I Can’t Breathe!

Fresh off the news that Darren Wilson would not be indicted in Missouri, New Yorkers received news that hit closer to home: NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be indicted for killing Eric Garner on Staten Island. On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, when the news broke, protesters amassed all over the city. The NYPD, which had made relatively few arrests during the Wilson protests, responded with a much heavier hand. More than 80 people were arrested Wednesday.

Thursday, things were even bigger. Protesters met at Foley Square before marching throughout the city. Groups split off and headed towards the Lincoln Tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, the West Side Highway, and Whitehall Terminal. Protesters were mostly peaceful, but made some attempts to rip down barricades and get around the police. The NYPD responded with pepper spray, sound cannons, and a reported 223 arrests.

Hands up! Don’t shoot!

At this point, I don’t have to explain why a crowd of angry protesters amassed at Union Square in New York City on the evening of November 24, 2014. Earlier in the day, we had received word that a grand jury in St. Louis County had reached a decision on whether to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown.

Expecting a 6:00 p.m. announcement, the protest at Union Square began around 5:00. Members of the crowd spoke, sang, and chanted.

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
“Black lives matter!”
“N-Y-P-D, K-K-K! How many kids did you kill today?”

The announcement was pushed back to 9:00 p.m. The crowd stood strong. Finally, word started spreading of the decision, as predictable as it was disheartening.

No indictment.

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Tuesday at the Safe Streets House

After several months preoccupied by client work I couldn’t share, I’ve got some time on my hands. I’ll have some real work to show off soon, but for now here’s a not-so-unusual Tuesday night at my apartment, when my roommate helped our friend build up a Schwinn Madison fixie.

Reimagining Jay Street

Jay Street is a major arterial leading cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers onto the Manhattan Bridge. It also falls right into the middle of my own commute. Anyone who has braved the street at rush house knows how chaotic it is. Double parking and U-turns abound, and enforcement is seemingly nonexistent (even though the area is always full of police).

Transportation Alternatives has been working for years for a redesign, and finally was able to hold a workshop in which community members voiced their dreams for the street. Proposals ran the gamut from simple (protected bike lanes) to far-fetched (a car-free grand boulevard). Councilman Stephen Levin was on hand to show his support, as well as the 84th Precinct’s Captain Maximo Tolentino and representatives of several other elected officials.

The bottom line was clear: Brooklynites are fed up with Jay Street, and it must be redesigned to be more friendly to all road users.

Huge thanks to Eric McClure and Transportation Alternatives for putting on such a great event.

Travel Day

Just a couple of sentences from yesterday that I couldn’t get up due to lack of Internet access:

I’m sitting on the floor of Hartsfield-Jackson airport, propped up against a brushed metal column, charging my phone and waiting for a delayed flight.

Once I get to New York, some combination of trains should get me to Clinton Hill, where a friend has offered a place for me to stay for the night. In the morning, it’s off to Park Slope to check out an apartment. Right now, I just feel like I’m in limbo; finding housing is incredibly appealing. I haven’t even started to think about work.

The reality of moving across the country without much planning definitely hit once I got to Atlanta. I’m excited, but totally terrified. Once I (hopefully) move into my new apartment tomorrow, I’ll take the time to collect myself. For now, onward to New York.

A New Adventure

I should be packing right now.

Since graduating from Indiana University, I really haven’t known what I was doing with my life. I felt that the newspaper industry was the wrong path for me and I veered off into the land of freelance commercial work, but it didn’t feel right either. I’ve been treading water for months, waiting for a change. I had been planning a move to New York City, but without work lined up I was dragging my feet.

When I saw a posting for an editorial internship at Serious Eats, I never thought I’d actually get it. Putting together an application was mostly just a way to keep myself busy. Even when I got an interview, I tried not to get my hopes up.

When I got an email offering me the position on Monday, everything changed. I immediately booked a one-way ticket to New York and scrambled to find a place to live. I was getting in Saturday; one week isn’t exactly a lot of time to prepare to move halfway across the country. Writing this on Friday, I’m still unprepared. I have a place to stay tomorrow night, and then probably an apartment to move into Sunday. I have my camera gear and enough clothing to survive packed up, but I know I’m missing things.

My mind is full of contradictory emotions. On the one hand, I’m freaking out about this. But on the other hand, part of me is strangely calm. Since graduation, I’ve been waiting for exactly the right time to change my life. But there is never an exactly right time. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. I don’t know that this is the right path, but for now I couldn’t be happier to start down it.

Snow

If you live anywhere in the Midwest, you know that we’re experiencing some crazy snow. It just keeps coming. Temperatures today were actually pretty mild, so I decided to go out and make a few photos before the brutal cold hits tonight.

Breakfast in Hanoi

In the summer of 2012, I spent two weeks traveling through Vietnam with a group of Indiana University telecom students. The focus of the trip was filmmaking, but I tried to write as much as I could. I recently polished up an excerpt to use as a writing sample and liked it enough to share.

It’s just past 6am, and I’m enjoying my first morning in Hanoi. I’ve already been up for four hours filming a night market and it’s time for breakfast. I head back to the heart of the city and come across a small collection of chairs along the side of a busy road, where an older woman sits with several pots and thermoses of tea and coffee. Sipping strong green tea and looking out at Hoan Kiem Lake, I try to take in everything I’ve experienced in my first few hours in the city.

As I finish the tea and begin to walk back to my hotel, I remember hearing about a small market nearby. I veer off to search for it and come across another woman with another roadside collection of chairs. She’s selling pho, one of my favorite dishes in the world, and I decide to stop. Taking a seat on a plastic chair maybe eight inches off the ground, I order a bowl and prepare to eat.

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Christmas in the Village

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas.

Christmas in the Village has been a tradition in Zionsville since, well, forever. Usually a weekend, this year it has been extended to a month of holiday events. The month kicked off Saturday with the annual Christmas parade. Bagpipers, dancers, even a reindeer – and of course Mr. and Mrs. Claus – marched through the Village and down Main Street as families lined the roads. A bubble machine rained soapy snow onto the brick street, making the last day in November feel remarkably festive.

Organized by the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, the parade brought hundreds of people to downtown for what will hopefully be a lively holiday season. Say what you will about small-town life, community events like this make Zionsville a great place.

A Different Chinatown

This is a Flushing-bound 7 train. Your next stop is… Beijing.

I don’t need to tell you about Manhattan’s Chinatown. You’ve been there, or you’ve seen it in films or on television. New York’s oldest Chinese enclave is an amazing place. From the open-air fish markets to the cavernous dim sum palaces, it’s unlike anyplace else on the island. But from the high rents to the throngs of tourists, you never forget you’re in Manhattan.

Ride the train an hour from Canal Street and everything changes.

Getting off the 7 train at the end of the line puts you right on Main Street in Flushing, Queens. On a Wednesday afternoon, the area was bustling. People hurried between shops and restaurants, vendors handed out fliers, and cars and buses jockeyed for room on the street. Save for scattered English signage, it would be easy to believe the train out of Manhattan took you to a different country rather than a different borough.

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