Victoria’s Diary: Finding treasures in our city 

The exterior of the Red Rooster in Harlem.

To me, nothing feels better than a good laugh. I never realized it’s power until I read that humor and optimism play a critical part of a healthy person. 

As a long time subscriber to Bottom Line, a newsletter filled with short punchy articles on a huge variety of what they call “information from the world’s best experts,” I look forward to its 16-page arrival because I always find something new to learn and share. 

One piece talked about how to have the perfect smile in a photo. The advice: Say “MONEY!” It works!

But they also have experts write about a broad variety of topics from investment recommendations, to job search tips, to selecting the right clothes for every sport — you get the idea.  

This past issue spoke about the many benefits of laughter, and I want to share with you the editor’s comments about her meeting a man of humor who is spreading the message of laughter.  Lenny Ravich, author of “Everlasting Optimism: 9 Principles for Success, Happiness and Powerful Relationships,” is a gestalt therapist who believes that a good sense of humor is a protective armor against life’s challenges. 

Ravich gives this analogy: “Look at life like a bullfighter who holds his cape to the side when the bull charges. He doesn’t hold it in front of his body.” 

Ravich claims every negative thing that comes our way is not meant for us, but rather it’s meant for the cape, so hold the cape to the side, let negativity go by and “give yourself time to find the humor in the situation.”

I love the idea of not dwelling on negativity and pessimism. But I believe it’s in my DNA to be an optimist. I wonder if that’s teachable? It’s a better world for each of us if we could avoid negativity. The bullfighter whose life depends on how he meets the bull is a good lesson for us in our everyday life. 

Food for joy

Being a publisher of amNewYork Metro, a citywide daily newspaper, I get the joy of meeting people from all over our great city.

For years I heard about the Red Rooster, an iconic Harlem restaurant co-created by star chef Marcus Samuelsson and Andrew Chapman. It was a great place to have a lunch meeting.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson

The spacious restaurant that has become a destination location for New Yorkers and tourists was on my bucket list and I wasn’t disappointed! 

A huge smile came to my face as I entered the restaurant. I was thrilled by the stunning powerful artwork on every wall, along with Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s hats hanging colorfully from the rafters. The glass wall separating the dining room from the bar was an architectural treat to the eyes. Soon my stomach would get its treats.

Marcus’ hats hanging from the rafters.

As soon as our waiter arrived in a hand-painted apron, the tone of our meal began. It made me smile and the meal gave me great joy. The four of us shared their iconic dishes, from the mouthwatering cornbread, to the fried chicken, to the apple cobbler dessert, and more! 

I have a hint for you: the restaurant is booked solid, but we were there on a weekday afternoon and were seated immediately. The ambiance, service and food hit the mark of excellence!

Try it and you, too, will cherish the experience and feel happy!

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