Monthly Archives: October 2008

Hudson Valley Hike


Last Saturday’s balmy tropical winds and rains  gave way to worry that the hike would be postponed yet again.  However, this was not the case.  Yesterday morning, I joined thirteen complete strangers with a tour guide and headed to Black Ash Mountain in the Hudson Valley area for a day of invigorating non-urban activity.  


Outdoor Bound offers 5 different level hikes and at level three, this hike was just intense enough for an active New Yorker.  In this case, active refers to those who get exercise in some capacity or another.  Whether it’s jogging, biking, belong to a sports team, go to the gym at least once, twice a week or just pound the pavement in heels, run up subway steps and hail taxis.  


But don’t be fooled–the trail is filled with treacherous steep climbs over rock formations and a lot of time is spent watching your step.  Slippery leaves, twists, turns and loose rocks may cause severe injury if not properly heeled.  Hence, making for cautious but quick movement.  



Every two miles or so the trail comes to a clearing and the rustic beauty of the valley makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon.   We followed the trail of a notorious British sympathizer named Claudius Smith, then it was on to the Victory Trail which peaked with a beautiful lake for swimming or dreaming.




Unfortunately, I had to contend with the bees.  The valley is also known for its honey farms and the bees were cruising along.  I mean at every rest point a bee would sniff me out for a good five minutes while I froze in fear of being stung.  Which became a nuisance very fast.  However, I made it through the day without one annoying sting.   


On to Level 4?


Vegetarian Restaurant Week


October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and from Oct. 19 -25 key spots in Brooklyn are serving up exclusive vegetarian and vegan fare for the second annual Vegetarian Restaurant Week.  There are only about seven participating restaurants but with an open mind anyone can be a vegetarian for a few hours.  Adventurous omnivores are always welcomed!


Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Thyme and Riesling Cream courtesy of 4 Course Vegan

Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Thyme and Riesling Cream courtesy of 4 Course Vegan



Jill’s Cafe in Cobble Hill 

$25 3-Course Prix Fix

Greenpoint’s Papacitos Brooklyn

3 Veg*n Tacos for $5

Tortilla Soup $5

Vegetarian Enchiladas $8

Red Bamboo in Fort Greene

$19.95 3-Course Prix Fixe

Urban Spring in Fort Greene

Serves up delightfully refined and creative vegetarian fare

Veggie Brothers 

An online service that makes it quick and easy to participate by delivering to you

Earth Tonez in Park Slope is offering salad specials

Last but far from least is Williamsburg’s 4 Course Vegan which is hosting a special dinner to culminate the week.  RSVP for the Saturday, October 25th Dinner.



According to PETA the ten most vegetarian friendly cities in the U.S. are: 

1. Portland

2. Seattle

3. San Francisco

4. New York City

5. Atlanta

6. Washington, D.C.

7. Minneapolis

8. Austin

9. Philadelphia


Gilbert & George at Brooklyn Museum


 The Beaux-Arts facade of the Brooklyn Museum greets me as a I emerge from the subway at Eastern Parkway.  On a mission to the Gilbert & George retrospective, I dash through the museum’s Polshek designed glass pavilion/plaza entrance and head to the 4th floor.  


The exhibit features ninety pictures produced since 1970 and a dozen or so that can exclusively be viewed at the Brooklyn Museum.  Themes of religion, sex, and race are explored through brightly colored panoramas, charcoal on paper sketches, witty postcards, and film allowing us but a glimpse into the living art that is Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore.  With matching suits and matching initials, the couple has been together for the span of their career and are inseparable.  The exhibit has been on tour for more than a year and makes its grand finale in the States here at the Brooklyn Museum.  Now through January 11, 2009.  


Also check out MTV’s HD experience with Gilbert & George in Time Square.  


In sharp contrast to the Gilbert and George all masculine motifs is the permanent exhibit of Judy Chicago’s  “The Dinner Party” located in the Center for Feminist Art.  An amazing massive triangular table measuring almost fifty-feet on each side has been prepared to celebrate women throughout history.  Each decorative placemat reserved for a woman that has been omitted or minimized in historical record.  Among the 39 names are Sophia, Hypatia, Hildegard of Bingen, Anne Hutchinson, Sojourner Truth, and Georgia O’Keeefe.   



Barely Brooklyn’s dinner party list of notable modern women includes:

Diane von Furstenberg

Billie Jean King

Oprah Winfrey

Susan Sarandon

Angela Davis

Cindy Sherman

Condoleeza Rice 

Gloria Steinem

Judy Chicago (the one and only)

Cynthia McKinney

Louise Bourgeois

Queen Latifah

Ellen Degeneres

Cindy Sheehan

Coney Island Returns



Another summer has come and gone.  And no other neighborhood in New York City may feel the change of season more than Coney Island.  With fall in full swing and the balmy winds begin to turn to frigid gusts,  the peninsula is left with its residence, the occasional tourist or two gaping at the vacant fixtures, and of course, the Polar Bear Club.  Summer amusement is abandoned and replaced with a bareness that seems more lonely than romantic.   The park becomes its own sideshow with its remnants gawked at.  To call the area a wasteland would not be fair to the residents of the peninsula.     Coney Island is as important a destination as any other American attraction. Even though in many ways it feels like the last on a long  to-do list.  But needless to say, it rounds out any trip to New York and everyone’s happy that they made the trek. 


Most of the year Coney Island is littered with empty lots and gated rides guarded by intimidating yet dutiful Rotweillers.    Change is difficult — we know!   But is it possible to give the tourist spot  a well deserved facelift without destroying the essence of the amusement park?  


As a native New Yorker and Brooklynite, Coney Island is an intrinsic part of my childhood almost as important as Great Adventure in New Jersey.  In retrospect, I would have never ridden the Cyclone eleven times in one day.   We don’t drive cars that are more than 50 years old, why should we ride massive machines that are even older still and made of wood!   


The Manhattans of Brooklyn?

At the moment there is a lot of debate surrounding what to do to with the legacy of Coney Island.   What will be preserved and what will be destroyed?  The famous borough of Brooklyn is about to get yet another well deserved overhaul.  There are plans to renovate and expand Coney Island to include hotels, shopping, movies, and the city’s first new roller coaster since the Cyclone.   May the Mermaid Queen come to terms with the revitalization of the beach and grab a bite to eat. 


We begin Barely Brooklyn here at Coney Island.  One of the remaining monuments to a bygone era that defined Brooklyn’s past and will definitely shape its future.   Let’s hope that Coney Island can be year round fun soon!