Category Archives: General

Snow Day

Snowboarding in Central Park.

It didn’t even cross my mind to check to see if work was canceled before I left this morning. I even woke up extra early to finish a story I had due before walking through the falling snow to the subway. It was unusually empty everywhere. Sometimes I’m the first person in the office because I work 9-5 and others get there at 9:30 or 10, so I didn’t  think anything of it at first. But after half an hour with no signs of life beside me, I checked the Cooper Union website and saw that classes were canceled and offices were closed. So now I’m back in Brooklyn, drinking tea and watching the snow fall. I’m going to walk to Prospect Park after I write this post, but am staying warm for a little while longer to catch up on some blogging.

Fake snow in Central Park. Maybe I'll go see the real snow tomorrow.

Last Saturday, I caught the end of Winter Jam in Central Park, which is where these first two pictures are from. It’s an annual event where they put down fake snow and have snowboarding and skiing demonstrations. As you can see, they even had a very small snowboard jump and rail. But my favorite part was the free Red Jack Orchard cider.

MoMA book swap.

I then walked from Central Park to the Museum of Modern Art to meet up with some friends at the MoMA Art Book Swap. I don’t have any art books here and was not able to swap, but I did like the aerial view of all the people intensely paging through catalogs and tossing aside books about Michelangelo.

Paris metro sign at the MoMA.

I also saw this Paris metro sign that I’d somehow missed, I guess because I’ve never gone all the way across the courtyard. It made me nostalgic for France. It’s hard to believe I was there and then in Berlin this time last year. It seems like ages and worlds ago.

After the MoMA, we stopped by the Jeffrey Vallance and Mark Dion exhibits that were up at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Vallance had really spectacular shrines for different life objects, from a burned out Christmas light to a collection of childhood plastic animals, that were constructed like religious relics. Dion had a fictional travel of a an archeologist reconstructed with natural history objects in a kind of wunderkamer arrangement. It was all very cool.

Snow on my street in Brooklyn.

Yesterday, we got Early Grey flavored hot chocolates at City Bakery that were delicious and had the consistency of chocolate mousse. A hot chocolate celebration is going on where they have a different flavor every day, but I think that one this week is more than enough for me and my teeth.

New Cooper Union building in the snow, on my way to canceled work.

Otherwise, I’ve been recovering from a slight illness that hit me last week and getting used to my new work schedule. I’m liking my job and it’s not stressful. I think I underestimated how much stress I had with unemployment. It’s just easier to wake up every day knowing I have a job. Even with the temping, it was stressful to go to a new office all the time, where I would have new co-workers and need to learn new office etiquette and procedures.

Peter Cooper, covered in snow.

Yesterday, work was especially enjoyable because Peter Cooper’s birthday was celebrated with a wreath-laying and cake. You can see him with his wreath here, although luckily it wasn’t snowing when the ceremony took place. I also got to tour their new modern building, one whose many identical floors I would have been hopelessly lost on if I had been a student there.

Snow on the Grace Church spires.

I heard that last night there was a line of over 100 people outside Trader Joe’s due to the snowpocalypse forecast. But isn’t there a grocery store on nearly every block? Maybe some people just can’t imagine going a day without their Trader Os cereal. I’m still surprised so much is canceled today when so many people don’t drive.

Snow in Union Square.

I also walked through Union Square this morning after realizing that work was canceled, and saw many dogs frolicking. And a few people like me taking pictures.

Snow falling in Union Square.

I’m sure I will take some more pictures this afternoon. I hear there may be more snow this weekend and it’s not going to get above freezing for a while, so it will probably hang around. Or turn to gray slush by the curb.

Finally

Water towers seen from my new office window.

I’m very pleased to announce that I am employed! Or at least until June. I got a long-term temp position at the Cooper Union in the East Village, so I will be working full-time there for five months. I was too nervous to post about it before it actually happened. Up until I got the badge with my picture on it, I was still afraid that some disaster would occur to return me to unemployment. But I just finished my third day there and I think things are going well. Above is the view from my office window. It’s such a relief to not have to apply for five jobs a day and stress over how many more months I can live on my savings. Plus, it’s an easy commute and most of my work involves writing, editing, and web management, which are things I have experience in and actually enjoy. A cause for celebration!

Mud Coffee=morning battery.

Also exciting is the Mud Coffee Truck that I pass in Astor Place on my way to work. They have excellent coffee that’s as dark as their name suggests, and it’s cheaper than the Starbucks across the street. A coffee this size lasts me all day. That, along with my iPod Octavius who is making a cameo in the background of the photograph, make my mornings enjoyable. And speaking of music, I added a tiny little section on the left-hand side of this blog called “Earbud Obsession” where I am going to post the current song I’m fixating on. Right now, it’s Brooklyn-based Ravens & Chimes’ song “January” which I can’t get out of my head.

Inside the Cooper Union clock.

I also got to see the inside of the Cooper Union clock that faces Cooper Square. It was unfortunately a little slow in its accuracy, but I was excited to see its gears slowly turning as it moved the giant clock hands outside. There was also an odd circular elevator in the building. I guess Peter Cooper thought that elevators were going to be circular when the shaft was added to the building, and then they turned out to be rectangular.

Mosaic in the Williamsburgh Savings Bank.

Besides that new development, I’ve been taking it easy while I adjust to a new schedule. Last Saturday we revisited the Brooklyn Flea in the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower, and this time I took a picture of the huge mosaic in the main hall. I also got a Gruyere and paprika pretzel.

Man holding a crab in the Williamsburgh Savings Bank. You know, some zodiac thing.

There was a little bit of snow Wednesday morning (which you can see on top of the water towers in the first picture) and I hear we’re going to get even more this weekend. I love the snow, especially now that I live in New York and don’t have to drive. Although I’m not a huge fan of freezing temperatures, except as an excuse to drink hot toddies and wear colorful scarves. And now that I’m employed, I can afford a few more of both of those.

Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt

Skyscrapers seen from the Fifth Avenue office where I temped.

Last week, I was looking through my bookshelf for my next book to read and found Catcher in the Rye mixed in with my unread books. I honestly can’t remember bringing it with me to New York, although I must have unpacked it twice. Maybe my mom included it in one of the boxes sent from Oklahoma or I brought it in my suitcase on one of my many trips. I’m so used to it being a part of my collection that I can understand why it escaped my notice. I read it for the first time in high school, when I found all the angst of Holden Caulfield really relevant to my teenage life. Reading it again just a year ago was so different; how could I have changed so much in only a few years? And would I ever be able to write something that so clearly channels that brief perspective in youth? When I heard that J.D. Salinger died, it was shocking that he was 91, because all of his writing still seems so young. Of course, since most of the writing he did later in his reclusive life wasn’t published, I guess that’s what allowed him to be an immortal youth. And now, will all those unprinted manuscripts be published?

Stone angel seen from the same building, same angle, just super zoomed.

This Monday, I saw another author I love, Paul Auster, speak at Barnes & Noble with an editor from the Paris Review. It was part of a discussion series featuring writers talking with other writers about writing. Auster has really brooding, piercing eyes, and I’m always reassured by famous author’s insecurities. I really enjoyed the talk and it made me want to write more. I guess I write something everyday, technically, but I don’t want my dreams to become my hobbies. I’m going to try to write a short story a week, starting next week. I’m not going for length or perfection; I just need to get the words out. How else will I ever be on my way to becoming a famous recluse?

Early morning snow near Central Park on Fifth Avenue.

I’ve been temping at a boring, but low key, real estate place this week and the first two of the above pictures were taken from the little office where I ate my lunch. The third is of the snow that fell this morning while I was walking down Fifth Avenue to work. Sadly, it had all melted by the time I left the office, and there was no window by the reception desk. It’s getting cold again, and I’ve had to turn my heat back on after having it off for about a week. Maybe I will make a hot chocolate. Last night, me and a couple of friends went to Think Coffee in the East Village and I might have to drag my laptop over there for some writing. When I went into their dive bar-like bathrooms, I looked on the ceiling and among the graffiti saw this Kurt Vonnegut quote scrawled in sharpie: “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” Sometimes for brief moments when I see snow falling in early morning light and I look up and feel the flakes melt on my face, that’s all true.