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Archive for November, 2010

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Even though I only met Claudio this year, I feel like I have known the man forever. He is, no lie, one of the coolest cats I know. Claudio is the type of dude that you can have a beer with at the bar as well as a deep conversation about any topic imaginable. He is able, smart and always ready to lend a hand. He has been a welcome addition to the team and has come through in the clutch many times, even though he is the Lead Editor at News One and also runs his own blog, www.liveabovemediocrity.com, which is a must-read. When I needed someone to do a story on Inwood’s sole Gay club, Le Boy, Claudio stepped up to the plate and delivered with a provocative post that was brave, honest and also quite vulnerable. The piece, The Night I Went to Le Boy, ended up generating a ton of traffic and comments but also a considerable amount of flack. Anyway, here is the homie, Claudio, in his own words.

I bought the ring in 84.

I lived on three blocks all my life – Arden, Academy, and Hillside.

Those are the three blocks that raised me. The three blocks that made me the man I am today. I could have easily been lured by the other life these streets enticed me with – but my parents kept me away – and so did my friends. The life that many young inner city kids strive to live. One where you don’t follow rules or adhere to laws. The life where you see what the money affords you – the girls, the nice clothes, and the luxury cars. Where you only care about yourself and not how the product you push is killing the lives of the people who look just like you.

But early on, I figured out that you didn’t need to stand on a corner and dodge cops to get all that. You didn’t even have to swing a bat, dribble a ball, throw it 80 yards like Vick or rap like Pun. You can get all of it by just being you. You can attain all that by just working hard.

Today, I am a product of those three groups – my friends, family and neighborhood. I gained inspiration from those who did good and those who did bad. I still do. I give myself very little credit for how I turned out, though people think I should give myself more. I don’t give myself as much because there’s still a lot to go. A lot I want to change; not just within myself, but within my community.

When I see the great progress these neighborhoods have made, I still see the areas where the communities can make change. I see the five on 20 fights in front of my building. I see friends I went to school with on street corners pushing weed and weight. I see the racism. I see the residents being pushed out because of increasing rents. I see the silent screams of battered women. I see the divisions. I see it all.

While I may not be able to change it all, I want to open not only the eyes of our neighborhood to our problems, but most importantly our city. The people that do have the power to act on it. The people who can add extra police, fix a train station, temper quality of life issues, and end the violence. While many of us have lost faith in these figures, with the right amount of pressure, our faith will be restored.

We have to continue to treat this place like our home. These are our neighborhoods. The neighborhoods embody us; and whether it be through our voices, written words, group gatherings, etc., we have to be committed to improving both Washington Heights and Inwood for the better.

I know I’m committed.

Why?

(more…)

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By JOSH BARBANEL

Daniella Zalcman|The Wall Street Journal

The Pumpkin House of Washington Heights, one of the most unusual residences in Manhattan, has gone on the market for $3.9 million.

The 17-foot-wide brick house cantilevers over a cliff near the highest point in Manhattan, facing west toward the Hudson River.

The light of the setting sun combined with the glow from the windows makes it look like a jack-o’-lantern from passing tour boats or people strolling by on a path by the river.

The current owner of the pumpkin house, William Spink, a decorator, bought the house at 16 Chittenden Ave in 2000 for $1.1 million. Now after a decade of owning a house with a view, and after replacing the roof and pointing the facade, he said he was ready to move back into an apartment building where someone else handles the maintenance.

Mr. Spink said he believed that Pumpkin House name may have been created years ago by guides on Circle Line tours around Manhattan. “When I bought the house I thought it meant native Americans grew pumpkins on the hillside,” he said.

The house has had four owners since it was built in the 1920s on a steel foundation sunk into a steep cliff at West 186th Street, just north of what is now the George Washington Bridge. It was commissioned by Cleveland Walcutt, an engineer, on land purchased from the estate of James Gordon Bennett, the publisher of the New York Herald.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704693104575638781411483548.html

Juris Mardwig|The Wall Street Journal

Juris Mardwig|The Wall Street Journal

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BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Video by Art by DJ Boy

Chloé Michelle Fischbach is the truth. When I first came across her viral YouTube clip, Girl from Washington Heights, I was awestruck. Her impersonation of an Uptown girl was spot on and downright hilarious. By the way, the name of the character is Krismeyris, which is really f-ing funny by itself. As I started to dig through her YouTube channel, FunnyChloeMichelle, I realized that Chloé is going to be a problem. This woman is amazingly talented and her future prospects are very bright. When I first posted the YouTube clip on Monday, November 15th it had just over 3,000 hits, within days that number had skyrocketed. If you combine the hits on her YouTube page with the ones on World Star Hip-Hop, she has almost half a million hits. At one point, it seemed that everyone Uptown had seen it. Anyway, here it is, the Uptown Collective Q&A with Chloé Michelle Fischbach. FYI…Krismeyris makes a cameo appearance at the end of the clip.

Check out previous Uptown Artist columns:

Paul Lomax

DJ Boy

Matthew Gallaway

Steven R. Hazlett

CiscoNYC

Robb Todd

Dom P

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at ledblackNYC@gmail.com

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Reggaetón superstar, Don Omar, took time off from promoting his new album Meet the Orphans to show a little love to those most in need of it. Don Omar spent his Thanksgiving Uptown serving food and cheering up the residents and the staff at the Isabella Geriatric Center.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2010/11/25/exclusive-don-omars-thanksgiving-jam/#ixzz16dFMsEAK

 

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BY Eileen Z. Fuentes

Photo courtesy of Mari's Cakes

Many people have asked me “what are YOU eating for Thanksgiving”? I get jokes all the time about tofurky, mushy greens, bland desserts, and zero alcohol. Unexpectedly, the truth is that I will be enjoying most of the same foods as everyone else! It’s Thanksgiving and I will be taking part in all the pleasures that the holiday brings because for me personally it is really about gratitude, family, and delicious home-cooked food. I just got off the phone with my mother-in-law and here’s what’s on the potluck menu: fresh turkey from el vivero, rice, beans, lasagna, empanadas, avocadoes, salad, wine, and fresh-baked desserts. My favorite part of the meal is the pasteles, a Latin-American dish made of root vegetables, plantains, meat, peppers, onions and herbs. I always get special treatment as she prepares a batch for me made with yucca, no pork, more vegetables and olive oil instead of corn oil. After the ingredients are prepared in just the right order, wrapped in wax paper, and tied with string resembling a little gift, they are frozen and then boiled for consumption with or without ketchup…Yum-O!!! There is really nothing better than this!

But the Thanksgiving preparations don’t begin that morning. Actually it starts long before. My mother is known for her delicious sazon, a marinade/food base that consists of various peppers, onions, tons of garlic, herbs and spices. So one could imagine how she gears up for this big event. Now that I have the pricey but really effective vitamix blender, doing this has become significantly easier especially since she insists on cutting up the ingredients into small chunks. The last time she made it, I documented her hard at work, then put together my own version with additions like turmeric, black pepper and tamari and omissions like powdered seasoning and iodized salt. She uses sazon to make moro, beans, soup, stews, sauce, meat, seafood…almost everything. She pours the potent mixture into all the plastic containers she could find, prepares some for sending to family and friends in other states and then stores the rest in the freezer to keep it from going stale. The good and bad news about this powerful concoction is that the house will smell like this for the next few days. It is a powerful reminder of the healing activity taking place in my body!

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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat like this on most days but there is nothing wrong with letting go and stepping back into the past at least for a day. Eating like this can evoke good memories and positive feelings. The reality is that families no longer eat together and so if nothing else, Thanksgiving is a time when families near and far get to do that. So eat, drink and be merry because you only live once! The food you are eating is filled with the loving energy and hard work of those who prepared it for you. If you’re worried about weight gain, just work at it during the next few lazy days that follow or dance the night away and keep the good vibes going.

If you need help planning a healthy menu this Thanksgiving, click here, for great leftovers recipes from the queen of cuisine, Ms. Martha Stewart click here.

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BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Video by Art by DJ Boy

Believe me when I tell you, I don’t usually endorse MC’s unless I really feel that they are worth it. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Hip-Hop head and I take the music and the culture very seriously. From the very first time I heard Dom P on I’m Gone, I knew that he had what it takes to make it big. The fact that he is an Uptown representative makes its even better. Without further ado, please see the Uptown Collective Q&A with the one and only, Dom P.

Websites

www.domponline.com

www.whatismfd.com

www.facebook.com/dompmusic

www.facebook.com/musicfordaze

www.twitter.com/pcastillony

Check out previous Uptown Artist columns:

Paul Lomax

DJ Boy

Matthew Gallaway

Steven R. Hazlett

CiscoNYC

Robb Todd

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