Cosmopolitan Review: 3/16 - 3/22

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 3/16/2017, 11:27 a.m.
OMG! Applebee’s located on the corner of 125th Street and Fifth Avenue lost their lease and are now officially closed.

OMG! Applebee’s located on the corner of 125th Street and Fifth Avenue lost their lease and are now officially closed. I recall the night they first opened. It was jammed pack, shoulder to shoulder. Everyone was there and the passed hor’s d oeuvres were to die for. They had kept the momentum going ever since. Food, friendly service and ambiance was always welcoming. Clean restrooms with the multiple television sets always turned to a game. The establishment will be missed, I’m sure, by many: the after-work crowd, who would come in to sit at the bar and chat with the bartender; those who came to celebrate a birthday, with the wait staff gathering around to sing happy birthday. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Not saying goodbye at all, but hello, is Raw Space. The new cinema-café, special-event venue located at 122nd Street and Seventh Avenue, is open to all creatives who are looking for a raw space to host their productions. The space is well lit, comfortable and, well, a raw space, enabling you to do your thing. Rental rates are reasonable and include 60 chairs, two 6-foot tables, a basic PA system, a video projector, DVD/Blu-ray deck, Wi-Fi and a technician. Most recently, Sonia Sanchez came to town to view a screening of “Harlem Love.”

Celebrating 70 years of sobriety was the St. Nicholas Group, an Alcoholic Anonymous group that is as committed as they are sincere. The group meets at St. Philips Church, 134th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues every Sunday at 4 p.m. and Thursdays at 7 p.m., and they filled the sanctuary to the rafters. The countdown from 70 years of sobriety right down to one day had supporters cheering and pledging to take it one day at a time.

Not quite 70, but gathering just the same, were longtime, way back friends at the retirement party held in honor of Marvin “Hammer” Stevens. Hammer and his brother Kelsey have been coaching girls’ basketball at the Children’s Aid Society, Milbank and Douglas Community Center, and throughout the years have seen many of the young girls go to college on the most coveted basketball scholarships. The guys gathering at Hammer’s retirement party go back to when they were youngsters, most coming out of 122nd Street. Pastimes were spent playing flag football and stickball on a team sponsored by Blumsteins Department Store on 125th Street. Chronicling the groups every move was photographer Carl Nesfield, now deceased. Someone, somewhere must know the whereabouts of Nesfield’s photo collection, which is a treasure.

Also a treasure is the menu at Johnny Kaks Restaurant, located at 143rd Street and Seventh Avenue. It has a little something for everyone. The chef aims to please. Stop by and have a taste. Your first time will not be your last.

If you weren’t at Paris Blues, 121st Street and Seventh Avenue, Friday night, you really missed a show. The three-piece band, with husband on the trumpet, sounding every bit like Miles Davis reincarnate, and wife on the vocals (and castanets for one number), put on an incredible show. Singers and musicians sat in with the band, and guests were treated to a tap dance performance that was—what’s the word?—incredible. Live jazz performances are featured every night, including Sunday. There’s no cover and a two-drink minimum (pssst, the bar maids are heavy handed). A guaranteed good time.