Meet Olivier Rabbath: Frenchman, Philosopher, and Jack of Many Trades

From his little shop in Boerum Hill, Olivier Rabbath, 51, makes magic. Born in Paris, he moved to the states in 1987 pursuing his love for fashion and boots. He felt France was too focused on the old world, which didn’t give him room to expand and grow. He worked in Miami, making thousands of boots by hand, before moving to New York and opening up shop in Brooklyn.

He’s created well over 30,000 boots in his lifetime, and that’s not even mentioning everything else he’s done. He’s also a cartoonist, painter, graphic designer, media designer, decorator, composer, writer, and inventor (to name a few).

Even after all these years, life fills Rabbath with wonder, excitement, and energy. He says while his friends age around him, he maintains his vitality by being passionate about what he does and living in the moment. Continue reading

Has Obama Worked Hard Enough for African Americans?

President Obama addressed the Congressional Black Caucus about the future of the economy and black unemployment in September, telling the audience that his policies would lead to an economic recovery. The group has become increasingly critical of the president in recent months, especially after Labor Department figures showed black joblessness at 16.7 percent – almost double the national average and at a 27-year high.

The president was clearly revved up, telling the crowd of about 3,000 to “put on your marching shoes” and join the unemployment battle.

Obama continued to push his American Jobs Act, saying budget proposals by Republicans would only hurt black Americans more. He said the package will benefit 100,000 black-owned businesses and 20 million African-American workers. It will achieve this through infrastructure spending, payroll tax cuts, business tax breaks, and – to the dismay of Republicans – tax increases for the wealthiest Americans and big businesses. Obama said the time to act is now:

Why are we shortchanging our children when we could be putting teachers back in the classroom right now, where they belong? Laying off teachers, laying off police officer, laying off firefighters all across the country because state and local budgets are tough. Why aren’t we helping? We did in the first two years. And then this other crowd came into Congress and now suddenly they want to stop. Tell me why we shouldn’t give companies tax credits for hiring the men and women who’ve risked their lives for this country — our veterans. There is no good answer for that. They shouldn’t be fighting to find a job when they come home.
These Republicans in Congress like to talk about job creators. How about doing something real for job creators? Pass this jobs bill, and every small business owner in America, including 100,000 black-owned businesses, will get a tax cut. You say you’re the party of tax cuts. Pass this jobs bill, and every worker in America, including nearly 20 million African American workers, will get a tax cut. Pass this jobs bill, and prove you’ll fight just as hard for a tax cut for ordinary folks as you do for all your contributors.

African American voters remain a key voting bloc for Obama. Their historic turnout in the 2008 election helped catapult the then-presidential hopeful to victory.

Black Caucus leaders remain supportive of Obama, but have been put off by the president’s concessions to Republicans, especially in this summer’s debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

Do you think President Obama has given enough attention to the problem of black unemployment?

Holiday Wishes, In a Word

Family. Peace. Happiness. Love. Health.

These were some of the fundamental holiday hopes shared by hundreds of New York residents who spoke with reporters. We’d already pumped them for basic info about holiday spending patterns, job status, and whether or not they had health insurance. But then we asked a question that aimed deeper – “What would you most like for the holidays, in a word?”

This being New York, the responses were not all so idealistic. For some, the holiday word was “clothes” or “manicure” or “bicycle” or just plain “money.” And of course, there were plenty who said “iPad” and “iPhone.” Click on the image above to see more.

And you can tell us what your word is, plus share other info, by taking our survey.

10 Job Titles for the Future

There has been a lot of talk about jobs that have disappeared, never to return again. But as well-paid manufacturing positions evaporate, travel agents go virtual and video store managers are replaced by Netflix, opportunities are popping up in newly created fields. Let’s have a look at 10 such new job titles.

1) Nursing Informatics Analyst – So you thought being a doctor is the only cool thing to do in medicine? Think again. Introducing the Nursing Informatics Analyst, who is responsible for supporting clinical documentation processes and applications. It also pays a decent salary, which varies from $48,000 to $65,000 annually.

2) Data Scientist – Has working with huge amounts of data always made you cringe? Well, now you don’t have to worry. Data Scientists are the new breed of analysts specialized to deal with data. The job profile involves collecting data, analyzing it and delivering the data as intelligence that is actionable. Continue reading

A Tradition to Change

For over 60 years, Valencia Bakery in the Bronx has been producing cakes for the Mott Haven neighborhood amongst others. In its history, the bakery faced many changes. Serving a Puerto-Rican community for many years, the bakery started to sell products for immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and other Latin-American countries. They came to Mott Haven about 20 years ago, bringing their tastes with them. Continue reading

Eating Well in the Recession

Woodlawn resident Cameron Miles, 30, is a self-proclaimed foodie.  She moved to New York in 2004 to be a dancer and works in restaurants between gigs.

The economic downturn has meant fewer shows and shorter hours at her job as an office assistant at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse, as many Americans have cut back on the luxury of dining out.  According toa recent survey in the economist, US consumer spending on food decreased by almost 10 percent in 2010.

Miles is bucking this budgetary approach, saying she is determined to eat well despite a decreased cash flow.  But she is budget-conscious in her own way. She is big on cooking at home, and has several tricks up her sleeve for making the most of her daily meals.

The strategy she is most adamant about?  Making a list and planning in advance. Continue reading