Wednesday – leading to Thursday – Three days in New York Fly Like Madness…

Upon successfully presenting two workshops back to back at Columbia on Wednesday -(previous post)  it was LUNCH!   YES!   LUNCH!  Knowing there would be masses of people “exodusing” out of Columbia on Broadway to lunch always poses a challenge – so I didn’t have much optimism and yet, – there is was optimism as  clear open window! – Amir’s Grill – yes it was busy but – SEATS!  – I wandered in and it was jut the right kind of busy – just the feel felt right so – Amir’s it was and a great choice -I ordered the # 2- Shawarma Chicken Pita + 1 sm side (Fries please!) + Boylans Soda $8.75 – DELICIOUS!  I liked watching the crowd come in and out as I nestled in the corner and took in the frenzy of many at lunch in New York City, it was nice to see the city alive and humming around me.

1:30.  One particular workshop caught my attention.  March 18 1:30 No repeat Staff No Problem  seemed to call out to me as I realized for the first time, in a long time, we would be in fact losing alot of our staff this year due to graduation and certainly ideas couldn’t hurt.  Some really great ideas came out of this, despite it being geared towards yearbooks, may, many of the ideas and processes they implemented could word for any publication, and the energy these teachers infused into the presentation and their publications, despite one being at high school and one being at middle school, was contagious.

As the 2:30 hour came, I scanned the CSPA program booklet as an attending member to see what there was – and sadly I didn’t see much remaining for today.  A workshop on celebrating our staff achievements, but we did that pretty well I thought? Ah, A Student Swap Shop WOULD be great if we hadn’t had our magazines taken in the first session  😦   but alas, literally nothing in this remaining afternoon round.  I headed back to Lerner Hall and talked to individuals from PlayOn Sports, showing new innovations in streaming sports online for schools.  Just a hunch that maybe in the future, students could have an outlet for producing highlights related to sports, etc.. You never know…

I headed back to eat at Mama’s Pizzeria – ordered a Stromboli and took in the students out of school for the day.  It still seemed surreal to me seeing the young children in the morning and their routes is traversing blocks of New York City to their school and seeing students have as their favorite hangout restaurants in New York City that we visit as tourists, it seems there always is a flip side to where you go – 🙂    I enjoyed the family atmosphere and accents that pervade a meal in New York and wonder what my accent is like as well from someone else’s ears?

I was able to drop items off at a nearby Cleaners to get ironed for tomorrow’s workshop, as well as mended, and this happened to be Carlton Cleaners, but the one on 2766 Broadway, right beside 106th Street – the owner, the service great.  It felt just different being able to drop my clothes off, as I never do, and then the owner asking me questions about Mexico, and each time I went in, (about 3 times while there this week) – we talked like we always knew each other.  This was a great service mainly due to the owner and his personality – memorable for sure and welcoming !

As I went back to the hostel, and again napping to catch up on the nervousness I had going into the day – I remember tonight was the night of the Nuyorican Cafe!  YES!  I napped, then woke up a little later than I wanted, but after some more planning for tomorrow’s workshop, I headed out to East Village of New York.  After several stops along the way to make sure I was on the right path – I received a text from Charlotte, the Swedish visitor I met and she said was in front!  I was like, agh!  I am a few blocks away!  I passed all the familiar places, (Two Boots Pizza) and got there and what?  NO LINE?  There ALWAYS is a line, and there was no line !!!  then I saw Charlotte and we decided since no line, lets find a close place to get a warm drink then we could head beck as the line began to form – great idea as I noticed the temperature was dropping – (now becoming typical New York-like weather).  We ended up at Cafe Cortadito – turns out this was the best place for Cuban food but, we weren’t there to eat!  LOL – we got hot coffee and tea, but the smallness of the places was just, well downright cool.  It felt like we ran into a corner, that opened into a hidden hideaway that was a treasure of atmosphere.  It wasn’t anything posh by any means but yet, it had a class all of its own and was ideal!

After we warmed back up we headed out and YEAH!  LINES!  We ended up being about 15th in line, and yes, I felt justified in seeing an actual line or wondering why I decided to be there 2 hours early based on knowing there USUALLY is a line, and wouldn’t be this time?  (Whew!)  lol. As always it seems it takes forever to be let in with the cold now dropping but we were finally IN! – and seat on the ground floor, and here we go!  Judges were asked for, and before we knew it surrounded by people – and people sitting on the stage as well!  The same MC, that hosted appeared as was there last year (YEAH!) and the show began, with roughly 15 presenters.  WHOA.  I mean, every time I come I think W H O A due to the deep references, the allusions, the absolute soul that goes into the pieces and the JAMMED  J A M M E D number of people here.  If you ever wanted an inspirational event to highlight an event, this has always been the place!  This write up does it justice, but being there is just truly beyond words based on the emotions, issues, and side of life you experience by being there.  VERY few times have I been there when we actually stayed and got through the whole list of performers but we did!  TONIGHT!  The champion would have a chance this Friday to compete to go to California for the championships – and the usual booing and applauding of the judges around us, and just EVERYTHING – it was dynamite.  🙂

As we taxied home, I KNEW I still had work to do on tomorrow’s workshop before presentation but also, knew, I needed to gal into my bed and sleep knowing, so far?  This was the New York I hoped it to be and riding out the excitement of an amazing week so far.

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About Harry Brake

Employee of ASF in Mexico City, Librarian, Media crazy! :)
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