Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weave be jammin': how to create gentle NYC street art

Usually, New York City street art means graffiti.  Sometimes, space invaders.  You usually don't think weavings when you think street art.  

But, I saw some weavings in a Brooklyn park and they made me want to make my own version and put them on the street.  The above weavings were made by my friend and I (mine's on the left). 

I haven't woven (is that the word?) since, oh, the 4th grade.  Based on my memory of how to weave, I improvised a little system using tape and a tray.  You can google all sorts of helpful weaving tutorials, though.

Wine and weaving night...or should I say wine and weave-ening...was a blast.  Making stuff and putting it on the street is surprisingly satisfying.  I highly recommend trying it yourself and/or with your kids.

Wine and weaving, a nice combination!

Taking our work to the streets

Adding a little surprise to the street was fun

I spied a class of elementary school students enjoying our weavings outside my window.  How fun!
So, the weavings that I saw hung in a neighborhood park, which inspired our weavings, were made by students at Textile Arts Center last summer, in a class taught by artist Neil Goss.  Thank you, Neil, for inspiring creativity. These are Neil's students' weavings that made me want to do my own version:

Suddenly, weavings seemed to be everywhere.  Shortly after we made our street weavings, the friend I made a weaving with sent me this picture from Colson Patisserie, also in our neighborhood.

Weavings displayed at Colson Patisserie after my friend and I made ours (photo by Elena)

How to get your very own New York City speed humps

You just need two years a dream to get your own set of speed humps in New York City!  I just got a set of two humps on my block and they are beautiful.

Something that freaks me out about living in New York is the crazy number of people who are killed by reckless drivers.  The fact that cars turn at full speed onto streets without slowing down at crosswalks in New York, a pedestrian city, drives me insane.  Also, cars would literally fly down our residential block at 45+ mph.  So, in January 2014, I looked into the process of getting speed humps on my block.

I was emboldened to make my request two years ago because I was inspired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan for eliminating pedestrian deaths.  It made me think that there was a shift in perspective and that instead of pedestrians being treated as obstacles to car traffic that lives might be respected.  And I thought, there's no reason speed humps can't play a positive role in the attitude shift.

My first step was that I emailed the community board about my request.  (But, now I see you can also fill out a form online.)

Friday, January 22, 2016

What it's like to be a New York City Marathon Volunteer

Mile 7 Fluid Station Volunteer Reporting for Duty.  Ready to Hydrate NYC.

Registrations to enter the drawing for the 2016 New York City Marathon just opened up yesterday and it's got me thinking about the great event that takes place every first Sunday of November.  My husband hopes to run this year and I plan to volunteer again.  Will you run, volunteer or cheer?

I've run the New York City Marathon twice (2002, 2014) and both times, I was so thankful for the volunteers and spectators.  They are as much a part of this marathon as the runners.  I wanted to be a part of the marathon experience from that side.  Since I live near the Mile 7 fluid station, I registered online to volunteer for that job.  You, too, can sign up to volunteer for the 2016 New York City Marathon here!

I was one of the dozens of people who helped out at Mile 7, giving water and Gatorade to thousands of runners from morning to afternoon and cheering the whole time, too.  It was such a blast and I highly recommend participating.  So, what is volunteering like??

Monday, January 4, 2016

Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Years Day Swim with Kids

Now, that's brisk!  What'd you do over the holidays? Oh, I jumped into the frigid Atlantic Ocean with my husband on New Year's Day.

Growing up in Atlanta, I heard on the news about the crazy people who jump into the ocean on New Year's Day in New York. I never wanted to do it, but when it was so warm this December, I started thinking it might be fun to do the swim. We signed up...back when it was still warm in December. 

Rob and I were going to take turns going in, so one of us could stay with our two kids. But, another couple friend with kids were game to join us in the plunge last minute. Coincidentally, our friends were put into the wave five minutes after us, so we switched off watching all of our with them and that worked out well. 

So, here's how it goes. 

You can register to participate in the swim online or in person, but I saw that the lines were looong on the boardwalk (but theyre probably not that long if you go early). A suggested $20 donation goes to Camp Sunshine, a camp for kids with life-threatening illnesses. 

It says "Freezin for a Reason!" Money from the registered attendees goes to Camp Sunshine

You don't have to actually register to jump into the ocean, no, but to be in the  corrals with all the energy and be part of the big herd is a part of the experience. The organizers do ask you to show your wristbands, which are different colors designating each wave of swimmers, to run in with the group. I think there were five or six waves of swimmers.