Sunday, June 28, 2015


We have heard of Robin Roberts’ plight with cancer and have listened to Martina McBride singing “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” dedicated to Roberts and all cancer survivors.  Two people in the video are Lily Isaacs and her daughter, Rebecca (Sonya was unable to attend).  It is actually Sonya who wrote the song with her mother in mind.  Lily was 38 when the disease struck.  She is now 68 and going strong.

Lily (formerly, Fishman) is the matriarch of the group, The Isaacs, a most perfect harmonious sounding and talented family.  Aside from Rebecca and Sonya, there is her son Ben on bass, who loves to do the production end as they tour much of the country via their own bus. 
Lily, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, grew up in the Bronx.  I have known her since High School and expected her to be performing on Broadway.  We lost contact after our first year attending Queens College.  Years past and discovered that her and her family were singing Blue Grass Gospel.  Major shocker for me. 

Lily recently wrote an autobiography, “You Don’t Cry Out Loud” in which, although being Jewish, she tells about her accepting Jesus as the Messiah.  The book first speaks of her parents’ Holocaust experience, younger years in the Bronx, and friends.  Lily’s career opened up as she recorded an album with her friend, Marie (It was called, Lily and Marie).  Fast forward to her marriage to Joe Isaacs, a Blue Grass singer, having children and their born talent for singing and playing string instruments. 

The Isaacs later met up with the Gaithers, a well-known Gospel group.  Concerts with them and on their own.  Sonya producing some of her own hits and getting awards.  Now, all of Lily’s offspring are married with children. This leads to the present as the twangy banjo sound is no longer the genre.  Lily said that they are now considered to be New American retaining the same heavenly inspiration. 

The Isaacs latest of a few dozen CDs is called, “The Living Years”, the opening number and perfect for what is happening in the universe. Sonya, her husband Jimmy Yeary, and Rebecca gives us a newbie song called, “I Wanna Be There” that focuses on two people, Gorden Mote and Andrea “Odie” Boggs and seeing them in heaven.  Lily is the feature singer in “Shalom, My Home”, referring to Israel written by her daughters. For a bit of a lighter tone, there is the old time song, Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Postitive.

One of the songs from another CD that I enjoy that features Lily is called, “Let’s Make It Yours and Mine”.   As for the trip to Brooklyn, The Isaacs will be performing on Sunday, July 5 at Brooklyn Tabernacle at 17 Smith Street.  The concert is free of charge and begins at 3 p.m.  Expect some book and CD signing, so bring gelt for that!  Check out  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


FSFCTG has moved on ending its 41 year stint at the Free Synagogue of Flushing.  Maryellen Pierce, the director who brought a long run of quality theatrical musicals, was not ready to end her talented passion.  Maryellen continues to teach and direct productions at Mary Louis Academy, but it’s a different experience from simply teens.
With many of the community theatre groups already performing at houses of worship in Queens she decided to approach Immaculate Conception Church in Jamaica Estates. She sent a proposal letter to Reverend William Murphy outlining her achievements as well the goals of the new group. The Reverend’s arm needed no “twisting”.  The name STAR Players NY was created…or born, depending on how you look at it.  As Maryellen sees it, “A group of Stars is a constellation or one hell of a show!

“We are not the same group that just relocated,” said Maryellen. “STAR Players NY bring our experience from many different theatre groups. Erik Neilssen who just won a Josie Award for directing Maggie's Little Theater's Nunsense will be on the new Board. Adrienne Star was a professional Clown, Dena Civello directs where she teaches in Hicksville, and Amanda Montoni is a dance teacher at JJ's Dance Studio in Floral Park. 

Part of their goal is to make theatre accessible to all people and Pierce feels that the location, 2 blocks from the F train and about 5 different NYC and Nassau bus lines, will help to build a diverse and large audience.

Auditions for their first production, Broadway Around the World, is on Monday, June 29 and Wednesday, July 1 starting at 7:30 pm. Auditions and performances will take place at the Immaculate Conception School, 179-14 Dalny Rd, between Edgerton Blvd. and Midland Pkwy.

“Broadway Around the World takes the audience on a world tour. Through the magic of musical theatre, songs will take us from the beaches in the South Pacific to the streets of NYC.  Musicals will reflect both classic and contemporary theatre including: One the Town, In the Heights, Aida, Newsies, Aladdin, West Side Story and more.” as Maryellen tells us. Performances are scheduled for October 23, 24 and 25th. at the newly renovated auditorium of the Immaculate Conception School.

Maryellen does see the move as a great opportunity. “We have a supportive Pastor and Principal, a nice stage in an auditorium where we don’t have to put up seats as in a Social Hall, a welcoming diverse community and a large parking lot too.”  When one door closes, another opens. 

In scheduling future productions, they are looking to create a variety of high quality theatre.  “We must consider not only what the group wants, but the needs and wishes of the church as well as the community.  We also want our show dates and times to reflect what our audience would have available to them.  We hope to use varied dates as an opportunity to reach out to new audience.”

For further information call 516-521-5500. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015


               This is Ronny                                                  This is Bill and his family
Do you enjoy farm fresh dairy products?  Regardless of the sale date, do you really know how many days old is the milk when you first purchase it?  Each Sunday, Bill Hosier makes the two-hour long drive from Ancramdale, New York, to the Green Market located in front of a post office in Forest Hills.  By 8 a.m. the long line of steady customers has formed for the various dairy products coming from the solar powered Ronnybrook Farms. 
Let’s begin with some important information. Milk and milk products are said to be the single best source of calcium. Calcium is one of the most essential minerals in our bodies.  It promotes the formation of strong bones and healthy teeth in children, and helps older people avoid osteoporosis.
Milk contains the essential proteins that we all need to stay healthy. Protein builds muscle and connective tissue, helps maintain our immune system, and contributes to the health of every organ and system in our bodies. 

According to Ronnybrook Farms owner Ronny Osofsky “homogenization is a simple process that can do serious damage to the structure of milk.  Large dairy plants have been homogenizing milk for more than fifty years. The process began in earnest when dairy manufacturers stopped using glass bottles and switched to cardboard. Consumers could no longer see the cream line on the milk and when the cream flowed from the cardboard container, many consumers thought the milk was spoiled. Homogenization is a mechanical process which pulverizes the large butterfat globules and breaks them down to micron sized pieces." 

Although the product looks “homogenous” and smooth, studies have shown that homogenized milk is not as healthy as non-homogenized milk. Instead of milk fats being digested slowly as they move through the digestive system, the fat is absorbed directly into the blood stream from the stomach.  It simply shocks the system and may act as a toxin.  There have been other studies that show that healthful enzymes that surround milk fats may be destroyed when milk is homogenized.”
“Many of our customers tell us that Ronnybrook milk is the only milk they can drink without suffering from digestion problems. We strongly believe that non-homogenized milk is simply better for you. It certainly tastes better.” 

What about yogurt?  Ronnybrook yogurts contain live, active and probiotic cultures that strengthen the immune system and promote digestive health while improving the bio-availability of various vitamins, minerals and proteins. For those who are truly lactose intolerant, yogurt is a valuable source of calcium. One cup of yogurt provides nearly 20% of the recommended protein for the average adult male.

“We raise all of our own cows,” Ronny says. “We feed them with feed grown almost exclusively on the farm. We milk them, manufacture the various Ronnybrook products and then deliver a good portion of them to our patrons in our own trucks. By concentrating our distribution in the northeast region, our milk moves from cow to table in a little more than a day and there are no artificial growth hormones.”

Back at the Green Market, Bill bring a truck load variety of Ronnybrook products. Milk: Chocolate Milk, Chocolate Low Fat, Coffee Milk, Lowfat Milk, Nonfat Milk, Heavy Cream, Half & Half, and Egg Nog. Milk comes in both bottles and plastic containers.  Chocolate milk is soooooo delicious and thick without any thickening additives. 

Drinkable Yogurt: Plain, Peach, Strawberry, Blackberry, Mango, Banana, Low Fat Blueberry Pomegranate, Low Fat Honey Vanilla. Bill loves the strawberry. I have tried the mango and blueberry pomegranate. Had to get used to a mango drink not being tart. 
Yogurt cups: Coconut, Peach, Strawberry, Vanilla, Maple Vanilla, Plain (Nonfat).  Bill loves the strawberry. 

Old Fashioned ice cream made on the farm with milk and cream from our own cows. Rich and creamy, our ice cream is 16% butterfat made with the finest hand selected seasonal ingredients.  Strawberry, Lola’s Mint Lace, Raspberry, Hudson Valley Vanilla, Sid’s Chocolate Silk, Chocolate Chip, Columbia County Coffee, Ginger Creme Brûlée, Coconut, Toasted Hazelnut Crunch, Chocolate Hazelnut, Butter Pecan, and Blueberry.

It's Sunday, June 28th. Got a half gallon of low fat milk to tide me over for at least a week.  I am trying out some of the products that I haven’t already engaged in.  Drinkable yogurts. I got: peach, strawberry, banana, and low fat honey vanilla.  I chose Maple Vanilla for the regular yogurt.  Three ice creams were enough to last awhile…I think.  Coconut, that is made with added coconut milk and chocolate covered almonds. Tasted great but not much for the almonds.  I went for two with fruit, just so I can say that I had fruit…strawberry and raspberry. Loved them both. 

Now that I have my milk, a package of Dave’s Killer Bread, white bread, and Ronnybrook cinnamon butter, breakfast called for French Toast.  Egg and milk whipped, soak (I like my French Toast that way) in mixture and fry using the cinnamon butter, which contains some sugar and salt.  No need to top with anything.  

Their butter is fresh churned in small batches at our creamery. It is rich and creamy with 84-86% butterfat content. In addition to the salted and unsalted, our flavored butters are garlic and cinnamon. Ronnybrook butter is churned in 40 gallon batches which produces a higher butter fat content and allows for very little moisture.  Bill said the cinnamon is the least demanded.  I have made French Toast using the butter in the pan and it is better than syrup! Ronnybrook Creme Fraiche is made from 40% cream, slightly tangy, slightly nutty thickened cream. I have used it in place of sour cream mixed with avocado as well as on fresh fruit.

What about the cost?  You are getting the best and freshest dairy products by going to the Green Market.  Ronnybrook products are sold elsewhere.  I compared the Green Market prices with those of Fresh Direct and Pea Pod two delivery companies that had some variety of their products.  The prices at the Green Market were less expensive. 

There are seven Green Markets just in Queens.  You can check on their site for locations and days open at The website for Ronnybrook Farms is

It's Sunday, July 12 and finally got to try the coffee milk.  That's the way I like my coffee anyway.  They use a decaf coffee syrup (sugar vs. corn syrup). Fact: Rhode Island's official beverage is coffee milk.  I'll also be testing out some of the yogurts with a powdered peanut butter.   

My friend, Judy, lives near the Green Market near Union Square.  I asked her to take some photos.