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The Home Affordable Refinance Program, also known as HARP, is an opportunity to help some homeowners refinance their loans into more affordable options. Individuals who may not have much equity in their home, but want to secure a lower interest rate on their existing loan will benefit the most from HARP. But, it is important to know how it works and what it can offer to you.

How Does the Home Affordable Refinance Program Work?

Individuals who want to refinance their home loan may find it hard to do so if they do not have any equity in the home. Equity is the value of the home not under a mortgage loan. For example, if your home is worth $200,000 and you owe $150,000, there is $50,000 worth of equity present.

Many homeowners do not have much equity built up. This is due to various factors, but commonly due to the value of homes falling in some areas significantly over the last few years. After the mortgage and banking crisis in 2008, home values fell significantly, creating a situation in which property owners owned more on their loans than the homes were worth. Over time, interest rates have fallen, and, in some areas, home values are up. For those who wish to take advantage of lower interest rates, this is one way to do so.

In short, the Home Affordable Refinance Program is one of the only refinance programs that allows a person to obtain a new loan without any equity in the home with the goal of obtaining a lower interest rate. It’s important to know that HARP is changing. You have until December 31, 2018, to take advantage of it. The program is scheduled to end at that time.

Who Qualifies for this Program?

The Home Affordable program is accessible to many people. In general, you may be able to obtain this loan refinance offer in the following situations:

  • You have made payments on your home for the last 12 months. In short, you cannot have late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment (30 days or more late) in the last 12 months.
  • Your loan must be owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. You are able to look up this information using the Fannie Mae website. Many loans are owned or guaranteed by this organization, even if you have another loan servicer (the company you pay to).
  • You live in your home as a primary residence. Some investment properties and second homes will qualify, too.
  • Over the last few years, your home value has fallen.
  • You have a limited amount of equity available. In some cases, you can use HARP if your home’s first mortgage is more than what the current value of your home is.
  • You obtained your loan on or before May 31, 2009.

If you meet these criteria, you may qualify for the HARP program. But, should you use it?

Who Benefits from the Home Affordable Refinance Plan?

The home affordable refinance plan can benefit many people. If you own a home right now and you are paying too much in interest, it is worth taking a closer look at how this loan can help you. It is always possible to obtain a quote to compare your options. Specifically, some people will qualify for HARP and benefit from it for these reasons:

  • You want to lower your monthly payment. If you can qualify for a lower interest rate, this could reduce your monthly payments significantly.
  • You want to reduce your existing interest rate. A lower rate can reduce the overall cost you pay for the home over the lifetime of it.
  • You currently have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and want to secure a fixed rate mortgage. A fixed rate ensures the monthly payments remain the same throughout the life of the loan.
  • You want to shorten the repayment period. This could help you save money in the long term and help you to build equity in your home faster.
  • You want an easier option for refinancing – HARP does not always require an appraisal of your home.

In some situations, the HARP opportunity is the ideal way to secure a significantly lower interest rate and better terms. Even if you think you do not qualify due to the value of your home, talk to your lender about it. In many situations, this program can help you reduce what you are already paying without extending the length of the loan and with low closing costs.

Individuals can work with their lenders to determine if they qualify for this refinance offer. You can refinance with any lender approved by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide loans – you do not need to stay with an existing lender to do so.

 

Cabaret

Can First Graders Mount a Broadway Musical And Raise Money for Charity?  Yes, They Can For Marin Mazzie

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New York City’s Midtown West School/PS 212’s First Grade Theatre Study program continues their tradition of creativity, collaboration, and philanthropy, this year benefiting the Cancer Support Community in memory of Tony winner and American Theater Hall of Fame inductee Marin Mazzie.

This astonishing group of first graders from Midtown West School/PS 212 and their teachers Bryan Andes and Rowena Hurst who, this year, produced an original musical version of The Little Mermaid with a score made up of Flaherty/Ahrens songs while raising funds to honor the memory of beloved Broadway legend Marin Mazzie, who died of ovarian cancer in 2018.

Developed by Andes in 2005, the First Grade Theatre Study (the Study) was created as a way to help students develop a deeper understanding of how people work together to create theater. Using a social studies lens, the two-year program looks at the entire process of how a show comes together – from the creation of a script to the running of a live musical, and every step in between.

The Study begins in kindergarten with an immersive study of fairy tales. Students learn about tales from around the world and how different cultures retell these stories in distinctive ways. Then, beginning in first grade, students engage in the research process. They meet with directors, designers, stagehands, front-of-house workers, wardrobe workers, advertising executives, and actors to gather information about each theater job.

In the winter, the students start writing an original fairy tale script, curating a score, designing advertisements and playbill covers, and deciding which job they will carry out for the production. The students go on to build set models, design costumes, sell tickets, choreograph dances, rehearse their lines, and more.

“Given our location near the heart of the theater district, the Study is also about connecting our school community with the theater community,” Andes said. “Since so many members of the theater community, across all areas of the profession, donate their time to visit our school or host us at the theater to teach us about their jobs, fundraising for a charity with links to Broadway is our way of giving back and saying thank you.”

The beneficiary for the 2024 production is the Cancer Support Community (CSC), a global nonprofit that uplifts and strengthens people impacted by cancer by providing support, fostering compassionate communities, and breaking down barriers to care. CSC’s services and resources are available at nearly 200 Cancer Support Community, Gilda’s Club, and healthcare partner locations as well as online and over the phone. Mazzie was a fierce supporter of CSC and actively advanced its mission to support people living with cancer and their loved ones. Her husband, Broadway star Jason Danieley, continues to be a champion for CSC and a resolute advocate for cancer patients and caregivers.

Members of CSC’s senior leadership, including Karen Costello, MSS, LSW, OSW-C, a licensed social worker and the Senior Director of CSC’s Cancer Support Helpline, spoke to the students this spring about the organization’s mission, answered their questions about cancer, shared how Mazzie advocated for patients, and told them how their fundraising will help people, including children, impacted by or coping with a cancer diagnosis.

Giving back is an important component of the First Grade Theatre Study program, with prior beneficiaries including The Actor’s Fund, Broadway Barks, BCEFA (Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS), and Covenant House. This year, in addition to raising money through ticket sales, the students are creating a vertical garden of sunflowers, Mazzie’s favorite flower. Handmade by the students, the 400 flowers, priced at $5 each, have already sold out. Their generosity and creativity do not end there. The students are also writing positive messages that will be placed in an affirmation jar to encourage patients, caregivers, and other participants at CSC’s nearby network partner, Cancer Support Community Greater New York and Connecticut.

On June 25, the first graders will present their original musical in a special afternoon event that includes both a museum and film documenting the journey and the live performance (complete with an 13-piece orchestra made up of Local 802 musicians, parent volunteers, and teachers).

“We are simply overwhelmed by the effort and generosity of this group of children,” CSC CEO Sally Werner commented. “The creativity, attention to detail, and curiosity they have shown in putting together this musical and fundraiser are outstanding. They are fortunate to have Bryan Andes and Rowena Hurst as their teachers whose dedication to creating a positive, life-changing experience and commitment to “paying it forward” by including a philanthropic and service component are stellar. We are honored to have been selected as their 2024 beneficiary.”

To support the students’ fundraising effort, go to:  https://bit.ly/2024mazziefundraiser

The Cancer Support Community is a global nonprofit that uplifts and strengthens people impacted by cancer. We are dedicated to fostering a community where people find connection, compassion, and knowledge. We provide professionally led support and navigation services, along with social connections and award-winning education — when, where, and how impacted individuals prefer throughout their cancer experience. These resources are available at nearly 200 Cancer Support Community, Gilda’s Club, and healthcare partner locations as well as online and over the phone — all at no cost. We amplify the voices of those impacted by cancer through research and advocacy and create solutions that break down barriers to care and close the healthcare gap for communities whose members are disproportionately affected by cancer.

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Food and Drink

I Took a Trip on a Train …. 

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And not just any train, but one of two cars from the original 20th Century Limited, the World’s Most Famous Train. It was truly a step back in time sitting in the newly and lovingly restored Hickory Creek car, which once transported the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra to Hollywood.   

We departed from the magnificent Moynihan Train Hall after enjoying a mid-morning nosh in the exclusive lounge and then walked a red carpet to our car. (The notion of a red carpet actually originated with the 20th Century Ltd.) There were two cars remaining from the original, and both were cozy and comfortable. Once settled, refreshments were offered, and we began the journey up the Hudson River to Albany. I don’t believe it unfair to say that most of us take the Hudson River for granted—it’s there, separating us from New Jersey. But not long after we left the familiar territory of Manhattan, we began to see the river from a different perspective. Sometimes it’s wide, other times not so much, with small islands popping up. There was enough green on the trees to be a pleasant break from the grey of the city, and congenial fellow passengers for pleasant conversation. Before we knew it, lunch was served, and quite an excellent one too, given that it came from the tiniest kitchen I’ve even seen. A beet salad with pecans, Beef Bourguignon, and finally a lovely slice of cheesecake with raspberry sauce was beyond my expectation. 

Throughout the trip, our jovial host, Lou, dropped in to assure everyone’s comfort and to give us a bit of history on the train. Music from the era was just discernable and added to the time-travelling mood.    

A stop in Albany midway through the journey enabled the train to turn around to take us back and to give us all a chance to stretch our legs and see a bit of the state capital. The sun was descending as we passed the familiar sites of West Point and Tappan Zee Bridge, and before long we were back, refreshed and rejuvenated. Beverages and nibbles were served, just as they surely were when Marilyn and other luminaries traversed the country heading for Hollywood.     

Every effort was made by the staff to make this trip memorable for all of us. The afternoon offerings included lovely canapes with a tulip crafted from a tomato and chives—you must see it to believe it!   

And this experience can be yours, brought about by the United Railroad Historical Society of NJ.!  Check them out at URHS.org and HudsonRiverRail.com to see the many ways you can enjoy this luxurious experience. This was a day trip, but overnight trips to and from Chicago are also available. It was a spa day for the mind and spirit! 

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Events

Hamptons Fashion Week Keeps Getting Hauter So Save The Date

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Hamptons Fashion Week®, is the premier fashion event in the Hamptons! On July 26th-27th, 2024, join us at the luxurious Summer Series and an unforgettable experience. With over multiple designer shows, runways, luxury brands and exhibitor spaces during Hamptons Super Saturday®, Hamptons Swim Week® with a range of exciting activations, this is the must-attend event of the year.

At Hamptons Fashion Week®, leading fashion designers, entertainment, and productions are all under one roof, creating a truly immersive and transformative experience. You’ll have the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry professionals, fashion designers, models, and more, all while experiencing the latest trends in fashion.

From panel discussions and product demonstrations to social events such as industry mixers, after parties, lifestyle events and more! Guests will have access to exclusive, on-site hospitality, unmatched insider extras, and more, making this a truly coveted invitation.

Reserve your access now to receive one of fashion’s most coveted invites and be a part of the best touring fashion hampton experience of the year. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be a part of the transformation of the fashion industry. Join us at Hamptons Swim Week® presented by Hamptons Fashion Week® Summer Series and Experience 2024!

Hamptons Fashion Week announced that it will feature Alice & Olivia and Michelle Farmer as their award recipients at Hampton’s Fashion Week Retail Of The Year Award Show on July 26th VIP Reception. Event coverage will be brought to you by E! News!, Bella Magazine, Dans Paper, Hamptons.com, Vogue  and other major influencers! There will also be a swim Week Runway Showcase by Johnny Was

 
This year, Celebrity, Hollywood Stylist & Designer Phillip Bloch will be receiving the Style Icon of The Year Award , July 27th during the program and show 6pm-10pm
 
Shop our latest brands at theHamptons Fashion Week Online Marketplace!
 
You need tickets so click here. Security will be super tight for this event. So if you don’t have a ticket there is no entrance.

VIP Tickets $500 include:

Swag Bag-Valued at $500{One Per Person]

Seating

Access to ALL 3 Events!

July 26th, 6=10pm, Vip Launch Party-Drinks , Bites & Entertainment. The cocktail reception is from 6pm to 8:30pm 

July 27th, Drinks, Bites , Entertainment plus Hamptons Fashion Week Fashion Show Debut in Westhampton. The cocktail reception is from 6pm to 8:30p and After Party.Double check on the List below

VIP Restaurant Sponsors:

Justin Chop Shop

Rouge Kitchens

The Cottage On The Hamlet

Sobol

Centro

Mill Road Seafood

Fruit King

North Fork Chocolate Company

Honest Plate Chef Nicolas

Mary’s Pizza And Pasta

Tonino’s Pizza

Buoy One

Jerri’s Cakery & Confections

Daphne’s Westhampton Beach

Insatiable Eats

Vern Restaurant And Bar

VIP Spirit Sponsors

William Grant And Sons

Votto Vines Importing

Hamptons Wine Shoppe

Handlebar

British Ginger T

Monkey In Pardise

Elbuhl Mezcal

Twin Stills Moonshine

Blue Nextar

Penelope Bourbon

Westhampton Beach Brewing

Twin Stills Moonshine

Fort Hamilton Distillery

Kleos Mastiha Spirits

Beau Joie Rose Champange

Cantera Negra Tequila

Bay Gin

Twisted Cow Distillery

Series 19 Wheat Vodka

Series 19 Rye Vodka

Series 19 Jalapeno Vodka

Dune Drifter Agave Spirit

Spy Ring Rum Raisin

Drinksouthside

 

 

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Food and Drink

A Toast to a Sparkling Fourth of July

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Fourth of July is just around the corner. Get ready to get your red, white and rosé on with these excellent selections. Your holiday will simply sparkle with these spectacular sip selections.

For a perfect start to your holiday luncheon and to kick off the holiday in a refreshing way try Mingle Mocktails Sparkling Raspberry Rosé.

This is a sparkling rosé in a pretty can option suitable for anyone whether you drink alcohol or not. We adore the bright bubbles that fizz out delicious notes of raspberry. Crisp and dry, it hits your senses perfectly and lingers with just a hint of sweetness on an end note. It is a wonderful drink to have as you start to talk to guests arriving for a wonderful day of holiday festivities.

For a sophisticated sip that will make you blush with wonderful joy try Minuty Prestige Rosé.

Minuty Prestige wines have been showcasing the terroirs of Provence for over 25 years. Subtle finesse comes with this crystal-clear cuvée with a delicate nose. This cuvée was born over 25 years ago out of Jean-Etienne and François Matton’s desire to offer a wide audience of Provence rosé lovers a wine combining aromatic expression and lightness on the palate with a thorough mastery of Provence’s terroirs.

We adore this breathtaking selection that delicately hits your senses with a smooth balance that bears a hint of bright reflection to add to your day. A perfect choice for the sun set before the fireworks.

For the perfect drink to have with the holiday bbq and when the fireworks pop in the sky try Cloudy Bay 2023 Sauvignon Blanc.

The color reflects perfectly with the fireworks illuminating over you as you sip on this gorgeous wine that speaks to you in grand voice with notes of juicy citrus.  Your pairing with your festive meal will be matched by the capricious and grateful attitude for all the party guests that surround you. We love the way it helps you see the night in a whole new beautiful way.

Here is to your own magical Fourth of July holiday with these incredible sips.

 

Cover art by Alondra Olivas on Unsplash

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Entertainment

Registration is Open for Solstice in Times Square 2024

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Solstice in Times Square: Mind Over Madness Yoga returns on Thursday, June 20, 2024 with our 22nd annual event! Experienced yogis and first-timers alike are invited to join us for one of the free yoga classes taking place throughout the day on the Broadway pedestrian plazas, finding calm once again within the chaos of life in New York City.

Go to Broadway and West 46th Street, where experienced yogis and first-timers alike are welcome to join us in-person for one of seven classes throughout the day.

All Solstice classes are free but donations are welcome and appreciated.

Can’t make it in person? Join us virtually by livestreaming any or all of the seven classes. All classes will stream on TSQ.org/Solstice via YouTube and on Facebook. There is no need to register for the event if you are not joining us in person.

Solstice in Times Square is an accessible event for people with disabilities. Please submit your accessibility accommodations by June 13, 2024 when you register for the event.

There will be an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter on site for all classes this year, provided by Inclusive Communication Services. The live stream will also have ASL interpretation all day and real time captions (with the option to turn off the captions).

For further information, please email info@tsq.org.

To register for a class, click here. You can choose your class time from the list of available classes, AFTER you click “CHECKOUT.” Please note, each person must have their own ticket, and each person is allotted ONE class for the whole day. After you have finished the registration process, you should receive a confirmation email from Times Square Alliance (timessquarealliance@buytickets.at) with your ticket. For contactless check-in, please have your ticket ready to scan on your smart device or printed out on the day of the event.

For more info and Frequently Asked Questions about Solstice in Times Square, visit TSQ.org/Solstice.

Share your Solstice photos and experiences using #SolsticeTSq via Twitter and Instagram, @TimesSquareNYC.

Class Schedule

7:30am – 8:30am Class, Instructed by Richa Dhekne, Presented by Consulate General of India, New York

Class Description: Join Richa on an inspiring journey through the sacred limbs of yoga, where asana, pranayama, and meditation beautifully intertwine.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Richa Dhekne is a 500-hour Yoga instructor and Breath Meditation teacher with over two decades of experience as a volunteer and faculty member with the Art of Living Foundation. As a young college graduate, Richa embraced a transformative opportunity to live at the Art of Living ashram in Bangalore. There, she contributed to Rural Development Programs and the International Association of Human Values, empowering women and youth to achieve self-sufficiency and mental wellness. Richa’s journey brought her to New York, where she currently resides with her husband and teenage son. Professionally, she excels as the VP of Finance and Operations at skincare company Ahava. Balancing her career with her dedication to teaching, Richa continues to inspire and guide individuals through yoga and meditation, nurturing both youth and adults.

9:30am – 10:30am Class, Instructed by Cealia Brannan, Presented by Gaiam

Class Description: As we welcome the summer solstice, balance the heat of a cadenced vinyasa flow with fluid sequences that bring coolness, like water, through balancing and circular sequence transitions.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Cealia Brannan is a dedicated yogi whose journey with yoga began around 8 years ago when it serendipitously landed in her lap. With a commitment to making yoga enjoyable and approachable for all, Cealia’s focus has been on blending fun, accessibility, and mindfulness into her practice and teaching. Cealia thrives on pushing the boundaries of traditional yoga by crafting imaginative and innovative sequences that keep her students engaged and inspired. Currently, she shares her expertise and passion for yoga with students worldwide through online teaching. Specializing in both Hatha and Vinyasa styles, Cealia brings a unique blend of grace and strength to her classes. Additionally, her expertise extends to mobility work, further enriching the yoga experience for her students.

11:30am – 12:30pm Class, Instructed by Tracye Warfield

Class Description: Vinyasa Flow – “Let’s Flow.” The practice of Vinyasa yoga allows transitions between standing, seated, supine and prone postures, guided by mindful breath. The practice is a moving meditation that creates strength, grounding, balance, expansion, and your own, unique flow in your body and mind. Perfect for all levels.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: “New York is home and a yoga flow is life.” Since 2010 Tracye Warfield has been sharing her experienced yoga practice in Vinyasa, Hatha, breathwork, mindfulness, and meditation internationally as a wellness and life design consultant with her company bytracye. During her travels throughout the globe, she has developed and implemented innovative and impactful programs for various organizations, including Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits, and wellness studios. She is passionate about creating inspired change – mind, body, and spirit – and empowering others to live their most abundant, healthy, and happy lives.

1:30pm – 2:30pm Class, Instructed by Lara Heimann

Class Description: Celebrate the summer solstice in a way that makes you feel fully “LYT” up! This class will be nourishing and challenging to activate the senses and spirit, so you are reminded of your resilience. This is a yoga practice for longevity, weaving creative mobility drills and functional movement into yoga poses that you know and love.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Lara Heimann, an international yoga pioneer and Physical Therapist, revolutionizes the modern practice of yoga through her LYT Method®. With over 30 years of expertise, Lara integrates neuroscience and habit formation into her method, which is practiced by thousands worldwide in over 50 countries. Her comprehensive movement approach blends physical therapy techniques, yoga, functional movement, stress reduction, strength training, and mobility exercises, offering essential tools for modern lifestyles, taught online, in workshops, retreats, and corporate wellness programs.

3:30pm – 4:30pm Class, Instructed by Susan Hu

Class Description: Join Susan for a feel-good, rhythmic vinyasa flow to move with mindful breath and tap into the joy of the heart. The class will end with the most nourishing yoga nidra for deep rejuvenation and spiritual inspiration.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: A master of mindful breath and rhythmic movement with a focus on the connection to the Self, Susan is an E-RYT® 500, YACEP®, and founder of an RYS® 200 based in NYC. As the senior lead teacher at the Bhakti Center, she offers dynamic yet nourishing yoga classes and trainings including hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative as well as meditation and yoga nidra. Deeply rooted in her spiritual practice, Susan guides students on an empowering and healing journey, invoking a sense of joy and love in every class.

5:30pm – 6:30pm Class, Instructed by Sri Dharma Mittra

Class Description: This sequence of yoga poses for all level practitioners will move the spine in all directions and leave you feeling recharged and energized.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Sri Dharma Mittra first encountered yoga as a teenager before meeting his Guru in 1964 and beginning his training in earnest. Sri Dharma founded one of the early independent schools of yoga in New York City in 1975 and has taught hundreds of thousands the world over in the years since. He is the model and creator of the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures, the author of ASANAS: 608 Yoga Poses, Yoga Wisdom and the LOAY Teachers’ Manual, and a number of video series have been created over the last 20 years to help share his method of yoga.

7:300m – 8:30pm Class, Instructed by Douglass Stewart

Class Description: Douglass’ yoga class will be a slow flow, breath-oriented class designed to develop from the modified version of certain poses to their fuller expressions.

(ASL interpreter present)

Instructor Bio: Douglass Stewart has been teaching yoga since 2001. He is the co-founder of Yoga in Times Square, celebrating the Summer Solstice by uniting the community of yoga enthusiasts across the country. Douglass, in collaboration with Times Square Alliance, received Gold Distinction in the Shorty Awards for their Summer Solstice Video during the Covid 19 pandemic. He has received the Community Service Award for volunteering yoga classes at the LBGTQ Community Center. Douglass teaches at the Ishta Yoga Center, including the Teachers Training. He teaches yoga at Om City Yoga and currently leads meditation and the PPOW Gallery.

LOCATION

Broadway & West 46th Street, 10036

 

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