Photos: Francisco Collazo
[Please do not use these photos without permission. To purchase rights, contact Francisco Collazo: fracollaz[at]gmail[dot]com
** Yesterday, flag burners and people protesting their actions confronted each other at Ft. Greene Park in Brooklyn. You can read more about the confrontation in this article at DNAInfo.com. The photos below were taken by Francisco Collazo and are used with his permission.
Text & Photos:
Julie Schwietert Collazo
** Sometimes, Mariel thinks Francisco and I have the coolest jobs in the world.
Like when we’re invited to tour chocolate factories and eat lots of chocolate.
Yesterday, we headed down to Sunset Park to visit Li-Lac’s new chocolate factory and, of course, sample the wares.
Li-Lac’s an interesting hold-out in a world of artisanal bean-to-bar chocolatiers, among them other Brooklyn-based chocolate producers, Mast Brothers, Raaka, Tumbador, and Cacao Prieto, to name just a few. Li-Lac, which was founded in New York in 1923, prides itself on being “stubbornly old-fashioned” (in fact, that’s its tagline). While those other chocolatiers are dabbling in novel flavor combinations (I happen to love Raaka’s bourbon cask aged and vanilla rooibos raw chocolate bars), wrapping their bars up in fancy packaging that sometimes costs as much as the chocolate itself, and promoting the backstory of their beans and who produced them, Li-Lac is doing just fine with its handmade bestsellers. During a tour of the factory, we were told that customers won’t let Li-Lac “get all fancy.” “They like the flavors they tasted 20 years ago and they don’t want us to change them,” said Anthony Cirone, president and co-owner of Li-Lac. Nostalgia trumps innovation and it seems to be a business model that’s working just fine for them.
Our visit to Li-Lac was for a media preview, but the grand opening to the public will take place on Saturday, November 22, from 11am-5pm. There will be free chocolate, of course. Visitors will be able to see the production line, where chocolates are “enrobed” and finished off with a hand-drawn “signature.” And if they don’t get enough sweet treats during the visit, they can purchase some more in the on-site store.
Not much time for art criticism or commentary this morning, as I’m on deadline (if you want to read an insightful piece of criticism, I recommend this one), but just wanted to mention that artist Kara Walker’s installation at the Domino Sugar Refinery is really worth visiting; it’s the finest installation piece I’ve seen in a long, long while.
Francisco and the kids and I made it out to Brooklyn on the opening day of the show and found ourselves in the surprisingly short line to enter the refinery, which is the perfect space for Walker’s work. The show is only up through July 6 and the pieces are quite literally melting away slowly, so you might want to visit sooner rather than later (or more than once, even). It’s open only on Fridays (4-8pm) and Saturdays and Sundays (12-6pm) now through July 6. For more information about the exhibit, the space, and how to get there, visit the website of Creative Time, which commissioned the show.
And if you can’t make it, check out more photos from Francisco’s portfolio, which are featured in this post on his blog.
Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Photos: Francisco Collazo and Julie Schwietert Collazo
[Note: We are currently hard at work updating Moon’s travel guidebook to New York State. Though the book is 450 pages, this is a big, big state with lots to see and do, and not every place or experience will make it into the book. Many of those that will deserve even more attention than they’ll receive. These “outtake” posts are intended to give you a closer look at places that either don’t make the cut or aren’t described fully enough in the book.]
** You probably couldn’t come up with a scene that’s more representative of summer in America than a snapshot of the boardwalk in Coney Island.
There’s the beach and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, cotton candy and ice cream vendors, kids–including ours– zipping up and down the salt-warped wooden boardwalk on their scooters, and a ferris wheel and carnival rides.
By day, Coney Island makes for a fun trip to a unique part of the city. On a summer night, though, there’s something even more special about the beach neighborhood. The boardwalk is still full of people. Kids slide on playground equipment installed right on the beach. Vendors hawk light sticks, which try to compete with the neon glow of carnival lights.
An announcer’s voice reverberates beyond the stadium, where the Brooklyn Cyclones play a home game against a visiting team with a name like the Vermont Lake Monsters.
And then… fireworks.
It doesn’t get much better, much more summery, than this.
This past week, media were following up on their post-Sandy assessments of Coney Island, and NPR’s Planet Money reporter Zoe Chace filed an excellent piece about Coney Island’s comeback. We’re happy to hear that many of the neighborhood’s iconic attractions are back in business, even if it’s not thanks to federal or state assistance (but, as Chace reports, to good ole credit cards… and, cheeringly, human kindness).
Francisco took these Coney Island photos pre-Sandy, in April 2012.
To keep up with re-openings and happenings in Coney Island, follow the neighborhood’s twitter and facebook accounts.
To see more of Francisco’s Coney Island photos, visit this set on Flickr.