The Metropolitan Opera 2019 Summer Recital Series Returns to the Bronx June 15

The Metropolitan Opera, in association with the City Parks Foundation, presents their Summer Recital Series in 2019, bringing six free performances to all five boroughs in June . Now in its 11th year, the Summer Recital Series gives New Yorkers in all 5 boroughs a chance to experience the beauty of opera in a peaceful outdoor setting all for free.

This Saturday, June 15 at 4 pm,  the series returns to the Bronx with a performance in Williamsbridge Oval Park. Metropolitan Opera stars Leah HawkinMario Bahg, Joseph Lim and pianist Dimitri Dover will perform an early evening of arias and duets from some of opera’s most beloved works. For more info, click here.

 

I attended last year and it was an amazing performance!  Definitely make sure you stop by if you can!

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James Earl Jones to Perform Scenes from King Lear at Bronx Museum of the Arts June 13

Grandparents Around the World presents a free performance of Shakespeare’s drama King Lear featuring James Earl Jones, Julianna Francis Kelly, Andrea Patterson, Obi Abili, and Linda Powell as well as a town hall to address “challenges of aging, isolation, dementia, elder abuse and caring for seniors.”

The performance will take place this Thursday, June 13 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Bronx Museum of the Arts with the intention of “engag[ing] diverse audiences in discussions about aging, dementia and elder care designed to confront social issues by drawing out raw and personal reactions to themes highlighted in the play and complex family dynamics.”

For more information on this and Theater of War’s other projects, click here.

 

Dinner & Drinks with a View at Zona de Cuba

With the opening of Zona de Cuba coinciding with my birthday week, I decided to add it on the the week’s festivities. The much hyped rooftop bar and restaurant is the first of its kind here in the Bronx in that it is fully on the rooftop (as opposed to say, Pine, where the restaurant is on the lower level and there is a bar on the upper level). When I found the entrance (hint: it’s NOT on the Concourse, but on the other side of the building), there was a long line of people waiting to get in. The entrance isn’t super flashy or anything, but you can tell it’s upscale and they are serious about that dress code because a guy was definitely turned away.

A friend was already waiting upstairs for us and said the place wasn’t really crowded, so I’m not sure why the line took so long (they also didn’t fill the elevator up as much as it could have, without being too packed. There was only one elevator in use.). There was a line for people with reservations, but when we had called to make them the day before, the line was busy. The woman at the front said they would be revamping the reservation process soon. (Update! They have updated their website to allow reservations online.) The whole entry process could definitely be streamlined.

Once we finally made it upstairs, we loved the decor. Whoever designed this place deserves all the applause. There are comfortable couches (definitely a must) in the interior dining area, surrounded by an assortment of lush greenery, and chandeliers adorning the ceilings. The outside area offers up surprisingly gorgeous views of Harlem amid brightly colored couches and flags from various Latin American countries.

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My friend who had arrived before us had yet to receive her drink, after waiting over half an hour. The waitress who dropped it off, turned and walked away without acknowledging me or my other friend, so we had to flag someone else down who was as attentive as she could be given how hectic things seemed to be for the servers. She had mentioned that there was a back up at the interior bar and ended up taking our drink ticket to the bar outside. (I’m not sure why this was, there appeared to be only one bartender outside, while there seemed to be 4 inside.) My drink, the te picó  el burro de Tito was not my favorite. The flavors tasted watered down and overall wasn’t a strong drink, which was disappointing for a $15 cocktail. My friends did like their drinks, though – the tamarindo con tu Henny and the guava mojito.

Our food, however, did come out at a decent time. I ordered the como pollo con grano, which was essentially a fancy arroz con pollo. The portion size was huge, I ended up having leftovers for like two days afterward.

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Later in the evening, a live band started to play and people began to dance. The music was very loud throughout our visit, so Friday night is probably not the time to have any deep conversations here.

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Overall, it’s a gorgeous venue and I hope they’re able to work out some of the kinks to make it a really great place to hang out.

Travel Tuesday: Sydney

On my quest to visit all* of the continents by 30, I finally finally made it to Oceania this February. This post will be dedicated to my trip to Australia, I’ll save New Zealand for next time.

Where We Stayed

One of the few times my Bank of America travel card has come in handy (I can do another post on travel credit cards if you guys are interested. I’m still new to racking up points.) was in finding a place to stay for this trip. We finally settled on Manor Boutique Hotel because we got a pretty decent deal on it. The pictures of the property were gorgeous (click on that link. It really looks like that on the outside!) and even though some of the reviews talked about it being a little outdated, we figured it was fine.

It was an…interesting experience. So, the room was not bad. However, the internet was in and out. When you travel, you really do rely on the internet a lot to look up…pretty much everything. Then, our tv remote stopped working.  We brought it to the front desk and the woman there gave me another. That one also didn’t work. I brought it back to her and she said she’s be back with another one and..just never came back? We got another one the next day. I know these are first world problems, but at the same time, when you’re told to expect these amenities, you expect them to work. They had a very basic continental breakfast. There wasn’t much change from day to day.

I don’t think I’d stay here again, but it wasn’t the absolute worst.

What We Did

It rained every.single.day. that we were in Sydney until our very last day. Apparently, this is very rare. I came prepared to live on the beach and yet…I was prepared to see some kangaroos and YET. We got really lost and missed our entire tour. I was devastated.

  1. Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art,

We made an obligatory trip to the Sydney Opera House and went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (which was free!). My favorite exhibit was a screening of a powerful documentary about protests against racism and police brutality in Townsville.  It was striking to see parallels between what black folks have been fighting against here and what has happened literally across the world. Afterward, we explored The Rocks and had a quick lunch.

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2. Blue Mountains

Because we missed the Blue Mountain tour on the first day, we decided to take a chance with the hop on, hop off  bus tour. This involved hopping on a commuter rail train (akin to our Metro North or LIRR) for about two hours and then getting the bus. It was decently’ priced and we actually had a nice time, hiking through the trails and getting to see the Three Sisters through the fog.

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3. My absolute favorite thing we did on our very last day. It was also the only day without rain. Blak Markets is an indigenous arts marketplace on Bare Island. All around Sydney there are land acknowledgements to recognize the indigenous people of the area, but the entire week we were wondering “okay, so where are they?” In short, similar to here in the U.S., Aboriginal people have been pushed out of many areas and it’s a constant fight to correct the wrongs have been done. We were so glad to be able to speak to Aboriginal artists and support their work. I bought all of my souvenirs from here.

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Where We Ate

As I mentioned, our hotel continental breakfast left a lot to be desired, so we ventured out to brunch at The Silly Tart Kitchen. We order the Lot, which was so good. They get lots of their ingredients from their garden and you can absolutely tell because everything is so fresh.

You can’t go to Australia and not have a pie.  We went to Bourke Street United. We opted for beef and a chicken, sweet potato one. They were delicious! And way bigger than we expected.

 

Overall, I had really high expectations for Sydney and was a little disappointed by some of our setbacks and the torrential downpours. I’d love to return to Australia some day and get to other parts of the country.

(*I’m not doing Antarctica. I’ve thought about it a lot and….it’s just not gonna happen.)

Taste of the Bronx to Launch New Subscription Box

Taste of the Bronx, a monthly pop-up market featuring local Bronx vendors, is set to launch a brand new quarterly subscription box featuring products from locally sourced Bronx-focuses products. All products have to meet strict requirements to earn the Taste of the Bronx seal of quality. The Spring box features merchandise from Sustainable Snacks, From the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden, Cards by De, and more!

A partnership between Sustainable Snacks and From the Bronx,  Taste of the Bronx ‘s markets highlight local businesses and give them an opportunity to sell the wares and connect with others in the community.  I love that the market and new subscription box are focused on uplifting and spotlighting Bronx entrepreneurs.

Taste of The Bronx gathers Bronx entrepreneurs in a celebration of everything that makes our borough unique. Our subscription box and monthly markets are a true Bronx experience. The Bronx has so much to offer that there will always be something new to see!” says Anthony Ramirez II, Taste of The Bronx partner.

To find out how you can be featured in the Taste of the Bronx subscription box or to sign up, click here. PLUS! you can visit the market and get a taste for yourself (pun obviously intended) at the market at Bronx Cookspace (50 E. 168th St, Bronx, NY, 10452) tomorrow, April 14 1-6pm.