Someone to Watch Over Me

Some of my earliest memories involve the time I spent at two of the gas stations that sat on Astoria Blvd. adjacent to La Guardia Airport. Though I recall having a regular sitter from the time I was in diapers until I entered the second grade. There were times, perhaps the weekend, when other arrangements would be made. Being that the gas station was less than a block away and my dad knew the owners and employees pretty well, asking them to keep an eye on me, although I was only four, seemed like a no brainer.

Though the times I spent in their care were few, I watched in amazement as the hours spent watching the mechanics placed cars on lifts and raised them with ease, as if they were spirited magicians. I couldn’t help but think if you can find the reason why a car isn’t performing at expected and fix it. They can probably solve most of the ills of the world. Having seen the engines and the transmissions of numerous automobiles at such a young age was fascinating. From these early experiences, I developed a love for the smell of gas, tires, and passion for pegboards. Those under the car roller boards and the way they magically disappeared underneath the car, absorbing the mechanic. Not releasing him until the engine purred like a kitten, forget about it. Though, in retrospect, a short time at a very young age. The experience gave me an appreciation and respect for blue-collar workers. The kind that knew how to fix things when they were broke and thoroughly wash their hands after a hard day’s work.

Years later, I think I was sixteen. I was reading my grand aunt’s copy of the Daily News when I came across a detailed story about that same owner’s indictment for numerous counts of arson, kidnapping, and attempted murder. Though somewhat shocking, by then, I had gotten used to hearing, reading, or seeing familiar faces in the news. I think it helped me in developing into an adult, shaping my understanding of what’s wrong and right and, ultimately, making decisions that would keep me on a moral path.Waztch (1 of 1)

Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything regarding my own experience. The men who were trusted to watch over me were always kind, making sure I didn’t get hurt or run into traffic. As kids, we often have built-in sensors that let us know when something’s not right. Maybe I wasn’t the most intuitive kid, but I never foresee any time when they would commit such horrid acts.

Stories that involve the time I spent at two of the gas stations that sat on Astoria Blvd. adjacent to La Guardia Airport. Though I recall having a regular sitter from the time I was in diapers until I entered the second grade. There were times, perhaps the weekend, when other arrangements would be made. Being that the gas station was less than a block away and my dad knew the owners and employees pretty well, asking them to keep an eye on me, although I was only four, seemed like a no brainer.

Though the times I spent in their care were few, I watched in amazement as the hours spent watching the mechanics placed cars on lifts and raised them with ease, as if they were spirited magicians. I couldn’t help but think if you can find the reason why a car isn’t performing at expected and fix it. They can probably solve most of the ills of the world. Having seen the engines and the transmissions of numerous automobiles at such a young age was fascinating. From these early experiences, I developed a love for the smell of gas, tires, and passion for pegboards. Those under the car roller boards and the way they magically disappeared underneath the car, absorbing the mechanic. Not releasing him until the engine purred like a kitten, forget about it. Though, in retrospect, a short time at a very young age. The experience gave me an appreciation and respect for blue-collar workers. The kind that knew how to fix things when they were broke and thoroughly wash their hands after a hard day’s work.

Years later, I think I was sixteen. I was reading my grand aunt’s copy of the Daily News when I came across a detailed story about that same owner’s indictment for numerous counts of arson, kidnapping, and attempted murder. Though somewhat shocking, by then, I had gotten used to hearing, reading, or seeing familiar faces in the news. I think it helped me in developing into an adult, shaping my understanding of what’s wrong and right and, ultimately, making decisions that would keep me on a moral path.

Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything. The men who were trusted to watch over me were always kind, making sure I didn’t get hurt or run into traffic. As kids, we often have built-in sensors that let us know when something’s not right. Maybe I wasn’t the most intuitive kid, but I could never foresee any time when they would commit such horrid acts.

Documenting My Travels

The Three Seater
The Three Seater

In all honesty, I never imagined a time when I’d be using my cel phone to take pictures depicting the commuters being inconsiderate pigs, but riding the PATH train and or the Subway daily can flat out make you lose faith in the human race.

However, as I get older and a bit more jaded. I can’t help but want to become a farmer or limit my interactions to dogs and squirrels. In recent weeks I’ve taken to using my phone to capture and maybe even bring attention to some of the people who continually make me want to gouge my eyes out. This image was taken just before rush hour on a train car that could be described as “Standing Room Only”. This rather up class lady made herself comfortable providing a seat for herself and her baggage. There was an elderly lady standing nearby and looking on curiously. I got up and offered her my seat which she gladly accepted and thanked me for. The lady in the picture was so involved with her phone. She never bothered to even look up. So in to my hall of shame you go. Enjoy your time in the spotlight.

Busted

I’ve been a member of SOHO Photo Gallery since 2006 and have really appreciated the opportunity to share my work with the gallery members and the people from around the world that visit. However, I’ve always been torn about it.

Whenever joining a photo club or as is the case being a member of a COOP , my goal is to share and learn from the members. To create, inspire and be inspired. And of course to expose my work to new viewers. Having been a member of several such clubs Hob’art, The Palisades Camera Club and SOHO Photo I’ve gotten to do that. Yet, the experience has always left me wanting more. Coming to SOHO Photo was a big step for me. Having to work on submitting a portfolio for acceptance was paramount to my growth. Yet since joining I’ve been left with the feeling that I’ve joined a sewing circle at a retirement home. Each year when it’s time to pay my dues and renew I think long and hard about it. In 2010 I decided to renew with the ambition of shooting there from time to time on the galleries off days. I gingerly brought this up to various members I had hosted with. None of which seemed to show any concern. For me personally, that alone made it worth while. So I decided to take advantage. Recently, while shooting I was confronted by a member(One I had never met prior) . He was pissed off and said he’d be telling the elders. I jokingly said “Hey, point taken. Don’t be a rat and drop the dime.” He saw no humor in it.

Time went by and I got no feedback. no scolding came my way. Yet I still delayed my renewal. Maybe this was it. This was my sign. I got an email stating that I was “overdue” and ignored it. Still thinking. Then I got an official letter with the galleries letterhead and everything. I let it sit. Sunday morning Kayuri saw it on the coffee table and said. “Just renew. It’s not a lot. It might be worth it.” I wavered. “You know, why not.” That was until this morning when I got the email. That Rat dropped the dime on me and it upset some people. I can assure you and them it was never done out of disrespect or in a manner that would suggest I was sneaking around. Having discussed it openly in the past. I replied with just that and haven’t heard back since. But it made me think. I’ve never been much for groups and it’s been quite difficult relating to so many of the members in the past due to the vast generation gap. I’m deciding to follow my instinct and end my association. I can’t complain at all.

Life is what you make of it. You get exactly what you put into it. I never liked sitting in meetings. The openings rarely brought in new faces. It was always a mutual admiration society as far as I could see. There were times when members work totally blew my mind. Inspired me and made me yearn to be better. That’s a good thing. I’d definitely say my experience was a good one. It’s just time to try something new.

Halloween 5K

Saturday morning I volunteered in Montclair  for the Halloween 5K for Cervical Cancer. I can’t say enough about the volunteers and organizers who devoted their time, money and passion to this event. Raising funds, awareness and eduction for cervical cancer is paramount and it’s people like these who make it happen. To see the hard work, energy and dedication of these amazing people is both inspiring and rewarding. Respect to Mandy, Cristina and all the others that made this possible and for letting me be a part. It’s people like this who helped me realize how much volunteering and being active in your community can be. We can all make a difference.

Volunteers
Sponsors
Organizer, Congressman, Lawyer.
Family
Awesome Kids
Remember and honor the loved ones we've lost.
Keep the pace.

 

Stay Hydrated.
Finish strong but don't leave anyone behind.
Don't let the kids eat all of the bananas.
Because gorillas get hungry and just might eat your children.

Accidents will Happen.

I was the last car that had turned from Kennedy Blvd. onto the ramp that leads to 495. Looking dead ahead at the congestion caused by the onset of rush hour and the construction being done.      I suddenly felt my skull rattle from what turned out to be the car that hit me at full force from behind. The force of the crash had sent me into the car in front of me. As I sat there partly in shock. the drivers of the vehicles that I was sandwiched between jumped out to inspect whatever damage had occurred and seemingly place blame. The older gentlemen in front of me  (He looked as if he had just come off the set of a Grey Poupon commercial.) pointed to the non damage to his bumper. “Look at this!!!” he proclaimed. All while the man who plowed in to me raced to see if I was alright. I was shook up pretty bad. My skull and jaw felt as if they were vibrating out of my skull and for the moment I was barely reacting.          As they exchanged information I slowly stepped out of the car. It was my first accident. They both looked at me and said “Maybe you should sit down. You don’t look so good.” I wasn’t bleeding but I was clearly rattled. It wasn’t like I had imagined it. No tow trucks or police cars magically appeared. Though I may have seen a few Geckos they were all imagined figures brought on by tons of steel deciding to act like Rams. We exchanged information and the one man explained what had happen and soon enough they drove off. I thought to myself “What the hell am I going to do?” “Wait here until a cop comes to berate me a write me a moving violation for something I didn’t do?” So I slowly pulled back into the lane and tepidly drove back home.      What was first thought to be a slight concussion turned out to just be an. As I write this a few days later I still have some pain in my back, shoulders and leg, but I’m in one piece and it could have been a lot worse. It really makes me think of how careless we are with the things we should be focusing our attention on. People driving while talking on a hand held device. Ladies putting on their make up or better yet, texting. The average car weighs around 4,000 pounds. If you can’t be responsible and pay attention to driving. You should take the wheels off your damn vehicle and turn it into the office, movie theatre or beauty parlor you seem to think it is.

Disclaimer: None of the beautiful cars pictured were harmed in making this post.

Better late than never is never a good excuse.


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I worked fro a talent agency doing print ads and working on movies. While signing up with the woman told me the importance of being on time. “If you have a 3:00 appointment make sure you are there and fully prepared to start work by 2:45. It was a simple rule that made sense and it stuck with me. All my life I always made a point of not only being on time. But getting there early just in case.

Somewhere down the road I wish everyone got that same memo because people just don’t seem to have any understanding about what it means to show up on time. I used to hold a management position with one of the museums in New York City and had a staff of about five to seven people to work with. Two of the girls on my staff were showing up late on a daily basis. When I took them aside to note and remedy the situation one girl responded “I’m from the Bronx.” It was a term I was familiar with having heard it many times regarding various issues. Her point, dumb as it may seem, was that she came to work from a far away land where time hadn’t been invented yet. I suggested that if she was late everyday by about fifteen minutes she should set her alarm a half an hour earlier. This seemed to make no sense to her whatsoever. “Yeah, but I travel with my friend.” Her friend just happened to be the other girl who was constantly late for work. By that time I had convinced myself that there was a force field around the Bronx that kept people from being responsible and basically “Knowing shit”. Sometimes if you hear something enough times you tend to start believing it to be true. Hearing the term “I don’t know dat shit. I’m from the Bronx.” made me believe it was true.

This week I got to experience that feeling again. I met Antoinette while working at the gallery last week. We had talked on line and she mentioned she would stop by to say hello and talk further about our upcoming session. The day she came by we talked and talked for what seemed to be hours about everything from art to philosophy and the belief theory of good and evil. We set up an appointment and continued to talk online in the days that followed. The day before our shoot I confirmed for 2:00 p.m. which she agreed. I even spoke to her online the next morning in which she told me “I’m jumping in the shower and then heading out.”  2:00 p.m. came and went. As did three and four. At 5:00 p.m. I get a call. “I’m here”. I was and still am without words. Yesterday we were scheduled to shoot at the downtown gallery where we first met. Same time different place. I got a text telling me she’s on the train and will be a little late. Okay, bad but not too bad. That was until she called me and asked. “I’m here on 23rd Street. How do I get there?” I was without words. The gallery which she had just visited less than a week ago had not mysteriously moved from Tribeca to Chelsea while you were sleeping.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Let me just say that Antoinette is/was a sweet, beautiful and sincerely apologetic girl. She even sat through both of my tirades where I basically tore her apart. But you have got to be fucking kidding me. I am often amazed at how some people manage to get through life, hold jobs, have families and even operate heavy machinery with absolutely no clue as to what is happening around them. In coming to a close I just want to say that I’m not dissing the Bronx or it’s residents. I’m sure KRS-1 was never late for an MC battle. I know for a fact that millions of people from the Bronx make it to work on time every day and actually “Know shit.”. I just had to get some things off my chest. Antoinette as mentioned before was a complete sweetheart who I enjoyed working with. I just don’t think I could ever go through that again. Plan ahead, know where you’re going and for Christ sake…… Get there on time.