Life In The Fast Lane

Ever wanted to drive around a luxurious car? You know, like a Ferrari or Lamborghini? Well you’re not the only one!

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 is for me to get my driver’s license. So far I have my permit. Although I live in Manhattan – the city with NO PARKING, I feel like you having a driver’s license puts you at an advantage for many things such as racing around in a Ferrari or Lamborghini!!

Last year for father’s day my sister in law purchased an event on group-on where my brother got to choose between a Ferrari or Lamborghini and drove around a racing track three times. It was such a thrilling moment! Even though I wasn’t the one behind the wheel, seeing everyone so excited to race around and seeing these luxurious race cars gave me the “UMPH” to get my license so that I could do this. Especially since I LOVE cars and my favorite race car is a Lamborghini!!

Right now, living social has a deal where you can get a luxurious experience driving around in a Ferrari or Lamborghini in MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)! I recommend everyone with a driver’s license to do this! Even though I haven’t done it yet, I do plan on it and my brother said it was an amazing experience and he’ll do it again!

two sports cars

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, my brother drove in the Ferrari!

An Adventurous Journey to NYC Underground

One of the major things that keeps New York City moving is its subway. The city’s public transportation system is crucial to its everyday’s life and it is the greatest asset in helping people to circulate and commute in the city. Waiting for the train, struggling to find a seat, and encountering subway performers while being in a place with complete strangers, is all part of the subway experience. Certainly there is nothing like it, even though some New Yorkers pretend it is possibly the worst thing on earth, they surely know that they wouldn’t survive without it.

Humans of Cuny comes back, featuring a New York City College of Technology student, talking about his experience taking the subway.


The wondrous sunset vividly animating the sky, awarded the commuters below with a beautiful sight while patiently waiting for the arrival of the train.

High Elevated Platform SunsetPhoto taken at Broadway Junction


And suddenly arriving, is the very much anticipated train skating over the electric railway, to gather its new passengers for the long journey ahead to the underground.

Ariving TrainPhoto taken at Broadway Junction


This subway car is the chosen one for the journey; it’s so vast it seems as it stretches deeper than the eye can see. Nevertheless, in seconds it will be bombarded with passengers fighting for a place of their own in order to take part in this new adventure.

A NYC Train CarPhoto taken at Lexington Avenue / 59th Street Station


Now trapped to another world; a world with strangers, but certainly greatly animated by subway performers. Whether they dance, sing or do magic tricks, they can certainly make the journey enjoyable until the final destination is reached.

Leaving Train Photo taken at Jamaica Center


Humans of Cuny

“What do you like the most about NYC subway?”

“The diversity, all the different types of people you see, from all social classes and all races. Of all the subway lines my favorite line is the E train because, it passes by my high school and it brings up a lot of amazing memories.”

a young man in a capPhoto taken at New York City College of Technology


The Best Cold Weather Foods

It’s no surprise that this month has been nothing, but an icebox outside. However, this icebox-like weather shouldn’t put a crimp in your food plans. If anything, this freezing month and weather means it’s the perfect time to embrace and enjoy hot, hearty, and comforting foods.

I’ve compiled a list of warm, mouth-watering deliciousness you can bask in during these subzero temperatures at least until spring is finally in the air. All of these foods make for a great idea on any cold day or night.

a food dish

Chicken pot pie is a true, classical, and harmonious comfort food. This is the chicken pot pie I made in my Culinary 2 class last semester. It’s a completely different version of the chicken pot pie you may be used to seeing. I really enjoyed this version of the chicken pot pie because it was based from my own creativity, but also because it’s a feel-good dish!

food dishes

Hot Pot is definitely one of my favorite style of cooking and eating. If you don’t know what hot pot is, it’s really simple because all it is really is a simmering metal pot of stock and ingredients are placed into the pot and cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meats, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, dumplings, seafood, and much more. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. Hot pot is commonly eaten in the winter during dinner time.

I love hot pot because it’s considered to be healthier, it’s a feel-good dish and style of cooking, and versatile. Hot pot is especially more fun when your doing it with family or friends.


Pho is a classical Vietnamese noodle soup and specialty of a number of restaurants. It consists of  an amazing broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. It’s primarily served with either beef or chicken. It can be garnished with lime, bean sprouts, cilantro, and cinnamon basil. The broth is heaven! It’s full of beef and herb-like aromas and absolutely Vietnamese comfort food.

a food dish

Every once in a while, I crave for Cuban cuisine and I usually would order a hearty beef stew with rice and beans. I love it when the beef stew are big and juicy and the sauce is drenched over the rice and beans which makes it more exciting and enjoyable! There’s nothing like staying warm with a warm and tasty dish!


If you haven’t noticed by now the popularity of ramen is booming! The truth is ramen has always been around, but after it’s booming that’s when I really developed a love and excitement for ramen. It’s become a comfort food and a food that many have learned to appreciate and admire because not only is it delicious and savory, but ramen is a process and layers of different flavors and textures.


Another food that is perfect for a chilly winter day is a bowl of creamy, velvety grits. I’ve had grits 2-3 times in the past two or three years and not only will it fill you up, but it’s real a pleasure to eat. There’s no real taste to grits like oatmeal unless you add in your own flavoring, foods, and garnishments. Wouldn’t you want to have a hot bowl of creamy goodness in front of your face right now?


These are soup dumplings also known as xiao long bao. They are traditionally filled with pork and a solid meat aspic. When you take your first few bites into the xiao long bao, a savory pork soup will explode in your mouth. Xiao long bao is best consumed when hot.

I hope you’ve found this list of foods to be helpful especially with the days we have left of this frigid weather. If you haven’t tried any of these yet, I think you should at least it give a shot at least once and see if you may enjoy it.

What kinds of foods do you enjoy in the cold weather?


You think capturing sunsets are beautiful? Try when it snows. Nature is at its best when snowflakes drop on branches, rocks and pavements. Creating a heavenly scenery.
I guess by now you have figured out my euphoria when we had the “Blizzard”. And I do speak for other photographers besides myself.
“Shooting”( a term commonly used by photographers) when it snows or in areas that is covered with snow, creates a scenic atmosphere. Which allows you to be more creative with your images and creates illusions. With that being said I have included a few of my breathing moments.

snow falling

“Advice is like snow-the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  East NY, Brooklyn 8:18pm


snowy rocks

“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.” – Unknown.  Central Park, NY 3:57pm


a snowy forest

“Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers” – Unknown.  Central Park, NY 3:59


snow falling

“The power of imagination created the illusion that my vision went much further than the naked eye can actually see” – Nelson Mandela.  East NY, Brooklyn 8:47pm

“Don’t Take it Personal”

six runway models

Boston FW by Luke Aaron/Jenny via CC license

February isn’t only Black History Month or a time for award and sport shows. It’s also about FASHION. This Winter’s month is when designers and artist show their latest styles for Summer, creating a constant flow of castings and events.

I have been modeling since Winter 2010 and partaking in entertainment since youth. I’ve appeared on local television, national television, independent films, and local modeling/fashion circuits. Now-a-days I cherish the few gigs, or jobs, I obtain here and there, especially being enrolled full-time. (Fun fact: I will be in the CityTech’s Spring Production “the falling Sparrow”)

.                         704664_10151360682268921_2078211220_o                      a model

 Amoni B | Photography Credits L-R  Garden of Bathsheba & Entertainment Vibes

Last year I joined a booking agency for natural hair models. They emailed about a casting for $500-$1000 to be apart of a DVD or Webcast. Models allowed to attend would be considered for the job. I was confirmed and I was excited! I even avoided getting my hair done with my newly purchased internationally imported hair wefts.

I went to the casting after class, traveling to Lower Manhattan Gansevorts’ Meatpacking District on the West side near 14th street. It was snowing, I was cold, I got semi-lost, yet very determined. I managed to arrive before call time. To my surprise, because of the STORM, the casting was delayed. I canceled my sub-sequential appointments.

Models of various shapes and sizes poured into the mini elevator, then headed to the penthouse suite. I saw some familiar faces and several new ones. There were models conversing with new found friends; models sitting on couches dreaming away; models standing against walls; models sitting and gazing at those walls; models on their phones avoiding looking up at the surroundings, models preparing their newly painted masks in the restrooms, models changing garments from their winter-barriers to runway ready attire, and models disappearing due to the wait.

A couple of hours later, a male appeared. He laughed at the site and asked for some more organization. He separated us by our current hair length: those with long hair went to the right and those with hair above the shoulder went to the left. Having my hair in its tightly curly state I went to the left. He disappeared and there was a large waves of chatter. 20 minutes later he reappeared with a female companion. She further grouped us by hair color: brunettes to the right; blondes to the left; red heads to the back center; those with bobs or who will cut their hair to the back left; an those who would color their hair in any of the previously mentioned go to that group. I didn’t want to cut my hair so I went to the rouges, showing an open mind. The pair looked in the crowd of eager faces. They walked the room choosing those they saw fit. They ran their hands in models’ heads before putting them on a lifted platform.  They disappeared and deliberated, upon returning they dismissed us. Of the 30 models on stage, all were female, Caucasian, long hair, straight, maybe with a slight wave on some. Most were brunettes, 3 blondes, and one model had short gray hair in a bob.

two models

Backstage by Barnadette via CC license

The minorities looked at each other and at those on the platform. Some faces looked upset, others looked used to the turn out, and other visages remained blissful. I hoped at least one any minority, long or short, straight or curled, would be chosen. I felt even though we was allowed to attend this “equal opportunity” casting, there wasn’t an authentic place for us.

When leaving, it was as if we were on 42nd street during rush hour packed in a cramped corridor. People went to the elevator and some searched for stairs. While I waited online for the elevator, a feminine Greek-like statuesque consoled her tribal match, yet curly red-haired friend. She said, “Don’t take it personal… they usually go for people with straight hair. I’ve been chosen several times before when my hair has straight so I won’t [take it personal].”

I was conflicted. I was taking it personal. I thought of how I was screened for the casting and had hopes of being chosen. I thought of discrimination. I thought of being of color during Black History Month. I thought of breaking out of the African-American circuit and being internationally accepted. I thought of straightening my hair.

QUESTIONS TO THE PUBLIC: Do you feel there is a STILL a gap in the beauty industry?  |  Have you partook in fashion shows, what was the casting process?  |   What is your take on Mercedes Benz Fashion Week vs. Couture Fashion Week vs. Brooklyn Fashion Week vs. Urban Fashion Week?  |  Should models take castings personal or should the artist choose their subjects?  |  Should castings be regulated?

a young woman

Amoni B by Heaven Sent Photography

Does MTA Hate Us?

a pile of metro cards

Well it’s that time again…..the MTA has once again raised the cost of a MetroCard, by 25 cents. Meaning, a single ride will go from $2.50 to $2.75.

But the news gets worse. The weekly MetroCard will go up an entire $1 from $30 to $31, while the monthly MetroCard will increase from $112 to $116.50.

As someone that’s a full time student, and works, I rely heavily on the MTA. And while 25 cents or a whole $1 doesn’t sound much, it adds up!!! A good chunk of my paycheck will now be going to the MTA……then again that’s probably exactly what they want. They obviously don’t have the people’s best interest in mind, with all these increases.

But wait, the MTA has blessed us with so called “good” news. Bonuses will increase to 11 percent for every $5.50 spent!!! Currently, riders get 5% bonus for every $5 spent. Now doesn’t that make up for ANOTHER fare hike….

The hike will take effect on March 22, so we have a little over a month to get ready  and start preparing our wallets.

At this point, I think it’ll just be easier to buy a car….

The Earth From Above

I have always been fascinated by mountains, by their heights, their shape and the breathtaking views they project. I am going to take you guys on a journey to Haiti which is one of the best places in the world to see this natural phenomena. The country is surrounded by mountains, its name was given by the native Indians and it means high lands and Beautiful mountains.



Hiding comfortably under the clouds, this splendid sight is only witnessable from above of the earth.

Cloudy MountainsPhoto taken in Port-au-Prince Haiti


One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure. Don’t just live in the world, explore it and find a place that is yours.

Bushy MountainsPhoto taken in Grand-Anse Haiti


Look deep as far as your eyes can see, there is always one last mountain chain waving at you.

Mountain ChainPhoto taken in Grand-Anse Haiti


Only up there, one can have a glance of the city by witnessing its corners all at once.

Port-au-PrincePhoto taken in Port-au-Prince Haiti


Getting Experience

Hi, my name is Mandy and I will be blogging personal stories of City Tech students along with a quote/word that inspired or helped them through hard times. (This is somewhat similar to The Humans of New York). The post will be consisted of the students’ story in their own words followed by their name, age, and major. The quote will then be hand-lettered by me on a wallet-sized card to be given to the storyteller, to remind them that these quotes/words could be powerful.


a card that says "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want."

“Last semester I had senior project and an internship at an acting school. For senior project I was nervous but confident because I had a pretty good idea of how it what going to work out and for my internship I knew a couple of people going in so I didn’t sweat it much. The semester actually started good and I was making great progress on my project until I hit a bump of sorts. It was during a meeting with my professor and I had been proud of my work so far I showed him my work and that’s when it happened – I was off – proportions of all my figures were way off. Normally I’d brush it off and go relearn again but this was senior project; this was the end all be all or at least that is the weight you feel when you go in. I didn’t have time to relearn or redraw I had to learn on the fly or I’d probably fail hardcore. Failure was weighing on me – I freaked out. I was so bad that every figure I drew afterwards was so off and they kept getting worse. In the midst of my breakdown my advising professor really helped me out if it. He was always honest with me not wanting to sugar coat the toughness of the industry I was walking into. He told me that this profession (the arts; no matter what form) has its challenges, pitfalls and days were you want to break down but it’s how you come out of those days that determine how you’ll do in this industry. His little pep talk meant a lot to me. I dragged myself out of wallowing and made it through my senior project fairly well. The year didn’t turn out as I had planned but I’ve learned that “experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want”. Full digression I got that last one from a fortune cookie.”

Name: C. R.
Age: 23
Major: Illustration

Soul Searching

Hey guys. As you’ve read in my last post, sunset and clouds are what really made me fall in love with photography. I have included a few of the images that captured my heart when I just started out.


a sunset

A fire ignited within her soul, subconsciously, was it the way the shutter button went off? Or was it the breathtaking sunset? Grand Anse Grenada W.I. 5:42pm


the sky

As she looked up to the sky, she became breathless. There it was again, that ignition. This time it was the variety of clouds that took her breath way. Circular Drive, Grenada W.I.  4:15pm

a sunset

As the years past by, she kept on searching. Searching for something she thought was unreachable. And then it happened again, her perspective changed completely. she fell in love with sunset. I love you sunset! Manhattan Beach, NY. 4:40pm


colored clouds

With her head in the clouds, she has never felt so free and alive before.  She had finally solved her own puzzle. Perseverance, passion and patience was all it took. Never give up on your passion! Manhattan Beach, NY. 4:42pm

Beginner’s Molecular Gastronomy

Hello, my name is Brianna Vasquez and I am a sophomore, majoring in hospitality management at New York City College of Technology. I am in love with all subjects pertaining to food and its innovations that are trending in the culinary world since I aspire to become a pastry chef. But I wanted to share easy gourmet dishes that can be made from the items you most likely already have at home in the fridge or pantry. I am overly obsessed with molecular gastronomy which is a food practice that applies scientific principles to the improvement of food by different techniques and ingredients. It can affect the texture, color, shape, and flavor of the food item. Molecular gastronomy has gotten so popular that it now provides kits for professional chefs and home cooks to use which can be expensive ranging from $30-$350 depending on what is offered in each kit. It is an expensive practice due to the gourmet ingredients used like xanthan gum that is not readily available in local supermarkets. Nevertheless, I wanted to share an inexpensive recipe for molecular gastronomy spherification which is commonly used as a garnish that can allow you to feel like a Michelin star chef in quality without spending a lot of cash.

Here’s the Recipe for Gelatin “Caviar”:

But first is some basic information when making gelatin caviar is

1.  Choose strong flavors such a strong brewed coffee or balsamic vinegar that can be easily tasted due to their potent flavors.

2. Choose an oil whether vegetable (which is what I recommend since it is more versatile and readily available) or grape seed. Don’t use olive oil or coconut oil and other oils that can easily solidify. Since the oil must be cold in order form the caviar to solidify into its pearl-like shape. The oil can either be put in the freezer for an hour but preferably overnight to chill or be placed in an ice bath.

3. Choose what tool to drop with whether a plastic squeeze bottle (which is what I used), a culinary syringe, or an eye dropper in order to drop the liquid into the oil.

edible pink and blue pearls

Image by ckubber via Flickr








Gelatin “Caviar”

Yield: about 3/4 cup caviar
Special equipment:
Plastic squeeze bottle, unused medicine dropper (pipet) or culinary syringe
Mesh sieve
2-3 cups vegetable oil
2 – 1/4 oz. packages powdered gelatin (or 4 teaspoons) {** if making, a vegan version, replace the powdered gelatin for powdered agar agar for the same measure}
3 tablespoons cold water
3 fluid oz. hot liquid (1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp) i.e. hot coffee, or other liquid heated on the stove-top or in microwave
1/4 cup salt for water bath

1.Place oil in a 9×13-inch metal pan (or similar size) and store in refrigerator overnight. The oil must be very cold for the gelatin to set properly.

2.In a medium bowl mix the gelatin and water until thoroughly combined and no lumps of gelatin remain. Let stand while you prepare the hot liquid.

3.Warm 3 oz. liquid on the stove-top or in a microwave until very hot but not boiling. Pour liquid over set gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is melted.  This may take a few minutes and you can break up the gelatin with a spoon for quicker dissolve.

4.When gelatin is completely melted transfer liquid to a squeeze bottle. You can also leave the mixture in the bowl and use a medicine dropper or syringe to draw the liquid for dropping.

5.Let the mixture stand for a few minutes, if it’s too hot the gelatin will not set properly and the “caviar” will be misshapen. It should be just barely warm – almost room temperature.

6.While you wait for your mixture to cool, prepare the oil for the ice bath. Transfer chilled oil to a 1 quart container (preferably metal because it will aid cooling, but glass will work too).  Prepare the ice bath. Make sure the bowl you are using for the ice bath is larger than the container holding the oil.  Fill bowl with ice and then add water until the bowl is two-thirds filled. Add 1/4 cup salt and stir until mixed.  Rest the container of oil inside the water bath.

coffee liquid dripping from syringe

Image by Two Helmets Cooking via Flickr

7. Begin dropping gelatin mixture into the cold oil, 1-3 drips at a time. The amount of drips will vary according to the viscosity of the oil and type of dropper you use.  As you can see in the video it took three drops for one caviar pearl to form. You’ll know the correct amount when the mixture forms a ball that rests on the surface for a moment then sinks to the bottom.

8.When half the  mixture has been used, wait for 3-5 minutes then scoop the caviar into a mesh sieve to drain. Place caviar in an air-tight container or a canning jar with a screw-tight lid. Resume dropping the gelatin mixture into the cold oil until all of the mixture is used.

9.Personal note: I was too slow, so a little of my mixture solidified before I could pipe it all. Try to be quick but don’t stress. I still had plenty of caviar at the end.

10.When finished, place caviar in a canning jar or in an air-tight container with a little of the oil poured over top. This may sound weird or gross, but it keeps the caviar moist for up to a week.  Plus, if you don’t like the idea of oil being on the caviar you can rinse it in a sieve under cold water before placing on the dessert.

11.When stored with a little oil poured over and placed in an air-tight container the caviar will keep for up to 10 days.