Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sustainable Development

Here is a link to a free form cumulative blog journal I had to do for one of my grad school classes at Pratt called Sustainable Development. The program I am in is M.S. in Environmental Systems Management (EnviroPolicy/Sustainability):

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Greenbuild '08

Greenbuild '08 in Boston. We stayed in the Intercontinental that BLL built.

The extroardinary Majora Carter: Hear her story on TED.

Plenary sessions with USGBC president Rick Fedrizzi and Biomimicry author Janine Benyus.

And if it wasn't 12 degrees that Saturday, I would have had a lot more photos from wandering around Boston...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NYC Marathon '08

1352 1st Ave is Mile-maker 17 for the NYC Marathon, so our roof is a nice party pad for the race. Fresh off a World Series win, I was high on life, and this only made it even better.

One of the many reasons we like Dave...

Just asking for trouble...

From down on the street...

Who knows, maybe we'll do it again next year...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

2008: An amazing year for a Phillies NYC

I have to think as far back as my first year of sleep away camp to rival how homesick I was in October of 2008. Back then I was 5, right now I am 25, and I'm merely 2 hours away from Philly. How could this be?, you might ask. Being a Phillies phan in New York City isn't the worst situation in the world (after all, they come up to Shea quite often), however during the September division run, then October's playoff madness, and ending with a final week of complete mayhem, the whole time being in a city that pretty much could care less about any of this, I've had quite a whirlwind of emotions.

I went to 8 games in 2008: One at Citizens Bank Park against the Blue Jays (the annual Brock family Mother's day-ish ball game, where there were 2 rain delays and we lost), one at Dodger's Stadium (the one that the announcers kept talking about whenever the Phils were beating the Dodgers in the NLCS games because the Phils had blown a 6-1 lead after the second inning in that regular season game), and oh yeah, 6 games as Shea, the first 5 of which the Mets won. It took me 8 games this season to finally witness a victory in person. The Mets fans were saying that in '08 there would have been a 10 or so game swing in the standings between us and them if baseball games were 6 innings long (which they aren't). That whole time I was saying there would have been a 12 game swing if the Phils won all the games at which I was present (1+1+5x2).

In my workplace, I am the only Phillies fan (or at least the only vocal one) among the many dozen people that I interact with on a regular basis (coworkers, consultants, clients, subs...). Any reciprocated excitement the morning after a nice win would only be found merely out of respect and very rarely out of a mutual deep excitement, like one I would find anywhere in or near Philadelphia. But New York City is near Philly, I don't get it. How can there be no other passionate Phillies fans in NYC except for a friend from Lehigh and his roomie, a couple church friends, a few scattered others and anybody I would find at a designated Philly related viewing (like at Town Tavern). Hi-fives and hugs are usually replaced with IMs and text messages. It makes it tough because I have to mock the Mets fans all by myself and they far outnumber me. Sometime I would get scattered Yankees fan support when we played the Mets, but other than than, it was pretty lonely.

Because of this, October was both amazing and depressing, and overwhelming to say the least. It turned out to be the greatest October of my life thus far, but getting there took a roller coaster ride for blood pressure and fingernails. The Division Series vs the Brewers and the NLCS vs the Dodgers kept tempting me to go home and watch at least ONE game at home with the comforting fellow cheers and hugs of my family, but it never happened because of obligations. I even tried to take a sick day one Monday to accomplish this, but it was not allowed due to work responsibilities. I didn't have the means or opportunity to actually go to any of these games, so they were all watched alone or with some NYC buddies. Night classes made certain games tough as well. But by the time the Phillies were actually in the World Series (IN THE WORLD SERIES?!?), I was in both a cloud of euphoria and delirium. The anxiety was intense, quite a mixture of emotions.

On Monday night, of game 5 of the World Series (Phils were up 3-1), a few of us went to Town Tavern to attempt to will into submission a historical and epic victory that none of us really knew what felt like. 1980 was before my existence, and the existences of most the other people in the bar as well, and all we knew right now is that we wanted to see our first World Series championship of our lives. (Was it the right decision to skip two classes to see this? I refuse to grace that question with a response.) Monday night's game was suspended by rain in the middle of the 6th with a 2-2 tie. Wednesday night's crowd which came to watch the continuation of the game looked eerily identical to Monday's. Every single person in the bar was a phan except the bouncer (wtf?!?) and some random guy who almost got rolled on. But why woudn't it be, we all knew we were going back. Just because a game is resumed after a 2 day break by a 3 1/2 inning chunk, doesn't mean it doesn't deserve just as much passion and excitement. Initially, the vibe wasn't good after the delay started and continued for what felt like eternity. But the second that game resumed, as we were all standing there like sardines locked onto the screens. We sensed the proximity of something that could be truly amazing.

It started off with a bang as Jenkins hit his pinch hit leadoff double and Werth knocked him in for a 3-2 lead. The crows was ecstatic until Rocco Baldelli tied it with a solo shot in the top of the seventh. But then after a Pat Burrell double and a Pedro Feliz RBI, the energy was again through the roof. 6 more outs. 3 more outs. Then Brad Lidge did again what he did all year: violate batters with the dirtiest slider ever. The final at-bat to Erik Hinske was definitely in slow motion. After a swinging strike three, the eruption was immediate and intense. We could not believe what we were seeing, and nobody could contain the screams of joy. There was hugging of strangers, crying, spas attacks and just pure and perfect elation. I will forget every other single occurrence in my life before I forget that one.

The celebration parade was set to be on Friday. I really wanted to go, but seeing as how my coworkers had to deal with losing my focus all month due to the Phillies, I felt that the tolerance for such distractions was expired. The parade was something I definitely wanted to go to, but there were too many things going on in NYC, including the big Halloween parade followed by a party I was to co-host. Just to give perspective, Halloween is something I have taken extremely seriously, spending much time on the thought, creation and wearing of my costume. And I couldn't miss a party I had invited a whole bunch of people to. On top of that, I had substantial work responsibilities. However I asked the question anyway, but was rejected as expected. That was until Mike (my boss's boss and the nicest and most enthusiastic man alive) asked me if I was going down to Philly for the parade. I told him that obviously I would have loved to, but it just wasn't feasible. At that point Mike responded with what sounded half disappointment in my lack of effort to go and half reassurance that I was in fact going to the parade because it was, in his words, "a once in a lifetime opportunity." Rather than correcting him in that I am anticipating this opportunity at least several more times within the next 10 years, I quickly pleaded for his help in speaking with my direct superiors as to ensure my ass was covered for Friday. He of course did, and after finishing my work for the day, I headed home in what seamed to be a baseball hajj. I arrived in Philly close to midnight, shortly after Beav's arrival from Pittsburgh. For the next hour, sitting in the living room was Beav, Kate, Kate, JB, Mom and I (too late for Dad). The comforting atmosphere of being in Philadelphia, being in my home, being with my family, and talking about the glorious victory of the Phillies, was incredibly warming to my soul.

The parade was fun, as was running through South Philly to the stadium ( I ended up scoring a ticket from my close friend/season ticket holder and getting into Citizens Bank Park to see the entire ceremony, Sitting there in that beautiful ball park, seeing all that red, warm sun on the side of my face, hearing the sounds of fans chatting away before the ceremony was to begin, taking it all in, I was just 100% satisfied with life. The ceremony was fun and entertaining to say the least. It was the perfect conclusion to the season. I then headed back to NYC to go to the halloween party. Halloween is fun too...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Bike Lane aint a Bike Lane if...

...if you can't bike in it! Let me just say, I do commend the efforts of city planners and the cooperation of the DOT to paint green bike lanes on Broadway and other streets throughout the city. HOWEVER, why would you add another space in between the bike lane and the traffic lane with tables and benches for people to occupy? That forces people to walk through the bike lane. ARRRGHHHHHH! Why!?!? Look at this!

Why not just put the seating area next to the sidewalk where the pedestrians belong, not sandwiched between two moving lanes? Did anybody think this through? I almost took out like 8 people in a 3 block span. I ended up just using the road. For this lane: thanks, but no thanks.

Note: For more (and only) biking related posts, visit Brock's Bike Blog.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eggs are for Eating

To the 3 young teenage boys on Willoughby Ave:

Don't you know that eggs are for eating, not for throwing? They offer no value when strewn throughout the street. Plus, you have terrible aim, I was like 15 feet away from you, c'mon. And watch your language.


PS: If I ever see you again I will strangle you worthless pieces of...

Conditions Violation?

Um, for some reason Blogger thinks I'm a terrorist, and decided to flag me for a month and make me type in this stupid word verification thing for each post. You know, the small picture with the distorted letters that I can barely read, let alone a spamming program robot. I keep getting it wrong too! Man!

That's why you get that stupid message when you try to read this.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My First Bike Ticket

That's right, I got pulled over on my bike in Central Park. I really hope people find this post and learn from it because I was completely unaware that you can't be in The Park after 1am and before 6am, not even on the roads in a moving vehicle . This is cited in Title 56 of the Parks and Recreation laws in section 1-03 part (a) items (1) and (3). The reason for this completely stupid law is for "safety" not only for bums who would stay in the park and freeze to death in the winter, but for pedestrians who might be attacked by ruthless hoodlums. Yes, people should be careful, but this law is straight up stupid. Riding or driving on the roads in Central Park late at night is much less dangerous than riding on the avenues outside The Park. What could to happen to me? Is somebody going to throw a brick at my head when I'm riding? I don't even have to justify people who run around the resevoir before 6am. This law is straight up dumb.

And I got busted for it. I was out riding home from the West Village on a Friday night and after coming up the bike lane on 8th Ave I shot through the park at Columbus Circle. As I was riding up the east edge of the loop, I see lights and a cop car pulls up next to me, and one of the two officers asks me to "pull over." I was a little surprised when the other cop got out and asked me to dismount my bicycle. The only thing I could possibly think of was that a bike had been stolen matching mine's description. After taking my information, I waited about 10 minutes for them to run my record. I started to wonder if there was more to the story and then a black SUV pulled up and I overheard the driver asking one of the cops for directions and hearing the cops tell the man that the park was closed. The man responded with an apology and drove away. It was then I realized that technically I wasn't supposed to be there. They couldn't be giving me a ticket though, could they? How about a warning? If that was the reason I was "pulled over" I'd be pretty angry.

Well, that was the reason. I was dumbstruck when I was handed a criminal court summons. A summons is an order to appear in court, it's not a fine that I just pay and mail in. Either way this was going to be a substantial inconvenience. One of my personal weaknesses is that my facial expressions are at times pretty transparent to my emotions. Apparently blatantly rolling my eyes didn't make the one officer happy, to which he replied by asking me in an antagonizing manner "What's wrong, you look like you're not happy about this." Oh, that set me off. "Yeah? I look unhappy? I wonder why! Maybe because you just pulled me over and gave me a summons for RIDING MY BIKE IN THE PARK!?" I couldn't help it, I was so livid. We want back and forth for a little bit arguing about if there was a sign and if there was where it was and how I was supposed to see it at night. The cop ended the confrontation by walking back to the car and telling me to leave. What an ass.

Like I said, a summons requires you to attend court regardless of your plea, so of course I pleaded NOT-guilty. After various pro bono consultations with several informed acquaintances, I was prepared to make my case in front of the judge. My first argument was that the part of the law that was cited, item (1) rather than item (3) under part (a) of section 1-03 in Title 56 was not an item with a fine attached. Item (1) says that you may use park from 6am to 1am. Item (3) says you can't use them after the curfew, and that's the item with a fine associated.
My second argument was that I was not put under proper notice that such a law existed because the signs (which I went back and found later) we mere 6" wide dark green non-reflective signs that a pedestrians wouldn't even notice, let alone somebody flying by on a bicycle. Straight up lame.

Let's play "Find the Sign!"

Sitting in court, I had to listen to the 20 or so people before me go up and argue their violations. Most were for open containers or public urination. One was for soliciting ads, one was for going the wrong way down 2nd Ave. When I got up there, I whispered to the public attorney that I was going to plead not-guilty for this curfew violation and when he repeated that to the judge I received a confused look and the question "what were you doing in the park"? After explaining that I was riding home the judge responded by asking "don't you work in the morning, what are you doing out so late?" I replied with, "It was a Friday night, you honor, but even so, what the heck does that matter?" I didn't actually say the second part of that, but I sure thought it. Why are people giving me such a hard time about this?!? It's an embarrassment to our legal system! I then heard, to my surprise, the judge chuckle and say "get our of here kid, you're dismissed." I looked at the public attorney with a confused look to which he responded "That's a good thing, you're dismissed. You can leave." I didn't even get to use my arguments. Oh well.

The story would have been better if I had gotten a BUI...

Note: For more (and only) biking related posts, visit Brock's Bike Blog.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mixxtape in Manhattan

E-Hilz's new band, the Mixxtape: I finally got to see them at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Checkout my YouTube channel for some Mixxtape vids from various shows.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Highline Views

The new Highline elevated park offers some striking views the surrounding activity. This is a small stage space hovering over 10th Ave.

This is the Frank Ghery building on the West Side Highway:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Virginia Camping '08

Out of the architecture majors at Lehigh who we hung out with, a couple ended up at UVA for grad school. This summer Graham invited us down to hang out and go camping in the Shenandoah. Click here for pics from my Picasa.

Friday, August 1, 2008

How to use a megaphone

Scott Weiland with Stone Temple Pilots at Musikfest 2008 in Bethlehem, PA.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Midtown Aerial

This is midtown Manhattan from above in a plane on my way down to a Phillies spring training weekend in Clearwater.