Watching Your Step: Safety Tips for Preventing Falls Among Seniors

By Alicia Schwartz, MSN, RN, Care Coordinator, VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans

The first day of fall—September 22, 2016—begins National Falls Prevention Awareness Week, an effort to educate people about how to prevent and reduce falls, especially among older adults. Nearly all 50 states, including New York, will participate in Falls Prevention Awareness Week activities this year. It’s a good time to talk about what family caregivers can do to help reduce this epidemic.

In the United States, more than 11 million people over the age of 65 fall each year— that’s one of every three senior citizens in the country! Plus, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries to older people, and cause more than 90 percent of hip fractures. Aside from the injuries and even death that might result, falling can lead to decreased mobility and even more fear of falling, which in turn can limit a person’s independence and negatively affect their quality of life. As more of our elderly loved ones choose to age independently in their homes, it’s important that we have conversations about ways to prevent falls and reduce unnecessary injuries.

As a registered nurse with VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans, an affiliate of the not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York, I work closely with the elderly and their loved ones to develop a healthcare plan that addresses each patient’s individual needs, helping them live safely and independently in the home.

I’m often asked by family caregivers who don’t live with their older parents for advice on how to keep their loved ones safe. This helpful video suggests simple home modifications and daily living guidelines to help prevent trips and falls in the home: A handy Home Falls Prevention Checklist can also be downloaded at: Here are a few things to keep in mind to help at-risk seniors avoid serious fall-related injuries.

• Age: While falls can happen to people of all ages, the older you are, the more susceptible you are to injury, and recovery becomes more challenging. In fact, people age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.

• Multiple Medications: Taking four or more medications, especially those that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness, increases one’s risk of falling. You should talk with your primary doctor about any side effects your family member is experiencing from medications. Taking medicine with a meal or before bed or working with the doctor to have lowest possible dosages might help ameliorate some symptoms.

• Vision: Family caregivers should encourage older loved ones to get an annual vision exam, because failing vision can go unnoticed when someone is able to carry out daily activities such as reading the paper or watching television. Vision problems can be the cause of a trip or fall and improving vision can go a long way to keeping seniors safe on their feet. For individuals with visual problems, there are agencies like the Light House or Visions for the Blind that can evaluate the home to ensure it has the proper equipment or lighting. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that for the oldest patients, and those who were very ill, those who had cataracts removed sustained 16 percent fewer hip fractures in the year after surgery than those who did not. Patients ages 80 to 84 experienced the most significant benefit, with 28 percent fewer hip fractures.

• Home Environment: It’s important to make periodic assessments of the home to reduce tripping hazards. Keep pathways clear of clutter and well-lit, make sure floors are dry, ensure that stairs are level and evenly spaced, and install handrails wherever there is more than one step down. Also, carefully gather wires, and tape down carpets. Bathtubs should have a bath mat to prevent slips and falls, a tub seat for individuals with poor balance, and grab bars in the bathroom so no one is tempted to grab onto a towel bar (which is not meant to support weight). Especially for those seniors who have some incontinence and find themselves hurrying to the bathroom, it’s critical that their pathways are clutter-free, secure and well-lighted. Obtaining a bedside commode, and using incontinence pads or pull-ups, can also help prevent accidents which can result in a fall.

• Footwear: Research says if you’re over 65, you increase your risk of falling if you walk barefoot or only with socks. Our reflexes decrease as we age, so if your family member happens to step on something injurious, the reflex that causes him or her to hop off it may cause them to fall. Encourage your family member to wear comfortable well-fitting shoes both around the house and outside. Avoid shoes that have open toes or open heels which can cause the individual to trip or lose their balance if the heel comes off the shoe.

• Assistive Devices: If your family member uses a cane, walker or crutch, make sure it fits properly in terms of height and handle grip size, and that they use it correctly. Avoid borrowing devices from others, since assistive devices are not one size fits all. Some individuals may be able to use a cane while others require a walker. At least once a month, turn it upside down and make sure the rubber tips are in good shape and change them if they show signs of wear.

• Balance: Good balance is important to prevent falls. But a person’s balance may be affected by illness or medication. Avoid bending or looking down as you walk as this causes the balance to shift, making the individual more prone to fall. Walking straight is best. If you feel you have to hold your family member or they may topple, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a balance retraining program.

• Muscle strength: Research at California State University showed that physical activity plays an important role in preventing and/or lowering an older adult’s risk for falling. As a caregiver, you can help your family member keep up their muscle strength by reminding them, coaching them, or participating with them in simple exercises such as walking, yoga, and exercise classes for seniors.
Alicia Schwartz is an RN and Care Coordinator with VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans, affiliated with of The Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the largest not-for-profit home- and community-based health care agency in the country. For more information please visit or call 1-888-867-6555.

Veteran Law Enforcement Officer Aims to Save Black Lives

By Derrel Jazz Johnson

In recent memory, images and stories of unarmed black men getting executed by law enforcement has flooded newspaper headlines and television news shows. Far too many times, these incidents begin with simple traffic stops that quickly escalate, leaving a victim or victims. The Harlem Times spoke exclusively with Eddie Chapman, a highly decorated retired 28-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who has a great friendship with a guy known for wearing number 23.
Chapman talked about his origins and inspiration for joining the Chicago Police Department. “When I was in school I thought I was able to make a difference in helping people out. I wanted to make a difference in the community, and thought that it was a good way of making that connection.”
During a career that saw him receive the Superintendent’s Award of Merit and over 40 honorable mentions for exceptional police work, Chapman was inspired to do more. On the night of June 4, 1999, a night that Chapman remembers vividly, LaTanya Haggerty was pulled over by officers from the Chicago Police Department. In a story typical of far too many in the news, after a high-speed chase, an officer claims she saw an object that could have been a gun, and shot and killed Haggerty. “Eight hours later, another traffic stop resulted in a Northwestern football player getting killed,” Chapman recalled, citing the death of Robert Russ, an unarmed man who lost his life during a traffic stop. “How can I assure this doesn’t happen to someone else’s kid? To my kid?”

“Drive Safe, Stop Safe” is a posterbook released in 2003 that was the brainchild of Chapman. “It is seven different panels that outline true-to-life situations.” The guide to traffic stop safety uses various common scenarios with easy advice in dealing with encounters with law enforcement. The illustrations in the posterbook make it easy to understand for people of all ages.
There are three versions of the posterbook available featuring NBA legend Michael Jordan who is also a good friend of Chapman, former Major League Baseball All-Star First Baseman Derrek Lee, and former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway. Chapman discussed his relationship with the iconic Jordan. “We’re pretty good friends and he allowed me to do it,” he said of getting Jordan to participate in the project. “He just did it. He thought there was a need for that type of communication to be out and he thought it was a good idea and a good program.”
We asked Chapman, who had spoken to Jordan earlier in the day that we interviewed him, how the billionaire felt about the current state of affairs when it comes to law enforcement and their interactions that lead to the death of unarmed civilians. “His take is that the police officers are afraid and are making judgments that end up the wrong way. He is appalled about what is going on in the Chicago.” Chapman also touched on Jordan being able to relate. “He’s been a victim of traffic stops…he just doesn’t understand why it is escalating to that point.”
While analyzing the current problems, Chapman suggested some solutions as well. “I think the problem is systemic. There are a lot of different factors that has made the problem grow into what it is. The lack of training of officers, and officers policing areas they are not comfortable with.” He explains that officers uncomfortable in their environments can view everyday events as unique ones, escalating the situation. “Every traffic stop has the chance to go one way or the other…it should never escalate to the point of someone losing their life.” Education is the key to preventing deaths. “I think some training needs to be done on both parts,” Chapman said, referring to the need for driver’s education on how to react during stops from police. He also feels like the police can do better with dealing with the public, and had a unique solution. “Neighborhood Ride-a-Long programs would enable citizens to see things from the perspective of the police. If you have that type of training, where both sides could see from the other perspective, it could help toward a solution.”
I think a solution is something that most of us are looking for. To learn more about Eddie Chapman or to purchase the posterbook as an educational tool, visit

Tomorrow’s Engine: A Profile Story On Clayton Banks

By: Yasleen Trinidad

Co founder of Silicon Harlem, Clayton Banks’ journey towards success falls on following his passion.

“I believe everyone is born equal,” states Banks.

With his father serving as a Marine, Banks grew up in a military base and was exposed to an in-closed world of economic and social equality where everyone on the base was within the same rank and pay rate. He recalls the kids in the neighborhood all riding the same bicycles, wearing the same sneakers, and having the same toys. It wasn’t until Banks got to college that he saw the differences in the socio-economic classes.

According to Banks, because of his upbringing, it’s his, “ frame of reference to life…everyone’s equal and everyone has potential. It’s about having the access to apply yourself, no matter your economic situation.”

Graduating a double major in Communications and Business Administration from California State University of Fulton, Banks knew he was meant to be an entrepreneur, but was also aware that he needed to work in corporate first. So, he set out to work in what he loved, movies, video games, and comedy.

His first job was working for Showtime; one of the most popular American premium cable networks to-date, even landing an executive position.

“I was blown away that I working with a company that does movies. I love movies and was getting paid to do it,” describes Banks.

His next job? Getting the opportunity to work alongside Sega Channel creator and CEO, Stan Thomas. This gave Banks the chance to develop and work on his second love, video games.

Although leaving an executive position at an established company was risky, Banks states, “It was too fascinating of an opportunity to turn it down.”

The online video game service went on to become the first all digital network in the history of television, even winning Popular Science’s, “Best of What’s New” award in 1994. But although reaching great success, due to the rise of the internet and lack of advancement, the Sega Channel was discontinued by 1998.

Shifting his focus in a new direction, he went after his love for comedy and began a career in Comedy Central.

“Here I was in Showtime loving movies, then at Sega Channel for my passion of video games, and then BOOM! I love comedy and i’m at Comedy Central!,” states Banks.

Within a few weeks into the job, he was handed the script to the show that would eventually put Comedy Central on the map, South Park.

According to Banks, when he got there, Comedy Central had about 50% of penetration in the country. It wasn’t until the launch of South Park that the network was able to reach 100% of penetration within six months.

“It was a phenomenal experience getting to watch how one show can turn an entire network around,” states Banks.

After reaching corporate success and having met his passion for movies, video games, and comedy, Banks went after a new found love, technology. But this time, by launching his own company, Ember Media.

Focusing on technology, specifically multimedia across multi platforms, his company began developing interactive, online marketing tools for companies. Notably helping HBO’s The Sopranos launch on CD-ROM and having clients such as former president, Bill Clinton. It wasn’t too soon before Banks began to realize how technology was going to impact the industry.

“Having worked in Sega Channel in 1994 before the internet was commercialized. I saw where the world was headed… I knew the power and wanted to share it with those who couldn’t get access,” said Banks.

Thus came the birth of Silicon Harlem, a social venture that is designed to bring innovation and technology to the streets of Harlem.

Being a Harlem resident, Banks wanted to ensure that technology and innovation were being presented in urban markets, where he believed there was opportunity. But, after failing to win a $20 million dollar bid from the National Broadband Fund, Silicon Harlem was put on hold.

It didn’t stop Banks from finding out the latest in the tech industry. After going to several meetups in Downtown and Brooklyn, it was time to get the conversation going in Uptown. In 2013, Banks and his companions decided to put together a meet-up in Harlem and to their surprise, 500 people showed.

Banks states, “That’s when I knew I wasn’t the only geek Uptown, I realized that there are other people who care about technology and innovation.”

All rights belong to Silicon Harlem

All rights belong to Silicon Harlem

Since then, he has held monthly events with constantly huge turnouts. It shows that the community is ready and engaged to put in real initiative that can move the community economically forward.

With the power of New York City’s dense market in terms of technology and having Wall Street, the investment capital of the world within the city, at their fingertips, Banks believes Silicon Harlem has the potential to become Silicon Valley. Within just three years since it took effect, seven coworking spaces, incubators, and several internet cafes opened.

From the perspective of the City of New York, Silicon Harlem is recognized as a major movement for Uptown technology and innovation for creating jobs, opportunities, and getting capital to startup companies and organizations.

So what comes after technology for Mr. Banks?

“Community…This latest chapter in my life has been, “How do you get the most out of your community so that people feel there is an economic engine that is sustainable to keep the community running?,” Banks continues, “The 21st century is telling us that technology is that sustainable engine.”


The City College Center for the Arts presented its Inaugural Awards Benefit in celebration of the contributions to the arts by individual legendary dancers and musical talent of our generation. Beginning with a cocktail reception and photography shoots, the main lobby was animated with excitement as award recipients and guests alike met and gathered within Aaron Davis Hall. After the reception audience members were escorted to The Marian Anderson Theater for the presentation.
The CCCA Inaugural Awards Benefit opened with a stunning performance by the young dancers of Batoto Yetu and Sho-Off Dance Companies. With riveting music, pounding drums and Caribbean- African dance movements, the Batoto Yetu bestowed energy into the audience and subsequently, the Sho-Off dancers, in modern black militaristic attire, hip-hopped in uniformity; setting the pace for a night of excitement and anticipation.

Dr. Lisa S. Coico, the President of the City College of New York began with a few welcome remarks while slides of historic CCNY where shown, then Karen Witherspoon, Vice President of Government, Community and Cultural Affairs at the City College of New York was introduced. Ms. Witherspoon spoke to the audience about the importance of this benefit, while acknowledging the members of the board and the chairman and women of CCCA.

Maurice DuBois, New York City’s recognizable anchor of CBS 2 News at 5 and CBS News at 11 was The Master of Ceremonies. Mr. DuBois anchored in Seattle, California and Chicago before settling in New York. He has five Emmy’s, as well as, several community and journalism awards and has attained honors from The New York Association of Black Journalists, The Associated Press, and The New York State Broadcasters Association. Being no stranger to community service, Mr. DuBois serves on the board for three non-profit organizations. The benefit was in good hands. The dedicated professionalism of Mr. DuBois, kept the event on a smooth trajectory, as the night continued in videos, music, dance performances and award presentations. Short video clips were shown of each honoree, describing his or her achievements, talents and specific artistry.

Terrance McKnight, producer and an accomplished vocalist and pianist in his own right was the Awards Presenter. Mr. McKnight is the weekday host of WQRX and a myriad of other radio shows, such as, All Ears with Terrance McKnight, which creatively combines several musical genres. Mr. McKnight, in a resounding (classically?) trained voice, introduced the audience to the first of the four honorees, which would encompass Carmen De Lavallade, Alexa Ray Joel, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Arturo O’Farrill.
Carmen De Lavallade, actress and dancer (extraordinaire) of movies, theater and ballet was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in Dance. Ms. De Lavallade was the second African American to become a principal dancer for the Metropolitan Opera and choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, the Metropolitan Opera and the Dance Theater of Harlem. Having previously received numerous awards, and with appearances in four movies, she continued her career in ballets created for her by such notables as Agnes de Mille, Lester Horton and husband Geoffrey Holder. Currently touring, Ms. De Lavallade continues her creative expression with I Remember, an original theatrical dance presentation about her six decades of living artistry.

Singer/songwriter Alexa Ray Joel was presented the Inspiration to Youth Award. Having performed at Café Carlyle and The Oak Room, with distinctive, new songs, her single release, “Notice Me” was a Sirius XM Hit. With the unmistakable realistic lyrics in her “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, “Resistance” and the powerfully righteous indignation of “The Revolution Song”, Ms. Joel’s music embodies a query of honest inner dialogue and reflection upon life. Ms. Joel has reinvented some of the most popular songs of her father, Billy Joel; is a correspondent for fashion events, teen publications, and an avid participant at charitable events. Ms. Joel’s involvement and performances benefitting children, animals and the environmental issues that she supports, helps to educate youngsters in understanding their worthiness within society.
Gina Prince-Bythewood was presented with the Artistic Achievement Award in Film for her amazing writing and directing of such movies as “Love and Basketball”, the HBO film “Disappearing Acts” and “The Secret Life of Bees”, which won two NAACP Awards and two People’s Choice Awards. Her latest feature “Beyond the Lights”, gained her top critic recognition, New York Times and The Washington Post. Before her directorial career, Ms. Prince-Bythewood was a writer on such television shows as “A Different World”, “South Central”, and “Felicity”. With numerous awards and scholarships, Ms. Prince-Bythewood is paying forward in funding a UCLA film program scholarship for African American students.

Ms. Darilyn Castillo, singer, actress and former CCNY student graced the audience by performing a beautiful rendition of “Waiting for Life”, a song from the musical “Once on This Island”.

Arturo O’Farrill composer, pianist, and educator, was presented with the Artistic Achievement Award in Music. Mr. O’Farill has a worldwide repertoire of musical collaborations with great artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre and countless others. This multiple Grammy Award winner has played with the Chico O’Farill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, The Carla Bley Band, and The Fort Apache Band and has composed musical scores for films ‘Hollywoodland” and “Salud”. A short video in the making of his new album, “The Offense of the Drum” was presented. Afterward, to the delight of the audience, Mr. Arturo O’Farill performed with his Grammy Award winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

With such a seamless presentation, it was very apparent that the success of the presentation was due to the incredible staff behind the scenes. Managing Director, Gregory Shanck, Artistic Director, David Covington, Technical Director, Joe Dziedzic, Assistant Technical Director, Yvette Spellman, Production Manager, Piero Ramos, Stage Manager, Mimi Craig, Box Office Manager, Derek Quinlan, Lighting Designer, Brian Aldous, Stage Crew, J. Acosta and Rae Maben and the excellent sound equipment provided by Boulevard Sound.

When the award presentation concluded the audience was escorted to Theater B’s sensuously lit, richly decorated and elaborated flowered banquet dinning space. The celebration was glorious, with a DJ spinning popular music and a generous dance floor, honorees and guests were efficiently catered to by the freshly donned, professional wait staff of Canard Inc., while eating, schmoozing and dancing the night away.

Miami’s Little Havana: A Shot of Coffee. A Slice of Cuba.


It’s just west of sleek Downtown Miami and just a few minutes away from golden beaches and turquoise surf – yet it’s a world apart. Cobblestone streets, charming shopkeepers, colorful murals, and monuments to Cuba’s heroes past and present. Little Havana is one of Miami’s most iconic neighborhoods.

As Close As You Can Get to Havana, Without Going to Havana.

For many locals, this neighborhood is the soul of the Cuban diaspora, and its heart is SW 8th Street, known as Calle Ocho. The street, bustling with activity, is lined with family-owned bakeries, coffee stands, restaurants, art galleries, cigar shops, fruit markets, and the occasional free-roaming chicken and rooster.

Through a cloud of cigar smoke, Cuban-American domino players —when not in the midst of a game at Maximo Gomez Domino Park—can be heard sharing stories about Cuba, the Miami Marlins and family. Their stories, like a Cuban coffee, are rich, flavorful and eye-opening. There’s a deep sense of nostalgia and lifelong friendships felt here. Dominos is the national game of Cuba and the clack-clack of tiles smacking down on a table is intense. It’s not always easy to follow, but the game is definitely fun to watch.

A Real Taste of Little Havana.

It’s been said that Miami has the best and most authentic Cuban food in the world. Mornings start off on the right foot at Yisell Bakery, with a guava-filled pastry and a Cuban coffee; either a cortadito or café con leche, both are espresso with steamed milk and sugar. There are restaurants up and down Calle Ocho and El Cristo is a great choice for lunch or dinner. Heading a bit farther up Calle Ocho is Versailles Restaurant. A landmark in Miami, Versailles is usually packed day and night with locals, power brokers and politicians. Even tourists will inevitably find themselves discussing Cuban politics.

Cuban menus are known to be long, portions large and prices very reasonable. A meal is incomplete without a side of rice and beans – they’re a staple Cuban food. Most of the restaurants are family-run and, like their signature-dish recipes, date back generations.

Aficionados Welcome.

On the corner of 11th Avenue and Calle Ocho is El Credito Cigar Factory. Typical of a Cuban cigar factory or fábrica, skilled Cubans roll cigars by hand in the classic style, by one roller from start to finish. Many of the employees are multi-generational rollers who have inherited the family trade. There’s also a cigar lounge where enthusiasts enjoy El Credito’s much acclaimed “La Gloria,” a cigar known as much for its bold flavor as authentic touch. Roughly one million cigars are rolled by hand out of this boutique cigar factory’s Miami location.

Cuban Coffee Anyone?

Cuban coffee, like dominos, is a revered local treasure in Little Havana. It can be found anywhere and is offered everywhere, even barbershops. Afternoons are meant for sharing a colada – a shot of espresso with a high ratio of sugar. A colada is served in individual shots out of small plastic cups. Though deceptively small, they pack a serious jolt of adrenaline.

Save Room for Dessert.

At Azucar Ice Cream Company, the fresh tropically-inspired ice cream flavors change almost every day. There are classics like chocolate, but when people come here it’s for the Miami flavors like café con leche (Cuban coffee & Oreo), Key lime pie and their original Abuela Maria® – vanilla ice cream, ruby-red guava, rich cream cheese and crispy, sweet Maria biscuits.

An Old-time Mom & Pop Fruit Stand.

Little Havana offers something no other place in Miami can: Los Pinareños Frutería – the oldest open-air market in all of Miami. Exotic fruits, veggies, local honey, flowers and some of the best fresh-made juices and milkshakes on planet earth can be found here. A real treat is guarapo – freshly-squeezed sugarcane juice, or their banana-café batido – a banana milkshake with, no surprise, a shot of Cuban coffee. Locals sit at the tables in the back debating current events and resting off in the shade is Tuca – the family’s pot-bellied pig.

The Sounds of Cuba Are Music to the Ears.

Cuban music floats through the air of Little Havana at all hours of the day – pumping from speakers at Lily’s Records shop, the beat of rumba through open doors at Top Cigars, or late on Thursday nights at Hoy Como Ayer, where crowds flock in droves to order mojitos and dance to the famous Afro-Cuban funk rhythms of Spam Allstars.

Viernes Culturales & Art Walk: Celebrations for the Family.

On the last Friday of each month, more than 4,000 people of all ages head to Calle Ocho for Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays. From 13th to 17th Avenue, restaurants, bars, shops and galleries showcase the cultural arts scene of the neighborhood. A stage is set up on the street for bands, with plenty of salsa and rhumba dancing, and galleries keep their doors open until 11pm. There are 20 galleries in Little Havana—many on the surrounding block by the Futurama building—including Mildrey Guillot, Obrapia Fine Arts, Kontempo Art, Molina Fine Art Gallery and Cuba Ocho, which is a gallery and funky late-night lounge.

The other cultural night is Little Havana Art Walk on the second Friday of every month. It’s a quieter version of Viernes Culturales where it’s possible to meet the artists and see brand-new works on display.

Bringing Home a Bit of Cuba.

Memories from Little Havana are long-lasting, but so are souvenirs. Right next door to Domino Park is Little Havana To Go. It’s the place to head to pick up a bit of nostalgia. Here visitors can find dominos, Cuban flags, 100% Cuban t-shirts, guayaberas, Celia Cruz paintings, and even painted coconut shell masks.

Little Havana: Come for the Coffee. Stay for the Salsa.

Little Havana is easy to get to and easy to get around. There are bus tours as well as guided walking tours such as People Place Connect and, both offering a taste of what makes this neighborhood a rich feast for the ears, eyes and soul. Grab a guayabera and be sure to pack some dancing shoes. Take a video tour of Little Havana and Miami’s other unique neighborhoods at

Hogshead Tavern Is Harlem’s Best Craft Beer Bar and More

As Harlem continues to be one of the hot places in New York City not only to dine and seek entertainment, but to live, the community changes, with new businesses opening to meet the needs of a changing demographic.  One of the more unique and successful businesses to open in the past year has been Hogshead Tavern, a venue that specializes in craft beer and, as suggested by the name, eats by way of the hog.

Located at 126 Hamilton Place (Alexander Hamilton lived in Harlem, thus the name) between 142nd and 143rd streets, and owned by Harlemites Tara Wholley and Leigh Corcoran Hogshead Tavern is a bar that is visually appealing that can accommodate both small and large groups.  With an astonishing 20 craft beers on tap, and another 15 or so available bottled, Hogshead has not only the best craft beer selection in Harlem, but one of the better ones in New York City period.  If you are looking for Budweiser, Miller, Coors or another large brewery product, Hoghead is not your choice.  If you are a savvy beer drinker who only wants the best beers available, Hogshead is your place.

Some of my favorite craft beers on the Hogshead menu are Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA, a mouthful, but well worth it.  Some of my other favorites on tap are Smuttynose Vunderbar Pilsner and the popular Lagunitas IPA.  On my most recent visit, I had the Sixpoint Resin, a double IPA that I will certainly enjoy again.

If you aren’t a beer drinker, Hoghead has a fine whisky selection, including a 14-year Oban and a 12-year Balvenie, as well as popular brands like Jameson, Johnnie Walker, and Knobs Creek.  If that isn’t enough, the tavern offers specially crafted beer cocktails that are a spin on a traditional cocktail that adds one of their craft beers.  With names like Hogshead Buck, Tipsy Piglet, and Pink Squealer, the names are as tasty as the drinks.  I chose the Muddled Sow because of the addition of muddled cucumber, combined with Caledonia Barr Hill Gin and Crabbies Ginger Beer, and it was as even more refreshing and delicious than I imagined.  On the warmer days of spring and the hazy, hot and humid days of the summer ahead, I will definitely be stopping by Hogshead for a Muddled Sow!

In addition to the numerous craft beers, the tavern also offers wine and prosecco on tap as well, including Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon from California, as well as Coppola Pinot Grigio, also from a California winery, among others.  Happy Hour at Hogshead is from 5pm-7pm, but with their fine selection of beer, wine, and more, it is hard to imagine any hour at Hogshead not being happy. Hogshead has so much to offer as far as drinks, but we haven’t even mentioned the food.

Hogshead Tavern offers numerous sharable plate items to enjoy with your cocktail of choice, including the creative Pig & Dip sandwich, featuring pulled pork, fennel onion marmalade, pork belly, gruyere, and pork au jus, Chipotle BBQ Pig Wings, which comes with fall slaw, and my selection at my most recent visit, Crispy Pork Belly Grilled Cheese, with apple and sweet onion relish, smoked gouda, and fontina.  This delightful dish adds a meaty twist to the traditional grilled cheese.  If you aren’t fan of the hog, Hogshead has you covered, as they also serve Kale and Artichoke Dip with scented ciabatta toast, Spicy Moroccan Meatballs, featuring braised lamb and chorizo, along with spiced marinara and fresh mozzarella, Korean Beef Tacos, which is seared short rib, napa slaw, and soy lime dressing, and their Hogshead Sliders, featuring grass-fed beef, pastrami and onion confit.

On weekends from 11:30am-4pm, Hogshead Tavern offers brunch and a special menu.  Tantalizing menu options on the brunch menu includes Eggs Benedict, which is poached eggs, crispy pastrami, biscuit, pork sausage, and more, Kale and Crimini Omelette with tomatoes, green onions and fontina, and Steak and Egg Sliders, with bacon, quail egg, and onion confit.  And with every item on the brunch menu below $15, can enjoy a nice meal without leaving depressed when you receive the check.

Hogshead Tavern is easy to find for us Western Harlemites, but if you are coming from elsewhere, it sis a short walk from either the 1 train on 145th street and Broadway or the A, B, C, or D train at 145th street and St. Nicholas Avenue.  Stop by for a tasty craft beer, a beer cocktail, a traditional drink, or their weekend brunch in the near future, and tell them that Derrel and the Harlem Times sent you.  You can also visit them on the web at and follow them on social media @HogsheadTavern on both Twitter and Instagram.

Destination Go! Bridgetown, Barbados

The haunting memory of frigid cold, vividly remains in our minds. The recall, sends the brain into convulsions. Spring is finally here and the customary New York City black and puffy coats will eventually vanish like a magicians act. Poof! Before long, the shadowy second skins will be shed and neatly hung or packed away, ruthlessly ignored until next winter. The infantile buds of flowering flora are gathering life as the warmer days sluggishly approach us. The grey, misty chill of April’s repetitious rain is life giving yet monotonous. We bemoan and whine. Is the warm weather ever going to get here?

As the saying goes… there is a time and a season. But one does not have to wait. An exodus to paradise looms in the horizon where white sandy beaches, warm sun and tasty tropical fruit is the belle du jour. A plane ride can make this hope a reality. One such utopia is the beautiful island of Barbados. This article is dedicated to the people of Bridgetown and the parish of Saint Michael.

Bridgetown, Barbados

As the capital of Barbados, Bridgetown is appropriately named due to the lovely walking bridges that connect the Old Town to other commercial centers in the city. It is also a World Heritage Site. Established in 1628, the parish is comprised of 15 square miles with a population of over 110,070. It is the largest city in Barbados and its configuration of winding, narrow streets correspond to those of an English Medieval city. Old architecture mixing with new, creates a fascinating environ. Located in the parish of Saint Michael on the southwest coast of Barbados, Bridgetown is embraced by amazingly cerulean waters and beautifully bleached stretches of beach. It has a wet season from June to January and a dry season from December to May. During the dry season the temperature can reach up to 95 degrees. Due to trade winds however, it cools after sundown.

There are many beach front bars and eateries offering live music and dancing and cover charges are usually only on Wednesdays and Friday nights. Baxter’s Road stays open very late and is the location of many authentic Bajan restaurants.


There is shopping galore and Bridgetown has a number of duty free shopping malls. The numerous street vendors sell everything from fruit and vegetables to art and handcrafted jewelry, hats, shoes and clothing. There are many family owned upscale boutiques, and two astonishing fabric stores that have the most colorful linens, meticulously fashioned and worn by everyday professional Bajans. This metropolis is ideal for the shopaholic looking for items hard to find or generally too expensive to purchase in the states. The main strip, the heartbeat of Bridgetown is Broad Street. It is here that you will discover one of the most inundated areas in which to buy quality gold and diamond jewelry for impossibly low prices. Comfortable shoes are a must because this is a walking city and also, the gateway hub for traveling to any other parish.


There are so many hotels, Inns and rentals to choose for your stay. It is best to book well in advance and of course during off season for the most inexpensive prices. There are weekly rentals that are getting more expensive with the times, but with diligence, affordable accommodations can be had


Bridgetown is for walking, wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
Drink lots of water – but there are loads of water vendors and numerous restaurants.
No car is needed, everything is easily accessible.
The traffic is the opposite of the states; still almost every corner has stop lights.
You must go to Bridgetown to connect to other parishes.
Jet Blue (God Bless them) has direct flights to Barbados.
Get your cab from the airport cab kiosk. It’s immediately outside the airport.

Currency: The ratio is 2:1 in favor of the American dollar. Change currency after you arrive to Barbados.
Liquor is expensive go Duty–Free.


Carry a flashlight
Bring two pairs of sunglasses, a hat and a bandana for sweating
A black umbrella will shield you from the sun and the spontaneous rain showers
Bring a small first aid kit and medications (a bit more than you think you need)
Plan in advance, some tourist destinations may be closed, in renovation or damaged by hurricanes.
Barbados is Paradise so act accordingly, be nice and have fun!