Harlem – Vegetarian Awareness Month‏

World Vegetarian Day, October 1, is the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Make a difference this October by informing others about the benefits of vegetarianism. You will be helping to create a better world because vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, save animals’ lives and help to preserve the Earth.
WEBSITE_MAINPAGE_JULY_17_2013_V4_flatLaura Theodore, the Jazzy Vegetarian, brings easy and delicious vegetarian cooking to health conscious people of all ages; cooking up delicious, healthy meals and snacks without dairy, meat, eggs or animal products. All of her recipes are based on traditional American cuisine and are completely cholesterol free! Her step-by-step instructions make preparing healthy food easy and her eco-friendly tips help viewers live a more balanced sustainable lifestyle. From “Festive Zucchini Lasagna” to “Dazzling Chocolate Desserts,” Laura leads the viewer on a down-to-earth path to a heavenly feast.
Just google vegetarian recipes for ideas.
Check out JazzyVegetarian.com

U.S. Census Bureau to Hire in the Boroughs (NYC):

This fall the U.S. Census Bureau will hire over 500 temporary Field Representatives to conduct the New York City Housing & Vacancy Survey (NYC-HVS). This survey is conducted every three years to comply with the City’s rent regulation laws. The Census Bureau has conducted the survey for the City since 1965. Applicants who wish to take the Census test for the NYC-HVS must reside within Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan or the Bronx. The pay rate for Field Representatives in these areas is $16.92 per hour. Employment will last about four to six months. To learn more about job requirements and qualifications call us toll free at 1-800-991-2520 (Select option 2 for recruiting) or send an e-mail with your complete address and phone number to: new.york.recruit@census.gov.

Levain in Harlem satisfies sweet tooth

Columbia students hardly have to leave Morningside Heights to eat one of Levain Bakery’s famous cookies. On Tuesday, Levain opened an outpost in Harlem (2167 Fredrick Douglass Blvd., at 117th Street)—in dangerously close proximity for those addicted to their baked goods.

The new Levain sells the same baked goods as their Upper West Side location, with the exception of sandwiches and breads. In the future, they might sell sugary treats unique to the Harlem location.

The cookies, priced at $4 each, are about the diameter of a bagel and over an inch thick. They arrive fresh from the oven every 35 to 40 minutes, which means they are usually still warm when purchased. Four varieties accommodate all: chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter chip, and oatmeal raisin. Each has its own merits, and one cannot help feeling like a mother deciding which of her children is best.

There’s a reason their signature cookie, the chocolate chip walnut, won against Bobby Flay’s version in Food Network’s “Throwdown.” The outside is a crisp golden brown, the inside is slightly gooey, and there are plenty of semisweet chocolate chips and walnuts in every bite. It teeters toward the side of undercooked, but in a good way, with all the ingredients oozing together.

The dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie is prepared with extra-dark French cocoa and high-quality, semisweet chocolate chips. This creation is for serious chocoholics only.

The chocolate peanut butter chip cookie is similar to the dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie, but instead of chocolate chips it has peanut butter chips. If a dark chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cup were reincarnated as a cookie, this would be it.

One might assume the oatmeal raisin cookie would be something of a runner-up among its chocolaty siblings—the one cookie that did not make it into the Ivy League of Cookies. But this cookie is just as good as the others. Rolled oats and plump raisins make this cookie the healthiest option of the four, and no less sweet.

A mere 10-minute walk from campus, the new Levain will surely become a popular destination for students looking for fuel for midterms or a sweet break from studying. Even diet-conscious students have a good excuse to go—the walk back to school up the Morningside Park stairs is sure to burn at least some of those calories.

Hebrew language school in Harlem

A presentation to put a Hebrew language charter school in Harlem was met with fierce resistance from local officials and residents, who want the school to move elsewhere.

Harlem Hebrew, modeled after Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy Charter School, would serve the upper West Side and a portion of Harlem.

It would be open to all students in Community School District 3.

However, Community Board 10 members fired back at the idea following a presentation by school officials Wednesday night.

“It’s an abomination. It’s an insult,” said Board 10 member Isis Ausar.

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t think it should be in Central Harlem. I think they should find another location.”

Ausar suggested maybe a largely Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

“I could not go over there and propose a school and say it’s an African language school…,” Ausar said. “I have no problems with another language, but they want modern Hebrew and that’s not going to help our children in any way.”

The board’s education committee voted on the proposed school coming to Harlem in February and was split down the middle.

But Wednesday night some board members voiced loud opposition.

Board 10 member Angela Hollis also wouldn’t pledge support for the school.

“I believe it’s in response to gentrification that’s occurring in Harlem,” she said.

“Tell us how [students] can use that particular language to market themselves more in the real world? I just don’t think it’s necessary.”

Maureen Campbell, principal of the Brooklyn Hebrew Language Academy, told the board the school offers a diverse and rigorous learning experience, with an extended school day and a 12-to-1 student-teacher ratio.

The dual-language school does not offer teaching on Judaism.

“When children of different backgrounds learn together they do better,” said Campbell, who is of Jamaican descent. She added that about 45% of the children at the Brooklyn HLA are black and Latino. About 55% are white.

Campbell also said learning any second language enhances learning skills.

Dan Gerstein, a spokesman for the Midwood school, said naysayers are not giving it a chance.

“[The school is] focused on breaking down barriers and understanding across cultures,” he said.

“Give the school a chance. There are a lot of benefits to it.”

A similar school, Sosua Hebrew, has been proposed in either Washington Heights or Inwood – and received similar resistance from residents at a Community Board 12 meeting in January.

Both schools, which will enroll kindergarten through fifth-graders, are tentatively slated to open in 2012.

Board 10 member Stanley Gleaton still isn’t sold on the idea.

“It’s questionable,” he said.

“I just don’t understand or see the value of it. If our children are going to learn a language, they are going to have to have a use for it.”





photo credit to photos8.com

Hawaiian and Japanese Flavors ‘Yum up’ East Harlem

HARLEM— When they were kids growing up on the Lower East Side, Dave Hom and Dave Chan didn’t venture uptown much.

“I drove past the Apollo Theater once,” Chan 34, said. “I never even really went to Midtown.”

But when they were looking for a place to open up their new Hawaiian and Japanese Barbecue restaurant, Makana, East Harlem seemed like a logical choice. Rents are lower than in Central Harlem and the restaurant seemed like it would stand out.

“This area is saturated with a lot of pizza, Cuchifrito and Chinese takeout joints,” Hom said. “We wanted to bring sushi and variety to a neighborhood where there isn’t a lot.”

That is beginning to change in East Harlem. In December, a group of restaurants banded together to put together a “Taste Trolley” tour of 18 East Harlem eateries. The cuisine ranged from Mexican to a steakhouse.

“As the population and face of the community has changed, we have seen a mushrooming of various eateries,” said Kevin Walters, head of the East Harlem Restaurant and Bar Association and owner of Creole, which is located on Third Avenue between East 118th and East 119th streets.

Still, Walters estimates that 97 percent of his customers come from outside of the neighborhood.

“When we opened 7 years ago we thought there was an opportunity to be a big fish in a little bowl. We’re still waiting for the community to catch up to us,” said Walters.

Since opening in August, Makana, situated in a former Chinese takeout storefront on First Avenue between East 115th and East 116th streets, still gets the occasional customer looking for chicken wings and fried rice. But they’ve offered those customers familiar dishes like barbecue ribs and chicken teriyaki.

That has led Hom and Chan to gradually begin introducing their customers to Hawaiian treats such as Spam Musubi — seasoned rice with Spam on top wrapped in seaweed. Chan calls it the “peanut butter and jelly of Hawaii.” Loco Moco, white rice topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg, is another Hawaiian favorite.

Boris Roques, a 23-year-old from Paris who recently moved to New York, stopped by one afternoon because roommates and friends recommended the restaurant.

“If you like Mexican food it’s perfect here. It’s hard to find the variety of food here like downtown,” Roques said. “Everybody is talking about this place because it shows the type of variety we could have in the future.”

Hom and Chan have always wanted to work together. Both spent time living out West — Hom in California and Chan in Seattle — where Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine is more common. After a career in marketing, Chan decided to return to the family business — his family has owned a Chinese takeout restaurant for 30 years. Hom comes to the restaurant field after working in marketing.

The pair keep things light at the restaurant, constantly joking about needing dates. Hom is the straight man and Chan is the comedian.

“It’s great to come into a new neighborhood and ask what’s missing and how can we add value,” Hom said.

“Actually, we got into this for the ladies,” Chan said.

Makana is Chan’s third restaurant. In addition to the family takeout, more than three years ago he opened L.E.S. Sushi on Grand Street.

Chan said opening Makana has been similar to his experience with L.E.S. Sushi.

“We just felt that East Harlem had that energy like the Lower East side,” said Chan. “We looked at this venture sort of like surfing; you want to get in when the wave is developing.”

By Jeff Mays

DNAInfo Reporter/Producer

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20110204/harlem/restaurant-brings-hawaiian-japanese-flavors-east-harlem#ixzz1D2UF4CGr

Morningside Park in Harlem is Adding Green Space

The northern end of the Olmstead-designed park will get a new playground and more greenery.

HARLEM — Morningside Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, the same duo who designed Central Park.

But the park, known for its vistas overlooking Harlem, hasn’t always gotten the same respect as its famous cousin, falling into disrepair and developing a reputation for being unsafe. But now that the Parks Department is set to start a two-phase renovation plan for the northern end of the park, residents are hoping that will change.

“We recognize that unlike Central Park we don’t have a lot of private funds coming in,” said Brad Taylor, a board member and former president of Friends of Morningside Park, a group devoted to park upkeep that tried 11 years ago to start a renovation project. “We can’t raise tens of millions of dollars like they do. When it comes to public dollars, we understand these things take time.”

Children at a gathering in Morningside Park. (Courtesy Friends of Morningside Park)

The Parks Department was expected to unveil its plans Wednesday night for renovating the northern end of the park from West 121st to West 123rd streets. The changes include renovating the playground, handball courts, basketball courts and water spray area. Entrances and pathways will also be improved along with new plantings.

Taylor said the northern end of the park has a lot of asphalt.

“The overall goal at the north end is to make it more park-like. Now, it has high metal fences and looks like the 1940s recreation center that it is,” he said. “Our goal is to make it more park-like and more green and get it closer to the Olmsted design.”

Given the park’s designation as a historic landmark in 2008, the Parks Department will also have to seek approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Parks spokesman Philip Abramson said several improvements have taken place at the park over the years. The playground at West 116th Street was renovated in 2006.

New gardens greet visitors to the park at five of its entrances and a rare, 25 foot tall sequoia tree was donated in 2009 by a nursery in Portland, Ore. It sits at West 121st Street with 32 other pine trees. A dog run and a seasonal farmers market now helps draw people to the park.

New development is also sprouting on Morningside Avenue, and Taylor said the park is benefitting from the gentrification of the Frederick Douglass Boulevard corridor.

“The word is getting out there more and more and the landmark process in 2008 helped,” said Taylor. “These upcoming changes are going to have a real effect on the people who live near the park. The goal is to have more green space available to the people.”
Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20110203/manhattan/morningside-park-renovation-plan-make-green-space-more-park-like#ixzz1CxIIGd54

New York Daily News to Expand Local Coverage

Starting next Thursday, the 10th, the Daily News will include a new section titled “Uptown News,” which will cover Harlem, East Harlem, Inwood, and Washington Heights. JoAnne Wasserman is Uptown News’ Bureau Chief, and the section will be published every Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

In addition to Uptown News, the paper is expanding its local section overall, increasing outer borough coverage from one day of the week to every weekday and Sunday, starting next Monday, the 7th.

Kevin Convey, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily News, said the expansion is due to consumers wanting more:

The Daily News borough sections have been bringing New York’s communities to life every week and our readers want more of that personal connection, which is why we’re expanding our community coverage to bring them the latest news from their neighborhood every day and adding a new section for the residents of Manhattan’s uptown communities.

Imagine – a New York paper providing coverage of Harlem and the outer boroughs almost every single day. It’s almost like the Daily News is saying that those who live there matter, but we’re still awaiting official word on that.

A City-Owned Marketplace in East Harlem Gets a Makeover

La Marqueta, a city-owned marketplace, has been an East Harlem fixture for decades. Now, following the successful revitalization of the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, the city has renovated this uptown market. It kept a number of the existing tenants, added new ones, and has room for more.

Hot Bread Kitchen, which relocated from Queens about a month ago, is the anchor, with 4,600 square feet of space, half devoted to wholesale baked goods made by women in a program to train them for commercial baking. Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, above left, who started the company, has the women bake breads and concentrate on ethnic baking that is part of their heritage, like tortillas, lavash and Moroccan flatbreads. The other half of the space is an incubator kitchen, outfitted by the city, for people who need a commercially licensed area to cook or bake products to sell. They can rent space for as little as $10 an hour. Support, like business advice, is also available.

Some new stands in the market are Breezy Hill Orchard, Berried Treasure, SpaHa Café for coffee and baked goods, and Viva Fruits.

La Marqueta, 1590 Park Avenue (115th Street). Hot Bread Kitchen products are sold in Greenmarkets, some stores and at La Marqueta, at Maame Yaa Adowaa’s stand.


NYC sees record tourism in 2010

NEW YORK (AP) – New York City hosted a record number of visitors in 2010, a sign that the Big Apple’s tourism industry is bouncing back after a decline the previous year when travelers everywhere tightened their budgets amid the recession.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 48.7 million people visited New York last year, surpassing the city’s 2008 record of 47 million.

The increase shows the city’s travel industry may be back on track after tourism numbers slipped in 2009 for the first time since 2001.

New York saw a 7 percent increase in visitors over 2009, when there were 45.6 million. Officials said 39 million visitors were from the U.S. and 9.7 million were from abroad; both numbers are records.

Tourism is New York City’s fifth-largest industry – it contributed about $31 billion in direct spending to the economy last year.

Bloomberg also said the industry employed record numbers of New Yorkers, adding 6,600 jobs in the hospitality industry last year. A high of 25.7 million hotel room nights were sold, while Broadway attendance this season was up 3.8 percent over last season.

City officials attribute the growth to several factors, including New York’s increased focus on advertising itself nationally and globally.

The Bloomberg administration has media exchange deals with several other cities, allowing it to market its message as a place to visit, and it has a number of private partnerships with airlines and travel companies that have elevated New York’s profile among domestic travelers.

The mayor also maintains that New York has an edge over other cities with its ever-changing diverse restaurants, theater productions and innovative art exhibits.

“People say ‘Hey, New York – things are happening there,'” Bloomberg said. “All of this gets mixed together, and you can’t say any one thing is the reason. The totality is the reason.”

The Big Apple was by far the top U.S. destination for travelers from overseas, with 33 percent of total abroad visitors. Miami and Los Angeles tied for second place, each with 11 percent of the share.

Travel experts said New York is an exception among U.S. cities as far as its quick recovery over the past year.

“If you evaluate New York individually, you would think the lodging industry has gotten back to where it was. But New York is an anomaly,” said Scott Berman, hospitality and leisure leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “You’ve got corporate demand and leisure demand from both the U.S. and overseas that are driving the strength in New York.”

Tourists flocked to New York despite travel scares like the spread of bedbugs in the city and a volcano in Iceland that grounded European air travel for several days.

The 2010 record was even higher than the city’s projection for the year, which had been 47.5 million.

Bloomberg set a goal in 2007 of reaching 50 million visitors by 2012.

The city tabulates its visitor number using data on airport arrrivals, hotel occupancies, U.S. Department of Commerce data on international tourists and other measurements. A visitor is defined as someone who traveled more than 50 miles or spends one night in the city, not including commuters; that definition is an industry standard.