My Spring Break Adventure: The Finale

a crepe filled with blueberries and ice cream

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

After we had a great time in Union Square, enjoying delicious drinks of bubble tea and a great dinner of sushi…next on our adventure was dessert. We had such a long process of trying to figure out what we would have for dessert until we decided to keep the Asian cuisine theme going and wanted to have an Asian dessert. My sisters deliberated on Japanese crepes which I had never really heard of as crepes are typically only viewed as a French dessert. We finally landed on a great location for Japanese crepes which was blocks away from Union Square which made it ideal for a short walking distance, it was a small shop called T-Swirl Crepe.

Their crepes vary greatly from the other typical French as it is made differently and with differing ingredients. Normally, crepes are made from wheat flour to allow it to have more stability to not rip when filling are added to the crepes. Crepes are a diverse type of food as it can be either a meal with savory fillings such as ratatouille, salad, eggs, steak or vegetables; or a dessert with sweet fillings such as whipped cream, custard, ice cream, or fruit. While the Japanese crepes have similar fillings, they are more Asian inspired which incorporates more seafood options in the savory fillings like shrimp or smoked salmon with typical Asian flavors such as Thai chili sauce or peanut dressing. And the sweet fillings include well-known Asian flavors like lychees and matcha infused ice cream or custard. But the crepes are made differently as they are made from rice flour instead of wheat flour which allows the crepes to be completely gluten-free.

a crepe filled with mangoes and raspberries with vanilla pastry cream

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

The Japanese crepe was absolutely delicious as the one that I had ordered was the Mango and Raspberries which is a sweet crepe that is filled with fresh raspberries, sliced fresh mangoes, slivered almonds, chocolate sauce, vanilla yogurt, vanilla pastry cream, and chocolate pearls. It was utterly delicious and one of the best crepes that I have ever tasted. Although, we were enjoying the dessert versions, there were savory options available as a meal. It was a fun occasion to be so immersed into an Asian culture in terms of food. I find that it is always enjoyable to try new things and to learn about other cuisines. This was the first thing that I had eaten that actually was new to me, just as much as it was for my grandmother. All in all, it was a great trip to Manhattan. It was a good experience filled with some amazing eatery choices. A simple trip of spending time with my grandmother and my sisters turned into an expansive culinary event. My grandmother loved trying all the new foods but most of all; she enjoyed spending time with us as we have been so busy that we haven’t really had the chance to have quality time.

5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’

The place you’re currently reading about only exists as a memory. Unfortunately, the fate of this art center is one of the most tragic stories of gentrification I may have ever seen. Decades of graffiti history reduced to rubble for the sake of “affordable housing and retail space.” When I was a kid, every time took the 7 train, I was always amazed at the graffiti I’d see on the building of 5 Pointz before going underground. The mural of the Notorious B.I.G. is iconic, and that image is burned into my brain. This place helped form my love for hip-hop as child. Little did I know, this place was also known as the graffiti center of the entire world. Artists from every corner of the planet would come to leave their mark on any inch of the building they could find. It was called “5 Pointz” because it was the point at which artists from all five boroughs could come and express their love for art and street culture. I’ll never forget when the announcement and eventual destruction of the building came to fruition. It was the pride of Queens, and the pride of perhaps thousands of people around the world, and its physically gone forever. It couldn’t even go away respectfully, one morning, New York City woke up to see white paint covering a portion of the beautiful art, even though demolition wasn’t scheduled for several more months. It was a huge slap to the face, but we fought back by re-drawing over the white paint. But it was hopeless. There’s really no happy ending to this story, but next week I’ll write about a possible resurgence of a new graffiti mecca, right next door to our beloved 5 Pointz. Unfortunately, the urban exploration bug didn’t bite me yet, so I never fully explored 5 Pointz. But I was just getting my feet wet as a photographer, so I snapped some shots on my first camera before it was destroyed. These photos are some of my very first ever.

Humans Of City Tech

“I’m 23 Years old, born and raised in Brooklyn NY. At age 7, I didn’t speak a word of English. In 1997, my parents decided to go back home (to Egypt) forever. I attended Pre-K and Kindergarten in Egypt. 3 years later, they changed their minds and we traveled back to the States. At age 8 I was in 2nd grade. At 13, I transferred Junior High School from public to private school (which was probably the worst investment my parents did). At 18 I graduated High School; I wasn’t popular but I received a Gold Medal in Digital Media and Technology. For the popular kids though, poking fun at a short fat hijabi really tickled their fancy. I’m still insecure, #thanksguys. In 2012 I majored in Graphic Design at City Tech. 2 years later I became a Peer Mentor for Freshmen students and an Executive member of Sigma Alpha Pi, NSLS Honors Students Organization. In 2015 I was Senator of Technology and Design of Student Government Association and a Design Intern at Faculty Commons. A year after I was promoted to be Social Director. I will be graduating with my Bachelors this Spring, 2017. You see, I climbed this latter, never alone though. Never think that you can do everything on your own. Be kind to one another, because Kindness always wins. And if you’re different, that’s good, because it’s better to be different.”

Loubna Aly

Photo credits: @rasheediscool


Brooklyn City RailRoad

In the 1880’s a new roadway system was born for Brooklyn, it was called the Brooklyn City RailRoad (BCRR) and was the oldest and largest railway system of its time. The old headquarters resides on the corner of Furman Street and Old Fulton Street and is still a prominent building although the line’s discontinuance in 1930. Now, the tracks are still partially visible through the cobblestone streets; showing what was there prior to the rise of other means of mass transit. Although the trolleys stopped running, the history of the archaic system remains engrained into the current culture of transit. Just by looking at the rails you see something more than random exposed metal. You are greeted by New York City, they tell you a story in this greeting. “We are strong and resilient,” they elucidate. “Regardless of the harsh winter blizzards, the extreme heat waves of the summer, the constant trampling by FedEx trucks, or people jay-walking passed us, here we lay, as we always did, with pride and tenacity. Like a weed that can never be plucked or a bird that will never cease to grace us with its musical whistle, we stay here to watch as life moves on around us.”

On July 3, 1854 the first route began its loop, the Myrtle Avenue Line ran from the Myrtle Station to a stop adjacent to the Fulton Ferry. The system started as a modified railway for the time; in that particular time space it was called a horseway since the trolleys were horse-drawn. This horsecar trolley ran along the same line that is now the B54 MTA bus. By 1867 there were twelve different routes and approximately twenty-two million people used the transit system. According to a 2015 government data overview, about twenty-two million people use the MTA in just two business days as opposed to the 1867 review. As time progressed, the use of horsecars slowly declined and the rise of streetcars prevailed. By 1897 there were 27 railways that were stationed in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn.

Because of the proximity of the railways, the BCRR headquarters resided along Fulton Street (or as we know it, Old Fulton Street). The building was built in the early 1860’s and controlled/managed the railways. Offices filled the walls, behind the red brick exterior. The molded cast-iron was styled in a neo-classical style, vying to portray the nobility, control, and power that it held in the community. Somewhere along the years of the Depression the business lost its control, commercial use, and patrons and the BCRR eventually declined in popularity to the public.

In 1975 the BCRR was used as a factory until architect, David C. Morton II, took on the project to make the space residential. As of 2009 the building was named a New York Landmark and is currently still used as dwellings.

Some of the rails are still visible through the cobblestones and concrete. If you are interested in seeing it for yourself take a walk down to the corner of Furman Street and Old Fulton Street to see the headquarters, then walk to the corner of Main Street and Plymouth Place to see the old rails that sprout, bevel, and vine their way through the streets; just keep in mind that they are over 150 years old.

Virtues from Motherhood: The People you meet

Throughout your life you’ll meet hundreds if not thousands of people, some significant and some not, but all a part of the mosaic of our lives. As my journey at City Tech enters its final chapter I find myself reflecting on my very different experiences in college. I started my journey in college at John Jay, made a brief stop at Kingsborough and now I find myself here. Every school meant something for me, and occupied a different time in my life. When I arrived at John Jay I still wasn’t sure who I was, let alone what I hoped to find in college and it was a very lonely and turbulent time and I don’t have any fond memories there. At Kingsborough, I was just starting to get my life and my goals back on track so I was more focused on getting what I needed to do, done.

When I got to City Tech though I had a better idea of who I was, I knew I was going to achieve what I set out and I wanted to make the most of my experience here. I made friends the second week I was here, and they’ll be lifelong ones at that. I’ve become a part of so many things on campus, met so many great faculty members and peers as well and that alone is invaluable to me. I found when I opened myself up to new experiences and wasn’t afraid to contribute my voice and ideas, that great things happened, like being a part of The Buzz.

As you move through different chapters of your life, don’t be afraid to stop in and say hello, to your peers, your professors, a nonprofit group, a school program or even a free event. Just say hello, share what you have to give, your great ideas, your voice, your artistic abilities because you never know just how valuable you might be to someone or someplace. I’ve been blogging for over a year now and I have met so many great people, bloggers, advisors and mentors that I will carry on with me even after my time at City Tech ends.

With that I would like to extend my well wishes to Phil Kreniske, who will be leaving The Buzz for another great, and well deserved, opportunity. I wish him well and thank him for him time and contributions with The Buzz and its bloggers, you will be greatly missed.