Fashionable Men and Woman of Color in the Victorian Era: The classy style of American/European blacks in the Victorian Age.

Many African American/Europeans played a major part in the history of fashion as well as history itself in the 18th and 19th century. History in the western world is a funny thing, like how they only highlight non-blacks in the 18th and 19th century.

“The most important thing to remember here is that when one is not visualized in history, one doesn’t exist. So in terms of memory, in terms of contribution and actually being here, people are often erased…that means their existence is not acknowledged.” (Renee Mussai: curator of the “Missing Chapter” a three year project devoted to researching and revealing the earliest imagery of black people in Britain).

Black men and women in America and Great Briton had a high sense of fashion and style.

Class and sophistication was the order of the day, and these men and women of color carried it forward and smashingly well.

In celebrating black history month and fashion week in 2017, let us take our hats off and pay tribute to these classy and elegant ebony fashionistas and debonair black men from the stylish Victorian Age!

Black people have a long history in England  goes back a long way well before the reign of Queen Victoria. There were Black people in Britain in Roman times, and there has been a continuous Black presence there since 1555.”In Shakespeare’s London audiences, Black faces would have been a familiar sight.”





The Green Parrot: The Harlem Lounge Oasis near the Sugar Hill Area.

Standing right under my nose in Harlem is a charming small lounge called the Green Parrot on 145th Street and 7th Ave near the “Sugar Hill” area. The Green Parrot is a fascinating bar/lounge in Harlem, with an interior that you would not expect in this particular area on 145th and 7th. It looks like it should be in downtown Manhattan or “Downtown Harlem” simply because of the tasteful ambiance this place has.

The Green Parrot is another addition to Harlem by “Londell” , yes the same owner as the famed Londell’s restaurant on Strivers’ Row in Harlem, with the same touch of class but with a unique flavor of its own. This place gives off a relaxed and humble feel mixed with a lot of “coolness”. Green Parrot is managed by the lovely and sexy Rashida Gariver aka (“Roxy”) who also is the resident “Mixologist”!

“We are very open minded with our clientele, we have people from different backgrounds, from different places, and all are welcome here as long as you come with love in your’re heart. This establishment is a place that leads with love. There really is no limit to our clientele as long as you come with love and respect in you’re heart. We put good energy into our atmosphere so that we can receive that good energy back.”

As I spoke with “Roxy” she explained her plans to transform this lounge into a hub of culture with a variety of different genre’s with art gallery shows, paintings and poetry, performing arts, different forms of artistry to allow people to come and express themselves. We also feel the need to cater to the people that live here in the neighborhood to build with the community.kimg1375-2

This bar/lounge also has “bar food” that is good good indeed. Roxy served me the “Veggie Burger”with fries and coleslaw served with a chipotle  mustard which left me quite satiated along with her signature “red sangria” that was not only tasty but packed a hidden punch with I felt when I rose from my stool when she offered to take me on a tour


of the kitchen and her office downstairs. Roxy is not only a pleasant and respectful person, she is also a most gracious excellent host. (then I realized she treats everyone likes this) many would benefit from her example. As she walked me thorough the kitchen and introduced me to the chef, I noticed that the kitchen was not only very clean and orderly, but above standard (they did not get an A rated for nothing), then she showed me her modest office (very neat and professional) and even got a tour of the liquor store room, (I felt like an inspector) as she showed me that everything is of high standard, which it was in fact. The openness and honesty of this woman was impressive enough to pass any inspection!

The Green Parrot also features “Roxy’s Signature Drinks” all artistic creations from the head mixologist herself. “I am like a chef when it comes to mixology” I tend to blend liquor, juices, herb and spices and flavors”. I’m learning everyday some new combination of liquors and flavors. All my drinks I make from scratch, and my inspiration comes from my customers while I custom build drinks for them.” Roxy’s flavorful creations include the rapidly trending “Call Uber” and the “Joy Ride” which is a variation of the sidecar she recreated.  Roxy is always thinking of new ways to make the lounge better, and she is totally committed to her work; when I asked why she pours so much energy into the lounge, she said: “Because I love the business, I love the grind and what I do”!


And just like her wonderful signature drinks and outstanding customer service, I love what she does too!


Nick Fowler and Natasha Komis : Perform at Chelsea Station for Code NYC Weekly Music Series.

On Wednesday Jan 11th Nick Fowler and Natasha Komis gave a riveting performance for the Code NYC weekly music series at Chelsea Station. Nick and Natasha played for a small and intimate crowd of industry people and performed some fantastic covers.

First, Sax player Geno Marriott  from the D.C area opened up for the duo playing a couple of amazing sets which was quite impressive.


Then “Nick and Natasha” played seven sets of covers, which included John Lennon’s “Imagine”, “Wonderwall” by Oasis, Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World”, Bryan Adam’s “Summer of 69”, a tribute to the late George Michael’s “Father Figure”, and Gun’s and Roses “Sweet Child of Mine”.

The two then closed with another Bryan Adams song “Everything I Do” with Geno Marriott joining in on the sax, which really blew everyone away for a stunning final. Needless to say this was a rare treat for all that attended!


PEQUE: A “Cozy and Hip” Restaurant near Sugar Hill.

I was invited to a unique, stylish and intimate restaurant near the Sugar Hill area of Harlem on West 145th Street by co-owner Paul Morejon called PEQUE. While this hip and cool place may seem a little unassuming from outside, once you step in its like entering a another time and place; specifically, Spain, France and sometime in the mid 1930’s and 1940’s, but  still managing to come off as modern. Paul owns the restaurant with Marla Rose, who is also the chef of this fine and exciting place to drink and dine.  PEQUE occupies the same location that was formally “Mountain Bird”. Paul and Marla was looking for a space to open a restaurant in Harlem for almost two years, but was not happy with the locations that they were shown in “Downtown Harlem”(which is the term he used for “that corridor between 110th and 130th  street”), as they both live a couple of blocks from the restaurant in Sugar Hill and wanted a space in their neighborhood.


(Co-Owner Paul Morejon)

“We wanted to bring something to our neighborhood that would not only be welcomed, but needed as well; such as nightlife and entertainment that this area does not have a lot of, so we are very happy to be an anchor in this part of Harlem for this.

        ( Josephine Baker Custom Décor charger by Harlem Artist “Ollomatic”)

As I was enjoying the space and the music and the clientele and the food and the service, I suddenly realized that I was having the time of my life, and all I had to do was walk into this amazing restaurant and sit down. Snapping out of my reverie, I continued my interview with Paul (who is so cool and relaxed) and asked him about his background.

“I have very little restaurant experience, I have decades of eating at restaurant but never worked at one before this. I worked with an experienced restaurant manager and consultant who basically boot camped me for about three to four months before the restaurant opening in the operating and the nitty gritty of the business, her name is Alexis Pepaj Straber (formerly of the popular Red Farm). Everything else I learned on the job opening and closing the restaurant.  I learned how to handle the tips, scheduling, wine and food ordering, handling staff, and also having a husband at home and we entertain people to make sure everyone has a good time, I sort of transferred that here to the restaurant.”  Before this Paul spend 20 years leading technology teams in internet development, websites and applications. “And after that I  was living the life of a New York Fashion week photographer, I still do fashion week photography”.

Co-owner and chef Marla Rose was formally a NYPD Lieutenant for 23 years, and after retirement went to culinary school ICE (Institute of Culinary Education), and is doing an amazing job at transforming the tapas style into something authentic with a Harlem touch on it.  Now the fare is an authentic Tapas style with a flair of Harlem added to it.


I was served the “Setas Salteadas”(delicious mushrooms with sautéed shallots) to start and than came out “Cordero a La Parilla” (Grilled Lamb chops with vegetable couscous and arugula salad in vinaigrette), I was also served the “Ceviche”(shrimp & bacalao cocktail with corn tortilla strips. Notable mention must be given to the “Asparagus” (wrapped in Jamon Serrano) and the “Vice” Chardonnay, a 2013 uncommon Sonoma & Napa Valley blend which is far superior to any Chardonnay I have tasted in Harlem, except for Barawine Harlem.


The lamb chops was served medium rare and all my dishes was served on vintage china! “I have a secret place in the Bronx where I get my antique china”. Paul told me. The food was so good when Paul asked me while I was enjoying my meal “how do I like the food” all I could do is nod my head yes, as I did not want to pause chewing these delicious creations of Marla the chefNow I’ve have had Tapas many times at many places, but this is something I have never encountered before, which was not only a pleasant surprise but an amazing one as well.

The ambience is something of a treat as well, with antique cameras, books and even a miniature disco ball over the bar. Co-owner Paul describe it as “A road trip between Barcelona and Paris, a vintage road trip by a Harlemite”. The clientele was a mix of young professionals, older couples, young couples, artsy types, but one thing they all had in common was that they were cool, layback, relaxed and friendly! Décor custom Diva chargers greeted all the diners, as Paul partnered with Harlem artist “Ollomatic” to create beautiful art out of vintage chargers, featuring the likes of “Grace Jones”, “Nina Simone” and “Josephine Baker”.

Everyone interacted with each other on one level or another, pleasant and nice, something I have not seen in New York in quite awhile, the main thing was everyone was authentic. This is definitely the place where the “real cool” people come to eat and hang out. It is very difficult to talk about the restaurant without using the words: “Hip, “Cool”, and “Chic”, because this place embodies all this and more, along with the fabulous and delicious food and wine.

It was almost a dream I thought, because you know the saying: “If it sounds too good to be true?” So I walked around the whole place to find some kind of down side that could be mentioned, the kitchen clean and spotless, not a table wasn’t ready for a customer to be seated, bar was on point, then I walked into the bathroom and thought I was in someone’s den! A collection of vintage classic books on the shelf, mirrors, and an antique radio playing WBLS. So no I was not dreaming and there was no downside to this restaurant.


The service was excellent and outstanding by the bartender “Wanthy” and the waitress “Delia” (I dropped a fork and it was replaced so fast by Delia, with a smile) Very professional indeed!

(Delia Gubelmann and Bartender Wanthy Reyes)

I was on my second glass of Paul’s “Vice” Chardonnay and said to him “I don’t think I want to leave”. Paul replied: “You don’t have too”. Life just seemed I bit more pleasant listening to “Let a Woman be a Woman-Let a Man be Man”, “Jungle Love” by the Time, “Keep it Together” by Modonna, and “I Can’t Take It” by Evelyn “Champagne” King, and “Baby Here I Come” by James Brown.  Marla even came from the kitchen to sit at the bar and have a glass of wine with me.  Marla was so easy to talk to, as we discussed how almost everyone lives in the immediate area, all the items on the menu are her recipes, her personal relationship with her girlfriend, like real people having a real conversation! Needless to say I was very impressed with this otherworldly restaurant, I say that because it actually felt like I was eating and drinking in a perfect world.

About that wine! Paul and myself have a love of wines, which we discussed at length, “The wines here are like my children, I know each of them very, very well, I raised them all and brought them all in. I sample many wines and select the best ones for the restaurant. I like to pick the grapes of the wines from the same soil that the food is grown, this is my favored approach.” PEQUE has quite a selection of beers on tap, and carry beer from local brewery’s Harlem, Bronx, and NYC area beers, the best selling beer on tap is the Dyckman Pilsner, which Paul calls a”Dominican German Beer”.  Paul is also a native New Yorker like myself and so we say it like it is. “PEQUE is LGBT owned and operated”, and is a safe place for everyone, they have had product launchings, and weddings at this awesome restaurant.

On Wed nights they have live music, and they are about to launch “Broadway Night”on Monday nights, showcasing Harlem Broadway Performers, open mic night, Harlem Pride night every second Friday from 6-10PM, and during the summer will be hosting a “Outdoor Tango Night”.  This is a perfect place to take a date for dinner and drinks, or catch a drink with you’re buddies, or that significant other, or just chill out by yourself, either way you are going to have a most enjoyable time. When I finally left the restaurant, I could honestly say to myself. “This was one of the best nights out I’ve had in a long time.”




CODE NYC MAGAZINE: Press Release Party Celebration at The Rumpus Room LES.


The celebration of the first issue of CODE NYC MAG continues, this time in the LES at the RUMPUS ROOM located at 249 Eldridge Street. This iconic, hip and cozy late night club and lounge is an amazing albeit small space, but it makes up with it’s charm and wonderful music spun by the DJ and co-owner Gabriel.


                    (Owners: Adrian Weber and Gabriel)

I just can’t say how much fun this place was, hanging out with Carl Van Nevius III, talking business and partying along with club co-owner Adrian Weber, music producer Vince McCartney, vocalist and songwriter Stephen, and rocker Natasha Komis and the legendary iconic producer, “Rick Rubin” of Run DMC and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” remake fame.

(Vince McCartney , Stephen, Carl Van Nevius III, Mike Strange with Rick Rubin)

I was so impressed with the music that the DJ was spinning I almost forgot why I was there, as I enjoyed hits from the Smiths, David Bowie, Berlin, Jackson Five, and all my favorite rock classics that have special meaning for me and many others.

(Bartender: Dani Moffett, Photographer: Undo Spreitzenbarth and Carl Bloat from Fractured Code Interviewing Vince McCartney)

As I talked with one of the owners Adrian, he told me to my delight that on Sundays they have a special “Smiths Sunday” every week, music to my ears for a Morrissey fan like myself. After Midnight the place was packed with  hip young professionals, that it was hard to leave (Literally).


Occupying the same space as the old “Sapphire Lounge” where I used to hang out at, who can ask for anything more.  The Rumpus Room is truly” where the wild things are!”