UPDATE: Just a note to let everyone know we came in second again. The winning team had a system of computers continually voting for them, so I feel comfortable that my integrity has been maintained. On to other things!
POCKET PARKS PUBLISHING is once again in the running for a peaChic grant, but I need to be the top vote-getter to do it. Last time we came in a close second to The Tapestry Network, but there is a whole new group of businesses competing for votes, so I have to start all over again.
Can you help?
Vote for POCKET PARKS PUBLISHING daily at https://www.peachic.com/vote-here/ through December 6th at 8am Eastern. The business with the most votes wins the winter peaChic grant (and I really want to win this time!). Thanks!
If you have been wondering where my posts have been lately, I have been very busy finishing the first guide to New York City and preparing for a competition. The guide is almost ready for the printer and I won Second Place in the competition! I am a 2013 graduate of the EBV-F (Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veteran’s Families), a program for military family members that helps them learn how to start and run a business and then stays with them by providing continued support as they move forward. My 90 second elevator pitch was well-received, further validating my work on this project. I will include the pitch on my ‘The Project’ page for those of you who are interested in more information.
This is from our monthly newsletter. Feel free to reach out and congratulate them yourself!
Congrats to the winners of our 2nd EBV National Business Plan and Pitch Competition held during EBV National in Dallas, thanks to the generosity of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Disabled Veterans of America, EBV Foundation and EBV Consortium. Participants in the competition presented their plans and were eligible for a combined $75,000 in prize money. A record 50 plans were submitted and narrowed to 10 semifinalists.
Business plan competition winners are:
· 1st Prize - Docere eLearning Solution, Sandra Gonzales
· 2nd Prize- Couper Ellis, Zona Schroeter
· 3rd Prize - Expanded Inventory Solution, Bobbi Collins
· Best Social Ventures - A.I.C Publications, Makin Hamzah; and Hixson
Holding LLC, Cory Hixson
· Venture Impacting Veterans - OnCommand K9 Training, Ben Simmons
40 grads participated in the 90-second venture pitch competition. Winners are:
· 1st prize - HubYub, Blake Hogan
· 2nd prize - Pocket Parks Publishing, Rosemary O'Brien
· 3rd prize - My Hero Classifieds, Brandon Bunch
· Tie for 4th prize - MyActiveChild.com LLC, Charlotte Moore and Trabus
Technologies, Art Salindong
Please visit the EBV website if you are a veteran, veteran's family member or would like to contribute to the EBV or EBV-F programs.
Here at the close of the 2012, I find myself making the usual list of goals. One of these goals is to decide on a NYC charity to which to donate a portion of the net earnings for Pocket Parks of NYC. I was introduced to this idea by my first publisher. It was small, and is now closed, but their idea was a good one. They donated a portion of each of my first novel, FIRST SATURDAY, to the charity of my choice. Since my book touched on teen suicide, I chose a charity that kept teens busy after school with fun and educational activities.
Alas, that charity, too, is no longer in existence, but I still think it’s a good idea. This time, however, I will choose a well-run organization that has longevity and a proven track record. I was much less educated about such things back in 2002, but after working with a few non-profits since then, I feel better equipped to choose a charity. The thing is I would rather not do it alone.
If you know of a deserving charity involved in making New York City pocket parks more productive or greener or whatever you think the qualification should be, please email me, preferably with a link included. Tell me why. I am open to all ideas.
In the meantime, my wish for you is a healthy and prosperous 2013. May all your wishes come true.
Happy New Year!
Just in case any of my readers are interested in the process, I had to stop earlier than I did during the spring and summer due to the shortened days. I was amazed when I looked at my watch and it was only 3:00! Before the change back to Standard Time, I usually wrapped things up closer to 6pm. The good news is that I discovered four new parks that were not on my list.
One of the parks that was on my list was the indoor public space, 575 Fifth Avenue. The entrance to the space is on 47th St. just east of 5th Avenue. It’s a wonder I never saw this, but it is understandable. The outside is deceptive, looking like the usual shops and department stores. When you enter on 47th St., however, you discover a large space that ascends four stories high. The most important space for my purposes is the well-lit entry level where tables and chairs are scattered. Public restrooms are located on the main and the second floors, a welcome site for those of us who visit, but do not live or have an office in the city. Built in 1983, the space has not been fully realized as the retail space the developers intended, but it is still an excellent place to stop off if you need a rest, especially on a rainy day.
After sitting in a public space across from Grand Central for a while and watching countless tourists take pictures of Grand Central Terminal and Pershing Square, I decided to join them. This is now the wallpaper shot for my phone. October 15, 2012.
Symphony House on 8th Ave. & 56th St.
One of the many reasons I love New York City is the Viviens I meet. While stopping at Symphony House, a park of 8th & 56th, I met her. She was out for a walk on a beautiful September day. She had a small purse secured to her walker and every now and then, a tissue fell out of her sleeve. Her first words to me were, “Are you a tourist?” to which I replied, “Not really,” and we were off.
Vivien asked if I was tourist because the park was suddenly inundated with children getting out of school, picture-taking visitors and the odd worker out of his office for a break. Most of the latter quickly left as soon as the children arrived. They were boisterous to say the least.
While all of this was going on around us, I learned that Vivien was 93-years-old, had gotten a graduate degree at a time when women barely left the home to work let alone study for an advanced degree, and had spent her years working in the schools while her children grew up on Long Island. After that, she did what I want to do when my children are grown and have left the nest. I want to move to New York City. She was living my dream.
The reason she asked me if I was a tourist, she told me, is that they frequently walk away when you strike up a conversation with them. Actually, I am always on the lookout for crazy people who want to talk to me when I stop for a moment while walking in NYC, but when they look relatively normal, I let myself enjoy their story. If they start sounding strange or ramble on, I extricate myself politely and go on my way.
Vivien was not one of the crazies. She was a bright spot in a busy day, letting me know you can always enjoy life, even if it’s simply by taking a walk around the corner to sit and people-watch for fifteen minutes on a sunny day. If you are reading this, Vivien, thank you for a lovely few minutes of conversation in Symphony House Park.
Is anyone else sick of the rain? I went into the city yesterday to find some of the pocket parks on my list. The weather forecasters said there would be scatter showers, but not the torrential rain I experienced when I walked out of Grand Central Station! I stood under an awning on 42nd Street with a bunch of other people for about 10 minutes waiting for it to let up before I gave up. I ended up going across the street to one of my favorite atriums, one of the first free spaces I found when I first moved to New York.
When it was apparent the rain was not stopping anytime soon, I decided to visit the Museum of the City of New York up on 103rd Street and 5th Avenue. I have wanted to go there for background information on Manhattan’s street grid system and to find out if their museum shop might be a good place to sell my book. I’m happy to say it will be and now I have two lovely docents at the information desk ready and waiting for it to be published!
I highly recommend a visit to this museum. It explains how the streets were laid out and has several other wonderful exhibits. While I was viewing the Stories the City Tells Itself exhibit that displayed the work of Neil Goldberg, I came upon a simple video of gay men brushing their cats, each saying, “He’s a talker.” I have no idea why Goldberg chose that phrase, but I was touched when I read more about the display. I believe it began as a simple project of a few friends petting their cat. It ended up being a record of several men who passed during the AIDS crisis. Right after that, I went to Timescape: A Multimedia Portrait of New York. It showed us the history of the creation of New York and runs through June 19th. The best part was the three old ladies who crashed the movie, complete with walkers and loud chatter while they found their seats. ‘Gotta love the elderly! They either didn’t care or didn’t realize that we could all hear them as they looked for seats about 5 minutes before the end of the 22-minute movie!
Despite my change of plans thanks to Mother Nature, I had a great day and learned a lot about the city I love so much.
I made a trip to New York City recently to confirm some of the pocket parks on the city’s inventory list and was baffled and surprised. I was baffled because so many of these public spaces are blocked and covered up by scaffolding. I was surprised because many of the addresses on the Privately Owned Public Space list do not fit the criteria for public space set forth by the Department of City Planning which states:
The current public plaza provisions enable the creation of high quality public plazas on privately owned sites that are inviting, open, accessible and safe.
As I have said before, many are simply widened sidewalks or space next to an entrance that is obviously not meant for the public to linger. This photo is a screenshot of one such space that is listed as a plaza or an arcade. Does this look like an inviting space?
“Pocket Parks of NYC” will highlight only the pocket parks that follow the public plaza design principles as determined by the Department of City Planning and, well, parks that look like great places to hang out. If you find such an inviting space, send me the location. I will be happy to check it out if I haven’t already, and may even include your name in my book (with permission, of course). In the meantime, enjoy springtime in the city!
One of the first places I visited when I began researching this book was the Arsenal in Central Park. It resembles a medieval castle and fits in perfectly nestled up against 5th Ave. and the edge of Central Park. Built between 1847 and 1851, the Arsenal is the second oldest building in Central Park, the first is Block House built in 1812. The Arsenal has been a munitions depot, a museum, a police precinct and even a makeshift zoo at one point! The building was taken over by Robert Moses in 1934 and currently houses the office of the Parks Commissioner and a exhibition gallery on the third floor.
The day I went, I was taken back by the beauty of the entrance hall not to mention the little carousel horse I discovered in a back stairwell while making copies. It sat by a window overlooking the Central Park Zoo. This is not the best photo, but it gives you idea of the charm of this piece and its location.
Visit the Parks Department website at http://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/the-arsenal for a more detailed history of this beautiful building.
This is part of the New York Palace Hotel. Due to its opulent decor, it is a popular place for movie shoots. When I discovered it, there were two guys in kilts next to a stunning lady in a satin dress by the entrance. They were part of a wedding party waiting for the photographer. I thought I was intruding until I noticed the sign by the tables and chairs saying it was an area open to the public unless otherwise noted.
During the Christmas season, they decorate the plaza with a tall Christmas tree and beautifully ornate Christmas decorations to match the lobby of the hotel.
*Thank you to Oyster.com for the use of this photo.