New year, new restaurants. Look for the grand opening of Cucino Y Vino, located on Lenox Avenue at 131st Street. It’s a little far north of the restaurant hub, but it looks like it will be the next new haunt of those who hang.

Voza Rivers and the New Heritage Theatre Group, in association with Gertrude Jeannette and the H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players, present “The Kitchen.” Currently playing at the Poet’s Den (309 E. 108th St.), the play was written by H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players Artistic Director Roger Parris and directed by Arthur Finch. Sound design is by David D. Wright, who adds an unbelievable dimension to an already incomparable cast and production. The setting is 1958 in a kitchen in Harlem. Once again, Mama has some tough decisions to make. Will she or won’t she? You will have to go to the theater and find out. It’s playing Tuesday through Sunday until Jan. 19. For tickets and schedule information, call 646-502-6562.

Did I say happy anniversary to Dr. Fred Stanton and Marilyn Stanton on their 37th wedding anniversary? I am a little late, but sincere just the same. Fred Stanton gave a toast to his wife with a glass of Dom Pérignon in front of an intimate group of friends who applauded loudly upon hearing Fred Stanton thank his wife “for believing in me.” Awww. Currently, the couple is enjoying spending time with their daughter Felicia and their 1-year-old grandson; that’s such a cute age.

Happy birthday, Harvey Young, who I assume is still living in Florida and still throwing the biggest celebration bash ever. Happy birthday to Genie Street; Bobby Shipp (have you married that girl yet?); the late Durinda Taylor; my dad, Wilbur DeLaney; and Denise Borden Miller.

I received a phone call from the Quinnipac University survey committee asking if I would mind providing them with my opinion by answering a few questions. Asking me to provide my opinion on something—anything—is like asking if the sky is blue. The questions centered around newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio, what I thought of his campaign objectives and promises and the likelihood of him being able to fulfill them.

In short, I gave the mayor a thumbs-up with the hope that he will send the policy makers out into the neighborhoods throughout the city to experience firsthand the conditions under which people live before making decisions that affect those communities.

I always feel that the government has people sitting behind desks who tell others to do this or do that, akin to Mr. Magoo, without having actually experienced for themselves the so-called improvements they had the power to make. While these phantom people pat themselves on the back for making such decisions, the people who have to live by them often are discomforted, to say the least.

Case in point: Seventh Avenue’s newly outlined left-hand turn lanes may be efficient for traffic flow, but why do we have to have the hideous-looking barriers put up to “keep us in line”? It really detracts from the aesthetics, and what are “they” trying to say?

Traffic and the aesthetic beauty surrounding Marcus Garvey Park west has turned into a nightmare since the new traffic control measures have been put into place. Surely a better design could have been implemented to deter any problems. The extreme measures taken seem to have been authorized without any real thought or concern for those who drive by the rules. Obviously, the people who effectuated the change in the traffic pattern don’t live in the neighborhood or travel the route on a regular basis, especially during the morning rush hour.

Lastly, the current traffic light systems need to be replaced. The systems could possibly be the replaced with ones in which there is one signal that allows for pedestrians to cross when no cars are moving and another that permits cars to move when no pedestrians cross, all taking into consideration the bicyclists who are everywhere. What do you think? I’m open.

On this week’s reading list is “The Need to Say No: The Importance of Setting Boundaries in Love, Life & Your World – How to Be Bullish and Not Bullied” by Jill Brooke (hardcover $10.95, Kindle $7.99). According to the author, “Whether in love, work, family or the world, the need to say no is imperative at times. And rather than accepting another transgression or being bullied, learning to set healthy boundaries is essential for our health and well-being at home, in the workplace or the communities in which we live.” Brooke goes on to say, “There is an art to saying no and establishing boundaries.” Not a bad idea.

New year, new ideas. There is a new service in town called Book the Author. This service offers book clubs an opportunity to have the author of the book that the club is reading visit the group at one of their meetings. This will permit the author to speak about their thoughts on the work, as well as the twists and turns that occurred while they were writing the book. There is also a Q-and-A period.

Surely, this adds a new perspective and provides a more enhanced reading experience for the club. To find out more and to see if this is something your club would be interested in, check out the website ( or send an email to

Until next week … kisses