Aiming for Adventure: Get Your Skills On

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In a neighborhood rich with leaders ready to help children grow, athletically as well as creatively, wintertime activities do not have to be confined to the walls of your home. With a variety of sports, hobbies, and live shows at its disposal, Park Slope has plenty to offer every kind of family in the cold stretch between fall and spring. By Meghan Cook Rolando Balboa, Head Coach at the Brooklyn Fencing Center, is just one of many talented instructors in the neighborhood. Balboa stated that their mission is “to make the fun and excitement of fencing accessible to Brooklynites of…

Park Slope Reading: Our Winter Reading List

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The weather outside is frightful–and we couldn’t be happier for the excuse to stay inside and read. Here are our picks for the Top 10 Books with which to hibernate this winter.  Eat the Apple by Matt Young  This formally inventive memoir by ex-Marine Young comes specially recommended by Community Bookstore’s Ezra Goldstein. Young had only recently graduated from high school when he joined the Marines back in 2005, a decision that would, as Publishers Weekly describes it, change him into a “dangerous and damaged man.” Sections written in the third person, in the second person, as screenplay, and…

The Art of Bookselling • The Reader Interview

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Stephanie Valdez and Ezra Goldstein of Community Bookstore “You’re really catching us on quite a day,” said Stephanie Valdez when I met up with her and Community Bookstore co-owner Ezra Goldstein one afternoon early in December. Not only was the usual holiday rush upon them, there were last-minute children’s book fairs to coordinate (“it’s almost like setting up two more stores”), book orders to be completed without delay, and sniffles to be suppressed as best one could. (All sneezes have been omitted from the following conversation.) Yet the staff was in good cheer. When I arrived, Ezra was standing…

Come On In, The Water’s Fine – at cityWell

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Of all the apartment compromises we make in this city, our poor excuses for bathrooms may be the most egregious. I mean, honestly, where are all of the claw foot tubs? Thankfully, a needed respite from the too-cramped bathroom blues lies off the R train in Gowanus, where Liz Tortolani welcomes you into her boutique bathhouse, cityWell, with open arms and extra fluffy towels.  There was still snow on the ground on the Sunday afternoon scheduled for my hydrotherapy session, two hours set aside for full use of the townhouse-turned-bathhouse’s wet and dry saunas, hot tub, and showers. I…

The Winter Solstice: Blessings of the Returning Light

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The days and hours leading up to the Winter Solstice are the darkest of the year. True, the days following the solstice are just as dark, but the energy is different. After the solstice, the dark gets a tiny bit lighter each day as the world as we know it on the Northern Hemisphere turns toward spring. But now, pre-solstice, we are spinning further and further into the dark. And it’s damn dark out there. The days have shriveled to a skeleton flicker of light. The frozen nights are endless. These are dim, drab times. No flowers, no foliage. No…

Slope Survey: Diana Kane English

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The Slope Survey returns for its 6th installment with Diana Kane English, owner of the Diana Kane Boutique on Fifth Avenue. Among many other things, Diana is the creator of the ubiquitous “feminist” t-shirt that you may have noticed around the neighborhood. What brought you to Park Slope?  Park Slope  was my landing spot in NYC in 1993 because I got to stay in a friend’s apartment while he was away.. then I moved to (gasp!) Manhattan, but I was back in1996 when I met my now husband (his place was bigger than mine). What is your most…

Selfish Dreams

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There’s pivotal moment in every mom’s life after the birth or adoption of her child when she decides she has the space, desire, and need for self-care. This can come in the form of returning to the book by the bedside that’s been there since 36 weeks, or returning to her favorite yoga class.  Unfortunately, for working moms, this moment sometimes comes later, and for me, it came a year after my child was born and I went on my first retreat. From there, I was inspired to head back (reluctantly) to the gym.  And that’s where I met Natasha…

Olivia’s Kitchen: Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna

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I have no memory of where I got this recipe in the first place but I scribbled it on a piece of Japanese stationary at least 12 years ago and have tweaked it over the years to work perfectly for sweet shortcakes. Every time I look at that greasy beat up piece of paper I think “I gotta write that down somewhere where it can’t get lost”. So, now I am… Recipe- Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna Toss 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces with a coating of olive oil and spread in…

EAT LOCAL: MIRIAM – CONTEMPORARY ISRAELI CUISINE

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Chef Rafael Hasid opened Miriam in 2005, naming the contemporary Israeli restaurant after his dear mother. A native of Tel Aviv, his vision was to share his perspectives on what his country’s food really represents: various cultures coming together to create one strong community. Or in this case, taste. When you step into the quaint corner restaurant, the first thing you notice is the colorful, ornate lanterns hanging from the ceiling and the hand painted plates on the walls. The bar is a sort of focal point and displays the extensive wine collection offered to patrons. With mellow music wafting…

Sweeping the Floors of a Yoga Studio or How I Learned to Touch My Toes and Stand on My Head

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Once I was allowed to work at a Yoga Studio in Brooklyn. I say, “allowed” because at the time I was a mess (and that’s putting it lightly). I was trying to stop drinking, trying to stop being sad, trying to stop being in love with every tattooed beauty I met in Prospect Park, trying. I was trying to stop trying. A generous studio owner in Windsor Terrace gave me the opportunity to run the front desk at her Yoga studio a few days a week in exchange for free classes. I could check everyone into the class and then…

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