Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day

Carriage horses in NYC

You might have heard that there have been a few incidents involving carriage horses in New York City in the past. While on duty, the horses in these accidents either got hit by a car, died while working, or got spooked for one reason or another. this is not right!

Carriage horses in Central Park

If you have ever been to NYC, and especially around Central park/Columbus Circle/5th Avenue, you have seen the carriages and their horses lined up waiting for some "ignorant" tourists to go on a "romantic" trip. Ignorant I say, because they probably don't know the living and working conditions these horses are in every day. They have to work almost every day, and it doesn't matter how hot or how cold, in a noisy city with dangerous traffic. They live in small, dark stables that are fire hazards. I think years ago, and I mean decades ago, it must have seemed a romantic idea of going around town in a carriage, but reality is that in the meantime the traffic in the city has increased by 1000% or so, and it is just not safe anymore. I am confident we can take all the carriage horses of the streets very soon, by buying the rights from the owners and bringing them to safe pastures somewhere in the countryside. These horses are sweet natured, but don't belong in the city. It is not safe for them, but these horse drawn carriages are also not safe for pedestrians and other people that take part in the traffic everyday.

There is a lot of danger for the carriage horses as well as traffic like cyclists and pedestrians
There is a lot of danger for the carriage horses as well as traffic like cyclists and pedestrians

RELATED: PETA made a list of horse-drawn carriage incidents

One good thing is that Mayor DeBlasio finally made a part of his election promise happen : The waiting line has been moved inside Central Park which makes it a bit safer for the horses and the pedestrians. A judge ordered the carriage horse industry to do so in February 2019. Unfortunately I noticed that the horses are less protected from the Sun in the Summer, as they are further away from the buildings that would shield them from Sun most of the day. And the horses still have to travel far to their stables that are located on the West Side of Manhattan after a long days of work.

 

Carriage horses at Central Park
From the waiting line at the border of Central park in busy traffic...
.. to the waiting line just inside Central Park away from busy traffic
.. to the waiting line just inside Central Park away from busy traffic

Carriage horse Oreo

One of these accidents happend with a 6 year old horse named "Oreo" (love the name) bolted as he got spooked by a car that honked near him.

*6 year old is very young for a horse to let you know. It is logical that he doesn't know everything yet and can get scared. Actually, it does not matter how old or young the horse is, it is a living creature with feelings and emotions and any horse could spook.

On board were the driver and a couple hoping for a nice ride through the park. What they got was a horse that took off and had them falling off and getting hurt. He took off and an onlooker a few blocks down managed to capture Oreo. Of course Oreo was so scared of everything around him (he is a horse and he was in the middle of traffic alone) So when the police came, they had to shoot him with a tranquilizer shot. He fell to the ground and people passing by were watching this in horror. Read what happened exactly here. What I have read is that the injuries of the people were not major. And Oreo? They are giving him another vet check, but the first check showed only some bruises around his mouth. Yeah right, let's not mention the psychological trauma he endured that he has to live with for the rest of his life. This happened in 2012, many accidents have happened after this one. Also, I do not know if Oreo is still working as a carriage horse, retired, sold to someone else, or was sold off to a slaughterhouse. Who knows?

Well, that video does not look pretty. Ono top of that Oreo's bit is so tight in his mouth it must hurt him a lot!

Carriage horses should be retired

I love horses, and I live in NYC. Therefore  I am excited that we CAN stop this because there is a great alternative! The people of NYCLASS continuously protest the horse drawn carriage industry in NYC, and actually have designed an electrical car or "horseless carriage" to drive tourists around Central Park. This way the transportation of people who want to see the beautiful views of New York City, can be safe and clean too. I love the idea!  I think it is a great solution, very fun and a good looking idea too. And the horses should enjoy a lovely retirement in a large meadow. NYCLASS once said that they already have places for all of these horses to go to! Because most of the time retired carriage horses are send off to slaughter and transported in deplorable conditions. Because in America you cannot slaughter horses, they are sent to Mexico on days long journeys. That is not what they deserve after serving so many tourists!

Read more: NYCLASS

We should get these cars all over the City. Do you have any ideas how we can do this? I wish I could adopt a carriage horse like Oreo and find a place upstate... we would only do fun rides in the woods and he would be in the pasture the rest of the day! I hope this will one day be reality instead of a dream.. Horse drawn carriages in NYC are so 1904!

carriage horses walking on Central Park West
carriage horses walking in traffic on Central Park West

p.s You can sign this petition to demand the NYC council to vote for the The Carriage Horse Heat Relief Bill, Intro 1425. This new bill will keep NYC carriage horses OFF the streets when the 'heat index' reaches 90 degrees or above. Sign the petition, or contact your local council members.

Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day
Carriage horse working in NYC on a hot Summer day

 

 

Love, Lonneke

Me with one of my horses: Cooper Milo
With one of my horses: Cooper

 

First published on December 18th 2013, Updated in 2019


That time I did a 1 day juice cleanse

I once did a one day juice cleanse. All the way with the cheesy "I kiss my juice" pictures as proof.  I had a bit hangover from just drinking 2 bellinis at the Operation Smile Ball the day before. So when you don't feel so great, what do you do? Exactly you take care of yourself! Eating really healthy is your own medicine. So I decided to visit Organic Avenue.

About Organic Avenue

Organic Avenue was a vegan and rawfood chain in New York City. It was founded by Denise Mari,  and back in the day I did an interview with her. There were so many new Organic Avenue Locations popping up around town at one point. To me it seemed they had a lot of success, but they also seemed to grow too fast. After a few years Denise sold the company, and from what I've read, she came back on board to run the company.  OA incorporated different foods into the menu besides cleanses (the vegan chicken and waffles was great!) but eventually they went out of business :( . Sad story of a vegan health food store I enjoyed so much in NYC! I notice many of my favorite restaurants have gone out of business, it is just part of doing business in New York City.

Organic Avenue Soho location
Organic Avenue Soho location before it closed

Now back to the juice cleanse story: There used to be an Organic Avenue Location in Soho, close to where I live, and I decided to do their one day cleanses.

The 1 day juice cleanse

I received 7 bottles of juice. 1 small one to start the day with chlorophyll, and 6 juices.  You were told to drink water in between..

1 day cleanse from Organic Avenue
1 day cleanse by Organic Avenue

8.30 am

Let's start this juice cleanse! I woke up tired and had my first juice at this time. A chlorophyll shot that made my tongue green! It has a specific taste, but it is not bad. Chlorophyll comes from plants and is an "extremely important bio molecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light."- Quote from Wikipedia  

chlorophyll shot
chlorophyll shot

10 am

My first real juice is a nice simple orange juice. A great way to start a morning with some sweet citrus fruit juice.

orange juice
orange juice

12 pm

Green Love juice. Cucumber, celery, chard, spinach, pear, collard greens, kale, romaine, parsley, lemon juice. This one is a bit hard to drink due to the large amount of greens in this juice. So it took me a bit longer to drink this juice!

Green Love juice
Green Love juice

2.30 pm

Turmeric Tonic,  lemon juice, ginger juice, purified alkaline water, coconut sugar, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cardamom, himalayan salt. This one was spicy but I actually liked this juice! It tasted a bit like something from the Middle East because of the spices. I drank it quite fast.

Turmeric Tonic
Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic

4.30pm

Veggie Vibe: carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley, lemon. This one is hard again! Took me longer time to drink. But you feel really healthy drinking it.

At this point I felt really energized and fit! Getting so many minerals and vitamins in, plus water is really doing good for your body, right?

6.30 pm

Spicy Avocado Soup: avocado, purified alkaline water, spinach, lime juice, celery, cilantro, garlic, Himalayan salt, jalapeño, cumin. This is my least favorite. maybe because of the garlic and that it is thicker. It took me some effort to drink it.

Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup
Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup

8pm

Last juice of the day! Fresh, sweet coconut juice. I love ending a day like this with something super yummy!

Although some people do cleanses a few days in a row, I think it was nice to just do a one day cleanse. This way it does not "shock" your body while still replenishing your body with the essential nutrients. It is also a great that for that day you have a plan, and the 7 juices keep you on track. You don't have to think what you are gonna eat or what's for dinner at night. The cleanse is telling you that already so it relieves stress that way as well!

Why a one day juice cleanse might be good for you

Because you drink the whole day so you are very much hydrated.  And you don't have much time to feel hungry. Right when you feel hungry, you have the thicker Spicy Avocado soup that is filling. I think anyone can do a 1 day cleanse to just feel better and get rid of toxins or indigestion, if you don't get tempted by any food! So do this during a rainy day when you are likely to stay at home, or if you are stuck at the office with no food in sight, that's my recommendation.

You start to appreciate food more while on a cleanse, that is for sure!

Why juicing might not so good for you

You notice there is a lot of parsley added to the juices. This is because parsley contains lots of Vitamin K, a lot of antioxidants, which helps our bones and strengthens our nervous system.(that's good!) But I only learnt later that Parsley, other green leafy vegetables and beets contain a lot of oxalates and goitrogens. I will go into that some other time why that is actually not so good for some people like myself (oxalates can form crystals in your body and can cause kidney stones, goitrogens slow down a thyroid). Not to mention the high sugar intake which research suggests due to the lack of fiber that helps release sugar slowly into the blood system, a juice is causing a sugar spike. And juices that are not pasteurized, can bring harmful bacteria to your gut which can cause a whole other range of issues.

Maybe, just maybe, juice cleansing was a hype from 2006-2016, and now people just have one juice once a while and are onto another fad, like Keto or Paleo?

Related: Why no one does juice cleanses anymore

Organic Avenue used to offer their juices in glass bottles, but they were more expensive as there was a fee for returning the bottles. Now they serve the juices in BPA- free plastic, I thought that was a nice thing! Of course with the demise of Organic Avenue, their bottles are gone too. (I just kept one as a souvenir).

If you want to do a cleanse, there are many places in New York City and beyond to get a juice from, including Juice Press, Pressed Juicery ,Blueprint and Juice Generation

Related: 5 cleanses that get delivered to your door in the USA

p.s. for my readers in the Netherlands: you can order from Sapmeesters.

Final thought on cleanses: You should decide yourself what works for you! I will now enjoy a small juice once a while!

Love, Lonneke

First Published on May 6th 2012, Updated with new insights in 2019

 


40 things to do with kids in New York City

If you did not know yet, I tell you now: New York City is a great place to live, and to visit!

In 2012 NYC broke a record with the amount of visitors & tourists they welcomed: 52 million! And it has been going up ever since. Mayor Bloomberg, who resigned at the end of 2013, has spent a lot of his 12 year term as a Mayor, making New York City great for citizens, and even more attractive to tourists. NYC is not only a city for grown-ups. It is a very safe and fun place, and there are a lot of things for kids to do in New York City!

Pictures by Fairest Photo.

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Things to do in New York City

Let me share with you some of my favorite activities for kids in this wonderful City. Whether you live in New York City, or are just visiting for a short amount of time, there is so much to do. And some things will cost you, and some are free... but all are really fun!

Of course you can go play with your kids at one of the many playgrounds around the City, go shopping with your kids, and eat food at one of the 25000 restaurants & deli's New York City has. There are many FREE outdoor swimming pools available to all young kids in NYC in the Summer (with parental guide, there are pretty strict rules so read them first) and there are also many indoor pools. I recommend just walking around different neighborhoods in Manhattan. When you walk, I guarantee you will find a hidden toy shop, or a cupcake bakery. New York City is the place of discoveries! We always play this game with kids:

When the light turns white,

you follow your way.

But you turn left or right,

When the red light means Stay.

This will result in you walking through different streets than you would normally do, so you see new things!

A list of 40 things to do with kids in New York City ( and fun for parents too!)

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1. Central Park

Central park is so big and has so many attractions itself. It is the big heart of NYC and the tranquil quiet place amidst the buzz of the busy city. The lawns are beautiful and the meadows are so large you and your family can run free and play fun games like ball games.

2. Rent a bike in Central Park

You can rent a bike with your family and ride around Central Park.

3. Ride the Carousel

Ride the merry-go-around, the Carousel, in the middle of the park.

4. Explore the nature in Central Park

Walk around the preserved nature of a few hidden areas of the park. Go find them! I love the Rambles, with its idyllic bridge, waterfalls and views. But you shouldn't miss Strawberry Fields, a tribute to John Lennon with his "Imagine" mozaic. And the Alice in Wonderland bronze sculpture.

5. Ice skating in Central Park

In the Winter you must go iceskating at Wollman Rink. (For years owned and developed by mr. Donald J. Trump)

6. Central Park Zoo

You can also visit the Central Park Zoo (or the Brooklyn Zoo or Brooklyn Aquarium.) This Zoo was used as inspiration for the animated movie "Madagascar".

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Side note: I personally wouldn't take a carriage ride in Central Park. These horses are working long hours, and are stabled in small stables in NYC. They never have a day off. Mayor Bill DeBlasio promised before election that he would change a lot for the horses in NYC. I was wrong about Mayor DeBlasio, he is not keeping his promises. But he did open the way up for new animal shelters, as NYC has many homeless cats and dogs. So that's good.Check my article on the NYC carriage horses and a great alternative.

7. Picnic in Central Park

You can buy food at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle, take the food with you and walk to Central park, and have a pic nic at Sheep Meadow enjoying the clouds passing by.

8. Boating in Central Park

You can also rent a boat and go boating on The Lake, Central park's second largest water body, or rent a model boat and navigate it in the beautiful pond on the East Side of the park.

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Basically all of Central Park is worth to explore with kids. Central park has manicured areas, lots of history, and even wilderness with real waterfalls!

9. Visit the Observatories of NYC

Visit the Observatory at the Empire State Building, or Freedom Tower One World Observatory. While the wait can be long sometime, the view of the city is amazing for every age. (this is also the area where the 911 Memorial Museum is located. This is an impressive, but very quiet museum). Best is to book tickets online so you don't have to wait in line!

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10. Go on a New York City tour

There is enough to see on a city tour, and kids can sit and watch the whole city pass by. Kids especially love all the lights, so doing a walk or a tour at night is worth it too.

11. Statue of Liberty

Take a Water taxi all the way downtown and go to the Statue of Liberty.

12. Times Square

It is just fun to see all the lights. It's so bright and there is a lot to see!

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My "underground" favorite things to do with kids:

13. Hudson River Park

Visit the Hudson River Park all along the Hudson River on the westside of New York City. I love this park the most and go running/walking or picnicking there. It stretches from the Financial District to all the way uptown. The park has many activities for kids, like mini golf and (water) play areas. There are in fact many free playgrounds for kids to play all over town.  But I especially love the ones at the Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. When the weather is warm, there are many water -based games to be played. And the park along the Hudson River, is great to walk.

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14. The Highline

The Highline used to be a train track bringing in live animals that would get butchered in the Meat Packing District. Now it is a beautiful park along 12th street all the way up north. It is a nice long walk, with many nice plants trees, design elements, amazing views. At the end there is a little kids playground!

15. Helicopter ride

You can also take a helicopter ride above the city. The helicopter pads are on the West of Midtown at Hudson River, or at the Lower East Side Piers on the East River. You be surprised what the price is. It is not cheap but not so expensive either. Check it out!

16. American Museum of Natural History

Go to the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. It is huge and you see many dinosaurs  & mammoth skeletons. kids love it!(And watch the movie A Night at the Museum, as it is filmed in this museum.)

17. Chelsea Piers

Go to the Chelsea Piers, and go hit some balls at the Golf plaza, play bowling or play Basketball with a nice view of the City or the Hudson River. On their website you can see what is possible! At Chelsea Piers there is  also the Trapeze School of New York City. You can learn to fly and hang upside down in the air. Really fun especially for the older kids amongst us.

18. NY Watertaxi

Take the NY watertaxi boat tour around the island and see everything. It has a few stops on the riversides of Manhattan.

19. Broadway musical

See a Broadway musical or play. Even if you don't like musicals: there is nothing like seeing a show on Broadway.

20. Washington Square Park

Go to Washington Square Park, my favorite park with the famous Arch, and see all the diverse people hanging out, performing, or playing chess, and the dogs in the dog parks. This place is definitely for culture, but you also have a great view of the Empire State Building, and the Freedom Tower on the other side.

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21. Rent a bike in the city

You can find Citibike everywhere, and you can ride all around Manhattan via the Hudson River Park south to the Financial District, and back up along the East River (for older kids).

22. Visit the Intrepid

The Entrepid Museum. This used to be a warship, and when it was taken out of service, it became a museum. You can find the Concorde here, and other interesting (war) airplanes. (NY Fleetweek May 25-30!) Currently showing a "Star Trek  Academy Experience".

23. Visit Street fairs

See where there is a street fair going on in the City, and enjoy the locals and their food and merchandise!

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24. Swim in public pools

In the Summer you can swim at one of the many outdoor swimming pools from NYC Parks.  You can find current opening hourse HERE> Last Summer when my young nephews were in town, they went almost every day!

Day Trips

25. A day at the beach

You want a day at the beach? Take a ferry to the beach! Yes, Seastreak offers multiple daily trips to the New Jersey Shore. Take the stop Sandy Hook and enjoy a day at the beach.  I have done it! It is a nice short trip over the East River. Leaves from East River at Wall street, or East 35th street.

26. Visit a themepark

Go to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey in Spring and Summer. It's about an hour and 15 min drive, and you can either rent a car, or go by NJ Transit.

27. Visit an indoor water park

Go to any of the indoor water parks that you find around New York City. Some are a day trip, and some include stay at a hotel. The website Mommy Poppins.com has pointed out  7 great indoor waterparks in the neighborhood.

28. Go on a train ride

Take the train along the Hudson River upstate! Also a nice day trip, to enjoy the beautiful nature of Upstate New York. Go to Central Station (which is already beautiful to see) And buy a ticket at Metro North Train (MTA) Take the Hudson line up. Nice villages to go to are Peekskill, Hudson (where there is lots of art) but my favorite is Cold Spring as you get a beautiful view of the Hudson River, and it has an idyllic street with many little shops. Go to dinner at Hudson House Inn, as this historic inn at the riverfront has a nice view and food is great, as well as the people. Here is a nice page for more tips on visiting the Hudson Valley by Rail.

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CLICK HERE FOR SPECIAL THINGS TO DO IN THE WINTER/CHRISTMAS TIME WITH KIDS

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Food

29. Eat a burger

Try any of the organic Bare Burger restaurants in NYC (see my article in the link). There are all over the City and serve delicious organic burgers and salads and it is the perfect place to experience an American Burger the healthy way, your kids will love it.

30. Eat the best breakfast in town

Norma's: the best breakfast in the City ( my favorite!) This is a restaurant only open until 3pm every day, located in the Parker Meridien hotel. Sometimes there is a wait if you don't make a reservation. The restaurant looks clean, but the food... they make the best pancakes and waffles with fruit (I always order the Wazza waffle) and other breakfast food. Kids love it.

31. Visit nature in the city

Do you want to teach your kids about vegetables and plants? Go to the beautiful Bronx Botanical Garden! They have a rose garden, a part of a forest you can walk through safely, and on the top of the hill they have an area specially for kids where they can learn everything about gardening and even cooking what they grow in the garden!

32. Family style restaurant

If you want a more laid back atmosphere and a different neighborhood, Bubby's downtown in Tribeca is a great option too (the restaurant is owned by Robert DeNiro), they serve great scones and all American Breakfast.

33. Easy and delicious American Food

Underneath the Highline is the Standard Grill. When it is nice out, you can sit outside in the cute Meatpacking District area.

34. Drink a Juice

Whether it is on of the locations of the Juice Press ,Dr. Smood, or another brand a fresh healthy juice is a great start of the day, or a nice refresher. Some of these are also organic. You want to give your kids the right nutrients right?

35. Cupcakes, Bagels & Donuts

Of course you have to make a stop at Georgetown Cupcake, famous from their TLC show, and they even have gluten free and vegan options. They are located on Mercer street in Soho. My favorite Bakery is Le Pain Quotidien, and Maison Kayser with their organic breads. You find them throughout the City, and are great to go with kids to have lunch.

36. PIZZA!

Even though Rubirosa is my favorite pizza place, with kids it is better to go to Lombardi's, or Arturo's pizza. You can also take out pizza and take it to a nearby park and eat it.

Shopping

37. Build your own toy

Build a custom made teddybear at Build-a-Bear on 5th Avenue. You can choose the color of the bear, and what he or she will wear.

38. Shop for kids' clothes

You can shop for kids clothes everywhere, but around Soho there are many small boutique cute clothing stores for kids. If you need warm clothes I like the Patagonia Store on Greene street. Patagonia tries to do good for the environment, their clothes are not expensive and really nice and warm. If you want something really nice & fashionable, Trico Field on West Broadway are places where you find very special items for your young kids.

39. Science & history related gifts

The Evolution Store on Broadway. Kids love these dead animals and skeletons. You have objects from 1 dollar to thousands of dollars!

40. Make art with your kids

Children's museum for the Arts on Charlton Street: Let your kids find their art, this is a nice activity for around 2.5 hours.

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Stay

NYC is expensive, and the city is battling short-term rental companies by putting in laws that make most short term rentals not allowed. But it is in court so it is important you check out the local status of Air BNB and other short term rental laws. Your accommodation is an area where you usually have to accept that you won't have too much space in your hotel room. But hey, you are going to be outside all the time anyway! I would suggest to stay away from very busy areas like hotels around Times Square, or hotels in 20-50s streets. Uptown close to Central Park is the best bet, as well as hotels downtown. Here is a link  with some more information and another one with tips. The Soho Grand is a nice hotel in Soho, and I used to stay at the luxury Le Parker Meridien hotel close to Central Park with my family years ago: they even have a swimming pool on the roof and restaurant Norma's is in the hotel! (as well as a great burger restaurant called Burger Joint) When you are on a budget, try Holiday inn, Courtyard and Four Points by Sheraton in Soho, Financial District and Tribeca. You have to do some research, but remember with kids: the area and safety of the hotel is more important than size of your room.

Getting Around:

You can walk to the curb, raise your hand and get a "Yellow Cab". When the number is on, it is available. When all lights are on (on left and right of the number) the taxi is off-duty. When the light is off, the Taxi is taken. They usually take 4 people at once. If your family is bigger, you can order a Lyft, Uber, Via, Gett or Juno by downloading their apps and ordering a car in the right size. There are other good Limousine services like Carmel and Dial7. Taking your kids in the subway is also a very easy and convenient way to get around. And of course, you should walk as much as possible, it is my favorite thing to do in NYC!

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And finally: Take a lot of pictures. Make lasting memories with your kids. New York City is definitely something they will never forget in their lifetime!.

I hope these suggestions help you when visiting New York City, because there are many things to do for Kids in the Best City in the World! :)

For more current kids activities and more inspiration please go to: Time Out NYC KIDS

Love, Lonneke

p.s. all thanks to Navy, Milo & Lux Lamey (my nephews and niece) who came to visit us in NYC  <3

First published in 2017, Updated in 2019


9/11 MEMORIAL MUSEUM

9/11 Memorial Museum

That one day in September 2011. Everybody remembers where they were at that exact time. Where were you? 

The Netherlands, September 11th 2011. I just had cleaned the stables and fed the horses and went inside my family's home. It was about 3.15 pm and I turn on the TV, just to unwind for a bit after some hard work. Then I see the news coming on, there is an extra news broadcast. I see the Twin towers of the World Trade Center, and one is burning. What has happened? At that moment the second tower got hit by a plane and there was chaos everywhere in the World. What the h*ll was going on? I called up my father who was terminally ill with cancer, and who was in bed upstairs.I told  him: "Rob, look at the news! What's this?". He couldn't believe it either. We had just visite the top of the tower only a few months ago, even before my father got sick. We went because my father wanted to do something "touristy" this time  in New York City. I got many great pictures from that visit, including one of my father on top of the World Trade Center.  So that September 11th, we watched the news together all day. It was beyond anything that we could wrap our head around. The towers collapsed and the Pentagon got hit too. There even was a plane that went down in Pennsylvania. Air traffic in the USA was shut down and everyone was in shock. "You probably would have never thought you would live longer than the Twin Towers, right" I told my dad that day. 4 weeks later he passed away. That's why to my that moment of 9/11 has extra meaning, as it was one of the last things I did with my father when he was still able to participate in a conversation with me. I miss him more the more time has passed. And I do miss the Twin Towers too.

911 Quilt

Nowadays people still talk about 9/11. Where they were at that moment, and what the true story is, because many stories were going around. Today people still don't know exactly what happened, but we all know that many people were killed, and many people have been emotionally suffering ever since. The rules have changed. Some wounds have not even healed yet. And maybe they will never. There had to be a place created for people to come together and remember it all. And after years of work, it is here.

A few weeks ago the 9/11 Memorial museum has finally opened its doors. Exactly in the location where the towers stood, there are now 2 square black pools with on each side waterfalls that end up in a hole in the middle in the shape of a square. You don't see where the water is going. It is very impressive. On the sides you can read all the names of the people who lost their lives. These pools can be visited daily from 7.30pm to 9pm and is free of charge.

911 Water Wall

Underneath the pools is where the 9/11 Memorial Museum sits. You have to pay for admission and I recommend buying the tickets online, and choose the time you want to go. When you enter, you go down the stairs and end up in a large space with very nice modern architecture, and with walls as much as 30 feet high or so. It is very impressive. Walking through the different rooms,you see remains of the towers. A fire truck that got smashed. One window of a tower that was the only one of all the tens of thousands of windows that survived the impact.  The last standing concrete pole of 9/11 full of personal notes from fire fighters and other people who worked on the 9/11 disaster. (see picture above) The wall that keeps the Hudson river from flowing into downtown NYC. (also in picture above) A wall with the unrecognizable remains of the people who vanished behind it. (picture below) A room where you can ask to have an In Memoriam of someone who has died on 9/11 to be displayed. You see many, many things that were found on 9/11. And you are able to see, and hear different videos and audio of news broadcasts, and personal stories in the different spaces of the museum. There is even a box of tissues, because I am sure many people won't keep it dry hearing a flight attendant call home who was on one of the hijacked flights, or someone in one of the towers who describes what she saw...

911 Memorial Wall

My family and I went the second week of opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. They work with hours of entrance, and there is a lot of security of course. There is a lot to see, and what stood out was that everyone was quiet. The museum was quiet. People were in awe and shock of everything they saw. Everyone remembers 9/11. Everyone has a story to tell, of their recollection of 9/11. And if you think your story adds to the story of 9/11 you can even tape your story and it is put into the collection of the museum. This way the collection is ever growing.

When visiting New York City, I definitely recommend visiting this Museum, it will make you remember it all, and will make you not forget.

9/11 Memorial Museum

Love, Lonneke


Just Married!

On the birthday of my late father Rob Engel, 29th of January, Dirk Verest and I, Lonneke Engel, would like to announce our marriage to the World! I am a lucky woman and have never felt more excited for our future together! 

Just married!

Dirk and I are extremely happy with our intimate & spiritual wedding, in our beautiful loft in New York City, in November 2013. Surrounded by close friends, we were married by Brooke, an ordained minister, who is a close friend, and my best friend Johan's wife.

Married life feels good! You have someone in your life you love, who loves you back. You have someone in your life to lean on, and together you are a team. Dirk and I are a team. For better and for worse, for real. And that's something I have longed for, for years.

Love, Lonneke

 My DIY wedding bouquet

Our Wedding in the News

Lonneke-Engel-Dirk-Verest

Featured Image by Sophie Blackall, our wedding card.


New York City Winter Movies tour

Whether you are visiting New York City during the Winter or Christmas, or are just at home and want to see some nice family movies during the Holidays, here are my 5 favorite movies to watch in the Winter time. And maybe you can go visit the film locations in New York City! Check my New York City Winter Movies Tour, starting with no. 1 on top:

1. Home Alone 2 Lost in New York

This is the all-time favorite, not-to-miss movie starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, who by accident gets on the wrong plane and flies to New York City by himself, instead of Florida with his family. While the Plaza hotel does exist (it is now half a residential building and half a hotel) The toy store in the movie does not really exist -the movie's toystore "Duncan's Chest" was filmed in Chicago - this is the movie's version of FAO Swarz, a toy store a few blocks to the East of Plaza Hotel, on 5th Avenue. You can go there and enjoy the toys. Go see the movie, and go see the Plaza hotel from Central Park. You can also book a room here and order room service just like Kevin did in the movie. I also love the Home Alone 2 trivia, as there are more interesting facts to this movie and film locations.

The Trailer of Home Alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0kJieJ1k6k

2. Serendipity

Probably one of my favorite romantic movies ever made. A lot is filmed around New York City in the Winter. It is a very nice movie for the Winter nights, with lots of love, Winter season activities and snowflakes. The story is about how Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet at a kiosk at Bloomingdale's to buy gloves. Sara decides it should be faith if they should meet again,and she writes her phone number and name in a book. Jonathan writes his number on a dollar bill. The whole movie you see them trying to find each other's phone number and hoping destiny will bring them together.There is actually a restaurant in New York City named Serendipity 3 (225 E 60th street, between 2nd & 3rd avenue), and that's where a few scenes in the movie are filmed. Jonathan and Sara share a Frozen Hot Chocolate here, a famous drink from Serendipity they even trademarked. It is not so healthy but so fun to go and have one yourself!

Serendipity frozen hot chocolate
This is the scene filmed at Serendipity 3 when Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) share a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, a specialty of Serendipity 3.

The trailer of Serendipity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePU2Ux9JIMM

Other places you should visit are Bloomingdale's (1000 3rd avenue & E 59th street) where Sara and Jonathan meet, The Waldorf Astoria hotel (301 Park Avenue between 49th & 50th) where Jonathan's wedding takes place, Wollman Rink in Central park where Jonathan and Sara are going ice skating and where they reunite. More locations of this movie you can find HERE>, as they also were filming in my neighborhood, as well as some unknown trivia questions HERE>

3. A night at the Museum

A fun movie with Ben Stiller, who plays Larry who becomes a guard in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (Central Park West & 79th street)  He is supposed to " not let anything in, and not let anything out". He later finds out what that means when he is by himself at night at the museum. (This movie was also directed by Chris Columbus, who also directed Home Alone 1 and 2.).

A night at the Museum

 

The Trailer of A Night at the Museum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2G-8raHvOU

 

4. Elf

A true Christmas movie. Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) is an adult human who was raised by elves. He is going to New York City to meet his real father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) who is on Santa's naughty list. If you watch this movie you want to go visit the Empire State Building (350 5th Avenue at 34th street) and you want to go see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th & 50th street). A joyful funny movie for the whole family!Elf movie

The trailer of Elf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW9wRNqQ_P8

5. Noel

They want us to believe it is all filmed in New York City, but most of it was in fact filmed in Canada. So it should not really be on this list. You do see Rockefeller center and other nice shots of New York City in Winter/Christmas time. But as Paul Walker has a lead roll in it next to Susan Sarandon and Penelope Cruz,  I thought it was a nice gesture to include this movie in my top 5 list in his memory.Noel movie

The trailer of Noel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLjj5EwviQY

 

p.s. I found a great website with more New York City film locations of all your favorite New York City movies in one place: On the set of New York

 


Candle 79 Restaurant review

When you go organic & vegan, most people think you eat the most boring foods. WRONG! Candle 79 (and its sister restaurants Candle Cafe and Candle Cafe West) show that vegan food can be inspiring, warming and delicious! A great restaurant in New York City.

Candle79-2

Romantic vibes

Candle 79 is a romantic restaurant with nice low lights and candles (the name says it all)  located in the posh Upper East Side neighborhood, and serves high-end vegan cooked foods since 2003. They have a great selection for raw foodies too, but most of it is true home cooked meals brought to another level by owners Joy & Bart. They have been rated #1 vegetarian restaurant by Zagat twice and everyone who loves vegetarian food raves about this place. They bring food from the farm to your table without harming anyone and any animal, only healthy food in a holistic way.

The menu has many options to choose from

When I get here, I never know what to choose, their regular menu already has too many options that make my mouth water, but they also have a few daily specials. What I love here the most is that they are the best at preparing seitan, and all their seitan dished are amazing. The World Famous Seitan Piccata is one of my favorites, as well as all their dishes with roasted fall vegetables and mashed vegetables. Every dish has many flavors on one plate and that's why this is one of my favorite restaurants in the World. Candle 79 has many homemade original cocktails, with organic alcohol or virgin ones. the coconut and ginger blend is great, as well as the rosemary infused sparkling pear juice.

Candle 79 -2

Seitan entrée with fingerling potatoes, onions, butternut squash, apple & more.
Candle 79 -3Tempeh Entrée with string beans, brussels sprouts, fennel salad, mole, mashed pumpkin

Candle 79 - 4Dessert special: soy vanilla ice-cream, candied figs, almonds & sauce.

Our favorites at this restaurant

Anything with their seitan: it's amazing! Like Seitan chimichurri

Avocado tartare with kale chips

Their ravioli or any other pasta

Dishes with any of the following: garlic mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, mashed pumpkin, roasted brussels sprouts, porcini mushroom sauce, marinara sauce, grilled tempeh, grilled seitan.

Seitan piccata

Their daily specials

Any of their virgin cocktails  or "Smooth sippers" as they call them.

Also, even if you never take desserts: Candle 79 makes desserts so good you can't believe it is vegan!

 

Adres

Candle 79

154 E 79 street

(between Lexington & 3rd)

 

Love, Lonneke


Peacefood Cafe NYC review

Peacefood cafe 1NYC is the place to be for vegan food! This is another one on my favorites list: Peacefood Cafe NYC.

I have been to the one in the Upper West Side of NYC, but it is a bit out of the direction I usually have to go when I am in NYC, so I am very happy they opened one downtown just a bit South from Union Square!

Peacefood cafe 4

Their menu needs a bit of investigating to discover the great things they have to offer. You have to realize everything they offer is vegan: nothing is made with animal products. But they serve great healthy things, and some that resemble the bite of meat too!

It is a great place to just go for a snack or coffee/tea with a sweet bite, a vegan sandwich, as well as for a full dinner.

Their Shanghai Dumplings are a great snack, and their pizzas are tasty too.

Peacefood cafe 3But my favorite dish is the simple roasted and sautéed veggies plate for dinner. You can chose 4 of your favorite vegetables. It seems they use a certain oil to sauté it in, so it tastes absolutely delicious! ( I pick Brussels Sprouts, Japanese Pumpkin, Sautéed kale, broccoli)

But I also like to order their special of mashed potatoes, mushrooms, gravy and other vegetables that are in season. It is like what your mother used to make but the healthy version the vegan way.

What I also love here are the special teas (Mother's Bouquet is a favorite).They also make a raw & vegan chocolate pie and I tried the raw key lime pie: so good!

PeaceFood Cafe NYC locations

Uptown:
460 Amsterdam Avenue @82nd street
10am-10pm everyday

Downtown:
41 East 11th street @University Place
10am-10pm Everyday

Peacefood cafe chocolate pie

 

 


Salud organic juice bar NYC review

I love exploring New York City and finding great neighborhood gems! This time I discovered Salud, a family owned juice bar business with 2 locations in Brooklyn and NYC.

We went to the NYC location, located on Thompson street in Soho, NYC. Salud Organic juice bar NYC is a small place with lots of turquoise color and many artsy decoration. Which I can understand once I read on the website the juice bar is a creation by a brother and sister, who are a chef and an artist.

Salud organic juice bar 2

The menu is healthy with a latin twist. They have a daily homemade soup ( I had the lentil soup it was delicious)  and a daily special. The regular menu is a mix of smoothies, juices, sandwiches, wraps, tortillas and brunch items including eggs. They serve chicken, but also "Un"chicken sandwiches. But most things on the menu are vegetarian and all is ... organic!

photo 3

We ordered the E-Detox-O ( a detox juice with cayenne pepper) and the Purple Haze, which is now my favorite smoothie! It has homemade roasted amaranth, banana, blueberries and hemp milk. For brunch they have easy organic egg dishes and I love the wrap with eggs, kale and avocado.

I will definitely go back sometime! Very happy it is close by to where we live!

Salud organic juice bar NYC 1

Salud Latin organic juice bar

107 Thompson street NYC

Love, Lonneke


Making of Model Chocolate

Carolina, Fabio, Dirk and I recently spent some time in my Organice Your Life® kitchen in NYC making delicious chocolate treats! We first went through the Model Chocolate book by top model & OYL contributor Abigail O'Neill, and picked our 2 favorite recipes.

Lonneke & Carolina making chocolateLonneke & Carolina 

Australian model Abigail just released her first chocolate & super foods book full of yummy desserts & treats called "Model Chocolate". And send us a copy too to try some desserts! So we spent the whole night preparing the recipes and we had a lot of fun!

From the many, many recipes, I chose the pie Love Me Bittersweet Jaffa Pie and Carolina chose the cookies.

model chocolate book

The pie is a mix of pure, organic ingredients like shredded coconut, pure chocolate nibs & powder, orange oil, orange juice, macadamia nuts and dates.  It is probably the most expensive pie I ever made, as most of the ingredients are not cheap, but it is one of the best pies I ever tasted! The amount of each ingredient was really perfect, you could really taste the orange oil & juice in the "aftertaste". And all the ingredients are uncooked, organic and actually healthy for you! Of course you don't eat the whole pie at once, so after the pie was made, and we all had a piece with a nice cup of tea, we split the remaining pie and Carolina & Fabio took their half home. We later found out we all ate a little piece each night after dinner as a treat until it was finished! So the whole week we all enjoyed it. So in the end it was something we could enjoy for so long it wasn't an expensive pie at all.

macadamia dates coconut flakes 1The ingredients for the crust of the pie are mixed together in a blender.

making crust of raw pieFabio is making the crust of the pie by pressing the pie mixture really well to get a solid and strong bottom of the pie

pouring of chocolateFabio ads the chocolate mixture onto the crust

Carolina pouring chocolateCarolina sprinkles raw cacao nibs on top.

Model chocolate book 1Model Chocolate book with the chocolate pie after coming out of the fridge.

Model Chocolate pie 2We love a piece of this chocolate pie!

The whole recipe for this delicious pie you can find in the Model Chocolate book .

The cookies were a mix of ingredients like chocolate powder,spelt meal, maca, macadamia oil, coconut oil. These pictures are going to be posted in an article by Carolina so stay tuned!

If you are interested in making these recipes yourself , you can buy the Ebook  and/or the hardcopy in our OYL shop HERE>

What are you making next from the Model Chocolate recipe book?

Love, Lonneke

All pictures copyrighted by Organice Your life® 


Rebecca Taylor

Fashion Designer Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca TaylorRebecca Taylor is a busy bee. Originally from New Zealand, this businesswoman is an entrepreneur, but also a wife & mom, and this all in one of the busiest places on Earth: NYC. For Organice Your Life® we asked her about her family life and how to juggle her career, as well as what charity has her heart.

OYL: Being a designer, an entrepreneur, mother and wife, while living and working in one of the busiest cities in the world, how are you able to maintain balance and peace in this whirlwind we call life? 

Rebecca: "I am not sure if you ever truly find balance; it’s quite difficult to juggle it all, but I take it one day at a time and try to keep focused on my priorities.

OYL: Now that you are a mother, what values do you try to instill in yourchildren? Do you carry over the customs and traditions from your own childhood?

Rebecca: "Definitely. My children are still very young, but I teach them to always be respectful of others, to take care of each other, and to follow their passions. I have one brother and two sisters, and we are all very close. my mother was quite strict when wewere growing up, but she always gave us the freedom to follow our dreams. I would like to give my children the same encouragement and support my mom gave us."

OYL: Being from New Zealand, which is hom to abundant nature and beautiful landscapes, do you find it difficult to adjust to New York City Life, Especially now that you have children?

Rebecca: "Well, I've been living in NYC for 20 years now, so I've had some time to adjust.New York City offers so much; there are always so many wonderful things to explore with the children. however, at times nostalgia does set in, and I find myself missing the gorgeous landscape of my seaside village.

Rebecca Taylor

OYL:At Organice Your Life® we are very involved with charities and their work, what are some charities that you support or belong to?

Rebecca: We support a lot of charities throughout the year, but to name a few:

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

make-a-Wish Foundation 

The Foundling Foundation

OYL: Within your life and environment, do you try to live a "Green-er" life? In What ways?

Rebecca: "Yes, I try to be very conscientious of being ‘green’ on a daily basis. I don’t usually print anything unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I am really strict about recycling. We are actually looking into recycled fabrics as well for the line. I feel it’s our duty to preserve the Earth as best as we can."

Visit Rebecca Taylor's website to see some over her exquisite designs.

interview by the OYL team. First published September 2012

Look TV: Healthy Living with Lonneke Engel

This is a video I did for Look TV called "healthy  living with Lonneke Engel". I it filmed a while ago and  I take you to the NYC Union Square farmers market. I also show you how to prepare a few easy delicious dishes using healthy ingredients that I bought at the NYC farmers market! I show that cooking is not that difficult when using fresh ingredients. This healthy living is all about creativity and just trying out different things using products that are in season and available at the farmers market.Enjoy the video and I hope you like the recipes as well!

[youtube id="BxhY6CDspis" align="center"]

Love, Lonneke