As promised, my final post here is a list of all of my favorite places in the Bronx. I’ve broken them down by category and racked my brain to hopefully remember all of my faves. I have so many places I have yet to try (especially with COVID in the way) so I definitely hope to explore more places once it’s safe to do so.
You’ll have to excuse the cliche title, 2020 simply hasn’t been the most creative year for me. I’ll get straight to it – it’s finally time to say goodbye to The Bronx Socialite blog. As I mentioned a few posts back, maybe last year? I’ve been focusing more on my fiction writing, which has always my true passion, which I know I’ve touched on here a bit. Unfortunately, all other writing has taken a back seat because the way my writing is set up – I can only do one type of writing really well at a time.
When I started this blog in 2011 (?!), there weren’t many of us around (eternal shout outs to Nicole of Bronxmama and Ed of Welcome2theBronx the true GOATS of Bronx blogging) and all we had was Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter in its infancy. Lots of people have come and gone over the years, but I am grateful for those I met whose mission aligned with mine – to simply highlight what the Bronx has to offer. Through this blog, I have gotten amazing opportunities both writing related and not. Probably the thing I am most grateful for is being able to tell the stories of fellow Bronxites and forge a deeper love and appreciation of the borough I’ve called home for about 28 years.
I remain dedicated to supporting our small businesses and culture in whatever way I can. It’s as important as ever that we stand together; it’s been amazing to see communities come together during the pandemic to provide mutual aid and support because if there’s anything that history has taught us it’s that we have to do for ourselves.
I’m going to leave up all the old posts and everything in case they come in handy. Thank you for reading and sticking with me over the years, it’s much appreciated. If you’d like to keep up with me and my literary endeavors, you can check out my writing website and/or follow me on Instagram or Twitter.
Edited to add: I’m going to add a round up post of all my favorite Bronx spots later this week, so stay tuned for that.
Summerstage, one of the events we look forward to most each summer, like many other of our faves, has had to adapt due to Covid-19. This summer, they’re bringing the stage to us via SummerStage Anywhere.
Today, Thursday, July 23rd, fans will be able to tune in for an exclusive Culture Talk with Salsa star and Latin Grammy winner La India and multifaceted performer La Bruja. The two will be taking over SummerStage’s Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitch starting at 8pm ET.
Over the course of their conversation, they will be going back to their Bronx roots to discuss how their home has always supported and developed culture and music, their mutual experiences performing at SummerStage over the years, how La India has stayed focused and maintained her career, how she has been staying connected to her fans through recent months, and more.
Additional information on the event can be found here.
All summer long SummerStage will be highlighting different genres that were born in or deeply represent New York culture – Mondays: Contemporary Dance, Tuesdays: Global, Wednesdays: Indie Rock, Thursdays: Latin, Fridays: Hip Hop and Saturdays: Jazz. The SummerStage team has spent months finding ways to make the most of this summer and remains committed to bringing free, accessible, and diverse arts programming to New York City (and now the world!) Recent Latin programming includes a Salsa dance class with Ernesto & Denisse and a Weekly Beat DJ Session with DJ Lobo.
Hey! I know it’s been a while – just going through the ups and downs of quarantine life. But, I’m glad to be back with an interview with Lorraine Currelley, who I first met a few years back at a writing workshop and got to know during my time on the Bronx Book Fair planning committee. Lorraine was recently named the National Beat Poetry Foundation Bronx Beat Poet Laureate New York State.
What are some of the responsibilities of the National Beat Poetry Foundation Bronx Beat Poet Laureate New York State?
I’m still trying to navigate this new role and what it means for me. I believe it’s up to the individual laureate to define what that role is. My role is an extension of who I am and what I continue to do as a writer, artist and individual.
It’s advocating for poetry, reading, literacy and the arts. It means representing my Bronx borough, shining a spotlight on the wonderful things happening in my community as well as it’s residents, my neighbors.
I’m excited to be working with my community to advocate for needed opportunity and services. It’s the joy of collaborating with individuals as well as cultural, educational and social organizations via the Bronx Book Fair and Poets Network & Exchange. Two of the most innovative organizations in the Bronx and New York City.
For those who may be unfamiliar with your writing, how would you describe it?
I’m a multi-genre writer. I write and enjoy exploring different writing topics and styles. They include fiction, non-fiction, and of course poetry. I’m especially fond of narrative poetry. My writing topics include but are not limited to mental health, children literature, African and African American history, culture and family life, ageism, racism and gerontology. I inherited a love of learning, writing and literature from my mother Annie Daniels Currelley.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
Some of the writers named entered my life at specific periods and unexpectedly. Their work resonated spiritually, philosophically, or emotionally. There was a connection. It’s not necessarily their entire body of work. It could have been a poem, a story, or a specific book. They are Jesmyn Ward, Sonia Sanchez, Carmen D. Lucca, Nikki Giovanni, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ibram X Kende, J. California Cooper, Roxanne Gay, Rita Dove, Isabel Allende, Edward Currelley, Gary Johnston, Claudia Rankine, Paula Giddings and Tracey K. Smith. There are also so many unsung writers.
Tell us about any upcoming projects you’re working on.
I’m happily completing my manuscripts for publication. I’m also participating in Climbing The Walls Multi Media Exhibit.
Climbing the Walls is a collaborative project between Studio Theater in Exile and Hudson Valley MOCA that asked for artists across genres to contribute, visual art, music, monologues, and poetry, that explore the ways we are experiencing life now and how we imagine the future. Climbing the Walls was conceived from a desire to create in a time of disorientation and disconnection. We conceived of the project as a way to connect and explore a shift in the moment, ultimately looking both at COVID-19 and the protests. As more and more people decided to participate, across all genres, we realized how lucky we were to be in an artistic community that came together to communicate, to teach, to learn, and to create.
I had the great joy to contribute to COVID-19 and to conceive and guest curate a Junteenth exhibit “Freedom A Failed Promise.” at the invitation of Artistic Director/Dramaturge Studio Theater in Exile, Mara Mills. I am very pleased with the result. It’s an important exhibit. Climbing The Walls is innovative and wonderfully creative and exciting ( online.) Participating artists are phenonmenal. It opened on June 13th, 2020 and viewers will have an opportunity to experience it until September 13th, 2020.
I hope you’re all safe and well at home. I’ve been sharing some resources and local businesses that are still open for takeout and delivery over on Instagram, but I received some information from Hunter College’s New York City Food Policy Center about emergency food resources throughout the city, so I thought I’d pass along the info for anyone who could use it. The guide is updated every 3-5 days, but as everything in the wake of this pandemic changes from day to day, make sure you double check before heading out. It’s broken down by neighborhood, so check it out to see what’s available near you.
Like many of you (I hope),I’m staying home & I’ve been cooking a lot more than usual. We’ve got nothing but time, so why not try making something new? Some of the restaurants in Little Italy have shared some recipes you can try at home. Not much of a chef or simply tired of cooking? Here’s a link to restaurants offering take out. Many Little Italy products are also available online via Amazon.
Recipes from the Belmont Business Improvement District:
Now more than ever, it’s important to support our local businesses. Check in on your faves’ social media accounts or go on Uber Eats to see who’s delivering or doing take out to help these businesses survive.
It was a full house at Beatstro last night as Windows of Hip Hop in conjunction with the Borough President’s Office honored hip hop legends and pioneers Londell McMillian, Sal Abbatiello, Ralph McDaniels, and Slick Rick. It was amazing to see all these legends in one room and hear them tell their stories. DJ Red Alert and 2019 Elements of Hip Hop honoree, Fat Joe, stopped by to pay homage to Ralph McDaniels. It truly is amazing how this genre that was started right here in the Bronx had gone global and has evolved in so many different ways. When Sal Abbatiello did a call and response to a few different hip hop faves, the crowd did not hesitate in chiming in (myself included!)
Martell Cognac sponsored an open bar and kept the specialty cocktails flowing all night. To be totally transparent, I never ever drink cognac and the Martell Punch, I think is easily one of my new favorite drinks. Going to have to find out the recipe! And! the food! The wings, rice balls, and shrimp were all sooo good. Everything was so flavorful, I think my favorite was definitely the rice balls. Oh god, I will have to make a separate trip to Beatstro so I can do a whole post dedicated to the food.
I was so excited to be invited back to The Bronx Buzz to discuss my novella, Cooties & Other Kindergarten Quandaries. (Grab your copy here.) The Bronx Buzz does excellent work and I was glad to be on again to talk about my fiction work!
A couple months back, I hinted at some cool news I’d announce soon and now is that time! My novella, Cooties & Other Kindergarten Quandaries is now available in Running Wild Press’ Novella Anthology, Vol. 3, Book 3.
Despite the title and the fact that the four protagonists are in kindergarten, this is not a children’s book. Unless your kid likes satire and and political humor thrown in every so often.
It’s an episodic novella, consisting of 11 chapters, each tackling another obstacle – the boogeyman, an evil substitute teacher, tattletales, etc.
This novella was about five years in the making. I wrote the very first chapter back in 2010 when I was a senior at Baruch for one of my assignments. I didn’t do much with it afterward, maybe sent it out to a few lit mags, but it wasn’t until 2014 when I picked it back up and continued the characters’ misadventures trying to navigate kindergarten as these super geniuses. It was just a lot of fun to write, to be honest.
Novellas are kind of a weird in between genre, so I was really glad it found a home at Running Wild Press, an independent press based in California. Cooties… shares the pages with about eight other talented authors, and I’m excited to be able to share this news with you finally.