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.
So excited to bring back The Spotlight and share this interview with Bronxite Melissa C. Potter, a social justice activist and the Head of Social Impact and Communications leading strategy and campaign management for Odyssey Impact/Transform Films. Keep reading for more!
Which Bronx neighborhood are you from?
I call Riverdale my adopted home as I resided there for 12 years following my graduation from Northeastern University in Boston. I love the community feel of Riverdale as all that I needed was in walking distance but there were also wonderful opportunities to fellowship with neighbors at La Caja Crossfit, Tin Marin, or in Starbucks.
Where do you currently reside?
I’ve recently moved to the High Bridge section of The Bronx. I am getting to know my neighborhood but appreciate the close proximity to Manhattan for work, and restaurants such as Giovanni’s, Feeding Tree, and Crown Diner.
What are your favorite places in the Bronx?
I am a member of the Bronx Botanical Gardens and make it a point to visit during the annual Orchid and Train Shows. I also really love an evening walk at Van Cortlandt Park. A fun and surprising fact is that you can actually fish in the park. It provides an oasis just blocks away from bustling Broadway. I recommend that anyone visiting The Bronx stops by City Island for an amazing meal at Sammy’s! I am a huge fan of the fried seafood platter and totally indulge in the complimentary bread, cheese and pickled vegetable tray.
How did you get started in social justice advocacy?
I first began my career in the music industry working with some of today’s biggest hip hop artists. I realized that many of these acts felt passionately about issues of social justice and the communities in which they were born and raised. Often, it is difficult to know where to best channel your efforts as it relates to championing causes that are near and dear to the heart. This became my mission, to expose talent to opportunities to give back and to elevate causes that related to our communities such as criminal justice, racial justice and voting rights.
Why do you think film is such a powerful tool in promoting change and creating awareness?
At Odyssey Impact we use film to build a more just and compassionate society and make faith relevant by bringing it into the conversation on social issues. We take the emotions that our films generate and channel them into secular and faith collaborations that inspire changemakers to action – locally and nationally. We give a voice to individuals that often go unheard. We utilize storytelling to spark social change around complex issues. Our audiences gain awareness, have a change of attitude and are driven to action based on their viewing experience – thus going beyond the simple act of being entertained.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved in making changes in their communities?
Start small but think big. Work with Odyssey Impact to host a screening, partner with us to educate and take action by finding us on on Twitter @OdysseyImpactNY or by visiting our website.
Look within your day-to-day activities and find small spaces where you may make a difference. It could be utilizing your social media channels to fundraise or raise awareness around an issue, working with a group of friends to clean up a local park or becoming aware of your local lawmakers and starting a petition to take to their office about an issue that you hold dear.
Any upcoming projects you’re working on that we should look out for?
We are excited for our upcoming impact campaign for an extraordinary film, “The Rape of Recy Taylor”. Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old black mother and sharecropper, was gang raped by six young white men in 1944 Alabama. Common in Jim Crow South, few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor, who bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent its chief rape investigator Rosa Parks, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice. You can check your local listings to catch The Rape of Recy Taylor airing on July 2nd on Starz.
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.
This weekend the New York Botanical Garden will be celebrating the bloom of 300,000 newly planted daffodil bulbs along with a wine tasting from local vinters and live music. As if that weren’t enough, visitors will get a chance to check out the new CHIHULY exhibit. Check out the schedule and ticket information below:
- Wine Tasting & Refreshments: Enjoy a flight of local wines from New York and New Jersey from 12–5 p.m.
Participating wineries include: Baldwin Vineyards, Pine Bush, NY; Brimstone Hill Vineyard & Winery, Pine Bush, NY; Brotherhood Winery, Washingtonville, NY; City Winery, New York, NY; Hudson-Chatham Winery, Ghent, NY; Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, Millbrook, NY; Mysto Mead, Carmel, NY; Palaia Vineyards, Highland Mills, NY; Tousey Winery, Germantown, NY; Villari Vineyards, Sewell, NJ; Warwick Valley Winery, Warwick, NY; Whitecliff Vineyard, Gardiner, NY; and Winemakers New York, Massapequa, NY.
- Live Music by Milton: Milton will perform acoustic bluegrass and folk tunes at 12, 1, 2, 3, & 4 p.m. each day.
- Botany of Wine: Beyond the Grape: NYBG botanists talk about the botanicals that go into making wine and how the nuances of flavor come about at 1 & 3 p.m. in the Perennial Garden.
- Daffodil Hill Tours: Meet at the Native Plant Garden entrance to take a walk with an NYBG guide and learn more about NYBG’s plans to dramatically expand its historic Narcissus collection.
Tours at 1:30, 2:30, & 3:30 each day.
Non-Members: Adult (21+): $38, includes souvenir wine glass ($10) and All-Garden Pass ($28) Members: $10 souvenir wine glass
Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
This week I got the opportunity to check out the New York Botanical Garden‘s latest exhibit, The Orchid Show:Thailand. It’s amazing how the Conservatory can be totally transformed – from the Frida exhibit to the Holiday Train Show, and now to a beautifully tranquil imagining of Thailand. I’ve not yet been to Thailand (a future travel post!) but it was exactly what I imagine it’d be like to have teleported to a beautiful temple garden across the world.
The event, hosted in collaboration with Edible Bronx, was an Instameet Afterhours, giving us a chance to roam through the exhibit and post photos to our hearts’ content. Though the show is in its fifteenth year, this was my first time at the orchid show and I never thought I’d get so excited to see flowers. Really! As a person who has always suffered from allergies, I’ve always been one to admire from afar. Maybe it’s been the allergy shots I’ve been taking for the past year, but I was like a kid “Ooh, what’s this? Hey, look at this flower over here!” bouncing around from one section to another. It was also really cool to see the array of different colors the orchids came in – from white, to bright purple, to deep red.
I was most excited to see pineapples growing from the ground. Like, I was really excited (maybe it was the wine…?)
Unfortunately, many wild orchids are at risk for extinction because of over collection and the destruction of their habitats. In fact, many orchids are imported illegally! The NYBG is a designated rescue center via the Convention on International Trade in Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. They have worked to rejuvenate many of these species.
So, if you want to support the NYBG in this mission or just spend an evening with beautiful flowers (and pineapples!) stop by soon. The Orchid Show: Thailand runs until April 9.
Having been married now for all of two months and change, I’ve found that I’d much rather sit inside and binge watch a show on Netflix than make a bunch of plans with my husband where we end up spending money and trying to figure out how we’re going to get home at the end of the night. However, as noted in wedding websites and blogs across the inter web, it’s important to actually go out and do something you’ll both enjoy.
We’ve spent the past few weeks embroiled in a web of property buying responsibilities, and it ended up not working out, so we’ve been drained. So, when I saw a Groupon for NYBG’s Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show, I knew we had to go.
Aside from being ridiculously close to our place, the Husband used to collect trains when he was a kid and I’m pretty certain they’re still at his parents’ house. One of the highlights for me was that it would be adults only and I didn’t have to worry about tripping over someone’s kid and obviously the bar. 🙂
Confession: This was my first time ever going to the Holiday Train Show.
I know, it’s an institution, but somehow I was always busy with holiday preparations and parties and by the time I knew it, it was over. Now I can say I’ve been and it was absolutely amazing. The snow definitely added a romantic setting while we waited our turn to enter the conservatory.
It’s amazing how intricate all of the models are and how the designers use plants in so many innovative ways. One of the coolest features for me was seeing how transformed the conservatory was – trains whizzed around large leaves and hovered right above small ponds, it was beautiful.
Move quickly though, the Holiday Train Show runs until January 16 and the last Bar Car Night is January 14.
In its most recent budget proposal, the City Council called for a $40 million increase in arts and culture funding. Our museums, art galleries, music institutions play a crucial role in the fabric of our city; they make New York the amazing world renowned city it is. We’ve unfortunately become used to arts funding being the first thing on the chopping block when there are budget constraints, but this most recent proposal sends the message that arts funding is essential and indispensable.
I recently spoke with Eric Henry, the Director of Government Relations at The New York Botanical Garden about how the garden would benefit from this increase in city funding. With increased funding from the city, Henry says NYBG would benefit from “operational support jobs, ecological conservation and education” and stressed that “cultural institutions are not just for tourists,[but] for city natives as well.”
Henry also suggested some ways that you can help ensure that cultural institutions such as the New York Botanical Garden receive increased funding from the city including:
- Sign up for memberships via IDNYC
- Speak to your local representative
- Visit NYCInspires.org to share why New York City’s (especially here in the Bronx!) cultural institutions are important to you.
- Use #NYCInspires when posting about your visits to our wonderful cultural institutions.
As many times as I’ve been to the botanical garden, I’d never been to the forest. I decided to change that this past Sunday. As petrified I am of being stranded alone in nature – left to my own devices – I find myself craving time outdoors. Breathing in fresh air, taking in the colors and sounds around me, it’s really invigorating and helps put things in perspective. As much as I love city life, even I need a break sometimes. Try to make it out to NYBG so you can take a look at the fall foliage, when I went, I was told maybe only 30% of the leaves had turned and it was still really beautiful, so make sure you go before winter comes and you miss out! Side Note: This was my first time using my free IDNYC grounds membership to NYBG, which you should definitely get. Not only is it great to have a backup ID card (I just lost my license, so it’s nice to have this in the mean time!) but the memberships to museums and cultural centers throughout NYC are amazing (this is not an ad, I am legitimately enjoying all of the IDNYC perks)!
This weekend the New York Botanical Garden is celebrating the life and work of Frida Kahlo with Viva la Frida! There’s a full line up of really awesome events including a Frida look alike contest (with the enigmatic Ed Garcia Conde from Welcome 2 the Bronx serving as one of the judges!), a performance by Mexican dance company Calpulli Danza Mexicana, as well as a music performance by Mariachi Flor de Toloache.
The festivities are this Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12 from 10 am – 6 pm and adult tickets are $25.
For more information, visit NYBG’s website.