In the fall, will you fall for me; when leaves begin to fall from the trees? So much is happening this month. The children are finally getting into the school routine, as there is only one holiday this month, Columbus Day. Although it is too soon for me to start talking about Halloween, the Halloween pop-up shop has opened on 125th Street, on the corner of Madison Avenue. The Body Shop, formerly located on 125th Street at Fifth Avenue, has gone out of business.
Speaking of business, I was having breakfast at Applebee’s, and OMG, the music was so loud and crazy, it was ridiculous. If you are thinking of having a business breakfast meeting, don’t go to Applebee’s. I don’t care how good the coffee, whole wheat pancakes and berries with whip cream are. What I fail to understand is why would anybody want to listen to that so-called music so early in the morning? How can you think about the day ahead of you?
Another such shop is the Children’s Place, where the personnel have to yell as they speak to one another to be heard. Again, crazy music, sung by unknown artists, all of whom insist on hitting that high note, which is more like a screech. Refusing to buy anything, I had to run out of the store so quickly for the sake of my sanity, I forgot I could have used my rewards points and a $10 certificate for a purchase.
The Celeste Bartos Forum, located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, served as the setting for the 90th anniversary celebration of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Schomburg became the New York Public Library’s division of Black literature, history and prints in 1925, when they purchased the materials from Arturo Schomburg’s private collection. Eventually moving from its original Brooklyn location to where it now resides at 515 Malcolm X Blvd. and West 135th Street, the Schomburg continues to be a vital resource for Black history.
Honored and presented with the inaugural Schomburg medal were Ursula M. Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation; professor Elizabeth Alexander, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University; Norman Lear; Franklin Thomas, lawyer, former head of the Ford Foundation and currently head of the Study Group; and Vernon Jordan. Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, opened the evening by recognizing the Ford Foundation for its nearly half century of support of the Schomburg. Accepting on behalf of the foundation was Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. Word on the street is Walker is “kind, empathic, friendly, clever, sharp, very well liked with a wide-range of friends, an enthusiasm for getting things done and helping people make the most of their lives.” I rather like that.
Among the 200 women who gathered at a private club to honor supermodel, author, mother, marathon runner, health advocate and humanitarian Christy Turlington Burns with the Champion for Change 2015 award, presented by Women’s Voices for Change for her work as founder of Every Mother Counts, were Shawanda Vickers, Faith Childs and Hilda Hutcherson. Women’s Voices for Change celebrates the power and wisdom of women in the second half of life. To learn more about Women’s Voices for Change, visit www.womensvoicesforchange.org.
Happy birthday to Willa Tatum, Jamie Foster Jackson, Roger Daniels, Langston Williams and my mother-in-law, Julia Viola Mitchell.
Seen enjoying themselves immensely at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Baryshnikov Arts Center during its annual Fall Fete were Anna Deavere Smith and Carmen de Lavallade, wife of the late Geoffrey Holder. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a $3 million donation made by Barry L. Weinstein, chairman of the board of the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation, to create the Rudolf Nureyev Endowment and to name one of BAC’s studios the Rudolf Nureyev Studio.
Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov is the founder of BAC, as it was he who sought to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. Since its opening in 2005, BAC has succeeded in its mission and can be credited with establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists from around the world. Activities include a residency program augmented by a range of professional services, commissions of new work and performances by artists at varying stages of their careers.
Equally important to its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at affordable ticket prices. Funds from the benefit will go to support these programs and activities. If you have ever seen Baryshnikov dance, then you will know why this endeavor is so exciting. Many years ago, Baryshnikov stared in the movie “White Nights” with the late Gregory Hines, in which the artistry of both men was phenomenal. For more information, visit www.bacnyc.org.
The Roosevelt Institute presented their FDR Four Freedoms Award to five distinguished laureates: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was awarded the Freedom Medal for her “decades as a champion of fairness, compassion and equality for all Americans in the eyes of the law”; dancer-choreographer Arthur Mitchell, who received the Freedom of Speech and Expression Medal for his “use of art to transcend boundaries”; Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, who was awarded the Freedom From Want Medal for her “groundbreaking diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in underserved communities”; the Rev. Dr. William Barber, who received the Freedom of Worship Medal for “his work building progressive coalitions in his native North Carolina and across the country”; and Katrina vanden Heuvel, on behalf of The Nation magazine, which was awarded the Freedom From Fear Medal for its commitment and dedication to truth-telling by covering difficult, substantive and relevant new stories.”
The Four Freedoms Awards have been presented in alternating years by the Roosevelt Institute in the U.S. and Roosevelt Stichting in the Netherlands since 1963. Past recipients include South African President Nelson Mandela, Coretta Scott King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama. The event was held at St. James Church on Madison Avenue at 71st Street.
Back uptown, now that the number of pets has increased dramatically with the onslaught of gentrification, a veterinary hospital has opened on the second floor of the building located on Seventh Avenue at 127th Street, where Trevor’s Locksmith was once located.
Xi Phi is gearing up for its Historically Black College Tour, which will be held in February 2016 during winter break, for high school students, grades 9-12. HBCs from Tuskegee University in Alabama to Howard University in Washington, D.C. will be part of the tour. To participate, student’s must first register and attend a series of workshops that will be held in preparation for the tour. In other words, you can’t just show up and jump on the bus. Although there are plenty of seats, organizers want to prepare the students first for the trip. Attendance and participation in the workshops will be used to determine the level of the student’s intent and desire to go to college, which is all that is really required. To learn more, go to xiphichapter.com.
Until next week … kisses.