30 11 / 2013
Yesterday was “Thanksgivvukah,” as it has been called—a rare convergence of Thanksgiving Day with the first day of Chanukah. There’s been a fair bit of talk in the media and at my workplace about the special-ness of it. I’ve also heard of a number of ways it speedily became commercialized—going the way of almost all holidays, I’m afraid … but won’t go off on that tangent now.
From a very personal place, besides it being a once-in-a-lifetime event as it is for everyone, I think it will long be a memory milestone. I am American by nationality, and Jewish (well, half) by ancestry. However, I was born and raised and have spent most of my life overseas, and my parents did not follow the Jewish traditions. While I always knew I was American and that I was Jewish (and was proud of the latter in particular), I never entirely knew what it was to be either, because neither were a part of my everyday life.
17 11 / 2013
*The man beside me on the F train pulled out a large sketchbook and sketched the girl sitting directly across from us—who was immersed in her book and was picture perfect with her short hair and glasses suiting her pose. He did good (and fast) work.
*The woman beside me on the A train was writing, writing, writing, for about 15 minutes straight. It looked like a letter. I was curious, but tried not to be rude and read it over her shoulder. I can’t remember when was the last time I saw somebody write a letter, or received a handwritten letter.
10 11 / 2013
So it’s been two weeks since I did my first “on the subway” post … here are a few random subway observations and thoughts from this week and the one before.
*That weird shoe season, the one where you see riding boots on one girl, flip flops on the next, and everything else in between (which was the case for most of September and October), is pretty much over now. That was a visually confusing season :-). One day on the subway, I saw a woman in a long trenchcoat, with a scarf, and hat, looking all autumn-like fashionable at the top, and when I went to check out what I presumed would be the boots, they were (gasp) flip-flops! Now it’s almost all boots, and the furthest it stretches is pumps and flats. As of last week, a lot of people were wearing gloves (I don’t think it’s nearly cold enough for that). And, somewhat oddly, some of those people in full winter getups are drinking ice coffee … this makes no sense to me.
27 10 / 2013
Earlier this month my blog had its first birthday—on my birthday. Happy birthday to us.
I haven’t posted for months now. I’ve been busy—with work, as well as starting on a longer-term writing project aka a book, that is just taking form and will be a while in the making. Meanwhile, I want to keep this blog alive.
For the time being, I’m going to go the very literal route insofar as writing about journeys. I have a long commute these days. I spend nearly two hours daily on the subway going to work and back, and then often ride it on weekends too. I see a lot of people. I see a lot of shoes and boots :-). I hear a lot of conversation snippets. I greatly enjoy all the above.
05 5 / 2013
So this post isn’t going to be all about work … but, it has now been a month since I started working at the JCC in Manhattan. So far so good. I like the work, I’m getting things “in hand,” I like the team I’m working with, and I think they like me too.
I must tell the story of “saved by the espresso window” or “what could have been a 100-dollar espresso” depending on how you look at it. I guess it’s more the latter. So, I go to this little coffee place—well it’s a restaurant, and quite a lovely one, and it has a take-out window for coffee—almost every day at some point in the afternoon, and I get an espresso at the window. It’s good, and it’s well-priced (not Starbucks style), and it’s close enough to work that it just takes a couple of minutes, yet far enough (eg not in the building) that I get outside for a few minutes of fresh air.
For the information of non-New Yorkers, we have a monthly metro card here that costs $112 for unlimited subways for 30 days, which works for me since I take the subway for at least two and often three rides in a day. (Each ride is 2.50, no matter if you go one stop or switch lines three times.) For the first few months I was here, I had just been putting money on the pass as I needed it, since my subway use was random. On the way to my first day at work I got the monthly. Just three days later, I realize when I’m about to head home that my metro card is gone. First I consider panicking. Then I try to retrace my steps. I realize it probably fell out of my coat pocket when I went to get coffee, since I happened to have cash and subway card in the same pocket. Right. “Well it probably won’t be there, but I’m going to go by and look.” I get to the coffee window, see that there’s a large trash can just to the right of it, bend down to look behind it … and yes, my subway card is there! I felt like one lucky New Yorker! (I also now have a safer dedicated place for my subway card. And my Long Island Rail Road pass … back to that in a minute.)
06 4 / 2013
At the JCC in Manhattan.
Last Friday, I got the offer letter. I had already thought it through thoroughly by then, and accepted right away.
My role is traffic/production manager for the marketing team. I’m officially noted on the staff listing page (under marketing & communications).
This Wednesday I started, and I’ve had three days on the job thus far. So far, so good. I like the work itself, I like the people I’m working with, and I like the overall environment and “vibe” of the place. I even like the style guide. Also, we work on Macs. Yay.
Added to that, we have a fantastic gym and a number of great fitness classes, which I can participate in as one of the benefits of working here. (They also have shoe-making workshops … yes, really.)
I’ve spent most of my work time so far focusing on getting oriented and figuring out what’s going on … which has included going through several folders of notes, charts, and lists that my predecessor organized—and very well at that, I must salute her for it.
It has also included a fair bit of talking, meeting and greeting … with my supervisor the Creative Director, with our four fab designers (the six of us share a two-room office on one corner of the “office floor” of the building), the marketers, the finance team, and some of the program directors and executives. Everyone I’ve spoken with has been very nice, welcoming, encouraging, and helpful.
29 3 / 2013
It started off with preparing for and heading out to a noon interview.—The result of which I shall state at the end of this post.
After grabbing a salad at a restaurant with wifi so that I could also write my thank-you notes there :-), I walked around a bit as there were some spots nearby (Upper West Side) that I hadn’t seen yet and wanted to take a look at—ongoing city exploration.
(And if you don’t recognize what’s happening in the top photo, read this. Walked by but missed the dancing part.)
I headed down to the West Village to find a place to do some work for a few hours. First tried a place I had been to before and liked (V Bar—note the good signage in the pic below), but it so happens their wifi was down for the day. (That seems to happen to me often enough when looking for a place to work. But this is a post about good things, and good they did become.) Around the corner, I found myself another now-new favorite—The Zinc Bar.
They make a good espresso. When I first went in, a children’s chess tournament was wrapping up, and a couple of espressos later, the kids left and a large group of jazz musicians came in and started tuning and warming up their instruments … when I left, they were starting a show. I had other plans to head to, but got to hear a little, and have reaffirmed that working in coffee bars in NYC makes for a lovely environment, especially at the right time of day. (So the below was my view for awhile, while it was still empty-ish.)
24 3 / 2013
Monday afternoon, I interviewed with a PR firm that had approached me the week before, and I believe it went quite well because within about an hour, just as I was about to send my thank you note, I got an email about coming back to meet the CEO whose EA I would be … though the date for that interview has not yet been set. So, still awaiting that.
Monday evening, I participated in my first “sealed deal” in the TimeRepublik community. I was the bartender at an event that I also greatly enjoyed (along with gaining “free hours” in my wallet). (I was then also the featured person in TimeRepublik’s newsletter of the week.)
The purpose of the event: raising funds for high school scholarships for teenagers on Mfangano Island, Kenya. The venue: Smart Clothes Gallery, on the Lower East Side. The happening: Presentations from professional storytellers who work with The Moth.
And with those presentations, I have now discovered yet one more “new” form of NYC entertainment to enjoy. Though, really, it’s presumably the most ancient form of entertainment, or maybe the second most ancient … Anyway, I had no idea that it existed in the manner it does, much less that it was as entertaining as I found it to be. I think what I liked so much was for one, its simplicity—it’s just a person, telling a story, about something that happened to them (and of course their thoughts and feelings while it was happening). No bells and whistles, no technology, no “gimmicks.” Very human and very real. And very truly funny! I will definitely be attending more storytelling events.
17 3 / 2013
So I’ve gone two weeks without a post. My, my, getting lax. Well, really, getting busy.
On Monday March 11, I began my first week of NYC employment. It was a one-time job, it only lasted a week, and I did the work from home. Nevertheless, I have officially been employed here in the city, it’s a start, and I am happy for the experience.
Technically I worked for my staffing firm, who set up the gig, but the job itself was for “The Daily News”—Apparently the fourth largest newspaper in NYC.
I went in Monday morning for a meeting with the VP who assigned me the job. They’re in a temporary office in Midtown because their downtown building is still non-functional after being hit hard during Sandy.
The work involved typing up a fairly large quantity of archived articles related to a major story they’re going to do a featured site or section of their site about … back in the day, news/media agencies did not keep their material on file. Doesn’t that seem so odd? So do some other concepts that I came across in the course of the project—such as that 20 years ago, if you needed to call the police, you had to find a pay phone or “police box.”
My boss for the week was a British gentleman. When he handed me the stack of files and I said I could do it by the weekend he said “that would be brilliant” … and yesterday thanked me for “being so speedy.”
Mildly related, I learned, through this job, that “employe” is a valid variant spelling of “employee.” As is “cigaret” for “cigarette.” Always happy to learn something new about words. (And both of those could be useful in Scrabble.)
It was a busier week than the usual of late, as besides giving regular work hours/days to the project, I had translation and editing deadlines in the works, keeping me busy most evenings and the weekends on both ends of the week. But I’d far rather be too busy than pacing the floors … not that I’ve ever actually done the latter—and if I ever were to have nothing to do, I’d more likely be found reading a book.
Yesterday I settled on my “official favorite” coffee shop in my neighborhood to work in—the Black Brick. Good coffee, good atmosphere, good prices, and just a few blocks away.
In other happenings, I participated the previous week in “The Future of Education #2” event with Be Social Change—doing check-ins/greeting, and bartending. I continue editing for SocialChange.is (including corresponding with contributors and getting them on a schedule). Last night, I “sealed” my first deal with TimeRepublik—I’m going to be bartending at this fundraiser event … on Monday, just a few hours after an interview I have planned with a PR firm who found my resume and reached out to me last week about a potential opportunity to work with them.—That they are a PR firm, and that they contacted me, are both things I’m happy about. Stuff is happening.
A Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all! (Believe it or not, I will be celebrating it today for the first time. It’s just one of those traditions that was never going on where I was at before now … looking forward to trying that green beer, though something tells me that after one or two I’ll be back to the standard more earthy colors of the beverage.)
*Photos: the livingroom of my temporary sublet apartment … where I spend many working hours, and which I have until April 8—by which time I must figure out where to next.
02 3 / 2013
On Thursday night, I went to the first NYC gathering of TimeRepublik. It’s a great new social network concept, and rather than trying to write up my own explanation, I’ll say check out their intro video here: TimeRepublik on YouTube.
The NYC community manager had reached out to me a few weeks ago, based on us both being part of the “Be Social Change” group … and I thought it sounded interesting, and signed up right away … I have yet to either contribute my services or contract those of others, but I will be doing so soon. I get to be a charter member, with a few extra bonus hours and other privileges, yay, and I already have my T-shirt.
The people I met were amazing! I was the first one there so had plenty of time to talk with one of the co-founders (the other lives in Switzerland and they’re both Swiss—which gives me a good feeling about this working) and the community manager. Then about 10 others joined throughout the following couple of hours—a cozy and lively crowd, who I had a great time connecting with, gaining many interesting insights, sharing ideas, and coming away with a slightly bigger network of fabulous New Yorkers. I’m having brunch with one of them today, will join an interesting meetup/event with a couple of others shortly, have my first possible “service” in the works, and last but not least, there will be regular happy hours. This is going to be a good community, me thinks.