When you get the right mix of people to work together, they can really have a positive impact on their community. On Saturday night at one building's holiday celebration, its residents came together to have a meal with one another and enjoy the performance of some special young, uplifting talent.
Located in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, the residents of 190 East Mosholu Parkway South held its 5th Annual Christmas Celebration, a break from the usual stress that goes along with holiday shopping, gridlock alerts, and nonstop television commercials. It was a chance for us (yes, a bit of self-promotion here) to sit down with our neighbors and talk, laugh, eat, and drink together, something that we wouldn't normally do the rest of the year. The event has become larger every year, and we look forward to sitting down with each other as opposed to passing by one other on our way to work as we do on every other day.
This year was a little bit more special. Some residents prepared dishes to share with one another, but we also hired a former resident, who's family still lives in the building, to prepare the main course instead of hiring someone from the outside. Executive Chef Roopchand "Raj" Seesochan recently started his own business, after serving as the executive chef for the Radio City Rockettes for many years, and prepared an elaborate spread from various cultures and cuisines that was a real treat. This hidden Bronx talent prepared an exquisite menu from Cajun shrimp to baked chicken to bacalaitos, and his particular flair definitely contributed to the holiday atmosphere. A very jovial and hardworking character, "Chef Raj" is very dedicated in the manner in which he both prepares and presents his food to his clients and friends. It is great to know that someone as talented as Chef Raj, a term that I don't use lightly, continues to make his home in the Bronx when he could have gone elsewhere.
In addition to the great food, we also had the privilege of listening to some great, talented pre-teens in our own private concert. Four seventh graders, two who are Bronxites, are from The Special Music School at PS 859 at the Kaufman Center near Lincoln Center, and performed several traditional Christmas carols on the violin and cello. Myah Segura, who lives with her parents in the building, has performed for us in the past, and the residents come out every year to support and encourage her. It is always a pleasure to hear her perform, along with her classmates Nina Uesato, Sofia Manuguerra, and Isabel Janovsky. These young women were led by their conductor Shana Mahoney, who happens to be the mother of Sofia and serves as the conductor for St. Barnabas Church in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx.
So the moral of this particular story, happiness is not found in the things you have, but in the things you share with one another. Whether that is in a meal together, or in supporting one another in their aspirations, we as Bronxites need to take a moment to reflect on who and what we have and support one another. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, y un Feliz Año Nuevo to everyone!