Celebrating Easter – A Time of Hope and Renewal

Dear Readers,

Aeroflora2india.com

As I write this, Christians around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday.  However, I pause to remember our sisters and brothers who, in many countries, are still persecuted for their beliefs.  How fortunate are we, in America, to have such great freedoms.

I was raised in a Christian home by maternal grandparents who were Catholic. As a rule, I was never allowed to be intolerant of my friends whose religious beliefs were different from mine.  That all important “rule” guides my behavior to this day.

images-2 - coronadoumc.orgYes, I celebrate Easter with a glad heart and have come to view it as a personal time of hope, renewal and new life.

Yes, I have friends who do not celebrate Easter and I love them just the same.  Why would I do anything else?  At the end of the day, isn’t this what life is all about?

I came across a quote about Easter from Henry Knox Sherrill that I would like to share with you.

The joyful news that He is risen, does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline and make the sacrifice.

Let’s continue to encourage each other on our journey through life.

Peace and Blessings,

Monique

_____________________

Credits:
Quote – Henry Knox Sherrill
Floral arrangement #1 – Aeroflora2india.com
Floral arrangement #2 – Coronadoumc.org

Saluting Women’s History Month & Dr. Josephine English

Dear Readers,

We are pleased to join the world in celebrating Women’s History Month. Sharing the important contributions of Brooklyn women from the African diaspora, and the accomplishments of women throughout the world, has motivated me to look for ways to make an impact on young ladies in my community.  What will be my legacy for the future?  How can I engage others?

Dr. Josephine English - NY Dailynews.com

Dr. Josephine English – NY Dailynews.com

Today I am pleased to tell you about the historical achievements of Dr. Josephine English – one of the first African-American women to have an OB/GYN practice in New York and one of Brooklyn’s earliest medical pioneers.

Dr. English was a tireless community leader, patron of the arts and philanthropist.  Most important of all, she was a wonderful mother to her children, and earned a reputation as a highly coveted OB/GYN to Brooklyn residents and notables, including Dr. Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X.

Dr.English's home - via www.ohny.org

Dr.English’s home – via http://www.ohny.org

Dr. English was born on December 17, 1920, in Virginia, and she died on December 18, 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, one day after her 91st birthday.  Although she lived in Bedford Stuyvesant for many years, she would spend her last days at the Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, where she was recovering after undergoing a surgical procedure.

Dr. Susan McKinney via Blackpast.org

Dr. Susan McKinney via Blackpast.org

As I was preparing this post, I wondered wouldn’t it be great if Dr. English had an opportunity to meet Dr. McKinney? Picture a room where Dr. English, a recent graduate from Meharry Medical College who was now living in Brooklyn, could sit and talk with Dr. McKinney, the esteemed Brooklyn native who was the first African-American woman to earn an MD degree in New York State and the third woman to earn an MD degree in the United States.  Can you just imagine the stories they would share?  As medical pioneers with their own series of “firsts,” in addition to their personal and professional triumphs and challenges, I envision a conversation filled with many “aha” moments.

Dr. English spent her childhood years in New Jersey.  Her parents were among the first African-American families to settle in Englewood.  She received a B.A. from Hunter College in 1939 and continued her education at New York University where she received a M.A. in Psychology.  After NYU, she attended Meharry Medical College and received her M.D. in 1949.  Dr. English was ready to make her mark on the world.  Her first stop was Harlem Hospital, where she worked for many years until she moved to Brooklyn in 1956.

Dr. English was a trailblazer who reached back to help others who were in need.  She was among our borough’s earliest women philanthropists who championed the importance of health care for women, men and children.  Shortly after moving to Brooklyn, she founded a Women’s Community Health Clinic in Bushwick.  In 1979, she founded the Adelphi Medical Center which provided services for women and men.

On stage at the Paul Robeson Theater via - www.northjersey.com

On stage at the Paul Robeson Theater via – http://www.northjersey.com

Dr. English loved the theater and she was determined to share her passion for the arts with the community.  In 1980, decades after opening many medical clinics, she purchased an abandoned church and converted it to the Paul Robeson Theater for the Performing Arts.

One year later, in 1981, Dr. English turned her sights to services for children and opened Up The Ladder Day Care and After-School Program which included a summer day camp.  In 1986, she became the first minority, and the first woman, to be awarded a license from the New York State Department of Health to develop a free-standing ambulatory surgical center in Brooklyn.

Dr. English worked well beyond what was considered to be retirement age.  She focused intently on her goals and did not let anything stand in her way.  She changed the health-care landscape for women, men and families, in Brooklyn by providing access to health education and empowering her patients to make healthy life-style choices.  She was a guiding force in Brooklyn and one of our brightest stars.  Her achievements are legendary and it is an honor to salute her.

Dr. English will be truly missed.

Fondly,
Monique

____________________________________________________

Credits:
Josephine English, one of the first back, female OB/GYNs not stopping at 89 – nydailynews.com
Dr. Josephine English, 91 via Northjersey.com
Dr. Josephine English, Medical Trailblazer dies at 91 – via www1.cuny.edu
Dr. Josephine English, The HistoryMakers via http://www.thehistorymakers.com

Happy Valentine’s Day – Brooklyn Style

Dear Readers,

Happy Valentine’s Day!  For me, Valentine’s Day is not complete until I have the “perfect” slice of chocolate cake and a glass of champagne.  Brooklyn has several wonderful bakeries to make your day special.

Today I am pleased to share a few special shops that are among my favorites.  To complete the list, I have included some champagne suggestions as well.  Whether you spend the day with a loved one or solo, at home or in one of the City’s many trendy restaurants, remember to take celebrate the most important person of all – you!

Baked
359 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, New York – Red Hook
Hours: Weekdays 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, Weekends 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Brooklyn Cupcake
335 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York – Williamsburg
Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Thursday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

The Chocolate Room
269 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York – Cobble Hill
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 12:00 noon – 9:00 pm, Friday – Saturday 12:00 noon – 10:00 pm
Pop Up Store  82 Fifth Avenue
Website: Please click here.

Heavenly Crumbs Boutique Bakery
335 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday – Saturday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Jacques Torres Chocolates
66 Water Street, Brooklyn, New York – DUMBO
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Nunu Chocolates
529 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
Hours: Monday – Friday 7:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Have a great weekend.

Monique

Welcome to Kings Theatre – A New Jewel in Brooklyn’s Crown

Max Touhey - ny.curbed.com

Max Touhey – ny.curbed.com

Dear Readers,

Wishing everyone a very happy Sunday as we usher in the month of February.  As you all know, today is Superbowl Sunday, and many Americans are anxiously watching their television sets, waiting for the festivities to begin.  For our sports enthusiasts, I know that this is the moment that you have been waiting for.  I hope your team wins!

NY Daily News.com

NY Daily News.com

This Tuesday, February 3rd, which is just 48 hours away, the residents of Brooklyn will once again celebrate a grand moment in its architectural history – the reopening of the Loews Kings Theater Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue.

After more than 2 years of painstaking renovations, this former jewel in the heart of Brooklyn’s crown, will open its doors to much fanfare.  Excitement abounds as Brooklyn residents, and Manhattanites too, prepare to welcome legendary entertainer Diana Ross.  Tuesday’s “Supreme” concert is just the beginning.

The management team of this newly renovated theater has an exciting year of concerts in store. To learn more about the Loews Kings Theatre Brooklyn, please visit this link.

As New York Times writer David W. Dunlap eloquently wrote,

The Kings Theater was built for a more opulent time.  What audiences will see is a painstaking re-creation of one of five Loew’s Wonder Theaters in New York and New Jersey.

I look forward to visiting the Loews Kings Theatre Brooklyn as often as I can.  I hope to see you there.

Fondly,
Monique

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Credits
Kings Theatre official website – http://www.kingstheatre.com
The New York Times – Nov. 6, 2013 – Giving Old Loew’s Theater in Brooklyn a Second Chance
Kings Theatre (Brooklyn) – Wikipedia

 

 

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