Week in Rewind: Get married at Bronx White Castle, head to Longwood Art Gallery exhibition, Lehman unveils new nursing center, Mega Millions ticket sold in South Bronx and more

Couple Married At White Castle|Couple Married At White Castle
Newlyweds Joshua De Jesus and Jaslene Claudio tied the knot at the 550 E. Fordham Road White Castle on April 8, 2016. The bride and groom exchanged wedding rings while Greg T performed the ceremony.
Photo Jehovy Santiago

Longwood Art Gallery exhibition explores memory, time & storytelling

Against the Grain: The Stories We Tell Ourselves, an exhibition at the Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos, showcases a collection of contemporary artists and presents their work as an exploration of memory, time and storytelling.  The pieces on display cover a wide range of media, from sculpture to paintings and beyond.

Dana Notine, curator of the exhibition, explained to the Bronx Times that the process of bringing this exhibition to life began a year ago, when she responded to an open call from the Longwood Art Gallery. The open call was focused in on looking for exhibitions related to the phrase “against the grain” and Notine took that idea and created a story with it.

“The way that I interpreted that was to go against the grain when it comes to thinking about memory or looking at an archive is sort of about scratching beyond the surface of what the most obvious narrative might be,” said Notine. “With that as a jumping off point, I began to think about artists that I knew that created deeply personal works that excavated their own memories, stories about their memory, and artists that produced archival work.”

Notine explained that the exhibition’s theme began to hone in on the idea of questioning stories that we’re told and noticing what goes into the way that we make sense about the world around us. This is ingrained even within the exhibition’s title, Against the Grain: The Stories We Tell Ourselves, which is a reference to Joan Didion’s work that explained storytelling as a way we rationalize memory in order to live.

“We’re really thinking about how we, ourselves, keep track of the events that happen in our lives,” said Notine. “We’re just constantly trying to make sense of it, and there’s something deeply human and relatable about that idea.”

Abigail Deville's "Optic Nerve".
Abigail Deville’s “Optic Nerve.”Photo courtesy Bronx Council on the Arts

Lehman College to unveil new Nursing Education, Research and Practice Center

Lehman College celebrated a new facility for its students studying in the medical and nursing field.

On Feb. 1, the college hosted the inauguration of the new facility. The 52,000-square-foot center cost at $95 million and was in the works for about eight years.

Representatives at Lehman College mentioned how the program has grown and how the college has a large amount of undergraduate students who want to go into nursing.

The representatives also mentioned how important the program is for the students and the future, especially since the days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when there was a shortage of nurses.

According to Lehman College, the new center recreates a clinical environment for students equipped with:

  • Maternity, Pediatrics, ICU, and Medical Surgery wards with 22 simulators;
  • wet and dry research labs;
  • a 20-bed nursing skills lab;
  • computer labs;
  • HyFlex classrooms;
  • activities of daily living apartment;
  • And student lounges and social spaces
Lehman College
Photo courtesy Lehman College

Big winner: $1M Mega Millions ticket sold at South Bronx gas station

Someone who bought a Mega Millions ticket at a South Bronx gas station is $1 million richer today — and might not even know it yet.

The winning ticket was sold at the Shell station owned by Mukti Petroleum at 119 Bruckner Blvd. According to Brad Maione at the New York State Gaming Commission, the winner has not come forward yet but has one year to claim the prize.

Friday’s Mega Millions winner was sold on Jan. 26 by Venu Gopal, who told the Bronx Times on Monday that he has worked at the store for about eight months and likely handed over the winning ticket.

He said he sells a lot of tickets and he’s pleased to have played a role in the big prize.

“I’m so happy because the winning ticket was sold at my hands,” he said.

Channi Singh, the store’s owner, told the Bronx Times that the $1 million prize was by far the largest of any winner at his 25 locations throughout Queens and the Bronx. According to Singh, his stores have seen several $20,000 and $50,000 winners — but this was the first million-dollar winner.

Venu Gopal, pictured at work on Jan. 29, 2024, sold the $1M winning ticket on Jan. 26.Photo Emily Swanson

Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade hosts Three Kings Day event, its first since COVID-19 pandemic

The Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade’s first event of 2024 featured a Three Kings Day cultural celebration at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Community Center on Sunday, Jan. 28. This was the organization’s first event since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Culture is very important to us and it was to our beloved Francisco Gonzalez,” said Maribel Mercado, the organization’s president. “We want to keep his spirit alive with what he truly loved.”

The event was sponsored by state Sen. Nathalia Fernandez.

There was a small pop-up shop at the event with MAS Productions, board members, volunteers, local vendors and DJ Jose Rivera. All attendees ages 5 and up were invited to participate in the painting workshop and pageant applications for 2024 were given out for participants from ages 5 and up.

A young girl paints the three kings on canvas at the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade’s relaunch event.
A young girl paints the three kings on canvas at the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade’s relaunch event.Photo courtesy Miriam Quinones

The White Castle of your dreams: take your date for Valentine’s Day — and even get married there

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, which means that White Castles in the Bronx — and across the country — will be transforming their eateries into pink and red-colored “LOVE Castles” adorned with tablecloths, balloons and decorations of hearts and cherubs.

Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle, told the Bronx Times that the Valentine’s-themed initiative first started in 1991.

“Kelly Collins worked closely with restaurant operations in Minneapolis (Christine Howard) and St. Louis (Gloria Hollingsworth) to come up with a fun idea to invite more people in for [Feb. 14],” said Richardson.

Since then, the holiday has spread to dozens of White Castle locations across the U.S., including the oldest White Castle in New York state, which has sat at 550 E. Fordham Rd. since 1930, when burgers were only 10 cents and streetcars still dominated public transportation in the borough. But not only does the Bronx location celebrate the lover’s holiday — you can get married there, too!

The White Castle at 550 E. Fordham Rd. has been celebrating Valentine’s Day for decades and has hosted weddings, too.Photo ET Rodriguez

“We were so happy for the opportunity even though other people around us didn’t agree with the idea,” said Jaslene Claudio, who was the first White Castle bride in New York. “Our parents wanted us to do something more traditional.”

Eight years ago, Claudio went onto the Z100 radio station website to enter a raffle for Adele concert tickets when she also saw a sweepstakes for a White Castle wedding and thought, “that’d be funny.”

Claudio filled out the application not thinking much of it. To her surprise, she won and on April 8, 2016, she married her three-year beau, Joshua De Jesus, at the Bronx location. The vows were officiated by Z100’s, Greg T and the couple was showered with Claudio’s and De Jesus’ favorite White Castle items: chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick and chicken rings, respectively.

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