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I’ve hit a time in my life when people my age are getting married and starting their own families.  It’s fun to witness as we transition from college kids to full-fledged adults.  I’ve often wondered when we truly enter adulthood and I’m starting to believe that it comes in increments and then just hits you smack-dab in the face one day.  The start of the process is the day you graduate from college, then comes your first “real” job, then engagement, then wedding, then buying your first house, then home improvements and finally introducing a child into this world.  (And these events don’t have to come in this order).

I’ve checked off most of these activities with kids to come eventually.  In the meantime, it’s fun to live vicariously through friends and family as they celebrate the milestones of their offspring.  I blogged about the 1st birthday of my niece (and Goddaughter) back on Day 101 and had the opportunity to attend another 1st birthday on Day 135.

My wife Courtney and I traveled a couple hours to Long Island to attend the 1st birthday party of Madison Jordan.  Courtney grew up with Madison’s mom Melissa and we’ve developed a great ‘couples relationship’ with her and her husband George.  They spent time with us when we lived in Orlando, which was a great way to get to know them.  They are as solid as they come, and we really enjoy spending time with them – an opportunity that presents itself more often now that we are back in New York.  We hope to continue to share these days with Melissa, George and Madison in the future.

Madison Jordan

Madison, Daddy, Mommy and Elmo during the singing of "Happy Birthday"

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Trust is crucial in any relationship in life.  Be it with your family, friends or colleagues.  I’ve always enjoyed the saying, “let’s keep this between you, me and the lamppost” – as much as I enjoy taking photos of lampposts.  The saying, for those not familiar, is a heads up that whatever is about to be uttered is an informative statement that the listener is being asked to keep secret.  After being introduced to the saying, I’ve always considered lampposts to be the most trustworthy of light fixtures.

I love taking photos of lampposts or including them in a photo because they offer a great opportunity to show perspective and frame the subject.  I know, I know – I’m getting all deep and artistic on you and my photography is amateurish at best.

I took a photo of Gramercy Park on Day 105 and really enjoyed the area.  I decided to return to capture another photo on Day 134 and this lamppost really stood out to me for one reason or another.  This was my attempt at incorporating an artistic shot in my blog, which I’ve done from time to time.

Lamppost

A lamppost outside of the entrance to Gramercy Park in NYC

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Day 133: Graffiti

Art is extremely interesting to me because expression is achieved through so many different mediums.  Take graffiti for example, an art form that has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.  Modern graffiti is usually tied to acts of vandalism, with perpetrators rising out of the underground hip-hop and gang cultures.  But that isn’t always the case – the infamous Banksy, a mysterious and unidentified British graffiti artist, doesn’t come from the underworld.

New York City’s transit system was a huge target for graffiti artists in the 1970s and ‘80s, with many trains and subway cars covered in the art.  The modes of transportation were the victims of graffiti “bombing,” a technique in which “artists” normally painted very quickly with two or three colors, sacrificing aesthetics for speed.  To make matters worse, economic restraints on New York City limited its ability to combat the vandalism with graffiti removal programs or transit maintenance.

It’s fairly rare that I come across graffiti during my ventures around the city (unless it’s been approved and commissioned by the city), with the exception of a truck I see parked along 31st Street nearly every day.  I have no idea who belongs to the truck, but they have made no attempt to combat the graffiti in the nearly 10 months I have been commuting to the city. Or maybe that’s their strategy.  Who am I to judge?

Graffiti Truck

A truck covered in graffiti parked on 31st Street in NYC

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Day 132: Scaffolding

New York City is constantly under construction.  And with construction comes scaffolding.  I don’t usually get bent out of shape about walking under the scaffolding, but it does make you think about the potential for collapse.  I am worried, however, about scaffolding that I walk under nearly every workday to and from my office because it is being secured by duct tape.  I can’t decide if the tape gives me something to worry about or eases my tension.

Scaffolding

Scaffolding Secured by Duct Tape in Midtown Manhattan

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The walk to my office can only be described as monotonous.  I generally exit Penn Station at the corner of 7th Avenue and 31st Street, but decided to change things up and exited on 8th Avenue and 31st Street on this morning (in essence, the rear of Penn Station / MSG).

I entered the street level and quickly noticed a massive building on 8th Avenue, spanning an entire city block.  It was a building that my dad pointed out to me during a previous visit to the city, but I had not thought of it since.  The building is the James A. Farley Building, the main post office building in New York City.  The facility was built in 1912 and has a zip code designation of 10001.

Check out a couple of fun facts about the building:

  • The building is famous for bearing the inscription: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
  • In 1982, the post office was officially designated ‘”The James A. Farley Building'”, as a monument and testament to the political career of the nation’s 53rd Postmaster General.
  • The Farley Post Office is home to “Operation Santa,” made famous in the classic 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street.
James A. Farley Building

The James A. Farley Building in New York City

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I blogged about owner/baker/driver Kim Ima and her Treats Truck on Day 61, a woman credited with pioneering the mobile food trend when her truck hit the New York streets three years ago.  As is the case with any successful venture, the Treats Truck has competition.  I stumbled upon a rival business called Street Sweets near my office in Midtown Manhattan and the resemblance was uncanny.

Street Sweets was founded by Grant Di Mille and Samira Mahboubian in June of 2009 after an inspiring visit to Italy.  Their goal is to provide an alternative to the “same old, pre-packaged offerings found virtually on every corner” in New York City and to fill the streets with the “delicious aroma of freshly-baked sweets.”  The pair offers a variety of treats to satisfy people’s cravings, including muffins, scones, quiches, savory croissants, cookies, brownies and more.  Highlighting the menu, however, are “European-inspired create-your-own croissants—filled with a choice of luscious pastry creams such as mocha, praline, vanilla and chocolate, all natural preserves, honey, and nut butters.”  Plus, they offer coffee, espressos and cappuccinos to pair with your treat.

More information on Street Sweets can be found online, with a solid website and a presence on social media staples Facebook and Twitter.

Street Sweets Truck

The Street Sweets truck in Midtown Manhattan

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The flight back from Europe is not so enjoyable.  It means a full day or travel and a return to reality.  Our flight was scheduled to leave Dublin at 10:55am and arrive at Newark Airport at 1:20pm.  Well, if you can remember back, ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano was continuing to wreak havoc on air travel in Europe.  The airport in Dublin was actually closed a couple days prior, so this had a great potential to really disrupt our travel plans.

The airport was buzzing with rumors, but our flight was on time when we arrived initially.  By the time we got to the gate, however, the flight had already been delayed an hour.  And the rumor was that the airport was set to close again around 4:00pm due to shifting winds.  This, of course, left us with a small margin of error.  The flight was then delayed another hour – making us even more nervous.

The issue now was that all flights were being diverted and the flight pattern was pushed north of Iceland to avoid the ash cloud.  This caused exponential chaos because the shift in flight pattern also meant that the number of “tracks” available for planes was reduced from five to three.  This change in pattern also meant the 7½ hour flight was now 8¼ hours.  We finally boarded the plane, but sat on it for another hour or so before we taxied to the runway for takeoff.  The flight wasn’t terrible as we had an open seat in our row.

We arrived at Newark, collected our baggage and went through customs.  The time was now after 5:00pm and we had been travelling for 15 hours (from the time we left our hotel in Dublin to the time we hit the curb at Newark).  Adding to our luck, we sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic from Newark to our house.  We finally arrived right before 8:00pm – ending an 18 hour travel escapade.  But it was worth it because our trip to Ireland generated a lifetime full of memories.

Our plane on the tarmac

Our plane on the tarmac

Greenland

A view of Greenland from 35,000 feet

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