Travel Destination | New York

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Some time has passed as I settled back into my normal routine. On September 8th I hopped on a flight to New York City, to attend the Well-Read Black Girl Writers Conference & Book Festival. What was intended to be a weekend trip extended itself, thanks to Hurricane Irma, no really! Thank you, Irma. 

By luck I escaped Hurricane Irma, leaving Orlando 8AM on Friday morning whilst Irma set to land Sunday.   I was hesitant about my return, not knowing what damages would take a toll during Irma's visit having what is my home left in disarray.  Yet, as we know there is nothing I could have done to disturb her wrath. 

As I leave my cares behind, I promised myself just to go with the flow and enjoy the wonders of New York City. I've been to New York many times, yet this was my first time as an adult and was also my first solo trip that didn't encompass anything work-related. Because my trip was extended and I originally only had plans for the weekend, I was clueless as to how to spend my time so I literally went with the flow and said yes to everything. Because I was born in Brooklyn, New York, it was important for me to get around on my own, I didn't want to feel like a tourist in my birthplace (I was raised in Florida).

Upon arrival, I had lunch with my friend Fatima, I was so excited for this lunch because it was the first time we met in person. We met at Mediterranean styles cuisine restaurant and just talked about everything. 

Saturday was the WRBGFest, you can read about my experience here.  The event took place at BIRC House in the heart of Brooklyn Culture District, inside was an amazing gallery. 

Sunday my cousin invited me AfroCode Hip Hop Day Party at Hudson Terrace Sunday needless to say that party was LIT! The music was on point from the start and end of the party. As soon as I walked onto the rooftop with my cousin and her childhood friend we pretty much stole the show. 

Afrocode

Monday, was a pretty chill day I roamed around Downtown Brooklyn aimlessly and met with my friend Adrian for Dinner. We found a small lounge called Eve's which was amazing from the atmosphere, the music and the food. Given Brooklyn, is undergoing massive gentrification the mere fact that we stumbled on this gem was reassuring. 

During the remainder of my stay I went to many different museums and galleries. Tuesday I decided to go to the Modern Museum of Modern Art, which was absolutely amazing. Wednesday I took a trip to grounds zero and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, after that I headed to SoHo and roamed aimlessly into some other galleries and met a few locals. 

I can't end this post without sharing some of the food I ate while in New York. When I left the Museum of Modern Art and ended up in Time Square pondering about what I wanted to eat, I was starving and I couldn't make up my mind. I walked passed a resturant called Burgers & Lobsters. Which is fitting for an indecisive person like myself and $35 for a pound of lobster, a 5oz burger, french fries and a side salad is definitely more than worth it and it was delicious. I will for sure be going back on my next visit to NY. 

On my last day in NY, a few hours before my flight back to Orlando,  I roamed around my dad's neighborhood, East Flatbush, looking for a spot to get a mani-pani and next door was a black-own vegetarian juice and patties shop cleverly called Veggies. I was so impressed that they used real raw fruits and veggies to make the juices, I chose green lemonade made with apple, lemon, ginger, cucumber, pear, and spinach. 

Overall, I had a mini vacation/escape from Hurricane Irma was more than I could have anticipated, and going with the flow proved to be the best way to explore New York.  Whether you been to New York or not, what are some places you are eager to visit? Post a comment and share.

A Well Read Black Girl & Then Some

Me, Photo courtsey of Well Read Black Girl.

Me, Photo courtsey of Well Read Black Girl.

You have to make the decision to tell this story. Because if you don't write, the story dies with you." - @natashiadeon

You don't have to write everyday  to be a writer [writing a story/project] but you have to write everyday. Saturday, September 9, I attended the inaugural Well Read Black Girl Conference & Festival in Brooklyn, New York.  Walking into the BIRC there was an initial rush of intimidation yet as I saunter farther into the venue an overwhelming calmness and joy overcame me.  Everywhere I looked I saw resemblances of myself; beautiful intelligent black women, who are enamored by reading the stories of others and writing their own.  “I don’t know that we ever had all of us in the same room. I hope everyone is taking pictures. Take your pictures! Tag me! Tag yourselves! Tag your friends who can’t be here, because they are here.”  Tayari Jones, pleaded with excitement. Reiterating the importance of representation and community among black women. 

Photo courtesy of Well Read Black Girl.

Photo courtesy of Well Read Black Girl.

Photo courtesy of Well Read Black Girl.

Photo courtesy of Well Read Black Girl.

"Don't reject yourself in advance" - @LashondaKatrice 

I stumble upon Well Read Black Girl Instagram page a few months ago, and when I saw the Kickstarter for the inaugural festival/ conference, I promised myself I would support and be present. The event consisted of a series of sessions each a panel focusing on different topics. 

The knowledge I gained from the panelist met way beyond my expectations. Given I did not really know what to expect but I was throughly impressed and elated to be there. I attended the self care session titled "Writing Rituals As Self-Care: How to Maximize Your Creative Practice."
Moderated by Jenna Wortham and Panelists included Lesley Arimah, Morgan Jerkins, Basey Ikpi, Jenn Baker, and Ashley C. Ford. Self-care and self love has become a theme  for me this year so I was tuned in during this session. The session began with a questioning the panelist their thoughts on self-care. "It’s an act of survival to keep going, When people say self-care, I say, this is self-preservation.” said Jenn Baker. Then, Basey Ikpi expressed her motto "self-care above all else.”  this stuck with me, because their perspective truly exemplify the essence of self-care. 

The panelist even touched on increased outreach for black voices during this current social and political climate. Morgan Jerkins shared her experience wanting to share the stories of black joy. Yet, conflicted when she began writing for money, and the expectation of her work is to perform the role of an angry black.  As I learned throughout the event now is the time for black women writers and authors to push their work out and take advantaged of this window of opportunity. If they want our voices, they will get and we will on the other side to ensure it's heard properly. 

"There is no better time than now for black women writers." -@tayari  

Photo courtesy of Well Read Black Girl.

Photo courtesy of Well Read Black Girl.

The closing session "Reclaiming the Past, Empowering the Present: Writing as Political Resistance." Moderated Jamia Wilson and Panelists Jaqueline Woodson, Tiphanie Yanique, Bernice McFadden, Natashia Deón and LaShonda Barnett truly gave me life.  Especially Ms. LaShonda Barnett, with a voice as smooth valet I clung to every word she uttered, and Tiphanie Yanique, full of fire and spice representing for the Virgin Islands. I learned now is the time to think creatively, give yourself permission to go beyond your comfort zone and to not limit yourself by your own perspective.  I left WRBGFest with long reading list and more confidence in calling myself a writer. 

Glory Edim, Photo courtsey of Well Read Black Girl

Glory Edim, Photo courtsey of Well Read Black Girl

A huge kudos and congratulation belongs to Glory Edim creator of WRBG.  I met her briefly thanks to my best-friend Robyn, who literally knows everyone. I expressed to her  that I flew from Florida just for this festival and she embraced me with a great big hug, and I couldn't help but feel even more welcomed and thanked her for creating this space. I already can't wait next year. 

"The whole point of being is writer is you get to play God" - @LashondaKatrice