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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Beacon Bits -- Status Report

5 years. 100 posts. 21,684 page views. 16 followers who joined the site. Top traffic source Most viewed post "Are You a Friend?" (4/13/14). Average number of posts per year - 20; less than 2 per month. Community-oriented content. Nonprofit organizations. Women-owned businesses. Newcomers to Beacon. Moments to celebrate. Wine and cheese. Sweets and treats. Seasonal musings. Local CSA farms. Signature dishes and personal recipes. Music and art. Shared insights. That's what Beacon Bits is all about. 

Top 10 things to celebrate about Beacon in the last 5 years:
1.      The energy of BeaconArts and its annual events.
2.      Fewer empty storefronts.
3.     Establishment of Long Dock Beacon.
4.     The new facade for Rite Aid.
5.     The improved selection and store design in Key Food.
6.     Green Teens of Common Ground Farm.
7.     The arrival of Towne Crier Cafe.
8.     Bakeries, bakeries and more bakeries.
9.     People moving up to Beacon from Brooklyn (even if they weren't born there)
10.   A better view of Beacon Falls.

Top 10 Items on My Wish list for Beacon in the next 5 years:
1.     Fewer new establishments that focus on alcohol; drinking and driving is a public health issue in communities that are car dependent.
2.     An integrated community calendar to see an overview of all events, especially 
fundraisers, to facilitate awareness and collaboration across nonprofits.
3.    Continued access to free parking with signage that assists drivers to find municipal lots.
4.    An Indian restaurant added to the multi-ethnic food scene.
5.  A state of the art movie theater for independent and foreign films like Jacob Burns Theater (Pleasantville.)
6.   Moderation and finding the middle way when considering new housing developments.
7.   Additional stores that serve Beacon's households (fish store, hardware/variety store.)
8.   The return of Fovea photojournalism gallery on Main.
9.   Improved monitoring of speeding on Main Street.
10. Global connections such as making Beacon-Bergen (Norway) Sister Cities.

Food for thought: The slogan 'life is good' captures the energy of Beacon's community as it has grown into its current vibrant state. It appears that an additional slogan, 'less is more', may also be in order so that future growth does not outpace realistic planning. Beacon has the potential to be a model community that showcases diversity, exemplary race relations and tolerance for religious expression. Realizing this potential is a strong possibility; the odds are in its favor. I will bet on it!

A special thanks to all the new friends that I've met at Artisan Wine Shop, Beacon Sloop Club, BeaconArts, Beacon Reads, Friends of the Howland Library, Flora, Gallery 508 (now closed), Gwenno James, Howland Chamber Music Circle, Hudson Beach Glass, Theo Ganz, the Yanarella Dance Studio and Zora Dora who are all a very important part of my Beacon community.

And a thumbs up for Ben Royce of Beacon Citizen 
who put a link on their website to feature Beacon Bits.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Beacon Bits -- Stay Tuned (WOMS2016)

This year's Windows on Main Street, pioneered by BeaconArts and presented by Rhinebeck Bank, comes to Main Street on August 13 through September 10. As a follow up to the Worldwide Knit in Public Day held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on June 18th, the group created a sculpture by knitting pieces onto a woman's dress form. The one-of-a-kind result -- "St. Andie" -- is awaiting finishing touches to be a hopeful entry into this year's event. Other than a knitted cummerband to be placed around the hips embroidered with the theme "Knit Us As One", St. Andie is standing tall and is almost ready to go public. She is a lady-in-waiting with hopes of being the 'patron saint' to the planned monthly group that will gather to knit for charitable projects; it is scheduled to begin in stay tuned!
Food for thought: A thoughtful and creative community of knitters gathered together and celebrated the act of knitting as they chatted, shared patterns and projects, noted favorite yarns, and listened to the music of -- and they did so simultaneously with 1015 other events held worldwide across 57 countries! It was great to put Beacon on the map as an official, registered WWKIP day event. So it is sad to report that one of the posters placed on the two-sided placard at the corner of Main Street and South Avenue was missing; the side facing east so that those on Main Street would have easily seen it and may have been curious enough to walk down and visit the six hour gathering. It was peculiar since the west facing poster was still securely attached. It wasn't a windy day. And other posters over the last year remained intact even when windy and rainy. It was a mystery. But one that is noteworthy. It would be a shame to think that someone took objection to a knitting event that had been well-publicized and purposely removed it from the placard, tape and all. Sometimes a mystery is just that. No accusations or negative consequences are intended. Just wanted to share a mystery in case anyone has any information to shed some light.

Knitted Triangle Shawl
(Easy and fast knitting on Size 13 or 15 needles using a textured yarn of your choice)
Caste on 2 stitches. Knit across the first row. Increase one stitch on the first stitch of every row as you knit subsequent rows. Knit by increasing one stitch every row until the desired size is reached. The finished shawl will be a triangle; fringe can be added along the sides that lead to the two-stitch point, i.e.,  the first row.
(The skirt on St. Andie is made of small triangles hung from a point at the longest edge - i.e., sideways.)

Beacon Bits -- Beacon's Signature Dish@Ziatün

If you stand on Main Street long enough, another new restaurant will be opening before your very eyes! For the foodies who like to eat out and explore the world's cuisine, the time is right to join the crowds who are heading to one of Beacon's newest eateries, Ziatün, and extend an 'olive' branch to Middle Eastern cuisine.

When I first entered Ziatün in early June, the restaurant was vacant; it was early evening, betwixt and between lunch and dinner. It allowed me to focus on the simple and stark decor which evokes an exotic feel with its geometric pattern and physicality of texture and color--very pleasing to the eye and complementary to the anticipated palate.

I asked about 'signature' dishes and was told, 'everything' with a special note of attention to the two-sided menu featuring all vegan dishes on one side and meat-pleasing offerings on the other. I sensed authenticity when 50% of the meat dishes included lamb. 

On my second visit when I entered to dine, it was quite crowded, but I was able to sit at the overflow counter that is convenient for a solo diner or a small group of friends. I immediately noticed the music, which I was told was a mix of vintage Persian pieces. I chose Fattoush, a toasted pita with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion salad seasoned with mint, sumac, lemon and olive oil, and I added falafel in keeping with the vegetarian focus. The crunch of the toasted pita, fresh greens, and tart dressing were refreshing and satisfying for a hot summer's evening meal. (The presentation was so pleasing to the eye that I was eager to dig into the salad and I forgot to take a photo!)

On my third visit, I chose the Kofta Kebab, the closest I could get to my favorite 'kibbeh' dish, which is hard to find unless you are dining on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, which I had actually done the end of May. The blend of skewer-broiled ground beef and lamb, flattened and seasoned with a mix of spices, and served with a yogurt dressing and a cucumber-tomato salad and rice. I asked for more tzatziki dressing and felt the rice was a bit dry, but I enjoyed the flavors and the balance of texture and taste, and easily ate the whole plate.

There is no dessert menu as of yet, but the Moroccan Mint Tea and Rose-flavored Lemonade are accompaniments to the varied dishes on the menu, which invite one to return again and again, for the multisensory experience of Middle Eastern cuisine on Main.

Food for thought: I was lucky enough to have Syrian and Lebanese neighbors and friends growing up in my multi-ethnic Brooklyn neighborhood of immigrant families. I watched them tend to the grapevines and rose bushes, pick fresh mint leaves, make their own yogurt (leban), flavor meat pies with spices that were not in my cupboard, offer me pine nuts to taste for the first time, and bake the most delicious cookies filled with ground nuts, honey and dates that were exchanged at Christmas with our Norwegian varieties that were equally special. My mother, who was one of the only woman in the neighborhood who drove a car, was asked at regular intervals to drive down to Atlantic Avenue to visit Sahadi's for shopping expeditions. At that time, it was the only place you could purchase pita bread, if you can imagine that, and it was (and still is) filled with barrels of fruits and nuts, blended spices and special ingredients for those who craved the taste of home. (Now you can also find these specialty food stores in Bay Ridge Brooklyn where the Arabic culture dominates what used to be a Scandinavian haven.) Cuisine that evokes childhood memories and invites us into the world that once seemed foreign and now seems familiar is one that I welcome with open arms in Beacon. Now if we could only get an Indian restaurant on Main Street, I'd be in culinary heaven! Curry-in-a-Hurry anyone?

Tzatziki Dressing
3 cups Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large English cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon salt (or less)
1 tablespoon fresh dill or fresh mint, or both

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Beacon Bits -- 1st Annual "WWKIP" Day

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church - 15 South Avenue - Beacon NY 12508
One block south of Bank Square and Beacon Visitor’s Center, next to the fire station
Saturday June 18, 2016
Noon – 6pm
Knit Us As One
Beacon’s First Annual
World Wide Knit in Public Day
with ambient music for knitting from 1-3pm by Craig Chin

Come knit with us!
Bring your own yarn and needles. Bring extras to share. Bring yarn from home to trade in a ‘yarn swap’. Join one of the knitting circles from beginners to advanced. Teach someone to knit. Learn a new stitch or pattern. Bring projects you want to ‘show-n-tell’. Help to create a ‘knitted sculpture’ depicting the theme ‘knit us as one’. Enter a ‘fastest knitter’ contest to test your skills. Come by to watch others knit. Learn about the ‘Hudson Valley Yarn Cruise’. Help to establish a ‘knitting salon’ group. Just come in to visit our Tiffany stained glass windows.
St. Andrew’s event is official and registered with
Food for thought: Knitting offers an opportunity for community, creativity and healing. Given the times we live in, Beacon's 1st Annual WWKIP day is an opportunity for people to come together to "knit us as one" and to feel the healing power of  one stitch at a time..