A Pretty Face with Nothing to Back it up is Null and Void

Purposefully Pretty You Me NYC“A pretty face with nothing to back it up is null and void”, according to PurposefullyPretty Inc. a nonprofit organization seeking to reach, teach and inspire young women to identify and pursue their purpose in life. Their goal is to teach them about beauty and the importance of having a purpose, by helping them become the inspirational and determined individuals they are destined to be.

Like any other teenager, many deal with insecurities and obstacles in their life.  PurposefullyPretty founder, Diamond Craig and the PP team are women who have struggled with some to many of the same issues that young women face today.  It is their desire to mentor, guide and inspire them to reach their personal and professional goals as well as overcome the various struggles that confront them.

Purposefully Pretty You Me NYC

PurposefullyPretty implements its mission through mentorships, community service, empowerment events, and the #IAmPurposefullyPretty workshop series. Through this workshop series, the PurposefullyPretty team travels to schools, libraries and other organizations that cater to young women; providing all the tools that they need to become the next generation of leaders and dedicated women.  This workshop series gears itself towards young women between the ages of 11-18; to help them achieve their confidence and character necessary to pursue their goals and to acquire the tools needed.  Therefore, by the end of the series, they have a better understanding of what their purpose is.

Conclusion

Some of the workshops apart from this series include ‘Identifying My Purpose’, ‘Radical Self Love’ ‘Social Media’, ‘Conflict Resolution’ and a host of others.  They can also join the PurposefullyPretty organization, by becoming a registered member.  Members benefit by establishing relationships and networking with all of its members.  Purposefully Pretty has such great opportunities from prom makeover contest to summer leadership programs.  They also collaborate with other organizations to focus on what young women are interested in!

Shit, if You Can Make it Here, You Can Make it Anywhere!

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. People have always used this as a coping mechanism when the city overwhelms you. But what about the people who have been here their whole lives? What are our mechanisms? The ones that survived what people couldn’t do for six months. What are our words of encouragement to keep going? 

New York is advertised as the fun, loud, entertaining city that never sleeps, filled with assholes too caught up in the hustle and bustle to say hello. When that’s not taking place, it becomes an episode of “Law and Order.” But when you take away all of that bullshit, what’s left to entertain you? If those things didn’t exist, would you guys continue to come here? Would you continue to see this as a stepping stone if it didn’t come with those things? When people come here they think we’re just used to it. People have been known to enjoy cold weather, but no one likes being cold. No one gets used to the wear and tear this city can have on your physical and mental well-being. 

Conclusion

What helps is the perspective of this place. The city is so unique people forget it’s a whole state. It’s not even the capital but it plays such a major part on how New York is viewed as a whole. It’s easy to get caught up and one of the ways to get out is to take in some nature. Trees literally help you breathe. If I were surrounded by skyscrapers and trains and “New York” life all day long, I’d have a panic attack all to myself…: which has literally happened to me. Being native to this surrounding, I’ve learned to drown out certain things and internalize others. It’s one of those things I’m still working on myself. Just don’t forget to breathe. Shit… this society; in this day and age, if you choose to keep going in this life, choose to wake up this morning without complaints. You already made it! You already won. For my native New Yorkers, just keep doing what we do best, keep moving and grooving!  

The Suitcase of Opportunity

I’ve lived in Brooklyn for almost four years now and I still hear the story. “The Suitcase of Opportunity.” The way the story goes apparently is that a group of Hasidic Jewish men drive around different neighborhoods with a suitcase full of money and when presented is too much to turn down. A tool of bribery to get people to move out of the neighborhood and corner the market. I thought this was just a running joke until I heard of more than one person speak of the infamous suitcase.

As much as everyone says they love this place, what would you do if the suitcase appeared at your front door? How would you react? With this place ever changing, do you see a future for your homeland or the beginning of the end? This isn’t just to make my natives think but also the people who travel and bust their ass literally to live and be here. Do you see the longevity in a place you fought so hard to be in? A place that played a part in making you who you are today-good or bad?

The Suitcase of Opportunities You Me NYC

I can’t point the finger at all the people. It plays a major role but the main cast is the realty companies that set the trend to begin with. They seem to forget that these are people’s homes, to build and protect their families, not a fashion statement. The only real up and coming trends are the children that come out of these neighborhoods. 

Realtors are the Christopher Columbus of gentrification. They come to an area that was already established. Stick their sign down and rename it some bullshit they think sounds cool and modern. To diminish the identity that laid the foundation, for the apartment buildings and fancy supermarkets that destroyed so many homes to build. 

So I ask you again, where do you stand? 

Transplant Nation

There really aren’t many of us left and that sounded super weird in my head and even more weird to admit on paper but its true. More times than not, I bet you are the only New Yorker in your group of friends or even at work.  You ever go somewhere with them and they try to tell you the best way to get somewhere when they weren’t here for tokens or 9/11? 

 It’s almost like starting High School and hoping you see a familiar face somewhere in the crowd. Forced and/or bought out of their homes to make room for people who are too scared to live in it themselves. “It’s not the best neighborhood but the rent is cheap and they just built a hotel, which means it will be really nice in 5 years! Haha, I definitely won’t be there by then.” Literally a real conversation!

Being ditched by your first yellow cab, eating dirty water dogs(hot dogs) and of course running for the train only to be in the lonely car with the homeless guy who carries his original fragrance. If they survive more than a year of that, people consider themselves Native. That’s the average day for a  New Yorker and that’s only the morning time. I need your public school to have a number in it. Did you take the regents? Ever go to school during a snowstorm? Can you double parallel park anything? Even then, you’re not valid. 

A big part of New York isn’t just about great shopping, pizza, skyscrapers and the sight-seeing. It’s about the people, which makes New York New York. It’s damn near a novelty and a raw form of respect that comes with it. We’re exposed to a lot so we’re open but could sniff bullshit before it hits our nostrils. I’ve heard a lot of transplants admit they couldn’t grow up here or even raise their kids here, a lot of our parents did both. Now a lot of people are either being pushed out or just tired and leave.

Conclusion

This is not to talk complete shit about transplants. I have many friends from the transplant community. You get to experience a place you’ve been your whole life in a completely different way. Take everything in! Admit-tingly, you end up doing things you would not have done and finding little things you walked past every day. Specialty shops that make eating fun and just happen to be vegan, gluten-free and sourced locally.  I know for a lot of people that come here, it’s about conquering fears and following dreams, New York is their Wizard of Oz. I just don’t want to look up one day and not be in Kansas anymore.

Gorillaz Gone Ape In the Barclays

Closing in on the colossal stadium, in the now metropolitan, which is Fort Greene, lies the Barclay’s Center.  The Barclays Center is certainly a circus of lights, advertisement and a certain glint of “New York” spirit. Whether it is the most out of place Roc-A-Wear clothing store or extremely lit (with actual lights) subway entrance to guarantee that you’ve definitely made it to your destination the Brooklyn way. Making my way into the colosseum in the city there’s a brief halt to the glamour and glitter while being checked in through the short security section. The lobby area is nothing special, especially when comparing to the light show that’s going on outside. Once past all the meekness of entering the tunnel to get to your seat, lies vendor after vendor serving decadent meals and frosty cold beers. The homage train car near the exclusive “American Express” entryway isn’t lost on this New York however, it does serve as a cool separation for the haves and the people who are actually riding the train.

Gorillaz Gone Ape You Me NYC(Image Courtesy of New York City Theater)

The Internet was a sublime opener for those previously unaware of the group. With a cocktail mix of R&B, hip-hop, funk and electronic they served as the perfect amuse-bouche to the audience. Even though there were a number of seats still being filled in, the waiting crowd was vibing to the beats.

Anticipation wore heavy on me wondering with questions of what form the band would appear in for the show. Previously known for concealing their identity with some groovy animations or using their silhouettes, the band storms on stage with a wild energy. Their outfits matching the presence of their music, electrical and eclectic.  All except for the frontman of the band, David Albarn’s character 2-D, represents a similarly grungy, laid back, cigarette ashing on my washed out black T-Shirt vibe. The other members performing as the backup in some radical bright patterns and eye-catching colors, like the animated videos in the background showing the remaining animated members of the band.

Gorillaz Gone Ape You Me NYC(Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan)

The first song bringing the band on stage “M1 A1” screams out an ominous call for help, behind a building guitar riff which is reminiscent of early guitar hero strumming that breaks into an electrifying brit rock anthem. It was an excellent way to start and rile up the crowd after a comparatively calm band like The Internet.

Followed up by ‘Tranz’ a trancey toon with an animated video of the nonhuman portion performing, gives a feel of what some of the first songs put out by the band.  There is more of a rock influence backing the track.  ‘Last Living Souls’ was next up using a beat machine.  David Albarn introduces a tougher hip-hop beat while the song sings out questioning the humanity of people while alternating between beats and a country-like ballad.  This song shows how the band can seamlessly incorporate different genres.

The band coasts through “Rhinestone Eyes” a softer melody before getting into the far creepier “Saturn Barz” featuring Popcaan. The song is dark visually and linguistically.  Popcaan sings through some of the painful realities of his life growing up in Jamaica, to a contrastingly creepy electronic rhythm. The electronic presence of the group, likely wouldn’t have translated as well without the harmonious background cast of all black singers. There, a solo by a spectacular talent that was especially appreciated by the audience.

Other highlights of their epically extravagant set include a variety of guest stars including De La Soul, Peven Everett, Bootie Brown and a Brooklyn native Mos Def. The experience was a definite separation from a typical concert experience with well-choreographed animated videos, to bring clarity to the lyrics that are usually far more serious than their sometime’s pop-punky backtracks. Towards the end of the show, most of the sparsity in the crowd was filled with standing fans singing along. This being a more personable performance for the band, it only leaves us fans anticipating what the transformative group has ahead of them.

Crown Heights Brooklyn 25 MPH

Crown Heights has been known for a lot of controversy between certain demographics over the years and still has plenty of it.  If you’re a newbie to Brooklyn or New York City, do the research and you’ll discover how much there is.  I was walking up Brooklyn avenue towards Eastern Parkway earlier this morning and I witnessed another controversy, that affects all the  boroughs of New York City and the city itself.

The controversy I’m talking about is speeding.  Speeding is bad.  However, speeding down side streets, in residential neighborhoods, is just plain stupidity.  In our first image referenced below, we have the back of both vehicles that were involved in this traffic atrocity.  From behind it doesn’t look too bad.  What’s really ironic is that they are both the same type of car.  Both are Mercedes Benz E classes, same color and model of E class with similar years.
Crown Heights 25 MPH You Me NYC
The speed limit in New York City is 25 MPH(Miles Per Hour).  It’s 25 MPH for a reason.  Now I know we all grumble about this limit and I am one who has moaned and groaned about the fact the city is slow enough and the last thing we need is to slow it down even more.  However when you see an accident unfold and the aftermath, you kinda change your tune.

Ok, now here is the front one of the cars in the accident.  Now I am no crash expert, however, I can say that this car’s speed was definitely more than 25 MPH.  The victim on the stretcher, I say victim because he’s a pedestrian that got slammed by this vehicle.  There’s a second victim as well, the man’s young son who is not pictured.Crown Heights 25 MPH You Me NYCIf you drive in the city as much as I do or even drive in general, we all get annoyed at pedestrians.  They walk out into the middle of the street, on their cellphones, not paying attention to anything and just blindly cross the street.  This father and son did none of that.  They’re  pedestrians falling victim to the recklessness of someone else.  We as drivers have a responsibility to the pedestrian to be as cautious as possible and that didn’t happen today.

Conclusion

Now I don’t know the cause of this accident, other than the fact that I hear a horn, a loud bang and a father and son receiving the brunt of it.  All I know is I  am a witness to a controversy that affects us all.  People are always going to speed, we all know that.  However, speeding through a residential area is just ludicrous.  The next time you’re driving through a residential area and you need to make time because you are running late,  forget about it.  You’ll get there when you get there.  There is no point to save a few minutes at the cost of injuring or killing someone.

Last Butterflies in Bedstuy

Dwindling in population steadily over the last two decades, more significantly within this past decade, is a colorful, diverse and growing extinct species.  However, they have an amazing ability to migrate and leave many dazzled by their ability to move through spaces designed specifically against them. Wonderful beings, dying out by the haphazard misguidings of the authorities and communities meant to protect them. People of color deserve far more.

Once the majority of the ghettos we were once segregated to, slowly but surely a large shift in the neighborhoods once deemed “unsafe” by the people who now inhabit them. Either grown tired, evicted from or displaced, the numbers of the black and brown natives are exceptionally low. The faces of those who built up the oh so cultured neighborhoods are now more commonly seen with goofily smiling faces on street murals, as if in a happy memorial of oneself.

Last Butterflies in BedStuy You Me NYC

Even though there aren’t many things more discomforting than seeing the faces get paler closer to the final or ‘hood’ stops on the train. The thought of the young pupils growing further and further away from the mosaic of mothers shouting down shopping lists from the second floor, the quick sentiment of “borrowing” a jump from the pig tailed double dutchers disappearing or the barbecues that started on Friday and ended the week after fading away, is a striking one.

Parking Tap

So here I am, in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn and as usual, looking for parking.  Of course there is no parking, however, one space did just open right in front of me, which I can’t believe.  Now we have all been on  the delivering and receiving end of a parallel park.  If you haven’t then keep reading and learn a little something.

I say “delivering and receiving” because  we all delivered the tap and we received a tap from someone else.  I get into position and I start doing the dreaded parallel park into a miniscule space.  I back in and pull forward.  All is well, however I appear to be a little far for my standard of parking, especially for a native.  After pulling back a little more I pull forward and I tap the guy in front of me.  Since it was a slight tap, normally people usually don’t make a big deal about it.  However, if you tap a nice car there might be a little static.  It’s Brooklyn, everyone taps a bumper here and there.

The guy I tapped doesn’t have the same  philosophy, therefore he decides to get out and take a look at his bumper.  He then looks at me and I give a friendly wave of apology to him.  I look at his plate and see he is from Florida. He has one of those “Save the Manatee” plates.  He glares at me and I crack my window slightly open.  He approaches with his hands out at his side and I ask “You having a bad day”? “I am now” he replies.  I ask “How long you’ve been living here”? “Couple of months” was his response.  “You’ll get used to it” as I jokingly say with a smile.  “It’s nothing to smile about” he says as he continues to glare at me.

At this point I can see he’s not letting up so I decide to get out of my car very carefully and say “My man you are going to have a lot of bad days around here because that’s all people do, we tap each other’s cars most of the time. You’re just heated because you happen to be in your car when it took place.  Don’t make a big deal about it.  Go about your business and think of the Manatees, what would they do in this situation” as he continues to glare at me and I glare back at him.

Parking Tap You Me NYC

Before he could say anything else, I continued with “We wouldn’t want the Manatees to lose a contributor, due to a sudden disability would we? You can never be too careful around here”.  He continued to glare and I glared right back at him, also keeping an eye on his hands just in case he tried to take a swing.

Conclusion:

What’s hilarious about this situation is that this guy got all bent out of shape over a tap on the back bumper of his “Toyota Rav 4” a car that can take a tap.  The lesson learned, is not to take a tap too seriously.  Also be careful, a slight tap could be someone looking to start something.  As far as Mr. Manatee is concerned, I am guessing he is not long for Brooklyn.  One of those moments that make you say Really!!?.

Malecon

Now I already know that all of the original New Yorkers know about this restaurant, and I am sure most true New Yorkers know as well.  If you are new to “The City”, you need to make note of this alluring dining hashery.  The name is “Malecon” and it’s Dominican Food at its finest served in an atmosphere that is very comfortable and enjoyable.

Whenever I walk into any of their locations(my favorite is the one on Amsterdam Ave, it’s around the corner from me), the aroma of Rotisserie Chicken fills the air and really gets my appetite ready for some of the best food for the money.  Malecon is one of the most affordable dining establishments in “The City” and all of their other locations around the boroughs as well.  Each one of their eateries have plenty of space to sit back, relax and enjoy one of the many Dominican delicacies on their menu including quite a few seafood dishes as well.  I went with my customary, half a Rotisserie Chicken, yellow rice, and black beans and as usual the tender garlicky chicken and the sides were all on point.malecon you me nyc

Now all of my readers know that I am a real stickler when it comes to service.  The staff does a great job, they treat me like I am part of the family and that is not because I have been going there for years.  I have observed over the many times I have dined there, all customers are treated the same, with courteous professionalism and first rate skill.  You can tell this is a favorite of all original New Yorkers, just because almost everyone who comes in is a long-time customer.

Malecon is all about repeat business and that is why when partaking in the hospitality being offered from this bistro, there is never any disappointment.  One assurance that can always be reproduced is that you will never leave hungry and most of the time you will probably be taking food home because the portions are very generous.  If you are looking to eat a lot on a shoestring budget and dining ambiance that is carefree and unrestrained head over to Malecon.  Tell them Dave Jacobs sent you.

Malecon
764 Amsterdam Ave
New York, New York