How Are We Coping With Self Isolation: Insight From Around the Country And The World With Soara-Joye Ross
New York last saw Soara-Joye Ross in City Center’s Off-Center production of Promenade and John Doyle’s reimagined, Carmen Jones that garnered her a Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk & Audelco Nomination! Broadway: Les Misérables, Dance of the Vampires. National Tour: The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess. Favorites: The First Noel (The Apollo), Disenchanted (The Westside), Dessa Rose (Lincoln Center), Single Black Female (Playwrights Horizons, Colman Domingo), Jerry Springer the Opera (Carnegie Hall), Anything Goes as Reno Sweeney (Arena Stage).
Film: Garden State. TV: “The Flight Attendant” (HBO), “Crashing” (HBO). Training: AMDA. “Everything is done in Loving Memory of my mom, Rita.”
T2C: How are you dealing with home containment in Queens, New York?
Soara-Joye Ross: Honestly, dealing with home containment here in Queens has been a one day at a time thang. I breathe deeply, pray and meditate daily and continue to count my blessings. I also choose to laugh a whole bunch so my silliness helps a lot.
T2C: What would you say is the difference of being in self lockdown between Queens and New York City?
Soara-Joye Ross: I haven’t been in the city since March 12th, so I’m not really sure what it’s like out there right now.
I had a callback in the city that day and had run into a dear friend that told me to get groceries for at least 6 weeks assoon as possible because things were about to get really crazy in NY. I’d decided to go to Whole Foods in Chelsea to pick up some things and when I arrived it was an absolute madhouse! I couldn’t believe the shelves were as empty as they were! The lines were insane and I got the last bottle of water on the shelf! The last can of tomato sauce. The last jar of cous cous. Absolutely Insane!
The city has an incredible bustling energy! I LOVE New York City! I’m in Rosedale, Queens, in a house, in the suburbs, with a front yard, a back yard and a driveway. It’s a 15 minute walk to the closest store if you’re not driving out here. I can walk around outside in my neighborhood and it’s extremely peaceful and quiet. I rarely pass someone on the street. NYC is just not like that. I can leave my home and not have to touch an elevator button to go down to the first floor to then open a door that 20 plus people have touched just to go to the store to get some kale and ice cream. It’s extremely different. I am grateful to be out here in my home. I miss the city very much, however, and pray for everyone’s health safety in the city often.
T2C: What have you been able to accomplish in this time?
Soara-Joye Ross: Wow! I have been extremely busy during this time! Lots of cleaning, video chatting with friends, working out with Core Rhythm Fitness & doing Insanity several times a week, taking virtual dance classes with Debbie Allen and other amazing dancers, saying daily words of affirmations, growing out my hair, lots of healing and self love stuff, listening to a lot of music, reading amazing books written by black women, letting go of people and things (in love) that don’t serve me anymore, lots of cooking and baking, walking, organizing, video auditions, watching interviews about people that inspire me, going on virtual dates, watching movies and musicals, writing and coaching Voice twice a week. Phew! “
T2C: What has this time stopped you from accomplishing?
Soara-Joye Ross: Well, one of the disappointing things this time has stopped me from accomplishing is traveling. I planned on taking a healing trip to several cites for about 2 weeks and, of course, I won’t really be able to do that for a while. I was also supposed to be starring in a fabulous show that began rehearsals May 18th, actually! They postponed it to sometime in January. I hope live theater is back to thriving again by that time!!
T2C: What kind of emotions does this time bring out of you?
Soara-Joye Ross: I have a great amount of hope and joy normally. I am grateful for these feelings because they are always present within me, even though there is a lot of sadness because of this health crisis and disappointment with how the leader of our free world has handled this situation. Ultimately, I have love and gratitude for all of the essential workers that are out there making this challenging time easier to cope with. What would we have done without them all?! Ringing a bell for you all in gratitude! Thank you!
T2C: If you were to equate this time to a song or song cycle what would it be?
Soara-Joye Ross: Over My Head is one of my favorite Negro Spirituals. On Easter Sunday, I was inspired and lead to give a concert in my front yard for my neighbors just before sundown. I put my gloves and mask on, knocked on every single neighbors door and invited them to join me, socially distanced of course, in front of my home for an easter offering. Several of them came out and my final song was “Over My Head”. Here are 3 of my favorite verses.
Over my head I see trouble in the air.
Over my head I see trouble in the air.
Over my head I see trouble in the air;
There must be a God somewhere!
Over my head I hear music in the air.
Over my head I hear music in the air.
Over my head I hear music in the air;
There must be a God somewhere!
Over my head I see glory in the air.
Over my head I see glory in the air.
Over my head I see glory in the air;
There must be a God somewhere!
T2C: What message would you like to give the world right now?
Soara-Joye Ross: Please choose love and kindness over all.
T2C: What is the first thing you will do when we are no longer self quarantined?
The first few things I will do when we are no longer quarantined will be to go into the city, walk around, have lunch with a friend at one of my favorite restaurants, get a foot massage, take a dance class at Ailey and then go on a real date with the cutie I’ve been virtually dating and do some kissin’!!! LOL! Even though I am born and bread in Queens, I have been a city girl since high school! I absolutely thrive out there and I really miss my life out there!
T2C: What are the things that are getting you through this time?
Soara-Joye Ross: The support and encouragement from my friends, community and family daily, weekly therapy from my awesome therapist, good music, good food, burning candles & incense and my unwaivering faith in God have been what has gotten me through this time.
T2C: What haven’t we asked you that you would like to say?
Soara-Joye Ross: I’d love to share a story with everyone!
During this time, It took 12 weeks for me to receive Unemployment Benefits. Twelve! Weeks! lt seemed as though my account was on hold for some reason, even though my claim was processed completely, I’d spoken with someone, was approved and even received the monetary determination letter. I’d called the office an innumerable amount of times, emailed and called government officials several times, tagged officials on social media and even NY1 hoping to receive help from someone. I’d done everything I could think of!
I’d also posted a little of my struggle on social media hoping someone could put me in touch with a direct contact at the Unemployment office or perhaps a family member or close friend that worked in government. There had to be someone that could help, right? One or 2 social media friends recommended a couple of things I hadn’t tried that definitely proved to be helpful, but getting through to the office still took quite some time. The amazing part of this is that, because I shared my story, many friends and acquaintances reached out to me in one way or another and were extremely encouraging. Others sent me unexpected and unsolicited financial blessings! There were several days I’d wake up to an email or two from someone that had deposited $50… $100… $200… $350… along with a note saying, something like, “Hope this helps” or just a “️”! I’d get texts during the day from people that would say, “What’s your venmo profile name?”, and then another email telling me, “You have money!” It was amazing! (Shoutout to #Facebook and #Instagram! LOL!)
I have a very strong sense of faith in God, was steadfast and I knew that I would be taken care in some way while I waited on Unemployment and even the stimulus check (that I’m still waiting on…), however, being taken care of in this incredible way was such a sweet and reassuring surprise! I referred to those generous friends as, “ my angels” because after all, they really were! There was not even one moment that I couldn’t get what I needed during those 12 weeks because my angels were such blessings to me! It takes a village, doesn’t it?! Well… after 12 weeks, I received all of the unemployment benefits owed to me in one day! Hallelu! ????♀️
In response to my posts about needing assistance, several people on social media would comment saying they too were having a similar problem with receiving money owed to them from the government. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I made a list with their names on it. A day or two after receiving the owed benefits, I decided to start a project called #OperationAngel where friends on social media that want to be a blessing to others, send me a financial donation to help them in a similar situation I was in prior. I add their donation to what I have already allotted from my own offering to the project and then I send an unexpected surprise to them via venmo or paypal with a note telling them about #OperationAngel, their angel’s name and that their angel was #BlessedToBeABlessing to them! I have received emotional correspondence from the recipients filled with gratitude and even tears. It has been really beautiful and I’m grateful that I am part of such a generous community!
Things are so challenging during this unprecedented time and people need help. We are all blessed in someway! I encourage everyone to choose to be a blessing to others in some way every day. That small act of kindness could change someone’s life.
God bless and be safe, dolls!
Insta: @LyricalSoulJo Www.Soara-Joye.com
Happy Birthday, Grand Central!
Today, Wednesday, February 2nd, is Grand Central Terminal’s 109th birthday, and the shops are helping them celebrate. Visit the below stores and eateries in Grand Central to take advantage of one-day-only deals* that either celebrate Grand Central’s age (109 years) or our birthday (1913)!
Café Grumpy: 8oz drip coffee is $1.09
Central Cellars: bottle of Banshee Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2019 or O.P.P. Other People Pinot Noir is $19.13 each
Doughnut Plant: Grand Central–exclusive GCT mini doughnuts are $1.09 each
Grand Central Watch: 18mm nylon straps (in various colors) are $1.09 each
Li-Lac Chocolates: a 9-piece truffle box is $19.13, and caramel squares are $1.09 each
Pescatore Seafood Company: jumbo lump crab cakes are $19.13 for 2 pieces
Spices and Tease: Indian spice trio – 1 pouch of Madras curry, 1 pouch of turmeric, and 1 pouch of Garam Masala – is $10.90
Grand Central Terminal’s construction lasted for ten years (from 1903 – 1913). The building was designed by a Francophile architect named Whitney Warren, who wanted to bring a whole lot of Parisian flair to New York City with his Beaux-Arts style.
Did you know 750,000 people pass through the station every day. That’s almost half the current population of Manhattan. The space occupies 48 acres.
The station has very few stairs, relying on a network of ramps. There are 2,500 stars painted on the ceiling; roughly sixty electric bulbs add to the twinkling effect of the stars. The constellations, with the exception of Orion, are painted backwards. The star-spangled ceiling is 125 feet high.
During the filming of a scene in The Fisher King (1991), 400 extras waltzed around the main concourse from the evening until the first trains arrived at 5:30 the following morning.
Grand Central is the setting for the opening scenes of Gossip Girl.
In Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North by Northwest, Cary Grant makes an amazing escape through the terminal. Like The Fisher King, this scene was filmed at night to prevent disruptions to train service.
In Superman (1978), Clark Kent battles Lex Luthor, whose hideout is located under the terminal.
At the very end of Francis Ford Coppola’s Cotton Club, Richard Gere and Diane Lane escape their mobster lives through Grand Central.
Fire Power, starring Sophia Loren, was also filmed in Grand Central.
Happy Chanukah or is it Hanukkah? Day 1
Tonight Chanukah starts at sundown. The word Hanukkah means ‘rededication’ and commemorates the Jews’ struggle for religious freedom when, according to legend, the leaders of a Jewish rebel army called the Maccabees rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt of 167 BC (BCE).King Antiochus had taken over the Second Temple in Jerusalem and soon after ordered an altar to Zeus to be erected. Judaism was prohibited, circumcision was banned and pigs were ordered to be sacrificed at the altar.The Jewish rebellion that followed was led by Judah Maccabee, (or Y’hudhah HaMakabi, meaning “Judah the Hammer”).The uprising spanned three years until the Maccabees gained control of Jerusalem.They wanted to rededicate the desecrated temple, but could find only one container of the sacred oil they needed which had the seal of the high priest still intact.Judaism’s central text the Talmud, dictates only pure olive oil with the seal of the high priest can be used for the Hanukkah. The candelabrum is required to burn throughout the night every night but although there was only enough oil for one day, the candles miraculously stayed alight for eight days – the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of kosher oil for the menorah. This event became known as ‘the miracle of the oil’ and is now marked with an eight-day festiva
Is it Chanukah or Hanukkah? In Hebrew, Hanukkah is pronounced with the letter ‘chet’. The letter “H” makes the closest sound. So both names work.
We here at T2C wish you a holiday of lights, hope and health.
Get Ready for NYC Hotel Week & Fourth Annual NYC Winter Outing
Get ready for something big in the Big Apple!
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYC & Company has officially launched NYC Hotel Week with the start of reservations available at nycgo.com/hotelweek.
“I am thrilled to announce the return of NYC Hotel Week, offering deals of a lifetime to an array of hotels across the City,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “NYC Hotel Week kicks off the start of NYC & Company’s NYC Winter Outing Program, combining NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week, NYC Must-See Week, and NYC Hotel Week. Whether you want to catch one of our world-class attractions, dine at the finest restaurants or unwind at our luxurious hotels, New York City has it all right here in our backyard, across all five boroughs. Our city is open for reservations, so book yours today!”
Returning for its second year, NYC Hotel Week will run from January 3 through February 12, 2023, offering 23% savings off standard room rates at more than 140 hotels across all five boroughs, with additional properties expected to join.
Presented by preferred payment partner Mastercard, NYC Hotel Week 2023 participating hotels include Hard Rock Hotel New York; Lotte New York Palace; The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel; The Hoxton, Williamsburg; The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue; New York Marriott Marquis; The William Vale; Radio Hotel; The Opera House Hotel, The Rockaway Hotel; Hilton Garden Inn New York/Staten Island and more.
“NYC Hotel Week offers the best values of the year for travelers looking to visit the five boroughs or for New Yorkers treating themselves to staycations,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company.”
The start of NYC Hotel Week reservations marks the countdown to the return of NYC Winter Outing, NYC & Company’s annual citywide value program. NYC Winter Outing, now in its fourth year, celebrates the City’s winter season with offers from NYC & Company’s signature programs: NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week, NYC Must-See Week, and for the second year, NYC Hotel Week. NYC Winter Outing, which will run from January 17 through February 12, 2023, will combine deals across all five boroughs on dining, Broadway shows, attractions, museums, tours, performing arts and hotels. Bookings for NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week will open to the general public on January 10 at nycgo.com/winterouting.
New York City – there is simply no where better to be in the world!
Sex Hotel Up For Sale
“I used to have this girlfriend known as Elsie
With whom I shared for sordid rooms in Chelsea
She wasn’t what you’d call a blushing flower
As a matter of fact she rented by the hour”
They advertise that “For more than 40 years, Liberty Inn has been the destination for New York City couples seeking an intimate yet vibrant setting where they can lose themselves in love. You won’t find any resemblance here to the traditional image of by-the-hour hotels. Even more important – you won’t find that boring sameness of standard hotel rooms. Instead you’ll find modern, lively, colorful rooms filled with lots of features that are tailor-made for romance. Whether it’s for a few hours or an overnight stay, our rooms are unique, with an romantic atmosphere that leads to those moments of playfulness, tenderness and passion.
Liberty Inn, located at 51 10th Ave., (between 13th and 14th streets) is now for sale, ofr more than $20 million according to The New York Times.
Expect lip-shaped headboards, fancy sex chairs, and rates for two and six-hour stays ($95 and $155).
An overnight stay costs $200-$250, depending on the room.
The owner told the NYT it was harder to keep a place like an hourly hotel in a neighborhood that has become more and more expensive.
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