Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ground Zero, Every Day.

For a decade, I was able to avoid seeing ground zero.
I did not want to see it.

It would amplify and remind me of the void I felt when they smashed through the buildings, and into all of our lives.

But I've been thinking about 9/11 every morning for the past 3 months.

I walked from William Street down Maiden Lane and onto Cortland. One straight shot. I saw my subway station and then looked up at ugly construction machines and skeletons of buildings.

"What is all this? Is it? No. Yes. Hell. I think it's Ground Zero."

So this thing I tried to avoid would haunt me every day, and there was no detour.

I couldn't help but imagine people running down the street. Clouds of ashes engulfing everything in its way. Screams. Panic. Jumping.

And now, it's just quiet.

In FiDi, It feels as if you are walking around a movie set. A very deliberately manicured downtown, mostly free of cars. People literally walk down the middle of the streets.

But I'm in love with this neighborhood. A place I never wanted to be. And now feels like home.

(picture above is the new tower under construction peeking out as you walk towards Cortland Subway Station. At least 5 people have asked me where Ground Zero was, while standing virtually right next to it!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nothing Glam in Death

Last post was about the tug of war that many feel living in the City. Love-hate-like-Head over Heels Love-shocked.

Well today fit right into the roller coaster. It was a low point for me. I have never felt anything but safe in ol' Manhattan Island. Ok, i've gotten the creeps in other boroughs at times but never here for years upon years.

I was meeting some friends for dinner at Stanton Social* in the lower east side. I'm listening to an upbeat happy shania song on my ipod as I reached the block and then I just saw a bunch of vehicles and a police officer starting to put blue police tape around the area. I realized I couldn't get into Stanton b/c it was all blocked off. Apparently, woman (and mother) was killed by her boyfriend for wanting to break up. And wrapped in plastic & left in his apartment.

What bothered me most was people staring as the body was rolled out and into the coroner's van. I coudn't watch that...I mean...I feel like if I was her, I'd want that privacy. I did see her relatives crying and that broke my heart. And broke my teared up eyes into flowy tears.

It's always painful to see families go through acts of violence like this. I don't know sometimes why it stays on my mind so long and bothers me. I feel like the norm is that most just go about their days and it's just something that happened. But I'm sure a lot of you can relate...for me, I think about (a) how unpredictable life is (b) how short life is (c) how lucky we are to have any good people around us and (d) reminds me to tell those I really love that I value them.

So a bit of the Manhattan charm wore off today but I still love this place. For all that it is, and all that it isn't.

And God Bless that child whose mom passed.

*was a superb restaurant btw.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Le Cirque

sight+hearing+smell+touch+taste X NYC = internal storm

A funny thing happens with internal dialogue as the day progresses in Manhattan:
"What the hell!? Move!"
"God I love this place."
"I hate this stupid dump!"
"I wanna live here foreverrrr!"
I want the suburbs and green grass. Or just grass!"

All in one day. It happens here.

You're spinning inside a blender. You have the most beautiful people, the strangest people. The smartest, the wealthiest, the most downtrodden. The best eats and the grossest grub too. It's a world of extremes. A schizo, beautiful splatterpaint work from oil paint...just keep sculpting and sculpting the color and shape.

I love it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baptism by FiDi*

*FiDi = Financial District. Pronounce Fye-Dye or Fiddy? You can just choose I guess.

Much of the summer will be spent here working at Creative Realities (CRI), a digital, experiential advertising agency with one office in Midtown Manhattan. I will reside in FiDi, a block from Wall Street and 3 blocks from the WTC. More on the actual work coming up.

When you come here for work though, a large part of orientation is getting your senses to adjust to the City in a big way.


I'll organize upcoming posts by those after this one.
To normalize is a journey, and you learn a lot about yourself. There are some foreign countries that are probably a lesser culture shock than NYC would be to the sheltered suburbanite.

I think I have a crush on New York. It's not love yet. But we'll see.

For those of you who aren't familiar with NYC neighborhood nicknames, there's a bunch. Like, SoHo stands for "South of Houston Street". Pronounced Howston :) I think the names are all cute.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Baby Birdies, Baby Birdies!

I've been trying to get my 5-year old nephew Hassan (or more properly, Hassan-bo-bassan) familiar with soccer in the mornings. A few days back, he noticed something near his swing set during practice time.


Apparently, the not so wise mom built a nest on the swingset/playhouse that was doomed to fall. One poor birdie died :( Two others were alive and not moving, stuck on their backs! Well, if this ever happens to you too, hopefully this can help you.

The nest was intact so I put it in an empty butter container and put the survivors inside. Songbirds have a bad sense of smell, so there are no worries that the mom will smell humans and not return.

I called bird rehab (just google animal rehab to find a place near you). They said to leave them close to the area the nest was and the mom should return. And she has,
for the past 2 days.

One of the birdies keeps jumping out of the nest and jumping around and flipping out of the nest, but we keep placing it back, and now... put them in a larger box within a larger tub (!) so they don't jump out they won't be lunch for other animals :(

The hope is that they will fly very soon.

By the way, the mother does nearly attack when anyone gets close to her babies. Hey, not our fault she kinda messed up!

These little creatures seem so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, right?
But it's a reminder to me of the tremendous value of life. We were so concerned with these things - but why? Neighbors on the left and right came to visit them, bringing food (like worms mmm) and boxes for the birdie folk to reside in. It might sound ridiculous but there's a significant example of our innate drive to help, to nurture, to revive. Well, especially if the objects of our affection are super cute.


UPDATE: The less active baby died today :( I feel really sad about it, and I'm puzzled by how disappointed I am. The other baby has been able to fly about 1 foot high so far...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Barbeque Your Worries Away

Like totally, melt them on the grill.
Somehow, my day started off heavy, before even rolling out of bed
Mother's Day 2012
What was I going to do for my mom? So unprepared this year.
Portfolio presentation coming up. How worried should I be?
I want to run today, but my feet are sore from a Zumba OD yesterday. Am I being too weak?
I feel so unproductive. I'm tired of jerks. I'm just ah...

Whatever. Really, cooking can scorch the globs of nonsense away from your brain.

Especially when it involves fire.

So we had a nice Mom's Day BBQ today, my family and my bro's family. I threw them steaks on the grill, along with beautiful shrimp in terriyaki marinade and veggies on skewers. The smoke filling up the air and the kids laughing and getting excited in the background made everything perfect. The wonderful neighbors, Rick next door asking if I wanted any grilling tips and guys on the other side blasting their country and southern rock.

These are moments I love being Virginian. And scorching away worries with the fire of a BBQ grill. scorrrrchhhhh.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Additions, Amendments, Deletions.

100 twists and turns later...I am almost done with year one at the Brandcenter. I never imagined I'd be in this spot at this time in my life. It's kind of weird and unexpected but it's also pretty damn spectacular.

Waitttt a minute, "time in my life?" What does that really mean to us? I guess it has to do with how we planned life out when we were in the high school cafeteria staring up at a banner for the Thanksgiving canned food drive. You remember those thoughts...

I will get out of here and embrace my independence.
Which will lead me to a college where I will major in the most awesome major.
And obviously awesome dude or dream chick will come along.
And my job will be so sweet ass because I will have been so logical about everything.
And I will have luck too, obviously. Cause like, I've been a good human.

Ok yeah life's a little more complicated than that. It's likely not exactly what we envisioned while running around the high school track and dreaming about the future.

Sometimes a lot of us get bogged down by that dissonance.

So screw dissonance and be thankful for at least holding parts of your ultimate dream in your hands. I'm sorry if there are shards included and it hurts sometimes. The rest may come a few years from now. Or maybe a few weeks. Maybe never, but I bet you, you will not care as much at that point.

Some may last a while and then crumble. Lay out blueprints for new ones. Your blueprints may get stolen. Scream. And then recreate.


That's all we can do.