“Don’t Sell Yourself Short, Live Life Open and Reallize That There Are Opportunities Everywhere” Harlem Public co-owner Lauren Lynch

I have walked by the Harlem Public under construction sign and like everyone else I wanted to know the story. Lauren Lynch & Jay Janawsky are opening the pub in a matter of weeks and all the garnishes for the cocktails will be grown in Maggie’s garden located just behind the bar. Maggie’s Garden opened in 1996. I had a wonderful conversation with Lauren and Maggie about the impetus for the pub, the garden, their collaboration and we tour the bar and garden. Maggie has received tremendous support from Bette Midler’s New York Restoration project, with the goal of revitalizing neglected neighborhood parks in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York City.

2 months after I posted the Harlem Public story, they were featured in the Wall Street Journal 

Jamel Schwartz on Having Life Back

“Born and raised in harlem, migrated to the downtown streets of new york to cause myself some trouble and harm for about 12 years..and the past 2 years I decided to cut off everything in life that was killing me. I stopped drinking. I stopped using drugs. I stopped sleeping with random chicks. I stopped fucking people over. I stopped fucking up. I got my shit together and what I’m doing now is focusing on my art, painting. Hopefully, next month the 1st day of spring i will have my first solo show.” Jamel Schwartz , the opening clip from our conversation

Life Lessons From A Tribeca Homeless Man

 “When I first became homeless, I use to pray that I die for 6 months…that was back in ’87” Jerry,52, may be homeless but his mind isnt. I met Jerry in Tribeca. Our conversation is inspiring to say the least.  The street lights are on a timer. They come on and off every 2 minutes. Jerry’s face begins to appear at the :35 second mark. He shares his story, a new year’s resolution, tips if you become homelsss, this favorite Bible passage and strongly suggests that everyone “diversify their finances”.

World Pop Artist Amira

While having dinner at Harlem’s Red Rooster, I overheard a woman say her 1st single comes out October 11. Meet Amira, “My Father is Middle Eastern and my Mother is West African, I  was born and raised in Australia.” She now calls Harlem home. Our conversation covers why she moved to NYC, differences between Australia and America, artists that influenced her world pop style, her favorite NYC neighborhood, when she knew she wanted to be an artist and how she is marketing her album independently.

I Am Peace@Harlem State Office Bldg

 This month alone has seen 16 people shot in 24hours in Detroit and  7 people were killed in Harlem within 20 blocks. The bad news will continue unless get involved with and save of our communities. Iesha Sekou’s Street Corner Resources, Harlem Mothers Save and other organizations asked Harlem to come and be apart of the change for Harlem’s Day of Healing. Hundreds showed up at 125th & 7th avenue,  held hands and formed a symbolic circle of support with the  youth in eliminating violence. Iesha shares the meaning of “I Am Peace”, Harlem HipHop artist Nicholette performs, NYC street social workers stage an encounter and more.


My Small Story Mix II

14 NYC stories in 14 minutes. A thread of conversations beginning with a new New Yorker  who is proof that people move to NYC from all over the world; a man roller skating w the bottom of a mannequin on his head  in soho; Freedom Bradley Dir-City Parks Foundations on what else “NYC Parks”; Founder of cleanplates.com the online healthy version of zagats; Guy wearing airtrekkers on Park Avenue; Iesha of Street Corner Resources, anti-violence teen protest @129 & Lenox; DJ Moma on going from engineer to DJ and “escaping the rat race”; Abby & Tori on the call that sent them to Haiti; Footwear designer Yusef Sirius El on 5 and 10 year business plans; Opera singer Joanna Bergin on the day she knew opera was her calling; Stylist Jason Rembert@Rocawear pop-up store on how he got his first internship at Elle; my first Yankee game, in the parking lot  I get schooled on Yankee culture by my host and former Yankee exec onYankee branding..but he has a World Series ring, I LOVE NYC; Cinematographer/producer Shawn Peters on what is Weeksville.

FREEDOME BRADLEY: Director of Theatrical Programs for New York’s City Park Foundation & SummerStage (Central Park)

I spent the day in Central Park with a friend of 20 years. As Director of Theatrical Programs for New York’s City Park Foundation and SummerStage, Freedome is a passionate force behind New York’s largest free performing arts festival, bringing over 100 performances to 18 parks throughout the 5 boroughs. If he ever decides to run for NYC Parks Commisioner, he has my vote. Freedome is driven to bring “top flight art” to adults and kids via Central Park’s SummerStage, The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre and Puppet Mobile. I filmed our conversation as we tour the Swedish Cottage (the theatre where the puppet shows take place daily); learn Freedome’s story; the mission of the City Parks Foundation; meet the Puppet Mobile crew; and view the new development at Marcus Garvey Park, which opens June 2nd.

This story was filmed April 26th, 2011. I began sharing “My Small Story” April 26th; thus, I could not think of better story to begin my 2nd year of stories – a person that is committed revitalizing NYC parks and bringing art to New Yorkers in parks in all 5 Boroughs. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.

The Swedish Cottage, built in Sweden in 1875, was placed in Central Park in 1877 at the suggestion of Frederick Law Olmsted. Since its arrival in the US, the Cottage has served a variety of purposes, perhaps most importantly being used as the headquarters for the Civil Defense during World War II. It was also formerly a tool house, a library, and Central Park’s entomological laboratory.

In 1947, the Swedish Cottage became known, as it is today, as the home of the Marionette Theatre. In a show of patriotism, both Swedish and American flags fly from the roof of what was once a traditional schoolhouse.

The 2011 season of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, brings over 100 performances to eighteen parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Latin and world music to dance, spoken word and theater, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts festival landscape. Since its inception twenty-six years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage. The festival runs from June 7th until September 2nd.

Harlem Teens Anti-Violence Protest April 15th @ 129th & Lenox (II)

(Part II) In Harlem last Friday, teens representing high Schools across Harlem came to speak, rap and lay down on the street for 5 minutes; thus, putting themselves in the place of someone who has been shot. Here is an additional edit of the teen’s speeches, rap and words from Iesha on “why we are here” prior to their demonstration https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/harlem-teen-ant-violent-protest-april-15th-129th-lenox/

Iesha of Street Corner Resources& Harlem renaissance High School brought Harlem community leaders from the NYPD, City Council, Teachers, Pastors and Jacob Restaurant provided the backdrop and much needed electricity for the sound system.

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