Federation of Black Cowboys grooms for the saddle

So thinking about horse riding this summer? Got what it takes?

Here is a check list from the Federation of Black Cowboys to help you:

  1. Have the right attitude
  2. Must be able to relax
  3. Have respect for the horse
  4. Be discipline
  5. Gain the horse’s trust

Federation member CeCe Valcin says horses are “very sensitive”.

The 26 acres Cedar Lane Stables, at Howard Beach, Queens is where the Federation calls home.

Valcin says children and adults are taught how to become familiar with the horse to gain its trust. And once the horse is comfortable with you ‘they will take care of you’. Because, “they do not forget nothing.”

To make this point, Valcin says one of their horse does not allow any man to touch him, because it was abuse by a male owner – before coming to Cedar Lane. A horse is not going to let you ‘man-handle’ it, says trainer Haris Parrish. Once you are on the back of a horse, its whole rhythm flows with you. So his advice is, “leave your attitude at the gate.”

For $13, you can have a four-hour tour of the stable, which includes horse riding. But private riding lessons range from $45 for half-hour to $60 an hour. Groups are also welcome. So put a visit on your school or church calendar, to hold a camp-out, barbecue or even a wedding at the stables.

To date, “it’s been very, very good,” according to Valcin.  Children and adults from Queens, Brooklyn, Manhanttan, Long Island and the Bronx have come to learn the finer points of horse riding and grooming.

Also if you have a horse and looking for a home, the Federation provides boarding services for $165 per month – this includes security and water.  They board 49 horses between 12 and 35-years-old for its 30 members and the public. The Federation itself only owns a pony.

This stable is sprawled on South Conduit Avenue and Linden Boulevard going to JFK Airport. Displayed on its white picket fence are the names of famous black cowboys and girls, like Stagecoach Mary and the black infantry Buffalo Soldiers. Barns and converted shipping containers as stables are mixed with open picnic areas. On a hot day you may find some geese in the ponds, but if it is 90 degrees and above you will not see horses walking. Nevertheless, several large tables and chairs under tall trees provide some shade.

So, if horse riding is really your gold, join now, and the Olympic Equestrian events July 28-31, at Greenwich Park in London, will mean so much more to you.


New Caribbean Fruits with a touch of Bedroom Bully

It’s Caribbean flavor, complete with coconuts and sugarcane.

Off Kings Highway at 5716 Church Avenue sunshine or show, you can retreat to the islands.

For over 10 years, the taste and smell of the Caribbean has dominated this corner block.

Although under new management, as New Caribbean Fruits, the theme remains the same.

Lovey, a former nurse, is now sailing this ship.

Suppliers of homemade Caribbean snacks from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana furnish her stall regularly.

And she supplements with homemade pickles of mango, cucumber, onion and Tamarind syrup.

The business of fruit has a long history, with Lovey’s family, who are originally from Guyana, and operated a fruit stall in their homeland.

Lovey says generally when patrons see the condiments and Caribbean flavors its “like excitement.”

Dominican mangoes are mixed with Florida limes, Grenadian breadfruit and breadnut with Jamaican coconuts. There seem to be a little something for everyone, whose ties are Caribbean.

Fruit shipments arrive once a week or every other week from Caribbean destinations.

Herbal blends are also big at New Caribbean Fruits.

A floor model cooler labled, ‘milk and juice’ is stock with herbal concoctions with exotic meanings.

For example, Bedroom Bully, a herbal tonic by Zion Organic Inc., of Queens and Gigolo are among the tonics.

The vibes at the corner is cool.

,You can listen to soulful music like The Eagles’ 1977 hit ‘Hotel California’ on the radio while sipping on a freshly cut green coconut.

To the regular passersby it is another fruit stall, but for some Caribbean nationals it is an escape to memories thousands of miles away.

Joe’s Music and Dance Academy calls tots to dance

Tots as young as two-years-old, are taught rhythmic twist and turns.

While three-year- olds are instructed on percussions, piano or the violin. 

Joe’s President Jolander Headley says, “It’s been awesome…we’ve grown leaps and bounds.”

In May Joe’s Academy moved from 545 Brooklyn and Mable Avenue to 5712 Church Avenue with 25 to 30 students. Enrollment has since quadruple and according to her husband and vice president Grantley, the academy now has over 100 students. And a larger studio at 114-04 Farmers Boulevard, St. Albans has over 200 students.

In 1998, Joe’s Academy was established by Jolander and Grantley, both natives from Trinidad and Tobago. Jolander, a Juilliard School graduate specializes in Piano and Grantley, a Queens College graduate, specializes in base guitar and violin.    

The cultural mix in Brooklyn, says Jolander is strongly reflected in their programs.

So if a student wants to learn jazz, gospel or the more popular piano they can. Or their fancy maybe to stretch their muscles with classical or contemporary moves, this is also on hand.

For Jolander, Joe’s Academy is as diverse as its music and dance programs. Of the 45 staffers 41 are instructors with roots from the Caribbean and across Europe, including Russia and Poland. Throw in South and Central America as well and you have staffers from Brazil and Argentina.

Dance programs include, but are not limited to Ballet; Modern; Tap; Hip Hop; Jazz; Liturgical; African and Step dances. Or blow, beat, and pluck the strings of the Piano; Violin; Viola; Cello; Guitar; clarinet; drumsor steel pan among other instruments

Jolander says the Church Avenue location has allowed them to offer more genres and increase their dance programs, as compare to the Brooklyn Avenue location.

Already the new location, 9000 square feet, is becoming a tight fight and Jolander admits that they may soon need more space.