Dinner at Da Franco & Tony

A while back on Instagram (like maybe a year ago-ish), I shared a picture of my go-to dish at Da Franco & Tony Ristorante – garganelli alla norma. On my most recent trip there a couple weeks ago, I realized that I never posted about this amazing restaurant here on the blog, so here we go.

A coworker had actually recommended this hidden gem, so when my friends and I needed a place that was close to work, we decided to check it out.

The. Customer. Service! This place hands down, has the best customer service I’ve ever experienced at a restaurant. From the moment you enter, you’re greeted and seated immediately.

Every time I’ve been, they have an impressive list of daily specials and of course I love that they’re super knowledgable about their wine.

They have a pretty extensive menu and there’s definitely something for everyone. Despite all of the amazing specials and delicious, as previously mentioned, I always go for the garganelli alla norma, a pasta dish with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, and eggplant. I had it the first time we came here and I’ve had it every time since. One day I promise I’ll order something else, but in the mean time…

I’m one of these people that never orders dessert (I know…like, I’m just full…) but somehow, I always end up splitting dessert with one of my friends here. The thing is, they bring out a tray with all of the desserts, and it gets us every time. Last time, I went with the creme brûlée cheesecake, which I’ve never seen anywhere else. While it didn’t have the exact crunch of creme brûlée, it was still really good.

Honestly, this place is perfect for any occasion and is the exact sort of local gem that got me started with this whole blogging thing in the first place. So do yourself a favor and head over asap.

 

IMG_5191

 

IMG_7161

Advertisements

Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i Comes to NYBG

Renowned painter, Georgia O’Keeffe, famous for her intricate, close up paintings of flowers, went on a little known trip to Hawaii, creating a series of 20 painting based on her time there. Commissioned by what is now known as the Dole Pineapple Company, O’Keeffe was to paint pictures of pineapples for an ad campaign. Though skeptical at first, the artist became in awe of Hawai’i natural beauty. These paintings are now on display at the New York Botanical Garden, right here in Bronx. This marks the first time the paintings have been on display in New York since their debut in 1940.

Over in the Conservatory, visitors get a chance to experience a bit of what O’Keeffe did on her trip, taking in vibrant hibiscus flowers, birds of paradise, and fragrant frangipani among many others brought over for the exhibition.

In addition, contemporary Hawaiian-Chinese sculptor, Mark Chai, has a series of outdoor  sculptures inspired by the same plants O’Keeffe encountered on her trip, that are on display along Garden Way.

There’s also a new Poke Truck, which features four different types of poke. (I’m usually skeptical of food trends, but ever since trying poke for the first time last year, I’ve been hooked. So excited there’s a place to get it in the Bronx now, at the NYBG no less!) I tried to classic poke bowl which was a pretty good portion and the perfect lunch for a hot day!

If all of this isn’t enough, the New York Botanical Garden has partnered with Hyatt Resorts in Hawai’i and Hawaiian Airlines to offer a chance to win a trip for two to Hawai’i and experience its beauty in real life.

The exhibition opens this Saturday, May 19 and runs until October 28.

NYBG_Georgia_O'Keeffe_by_Harold_Stein_face

Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

NYBG_Georgia_O'Keeffe_Heliconia

Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

NYBG_Georgia_O'Keeffe_Hibiscus

Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

NYBG_Georgia_O'Keeffe_Pineapple_Bud

Photo Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

 

Bronx Moms Nite Out Recap

Thursday night, Bronx moms were given the chance to let loose and pamper themselves for a bit thanks to Bronx Moms Night Out. Hosted by Nicole of Bronx Mama and Geanine from Trendy Chaos at the Residence Inn , moms were able to receive massages, get their brows done, and even have their cards read. Of course, I’m not a mom, so I brought mine and we had a great time sipping cocktails and hanging out in the outdoor lounge area (which is absolutely gorgeous!) Crosstown Diner   kept the food coming all night. I’m not kidding, every time I turned around there was something new on display and it was all delicious.

We also got the chance to peruse the tables of some of the local businesses like Stella & Dot, Chrissy’s Creations, and Pink Princess Nails  and I even got some inspiration for an upcoming trip to the Poconos. That’s not all – presentations from Apartment Jeanie, Bronx Martial Arts Training Center, and even a dance lesson from 2006 World Cup Latin Champions Delyan Terziev and Boriana Deltcheva.

It was a really great time, so shout out to Nicole and Geanine for putting on such a great event (and for having the BEST swag bags!)

32466304_10156632212779617_5589264555462098944_n

Photo by Daniel Pacheco/ Dream Pictures

32498286_10156630927044617_2694559775957450752_o

Photo by Daniel Pacheco/ Dream Pictures

32540502_10156630919374617_8821545290461872128_o

Photo by Daniel Pacheco/ Dream Pictures

32503576_10156630914464617_8745345887661719552_o

Photo by Daniel Pacheco/ Dream Pictures

Dancing While Black May 3-5

Mark your calendars (how many of you are still using paper calendars?) tomorrow through Saturday for the fifth anniversary of Dancing While Black. See below for more info:

Celebrate the voices of Black dance artists at Dancing While Black’s fifth anniversary festival. Presented by Angela’s Pulse and BAAD!, the three-day event will  feature performances led by guest artists, Dancing While Black Fellows and BAAD!’s youth dance program, AATT Academy along with post-performance conversations, a special screening of Gabri Christa’s Another Building dance narrative series, long table discussion and dance party.

Guest master artists for this year’s celebration include ArthurAviles, co-founder/artistic director of BAAD!; Chanel DaSilva, co-founder/artistic director of MOVE (NYC); Jason Samuels Smith, Emmy award-winning tap dance master and Donna Clark, associate director of Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company. Alethea Pace, J. Bouey, Jasmine Hearn, Kayla Hamilton, NIC Kay and Shelby Felton are featured as the 2017-18 Dancing While Black Fellows.

Dancing While Black’s Fifith Anniversary Festival takes place hursday-Saturday, May 3-5 at the Bronx Academy Of Arts and Dance, located at 2474 Westchester Ave, Bronx, NY. Tickets range in price from free and pay what you can to $15-20 for the dance performances on days two and three. For more information, visit http://www.baadbronx.org/boogie-down-dance-2018.html.

dancing-while-black

Sixth Annual Bronx Book Fair – May 5, 11 am-7 pm

Mark your calendars – the sixth annual Bronx Book Fair is this Saturday, May 5 from 11AM- 7PM. Keep reading for more info:

This year’s fair will be keynoted by Noelle Santos, founder of The Lit Bar, the only bookstore in the Bronx.

The Bronx Book Fair is the borough’s premiere literary event and features a variety of diverse literary voices. This year the fair will welcome special guests poets Willie Perdomo and Sokunthary Svay, children’s book author Tiffany Papageorge, Dawn Aldrich, MD, author Annette Libeskind Berkovits, romance novelists Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Hicks Watts, storyteller, Thelma Ruffin Thomas, poet Carmen D. Lucca, author and poet Edward Currelley, readings, workshops, and panels. There will be special programs for children and families. National Writers Union and Book vendors will also be available.

All Bronx Book Fair activities are free of charge and open to the public. The full fair schedule can be found at bronxbookfair.com.

“We are excited to once again bring the Bronx Book Fair to our literary community,” said Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library. “And this year, having Noelle Santos keynote, highlights the importance of turning a passion for literature into entrepreneurial opportunities to serve your community. Noelle is the perfect speaker to inspire participants in this year’s fair.”

“This year Bronx Book Fair activities will not only address the cultural and educational interests of the Bronx, but health issues as well,”  said Lorraine Currelley, Bronx Book Fair Executive Director. “We have a panel of health professionals, who will address issues such as mental health, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and asthma. We must avail ourselves of all opportunities to share information that can potentially save lives. The Bronx Book Fair will continue to work to create and implement programming, to enhance the literary and artistic experiences for community residents, toprovide opportunities for the Bronx literary community of poets and writers and advocate for reading and literacy.”

The Bronx Book Fair is sponsored by the New York Public Library, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Citizens Committee of New York City, the Poets Network & Exchange, Inc., Lehman College, Bronx Community College, Literary Freedom Project and Malcolm Entertainment, and through public funds from the New York State Department of Cultural Affairs.

AUDITORIUM

11:15 – 11:25 AM
Welcome – Jean Harripersaud, Bronx Library Center & Lorraine Currelley,
Bronx Book Fair

11:25 – 12:10 PM
Bilingual Reading & Book Launch
of My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge.

12:20 – 1:00 PM
How to Get  Your Work Published
Carolyn Butts, Editor/Publisher, African Voices Magazine, Steve Bloom, writer. and Jennifer Bakercreator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor for Electric Literature. Moderator: Gary Johnston, Publisher, Blind Beggar Press and poet

1:10 – 1:50 PM
Our Health: A Community Forum
Medical professionals and writers discuss health and self-care issues in underserved communities of color, the causes and how can we save our lives?
Dawn Aldrich, MD (Authority on cancer, obesity, diabetes & sickle cell anemia) Radhiyah Ayobami, MFA writes and workshops with pregnant teens and
Lorraine Currelley, MS MHC, Executive Director, Mental Health & Healthy Aging.

2:00 – 2:30 PM
Keynote Speaker –  Noëlle Santos, owner The Lit Bar: the only bookstore (and wine bar) in her native Bronx, New York. Member of the American Booksellers Association Advisory Council.
Introduction: Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director Bronx Book Fair.

NoelleSantos

2:40 – 3:10 PM
Librarian Panel – What to Read Next
Bronx Library Center Librarians: Elvira Ramos Paralles – Adult Librarian,
Elisa Garcia – Teen Librarian, Deborah Allman – Children’s Librarian
Moderator: Jean Harripersaud, Managing Librarian

3:20 PM
Featured Poet: Sokunthary Svay
author of Apsara in New York and the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association, Board President

3:45 – 4:25 PM
Silver: The Next Chapter-Sustaining a Career
Author/Poet/Multimedia Artist, Edward D. Currelley, Poet Carmen D. Lucca
and Thelma R. Thomas, Storyteller and Artistic Director Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers. Moderator: Poet Americo Casiano

4:35 – 5:15 PM
Women in Leadership: Arts, Activism & Social Responsibility
This panel will discuss stereotypical narratives of women in leadership & our responsibility as women to redefine and create empowering new paradigms.
Yolanda Rodriguez, Co-founder and Executive Director, BxArts Factory; Dairanys Grullon-Virgil, Co-founder, Mi Gente Latinx and Sister Circle Collective; and Poet
and Author Mercy Tullis-Bukhari. Moderator: Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director Poets Network & Exchange and Bronx Book Fair

5:15 – 5:45 PM
Protecting Your Literary Work
National Writers’ Union members Zigi Lowenberg, Stephanie Rogers, and Raymond Nat Turner.

5:45 PM
Featured Poet Willie Perdomo,
author of The Essential History of Shorty Bon BonSmoking Lovely, and Where
a Nickel Costs a Dime.

willie perdomo2

6:15 – 6:45 PM
Project X Performers (Youth Slam Poets)
Noel Quinones, Rebecca Rivera, Danyeli Rodriguez Del Orbe, and Gabriele Guajardo (Gigi Bella) & Alejandro Heredia. Facilitator: Peggy Robles-Alvarado

Rebecca Rivera


CONFERENCE ROOM

1:10 – 1:50 PM
From Start to Finish: Picking and Finishing the Writing Project You Want to Submit this Year
An interactive writing workshop meant to help writers decide how to narrow down their choices so they can finish and submit something in 2018! Will include in class writing prompts, planning guides, samples of projects and their path to publication, and handouts on viable new markets for starting writers.
Facilitator: Melissa Coss Aquino

2:30 – 3:10 PM
The Use of Photography in Writing
Facilitator:  John Maney

3:15 – 3:45 PM
Talking Romance: A Conversation with Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Watts Hicks
Romance writers Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Watts Hicks explore and discuss the multi-layered genre of romance writing.

4:00 – 4:40 PM
Thousand Worlds: Multidisciplinary Approach to Creative Writing
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words but when you want to effectively create a multidimensional world with words in print, you need to develop a multidisciplinary skill set to challenge the notion of literature as a two-dimensional medium because art should always aspire to be larger than life. Facilitator: Orlando Ferrand

4:50 -5:30 PM
Fiction Presentation
Alcy Leya, author of “And Then There Were Crows” (published by Black Spot books) will be released on July 3rd and is the first in the Shades of Hell series.

Children’s Story Hour Room
Children’s Storytelling/Craft
Led by Bronx Library Center librarians


MAIN FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM

12:40 – 2:00 PM
Literary Speed Coaching
Poets and writers: need assistance with writing or performance? Perhaps you have some ideas you need assistance with? Consult with one of our literary speed coaches: Radhiyah Ayobami, Mercy Tullis-Bukhari, Edward Currelley, and Aisha Sidibe.  Time Manager: Oscar Sanders

REGISTRATION OPEN NOW & ENDS MAY 4th, 2018!Click on link for details.
https://bronxbookfair.com/speed-coaching-sessions/

 

Photos courtesy of the Bronx Book Fair 🙂

A Trip to the 70s at the Huntington Hustle

This past weekend, the Huntington Free Library in Westchester Square held the Huntington Hustle, the 70s themed sequel to last year’s glamorous 20s party. With proceeds going to Loving the Bronx (They are doing such amazing for our Bronx parks) and drinks sponsored by Deep Eddy Vodka, you know I was bound to have a good time. Metro Optics sponsored the door prize for best eyewear (that my mom won, btw) and Morris Perk was there to serve up some light bites.  Plus, who can pass up a costume party?

Anyhow, check out a couple of photos I took at the party. And hopefully we’ll see you at the next one!

IMG_1342

IMG_2409

 

 

 

Hip Hop Legends & Street Artists Come Together for Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo

This weekend kicks off Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo -” A Celebration of the WILDLIFE that is Bronx Culture and History” featuring a full line up of Music, Art, Dance, Food, and MORE.” 

Read below for more info:

The Bronx Zoo is celebrating wildlife and the diverse culture of the Boogiedown Borough like never before at a series of springtime events fittingly titled “Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo.”

For more than 120 years, the Bronx has been the birthplace of culture that has changed history and created movements. From humble beginnings, the Bronx is the home of global legends and leaders that have had a profound influence on the world through hip hop, breakdancing, doo wop, street art, salsa, AND wildlife conservation. The Bronx has it all!

 Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo presents a variety of many cultural contributions that have resonated from the Bronx. Starting on Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22, and continuing weekends from May 5 through June 3, artists and performers from a diverse representation of Bronx cultures will be on-site to celebrate the Bronx Zoo, Bronx culture, and wildlife.

Many iconic forms of music have originated in the Bronx. Working with Bronx-based organization Windows of Hip Hop, the zoo will host musical performances by hip-hop pioneers, world-class DJs, and teach guests how to “scratch,” create an 8-meter rhyme, and more.

Special appearances by Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio ‘Furious Five’ and The Sugarhill Gang will be the backbone of the of the musical line-up. Hip hop legendGrandmaster Caz will be on site at “Caz’s Corner” each weekend teaching everyone how to create rhymes and emcee like only he can.

The street corners of Arthur Avenue in the 50s, helped solidify doo wop’s place in New York City.  Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo will take a step back in time to feature performances from artists that will keep everyone dancing. Guests can also enjoy some of the cuisine from the real Little Italy. (June 2-3.)

Music and dance performances derived Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Afro-Caribbean rhythm and dance that emerged and thrived in the Bronx will take center stage on themed weekends that will include music, dance, and traditional cuisine samplings. (May 26-28.)

Not only is the Bronx Zoo home to historic sculptures and architecture like Rainey Gate, Rockefeller Fountain, and the landmarked beaux art buildings on Astor Court, but Boogie Down events will feature Bronx artists creating new masterpieces live for the crowd.

Graffiti started as a scourge that transformed into a modern art form that can be seen and appreciated in murals around the Bronx, New York City, and around the world. Renowned street artists will create wildlife works on the zoo’s historic Astor Court.

Even the Bronx Zoo’s resident wildlife will get into the spirit of the Boogiedown as they contribute their own artwork to the festivities to create original paintings like no other.

Painting is a form of enrichment that some of the animals at the zoo engage in, and provides a great opportunity for them to interact with their keepers. These animal paintings will be the basis for some of the artwork finished by famous street artists like Crash, Tats Cru, Andre Trenier, and others.  The finished paintings will be one-of-a-kind works.

Participating performers:

  • Grandmaster Melle Mel, Scorpio ‘Furious 5’
  • The Sugarhill Gang
  • Grandmaster Caz
  • Rokafella (breakdancer)
  • BombaYo (Bomba music)
  • Rock Steady (doo-wop music)
  • Luis Damon salsa band
  • Mighty Bengal Step Team (student step team from the Bronx’s PS 55)
  • Dynamic Rockers Crew
  • Hip Hop Dance Conservatory

 

Street Artists:

  • Tats Cru (Bio, Nicer, BG 183)
  • Crash (John Matos)
  • Andre Trenier
  • Giz
  • Menace 2
  • Resa Piece
  • Shiro
  • Ian Sullivan
  • Matt Buck
  • Son of a Finch
  • Kay Love
  • Lovie Pignata

 

        DJs:

  • DJ Sammy
  • DJ Jazzy Jay
  • DJ C Styles
  • DJ Lady Love
  • DJ Jazzy Joyce

Take a look at a sample of the cool art project that combined art created by actual otter at the zoo that artist BG183 transformed:

I can’t wait for you to hear Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz perform “Animals and MCs” , it’s legit. (New summer anthem?)

 

Grandmaster Caz
Melle Mel

Curtis Fisher
Melvin Glover

For tickets and a full schedule of performances, activities and themed weekends, visit www.BronxZoo.com/boogie-down.

Last, but not least, a huge shout out to Windows of Hip Hop for their work on this project.

It’s going to be amazing, get your tickets now.