Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Year End Letter

Hello Friends!

What a year 2018 has been! I happily rose again after a few years of deaths and illnesses. Dick and Jane would want me to continue living and in their honor that is what I have been doing!  

Workwise, my second year as Executive Director of the NoHo Business Improvement District has gone great. I’m getting in the groove learning more about our businesses, property owners and history and thinking about how it all leads to what the neighborhood will be like in the future. It’s fun to be on the cutting edge of ideas like experiential retail and pop-ups and to be in a neighborhood where high fashion is a norm. I swear, some people are walking works of art in their own right. 

Meanwhile after almost 25 years on the Upper West Side, I moved to Jackson Heights, Queens, a very different type of neighborhood, where diversity rules. They say it’s the most ethically diverse zip code in America and I love the variety. On my way to work I see multiple different types of traditional dress and I get to gorge myself with so many different kinds of food. I also love how vibrant it’s main streets are, with lots of mom and pop merchants selling anything I need. It’s a bit of a step back in time from Manhattan and that is such a pleasant daily surprise.

I traveled back to Nicaragua for the first time since my mom and I went on a life changing trip there after it’s revolution in 1989. This time I went for Semana Santa or Holy Week, where elaborate processions roam the streets re-enacting Jesus’ last days. I also got to enjoy nature, dive into local culture, jump in the waves. In May, I joined my sister Annie and her family in Rome and Florence for my first time. I loved it and became very addicted to quick stops for espressos along the way. In October I went to San Antonio, Texas for a work conference of the International Downtown Association, and as you can imagine, a city geek like me loved exploring their city through the eyes of our hosts. After the conference was done, I stuck around to volunteer getting out the vote for Beto O'Rourke, which introduced me to different places and people. I call it political tourism and its a great way to get to know a place. 

As for activism, the year started with another awe-inspiring Women's March, and continued with meeting and supporting great women candidates running throughout the country and campaigning in New York, New Jersey and Texas. Election Night was a bit of a nailbiter, but in the end I was happy to hear about so many newly election folks from local office all the way up to Congress and the state houses. 40 House wins, hopefully shows that not all of America is ok with Trump's behavior and policies. We still have a lot of work ahead of us though.

Because I believe the secret to happiness is life long learning, I did another cohort leadership program with the Coro New York Leadership Center called Neighborhood Leaders. This time it was specifically related to my job.  Our group learned from and inspired each other to tackle new challenges and grow and thus serve our communities better.

This has been a year of saying yes and trying to stay open to new experiences, honoring the way my mom always lived. In 2019, I turn 50, which feels a bit daunting, so I have been figuring out ways to prepare. One thing I came up with is doing 50 new things before 50. It’s been a fun way to push myself. Highlights so far are bouncing around a trampoline park, volcano boarding, and glamping on Governor’s Island. Another highlight will be finally going to Times Square for New Years Eve and doing the Polar Bear Plunge New Years Day at Coney Island! 

I have an extra bedroom in Jackson Heights and would love to show anyone around.  My new address is 76-15 35th Avenue, #3M, Jackson Heights, NY 11372. Come visit!

Wishing you all wonderful things in 2019!  And like I always say, do something everyday that scares you!

Friday, September 07, 2018

Glamping on Governors Island

Last night I went glamping on Governor’s Island. I felt like I was on safari in a far off land and yet I was right under the NY skyline. Waking up watching ferries rush by was pure nirvana. Thank you NYC for always having something new and exciting up your sleeve. You continue to enchant me. #50before50 (and forgive me for having too many pictures, but there were so many nice moments to capture.)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Couchsurfing with the Taliban New York Times - June 8, 2018

I was listening to an interview with Anthony Bourdain and he was reflecting on the division in American politics today and how people have trouble finding connections to others who have different views than themselves and that what he experienced when he traveled was he could sit down and eat and share life’s basic pleasures with others around the world even when their politics were totally opposed. I had a chance to sit down with some Taliban in Afghanistan and hear their issues as humans dealing with war before I knew they were “Taliban.” It was an eye opening, life changing experience for me, in that, it was very normal and human. I travel because I continue to yearn to get deeper than the stereotypes I read about. It’s why I also do political stuff in places like rural Iowa. Underneath it all people have similar needs and wants and we have to remember that before we demonize other. If you can’t go to Afghanistan go out and buy a Trump voter a drink, you’ll feel better about the world.

Couchsurfing with the Taliban New York Times, June 8, 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018

World Cup Fever Hits New York

2018 World Cup Fever is beginning. Last weekend I stumbled upon a corner in Jackson Heights, Queens where there was fierce trading of team stickers going on. I decided to dive in and bought a book and many packets of stickers. Now I’m addicted! The goal is to get all the player’s stickers. It’s so fun to see all the different countries player’s faces and names. I can’t wait for the games to begin.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rome and Florence, Italy - May 2018

I decided to join my sister in Italy for a quick jetsetter jaunt, since I have never been to Rome or Florence before. Architecture, history and food! Fantastic! I enjoyed seeing the sites and making new memories together! 

Click HERE to see pictures from my trip to Rome and Florence

Monday, April 30, 2018

Nicaragua Photos

Beautiful Diverse Nicaragua
Nicaragua has been on everyone’s must visit list for the last few years and I finally made the trek. Combining beach time, history and Semana Santa (Easter) festivities makes for a lot of things to do. It feels vastly different than when I was last here in 1989, during the post Revolution/Contra war times.

Click HERE to see photos from my recent trip to Nicaragua

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

David Bowie at Broadway Lafayette Subway Station

The Broadway Lafayette Subway Station has been transformed into a mini museum and been wrapped with images of David Bowie, inspired by the show at Brooklyn Museum. It’s dramatic! Come see it and then stop by my office and say hi! #explorenoho

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Making friends in Nicaragua

When I travel I always keep a few toys in my purse for times that I’m sitting near kids and want to make friends. On this night in Leon, Nicaragua, we were sitting along the route of the procession, waiting and waiting for it to come, feeling board and restless, so I took out a little racing car and played for a while with these two boys. At first they looked so afraid of me, but I won them over. 

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Easter Morning in Leon, Nicaragua

All of Leon, celebrates Semana Santa (Holy Week) in a huge way. Processions weave around the city throughout the week. On Easter Sunday at 6am there is a procession at the main cathedral in Plaza Central where Mary and Jesus meet again and proceed back into the church together.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Semana Santa in Leon, Nicaragua

On Good Friday in Barrio Sutiaba in Leon, Nicaragua, resident artists spend all afternoon creating sawdust carpets in preparation for the evening procession that marks the final carrying of the crosses during the Semana Santa, the Catholic Holy Week. The procession walks over the carpets and then later they are all swept up and disposed of, but for hours people can enjoy the art and the messages, as well as, lots of street food. Along the sides of the roads residents also create altars, including some live ones celebrating Jesus.

Back in Nicaragua after 29 years

I’m back in Nicaragua after 29 years. My first visit was during the Sandinista revolutionary times. It changed my worldview and showed me how to travel in a deep exploratory way. I am so happy to finally be here again and trying to dig deeper. Funnily once again the same guy is in charge, but this time apparently as a capitalist when back then he was a socialist leader of the Revolution. 🤭So much for the ideals of the Revolution that felt so profound to me back then.