Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Life is a Runway – Washington Square News

Jackets are the perfect finish for a layered outfit. They can be cropped, blazer-styled or leather-detailed: pick one of your liking and wear it over a chunky sweater, soft dress, vest or tee. Here are some NYU students who know how to mix it up:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Children march in their own Halloween Parade

Associate Professor Renee Blake with husband Ken Saunders
and daughter Lourdes Saunders
Check out my article in Washington Square News on the fabulous 20th Annual Greenwich Village Children's Halloween Parade!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall Fun in Washington Square Park

My husband and I are at odds this weekend – I want a low-key weekend to relax amidst this Autumn weather and he wants to go adventuring, to do "something fun and different."

But as always, I have had to look no further than New York's very own Washington Square Park where numerous events for all energy levels and interests abound this weekend.

First, up through 5:30 this evening, the September Concert Foundation is providing a free outdoor concert at the Holley Plaza area.  

More shows are lined up tonight from Colin Huggins, "the crazy piano guy," who is scheduled to do a show with acrobatic comedians Tic and Tac and/or other performers from 5:00 to 8:00 PM followed by his own musical performance from 8:30 to 11:30 PM.

If you don't make it for formal shows tonight, you can be sure to find the usual plethora of musicians and variety acts throughout the park this weekend.  

If you're decorating a new apartment, doing some early Christmas shopping, or just generally a fan of good art and unique crafts, the Washington Square Park Outdoor Art Exhibit is Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 6:00 PM on either side of the street on University Place from 12th Street South down to Washington Place.  The event takes place for two weekends in a row twice a year – around Memorial Day and Labor Day.   Last weekend it kicked off with huge success.  The exhibit is in its 80th year, is free to the public, and has many vendors individually selling their products.  From jewelry to ceramics to unique subway paintings, there is something for everyone.  Of all the street fairs that line the streets of New York, this one is a must to attend!

Finally, for all those who crave a furry friend, you can find a friend for an hour or one to adopt for a lifetime at the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's animals Adoptapalooza!  Let me just say that this is not your ordinary pet drive.  There are events and entertainment for adults, kids, current pets, and current pet-owners alike.  At 1:00 PM there is even a pet fashion show.  Pet makeovers, photographers, training demonstrations, and an Ask-the-Vet feature are only part of this event's excitement.  And yes, there will be numerous pets wanting you to take them home to your small NYC apartment.  I for one am trying to convince my husband (and my cat) that what we really need in our 450 sq. foot apartment is a dog. . . here's to hoping Adoptapalooza lives up to my expectations!

So have a great weekend New York and get outside to enjoy some great music, art, and animals in Washington Square Park! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The New York Times pays a late night visit to WSP

The Nocturnalist, a blogger for The New York Times' City Room, visited Washington Square Park last night.

Check out the article for a melodiously written recap on some late night medleys.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are New Yorkers more moral than birds?

Posted signs notify New York humans of when an area is "newly seeded" but the New York birds neither require the notification nor abide by the request to "please keep off."

Rather, the New York birds and their occasional chipmunk companions seem well aware that this particular area of Washington Square Park abounds in grass seeds.  The birds must think these seeds are begging to be devoured before launching grassy lives.  And no laminated sign will stop these birds from gorging themselves on infant grass seeds.

Not only is there no stopping these birds, but a few New Yorkers even rewarded them with extra food.  

Our media critiques celebrities for living as though they are above the law but the debate over legal enforcement for birds rarely receives airtime.  Yet these birds clearly received ample reward for breaking the law of the Washington Square Park sign.

New grass seeds.  Chunks of pound cake.  Bits of chocolate chip cookies.  These birds had it made.  

Well . . . all except one bird.

One baby bird fell out his nest too soon.  Not yet able to fly, he wandered amongst the feasting birds, squawking for his mother.  Reminiscent of a children's book perhaps, but this tale likely did not end happily.

The baby bird, unintentionally breaking the law of the Washington Square Park sign, had a human advocate seeking to save not indict it.  An anonymous bird-loving New Yorker watched from the sidewalk nearby, scouting the sky for hawks.  

The bird-lover admitted to also rewarding the rule-breaking birds with extra food, hoping to lure the mother into this particular (forbidden) area.  He made no attempt to approach the baby bird, knowing that he must stay back to allow any mother's return. He intended to buy the baby time by guarding against predators.

The outcome?  Likely not positive.  The anonymous bird-lover had watched for quite some time with no success.  When I left for a meeting, the bird-lover continued to watch with decreasing hope, searching for a park employee to aid.  No mother had surfaced. No other birds took interest in anything but the grass seeds and pound cake.  The baby continued to wander.  I can only hope the mother had a rebellious streak and explored the area she was asked to "Please Keep Off."

So again we find the conclusion that rules are easier to write than to interpret or apply.  Many of these birds clearly ignored the sign, finding the "Newly Seeded Area" to be their own personal feasting ground.  Yet at least one bird attended the party by accident, likely resulting in its own demise.  The other birds, gorging themselves on illegal seeds, allowed one of their kind to suffer.  But at least one New Yorker tried to help, even if it seemed like he rewarded the other birds' bad behavior.

I wish I had a conclusion for you, but sadly it's not so cut and dry.  I'll never know what became of the baby bird, the anonymous bird-lover, or the outlaw birds.  I can only offer this brief reflection on the morality of birds and New Yorkers.  

So what do you say?  Will New York birds ever abide by our important laminated signs?  Are New Yorkers more moral than birds?  Was the anonymous bird-lover a Good Samaritan, a hopeless idealist, or simply crazy?  Are New York birds annoying, rebellious, or simply ignorant?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Apologies for the Delays

I apologize for the recent delays in blog posts.  Due to a family medical emergency and resulting death in the family, I have been out of town and otherwise occupied.  Blog posts will resume within the week.  Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

listen up NY, there's a listener in WSP

Good news for introverts and extroverts alike – there's someone to listen in New York City parks.  Her sign says "Will Listen (No Catch, No Cost)" and she's ready to hear whatever is on your mind.

The Listener introduces herself when chatting with you but tries to remain publicly anonymous.  She began her listening project as a personal experiment in March 2010 and plans to continue through October or when the weather turns bitter.

She lives in Manhattan, has a day job as a secretary, and conducts her listenings on weekend afternoons, rotating parks throughout the boroughs.

"I thought, what would the world say if you said you would listen?" she explained.

And the world tells her a variety of things.  Per session, usually two or three people take a seat to chat. She hears small annoyances, difficult trials, and exciting news, everything from family griefs to job promotions.

Though she awaits completion of the project before making overall conclusions, she reported learning from the human connection.  She enjoys seeing herself through the connection with others, and how "in the end, we're all people" with similarities and eccentricities.  She explores the human need to relate with others, even just to say you like the weather.

Though no park ranks as a favorite, "in Washington Square Park, there is always entertainment," she admitted, smiling at a nearby solo dancing and magic act.

On Saturday, she visited WSP.  Her park rotations are not predetermined but she has thus far visited most parks more than once.

So if you find yourself in a New York City park and have the need to talk, look around for the Listener.  She's there to hear your deepest darkest secrets or your simplest exclamations.