RA MA New York: A Great Experience

If you haven’t heard of RA MA New York, you may want to listen up. This is a Kundalini yoga studio led by Guru Jagat. So what is Kundalini? It’s a yoga style that focuses on mantra-based meditations and percussive breathwork. She started her flagship Venice location a number of years ago and only recently opened in New York.

The New York space includes morning and evening classes and she is currently piloting an idea called yogic coworking. Between 12 and 5pm, members can pull up a cushion to a low-Japanese style table and enjoy various opportunities. While people work they can enjoy a 7 minute hypnotherapy session or a quick brain-refresh.

And, of course, in addition to enjoying yoga in this space, people can enjoy shopping. You’ll find Moon Juice snacks by Amanda Chantal Bacon, skin care by Inne and Shiva Rose, clothing by Myrah Penaloza and so much more.


If you live in New York, or want to relax and decompress while visiting, this is the place to be:

RA MA New York, 125 Stanton Street; ramayogainstitute.com

Financial Planning for College In NYC

Preparing to set off for college in New York is an adventure of itself. Transitioning out of your parents’ home, learning to deal with your own finances and managing your daily expenses can be extremely challenging. Before you begin spending on your new life, here are some pro tips to consider:

  1. Budget. The number 1 step for financial planning is creating a good budget and sticking with it. Draw up a list of your fixed expenses, including rent, utilities, food, tuition and loan payments, car and gas payments and whatever other regular expenses you have, and then create a second list of expenses such as clothes, dining out, entertainment etc. Once you have your lists set up, you can create a budget to suit.
  2. Cut back. Sometimes, financial obligations demand a large portion, or all of, your budget. Living within your means is crucial, and will allow you to avoid accumulating debt as well as to adopt healthy financial habits for the future. College students are usually tight for cash, so accepting that some sacrifices may be necessary and planning ahead for bigger events will spare you a significant amount of stress.
  3. Avoid debt. Though tempting, credit cards can leave you with overwhelming debt. What happens in college doesn’t always stay in college, so prepare for your financial future by actively avoiding debt. You may want to keep a credit card for emergencies, but be sure to think carefully before each use.
  4. Save. Saving money during college may feel like an impossible task, but proper planning and budgeting may allow you to save even a small amount each month. This will provide a valuable cushion if unexpected expenses come up, as well as an extra account to use later in life.

Later this week, an Essex Financial Services advisor will be hosting a free college planning seminar at Cyrenius H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street. Essex Financial’s Sean Flynn is a financial advisor who specializes in college planning.

Naomi Campbell & Egyptian Millionaire Louis Camilleri

What’s not to like? Incredibly handsome and fantastically rich, 62-year- old Louis C. Camilleri is reported to be the latest love interest of super-model Naomi Campbell, and why not? Born in Egypt to parents from the island country of Malta, Camilleri is CEO of the giant tobacco corporation Philip
Morris, as well as a director of the luxury sports car company Ferrari. Best of all, his net worth is said to be hovering in the stratosphere at the altitude of about £150 million ($197 million.)

Despite Naomi Campbell’s famous dislike of taking her dating habits to the public arena, it has been impossible not to notice the many dinner dates she has spent with Camilleri, not to mention a few trips on his private jet.

According to The Sun, “Naomi and Louis have been secretly dating for weeks. They’re all over each
other when they’re out.”

Some curious readers might be interested in how this cute couple met. Naomi Campbell and Louis Camilleri both happen to love Formula One racing, and saw each other at an event, and immediately caught each other’s eyes.

Camilleri spent his formative years in the United Kingdom, where he attended boarding school. He was once married, and has three children from the relationship, which ended in divorce in 2004. Camilleri attended University in Switzerland where he studied economics and business administration.

Campbell was never married, but she was once engaged to bassist Adam Clayton of the rock band U2 in 1993. After a year the relationship ended.

In 2012 Campbell was asked about one of her relationships, and her answer was: “I don’t discuss my private life.” She also refuses to discuss her friendships with such people as Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy, explaining:

“I don’t like to discuss private events or matters, because, naturally, I respect people’s privacy.”

Getting Classes for Glasses to the People

Tisha Gomez didn’t plan on becoming an educator. Born and raised in NYC and the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Gomez graduated high school with the intention of becoming a computer programmer. Three years later she found herself entering the teaching world, and she hasn’t veered from her course since.

Gomez’s work as a teacher at the School of Cooperative Technical Education is unique, as she uses her technical side and personal experiences to run a creative class focused on creating prescription eyewear for fellow students in need. Gomez believes in providing her students with practical skills that will support future careers, and when she began working at the school she quickly discovered that many of her students needed glasses in order to succeed. Unfortunately, the majority of these kids couldn’t afford them. Gomez immediately took action, launching a project that would teach her students to make their own glasses by filling prescriptions, cutting lenses and styling frames to patients’ specifications. Her class offers free glasses to any student of the school, and provides as many as 400 students with eyeglasses each year.

“I’m immediately satisfied after I make a pair of glasses and put them on someone’s face and see the reaction on their face when they can see clearly,” Gomez explained.

She continued, “Everybody wants to be a doctor or a lawyer, but there’s one thing everyone needs at various times in their lives, and that’s eyeglasses.”

“My students come from the inner city and they need a career to support themselves. This class gives them a trade that’s needed,” she added.

Gomez was just nominated for a Hometown Heroes in Education award for her work.

Animal Haven Animal Shelter Celebrates 50 Years with Brand New Facility

Fifty years ago, a small group of women from Hollis, Queens, got together to rescue cats, and from that ambition Animal Haven was born. Later on the shelter moved to Flushing, and operated out of a small house for many years. Finally, the shelter arrived in Manhattan, where it was located at 251 Centre Street until the organization lost its lease in 2015.

Searching everywhere, Animal Haven got lucky and found a location only two blocks north, at 200 Centre Street. They hired architecture firm ARQ, the same group that designed New York’s ASPCA adoption center, as well as San Francisco’s SPCA and Chicago’s PAWS. ARQ created a beautiful, state-of-the-art adoption center, but it took a full year to build, and in the meantime Animal Haven was no longer able to stay at their old location.

Now the center for homeless animals was itself homeless, but they were able to rise to the occasion. The group put up 80 animals in foster care and rented office space right across the street. Then the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals pitched in, lending Animal Haven their adoption van. During the week, the shelter held adoption events right outside the new facility’s construction site.

Now the shelter is open and running, and business is booming. More workers were hired to handle the increased work load. Director Tiffany Lacey described the new space:

“It’s very light and bright with lots of windows” Lacey said, “and the public that walks by can see them, like window shopping, but for adoption.”

 

New York Restaurants Support “A Day Without Women”

Women’s March on Washington picture from Wikipedia.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, organizers of the Women’s March on Washington called for “A Day Without Women.” The march on Washington drew about 470,000 participants in DC and more than 4 million people globally. This month’s agenda calls for women to not work, either at home or at their paid jobs, to not shop, unless it is at stores owned by minorities or by women, or small shops, and to wear red. There was also a rally held at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

The “Day Without Women” modeled itself after February’s “Day Without Immigrants,” in which immigrant workers tried to stay home from work and find other ways to demonstrate the importance of immigrants to the overall economy.

The following local eateries joined in the day of remembering the crucial role women play in our economy in particular and society in general.

  • The Wren: This restaurant located at 344 Bowery gave their women workers the day off to go to the rally in Washington Square Park. Male staff member wore red to show their support.
  • Casellula: located in Hell’s Kitchen at 401 West 52nd Street, this wine and cheese café brought in guest servers to fill in for the women taking the day off. The guest servers have promised to donate their tips to Shining Hope For Communities, an NGO that fights gender inequality and overwhelming poverty in Kenya by supporting free education for girls.
  • Annisa: Anita Lo’s Village eatery locate at 13 Barrow Street pledged to donate a percentage of the day’s earnings to “Off the Sidelines, and organization founded by Senator Kirsten Gillebrand to help get more women into public office.

Bowery Homeless Call Whole Foods Home

An external shot of the Whole Foods Market. Photo courtesy David Shankbone.

As the rain and cold bombard the Bowery along with the rest of New York, the city’s homeless population is forced indoors. Many of the record numbers of homeless have found shelter in Manhattan’s largest supermarket, The Bowery Whole Foods.

While shoppers are loading their carts with craft beers, artisanal breads and gourmet cheeses, the less fortunate among us are upstairs taking advantage of the dry, sunny café area to spend the day dry and warm. One observer visiting the café saw a man sleeping on the floor in the fetal position, another barely conscious in what appeared to be a drug-induced haze, and others who seemed drunk or mentally ill.

The vagrants found a haven in the Whole Foods Café where there is a microwave and Wi-Fi they can use for free, clean bathrooms available for the cost of a cup of coffee, and if not quite a welcoming, but at least a tolerant attitude towards their presence.

The giant, up-scale supermarket opened in 2007. At 71,000 square-feet Whole Foods is the largest market in Manhattan. It takes up an entire city block between Chrystie and Bowery, and has 600 employees on the payroll. Built to be an accompaniment to the neighborhood’s gentrification, the appearance of the modern-day “Bowery Bums” is perhaps challenging the ability to complete the transition from “home of the downtrodden” to “hipster village.”

“No one wants to have lunch next to a foul-smelling bum, or a drunk or a junkie nodding out next to you. It’s not very appetizing. At the same time, Whole Foods displaced these people. These were the original Bowery denizens,” said Sean Sweeney, head of the Soho Alliance. “Gentrification took place and displaced them. Where are they supposed to go? The de Blasio administration has not done enough to find shelter for these unfortunate people.”

The number of homeless seeking space in the city’s shelters hit an all-time high last year. Those that don’t bother with shelters find warmth in places like Penn Station, other transit hubs, and accommodating locations like Whole Foods.

One employee working upstairs at the barbecue stand said, “The homeless problem gets worse in the winter, but nothing can be done about it.”

Christmas Trees Losing Christmas Spirit?

Tree in Bethlehem. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

Tree in Bethlehem. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

As the true meaning of Christmas continues to be lost in the relentless onslaught of media messages to buy, buy, buy, another tradition has come up for re-evaluation: the Christmas tree.

In at least one place in Manhattan a tree can set an individual or family back about $1,000, including delivery. For the same $1,000 the same family or individual could feed at least 600 homeless people at the Bowery Mission.

Trees in Greenwich Village are commanding the steep price of $77 per foot if the buyer needs help getting it home and installing it. One seller explained the price breakdown: a 13-foot white fir is not a traditional tree, so its harder to get and therefore more expensive, at $750 for the tree; the stand costs $200; delivery and set up is $25; and the three or four men needed to do the legwork charge $20 each.

Not everyone has been sucked into the need to have the tallest, rarest or most “amazing” tree. Many Christmas tree buyers stuck with smaller trees saying things like, “A tree is a tree, and there is no difference.”

This man bought his 6-footer for a more reasonable, affordable, $80. Another couple could be seen dragging their 5-foot tree home themselves, which they acquired for $100, including the stand.

Another shopper noted that back where he is from in Connecticut a tree this size only costs $20.

Logan Hicks Completes “The Story of My Life” on a SoHo Wall

It has already been a few weeks since Logan Hicks’ mural was completed at Houston Street and the Bowery, but the crowd is still there.

Process shot from the mural Logan Hicks did in Hollywood Florida during Basel. Photo courtesy of Logan Hicks.

Process shot from the mural Logan Hicks did in Hollywood Florida during Basel. Photo courtesy of Logan Hicks.

That’s because the crowd is the mural. This must-see painting depicts a large, realistic looking crowd of people converging on nearby Spring and Greene Streets, all in a bluish hue. Hicks called the piece “Story of My Life,” and it is. The painting explores the “past, present and future here in New York City, telling the story of his life through the people who have touched him.” The artist photographed dozens of his friends and acquaintances on the SoHo corner, and then used those photographs to reconstruct the amazing city scene beautifully rendered on a wall on Houston Street.

Earlier this summer, at the end of July, the painting already suffered erasure after the artist spent three days putting the painting up on the wall. Due to the poor condition of the enclosure, combined with extreme heat and lots of rain, a layer of black paint ended up covering the painting.

The mural was created via the amazing technique of stenciling, which Hicks has mastered way beyond any ordinary ability.

Unfortunately, and despite the employ of a 24/7 security guard by building owner Goldman Properties, the mural has been “tagged,” or more accurately, defaced twice already, but quickly scrubbed clean.

We hope this masterpiece can remain intact and available for the enjoyment of New Yorkers.

ICP Moves to New Downtown Quarters

International Center for Photogrpahy

International Center for Photography

New York’s esteemed International Center of Photography is partnering with downtown’s New Museum as it evacuates it former home in midtown.

Not only is the museum in new digs, but its entire image has been transformed. Not only is it just a few steps from the New Museum, it is in the midst of some of the photography world’s best galleries; over 125 of them on the Lower East Side alone.

“There’s a much more creative community that’s walking around that lends to the energy,” said ICP’s executive director Mark Lubell.

The ICP was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa. Since that time there has been a game-changing shift in photography, which is a feature of the museum’s first exhibit: “Public, Private, Secret.” The show explores the issues of privacy, surveillance and the effect of an image on self-identity, going back to the time of Sojourner Truth and her intimate 19th century prints.

“We’re getting to now live our lives through image-making and perceiving images, with everything from politics to climate issues to our own self-identity,” Lubell explained.