Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sitting in a Cloud on the Rooftop of the Met

Two weekends ago, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to catch the last weekend of the rooftop exhibit "Cloud City" by artist, Tom├ís Saraceno of Argentina.  From the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website, "Saraceno has created a constellation of large, interconnected modules constructed with transparent and reflective materials for the Museum's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Visitors may enter and walk through these habitat-like, modular structures grouped in a nonlinear configuration. Over the past decade, Saraceno has established a practice of constructing habitable networks based upon complex geometries and interconnectivity that merge art, architecture, and science. The interdisciplinary project "Cloud Cities/Air Port City" is rooted in the artist's investigation of expanding the ways in which we inhabit and experience our environment."

From a distance, the sculpture looks pretty amazing. The juxtaposition of the reflective piece with Central Park and the city skyline in the background was pretty spectacular.
Getting up closer to the piece, it's really cool to see the city through the openings or "windows" of the sculpture.
This piece is so incredible and tall! On the Met's website is a great video of how they use a crane to get the piece on top of the rooftop. It's an amazing feat!
Looking up to the sky from the bottom of the sculpture.
There were lots of visitors to the exhibit since it was the last weekend. I've never seen the rooftop of the museum so crowded before.
Here is the view of Central Park from the rooftop!  So pretty! In a few weeks, the park is even prettier when all the leaves start to change color! Autumn is finally here!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Renegade Craft Fair

This weekend the Renegade Craft Fair will have their holiday market at the Williamsburg Brooklyn waterfront. I have gone to this craft fair in the summer in previous years. I totally love to support artists and crafts people, such as The Weekend Store who makes cool antique jewelry.  They have such creative stuff! I am going to check it out tomorrow, pictures to come!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Girls Are Out!

It was well in the 60s today. So warm! Just 5 days ago... it was snowing! I'm not sure what's up with this weather! I took advantage of the weather and decided to open the hive for an inspection! We've already winterized the hive by sealing up any cracks with duct tape and putting in a mouse guard. It's a little strange to have a hive inspection this late in the season! We are mid-way into November and usually in the Northeast, it would be really too cold to open the hive. When I got to the hive, I saw that there were lots of bees out! The girls were enjoying the warm weather as well!  I installed a new bungee cord on the hive to keep the water container from blowing off the roof. The last storm blew that thing clear off and onto the street!
Incredibly, when I pulled out a frame, I saw that Queen Bella is still laying! There was fresh brood on the frames and babies being born! Wow and wow!!  I am so surprised to see this! Very happy to see that Queen Bella is still alive and productive! I'm already looking forward to next spring to see how well this hive will do in Year 2! Can't wait!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A City Coming Together

It's been two weeks since Hurricane Sandy, and the area is still recovering. Unbelievably, there are still neighborhoods that are without power, heat, or hot water.  I've seen some extraordinary efforts throughout the city of people helping each other out. In my neighborhood, a local resident has organized a donation drive.
I decided to buy some supplies to drop it off. I picked up some winter gloves, batteries, goggles, tooth paste, soap, and socks. It's not much, but every little bit helps if the community comes together and donates.
These are photos of all the many, many donation centers in the Rockaways and Long Beach.  In all this tragedy, this coming together of people of this community to help one another, to help your fellow neighbor, is quite a beautiful sight.

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Snowstorm

Nine days after we had a hurricane, on Wednesday of this week, I left work to this. A Nor'easter! We New Yorkers roll with the punches, but damn! This sure is some weather we are having this month! We are still recovering from the aftermath of the hurricane!
There was at least 4 inches of snow on the ground by the time I got home. I was wearing sneakers, so it made for an interesting and slippery walk home!
I wonder what other weather we will get this week! Tornado? Hail? Raining locusts?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Casting My Ballot

Today, I had to go to Brooklyn to put some sugar water out for the beehives. As I was walking to the hive location, I saw that CNN was interviewing pollers as they were coming out of this polling site.
I stopped in at a local coffee shop for a cup of java and saw this great flyer hanging on the wall. I loved this.
When I was done with the hives, I headed back to the subway, and saw this huge banner hanging from a restaurant's awning. Brooklyn loves this guy!
I headed back to my neighborhood and went to vote in my district.
The line wasn't long but, I was a little disappointed about the process. I have to wonder what kind of training the volunteers get at these voting places. The woman who helped me told me to stand in the wrong line. Ugh. She also never looked at my Photo ID which I thought was weird. I asked the volunteer how to put my ballot through the scanner and he said, "just insert it". Up or down I said, and he barked, "just put the paper in".  I don't appreciate how rude that volunteer was. I put my ballot through the scanner, but wasn't too sure if it should be up or down, so I hope my paper scanned. Seriously, the voting process should not be this difficult. I can see how some voters can be intimated and how voting scams can potentially happen. Just frustrating!
This is the button I wore when I voted in 2008. I lost this button when I moved a few times since '08. I wish I still had this button. 
If you haven't voted yet, go out and do your civic duty and vote! Whoever it is you are for, get your voice out there!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Up and Running

Yesterday, the subways and buses were running again, after 4 days without it. Four days without public transportation puts this city to a standstill. Literally.  I ventured to downtown Manhattan by bus to go visit my elderly aunt who lives in Chinatown.  She has 24 hour nurse aides that take really good care of her, and her sons told me that they have been checking in with her daily to see if she had enough food and water. Without power and running water, the elderly are hit the worst when there is no power. Especially those that live in high rises like she does. The nurse aide has been by her side the entire time and she is well cared for. I brought over some bottles of water, fresh fruit and some hot soup. I took the bus downtown and saw a strong National Guard presence. It's a relief to see these men and women helping us recover. It really is. We can't be more appreciative!
Truck after truck with supplies in the truck beds. A happy sight indeed.
This whole block in Gramercy Park was blocked off to use as a staging area for the supply distribution. It's awesome to see this. It's so organized.
The bus stop is right in front of Confuscius Plaza where my aunt lives. As I was getting off the bus, I saw a whole group of National Guardsmen dropping off supplies. From across the street, I could hear cheers from Chinatown residents cheering them on. It was an incredible sight.
A pile of water that will be distributed to residents.
 
After visiting my aunt, I saw this Ad at a bus stop. It's an ad by Rock the Vote for the upcoming election, but I felt it was apropo for the aftermath of the hurricane.We won't panic. We will Organize. And we will Overcome.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A City Divided

There is a big controversy brewing in New York City right now. This Sunday is the ING NYC Marathon, and surprisingly Mayor Bloomberg has not postponed it. In fact, he has encouraged it. The tensions in the city are raw right now from dealing with the aftermath of the Hurricane and many of the residents have expressed concern about hosting a marathon while the city is recovering from the storm. This is a photo of the entrance of the Verrazano bridge on the Staten Island side where the marathon starts. Staten Island was the most affected borough in the New York City area. More residents died in Staten Island, more houses collapsed and flooded, then all of the 5 boroughs.  As a former resident of Staten Island, seeing the destruction breaks my heart.
The debate about the marathon is due to the fact that some residents in New York City area are still without power, heat, running water. Hosting a marathon requires city resources such as police, EMTs, volunteers to oversee the race. All of these which could be redirected to help with the hurricane relief. Many bridges such as the Verrazano are closed to allow for the thousands of runners, bridges that should be open to allow for storm relief assistance. Generators are being brought in for the marathon that should or could be used for shelters or hospitals that are running out of power. Hotel rooms throughout the city are at capacity because of the thousands of runners and press that are pouring into  the city, but some residents who lost their homes can't even book a hotel room because they are being turned away by hotels. As much as I love this city that I live in, it's decisions like these that makes me wonder where our priorities are.

I understand that those who are for the marathon say that it will bring needed revenue into the city, but the city and it's first responders are already taxed beyond belief. Mayor Bloomberg said it brings back a sense of normalcy. Normalcy? Does he live in the same city as I do? What residents of this city feel like cheering for runners, when there are so many people in need right now? Can't they postpone the marathon a week?

Personally,  I've never been so ashamed at all the NYC politicians that are allowing the NYC Marathon to go on as planned this Sunday. There are families still without power, running water, fresh drinking water, running out of food, without a home and yet, it's important for us New Yorkers to host the world so they can run throughout our city. Runners, take a good look as you cross the 5 boroughs and look at all the destroyed homes, especially the ones still under water. NYC politicians, not only have you lost my respect, you have LOST my vote. (end rant)
Here are some articles about the debate. What's your take on this issue?
http://updates.gawker.com/post/34800387369/storm-ravaged-staten-island-is-really-mad-that-the

http://www.bkmag.com/BrooklynAbridged/archives/2012/11/02/this-years-nyc-marathon-is-immoral-what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-running

UPDATE: The news just announced that the Mayor decided to cancel the marathon.

A Brooklyn School in Need

I was in the supermarket today to pick up some milk and basic supplies. It feels weird to see an entire aisle containing cases of water when in Downtown Manhattan, parts of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island have no running water or power still.  All I could think was, I wish I had a van to buy all this water and drive it down to the hardest hit areas around here.
I took a walk this afternoon to the East River promenade and the FDR South is back to normal. Bumper to bumper traffic. Probably more heavy than usual since many people are driving rather than taking mass transit. There is still limited subways and buses so getting around this metropolis has proven to be tricky.
FDR as the sun sets. Still lots of traffic. It's a wonder people are even driving, it's so hard to even get gas right now. What a difference 2 days make. It's amazing that on Monday night, the FDR was completed flooded and looked like this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNBmOrZjQ9k
A view of the Tri-borough bridge. The storm is long gone but the skies are still very cloudy and overcast. Perhaps tomorrow we will see some sun.
I've been working from home for the last 4 days straight and therefore haven't been able to go volunteer my services. I've been feeling restless and really feel a need to help. Today, I saw a note from my cousin, who is a school teacher in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Their school PS. 329, Surfside School was flooded because of Hurricane Sandy. Their entire first floor was under water, and they will need to find a way to get new school supplies. A lot of us who weren't affected by the storm, like myself, have been wondering what we can do to help. If anyone wants to donate school supplies, let me know, send me an email here, and I'll get the supplies to them. Getting school supplies to children in need is near and dear to my heart. For the last 3 years, I have been participating in a program called Operation Backpack. Through the program, you can buy a year's school supplies for one underprivileged city kid in need. These are photos from the backpack of supplies I donated this year.
It's something I enjoy doing every year to know I can help one school kid. Now, I have a chance to help a whole school. Therefore, I am pleading with you, my fellow readers. If you would like to donate money or supplies to help a public school in Brooklyn get back on it's feet, contact me here. Thanks!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bees in Need

Two days after Hurricane Sandy pummeled through here and I'm still in a bit of shock at seeing all the footage and photos of the tremendous devastation in our area. Watching the news makes me want to cry. Seeing neighborhoods I know, visited, grew up in, worked in, demolished. It's hard to bear. Seeing communities completely destroyed. I've been working from home for the last 3 days because the area near my office in Battery park is flooded. All the subway stations in the lower tip of Manhattan are completely submerged with water from the surrounding two rivers and also hitting Day 3 of absolutely no power. No power, no running water, no heat, no mass transit. I'm one of the lucky ones, I still have power, a hot shower, and heat. This Saturday, I hope to give back. To give blood and volunteer at the local shelter or food bank. I count my blessings that I made it through, it's time to help my fellow neighbors and the community I live in and love.

Some other stories that are not in the press but also close to my heart have been circling around the Beekeeping community of NYC. I was so heartbroken to read about the destruction at the Brooklyn Grange Bee Apiary at the Navy Yards in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Grange is a commercial urban farm on top of rooftops in Brooklyn and Queens and this year they extended to the Navy Yards of Brooklyn and started a commercial apiary for honey production and bee breeding. The beehives sat along the edge of the East River and when Hurricane Sandy blew through on Monday, many of the hives went floating out to the river and into the sea. Other hives toppled over because of the wind. I feel very fortunate that our 2 beehives made it through the storm unscathed but these hives did not. I felt very sad reading about the bees. As a beekeeper, you become so attached to the livelihood of the hive.  I can just imagine the heartbreak they felt when they arrived at the apiary and saw the aftermath of the storm. Read the entire article here.


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