One of the many reasons I’m glad winter is over would be that I can wear short sleeves. But not for any reason you would initially think of. My front door has an incredible personality. To start, while I’m wearing long sleeves, he would try to catch it every time. I could hear him frying eggs when I was able to slip my sleeve from his crevice. Then there was this one time…
Like Mar and I do at least twice a day, I suited up the dogs to go for a walk. They were anxious to get outside today. While having the double leash wrapped around my right hand with the force of an 80lb and 60lb dog ready to leave, my sleeve gets caught. “I got you sucka! Try and get your keys!” Says the door. It has me stuck in a way where I cannot get to my pocket with my left hand. The dogs in their confusion of not walking yet are pulling harder and harder. I’m stuck. I was able to muscle the 140lbs of pup back onto the stoop so I could get my keys. The door laughed at me for a week straight.
But he got even a better laugh before this event. While we were in Australia, we had some friends staying at our place and taking care of the dogs. The wife went to the laundromat while the husband was going to walk the canines. While strapping the harnesses on the dogs, one of them begins to make noises notifying him that the pups about to puke. In a haste, he shoves her out the door so she doesn’t barf inside, but the door closes behind him. He and pukey are standing outside while the leash is running under the door and the other dog is stuck inside along with the keys. The leash is currently unusable because it’s stuck. So he took off his belt, walked the sick dog to the laundromat to pickup house keys and then walked back to unlock the inside dog and free him from the leash the door held onto.
Spring is “here” and the cold should be lifting soon but Punxsutawney Phil was a little off his prediction February 2nd. He just said, “no more winter…” just so he could go back to sleep. Snow is supposed to fall again tonight in NYC and we’re at the end of March.
Not only are the seasons of the weather changing but also seasons of my life too. That’s Us Inc hired a great friend of mine that I have worked with in the past to focus on supporting the current software clients and also selling to new clients. Him and I are collaborating together with ideas on client retention, niche market selling, software enhancement ideas, support documentation and training techniques. Previously, this was all my responsibility in addition to managing developer tasks, innovative website design, ad template design, social media and blog management, search engine optimization and signup tracking all while taking a step back to view the entire project from a 10,000 foot level to change directions with technology advancements and marketplace focuses.
When I choose to focus on something, it’s all or nothing. Maybe all or 10%, but if I tip over that 10%, it’s 100%. If something is worth your attention, why not obsess over it to make it great.
Marlyse and I have been leading a Life Group for the New York Dream Center and now we’re passing that baton to another couple, actually 2 couples. So, we built up the momentum to then be able to split our group into two groups. We are stepping back from leading a Life Group due to the new roles we get to explore a little deeper.
Marlyse is leading more mission trips in NYC for youth groups, college groups and life groups that are looking to make a difference in New York’s inner cities and areas that need assistance. She is making more connections with other organizations and collaborating everyone together.
She is also building up the community development programs in Chelsea, East Harlem and Rockaway Beach by finding new connections for food donations so we can continually give out large quantities of food to these areas. This will build the outreaches past the amount of volunteers that are weekly volunteering! We will have more food than we can manage unless people are able to assist.
I have taken on the role of Band Director / Worship Team Developer. As the Dream Center has expanded to a new campus in East Harlem, 3 services need worship teams and we want to split the roles between different musicians so it will not make for a seriously long day. I am organizing the songs, members playing and practices. Also, I am organizing Worship Workshops to build up new members to be part of the Sunday Service Teams, Mission Trip Teams and Worship Night Teams.
In addition, there is a rehearsal space / recording studio that a group of us are building up to begin renting out the space as an income generator for the Dream Center. We are looking forward to being the best studio space in all of Astoria, as I think it might already meet that title!
If I take all local trains to work, it’s 21 stops. If I’m able to transfer to express trains, it’s only 12. Best case scenario of catching the express trains reduces my transit time 10 minutes. The fastest i can get to work on the best case scenario is 45 minutes and that’s if i arrive to each platform the very minute that the train pulls up.If I am at the wrong place on the platform, this can add an extra minute or two to my walk.
If I am taking the R train, I need to be in one of the front two cars to get off at Canal right at Broadway. But if the N or Q arrive, I need to be in one of the back two cars, otherwise, I’ll be past Lafayette trying to get to Broadway. If I show up late for the first train, it ends up being a domino effect where I have to wait for a different second train. If I am later than 8:00am, I will be waiting approximately 4 minutes for the N or R train. Being late and not being able to take any express trains sets me back to an hour and ten minutes if worst case scenarios happen.
On the way home, if I am not exactly in the second car towards the back, that will put me in a backup of people at Times Square that are trying to get up the stairs which adds another 3-5 minute wait and delay to get up the stairs.
Alternatively, if I don’t mind walking an extra 10 minutes, I can take the A train express from Canal to 168th which is 9 stops. Generally, there are no seats on this train so you stand still for a solid 30 minutes but I walk about 15 minutes rather than 5. Both sets of express trains get me to work in about 45 minutes, it just depends on what I want to do that morning.
I live in New York so I should try everything. Going to see the ball drop at Times Square on New Year’s Eve is not something that you catch locals doing! This is why we are not normal NYC residents.
We left our apartment at 1pm and got to the 1 train stop at 42nd St around 1:30pm. From here, you can see the Times Square “bow tie” but it is all fenced off where you cannot get in. The bowtie is where Broadway and 7th Avenue cross between 46th St and 44th St.
Here is where the fun begins. “Where am I supposed to go so I can get into the bowtie for New Year’s Eve?” No one working the event has that answer. Not any of the officials, not the news anchors you see, not the businesses nearby. Ask anyone and everyone will tell you the same answer of “I don’t know.” I am going to be pretty detailed with street names and cardinal directions. If you cannot follow along, please enjoy the map below! I’m also referencing time stamps which go along with our YouTube video below.
We walk east to 6th Avenue (because all of 7th Avenue and Broadway are closed) and we walked up to 49th Street. (0:25) There is supposed to be a security checkpoint up here but we walked on 49th from 6th ave over to 7th ave and did not see any checkpoint. So we walk down 7th and got stuck in a “bull pin” of people between 47th and 48th streets. Asking everyone, “Is this the checkpoint?” No one with answers but plenty of confused and angry people pushing forward. The problem is, we could not even see the ball from this point of view so we really did not want to get stuck here.
We crossed the street (still on 7th Avenue on the west side) where we were fenced in. Still unsure where we needed to be, suddenly the cops removed the barricades and a running of bulls commenced. People flooded the streets still in use by vehicles and now were unable to move due to thousands of people surrounding them. (1:05)
By now, we have slowly baby-stepped into an area where a big TKTS sign obstructed our view. (2:00) We needed to move to the left. So, anytime there was a shift in the crowd (cops moving us or cars needing to pass), we pushed ourselves to the left as if we were being pushed. We were able to clear that sign.
Marlyse saw an NBC reporter looking at the crowd and talking with people, asking where they were from. Every answer was another location and the reporter seemed uninterested. (3:00) Mar knew they were looking for someone from NYC. She made eye contact with the reporter, they asked and found out we were from New York and they interviewed her putting her on national TV! If you want to be on TV, wear a costume, be overly enthusiastic, stalk down reporters and talk to them or be a New Yorker.
Then, we saw the bull pin we were first waiting in on the East side of the street actually WAS released to go into the bowtie. Then they fenced off that area and then released at least 7 blocks of pedestrians to fill the street where we were. I asked numerous cops if they were going to close the streets. They all said no.
They do not close the STREETS but the close the AVENUES! Wrong question I guess.
What should I do before getting into the mob of people?
Go to the bathroom. Empty every part of your body and as for preparation, do not drink a lot of anything on the 31st. It will be cold out so you will not use much energy nor get really dehydrated.
What should I take with me?
I saw people with their iPads taking photos. Don’t be that person. Use a camera. Plus, you will have 6 strangers touching you at any given point. And those 6 strangers changes out at least every hour so you will have at least 100 people that have touched your body or grazed your pockets. You may get to know them but not enough to know if you are getting pick-pocketed. Wear a jacket with inside pockets and keep all items in the inside pockets that you want to keep.
Bring snacks! Beef jerky, nuts, fruit snacks but nothing messy. I brought a Subway sandwich and still had them put tomatoes and Southwest sauce on it. That is messy when you are (again) touching so many people. I ate it anyway and people gave me some space. I wore a Camelbak filled with water (do not do alcohol, as cool as you think you will be sneaking alcohol, you are standing for 10+ hours with nowhere to go).
Take a tall folding stool that can fold up and you could hook it on your belt or something. I brought pain medicine for my back and legs just in case (I am sounding like I am 90…)
When should I get there?
We got there at 1pm and I think next year we will get there at noon. Get into an area and look for the availability to advance to the bowtie. If you are not in dire need of being in the bowtie, I could see getting there at 2pm.
Let me know if you plan on going this year or your experiences while you were there!
It has now been five days without power or water in the Elliot-Chelsea Housing Projects between 25th and 26th streets and 9th and 10th avenues. The New York Dream Center has been assisting with donated non-perishable food, water, candles, hot meals and hopefully today we will be able to provide insulin for those that need it.
Tuesday started with a team of about 15 people passing out bottles of water, granola bars, wet wipes and fruit. Thursday there were well over 50 volunteers scaling up to 22 floors to deliver care packages, buckets of water to flush toilets, Dominoes pizza and sodas and find out other needs people have. The database of apartments started out around 200 and now has grown to 482 apartments. Some apartments have 1 person and some have 6 in them. We will define how many are in each apartment today.
My friend Kayli said the following:
Every door is a story, a need… “There’s a lady downstairs paralyzed on one side, can you check on her?” …”The gentleman than lives there is quite old and usually has a nurse; he hasn’t had attention since Sunday…” …”Can you check on my mother? She’s on the 12th floor.” …”Can you bring me insulin? I’ve run out and I’m diabetic.” …”Do you have anything to eat?” …and we’re gonna keep knockin’ on each one.
My friend Jesse said the following:
Many people pitched in, Including Chuck who was a rough character, it was God appointed because he was on the same bus that we road from 160 blocks up. He was genuinely interested in our well being. He even offered us a knife for protection. We met him again at the site where his auntie stayed. Chuck pointed to a group of about five men and said “those are my goons there, they are watching out for you.” He even told us about how God saved his life after being shot through the chest. After handing out the supplies and knocking door to door making sure the needs were met we handed out bags and bags of candy (it was Halloween) to all the children so they could have some joy.
We have been using our Honda Element to transport supplies but we are low on gas and there are empty stations all around the city. All 5 boroughs are empty and I would have to drive past Yonkers to fuel up. The George Washington Bridge is so backed up that someone with supplies in New Jersey was trying to cross for 2 hours and still did not even reach the bridge. They are going to bicycle over the bridge with a carrier full of food and water to get to us.
The Dream Center has gone to Costco, Target, BJs and other stores every morning to load up on supplies – buying entire pallets of water and food.
If you feel you have the ability to donate to this cause, you can go directly to the Donations page of the Dream Center. You will be able to see where your money is going to with my recap videos. You are making an impact on thousands of less-fortunate people during this time.