Labor Day Walk Through Four Parks You’ve Never Heard Of!

DSC06825.jpgWe’re keeping our fingers crossed for a mild holiday Monday as we visit the most interesting parks in the South Bronx. We’re going to see/explore:
Soundview Park (205 acres)
https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/soundview-park
Concrete Plant Park (7 acres)
https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/concrete-plant-park
Starlight Park (13 acres)
https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/starlight-park
Barretto Point Park (11 acres)
https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/barretto-point-park
The parks will be great for people watching! (and bird watching)
Some highlights will be:
1. a large boulder transported to the South Bronx by a glacier about 10,000 years ago. Repeat: 10,000 years ago!
2. the only river in NYC that changes from saltwater to fresh water.
3. fingers crossed – Ospreys (those wingspans)! And many more birds.
4. a salt marsh in NYC
5. salt marsh cordgrass – a true life saver. We’ll learn why.
6. a former concrete mixing plant turned into a landscaped artwork
7. one of several billion oyster project restoration sites
8. greenest building in the South Bronx – Bronx River House
9. site of the greatest maritime disaster in NYC history
10. an amphitheater with views to Manhattan and the nearby islands.
11. the largest food distribution center in the country. It won’t be open on a Federal holiday but the sheer enormity is staggering.
12. Yes, we’re dialing it up to 12 – the views!
We’ll learn about what the Bronx River Alliance is doing to ensure the health and sustainability of the aquatic environment and adjacent land as well.
Our Plan:
Bring a bag lunch.
Be prepared to walk. There will be one short subway ride on our itinerary.
10:30am – We meet at the East 34th Street ferry terminal which is technically between East 35th and East 36th Streets just off the FDR drive. I can not find out right now whether the ferry is operating on a M-F schedule or weekend schedule for this day. I will update this page accordingly. We’ll either be on a 10:48am or 10:57am boat depending. It’s a nice half hour ride to Soundview.
https://www.ferry.nyc/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/SV_Web-Schedule.pdf
We will enter Soundview Park through the salt marsh and explore everything this amazing acreage has to offer.
Approx. 20 minute walk to Concrete Plant Park.
Approx. 10 minute walk to Starlight Park.
Approx. 10 minute walk to Whitlock Avenue 6 train stop.
Approx. 25 minute walk to Barretto Point from Longwood Avenue stop.
Plus the walking in the parks – so wear comfortable shoes!
I hope you’re concluding that the Bronx is the most park friendly borough.
All parks but Concrete Plant have bathrooms.
More about three of our four parks can be found here:
https://vegoutnycorg.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/three-nyc-parks-youve-never-heard-of/

Let’s Talk About Vystopia!

Unknown.jpegVystopia – the anguish of being vegan in a non-vegan world.
Vystopia is a noun defined as:
1. Existential crisis experienced by vegans, arising out of an awareness of the trance-like collusion with a dystopian world.
2. Awareness of the greed, ubiquitous animal exploitation, and speciesism in a modern dystopia.
I recently had the good fortune to meet Clare Mann, a vegan psychologist, who coined this term Vystopia. Demetrius Bagley – Vegan Extraordinaire! – introduced us over breakfast. Clare was stopping over in NYC after giving three presentations at the Animal Rights Conference. Clare is onto something big time and has formulated her thesis into a remarkable and compassionate book. She has empathy for the vegan as well as the non-vegan. Most of us have been the non-vegan, right?
We’re getting together to have a conversation about our experiences with Vystopia. We’re going to be giving this one more overlay – the lens with which we experience veganism as LGBTQIAs. Yeah. You’re already marginalized and now you’re even further pushed to the margins by being vegan. Good times.
But let’s not despair! There’s hope!
We’re going to take an in-depth look at this topic through our eyes as LGBTQIAers.
It is not necessary to buy the book to attend but supporting Clare’s work would be a wonderful token of gratitude for her effort to define Vystopia and put it out into the world. Hopefully you will be inspired to purchase this useful guide after our MeetUp.
More about Clare Mann and ordering the book can be found here:
https://www.veganpsychologist.com/do-you-suffer-from-vystopia/
Watch her video to get further insight into Vystopia.
Accessibility: WeWork is entirely accessible.

We Dine at Sacred Chow!

images-1.jpegSacred Chow has been serving up delicious vegan fare since 1995. It is amazing that the little engine that could began as takeaway and eventually morphed into it’s own bricks and mortar storefront. For almost 25 years we’ve had the pleasure of dropping in and experiencing a consistently reliable meal.
Let’s let New York Magazine further describe this venue:
“There’s a reason why the logo is a meditating cartoon cow: Sacred Chow serves serious vegan cuisine without taking itself too seriously. Chef and owner Cliff Preefer, a former Legal Aid lawyer, founded Sacred Chow in 1995 as a take-out store on Hudson St.; this Sullivan St. venture is his first restaurant. The snug space has red- and mustard-colored walls accented with Middle Eastern antiques, like glass-bejeweled hanging lamps and a mosaic-inlaid fountain. Using organic and kosher-certified ingredients, Preefer conjures up an enticing meatless array of tapas, salads, and sandwiches. Salads are fresh, substantial, and lively. The Nama Gori Kale Caesar is a credible rendition of the cheese-draped, crouton-studded classic, topped with grilled tofu steak slices. Sandwiches are engaging, like Mama’s soy meatball sub with soy protein orbs flavored with oregano, thyme, and garlic in a spicy rosemary-infused tomato sauce. Triple chocolate brownies may be gluten-free, but manage to be resplendent in rich, bittersweet chocolate.”
So let’s meetup and have a lovely summer supper at Sacred Chow!
https://sacredchow.com

VegOut Loves Capybaras – two ways!

images.jpegWho doesn’t love the world’s largest rodent? Who doesn’t love a really good Brazilian vegan restaurant?
First, the rodent. Capybaras can weigh up to 146 lbs. Enough about the Capybara. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capybara
Second, the restaurant! Capybara has been open just over a month. The food and drink are exceptional. The photo above is of a partially drunk La Chacahua which is mezcal, lime, avocado (shaved and shaken with ice), agave and chili salt. It was fantastic. Their vegan beef tacos are fresh and bright in taste. I can’t wait to share this with you all!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/capybara-organic-cafe-queens
Our plan: Arrive anytime between 6p-630p. It is deep into the borough on the L & M trains. The Myrtle/Wyckoff Avenues stop for the L/M or the L Halsey Street stop both work as Capybara is exactly between the two stops.
Accessibility: The restaurant itself isn’t accessible. The dining area is up a few steps and the bathroom is not accessible. The Myrtle/Wyckoff L/M stop is accessible.
Afterward, if anyone is interested we can head a few blocks up to Nowadays and catch an outdoor screening of Wag the Dog (https://nowadays.nyc/2018/07/25/outdoor-film-night-wag-the-dog/) or just hang out in the indoor lounge if it’s really hot. If you haven’t seen Nowadays it’s worth the trip! https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/style/indoors-at-nowadays-bar-ridgewood-queens.html

VegOut Dines at Arata!

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So we’ve done Double Zero and Bar Verde. Let’s continue our Second Avenue food crawl through Matthew Kenney’s empire, shall we? This time we’re venturing to Japan – Kenney style. You know it’s going to be good and it’s going to be vegan. Win/win for us and animals!

If there proves to be a waitlist for this event I’ll make another reservation for four or six depending upon interest. They don’t do parties larger than six. Smaller parties create for more intimate conversation. So if we’re two tables ultimately, it’s all good!

All things Arata can be found here: http://www.matthewkenneycuisine.com/arata-nyc

VegOut Loves Ayurveda Cafe!

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Ayurveda. What is it anyway? Deepak Chopra can unpack this for us. “Thousands of years before modern medicine provided scientific evidence for the mind-body connection, the sages of India developed Ayurveda, which continues to be one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems. More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realizing their full human potential.” Kinda hard to pass up, right?

More on Ayurveda can be found here (and links galore to learn more): https://chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda

More on the Ayurveda Cafe is here: http://www.theayurvedacafe.com

Excellent information is found at both links.

In short, eat colorful, meditate, care less and travel more.

VegOut Loves the Ridgewood Reservoir (and Toad Style) and, uh Ridgewood!

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We love the Ridgewood Reservoir (and you will too!) because it is one of New York City’s newest and most interesting and arresting parks. NYCH2O will be taking us on a guided tour of the reservoir. This is what they have to say:

“The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water, it became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950’s and was decommissioned in the 1980’s. Since then, nature took its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin.”

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The tour will be comprehensive and teach us about the flora and fauna that reside in this beautiful park. We will also learn about how water was pumped up from Long Island (Valley Stream is aptly named) and then how gravity sent the water from the reservoir to Kings County (Brooklyn). This is the second highest elevation in Queens County (The highest is Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens.). We’ll see all the way to Jamaica Bay in one direction and Manhattan in the other.

Following our tour with NYCH2O we’ll head over to Ridgewood’s go to vegan eatery – Toad Style! We enjoyed lunch there recently and this place had the most effortlessly chic folks dining in we’ve seen in a long time. We can take away to nearby Saratoga Park a block and a half away should seating not allow. Then on to two vegan efforts for body and soul.

Our Plan:

Wear comfortable shoes as we are walking a lot. The terrain will be flat.

10:45am – meet at Vermont Place in the parking lot.

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See map image below event description showing exact location of Vermont Place.

Googlemaps and MeetUp send you to Vermont Street. The MeetUp generated photo is incorrect.

11:00am – our tour commences with NYCH2O. The tour is free but you do need to rsvp here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ridgewood-reservoir-2018-community-tours-tickets-43104726397

12:30pm – we walk to Toad Style for lunch. Our walk will be approximately 45 minutes. Bring a snack to have on the tour if you think you’ll need that.

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2:30pm – we’ll end our time together by experiencing two wonderful vegan enterprises nearby. Fanciful Fox is our go to for all things vegan body care. This mother/daughter LGBTQ owned business finally opened a bricks and mortar location and are we ever so grateful.

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We’ll end our Ridgewood journey just over the border in Bushwick at Brooklyn Whiskers cafe, an all vegan eatery. Enjoy sweet or savory.

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All things event related:

NYCH2O: http://www.nych2o.org
Ridgewood Reservoir: https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/highland-park/highlights/19651
Toad Style: http://www.toadstylebk.com
Fanciful Fox: https://fancifulfox.myshopify.com
Brooklyn Whiskers: http://www.brooklynwhiskersbakery.com/#home

So don’t be provincial. Pull out that metrocard and head over to Ridgewood. The Norwood Avenue stop will get you there and the Kosciuszko Street stop will whisk you away.