Multi-Platinum Artist Fabolous Is All About The Stepping Stones in his hometown of Brooklyn

Ask any Brooklynite what’s the best thing about their borough and they’ll likely say, “EVERYTHING!”

We at  crownheightsmom will have to agree. In fact, no matter the season something fun is always  happening across the borough of Brooklyn.

Annual events from the  Cherry Blossom Sakura Matsuri Festival  at  the Brooklyn Botanic Garden  to the highly in demand monthly Target  First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum of Art   are the most talked about but on any given day there is always  something happening here. In fact, when it comes to putting its culture on display  Brooklyn hands down seems to be doing it best.

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 Japanese Culture at Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival  at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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A Traditional Geisha at the Sakura Matsuri Festival at BBG in 2016

That’s why  when we found out about  the  second annual  Central Brooklyn Arts  & Culture Weekend  which took place June 10th and 11th along the famed Eastern Parkway we had to go. It was a  fun weekend spent out with the kids and was celebrated with a movie night  happening on Saturday  and an outdoors street festival showcasing the best of the borough’s foods, arts,  crafts,  culture and contributors occurring on Sunday.

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A Flyer of the 2-day event celebrating Central Brooklyn

At the outdoor street festival  on June 11 the festivities kicked off with Borough President, Eric Adams   honoring   two outstanding talents from Brooklyn — multi platinum MC and Hip-Hop artist, John “Fabolous” Jackson and the late, world renowned abstract artist and Neo-Expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat, (whose  family represented for him).

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Rapper Fabolous receives the Key to Brooklyn from Borough President Eric Adams

Both Fab and Basquiat(posthumously) were  awarded   with the “Keys to Brooklyn” and  bestowed with individual stepping  stones inscribed with their names  and placed within the  Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s famed Celebrity Path.  The two sons of Brooklyn are now counted along the celebrity walkway amongst 160 others famous Brooklynites  past and present including  poets, performers,  artists, and athletes who lived or were born in the borough and  all made outstanding contributions to  the borough.

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Fabolous strikes a pose with Borough President Eric Adams next to his inscribed stepping stone in the Celebrity Path at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

 

The outdoor street festival  saw  locals, families  and visiting tourists  coming out to  rejoice in the arts, foods and culture along Eastern Parkway .

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Brooklyn residents check out the vendors along Eastern Parkway

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Seafood lovers were all about getting their  boxed food at Catch It

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The Brooklyn Museum brought its arts outdoors while a balloon vendor brings smiles to faces

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It was all about the sweet kernels at Kettle Korn

My 9-year old son had a blast checking out the vendors and the performances as well as  tasting some of the delicious food options on sale. He definitely liked the roasted corn which he eagerly covered in butter and a hefty shaking of parmesan cheese. So delicious.

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There is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a sweet roasted corn on the cob

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Brooklynites grabbed  Smooth smoothies as they walked the path along Eastern Parkway

The high 80’s temperature definitely led to a beautiful day outdoors with attendees  enjoying and basking in the  music, dance and theatrical plays  happening on the main stage set up at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza. The breeze and water spraying from the fountain made for a refreshing feel.

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Those  walking  along the Eastern Parkway corridor beginning at Flatbush Avenue and heading towards  Washington Avenue got to choose from an array of vendors offering food, drink as well as the purchase crafts and fashionable items from jewelry to kids clothing.

 

Lots of activities were  available and  included fun games, bouncy houses  and  arts and crafts for the kids, a  dance party and theatrical performances  courtesy of  the Prospect Park Zoo, the Jewish Children’s Museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the New York Aquarium

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A band performs on the main stage at Grand Army Plaza

 

The 2-day cultural arts inspired events were brought together and presented by Brooklyn Borough President, Eric L. Adams in partnership with One Brooklyn Fund, Inc.,  All in all it was fun for the entire family.

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The office of Brooklyn’s Borough President, Eric Adams out  on the Parkway

 

With smiles on our faces we left  the festival  eagerly looking forward to next year’s celebration .

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Enjoying the day with my son

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Crownheightsmom Media CEO, Debra Lewis-Boothman’s outdoor street festival fashion included an african head-wrap and  a blush silk romper paired with hightop Converse sneakers.

 

If you also attended  this event please share your thoughts about the  weekend in our comments section below.

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SPICE UP THAT SUPERBOWL MENU WITH CURRY SERVINGS FROM BROOKLYN’S KING OF TANDOOR

Brooklyn residents looking to spice up their menu servings on Superbowl Sunday, need look no more. Problem solved! King of Tandoor Indian restaurant  is the answer to finding  delicious, affordable bang-for-the-buck Indian cuisine in Brooklyn  when you don’t want to take that trek to Manhattan’s Curry Row.

Nestled right in the heart of Brooklyn,  King of Tandoor  is a cozy spot  offering up some of the best Indian food crownheightsmom has sampled . So if you are a curry lover like myself or you are having a hard time  finding that curry-in-a-hurry spot that’s easy to get to,  then  pop over to the Prospect Lefferts Garden section of Brooklyn –just a hop-skip and jump from Prospect Park, along Flatbush  Avenue and not far from  –Crown Heights, Park Slope, Bed-Sty or  Downtown Brooklyn. Not in the mood to come out, no worries, forego the walk,  pull out the cell phone and dial  them up for delivery.

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The family owned 32-seat  restaurant has been in the neighborhood just over eight years says  Naz who greeted me as I entered  to grab takeout on Friday night.

“Most of our revenue comes from  deliveries,” he says as the phone rang-off-the-hook while offering me a cool delicious glass of mango juice as I waited on my  order.

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A busy evening as Naz takes  yet another phone order

Located in what was once a predominately Caribbean-American neighborhood where the lively sound of soca and reggae music echoes through speakers  of small business  ranging  from —barber shops, Jamaican  bakeries, Korean fruit markets, African hair braiding salons, Dominican bodegas and international fashion shops –the neighborhood is  experiencing a boom in new businesses as high-rise buildings go up  every few months and gentrification prices out many of the moms-and-pops businesses that once lined  the avenue.   These changes  though says Naz,  “is bringing an influx of new families and we are welcoming it.”

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The restaurant  is looking to expand  later this year . “Our kitchen isn’t that big but we have two  persons on every station, ” Naz lets me know  about keeping up with filling orders for seated customers, takeout and delivery .  As customers come in and out of the A-graded restaurant Naz engages them  in small talk and a smile.

King of Tandoor manager Naz

Naz, the manager of King of Tandoor

“We know everyone that comes in or we at least get to know them,”  he adds  as another customer enters the restaurant after jumping out of one of the many Dollar Vans swooping down the  avenue -the sounds of reggae music echoing from the  speakers as the door slams shut. “If ever there is an issue that our customers have, they can talk to us, ” adds Naz . “We love the people in the neighborhood . They are are very friendly and we like that.”

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Adorning the walls of the restaurant are  traditional Indian pictures of palaces in Bombay while the tables are outfitted  with red and white tabletop settings. “We are planning on making the restaurant  bigger so we will be renovating soon, ” he says.

As the winter season gears up Naz says  they are excited. “Winter is one of our best and busiest seasons for deliveries especially Fridays and Saturdays.” In fact when the snow blizzard hit New York City a week ago the restaurant closed just on Friday  but by the next day they were open and filling orders around the clock . They experienced one of their busiest  days of 2016 thus far . “We were very busy, ” says Naz,  adding “the phone rang non-stop with orders and a lot of customers came in.”

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Deliveries and takeout orders come out of the busy kitchen

For  local residents dining and getting takeout  King of Tandoor has become their own little piece of India, especially when they get to chow down on favorites like vegetable samosas and thandoori appetizers or curry specialities like  Vindaloo Curry or Do-Piaz Curry with a choice of lamb, chicken, beef or keema  cooked with  onions and tomatoes in a spice flavored sauce. Washing it down one has  the choice of a soft drink  or a delicious mango drink.

For  one customer  who lives in the neighbor the restaurant is definitely  King! Says Kate who lives nearby. “I have lived in this neighborhood for two years now and it is  just amazing. It is the best Indian food I have  found in Brooklyn thus far.” Kate insist  that  “next to Indian food from restaurants in London, King of Tandoor  on Flatbush Ave takes a close second.”

So spice things up  with a few servings from King of Tandoor as you celebrate 50 years of the big game on Superbowl Sunday . We  certainly will!

Crownheightsmom give Brooklyn’s King of Tandoor  restaurant  opened daily  noon -11pm 7 days a week a rating of 5 out of 5  Serving Spoons for delicious food and great customer service.

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Disclousure : No monies were exchanged for this review.—CrownHeightsMom ordered  her food, picked it up  and paid for it. This review is a result of the food being so darn good! Loved it!

BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN IN CROWN HEIGHTS KNOWS HOW TO THROW ONE HECK OF A FROLIC!

It was lots of  skipping, jumping, frolicking and dancing with the  Mark Lamb Dance company amongst real life  butterflies and Spring flowers this past weekend if  you were in Brooklyn  and  experienced the  Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s FROLIC festival and  grand opening of  its  new  Discovery Garden.

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Talk about a whale of a good time! My kids and I have not had this much fun discovering, smelling, touching  and cavorting through the many gardens within the Garden as we did on Saturday. What a thrill!  Making this Frolic even more special was the numerous activities and events  planned around the new Discovery Garden’s grand opening  located  just inside of the Flatbush Avenue entrance.

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The new Discovery Garden is a child’s outdoor dream of discovery —-designed by the award-winning firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.  It encourages children to touch, examine  and explore nature through hands-on experiences. From toddler to adult  one can investigate plants and animals to uncover their mysteries or learn about the Garden  and plant wildlife at many of the  fun  hand-on exhibits  while also exploring the  meadow,  marsh, or  the woodlands habitats throughout the Gardens.

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Activities across  the Garden that kept the kids excited included  crafting their own butterfly  antennae,  going on a  wondrous sonic scavenger hunt with stops in Brazil, India,  Indonesia, West Africa  and Australia. We then  pranced across   the  Cherry Esplanade and bumped into all sorts of  out-of-this-world  larger than life  moths and dragonflies  all members of  a clutch of fantastical creatures courtesy of Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Theater Company who seamlessly cavorted  amongst the Garden goers  and through the  bare cherry blossom trees and pathways.  The  excitement  and looks of awe on people’s faces was addicting..

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Dixieland Jazz by the Shinbone Alley Stilt Band

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Salieu Suso play the West African Kora

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The kids encounter a cool unearthly being from Mettawee River Theater Company

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A fun creatures encounter

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In awe of this creature

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My favorite encounter witha creature courtesy of the Mettawee River Theater Company

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The only short break -less than 5 minutes— the kids took

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This giant puppet creature lead the parade through the Botanic Garden

 

Go visit The Brooklyn Botanical Garden and check out the Discovery Garden. Hours:  Tue- Fri :8am-6pm ;  Sat and  Sun: 10am-6pm ; Mondays: Closed

 

JAPAN DESCENDED UPON BROOKLYN WITH CHERRY BLOSSOMS, TAIKO DRUMMING AND AN URBAN TEA CEREMONY AT THE SAKURA MATSUKI FESTIVAL ……BY Debra Lewis-Boothman

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I was in my mid teens when Sakura Matsuri started at the  Brooklyn Botanic  Gardens. Back then, the faces attending were mostly  of Japanese origin and they   came out in droves  to celebrate the blooming cherry blossom flowers and rejoice in the planned Japanese cultural programs and activities.

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Miu Soda in traditional regal mode

In recent years, the  two-day weekend festival has become more popular  and has grown by  leaps and bounds attracting people of all races, nationalities and cultures. The impact of its popularity is  felt in the buildup of  traffic as more and more people   come to the borough and  as attendees join lines snaking along  Washington and Flatbush avenues .Many come dressed in their favorite  anime costumes or opt to wearing  traditional Japanese kimonos.  The mostly open -air outdoors celebration  gives those attending a taste of Japan with  sword fighting displays, Taiko drumming exhibition, manga artists and much more.

Seeing  such an  assortments of Japanese culture, food and arts made for a  breathtakingly  beautiful afternoon spent amongst the  cherry blossoms.

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For many, myself included,  attending  the annual Sakura Matsuri festival signals,  that  Spring  has finally sprung.

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7-year old Kai amongst the blooming flowers at BBG

One of my very best friends, Asako, hails from Japan. I remember talking to her years ago about  her country’s  most cherished flower and her saying that  in Japan they  have  Sakura Hanami parties  throughout the country . Getting  dressed up  in cultural garb  like a Kimono and  attending Cherry blossom viewing she says is a serious thing there, where the blooming flowers are watched carefully  and celebrated by all.

I am most proud that this festival occurs  in my Crown Heights neighborhood with the BBG being a hop, skip and a jump from my doorsteps.My kids especially got a blast  seeing all  the  beautiful flowers in  bloom in an assortment of colors. Taking in the festival this past weekend was a  joy from seeing the many families in attendance to  seeing the  festival goers decked out in  traditional Kimonos and others in their  favorite Japanese inspired costumes. The $25 admittance fee definitely  was worth every penny .

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Hip hopping with the one and only Akim Funk Buddha and Chihiro ‘Cute Beat’

Crownheightmom.com is definitely looking forward to next year’s  festival.

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Kameko takes a rest while taking in the colorful flowers

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An attendee at the Cherry Blossom festival

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The Taiko drums were played loudly and beautifully

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The Japanese Hill and Pond Garden

CROWNHEIGHTSMOM HAS 99 PROBLEMS AND THE SNOW IS NUMBER 1!

“I’m going back to Cali, to Cali, to Cali. I’m going back to Cali—LL CoolJ

 

Fed up with Winter 2015 crownheightsmom  seriously considers  relocating to a warmer homebase! YIKES, Say it ain’t so!

 

Snowy Brooklyn

Snow filled avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

 

Like most New Yorkers presently I’ve had it with the repetitive snowfall after snowfall that’s hit NYC this winter season. Plus, though cushiony I have fallen on my bottom  more times than I can count.  Plus, I can no longer stand the deep freeze temps, the mile high mounds of hard ice  lining the cross-walks and the  muscle power I have exerted towards shoveling and cleaning  snow off the car. It’s more times than I  like .

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Getting the snow off vehicles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like snow cones  in the summer . Slush in the wintertime,  I can definitely do without because who knows  what lies within those black cesspool-like puddles.  I can also do without the  slow moving traffic that  turns a normally $12 cab ride  into a $30 snail ride to nowhere.

The dirty , yucky slush

Dirty, yucky slush in the streets of NYC

 

Right about now,  I want Ole’ Man Winter gone.  So go   vamoosh! goodbye!  get outta here, beat it, see ya later and don’t come  back.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I  love the Wintertime. In fact  my husband will tell you whenever it snows  I am the first one with my hands up to go  out the house to play in it or  grab my Akita Hiro to  head to Prospect Park.

My Japanese Akita lovess the snow

My Japanese Akita loves the snow

 

Dogs plus kids, plus snow equal FUN

Dogs+Kids+Snow=MAD FUN!

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The kids will let you know that  I will grab their  snowboards for them and off we go to have crazy fun but, this love has been tested.  This winter  season in NYC has been a long one with an  endless and relentless  beat down by mother nature.

The kids grabbing their snowboards to enjoy the snowy downhill ride in the backyard of our Poconos home .

The kids grabbing their snowboards to enjoy the snowy downhill ride in the backyard of our Poconos home .

 

There’s nothing more beautiful than looking out your window and seeing  fresh snowflakes falling . Seeing a doe and her family playing  in the  snow- thats the beauty of nature .Living in the suburbs or in the countryside definitely allows you to appreciate the beauty of  a freshly fallen  snow.

A deer family outside our home

A deer family in the country

A friendly deer family

A friendly deer family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For city folks the beauty of  having it snow week after week wears thin. Not being able to get around as fast as one wants to, amounts to loss of  incoming dollars .

Traffic back-ups and slow moving traffic

Traffic back-ups and slow moving traffic

Late arriving  food trucks the local neighborhood store

Late arriving food trucks the local neighborhood store

In Brooklyn, particularly in my nabe  of Crown Heights we have  been weathering the snowstorms as they come and has dealt with the results of it—-un-shoveled sidewalks, no parking spaces,  traffic congestion, pot holes in the streets and the unseen doggie poo and gosh knows what else mixed in with  the snow alongside  the sidewalks. Trust me,  it  has not been a pretty picture this winter.

Hanging  in the  streets

Hanging in the streets

 

So right now I am praying to the Sun Gods to come . Is it too much to ask for Springtime to arrive NOW and bring on the flowers, the butterflies and the bees.

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In Bloom: Springtime is just over the horizon

The bee are ready to pollinate

The bee are ready to pollinate

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Easter egg hunting time is just around the corner

 

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MAGNOLIA GROWS IN BROOKLYN……CROWN HEIGHTS TO BE EXACT! by Debra Lewis-Boothman

FRIDAY’ S CUTE PIC OF THE DAY on  crownheightsmom goes to Magnolia, the heart-stopping, cute-as-ever little 20-month old happy tyke  who along with her BABY  stopped me in my tracks on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon.

20-month old Magnolia

20-month old Magnolia

Meet MAGNOLIA . She literally brought the sun out today. In fact I think   her  cuteness is the  reason  the expected  snow storm for  Thursday went bye-bye!

I spotted the lil darling taking her baby out for a walk on Eastern Parkway. Along for the stroll was mum Natalie and dad Matthew. The  9-year Brooklyn residents  have been residing in Crown Heights for the past  three years.  Before  Magnolia came along the gorgeous couple  were  living in Do-or-die Bed-Sty!…

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Brooklyn is fast becoming the NYC borough young families are looking to start and raise their families.

Brooklyn is fast becoming that borough  young families are flocking to. Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush are the  new favorite areas for new renters and buyers. Don’t get me wrong there is still interest  in Fort Green, Bedford Stuyvesant, Ditmas Park, Sunset Park,  Park Slope and Boroum Hill areas .

Why the Crown Heights draw ? It  has Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Grand Army Plaza Library and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum  all at ones doorstep.

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Prospect Park

Prospect Park

Brooklyn Museum of Art

Brooklyn Museum of Art

japanese Garden  at Brooklyn's Botanical Gardens

japanese Garden at Brooklyn’s Botanical Gardens

Let’s not even begin to talk  culture. Brooklyn  is  a gumbo pot of cultures. It is the  epitome of what New York stands for.  For young families moving to Crown Heights you can walk down the  street and bump into someone from every caribbean island known to man, meet young hip  fashionable Hasidics, or a Korean  grocer   selling  the freshest fruits and vegetables this side of Chinatown, or even talk politics with the Yemen corner store owner . The cultures  my friend in Brooklyn are  infinite .

So as our little cutie pie Magnolia continues on her walk  here’s to wishing her a wonderful year and  hoping when she hits  her 2 year mark  on May 19 that she  stays as  sweet as ever for mummy and daddy .

Enjoy your walk  little Magnolia and take in all that your wonderful neighborhood has to offer. Soak it up!

Magnolia alongside mum and dad

Magnolia alongside mum and dad

CROWNHEIGHTSMOM KICKS IT UP WITH THE ROCKETTES AND IT’S SPECTACULAR …by Debra Lewis Boothman

rcmh_041110_5521Mention the  name Rockettes  to any little girl and the reaction —– automatic  excitement.! The annual Radio City  Christmas Spectacular featuring  the  Rockettes, Santa, the Nutcracker and a  Living Nativity ended just weeks ago . My family and I didn’t attend this year  so finding out   we could  see them  for free and in our local neighborhood   was luck shining down on us.

The Rockettes  were going to be the special guests at Dancewave’s Open House on Jan 10.  The Brooklyn non-profit dance education organization  was having an Open House and the Rockettes were going to be there.. It was like being given a belated Xmas gift with extras added in including   free  dance tips, autograph signing with the iconic precision dancer company members as well as   information on Dancewave’s  Spring semester  class offerings . My daughter and I  jumped at the  offer.

Debra Lewis-Boothman AKA crownheightsmom strikes a pose with the iconic Rockettes

 

 

 

My 8-year old daughter Kameko (in stripped leg-warmers) learns how to strut and kick  with the glamorous Rockettes

My 8-year old daughter
(in stripped leg-warmers) kicks it up with the Rockettes

Donning  our dance gear  we headed  off to Park Slope . When we arrived  we met Dancewave’s  Executive and Artistic Director, Diane Jacobowitz  who was responsible  for bringing out the  Rockettes.

Between speaking with parents about her  non profit’s class offerings for adults and children   Jacobowitz pointed out a sentiment echoed by every family present. “Everybody from every neighborhood loves the  Rockettes,” she  says .  That’s very true, thus why the event was  such a draw for Brooklyn  families.   Not only residents of Brooklyn were in attendance also there were families as far as the Upper West Side.

Says Jacobowitz, “Here is an opportunity [to see them] in your local neighborhood. ” Indeed it was. The Rockettes were in BROOKLYNNN,  baby!

The event was definitely an opportunity for that up-close-and-personal meet and greet.  Checkout below  for visuals of the fun day .Also do not forget that  the  Rockettes will be struttin’  and  kicking it up this Spring when they present Spring Spectacular an ode and celebration of all things New York  NewYork with  hottie Derek Hough as a bonus dancer. Not bad at all.. Definitely not too shabby!

The dance lessons with the Rockettes begin. Lots of questions from this group of girls and they are all quick learners.

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Learning  how to execute the perfect Rockette high kick.

 

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She has the Rockette stance

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My 8-year old daughter (in stripped leg-warmers) kicks it up with the Rockettes

 

A Rockette is BORN! Tadaaaa!

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The event was Fantastic! Dancewave has wonderful dance  classes to choose from—ballet, hip-hop, modern, street jazz, creative movement , contemporary  and more .  My kids are interested in the  hip- hop  classes which we will audit on the 21 . I also love that Dancewave   has adult  classes. This makes it quite  the place thats all about the family .

A Goodbye from the Rockettes who say,  ” It was beautiful  being here.” Adding,  “Being around children is one of the most important things.”

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