Community Heroes: Elizabeth Nuñez

Elizabeth Nuñez recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as the Deputy Director of MusArt Music Management (MusArt).

Although she has been part of the organization for many years, it was only last year that Nuñez was formally asked to join the executive board of the organization to represent it and help it grow further.

MusArt, led by Daniel Guzman, a decorated combat marine, unites communities through music and entertainment, encompassing all facets of the music industry, from production to talent. Nuñez serves as the backbone that keeps it all running smoothly, and she shares a longstanding friendship with Daniel since childhood.

Her commitment to lending a helping hand and offering hope to those in need was sparked when, as a child, Nuñez witnessed the kindness of a stranger.

Despite grappling with personal medical issues, including Lupus, an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues, Nuñez passionately champions various causes, from animals to veterans and mental health.

With all this already on her plate, you might think she would be content, but Nuñez has added another role to her already impressive resume and life accomplishments.

She has taken up the position of treasurer for Pa’lante Para Todos Incorporated, a nonprofit subdivision of MusArt dedicated to humanitarian work within the community. Their inaugural unveiling took place earlier in the month at the Puerto Rican Day parade in Manhattan.

During our interview, Nuñez became emotional when explaining the driving force behind her actions. She concluded with these tearful words: “I do what I do to give hope to others facing problems like mine and to inspire them, showing that it doesn’t have to keep us down.”

Based on everything I have witnessed over the past two years, I have no doubt that this is just the beginning of an already impressive career and body of work.

If you would like to be featured in our Community Heroes series or would like to nominate someone, please contact Gonzalo Duran at

American Grill – Crowned the Best Grill House in the Bronx

Each visit to American Grill in the Bronx has consistently left me not just satisfied but downright enamored with the exquisite culinary experiences it offers. Their motto may be “just good food,” but I dare say it is nothing short of exceptional!

Nestled within the business district of Melrose, amidst shopping plazas, government offices, a plethora of Spanish eateries, and countless apartment buildings, American Grill stands out with the enticing aroma of succulent grilling. Seating is limited at the Bronx location but I have never encountered difficulty finding a spot during my four visits over the past six months. Many patrons prefer takeout, relishing these delectable dishes in the comfort of their homes, just a few blocks away, as one customer shared with me. Additionally, their catering service has propelled them to multiple locations nationwide and even overseas, creating a chain of restaurants and franchising opportunities.

Before declaring any establishment as the best, I meticulously assess various similar venues, visit repeatedly, and do so incognito. My aim is to capture the essence of the place, evaluate the hospitality, and, most importantly, savor the cuisine.

During these four visits, I indulged in their steaks, wings, burgers, nonalcoholic beverages, desserts, and several sides. While I am not much of a drinker, I observed that those who did were highly content. The staff radiates warmth and hospitality, and the ambiance brings to mind the feeling of being at home, eagerly anticipating your next meal.

One item I have yet to experience is the Thanos Burger, a mammoth creation consisting of four pounds of Angus ground beef, cheese, and bacon. Picture the most colossal, tantalizing burger imaginable. They extend a challenge to anyone: finish it within twenty minutes, and it is free; otherwise, it is a $135 endeavor. I plan to embrace this challenge, perhaps with a couple of comrades, just in case.

What adds a remarkable touch to this story is the owner, Hector Cruz, a former United States Marine and engineer by profession. He founded American Grill out of his passion for high-quality food, and his work ethic and strategic business expansion attest to his military background. Notably, they offer discounts to military personnel and veterans.

Considering the plethora of delectable meals I have savored, I wholeheartedly declare American Grill the finest grill house in the Bronx.

I always recommend calling ahead for their operating hours. You can find American Grill in the Bronx at 2987 3rd Avenue, reachable at (718) 585-6978, and visit their website at

Healing Through Yoga By Mrs. Sammy

I met Sammy a few weeks ago at Confetti Party Place located at 3190 Westchester Ave., Bronx, New York during their welcome back to Yoga event. Confetti Party Place owner Lourdes Melendez-Gamez personally invited me and asked me to bring some Veteran with me. Unfortunately I was not able to find any Veterans for that date and time frame but I was able to bring the President of the Bronx Veteran Chamber of Commerce with me, Alfredo Castillo and his niece, affectionally named Fifi.

Sammy offered me a very relaxing and soothing yoga session, I asked if I could write an article regarding her work. When I began the interview process, I realized this story should be told by her. The following is in her own words with a little assistance, I hope you find her journey through healing by helping others as inspirational as I did.

“My name is Samantha aka Sammy. I was born and raised in the Bronx. I am a wife, mother, nana, and dog mom. I left my job as a Banker of 27 years to care for my mother until she passed away. I am a Yoga instructor, certified in Vinyasa, Yin, Chair, and Kids yoga. I teach yoga from the ages of 2 to 102 years old. I also teach yoga to special needs kids and adults. I am now the proud owner of S&S Health and Wellness/ SSYOGA which offers Yoga, mindfulness, wellness products and services as well as different healing modalities to the community and beyond.

My passion for healing came naturally as I myself became a mother, and as I cared for both of my parents before they transitioned. As the years went on, I found myself in spaces of health, wellness and healing. 

I started doing yoga 10 years ago, really to support a friend’s journey of becoming a yoga instructor. From then, I fell in love with yoga, and how  it made me feel relaxed and at ease. It was better than doing high impact workouts at the gym, which I didn’t care for.

I was taking yoga classes faithfully, going to the gym for cardio only, until one day my world was turned upside down. My middle child passed away while I was on vacation with his son, my grandson. From then, everything went dark, everything stopped, life stopped, I stopped. I fell into deep depression, sadness, regret, anger, every bad emotion there is. My grief was bad.

But one day a voice said, I had to be strong for my grandson, who was only 5 at the time, and my other kids. (I had 3 kids) It had been a long time since I took a yoga class, so I wasn’t sure if the person was still there teaching. I called the gym to see if she was still teaching, and she was! 

I felt I couldn’t go back without getting emotional, and interrupting the class, so she offered me private lessons. That’s where the healing began for me and my grandson. One breath. One  movement at a time. I was able to grieve, release my guilt, anger, anxiety, depression or whatever I was feeling or needed to heal through Yoga.

At that point I knew what I needed to do to heal, and be healed. Once I was good, there was no stopping me. I went on to become a Yoga instructor offering free, donation based yoga to the community. Wanting to be a vessel to help heal whomever needed healing with one breath. One movement at a time. I felt that if Yoga saved me, I can save someone else too. It became my Dharma, my passion to be a healer.

Once Covid hit I was offering virtual classes for kids, adults, family and friends to keep the healing going and the community connected to the mind, body and spirit.

From there, I started making natural wellness products to help support the immune/ respiratory system from mucous, congestion and inflammation in the body. As Covid was said to be attacking the respiratory system. I had to get busy, researching, reading and taking healing classes to help me and my family stay Covid free. Then I started offering my natural wellness products to the community and the rest is history.

In August 2021, S&S Health and Wellness was created to provide different types of healing, health and wellness modalities to the community and beyond.

My Life. My healing. My  journey. 

Love what you do. Do what you Love

One breath. One movement at a time

Much Love. Much Light


IG: sandshealthandwellness66 

S&S Health and Wellness/ SSYOGA will be a featured presenter at Devil Dog USA Incorporated upcoming event. Health, Nutrition and Fitness Fair on February 25th from 12pm to 2pm across the street from 1347 Bristow St., Bronx, New York.

Bronx Chef Pays Back Seven Buffalonians Stuck in NYC By Storm

Three years ago, during a Veteran Day weekend blizzard, Sergeant Gonzalo Duran, began to have car trouble while on his first trip to Canada. He parked at a local mechanic and was told because of the holidays, it would take a few hours or the next day to fix.

Unfamiliar with the area, he went to the closest place for a meal. Braving the mountains of snow and a scary highway, Duran made it to Mexico City in Hamburg New York. Once he opened the door, the Martinez family were surprised someone had braved the snow to dine in.

After explaining the situation about his car and not being from the area, Mr. Martinez, the head chef and owner, notice Duran’s dog tags. They began to bond over each others service in the military. Mr. Martinez proceeded to make Duran his most famous dish, Mole. Duran was weary because he had refrained from it in the past, but felt compelled to have it. He was hungry and the chef insisted.

“It was one of the best meals of my life”, Duran states. It brought me to a place I never been before or felt since. I licked the plate clean and I’m thankful I managed to take a picture before I ate it, which “I never did back than”. Now you can see Duran’s Facebook @bxgonzo and Instagram @gonzalodurannyc are filled with his proud culinary skilled meals.

Duran spent about a week in Hamburg on his way to Canada, which didn’t happen that trip. Instead he spent it, helping the Martinez family collect meat during the shortage from the surrounding states because of the Pandemic. During that period, Duran learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business. Duran was such a natural that Mr. Martinez offered Duran a general manager position in a second restaurant, if he stayed. Unfortunately, Duran didn’t accept the offer because of his family obligations. “My mother isn’t well and my children were still young teens. This was the first time I thought about leaving the Bronx.”

Since then, Duran has been on a cooking path. He surprises even himself sometimes. He began taking the time to make more elaborate meals. When he moved apartments earlier this year, he began making home cooked meals for family and friends as a way to break into his new home and hone his skills.

Last week Duran began a new project where he would now go to other people’s home to cook as a private chef. All he asks for is a plate of food and no dishes. “I hate dishes” he states firmly. His compensation is simply a donation of any amount to his day job: Executive Officer for a Veteran nonprofit, Devil Dog USA Incorporated.

This past weekend, the Martinez family came to New York City to visit family for the holidays. With the storm closing off the highway to return to Buffalo, the Martinez were out of luck because they had checked out their hotel and were now stranded. Who would house seven people in New York City.

They gave a call to Duran, who only heard three guest total, welcomed them and decided to make them dinner. What Duran didn’t hear was that seven guest were coming over for dinner. When they walked in, Duran was surprised but accepted the challenge. The climax, Mr. Martinez himself was present this trip and Duran knew this would be his greatest moment as a chef. The pressure was on, everyone was hungry and it was too late to change the meal plan. But more could be added to the now already prepped meal for four.

Once everything was said and done. The food was plated but Duran was kind of embarrassed because, living like a bachelor, he didn’t have enough plates and utensils for everyone. He used paper plates and plastic forks. After the meal was done, everyone praised the food but Duran held off from getting Mr. Martinez’s answer. You see, Duran likes hard criticism, so he can improve his skills. He knew Mr. Martinez was a serious man.

The final moment came and Mr. Martinez shook his hand and said the meal was delicious but didn’t have any words for improvement. “When you cook a certain style, it will be different from someone else’s, so comparing is opinionated but I ate everything, and I licked the plate clean. The thing you need to focus on and which I am proud of you my son, you used the greatest ingredient of all, Love” said Mr. Martinez.

Duran has still yet to stop smiling.