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Where is Bike Share?!

11 Sep

All summer I was reeling with excitement because New York City was finally getting bike share in the end of this Summer! For those of you who haven’t heard me yap non-stop about this, bike share is a network of communal bicycles available throughout the city. Designed mainly for short-distance commuting, bike share enables you to pick up a bike and one station and drop it off at another station at your destination, providing an alternative to walking and public transportation. NYC is slated to have 10,000 bikes available at 600 stations throughout the city, focused mostly in Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn. I was so happy we were catching up! Bike share programs are already available in roughly 165 cities around the world, including Boston, Washington DC, and London, which we feature on the Daisy Chain!

Me posing with Bike Share in London!

I was literally counting the days for NYC Bike share, called Citi Bike as it is sponsored by CitiBank, because I just started a Masters Degree program (!) that requires me to commute to the opposite side of town, and Citi Bike was going to make my life much easier. I had my route all mapped out: pick a bike on my corner, ride across town to the West Side, where I would get on the 1 Train, and then 100 blocks later I would be at school.

Sadly, the inauguration of Citi Bike was pushed back to March 2013 and I have been condemned to walk across town or take the bus. It’s actually not that serious, but I am on a little bit of a rant and I must emphasize again how much I love bike shares and how much I was looking forward to it. Alas, I must tell myself to be patient…OR, this provides the perfect excuse to hop down to DC, or over to London, or Mexico CIty, or Paris, or Medellin…

Me and my sister riding Boston’s Bike Share!

-Anne

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A Place to Visit in Our Own Campinas!

28 Aug

I love public spaces. Great public spaces are equalizers of society, places where socio-economic classes races, ethnicities, cultures, converge and interact in one space, where people can express themselves, meet friends, exercise, and have a good time. Public spaces, like Manhattan’s Central Park, can also provide a necessary escape from bustling city life. I just got back from a relaxing time at home in Brazil and want to boast about an underrated yet wonderful public space in Campinas: Parque Portugal.

An aerial view of Parque Portugal, courtesy of http://diegopintojn.blogspot.com/

Located around a beautiful lake, Lagoa do Taquaral, this park has everything.  A dirt track circles around the lake, passing by paddle boats shaped like swans, stretching areas, a children’s playground, an outdoor concert venue, a bird sanctuary, a mini-bamboo forest, and much more. Parque Portugal also features a swimming pool, a planetarium, a gymnasium, and much more!

Swan-shaped paddle boats, photo courtesy of http://diegopintojn.blogspot.com/

Fellow blogger Mandy and I went for a brisk walk around Parque Portugal last week and it was great. It is a great place to exercise. There are two tracks, one that circles around the outside of the park and one that circles the lake inside. Every hundred meters, there is a sign tracking how much you’ve walked. Inside the park, there are several areas to stretch, cool off, and lift weights (if you are so inspired).

There are always people walking around Parque Portugal, known to Campineiros as Taquaral, but the place really comes alive on weekends, when the paddle boats are out, the restaurants around the park are crowded, and Campineiros are out and about enjoying one of the great spaces in our city!
-Anne

 

Walking the World in 10 Blocks

14 Aug

New York is an amazing city, and writing about it is a pleasure. Today I want to highlight an extremely diverse community in Queens: Jackson Heights. I had never made it out there until a couple of weeks ago, it’s a significant train ride as Jackson Heights neighbors LaGuardia Airport, and it was definitely worth it!

With no agenda or time frame, I just got off the train and meandered to try to get a feel for the neighborhood. Walking along Roosevelt Avenue, there was a food truck serving up Equadorian street food, a Himalayan fish market, a Mexican travel agency, a Tibetan goods store, and many stores selling Halal products. I heard at least 5 languages being spoken on the street, and none of them English!

Pedestrian Plazas- gotta love them!

In a moment of brilliance, I coordinated my trip so that I would be there for lunch. Located by a pedestrian plaza offering some peace from the hustle of the main commercial strip, I stepped into Delhi Heights, an unassuming (but DELICIOUS!) Indian restaurant. I decided to try something new- a sandwich called Kathi Roll. Described as “Succulent tender pieces of chicken or lamb cooked and rolled in soft bread like roomali Roti or naan,” this sandwich delivered bursts of taste with enough spiciness to tease but not overwhelm. I paired it with a mango lassi- a delicious yogurt-based drink that cools and calms the tongue. Aside from the amazing food, because it borders a plaza, Delhi Heights had some great people watching, so I hung out observing and taking refuge from the heavy, humid, and hot NYC summer.

Kathi Roll and Mango Lassi at Delhi Heights

Once I cooled off a bit, I was ready for dessert in another part of the world. Walking along 37th Ave, which runs parallel to Roosevelt Ave., I stumbled into La Nueva Bakery. As a Brazilian living in NYC, I often feel nostalgic for all the treats and eats from home, and La Nueva Bakery had just what I needed to help fend off the saudades: churros and empanadas! Although these treats were the Uruguayan version of my hometown favorites- they certainly did the trick! I ordered a churro con dulce de leche to stay and a couple of empanadas to go (I had just had lunch!) The churro was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, where the dulce de leche was inserted. It was just what I needed to get me through the weeks left before my trip to Brazil.

Churros con Dulce de Leche from La Nueva Bakery

The 7 train takes you right through the heart of Jackson Heights. Get off at 82nd Street to be right in the middle of the action! Jackson Heights might be a little off the beaten path, but it definitely gives you a taste (pun intended) of the many worlds nestled within New York City!

-Anne

Delhi Heights
37-66 74th Street
Jackson Heights, NY

La Nueva Bakery
85-02 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY

ArtBeat, Boston- recap of a great weekend

24 Jul

Boston is the land of the Red Socks, the Tea Party that sparked the American Revolution, and my sister, Eve. I arrived Friday night after a long 7 hour bus ride from NYC (it’s only supposed to take 4). Saturday we woke up leisurely but excited for the migration-themed arts festival in Somerville we planned to attend, ArtBeat! At my job, I organize similar community events, although not to this scale, so I was curious about what’s happening in other cities and communities.

The smell of barbeque and brick oven pizza hit us almost immediately after we got off the train. ArtBeat runs along several streets and converges on Davis Square- where all the scrumptious foodstuffs were. Starving, Eve and I grabbed some gourmet hot dogs and brown sugar limeade (amazing!), and managed to find a seat in the shade. We sat next to some very nice ladies and chatted for a while about their upcoming travels and Somerville. One of the ladies gave us an excellent dessert recommendation, but more on that further down…

Hot dog- YUM!

After satiating our hunger a little, we took a lap around the festival. There were loads of artists selling their work, performances scattered throughout the day, and Somerville community organizations giving out information and talking about their work.  It was a beautiful day and the vibe was relaxing. Photographer Mike Ritter was taking free portraits, so Eve and I posed for a couple of shots.

Having some fun during our photo shoot….

Time for dessert (when is it not?!), we directed ourselves to Kick Ass Cupcakes, the dessert place our lunch buddy had recommended. The store name articulates exactly what I felt towards these cupcakes- they kicked ass! We bought three flavors, but the best by far was the “Green Monster.” Named after the famed Boston Red Sox, this cupcake featured a chocolate cupcake, with a chocolate beer ganache center, and green Sam Adams cream stout frosting garnished with cocoa nibs. Eve and I were sharing and we almost had an altercation over who would finish this delicious cupcake.

Kick Ass Cupcakes- note the Green Monster on the right…

Because I can never pass up a chance to samba and dance in unison with a large group of people, we hung around ArtBeat until SambaViva, a samba ensemble, performed. It was awesome! They had a bateria, a percussion band/drumline, carnaval dancers, and even taught the crowd some choreography. We worked up a sweat the best way possible: dancing!

SambaViva’s awesome bateria!

Sadly, ArtBeat only happens one weekend a year, but Somerville is a vibrant and diverse community that is definitely worth the visit, if for the cupcakes alone!

Foodie Fun at Schmorgasburg

17 Jul

Taking the L train on the weekends is always an adventure, and I was not alone in my trek across the East River to Schmorgasburg, a food market in Williamsburg. I was lured to Brooklyn by the promise of amazing food, great views, and a friend- and what a fun day it was!

Aerial shot of Schmorgasburg, courtesy of http://www.brooklynflea.com

Framed by dramatic views of the Empire State Building and mid-town Manhattan, Schmorgasburg features about 100 food vendors selling all types of food. From lumpia, a filipino street food, to vegan ice cream- whatever your craving, they have it at Schmorgasburg! I was hankering for a hot dog- done well, with relish and a soft bun. Brooklyn Bangers was calling my name. Made in Brooklyn, a trend at Schmorgasburg, this hot dog really hit the spot! I decided to try something different for dessert, and I knew I had found my match when I spotted Coffee Stout Chip cookies from The Cooke Guild! Guinness+coffee+chocolate chips= a good day!

Coffee Stout Chip Cookie, courtesy of The Cookie Guild

The food at Schmorgasburg is innovative and delicious, but one of the best things to do there is people watch! Schmorgasburg attracts people from all walks of life- hipsters recovering from hangovers, trendy young families, and people like me- amateur foodies wanting to explore the “outer boroughs.”

Bring your appetite, some water, and a sheet to picnic guys, because there’s a lot to taste and experience at Schmorgasburg!

-Anne

Schmorgasburg opens on Saturdays from 11-6pm. Take L train to Bedford Ave. or East River Ferry!

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