Take a Hike

I always used to say that I respect nature so much, which is why I stay far far away from it. While I was away, I got the opportunity to explore nature and go on a couple of (easy) hikes. I can’t say I’m absolved of my fears of trees falling on me or a wild animal attacking me, but I can say that I’ve come to appreciate it a little more and besides, it’s a free workout.

Sunday, the Husband and I decided we’d head to Van Cortlandt Park to try out one of the hiking trails. We figured we’d start off easy, and chose the John Kieran trail, which takes you over a short, wooden bridge and past the lake. Of course we’re in this weird winter-spring limbo, so while it was peaceful, I bet it’s even more gorgeous once the trees are in full bloom.

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At the end of the trail (it was actually really easy, almost too easy…), we spotted a sign with a tortoise and a hare and I remembered that there was a tortoise and hare statue somewhere in the park, so we decided to follow it. The trail took us through the Northwest forest, where an occasional runner would pass us by. This was the sort of hike I was hoping for. It turns out we were on the Cross Country Trail, on the three mile path.

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Turns out, we could’ve just walked across the sport field to the tortoise and hare statue, but I guess that’d be cheating, right?

Then, of course, after all of that work, we had to reward ourselves with a slice of carrot cake from Lloyd’s across the street.

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Not a bad way to spend a Sunday at all. And if you’re participating in the #Not62 movement, hiking is something that can easily be modified and like, I said, is totally free.

Have you hiked in any of our Bronx parks? Which trails should I check out next?

Brunch at Bronx Ale House

It was crazy hot today, you guys. My friends and I played our 5th annual kickball game in Van Cortlandt Park and I thought I was going to melt. 😦 Luckily, I knew that Bronx Ale House was not too far and we headed there to recharge. I had no concept of time, so I didn’t realize it was still brunch time – much to my delight.

My friend and I shared the smoked brisket hash and the braised pork. The brisket came with eggs and was shredded with potatoes and vegetables. The braised pork also came with eggs, cheddar toast and potatoes.

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Sunday Lunch at Burrito Shop

Spent this gorgeous Sunday exploring Van Cortlandt park. Having lived on the other side of the Bronx for so long, I still have yet to really get to know the park, though I look forward to getting the chance this summer. During my excursion, my friend Anthony and I stumbled upon Burrito Shop. I can never say no to Mexican food, so we strolled in.

It’s a small, casual spot with a menu that offers burritos (duh), tacos, taco and burrito bowls, and an impressive array of vegetarian and vegan options. I opted for a grilled chicken taco bowl, while my friend ordered a grilled steak burrito. The grilled chicken was lightly charred the way I like and had guacamole, beans, lettuce, and tomato. I threw on some medium hot sauce (I don’t play with that extra spicy green sauce. No thanks!)  and the flavors melded together perfectly. Bonus, the taco bowl itself was under $10. Take that, Chipotle.

Bottom line: Was it better than my all time favorites, Taqueria Tlaxcalli and El Nuevo Tenampa? No, but their vegetarian and vegan options and proximity to the park make this place a winner.

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The Spotlight: Emily Angell

This month’s spotlight is on singer and songwriter Emily Angell, of Bronx Battle of the Boroughs Winners Emily Angell and the MK47s. 

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What part of the Bronx are you from? What do you like about the neighborhood? 
My drummer and I live in Woodlawn, I work in Riverdale and my bass player Cristina grew up in Morris Park.  I love the community feel of it while still being part of NYC and having access to all the amazing things that go on in the city.
 
Has the Bronx played a role in your development as a musician? If so, how?
Yes, absolutely.  I sing in and around Woodlawn and I love the live music scene in our neighborhood.  But the crowds are tough, so you really have to be on your A-game (and know how to handle those less sober than you)! I’ve had to step outside of my comfort zone and really get into playing for hours on end.  Its such a fun experience to bring an eclectic mix of music to a new crowd… they never know how to handle me at first, and then we all end up being best friends at the end of the evening.
 
What was it like competing in the Battle of the Boroughs? 
Battling for the Bronx supercharged my love for playing with my band.  The MK47s were downright giddy waiting to go onstage, and that was one of the most fun parts… the rush of walking out to the crowd together.  Having our friends, family, and about 300 people in the Greene Space in addition to the thousands watching online was awesome.  It was a joy to bring our music to all of those people and to feel the love and support.
 
What are your top three favorite places in the Bronx?
I enjoy kicking it at the Rambling House in Woodlawn, biking through Van Cortlandt Park, & brunching (that’s word… right? 😉 at the Tin Marin in Riverdale
 
What’s next for the band? Are there any new projects or shows we should look out for?
There is a LOT in store for both for me as a solo artist as well as with the MK47s.  We’ve been writing new material that’s completely taken on a life of its own, so stay tuned for the latest EP dropping in the fall.  I will say it’s got a little bit of a pop/bluegrass thing going on.  I’m constantly recording new material as a singer/songwriter, and am in the midst of a website rebuild.  Our fans can stay up to date on the latest by visiting emilyangellmusic.com as well as liking us on facebook (facebook.com/emilyangellmusic) as well as following me on twitter @emangellmusic.  Rock on Bronxites! :*

Van Cortlandt Park Skating Rink

Since my freshman year of high school, almost 10 years ago (0_0) , I’ve made it a point to go ice skating every winter. Usually, I head down to Wollman Rink or  World Ice Arena in Flushing, but I am so glad the Bronx finally has an ice rink of its own with the Van Cortlandt Park Ice Rink. Plus, with a location right by the 242nd St. stop on the 1 train and the Bx 9 bus stop a few feet away, it is super easy to get to (because you guys know how much I hate lengthy cross-borough commutes).

On weekends, it’s $8 for admission and $5 for skate rentals, but if you can manage to go on a weekday, admission is only $5.

It’s definitely smaller than the other ice rinks I’ve been to in NYC, but  it didn’t feel crowded at all. The staff were all friendly and helpful. At a lot of ice rinks, the on ice staff can be really annoying, swerving in front of you and doing fancy tricks to show off, but these guys seemed to actually be focused on doing their jobs – helping up small children and making sure the ice was safe.

Another huge bonus is that Lloyd’s Carrot Cake has concession stand here (complete with the carrot mascot wearing a striped scarf and ice skates on the sign).

All in all, VCP Ice Rink is a great addition to the Bronx.

 

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