Get Real Achaar from Brooklyn Delhi

Mar 28, 16 Get Real Achaar from Brooklyn Delhi

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Until Chitra Agrawal started making her own achaar– strongly flavored Indian pickles- it was impossible to get properly made achaar in New York. Growing up, Agrawal loved eating lots of achaar, made by her aunts and grandmother back in India. When she grew up, she would bring back jars of the delicious treat back with her from India to New York. When Agrawal and her then boyfriend Ben Garthus finished the pickles, they soon realized that it was impossible to get as good tasting achaar in New York. She thought they were made with too much salt, preservatives, and “really bad oils.” Agrawal decided the time had come to simply make them herself. “Achaar is made all over India, but the type of fruits, vegetables, and oils they use vary by location,” Agrawal explained. “In the south, they often use sesame oil and spices like fenugreek. In the north, they might make it from carrot or cauliflower, in a base of mustard oil with nigella seeds.” Agrawal’s achaar is made with small amounts of salt and oil, allowing the freshness of the local ingredients she was using burst through. The first few batches that she made she served at pop-up dinners and cooking classes that she was already hosting. “People responded because they’re really different in flavor and more intense than something like a chutney, which you make and eat when it’s fresh” she said. “With achaar, the flavor gets better over time.” With so much support from the people who tried her achaar, she decided to launch Brooklyn...

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The Fuel that Drives the New York Fashion Engine

Mar 09, 16 The Fuel that Drives the New York Fashion Engine

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Many observers recognize New York as the fashion capital of the world. Have you ever wondered about the people that have helped to create this reputation for the Big Apple? In 2015 there were some special designers that added to New York’s reputation in this trillion-dollar industry. Kara Laricks is an enormously successful fashion designer, but she did not start out in this profession; not even close. For ten years she worked as a teacher of elementary school children. Although she loved design as a child, she decided to choose a “safe” profession. She was born in 1973, and graduated from Academy of Art University of San Francisco in 2008. She now lives and works in New York City. Born on May 31, 1986, Jérôme´ LaMaar is a fifth generation New Yorker, of Cuban, Ethiopian and Afro-Portuguese heritage. Born in the Bronx, he began his career in fashion when he was only 15, working as an intern for Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simons, in 2001. Also uncertain about his career direction, (like Laricks), LaMaar first enrolled at Brown University with the intention of studying Physics. Lucky for us fashionistas he decided to head for the walkway and went to the Fashion Institute of Technology right here in NYC, studying Fashion Design and Fabric Styling. Oh, and we know his birthday from his label: 5:31 Jérôme. Kim Haller is not a native New Yorker. She was raised in Indiana until she moved with her family to Australia.  In the mid-1980s she came back to the US to attend the Parsons School of Design. Haller joined Calvin Klein in 1989 and within her first year there became their main knitwear designer. She launched her own consultancy business in 1995, Kim Haller Design. Her firm gave concept, design and technical support to up-and-running designers who were anxious to expand and develop their knitwear collections. The great industry of fashion is fueled by a wide variety of talented, hard-working individuals who are creative, innovative and from an...

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The Salt Marsh in Marine Park is a lot of Nature in a Big City

Feb 16, 16 The Salt Marsh in Marine Park is a lot of Nature in a Big City

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The largest park in Brooklyn is ready and waiting for visitors to experience the natural world in the midst of the crazy turbulence of living in Brooklyn. The Salt Marsh is 530 acres of grassland and marsh. It is home to countless birds and animals, including egrets, geese, sandpipers, marsh hawks, cottontail rabbits, and horseshoe crabs. Located at 3301 Avenue U, not far from Flatbush Avenue, the Salt Marsh has five miles of shoreline and a well-marked nature walk that loops back over its 1-mile length, and is mostly flat. Open from dawn to dusk, be aware that the path is dirt and gravel, and not shaded. In the summer be sure to bring lots of insect repellent and sunscreen. There is a wonderful nature center which is open from April 1 to October 31 on weekends from noon until 4pm. Kids can learn a lot about nature there, and so can adults. There are many demonstrations, lectures and events which are quite worthwhile. After your visit to the nature reserve, go visit the recreational park right on the other side of Avenue U. Marine Park is a 268-acre recreational park with baseball fields, tennis courts and bike paths with bike rentals available. For more information, go to the park’s...

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Rare Bird Blows into Brooklyn

Dec 03, 15 Rare Bird Blows into Brooklyn

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Some people ogle movie stars, others like sports heroes, and then there are those who plotz for plumage. If you are one of the latter, then get out your binoculars, and head out to Prospect Park in the heart of Brooklyn, and see if you can’t get a gander of an extraordinarily rare site: a beautifully colored Painted Bunting. This bird, known to some as the “Liberace bird” is remarkable in its appearance. A little finch-like creature, he has a brilliant indigo head, bright yellow shoulders, and wings which transitions smoothly from chartreuse to green. Insuring that all the color groups are included, his breast is a lovely combination of scarlet and burnt sienna. The bird was visible for four straight days, and has never before appeared in Brooklyn. It is almost never seen anywhere north of Arkansas. If you want a glimpse of this bird you will have to fight the crowds, who must try and get a view of him between the brown native grasses planted outside the LeFrak Center skating rink complex. Speculation about why the bird might be visiting Brooklyn raged. To see an adult male so far afield is quite perplexing, considering their usual winter quarters are Florida and Mexico. Perhaps he was carried on a wind from the west, and considering the warm November temperatures New York has been experiencing, decided to stay. The native grasses could also be a factor attracting the fine feathered friend. One observer, Scott Schulman, manager of LeFrak Center was awed by the site of this eye-popping creature. “That was remarkable, to say the least” he said....

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Despite Odds Girl with CP Graduates Top in Class, Inspires Classmates

Jun 28, 15 Despite Odds Girl with CP Graduates Top in Class, Inspires Classmates

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One young woman from Brooklyn showed her classmates, and the world, that no matter the challenges, with enough hard work and will power, success is still attainable. Johileny Meran delivered the Valedictorian speech on Friday at the Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Brooklyn. She graduated the top of her class and received a full scholarship to study at New York University despite the fact that she has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheel chair. Her accomplishment is even more remarkable since her mother died five years ago from cancer, and she grew up in a homeless shelter. “I made it through. I was able to overcome many of the things that stood in my way,” she said. Her remarks brought many present at the graduation ceremony to tears. Her obviously proud uncle said, “It’s a good feeling when somebody have the power, the inspiration to keep going, working for something she believed in.” Her school counselor Mariela Regaldo stated, “The best thing about her, she doesn’t give up.” Meran is planning to study neuroscience at NYU. She says she would like to help find a cure for cancer, an illness that took her mother, taught her about loss, and how to overcome hardships. “It inspired, she inspired me to keep going and that’s why I’m here today,” Meran said about cancer and her...

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Children Discover Nature at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Jun 14, 15 Children Discover Nature at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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The beautiful environment of the famed Brooklyn Botanic Garden just got even more child-friendly. The recently opened Discovery Garden, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, maintains the authentic feel of being surrounded by nature, while at the same time opens up the mind of children of all ages to the surprises and excitement of the natural world. The more cerebral among us will love the informative signs explaining the whys and wherefores of the trees, plants, insects and animals who inhabit the gardens. For example, one sign posted near a venerable cork tree explained the mystery of the burls, or bumps so prominently visible on the bark: “The female (insect) lays her eggs under the bark. Inside, the young fatten up on wood, then eat their way out.” Not everyone feels a need to read signs, and Discovery Garden is wonderfully conducive to the experience of nature. In the marsh children can jump across rocks; play with mud and water from the pool; examine the mysteries of vegetable plants such as tomatoes, peppers and basil growing on raised beds. In another place children (and there parents) can grab an available trowel and start digging in the dirt. Digging is a great way to catch site of a magical earthworm or centipede. Those wanting a bit more elucidation can read a nearby explanatory sign and discover that, “soil isn’t just dirt” and that even just one small spoonful of earth “can be the home to one billion tiny living things.” Discovery Garden is open every day but Monday. March-October: Tuesday-Friday from 8am-6pm and Saturday/Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed on Labor Day but Open on Memorial Day and Columbus Day. For more information go to Brooklyn Botanic Garden...

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