month of September. Guests who donate $10 will receive $20 off their next visit; those who donate $5 will receive $10 off; and those who donate $2 will receive $5 off.


With its location in the Mall at Bay Plaza, the new Bronx restaurant features convenient covered and uncovered parking and a full-service bar.


Bronx Fashion Week

I wanted to post this earlier, but I took so many pictures at Bronx Fashion Week that it took a while to sort through them all. In the slideshow below, there are about  32 pictures and that’s after I eliminated a bunch of others! If you follow me on Instagram, you caught a small glimpse of what it was like. I attended the grand opening on Friday, Sept. 5 and the Casual Wear show on Saturday, the 6th.

Opening night, the crowd was almost as fashionable as the models themselves with pseudocelebs The Mob Wives – in attendance. Councilman Andy King and Culinary Ambassador Baron Ambrosia were also attendance looking particularly dapper.

Jo Lance (Friday) and the hilarious Qurrat Ann Kadwani (Saturday)  hosted as models of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds strutted down the runway.

As a Bronxite, I felt a real sense of pride seeing all of these talented designers’ work be displayed in the borough, again reaffirming that the Bronx is a place where all sorts of industries are welcome and can thrive here, including fashion!


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Macy’s Hispanic Heritage Event at Mall at Bay Plaza

As you may know, September 15-October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. To celebrate, Macy’s is hosting a series of events around the country, which you can find out about here.

Here in the Bronx, the Macy’s at the Mall at Bay Plaza will be hosting an event featuring discussions with  Jasmine Villegas, Julie Sarinana of Sincerely Jules, and Kika Rocha. The event will be held THIS Friday, September 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm.


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I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Hispanic Heritage. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.


Check out this awesome event that’s happening right at the Castle Hill Little League field this Saturday, September 13!


fall classic

1 O’clock First Pitch thrown by The Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr.
Join us while these two influential houses come together for a great cause. The Def Jam vs.
HeavyHitters Family Fall Classic is an annual softball game played by celebrities, staff & friends.
Our initiative is to come together as one, to raise funds and awareness for those in need. All
proceeds will go to Baby Buggy, a Fatherhood Initiative.



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