Feb 3, 2017

NYC Retrospective

If you talk to enough New Yorkers about what they like about living in NYC, most of them mention the dizzying array of things that there are to do in the city: Broadway shows, art festivals, museum exhibitions, dance parties, speakeasys, booze cruises around the City in the summer, book launches, author speeches.  I could go on, but I won't; even reciting the list is exhaustive.

I often heard this defense of the city and thought that I must not be doing enough things, I must not be 'involved' enough in my community.  On reflection, though, I find that that is simply untrue.  This post is to serve as a reminder to myself of all the things that I was invested in.


I started learning how to sing.  This was an adventure that spawned many things.

I sang with a community choir for two and a half years.  I tried out being a first soprano, second soprano before finally landing on first alto.

I took voice lessons for a few years from a Julliard trained soprano.

I discovered that I am a mezzo-soprano.

I was in the chorus for two operas that were performed on Long Island during the summer.

I went to two Broadway shows, and more than that off Broadway.

I preformed in two off-Broadway shows, one of which "the man who played Snape in Harry Potter" attended. In the chorus, but definitely still on stage!

I took ear training lessons, very briefly, from a talented musician that later got a job with Cirque du Soleil.

I took a couple of classes at the 92nd Street YMCA, an ear-training class and beginning piano for adults.

I went to electronics classes at NY Resistor, and learned how to make vector art games at another class.  In one of the classes we built a fucking awesome light up, programmable LED umbrella.  It gets untold compliments when I walk around with it.

I subscribed to the Boldport Club with some friends, and we did a few soldering parties.

I learned how to solder.

I spent two years running with the New York Road Runner's association.

I took running classes with the NYRR, doing speed work in Central Park one weeknight during the summer.

I went to a barefoot running meetup and met a man who ran ultramarathons, barefoot.

One year, I ran all 5 borough's races (3 half marathons, a 10k and a 10 miler) and got some fridge magnets to prove it.

I trained for my first marathon in NYC in 2012 and I ran the NYC marathon in 2014.

I became a tour docent for the Muncipal Arts Society, and went to one of their summits on Urban space in NYC.

I joined a small art start up, and thru them got to see one of Rhizome's 7 on 7 conferences.  We also did a company trip to Storm King and the New Museum's Triennial.

I went to the first ever Catskills Conf in upstate New York and met a lot of great people, and learned how to identify wild plants.

I went to see Junot Diaz talk in person about activism and  how he writes characters.

I read Robert Caro's Robert Moses, and got heavily invested in Jane Jacobs' writing about cities, even going so far as to take the Amtrak up to Boston for a quick trip to visit her archives at Boston College.

I fell in love.

And out of it.

I grew some gigantic tomato vines in a tiny NYC tenement.

I attended the Recurse Center.

I spent a few months working with a very small startup in the music space to try and become something bigger.

I volunteered for Black Girls Coded, and met some really great young women.

I was active in the Android NYC community.

I gave a couple of talks at meetups & events on things I had learned.

I was a guest on a YouTube series about Android developers.

I got a dog and learned a lot about dog training and how to move a small dog around a large city.

I took puppy to an A+ agility class, for a few weeks in the winter.

I incorporated an LLC, but failed to put anything up for sale.

I met a lot of wonderful people and made some great friends and allies.


I am sure there are things that I'm missing but the gist of it is I don't think I missed out on what NYC has to offer.

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