Sarah Ferguson visits Harlem
Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 10/19/2012, 11:40 a.m.
Unassuming, personable and warmhearted best describes Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. She, along with her entourage, took time out on a recent visit to the States to stop by the Harlem School of the Arts, where she thoroughly charmed the children, parents and staff.
Here to promote her new book, "Rosie Ballerina," the Duchess watched and applauded with great delight as she was treated to an impromptu performance by both the lower school and middle school ballet students. Afterward, all gathered around as she properly introduced herself as Sarah, Duchess of York, whose dream came true when she married a British prince a very long time ago. Together they lived in a castle with their two daughters. The Duchess decided to write a book about her other childhood dream of being a ballerina and of her experience studying to be one.
The room quieted to a hush as she read the book aloud. "And so," she concluded, "as the moral of the story goes, never give up on your dreams. You must have courage and the discipline to follow your dreams, and your dreams will come true." What a wonderful message for the children.
At the end, each child appeared before her, one by one, where the girls curtsied and the boys bowed upon receiving a copy of the book, along with a goodie bag.
All is well in Soulsville these days, aka Harlem. Businesses continue to flourish as Jalissa's, a new lounge, has opened on Lenox Avenue and 133rd Street. Besides big-screen TVs and a cozy atmosphere, there is Motown night on Fridays, football on Mondays and a host of other themes for every other day of the week.
A new bicycle shop has opened just across the street. However, my bike shop of choice is now and forever will be Lil' Don's Bike Shop, Sales, Rentals and Repairs, located on Fifth Avenue and 124th Street across from Marcus Garvey Park.
Just when you think we're doomed, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Celebrating their 35th anniversary with a big bash was Studio in a School. SIAS provides arts education to New York City public school students. Co-chairing the event was Caroline Kennedy; honored were Jeff Koons and Studio President and CEO Tom Cahill. Joel Grey--you know him, Academy and Tony Award-wining actor and photographer, star of both the movie and the play "Cabaret"--served as the evening's master of ceremonies. You will be glad to know that much of the city's elite was there to support the cause.
The Studio was founded by Agnes Gund, who took the bull by the horns when New York budget cuts threatened to cut arts education in the public schools. This was back in the '70s. She, along with good friend Patricia Hewitt--dare I say, of Hewitt Museum fame--absolutely refused to sit by and do nothing. (Speaking of which, if I may digress for just a moment, don't you dare just sit out this year's presidential election, as I understand there are still some preaching not to vote!)