The Wonder of It All – Welcome Christmas 2014

Dear Readers,

Happy Holidays!  It is hard to believe that in a couple of weeks, it will be Christmas.  I absolutely love this time of the year.  This is also the time of the year when sparkling lights, and other decorations, seem to rule the night!  I am amazed to see how easily some of New York City’s iconic buildings are transformed.  For me, simply walking and listening to all of the compliments is priceless.

With this in mind, I thought, why not do something different for today’s post?  So, I have assembled some of my favorite holiday photos from my Pinterest account to share with you.  For full disclosure some of the photos that you will see are from past years.  Other photos come from some of my favorite places outside of New York City, but the sentiment is still the same – Joy!

In case you missed the reference, Brooklyn Legends is also on Pinterest.  When you have a moment, please visit us at Brooklyn Legends on Pinterest.  Once there, please look for the board Happy Holidays 2014 – Here Are A Few of My Favorite Things. 

Have a great day and remember to enjoy the splendor of the season.

Fondly,
Monique

 

Welcome to Holiday On Ice

Dear Readers:

A close friend was looking for fun activities to do with family members visiting New York City for Christmas.  This is actually their 2nd trip in recent years but they are still very excited.  They will also be bringing young children so whatever they do must be affordable and fun.  After a quick tour of the internet, we decided ice skating would be perfect.  Realizing that many be looking for similar activities, I thought this would be a nice post for today.

Before we proceed, please make note of the following:

  • Many ice skating rinks now suggest skaters have a helmet.
  • If you don’t have one, they can be rented for a fee.
  • Please note helmet rental fees vary.  Some start as low as $3 and go as high as $12.
  • Lastly, hours tend to vary this time of the year.  Please check with each site before you venture out.
Photo by Petercruise/FlickrCC

Photo by Petercruise/FlickrCC

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

With an impressive 80+year history, the Rink at Rockefeller Center is a favorite New York City destination for residents and tourists.  Rockefeller Center is quite busy this time of year and there is a 90-minute schedule so you may have to wait for a while.  Once inside, you will be transported to a winter wonderland.  For more information, please follow this link.

Prices: Adults $27 ($30 peak); Seniors/Children (under 11): $15.  Skate rental: $12
Hours: Open daily 8:30 am until midnight
Location: 600 Fifth Avenue
Nearest Subway: B, D, F, M to 47th-50th Streets/Rockefeller Center

Photo - Bryant Park Corp

Photo – Bryant Park Corp

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Considered to be one of Manhattan’s best locations for seasonal skating and admission is free. Open until March 2015, this is considered to be one of the best bets in Midtown without the crowds.  For more information, please follow this link.

Prices: Free admission. Skate rental: $15
Hours:  Sunday through Thursday 8 am – 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 8 am – midnight
Location: Between 40th and 42nd Streets & 5th and 6th Avenues
Nearest Subway: 7 to 5th Avenue; B, D, F, M to 42nd Street/Bryant Park

Photo by tomasfano/Flickr cc

Photo by tomasfano/Flickr cc

Trump Rink in Central Park

Located in beautiful Central Park, with an added bonus of New York’s breathtaking skyline, Donald Trump’s ice skating rink is open from late October until early April.  Like Rockefeller Center, this rink is a favorite destination for New York City residents and tourists so please be prepared to wait.  For more information, and to confirm public skating hours, please follow this link.

Prices: Adults: Monday through Thursday $11.25; Children: (under 11) $6; Seniors: $5
Friday through Sunday and Holidays, Adults: 18; Children: $6 (under 11); Seniors: $9.  Skate Rental: $8 and Locker Rental: $11 (includes a $6 refundable deposit)
Cash only – no credit cards
Hours: Monday and Tuesday 10 am – 2:30 pm, Wednesday and Thursday 10 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am to 11 pm, Sundays 10 am to 9 pm
Location: 59th Street and 6th Avenue
Nearest Subway: A, B, C, D, 1, 9 to 59th Street; N, R to 5th Avenue; B, Q to 57th Street

Photo by The Standard

Photo by The StandardThe Standard Ice Rink

The Standard Ice Rink

Located in New York Cit’s Meat Packing District, this “miniature” skating rink is open for only a few months each year. While children are most certainly welcome, this venue is geared towards adults, especially in the evening when the rink takes on a party atmosphere.  For more information please click here.

Prices: Adults: $12; Children $6.  Skate rental: $3
Hours: Weekdays noon until midnight and weekends 9 am until 1 am
Location: 848 Washington at 13th Street
Nearest Subway: L to 8th Avenue, A, C, E to 14th Street

Photo by Trump Org.

Photo by Trump Org.

Trump Lasker Rink

Trump Lasker Rink, on the north end of Central Park, is far less  crowded than Wollman Rink.  Many sources confirm this is the perfect place to take professional classes due to the limited crowd size.  Public hours vary due to the Rink’s many hockey programs.  As many classes are held throughout the week, please be sure to do a little homework before you head out.  For more information, please click here.

Prices: Adults: $7.50; Children: $4.00; Seniors $2.25.  Skate rental: $6.50
Hours: Please remember to refer to the site for special holiday hours.
Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Friday – 10:00 am – 4:50 pm and 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Saturday 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sunday 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Location: 110th Street and Lexington Avenue
Nearest Subway: 2, 3 to 110th Street; C, B to 110th Street

Photo by Fred George

Photo by Fred George

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers

The Sky Rink, at Pier 61, is open year-round, 7 days a week to skaters (novices and professionals) of all ages. This twin rink facility is also home to the Sky Rink Skating school.  There is so much to do at Chelsea Piers.  This is well worth a visit.  Given the various programs, which change frequently, please visit the Sky Rink at Chelsea Pier’s site by following this link.

Prices: Admission $10. Skate rental: $5
Hours: Given the various programs, please visit the website. 
Location: Pier 61, Hudson River Greenway at 23rd Street
Nearest Subway: A, C to 23rd Street

Photo by City Ice Pavilion

Photo by City Ice Pavilion

City Ice Pavilion

City Ice is a fabulous roof-top skating facility in Long Island City and is open year-round. The “Pavilion” boasts an NHL-size rink and offers public skating and hockey programs for youths and adults.  It is also home to the City Ice Pavilion Skating School — a favorite of New York City residents from all boroughs.  Given the various programs, which change frequently, please visit City Ice Pavilion’s website by following this link http://cityicepavilion.com

Prices: Weekdays: $6; Weekends and Holidays: $9.  Skate Rental: $5
Hours: Varies due to programs
Location: 47-32 32nd Place
Nearest Subway: 7 to 33rd Street; E, R to Queens Plaza

Photo by Riverbank State Park

Photo by Riverbank State Park

Riverbank State Park Ice Skating Rink

Riverbank State Park is in the Hamilton Heights enclave of Manhattan.  This spectacular park is a  28-acre structure that rises 69 feet above the beautiful Hudson River.  This is a state-of-the-art facility with a covered roller-skating rink that, in the winter, transforms into an ice skating rink.  For more information, please click here.

Prices: Adults: $5; Children (age not specified) $3. Skate Rental: $6
Hours: Open November through March
Fridays 6 pm to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm to 4 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm.
Location: 679 Riverside Drive
Nearest Subway: A, B, C,D to 145th Street/St. Nicholas Avenue; 1 to 145th Street

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Abe Stark Rink at the Coney Island Boardwalk

The Abe Stark Rink is located next to the famous Coney Island Boardwalk.  A hidden gem in Brooklyn’s sparkling crown, this public skating is available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from mid-October through late March.  Ice Hockey and Ice Skating classes are also available.  For more information please follow this link.  Once here, please click on attractions and follow the link to Abe Stark Rink.

Prices:
Admission: $10 (adults, children 12 and under, seniors). Skate Rental $5
Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Location: Coney Island Boardwalk and W. 19th Street

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

McCarren Rink

When the McCarren Pool reopened in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn 2 years ago, the New York City Parks Department decided to install an ice-skating rink to fill the winter lull in activity.  McCarren Rink, which is 7200 square feet of ice in the center of the pool area, is truly a beautiful sight.  For more information, please follow this link.

Prices: Adults: $11; Students and Seniors: $6;  Skate Rental $6
Hours: Monday through Friday 12:00 pm – 10 pm
Saturday 10 am – 1 pm, Sunday, 10 am – 8 pm
Location: 768 Lorimer Street
Nearest Subway: G to Nassau Avenue; L to Bedford Avenue

Photo: dbox/NYC Parks Department

Photo: dbox/NYC Parks Department

LeFrak Center at Lakeside Rink, Prospect Park

On December 20, 2014, Lakeside Rink will celebrate its 1st anniversary.  Last year, this $74 million project, which includes two rinks (one covered and one open air) and 32,000 square feet for skating, opened to the public with great fanfare and with good reason.  Lakeside Rink was the first new structure to be built in Prospect Park since the 1960s.  If you are near Prospect Park, be sure to check out Brooklyn’s newest gem.  For more information, please click here.

Prices: Weekdays: $6; Weekends $8; Children under 12: Free.  Skate Rental $5
Hours: Monday through Thursdays: 11 am to 6:00 pm, Friday and Saturday: 9 am to 10 pm, Sunday 9 am to 8 pm.
Location: Use the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance to Prospect Park
Nearest Subway: B, Q to Parkside Avenue

Happy Holidays!

Monique

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Credits:
Information on the Top 11 Ice Skating Rinks in New York City – Newyork.com

Reflections – As We Approach the Holidays

Square headingDear Readers:

I hope that you enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family, friends and loved ones.  In a few weeks we will celebrate Christmas throughout the world and I am truly excited.

I find Christmas to be one of the most magical times of the year.  Perhaps it is my overall disposition, but I sense that most people are gentler and kinder.  While tragic, recent events have taken their toll, I do feel that people are trying their best to welcome the holidays.  I am not suggesting that “all is calm,” but I would prefer that you take this as my prayer for peace and my hope for reconciliation.

As you might have noticed, it is very easy for me to get caught up in the joy of Christmas.  I am looking forward to the holiday decorations I have selected; exchanging gifts with my husband, friends and family; attending several of the holiday concerts I have been invited to and watching Disney’s A Christmas Carol – which is one of my favorite holiday rituals.

At the same time, I cannot forget those for whom the holidays are filled with reminders of what they currently do not have.  If you walk the streets of New York City, or take public transportation, you will encounter those who are in need in everyday.  However, in addition to those I encounter daily, there are hundreds of individuals that I would never see or know about if it were not for the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

A Brief History of The Neediest Cases Fund

IMG_0129On December 25, 1911, New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs went for a walk after dinner.  He met a shabbily dressed man who received Christmas dinner at the Y.M.C.A., but he had no place to sleep.  Ochs gave him a few dollars and his business card.  He told the stranger, “If you’re looking for a job, come see me tomorrow.”

This chance encounter left Ochs feeling charitable and curious as to whether or not this feeling could be the basis for a city’s goodwill.  The next year he sent a reporter to several of New York City’s private welfare agencies to collect stories about the poor.  His objective was to publish articles about the Hundred Neediest Cases in New York.  The appeal would be made not with a direct request for donations, but with the facts of their lives.  As it turned out, these stories sounded a powerful call.  The campaign, which began on December 12, 1912, was soon adopted by other publishers in the United States and abroad.  The idea was brilliant in its simplicity – a newspaper would make a general appeal for the needy and help the City’s welfare agencies solicit funds.

How You Can Help

After reading the profiles of Emie Payen, a 55-year-old woman who has defied a short life expectancy for decades; Roderick Bradshaw, a father who found a path to success while raising his 5-year old son; Ana Miguel, a woman who overcame surges of addiction and instability, and is now encouraging others to do the same; Anna Reifman, a woman who for many years was trapped within her own anxieties before learning she was not alone; Natasha Mohammed, a mother who is praised for stoking her children’s creative tendencies while struggling to say warm and Linda Malloy, a grandmother who is savoring sobriety and working to rebuild her life, it is clear that New Yorkers need help year-round.

If you are looking for a cause to adopt this season, I encourage you to consider the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.  Since its inception more than 100 years ago, the fund has worked closely with several New York City charities and has raised more than $275 million.  The present campaign began on November 2, 2014 and runs through January 23, 2015.  Here is a list of the participating organizations. 

Brooklyn Community Services
285 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, New York

Catholic Charities of New York
1011 First Avenue, New York, New York

Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens
191 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201

The Children’s Aid Society
105 East 22nd Street, New York, New York 10010

Community Service Society of New York
105 East 22nd Street, New York, New York 10010

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
281 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10010

UJA Federation of New York
Church Street Station, PO Box 4100, New York, New York 10261

It is in this spirit of reflection that I write today’s post.  I know that there are thousands of organizations, not featured on this list, that are making a difference in the lives of New Yorkers everyday.  We at Brooklyn Legends salute these organizations and extend our best wishes to the people they serve.

Happy Holidays.

Monique

“What A Wonderful World” – My Thanksgiving Playlist #3

Video

Dear Readers,

Deciding which songs to share from my Thanksgiving playlist has been one of the most relaxing things I have done all week.  Since Thanksgiving is just a few hours away, it would be impossible to post every song that I cherish, but I hope that my selections have inspired you to create your own list for tomorrow.

There is one more song that I must share, particularly as it seems to appear on everyone’s Thanksgiving playlist each year – Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.  I hope it inspires you to relax – for just a moment –  and remember the good things in your life.

Enjoy!

Monique

 

“Thankful” – My Thanksgiving Playlist #2

Dear Readers:

By this time, I know that everyone has been keeping a watchful eye on the events in Ferguson and the reaction from people throughout the country, and the world.

Watching Michael Brown’s family share their pain with the world is truly heart wrenching.  Watching the emotional response from people across America, and throughout the world, is equally painful.  Whenever I hear a news update, I say to myself what a tragic place we are in right now.  My prayers are with young Michael’s family, and every parent who has experienced a similar tragedy.

Despite our current state of events, deep down inside I still have hope.  I am not naive enough to believe the pain and anger will magically disappear, but I want to believe that one day we will come to a place of peace and understanding.  Even with the sadness, trauma and anger that is a being shown throughout the country, I am thankful that we will all have another opportunity to get it right.

For today’s post, I would like to share Celine Dion’s rendition of the song Thankful, which is another treasure on my Thanksgiving play list.

Enjoy!

Monique

“My Own Strength” – My Thanksgiving Playlist

Video

Dear Readers:

Greetings on this cold, but beautiful, Saturday afternoon.  Next week we will celebrate Thanksgiving and I so excited.  This is one of my favorite holidays!  However, I am mindful of those who will be alone on this day.  I will keep them, along with my family and friends, in my thoughts and prayers.

A few years before her death, Whitney Houston performed My Own Strength on the Oprah Winfrey show.  This song clearly resonated with the audience, and with me.  In my attempt to provide a bit of encouragement, I have decided to share it for today’s post.  This is one of the top songs on my Thanksgiving play list, which means there are more to come.  Until then, please enjoy this treasure from the great Whitney Houston.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monique

 

 

Brooklyn Legends Reading Room – Vintage Black Glamour

IMG_0121Dear Readers:

In late September, I arrived home from work to find my copy of Vintage Black Glamour waiting in my living room. This was truly a welcome treat after a stressful week. As a follower of the Vintage Black Glamour blog, I could not wait to peek inside.  The book was printed in London, so it took some time to reach the United States but it was truly worth waiting for.  I love everything about it.

Just think back to the days when ladies were exquisitely put together from head to toe.  Her hair was neatly coiffed, her dress was pressed, her makeup was perfectly set and her gloves were always close by.  With just one look, it was easy to see the quiet, elegance that each woman conveyed.

IMG_0122

Artfire.com

This isn’t an admonishment to the ladies we see today; this was simply a different period in our history — yet it really wasn’t that long ago.  I was a little girl who was trying to figure out how to remove my gloves when I got to church without causing too much trouble. After a few stern looks I knew what to do.  Now that I am an adult, I cannot stop looking at pictures from those days.

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Keeping this era of elegance alive for us today is Nichelle Gainer, author of the book Vintage Black Glamour.  It rests on my coffee table, along with a few other favorite items.  Among the pictures of the beautiful women featured in this book, you will find performing legends Lena Horne and Josephine Premice who were born in Brooklyn.  A biography is also included with each entry.

If you are looking for a great holiday gift, or that perfect coffee table book to add to your collection, I highly recommend this one.  For those of you who are close to me, you can guess what you will be receiving for the holidays!

Happy Reading.

Monique

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Credits:
Vintage Black Glamour by Nichelle Gainer