Hidden in the winter snow in NYC, beautiful red bird was perched on a tree in Central Park…


I recently decided to rebuild my relationship with snow…. You see we started on very shaky ground.

I first met snow in New York City during a high school field trip from my native home of Miami, Florida. I had always wanted to see snow. I had romantic visions of the way snow looked, felt, smelled from all the movies and television shows. Finally, on the one free day we had during the trip a friend and I decided to go to a tapping of the Today Show at Rockefeller Center, knowing that snow would show up that morning. And boy did snow show up, it was EVERYWHERE!! … What ended up happening is that this Miami Latina, who had never seen snow, somehow didn’t understand that snow was made up of water – horribly cold wet, icy, hurtful water. As a result I was frozen solid as my cloth gloves, sneakers and athletic socks were not made for winter weather. I had to seek shelter in St. Patrick Cathedral and resar for warmth. Since that day I hated snow.

Fast forward 11 years later, I am back in New York City. I have decided that for too long I have let my bad relationship with snow hurt my feelings about winter. (My boyfriends laughs that each time the weather report announces snow shower, I physically look ill.)

I decided to rebuild my relationship with snow, this time away from the busy streets of Manhattan, instead we decide to meet the snow in Central Park.

Below are the pictures… a much more joyful experience…

Growing up with a Mexican father in South Florida is a challenge – a gastronomical challenge. We were constantly on a quest to find authentic Mexican food in a town dominated by Caribbean and South American culture. Let’s just say my dad was excited when they opened a Baja Fresh by his house (yes, sad I know… no offense Baja Fresh.)

Living in California had the added blessing of finding great Mexican food in every corner. Now, during my funemployment I rejoice in finding great Mexican cuisine in different cities.

In New York City I went to La Esquina. The three in one restaurant is a gem of great authentic Mexican food. We were lucky enough to get reservations for the posh down stairs hidden restaurant which you enter through the “Employees Only” door in the back of the tacqueria/taco stand.

By far my favorite item was a somewhat simple dish – grilled corn (aka Elotes Callejeros). The cheesy, crunchy fire roasted corn on the cob was mouth-watering and made me want to call my father immediately to tell him about the hidden NYC hot spot.

Below a picture of the item thanks to the internet. Also according to the internet the Elotes Callejeros are made by brushing them with chipotle mayonnaise, rolling them in finely grated sheep’s cheese (cotija cheese), sprinkle with a dry mix of chilli, paprika, ground pepitas and lime zest, and lastly a generous squeeze of fresh lime. Yum.

If you don’t know who Jose Marti is, you should. He was one of the primer thinkers in the Americas. Jose Marti was a renaissance man: A poet, a freedom fighter, a journalist, a philosopher, a revolutionary, a mentor, and hero for all Latin America. Americans today can learn a lot from the life and times of Marti, especially the basics of political activism.


His dedication of freedom, justice and liberty are apparent in all his work. He heroically died in battle fighting for his beliefs – independence for Cuba and freedom for all Cubans, of all races and social classes.

On a recent trip to New York I was pleasantly surprised to find a brilliant quote by Jose Marti in the Statue of Liberty. It made me proud and made me think of what people in today’s modern world could learn from him

He is exactly the kind of person we need in today’s political environment. Not only was a thinker but a doer, a man of action. If he needed money for the revolution against Spain, he got up and raised the funds. He wasn’t a person waiting for a solution. He created solutions.

In my opinion too many people these days just stand in the sidelines and complain. Unfortunately too many people fall in one of two extremes, a) they want other people to figure out the answers and will complain the entire time, b) think they

have all the answers and complain people aren’t reaching out to them.

First off, no one has all the answers, no one is perfect, but together we can find great solutions. Jose Marti understood this and surrounded himself with brilliant people. Together they worked for a common cause. (Including one of my ancestors, Francisco Vicente Aguilera.)

I wish more people would understand these basic concepts of political activism: Be part of the solution. Call yourself into action. Do not wait for an invitation. Help at ANY level you can. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, instead work together for a common cause. Have faith in others and empower them to become leaders. Surround yourself with brighter people than yourself.

As a young girl my grandmother, who I called Yaya, taught me to recite all of his poetry. Marti’s children’s books were almost required reading for any Cuban child, La Edad de Oro. Like many my favorite story is Zapaticos de Rosas, a story that taught me about charity and love.

One of his most famous poems is Rosa Blanca, found below in its original Spanish and an English translation. (Hat tip to FIU and Carlos Ripoll essay on Jose Marti)

Cultivo Una Rosa Blanca

Por Jose Marti
Cultivo una rosa blanca
En julio como en enero,
Para el amigo sincero
Que me da su mano franca.

Y para el cruel que me arranca
El corazon con que vivo,
Cardo ni ortiga cultivo,
Cultivo una rosa blanca.


I Cultivate a White Rose

By Jose Marti

I cultivate a white rose
In July as in January
For the sincere friend
Who gives me his hand frankly.

And for the cruel person who tears out
the heart with which I live,
I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns:
I cultivate a white rose.

Read more about Jose Marti:

Interesting read on the back story behind the crazy political maneuvering in the New York state assembly.

A New York Times article claims strained relations between minority factions in the Democratic party helped provide the GOP its victory. Ethnicity, race and politics make an interesting mix.

New York Times: Latino-Black Rivalry Helped Fuel G.O.P.’s Takeover of State Senate

Lurking just underneath the partisan battle that broke out this week is an uglier, longer-running rift within the Democratic Party. For years, Latino lawmakers have resented playing junior partner to the state’s powerful black establishment, which has supplied New York with a mayor for its largest city, a governor, and, last winter, the first black Senate majority leader: Malcolm A. Smith, who held that post until Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate defected this week.

More on the story Feeling Slighted, Rich Patron Led Albany Revol

Real life is always more interesting then fiction.

A new survey based on residents of New York state provides some interesting (albeit, not new) information about the Hispanic/Latino population. The poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Latinos who identify themselves as Democrats, consider themselves conservative and are strong conservatives on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.

Some of the more interesting points are:

  • 18 percent of Latinos in New York identify themselves as liberal, 21 percent moderate and 31 percent conservative.
  • The favorite group for Latinos to join was a church (35 percent) and the least favorite was a political club (3 percent).
  • Only 26 percent of those surveyed think abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

Studies show that Latinos vote largely on kitchen table issues like the economy and education and not on social issues. Like in most of the country many Hispanics in NY feel Democrats better represent their interests in these areas. (Read the rest of the article here. )

The GOP has done a spotty job on communicating to the American public, and especially the Latino community, their agenda on how to improve on these important day to day issues.

Most of my life I have heard the 1979 Ronald Regan saying “Hispanics are Republicans, they just don’t know it yet.” While this might be true, it will be a tough conversion as long as the GOP is still known as the party for “los ricos” (the rich) and the Democrats are though of as the party for “los trabajadores” (the workers, the poor.) (this is for social, cultural and religious reaons.) It doesn’t help that many of our leaders try to keep a doubles arms length between them and Spanish or Hispanic-focused media.

The most important thing that I see in this poll and similar studies is the ever growing Hispanic conservative base. Many people aren’t commenting on it, but if you look at the last few Presidential elections the Hispanic GOP electorate is growing. While there will always be swing voters, there is most definetly a foundation to grow something much larger and stronger.