All About Cupcakes

December 12th, 2010 by Brooks Newkirk

The cupcakes that filled the upstairs room at the Brooklyn Winery Tuesday night, Dec. 7, were not regular cupcakes. No plain chocolate or vanilla in sight. These were the royalty of all cupcakes.

The people that gathered there were not regular people— they were cupcake-frosting-sprinkley-crazed people. And they were there to celebrate the queens of their obsession, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Nichelle Stephens, and the sixth anniversary of their über-popular cupcake blog, Cupcakes Take The Cake.

This is a moment Bussel and Stephens, who are not professional bakers, but “professional eaters” as they put it, never imagined would happen when they took their love for baking, photographing and eating the sweet treat to the Internet in 2004.

Cupcakes: Part I by bnnewkirk

Each day, Bussel and Stephens along with their five contributing bloggers update the blog with photos, recipes and reviews of new cupcake bakeries. Their dedication to their craft has garnered them a loyal following of more than 2,600 Facebook fans and over half a million visitors to their blog each month. Stephens, who has started several blogs in the past, says she never thought the cupcake blog would get this big.

Cupcakes: Part II by bnnewkirk

As Cupcakes Take the Cake continues to grow in popularity and Bussel and Stephens personal fame grows, they’ve been featured on “The Today Show” and “Martha Stewart” to talk about cupcakes, they’re still amazed at the blog’s success. And at the dedication of their readers.

Cupcakes: Part III by bnnewkirk

Nation’s Fastest High School Runners Go For a Walk

December 12th, 2010 by Geoffrey Decker

The day before the 32nd annual Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships, the 40 fastest boys and girls from all over the country got a chance to visit the daunting Balboa Park cross country course in San Diego. It’s become as much of a tradition as the race itself and several of the sport’s top athletes, who got their start at this race when they were in high school, came back to lead them on the course.

Portrait of a Photographer

December 12th, 2010 by An Phung

In a brightly lit room on the third floor at Coney Island Hospital, the photographer Anthony Bonair sat in a chair by the window and ate his lunch out of a beige colored tray filled with savory meat and vegetables.

The nurse who served it to him took a small sample of blood from his index finger to check his sugar levels. Bonair talked right through the whole process and didn’t seem phased by being poked or prodded. Maybe it’s because this is his ninth hospital visit since his kidneys failed in January 2008. He undergoes dialysis treatment three times a week. To further compound his problems, Mr. Bonair is nursing two wounds: one from a bicycle accident a year ago and one from a recent spill in his home. And just two weeks ago, he had surgery for a biopsy of his liver.

This portrait of Bonair is a stark contrast to his active past as a photographer. But his range of life experiences, from health to sickness and from accountant to photographer, is no different from the range of subjects he captures on film.

Even with an unfortunate bill of health, Mr. Bonair isn’t giving up.

“This has been the roughest that I’ve been. But there is a lot that I would like to do,” said Bonair.

This determination to persevere is not unusual for the 65-year-old photographer. He approaches almost every challenge and project with the same fervor and passion. Even in his current state, he manages the marketing for his exhibit currently on display at The Skylight Gallery in The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza. He spends his days in physical therapy, dialysis treatment and on the phone talking to art collectors who he hopes will buy his work. He is both a sick patient and a shrewd businessman.

The current exhibit at The Skylight Gallery, entitled “Carnival Masqueraders,” is a reminder of his boyhood in Trinidad where his father created costumes and participated in Carnival parades. The collection of 20 images depicts Caribbean carnival culture and costumes in Brooklyn. Bonair worked with Dulcie Ingleton to curate the photos.

He recalls memories of how the colorful and ornate costumes were destroyed when the carnival event was over. He saw the same thing happen when he watched the carnival parades in Brooklyn as an adult.

The 16 x 20 photographs line the walls of The Skylight Gallery in Bedford Stuyvensant. Colorful and flamboyant costumes with feathers, beads, glitter, seashells, metallic accents and chromatic paint reflect a culture of life, brightness and celebration that Bonair wants others to remember about Trinidad. Two mannequins don costumes that give a three-dimensional sense of what the costumes looked like.

“The impetus for this exhibit was to preserve, photographically, what this carnival culture was all about, “ said Ingleton.

Anthony Bonair reflected on some memorable “firsts” in his life.

The first time he took photographs:
The Pest

His first photographic subject:
Ignited by Dance

His mentorship with the award-winning Roy DeCarava:
Roy DeCarava

Tribeca water main construction

December 11th, 2010 by Chase Lindsay Rosen

The City of New York is working to update its water system and is undergoing serious construction in certain areas of Manhattan. One area that’s being torn apart is on Hudson Street in Tribeca. The project began in August 2010 is not expected to be complete until Winter 2015.

As a result, pedestrian access is limited, business owners are losing street visibility, parking garages are being blocked, parking is limited, an M20 bus stop was lost and traffic to and from the Holland Tunnel is perpetually congested.

The project is currently in phase 2 and construction is running from Laight Street to Hubert Street. In a recent CB1 meeting, residents and business owners joined to raise awareness of the project and it’s effects. The DDC’s (Department of Design and Construction) urges CB1 residents to reach out to Karen Butler (hudsonstprojectccl@gmail.com), the project community liaison, if you have any questions or concerns. You can also check here for updates.


View Tribeca Water Main Construction in a larger map

William Ivey Long: The motivation to continue to work, even five Tony Awards later

December 6th, 2010 by Chase Lindsay Rosen

William Ivey Long is a five time Tony Award winning costume designer and is currently working on his 60th production, ‘Catch Me If You Can.’ He has designed costumes for everything and everyone all across the globe — from Chicago and Guys and Dolls to Siegfried and Roy to Mick Jagger, Mr. Long is a fascinating man who is full of stories, passion and humor.

Long plays a large role in the creation of characters and is very respected in both the fashion and theater industries. And, with even 60 successful productions, a non-profit organization in his hometown in North Carolina and five Tony Awards under his belt, William Ivey Long does not plan on stopping anytime soon.

But what is it that keeps him going? The fame? The joy of working with world class actors? The process of designing intricate costumes after months of design and prototypes? It’s much more simple than that.

A Book Signing for Young and Old, Chicken and Cow

December 6th, 2010 by Bianca Seidman

Sandra Boynton, well-known children’s book author, illustrator and queen of her own merchandise kingdom of offbeat animals, launched her new book, “Amazing Cows,” at Books of Wonder on 18th Street this Saturday. It was a rare appearance for the prolific author who has over 20 million copies of her 47 books in print–quite an accomplishment for someone who describes herself as an, “exuberant, unfocused creative sort.”

Boynton doesn’t need a book tour at this point in her career. Her illustrations and even the font of her signature are widely recognized.  She says she finds book signing events, “fun, but a little overwhelming.”  As a self-described six-year-old since 1959, she had an uncharacteristically serious reason for promoting her new book this way.

“I’d never done an event at Books of Wonder before,” she said. “It’s a fabulous and important store. Bookstores are not thriving these days, and since I believe in books and bookstores, and since three of my children now live in New York City, it seemed like the perfect convergence of things.”

A mass of children smitten by her silliness and parents who were just as starstruck, filled the independent bookstore that shares its space with the Cupcake Cafe. The event effectively took over the popular Chelsea children’s spot with a massive display of Boynton’s books and illustrations, as well as entertainment and crafts. It wasn’t for the average bear, especially since it was mostly about cows–and some chickens.

View the slideshow below to see and hear moments from the event and hear thoughts from adults and kids who count themselves as Boyton fans. Attendees, like Jessica Kirk, offer thoughts about Sandra Boyton’s career and Allan Bennington, Manager of Books of Wonder, talks about his experience working with the author.

The 2010 Gotham Girls Roller Derby Five Borough Furies Awards

December 6th, 2010 by Paul DeBenedetto

And the museum became a dancefloor

December 6th, 2010 by Edouard de Mareschal

On the first Saturday of each month, the Brooklyn Museum hosts live music, performances and workshops from 5pm to 11pm. Everyone is welcome and everything is free (except food and drinks). Last Saturday was Ladies Night at the Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturday: a celebration of women’s stories from around the world inspired by the exhibition Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968.

This is how it looked like:

The Prince of 125th and Lexington

December 6th, 2010 by Kahliah Laney

Prince Arala Osula has no lavish palace but rules the downtown train platform at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. If you’ve taken a four, five or six train, headed downtown from that stop, you have probably heard him. And if you had a hankering for some reggae or rock that day, you may have even spoken with him.

Prince isn’t into performing just to get the royal treatment. He claims he was called by God to play not just at 125th and Lexington, but specifically to play on the downtown platform. Whether it was a calling from God or the desire to be discovered, Prince is serious about his work.

He’s been at the station for five years and has regulars. Fans range from school kids to the New York Police who Prince ubiquitously calls “Finest”. But Prince also welcomes tourist and often has a song from a visitor’s native country.

Here is a brief “backstage” tour with Prince. 

Happy Hanukah – or is it Chanukah?

December 6th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

Rabbi Mendel Bendet and his brother Samuel have recently brought their faith from Brooklyn to northeast Pennsylvania – a predominantly Christian area with a small Jewish population (most of which also come from Brooklyn). In an attempt to galvanize this underrepresented population, the Bendet’s hold a public Menorah lighting every year while leading the group in song and prayer.