Rockaway Beach

I’m not sure if the tradition of observing Easter Sunday which is followed by a trip to Coney Island is just a Brooklyn ritual but this custom goes far back into the years before my birth. Over the break, I listened to my Grandmother talk about the favored trip to Coney Island like it was so ordinary and usual; “It was normal,” she said “go to church, then go to Coney Island.” She recalled, in a retrospective tone. “Or at least that’s what I did with my kids.” she said reminiscing  about my Mom and Aunt. As a kid I loved the beach; it was always sunny and the water was always cool, but after a while the easy accessible, Coney Island Beach got to be too dangerous. It was consistently polluted with garbage and debris; the worst thing possible to ruin a day at the beach would be to see an empty bag of potato chips pass you by as you wade in the water. For a stint of my childhood that was what Coney Island Beach reduced itself to. Although the beach is a lot cleaner now, whenever my family and I want to go to the beach we jump on the A line and take a short trip to Rockaway Beach.

I have spent years feeling like a bad Brooklynite for being enticed by the peacefulness and cleanliness of the prestigious Queens beach. Of course I have and will always love the Coney Island area, but when you are looking for a little piece of suburban life in the midst of the hustle and bustle of urban New York City, Rockaway Beach is the place to be.

Just as the Canarsie Pier, in the 1600’s the Rockaways were ruled by a Native American tribe until the Dutch exiled them in order to take over the land. Rockaway translates to “sandy place” or “place of our people” in their language. Although different wealthy people tried to proclaim the land as their own and name it after themselves, the term Rockaway reluctantly stuck and is what we call the area today. In the late 1800’s tracks were laid down for a steam railroad and is still used today for the Long Island Rail Road and the A/S MTA lines. The Rockaway Park station opened on August 26, 1880; it closed in 1955 and reopened in 1956 as Rockaway Park–Beach 116th Street.

As we all know, Hurricane Sandy stripped the publicly adored boardwalk which ultimately forced the concrete rebuild of the boardwalk. Although the new boardwalk is a masterpiece all in itself, no one can quite forget the feel of its wooden predecessor.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed the Holidays or just basked in the pleasant warm weather. As the good weather trend continues, try out Rockaway Beach for a trip away from the hectic New York life or go to Coney Island for family fun; both are amazing and are the best places for unforgettable memories.

Join the conversation, What is your favorite beach in New York? What makes it your favorite?


Academic Self-Discovery: Behind The Films

There are two types of Financial Controllers:

A large production company, studio or broadcaster may employ a Production Accountant or qualified Accountant as a Financial Controller, to manage the finances of all of the company’s activities, including those of individual productions.
On larger productions, a freelance Senior Production Accountant may work as a Financial Controller to oversee the work of the Production Accountant and Accounts team.
The role of a Financial Controller is very challenging. They are responsible for controlling the accounting, taxation and financial analysis for all of the work a company does, including development, production and distribution.

Financial Controllers may supervise one or more full-time Assistants. On individual productions, Financial Controllers normally help Producers and Executive Producers to prepare budgets and raise finance, taking into account any relevant Government tax Incentive schemes.

Financial Controllers may undertake some or all of the Production Accountant’s activities. This can include tasks such as controlling cash flow so that payments are made on time and setting up and managing the Accounts team.

Will I need a qualification?
You will need a BA degree in Accountancy to become a qualified Accountant and then to have a number of years’ experience, ideally within film production, media or film finance.

To become a Financial Controller in permanent employment in a production companies you will usually need to be a Chartered Accountant with a solid grounding in company and commercial accounting. Freelance Senior Production Accountants who work as Financial Controllers on large films must have an excellent track record on large film productions.

Broadway Market Co.

The Broadway Market is this really cool marketplace in SoHo that sells just about everything. This is a haven for independent artists and designers to come a sell their creations to the public. It’s huge and filled with weird items and even weirder people, and I love it. Unfortunately, a lot of it’s vendors don’t allow customers to take photos-that just goes to show how weird these items can be, and hopefully adds to the mystique of this place. It’s kind of hidden in plane sight, until you see this weird mime guy in the window trying to lure you in. It works, because I went in. Aside from all the weirdness that takes place at this building, there a lot of cool looking clothes and trinkets to buy, all ranging from relatively expensive to pretty expensive. For clothes, it’s basically a hipster’s dream mall. And as for the trinkets, it’s the perfect spot to pick up a quirky or cool gift for a friend or loved one. The artists, creators and designers are constantly changing, so one week might be weirder than the next, or one week can seem just as normal as any other mall. I’ll show you some of what I managed to captured on camera, but here’s their instagram to get a better look at the marketplace. It’s definitely a place worth stopping by if you’re ever in SoHo.


a tiny camera hanging by wire

A tiny camera I saw at the marketplace. It was smaller than my thumb.

vintage cameras

Part of a wall filled with old vintage film cameras.

a wall display of sunglasses

A few of the hundreds of cool hipster/steampunk sunglasses to choose from.

Humans Of City Tech

“Growing up I always wanted to be a Veterinarian. I have a huge love for animals and ever since I was little I always wanted to help them and learn more about them. When I first started college I majored in Veterinarian Technician. After going to school for a few semesters for that, I realized that I disliked it. I felt crushed, not knowing what to do (since that was my dream). So I ended up changing my major, again and again.  I finally went with Communication Design focusing on Graphic Design. I always liked design and art, so I said why not. Now, I love it! I enjoy designing so much and I am glad I chose this major. Even though I major in Graphic Design and will get my degree in this major, I still try to help animals as much as possible by volunteering at my local shelter. Moral of the story is, sometimes we think we know what we want to do, but life has a way of showing us the right path. You should never stop until you’re satisfied and of course, happy!”
a young woman with dark hair in a teal T-shirtMariaelena Pulgarin

The Famed Confusion of the Macaron

an arrangement of French macarons

Image by: Elena Kovyrzina

There is a dessert that has taken the pastry world by storm in the last couple years and has been widely appreciated in America, resulting in a widely expanding population of pastry shops in the United States. I am talking about the art of the macaron which is one of the most difficult pastries to make and constantly confused for another dessert which is the macaroon.

Macaroons can still consist of ground almonds and are still considered meringues but usually are filled with coconut. Macaroons and macarons are similar but not synonymous as macaroons avoid certain stages that allow macarons to have the distinct delicate texture that most everyone enjoys. Still, there are two versions of macarons as macarons are meringue based; the versions vary based on the regional meringue recipe being used. A macaron can either be made by way of the Italian meringue and the French meringue; both create a different texture of macaron as the French meringue has more fat incorporated into it. Macarons are extremely difficult to make as they cake easily crack or deflate if the directions are not followed exactly as the recipe suggests.

When the macarons are piped, they are usually piped onto a silicone mat such as a silpat which will avoid the meringue from sticking during the drying and baking stage. After the macarons are piped, they are set to dry out to form a crust before they are baked accordingly. Macarons are typically piped into a circular shape but can be an array of other shapes as well like hearts or squares but those are more complex to pipe precisely.

The fillings typically used to sandwich between the two halves of a macaron are buttercream, caramel, ganache, as well as fruit fillings such as curd, jelly, and jam. The process of filling the macarons must be completed in a delicate manner as the meringues can easily crack. Usually, the fillings are piped onto the meringue half rather than being spooned onto it.


Basic Macaron Recipe

emoji macarons

Image by: Erika Low


2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 large egg whites, room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Jam or other filling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place almonds in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.

Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.

Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.

The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add flavoring and food coloring, if desired, and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.

Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.

Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.

With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Humans Of City Tech

“My story? Well where do I even begin?  I am a 19 year old girl who lives in Brooklyn New York. I was adopted at the age four and now I live with a family of 6 and  I couldn’t be more grateful to have them in my life. Everything I am and have is all because of them. They mean the world to me. Because of them I have opportunity to come to college and get my degree. As of small I have always been into singing. Whether it be just for fun or in a choir i would always find so much pleasure in it. As I  got older my love for music grew and it grew to a point where now i’m consumed by it all. I always have to be listening to music or just singing. I always have my headphones on me at all times because there is so much music out there in the world that deserves to be heard. I myself write my own songs. I loved writing a lot of poetry when I was smaller up until now and because of that it really helps me with my songwriting skills. I have performed many times throughout my life and every time I did it was so special and so amazing to be up there and I loved that feeling I get when I’m up there. I found that it helps me express myself and it helps me let people know that this is me and this is what i wanna do. I want to become a singer and hey… yeah…. it might sound silly or impossible but hey…. nothing is impossible if you are willing to go out and work hard for it. Never give up on a dream you have because you can do it. It may not come to you right away but I promise you that if you stay strong and you have some faith in yourself you better believe that your right in your hands waiting for you to let it out and be seen. As for my dream its a struggle at the moment because of my doubt in myself and some other things but…I’m not  going to quit because this is what I really want and nobody or anything is going to stop me.I will conquer the world to become who I know I can be step by step.”

a young woman in a beanie hat and pin-stripe pantsTonniqua Maldonado 

SOMOS el Futuro

On Friday, March 24th through Sunday, March 26th I had the incredible opportunity to attend the SOMOS el Futuro Caucus where I was provided the opportunity to attend various Conference’s, participate in the 2017 New York State Model Senate Project and also attend the evening Gala with Elected Officials.

In addition to myself, students were also invited to attend the collegiate summit which was an opportunity for them to attend/participate in the following activities discussing issues affecting higher education, career development, goal achievement, careers in corporate America and growing STEM fields!

Being provided with the fortuity to meet with Legislators and express to them the importance of funding higher education made me appreciate my institution and all that it has to offer much more.

Also, being surrounded by students whom want nothing but the same as I and more is even more inspirational. What makes things even brighter is that we all come from one University known as the City University of New York.

I encourage all who are currently enrolled in a CUNY school or and school to get involved! Join student organizations and/or free programs. These opportunities will be slim once you graduate and although other doors will open during that time, more can be opened if you expand your horizons now!  

The Fourth Home of the Whitney Museum of American Art

The most recent move that the Whitney Museum has endured is its latest escapade that started in the year of 2010 when Renzo Piano’s design began to be constructed. It resides next to the High Line and patrons from both places are visible to each other. This creates a non-verbal interaction between people; like an extreme version of people watching people. Regardless of its placement, being set among plenty of other larger buildings, it still somehow instills an interplay of inside and outside spaces. The museum is 200,000 square feet which is massive compared to the 82,000 square foot predecessor. The exterior is clad in blue-grey steel panels that reflect and mirror the sky. In the right time of day the building can blend in with its surroundings and become transparent against the sky.

Once you enter the building you are invited by the museum’s shop; which sells books, prints, pins, other kinds of tchotchkes, etc. The elevators are to side; raising people up to the top floor leaving them to walk their way down. I started on the eighth floor and watched as the sun gently poured in through large windows. The light filled the large room, inviting you to stay and observe the art while luring you to go outside. Regardless of the brisk cold air, I felt the need to stay on the terrace; as I took in the spring sun and the sculptures that decorate and live outside. I moved from terrace to terrace, people sprinkled on each level creating a comfortable foot traffic. I continued to navigate through the museum, weaving in and out of the indoor and outdoor spaces until I ultimately reached the end of all the exhibits.

Stairs that connect the terraces.

Sculpture that resides outside

The essence of Whitney’s museum still resides between those walls. The walls are splattered with colors and reminiscent figures; and sculptures gracefully display their physique in the terraces that hover above the building’s footprint. But it all still celebrates American art and what we have to offer the art world. This 107 year old concept has endured through popular despise, fire, four relocations, and some of the worst economic depressions. Only some of these art pioneers were able to see the validity in their work as America ceased its self-loathing period in the art industry. On a regular day you can see many visitors in the Whitney Museum; observing, sketching, reading, or just enjoying each other’s company while sharing their opinions. The art is valued by many and schools use the museum as a resource.

Personally, out of all three homes of the Whitney Museum I like Breuer’s rendition the most; something about massive brutalistic buildings piques my interest. Which was your favorite? What made it you like it?
If you liked the story of the Whitney Museum of American Art, visit the MET (Breuer) and Piano’s Whitney. Admission into the MET is a suggested donation for students, which can be anywhere between $1 to infinity. And the Whitney has reduced price for students.

Life at Sea (Part II)

Docked back onto the ship and took the most relaxing nap. Until I was woken up by the ship rocking. That evening I went out to the Comedy Show with a group of friends of mine located at the back of the ship. All you felt was the ship rocking. The night was long and uncomfortable but the next morning I was able to wake up in the beautiful island of St. Thomas. Took a tour of the island in addition to visiting their cleanest beach. As the days went on I visited three additional islands.

My favorite part of it all was being able to visit different islands with individuals I met on a ship. We became a family. Especially your stewardess aka ‘Housekeeping”. It amazed me how every time I went back in my room my bed was made and I always had fresh towels. And every evening when I will go back in my room there would always be a towel animal made.

Below are some pictures from my trip. My experience cruising was the best! I encourage everyone to go on a cruise. The best way to travel to many islands at once!

During my cruise I stopped by the beautiful island of Turks & Caicos. There I had the amazing opportunity to go zip lining! One of the things on bucket list for the past three years now! I was so excited but nervous at the same time. Climbing up high obstacle courses and zipping through a long line across the shore gave me this rush feeling.
I climb up the first three obstacle courses to get to the top where the zip line was. Zipped through a long zip line to realize that I still had three more obstacles to climb to zip one last time. At this point I was restless but there was no giving up there. I had to move forward in order to get down and in my case, to let the others go by. I zip through the final chord when I got stuck in the middle. Just about everyone’s fear. Stuck in the middle of a zip line, miles and miles above ground. Luckily one of the employees got me and pushed me to the end.

people standing on the platform of a zipline

Virtues from Motherhood: Family is key

When I say family naturally I mean those who are related to you, parents siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, but I also mean people who although absent of biological connection still feel like a family member. The people who’ve known you your entire life, helped raise you or even silently routed for you from the sidelines are the people who see the best in you. People who see the best in you bring out the best in you.

Over the past decade I’ve learned that family really is everything. Though I pushed them away and alienated them in my teen years they’ve still been a constant in my life. At every holiday, birthday party and get together and through every family crisis or hard time they offered a helping hand and a year ago as I walked across the stage to get my first college degree I realized that all the people that I chose over my family were notably absent from my graduation, my family was there. So as my 26th birthday approached I thought more and more about how I wanted to celebrate it. At first to be honest I didn’t really want to celebrate it at all I just wanted to relax after a really long 6 months of working and going to school. After some more thought though and the warm summer sun peaking put I decided I’d throw myself a BBQ and have my family and just handful of friends over to celebrate, laugh and just relax. I could have planned a night on the town and gotten dressed up but I truly did not feel like doing it because not only had I done it for every birthday since I turned 21 I was just lazy.

So I bought some BBQ food, some snacks, a few drinks and got to work. It was the first event I had planned for myself that every person I invited RSVP’d and showed up, it was also the first family gathering where I invited more than one friend and didn’t cringe when everyone co-mingled. It was truly a great experience and so worth the time and money that went into it because instead of a fancy dinner in a room of mostly strangers I was at my house, with my family and friends, enjoying the weather and one another and after I had cleaned up the yard, put away the tables and closed the lights I realized I felt light, happy and I was thankful.

As I’ve gotten older I have learned countless things, sometimes the hard way, but mostly I’ve learned that family is forever and some people despite not being related are family and are stronger forces in your life regardless of how long they’ve been there. Life weaves together this tremendous basket for us, one that keep store our keepsakes in; life lessons, memories, fears and ambitions. In the fabric of that basket, woven deep within the stitches lie the people who’ve helped create the basket, both past and present. However some people weave stronger stitches in our basket than others and are part of our main stays. These are the people I want to celebrate birthdays with and these are the people that make me smile and drag me out of the house when I least feel like it. Though I am far from perfect, no human being is really, I can say that I’m happy with a low key celebration as I age because memories like that will live on for me for years to come. Family is constant, supportive friends are crucial and I am lucky enough to say I have both and for that I’m tremendously thankful.