Site Stats

So it looks like I still need to reach out more to my audience. There needs to be more traffic to my site. It looks like people like to look at the photos but I need to link them to my about.me page. I think I will also include twitter feeds and will start a travel blog for my site to draw in more viewers. Any ideas?! Here is what my chart looks like so far.

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The Hands Behind the Bells of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign

The red-bib, bell-ringers of the Salvation Army are icons on many sidewalks this time of year. A beacon for loose change and dollar bills.

Donald Clynes works the bell’s as a remembrance for his grandmother, who used to walk him around the city as a kid.

Clyne lives in Arizona but came back to take care of his dying mother. “We’ll all have to face it someday,” he said. “Which is too bad, but it’s part of life, or should I say, it might be bad, because I don’t know, it could great!”

Charles Dillion was laid off. He used to work as an usher at a movie theater and needed work during the holidays. “My peoples, my peoples, they’re doing alright,” he said. After December 24th, when the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign ends, Dillion plans to study-up on computers, in hopes of getting office work.

These two are paid minimum wage and work five days a week but seem not to mind:

The Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign began in the late 19th century. This year, its staffers have raised more than $700,000 on a $3,000,000 goal.

Written on the wall next to the Salvation Army’s headquarters on 14th Street, a few words from its founder, General William Booth:

“While women weep, as they do now,
I’ll fight,
While men go to prison, in and out,
In and out, as they do know,
I’ll fight,
While there is a drunkard left,
While there is a poor lost girl
upon the street,
While there remains one dark soul,
Without the light of God,
I’ll fight–
I’ll fight to the very end!”

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Pavlina Horakova: a voice to remember

Her exotic toned voice draws you in immediately, a sound not typical in her country, which is why she’s in New York. Czech Pavlina Horakova is a mezzo soprano rising opera sensation. She has won the Czech National Vocal Competition and appeared on a Czech televised Competition, “Caruso Show.  Pavlina just graduated from the Manhattan School of Music,  May 2010 and also has a masters in Economics at the University of Prague. She has yet to find her dream job with an opera company, but is determined to stick with her passion until her break though  comes at the right time.

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New York Buy Nothing Day with Rev Billy and the Life After Shopping Choir

For a decade, Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping choir have been taking to the streets the day after Thanksgiving for their annual “Buy Nothing Day” activities, an anti-consumerist response to “Black Friday.” This year, the crew sang carols in front of Macy’s at 4am before getting some much needed rest before their CNN appearance and Parade of Angels.

This year the Rev Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping have focused their energies on environmental issues from fracking to mountaintop removal. After successfully getting PNC Bank and Chase to limit their funding of mountaintop removal this year, the Church is going after the big guys: UBS bank.

But their protests have a twist, they never get permits and they actually cross the invisible line that most protesters won’t cross: they risk arrest and go into the banks, big box or chain stores they’re after. They’ve exorcised cash registers at Starbucks, hijacked a PNC bank for a singing sit-in and most recently, caroling angels flew through the lobby of UBS bank on “Buy Nothing Day.” They hope their message reaches the ears of executives on the top floors of the bank’s West 51st Street building.

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Antique Watches and their Guardians

I live in Manhattan, and I own a pocket watch.
The watch is an antique, more than 150 years old, and, having recently passed into my care for the first time, abruptly stopped working.
Figures.
I have had – and broken – watches before. Chronometers seem to be as allergic to me as I am to penicillin. Normally, when watches break, I take them to a jeweler. The jeweler wags a finger at me, tells me to be more careful, and either pronounces the watch dead or changes the battery.
Either way, I am out some money and usually late to my next appointment.
I rarely care.
But this watch is different. This watch is special. And it got me thinking – in this transient, brevity obsessed epoch, where can you go to get an antique watch repaired? I thought of contacting the Swiss Embassy, but decided that might be offensive.
Instead, thoroughly out of keeping with a centuries old timepiece, I did a Google search, and stumbled upon two Polish sisters who have maintained their watch repair shop in Manhattan for more than 30 years.
Permanence, they said, takes repairs.

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The NYC Nomad

Meet Ed Casabian. He has dubbed himself New York’s City’s quintessential wanderer. The 29-year old embarked on a journey to explore and travel in his own city. So far he has spent nights in neighborhoods as varied as Park Slope, Queens, Washington Heights and Williamsburg, just to name a few.

“I’m definitely searching for a place to stay in Staten Island,” says Casabian. “Everytime I meet someone I ask ‘Hey do you know someone in Staten Island?'” Casabian says it’s been pretty difficult to find a place to stay out there.

Casabian was inspired to venture out on the project after a breakup and decided that his love for travel would help him through it.

A usual stay ideally lasts a week. And Casabian plans to do the project at least for the next year.  Follow him on his journey on his blog at www.thenycnomad.com.tumblr.com

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New York’s Running Machine

Anna Fyodorova has run the bridges of New York, hills in France and races throughout Europe. The Brooklyn resident won the New York 60-kilometer Knickerbocker ultramarathon several years ago and continues to race almost every weekend. She also won the New York Road Runners ultramarathoner of the year award. As of this week, Anna has run 219 New York races since 1998. And that’s just in New York. She also does endurance events abroad, though says she prefers racing on familiar ground with all the comforts of U.S. races such as Gatorade (instead of Coke). Winter usually brings a break for triathletes, but not for her. “I don’t do well with no training,” Anna said. She runs about 40 miles a week now, instead of 110 during the high season. She takes a break by biking less during the cold and focusing on swimming and running.

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Holiday Ice Skating in Bryant Park

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Warhammer 40,000: Let the Customizations Begin

A squad of nine Space Marines are left after a devastating turn of events.  They are pinned down and surrounded by hordes of Orks.  Their fate will be decided on the next roll.  They hope their general is feeling lucky today.

Players engage in battles like this in homes, stores and tournaments all over the country.  They are playing a tabletop battlegame known as Warhammer 40,000.

Players can choose from any of the 14 races available in the Warhammer 40,000 series.  Each race has its own rich and complex history.  The storyline for each race continues to evolve and deepen as the game extends towards the future.  It has been over 20 years in the making.

Many of the works in progress.

One of the most unique aspects about this game is the player’s ability to customize his or her army.  The parts used to assemble the figures are interchangeable.  Color schemes, weapon and armor choices are all details that reflect a player’s personality.

Many players often have an intimate understanding of their units.  They find the connection after many hours of assembling, customizing and painting their forces.  And when it comes time to lead the units to battle, it’s crucial to know which guys they can  count on.

I spoke with Ian McDonald, the manager of the Games Workshop store on East 8th Street in Manhattan, to get an insider’s view of the game.

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Do we really want a Walmart in New York City?

After many failed attempts, the mother of big box stores in America is preparing to disembark in New York City. It has taken nearly 50 years since the company’s foundation, but, pending some details, Walmart is coming to the Big Apple to stay, according to what’s been appearing in every city major newspaper this past week.

The question now is which of the city’s five boroughs will be chosen to accommodate the Kansas-based retailer new store. It seems that the company’s executives have already set their eyes in East New York, specifically in the Gateway II shopping center site in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn. Still, the chances for all the remaining boroughs remain open. But, what do their residents have to say about it?


View Larger Map
This is the preferred location for Walmart to build their first store in New York City

New York has always shown a strong opposition towards Walmart. The company’s five years ago initiative to build stores in Queens and Staten Island failed due to community opposition. This same week, after a heated city council debate, Speaker Christine Quinn told the Daily News that the retailer is not welcomed in the city. “Walmart is something I am not supportive of,” Quinn told the newspaper. “I’m always going to stand with small businesses, and that’s why I’m going to stay consistent in this position.”

Quinn’s argument in favor of the little people might be admirable, but what she seems to forget is that the even less fortunate -that’s the little, little people- would be much happier if finally a new place defies the sky rocketing grocery and supplies prices in New York City.

“I’m tired of spending nearly all my husband’s salary in food every month. As far as I’m concerned, having a Walmart here would be a blessing,” said Odetta Clarkson, a Brooklyn resident. She is not alone. According to the New York Post, a poll conducted by respected pollster Doug Schoen showed that 71 percent of New Yorkers support the arrival of the big box store chain to the city. That number grows in specific areas like Brooklyn (76 percent) and specially The Bronx (80 percent), the borough with the highest unemployment rate, where the company’s promise to create more than 2000 jobs with its new location was understandably well received. Yet, you should have learned by now to take everything The Post says with a grain of salt. What they forgot to tell us and New York Magazine didn’t, is that the poll was commissioned by no other than… Walmart!

If you are tired of corporations marketing campaigns, every issue being politicized and questionable newspaper impartiality, here’s a chance to raise your independent voice.

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