The Root of Who you Root For: New York’s Classic Sports Rivalries

This is my second installment for the blog I write for, The Next Great Generation — as originally posted here.

Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils and Islanders. The New York area has nine professional teams in four professional sports. (Eleven, if you count the Buffalo Bills and Sabres.) As a New Yorker (yes, it is where my birth certificate was issued), how am I supposed to root for three hockey teams, and two football, baseball and basketball (if I followed the NBA) teams? Given our plethora of options, we don’t just root for the home team, we root for our team. Personally, I bleed blue (Giants, Rangers, Yankees — and I would have to pick the Knicks, even though I’m not a big NBA fan).

While some of the rivalries are rather civil, like the Knicks and Nets, the rivalries between the Yankees and Mets (aka the Subway Series rivalry) and the Giants and Jets (they do share the same home stadium) can become much more heated — these rivalries even extend beyond the fans, into the players on the teams.

But even with the hometown rivalries, New Yorkers have greater rivals to the north — that’s right, up in Beantown. Since New York’s teams are not in the same divisions (the Yankees in the AL and Mets in the NL, the Giants in the NFL and the Jets in the AFL), we have bigger rivals in neighboring cities with our divisional rivals. rates the Yankee-Sox rivalry in the Top Five Sports Rivalries.

In 1918, the Red Sox won the World Series and in 1920, Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees  — the Sox didn’t win another World Series until 2004. This “trade” became the root of the most intense, most publicized and longest-standing rivalries in the MLB. “1918” and “Yankees suck” chants are only the tip of the iceberg here — just check out YouTube and you will see the fights and brawls that have been caught on tape. Just think of the infamous time Pedro threw Zimmer to the ground. A word to the wise: if you are a Boston fan, don’t come to Yankee Stadium in Sox gear just for kicks.

Just as baseball rivalries exist in NY, so do football rivalries. Giants and Jets fans battle constantly for bragging rights — the rivalry is like that of a little kid trying to step into some rather big shoes (until this year, Jets home games were played at Giants Stadium). With only 16 regular season games, the two see most of their field time against each other in the pre-season — and this year brought along extra rivalry-fueled decisions, most of which were solved by the flip of a coin. Yet again, New York has a battle between the underdog and the well established team. And our underdog here has their divisional rival to the northeast as well, the New England Patriots.

Regardless of if it’s a New York-New York rivalry or a New York-Boston rivalry, it really all boils down to fans rooting for their home team. Whether it’s for bragging rights or a battle of the best city in the northeast, die-hard fans will always root for the home team (if you’re smart you root for the better, “all-American” team). At least with our intra-NY rivalries, the joking and teasing between fans tends to stay superficial and less people get harmed.
For a true, die-hard fan, who you root for defines who you are. It’s not just a game. It’s a lifestyle.

2010 Thus Far…

So this morning I read my friend Katelyn‘s latest blog entry — 2010- the year of the road trips? That’s travel — and I’m totally stealing this post idea from her, really cause as soon as I replied to her post, I realized that I was doing the exact same thing…

I keep poking fun that my two “big” trips this year were to the mid-west — Indiana and Ohio. Truth is, just as Katelyn’s year was full of weekend getaways, so was mine — I was fortunate to have a year full of exciting adventures. My year so far in review looked a bit like this:

January: a one-day road trip to drive Tim back to school in Virginia — I hit eight states that day; Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia — and went to a Rangers game

February: two weekends in Waltham/Boston, MA — one for Mike’s birthday and one to be Alexa’s family for Family weekend back at Bentley

March: saw a screening of The Human Experience in NYC (I recommend to anyone who has not seen it), partook in the first ever NYC Pilgrimage, in a span of 7 days, I went to Springfield, MA two nights in a row for the Elite Eight and Final Four Division II Basketball Championships (drove home to go to work in Manhattan in the morning), went to Foxwoods that Saturday morning with my college roommate, followed by the rest of the weekend in Providence said roommate, and then headed up to Waltham after work on Tuesday night to ring in Alexa’s 21st with her

April: retreat in upstate NY with the youth group I used to work with

May: a long weekend in Philly to see my little sis graduate from Villanova, followed by flying to Indiana the following weekend for Jenna & Kevin’s wedding, went to the Dave Matthews Band concert in Hartford, opening weekend, and then spent the weekend in Poughkeepsie, NY with the other camp counselors

June: Brooklyn & Queens for Ela & Karol’s wedding

JulyLady Antebellum & Tim McGraw concert followed by a Rascal Flatts concert two weeks later, plus the weekend in between I was at my mom’s family reunion

August: I worked a grand total of 10 days! I had a long weekend in Kent, CT with Mary, went to Camp Veritas as a counselor and hit up the Dutchess County Fair

September: spent the weekend before my birthday celebrating it in with my college friends in Waltham/Boston and on my first Booze Cruise on the Boston Harbor and then rang in my birthday weekend at the Trace Adkins & Toby Keith concert

October: road tripped to Ohio with Courtney & Sharmila — we also visited West Virginia & Pittsburgh while we were out there — and this weekend I am yet again off to Waltham/Boston for Bentley’s Homecoming

I should also point out that this does not include any of my nights out in Manhattan, my gallivanting around the state of Connecticut and random day trips to Hoboken and Long Island to hang out with some of my innumerable cousins. Plus, there’s still two more months worth of extravaganzas to plan before 2010 is done.

So really, my point is, even though my biggest trips this year were to the midwest, I am grateful that I have been able to spend so much quality time bonding with my friends. I may have only boarded a plane bound for Indiana for a weekend, not a private plane bound for a week in the Bahamas with 600 of my closest friends, but all is good. My friends are awesome, and I got to see so many of them this year. Not only am I grateful because I spent so much time with my friends, but as my parents have pointed out to me, I have done a lot more this year than other people have, including themselves. In this economy, plenty of people do not even have the chance to go on a simple car ride to spend the weekend 3 hours away, whether they don’t have the time off from work, or the money for gas and other expenses. In short, I will do my best to stop complaining about my lack of a real vacation as today I realized that I think a bunch of little ones are better anyways — instead of going on say one or two vacations spread out this year, I get to go on little ones every few weeks.

It’s A Zoo Out There

I’ve probably mentioned it before but I work in midtown Manhattan but I live in the suburbs, in the same small town I grew up in in Connecticut. The commute may be long, but I wouldn’t give up my “country living” as my co-workers put it to live in a gridlock of people and cement buildings. One thing that I have been observing in the jungle that is Manhattan is how people walk on the sidewalks.

When I was a little girl, my mom told me I’d never make it in the big city if I couldn’t deal with the commotion that is guaranteed to ensue on any given sidewalk in the city. I’m not sure if she was telling me this because I had a problem with something that happened or if she was just telling me so I’d know, but I know that what she said is true. If you can’t deal with the craziness that ensues on the sidewalks, you could become very miserable very quickly in the city. That said, I think I do a fine job at dealing with the craziness, but over time I’ve observed some interesting stuff on my foot travels around….

  • Some people truly embody what the term “New York minute”. These people have to get from point A to point B as I their life depended on it and they don’t care who’s in their way, because they have the right of way.
  • Some people like to play chicken with cars. Is it really necessary to cut across the road when there’s barely half a second before the car barreling down the road is going to be in the same spot you’re standing?
  • There’s tourists that forget that all the sights they are taking in aren’t all that special to some of us when we see them daily. It’s the tourists that stop shirt in the middle of the sidewalk that cause the trouble. Either they block loads of people’s paths to pose for their group photo or they stop so short that whoever is walking behind them walks into them.
  • There are those of us who work there that know where we are going and we stick to our path day in and day out. This encompasses most of those on the city sidewalks before-after work and during lunch hours. We weave in and out of people to get where we need to be, but it’s never necessary to knock someone down on your way there. We cut across streets whether there is a crosswalk or if its out right of way, but we do it when there’s no cars coming down the block.
  • There are the people who want to stop you so they can get you to sign up for something or buy their product. They’re pretty harmless, that is until they stop you as you’re running to catch your train…
  • There are street vendors, who for the most part are more of a backdrop to many of us. They don’t bother you and if they are selling something you want, like a scarf or sunglasses, you can get decent ones for less money then you’d spend on lunch.
  • There are the chill people who seem to have no problems with the world. They go with the flow of traffic and they wait at the corners for the little white man to tell them to continue on and if they get stopped at every corner, so be it.

I’m sure there are more. And everyone can fall into different categories depending on the day, I know I do.

Tickets! Tickets, please!

Every morning I wake up, probably later than I should, rush to get ready, grab my bag, keys and cell phone, jump in the car and zip down the road to the bus stop. It’s not uncommon for me to pull into the lot all of 30 seconds before the bus is going to leave and the bus drive even called me out on it the other day. You see, Eric, my bus driver, understands that we have a 15 minute window built in when we get to the train station, so he is kind to those who are not early risers and waits for you to get on the bus when he sees you pull in before he leaves the lot. Not only does Eric wait for us stragglers, but he also does not ask the regulars to see their bus pass every day. And that’s where today just went downhill.

Today’s morning kept going as normal. I even got to the bus more than 30 seconds before it was due to leave. I got on and sat down next to a high school classmate and shortly thereafter we were on our way to the train. I got on the train, sat down and waited for the conductor to come and check my ticket. And three stops later the conductor came by. I dug into my purse to pull out my wallet, and couldn’t find it. So I pulled out some things like my scarf and make-up bag and kept digging around but was unable to find it. Fortunately I have been taking the same bus to the train daily since two weeks after I started my job in October of 2008. For about the past 15 months, we have had the same conductor on the train, and I sit in the same car almost every day, so he knows me and therefore gave me a free pass on getting into work today. So once I realized that I didn’t have my wallet at all, I also realized I had no idea where my wallet was; the last time I used my wallet was for the bus on the way home from work on Tuesday.

Once I was able to confirm that my wallet was safe at home, I wasn’t all too worried. I knew I could get a pass for the day to get into my office and I’d just have to explain to my train conductor and bus drivers on the way home that I left my wallet in CT this morning and I could show my pass to them again tomorrow. Little did I know that the guy who would later sit in the seat next to me on the ride home would also have left his train ticket at home…

But really, it didn’t turn out as such a bad day in the end. What could have turned into a disastrous day didn’t due to a few random acts of kindness. You see, the lady I was sitting next to (well sort of next to, she had the window seat, I had the aisle seat and the middle seat was empty) is a lady that I have seen almost daily on the train ever since I started working. She’s adorable, and when I returned to my normal train after I had a two week training which meant I went into work an hour early everyday for two weeks, she told me she was so happy to see me since she had feared I had lost my job and felt bad that such a sweet young girl was laid off (but low and behold, I was not laid off). As soon as she heard and saw my reaction to not having a wallet with me, she told me that if she had any cash on her, she would have given it to me since she didn’t want to see me go off into Manhattan ID and moneyless for the day. Only moments later, after not hearing the lady to the left of me, the guy sitting across the aisle from me offered me some money as well. He too is a frequent train goer and I see him about 3 times a week in the morning. I graciously turned down his offer as both of my high school classmates that were on the train with me also offered to help, and I would much rather be in debt to a friend than a semi-stranger.

My fellow train-goers weren’t even the only ones that offered to help. I work with my cousin-in-law who offered me lunch money (after he told the security guard not to give me a day pass to the office). And, just as a large portion of my generation, I updated my Facebook status and tweeted my “FML” moment, which also drew in support from friends and one of my aunt’s. So to all you who offered to help, thank you! And to all you who have the chance to help someone by doing something simple, do it! Random acts of kindness can go a long way. And thanks to those who helped me today, I was reminded that a small act can really brighten someone’s day.

walking to paradise

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in the 1st Annual Pilgrimage of New York City with six of my friends. Some of you are probably already asking what a pilgrimage is, I sure wondered about what one was the first time I heard about one. For thousands of years Christians have been making pilgrimages all over the world to many different religious sites as both a physical and spiritual journey to bring you closer to Christ. As many know, there is lots of Catholic tradition within the waters surrounding Manhattan, so this year some very wise people decided to organize a pilgrimage that we could partake in locally.

The physical portion of the pilgrimage began in Washington Heights at the Shrine of St. Frances Cabrini at 10AM, but for us it began at about 7AM as we needed to all meet up and trek down to Manhattan (by way of the Bronx) to get there before it began. At 7AM, four of my friends left from one of their apartments a bit north of me and I left my house, meeting them at the train station parking lot at 7:30AM with a small breakfast in my stomach, a cup of coffee and my sneakers in hand and a very large bag of trail mix along with my nalgene in my bag. The five of us then set off to meet the remaining two girls in the Bronx, whom we then drove with to Yankee Stadium to park at the Subway station. The seven of us, slightly tired, filed down the stairs to the D train only to find out that the Metro Card machines were not taking cash or credit. Instead of taking this as a sign of what may be to come, we bought our cards from the man in the booth and ventured downtown, transferred to the A train and finally arrived at the 190th Street station where we needed to get off the subway and head to the Shrine. While walking out of the station we ran into our first new friend of the day, Ron, a reporter for Catholic New York. Ron saw that we were headed to the pilgrimage and joined us in our attempt to find the Shrine to check-in and begin (we may or may not have headed in the wrong direction a couple of times before finding the Shrine itself).

Finally we all made it to the Shrine and got our blue wristbands and were able to tour around the Shrine and prepare to begin the pilgrimage. After some prayer and an application of sunscreen, I headed outside to join the girls and our fellow walkers. As time passed, we were able to meet some of our fellow walkers and to take our before picture. We were stretched and ready to go when 10AM struck and we joined the others for the pilgrimage under the tree. We were briefed on the events of the day and how the walk was going to begin before we all headed inside as a group to learn more about St. Frances. St. Frances Cabrini is the patron Saint of immigrants, and also the first American to be canonized a saint. After our brief history on St. Frances, we prayed as a group before heading back outside to split into our walking groups. Once those walking on their own and in their own groups took off, we took off with the “speed group”. Our plan was to take the longest path between the five sites and to walk through Central Park when we got there. In the first 100 block we walked, I think we only hit about 6 or 7 stop lights at corners and I was doing great, I was actually surprised how far we had got since I could not physically feel any wear on my body. On route to Central Park, we passed the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and we also prayed the Stations of the Cross while walking.

We made it to the NW corner of the park just as we were finishing the stations and we began our cross park trek down the main road that circles the park. About 1/3 down through the park we saw a dirty water hot-dog stand, and of course some of us stopped to grab a quick bite to eat. It was here that two new friends of the day were met, Rob & his friend he came to do the pilgrimage with. These two stopped to grab a drink and hot-dogs along with us. You’d be surprised how far the group could get in the short time we had stopped. Since we lost all sight of the group, the 6 or 7 of us who had stopped headed on together towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We got about 1/2 through the park when we cut across to the east side and once at 72nd Street, we cut out to 5th Avenue and headed straight down to St. Pat’s. Along with Rob and his friend, Ron had rejoined our mini-group mid-park and stuck with us. We learned on this portion of our walk that some of Ron’s co-workers had an over/under pool of how far he would make it and we were determined to have him make it through.

About 1:30PM we made it to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in mid-town. At the front steps here we met up with the other girls that we lost along the way in the park. Some of them went to the deli nearby to grab food while myself and two of my friends headed inside with Ron to see the crypt below the altar where the bishops are buried, which was rather cool as three of them are currently Servants of God and on their way to becoming canonized. Once everyone got out of the crypts, we all gathered as a large group on the patio outside where we were advised to jump on the 6 train to Bleeker Street to stay on track. Of course, me with my big mouth decided to ask about those of us who wished to continue on walking instead of taking the subway. The organizer of the walk told me that we were more than welcome to, but none of the leaders would be going with us. There was a large group of women who wanted to walk with us and our new friends but somewhere between planning to continue on walking and actually heading out, we split up and they headed on their way without us. Once the original 7 of us gathered back together with Ron & Rob, we were joined by a CFR, Brother Simon and 3 other new friends, Tricia, Marcus & Monica.

The 13 of us continued on downtown to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was great being with this smaller group as we were able to learn more about some of our new friends, even though I ended up ahead of them at many intersections as I took the leap many New Yorkers take and walked with the sign showing stop while the group stopped and waited for the signal to change. We finally found our way to our next location, where I learned that the high walls around the Old Cathedral were built to protect the church itself when tensions between the Catholics & Protestants were high (thanks Ron for that lesson).

By the time we made it to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there was a wedding going on, so we said a quick prayer in the foyer and headed out. When we got outside we realized (thanks to my handy GPS on the iPhone) that the 4th location on the pilgrimage was not exactly en-route to the final location — as is it was 3 miles away, whereas the final location was only 2 miles away. That said, with a time limit quickly closing in on us, we decided to take a direct route and head for the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. We headed out through Chinatown along with about another 10 pilgrims who tagged along at the Old Cathedral. While on Mott Street in Chinatown, we stopped at the Church of the Transfiguration and said our prayers for St. Peter there since as Bro. Simon pointed out, St. Peter was there after all.

We then continued on our way one last time to the final location, where we were able to rejoin all the other pilgrims 6 hours after leaving the starting location for a closing mass 13.1 miles from our starting point. We had some time inside the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to pray and recoop before mass began. What was really cool is that while we began at the shrine of the 1st American to become a saint, we ended at the shrine of the 1st American-born to become a saint. The pastor of the parish gave us a quick history lesson on St. Elizabeth before mass began and with the close of mass came the close to a great day. As everyone was filtering out and saying goodbye to new friends. Myself along with two of the girls did a quick interview with a Catholic channel that was there and then rejoined the group outside. Once almost everyone had departed the seven of us along with Rob, Ron & Bro. Simon headed to the Starbucks & deli nearby to grab some food and coffee to eat for a quick bite in Battery Park before heading back home. We sat on the benches near the water and enjoyed some final laughs with our new friends before heading to the subway to get on home. While it had been a gorgeous day out and watching the sunset over the water was a sight to be seen, finally getting on the subway and heading home was a magnificent feeling.

I realize that while this was a great overview of the physical journey, it is hard to put the spiritual part into words. Just as it is something that happens within, it seems to be meant to stay that way as the words just won’t come together to explain it. I think part of this is that I am still realizing now, 27 hours after getting home, that I didn’t even realize what I was experiencing along the way, I only realized it after the fact. But I also think this is just one of those things that no matter how hard you try, any explanation you provide to others will never seem to do it justice. But then, I think that’s part of the mystery and beauty of a pilgrimage.

my way or the highway

One of my pet peeves lately in society is all the hypocritical “rules” that people create — they are societal norms in the making, or at least something that some people want to make a societal norm. Actually, I really guess I’m not sure what exactly they are. I don’t know what the societal norm actually is in most of these cases, and truth be told, I’m convinced society doesn’t know what the norm is.\

Today’s questionable societal norm is: talking whilst on public transportation.

While I understand that you are not supposed yell and be really obnoxious when you are talking to someone while riding public transportation, since when are you not allowed to carry on a conversation with someone you are sitting with? I’m not talking about having a conversation across a few seats or across a crowded subway; I just want to know who decided that I am not allowed to talk to the people that I am sitting on the train with?

Now yesterday on the train there was an Asian lady on her cell phone. She was speaking rather loudly in a foreign language and another woman in the train car got up and yelled at her multiple times for talking so loudly. In addition, a man stood up about 4 rows away and was extremely agitated about the lady on the phone. While I agree that it is impolite to talk loudly on your cell phone while in public, I also think it is wrong to yell at a complete stranger for just talking on her cell phone — there is a much politer way that that could have been handled. But back to my original point, if you are on a train and sitting with others, is it wrong to carry on a conversation?

I always thought that it was absolutely fine to talk to the people you are with on the train, or any other form of public transportation but lately I have noticed that many people are against this. Not only are they against it, but many of them are hypocrites who carry on their own conversations at times but then give other people the stink eye for doing the same exact thing. Take for example two of my fellow bus riders nearly every morning. Every morning that I have been on the bus along with the two of them, they are always chatting away. They are not being loud, and even though it is 6:30AM and most of us are half asleep, no one complains or says anything to them. Then take the random morning when one of them is missing and insert my high school classmate on the bus. The two of us have a simple chat about nothing special, and here comes the evil glance from the man who talks almost daily on the bus. So apparently it is OK for him to chat on the bus, but if he wants it to be quiet, then apparently no-one else is supposed to talk on the bus either.

Then today I was sitting on the train with two friends and while one of them chose to sleep for the majority of the ride home, the other two of us chatted pretty much the whole ride home. We weren’t being loud, it wasn’t a conversation about anything inappropriate, but still the people reading their papers across the isle from us still continued to glare over their papers looking at us in a disapproving fashion. Now I don’t know if these people have ever carried on a conversation while riding public transportation, but I would like to know since when it became wrong for me to talk to the person sitting directly across me that I got on the train with?

So what’s your take? What are the societal norms for talking on public transportation?

I’m walking 39.3 miles in 12 days!

As some of you know, I like to do crazy and adventurous things in life — simple doesn’t usually explain my way of doing many things. As you may know by now, my next large task is coming up in less than two weeks. I have spent the last four months training for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s taking place October 10-11 in New York City and I’ll be walking a marathon and a half over these two days with my friend Kate and hundreds of other women.

Did you know that every three minutes, another woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer? I didn’t, and I was shocked to learn how prevalent this horrible disease has become in this country.

I am eager for my walk and in addition to having a strong finish to my training to make sure I’m prepared for the walk, I want to finish out my fundraising with a bang and I need your support! I have pledged to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as part of my participation in the walk. Your contribution will help to support medical research into the possible causes of and cure for breast cancer, education and early detection programs, and clinical care and support services for women with breast cancer in communities across the country, especially those here in the New York area. There is a special focus on helping medically under-served women, the poor, minorities, the elderly, or those with inadequate health insurance.

It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause – you can make a donation online by simply clicking on this link to visit my personal page. While I understand that times are hard right now, whatever you can give will help! I truly appreciate your support and thank you in advance. Plus, in addition to your financial support, I could use all your prayers for myself and the other women as we come into the final stretch of preparation before we partake on this wonderful journey.

Thank you for your support; you really do make a difference. You rock!

the best birthday gift

My birthday has just past and the best birthday gift I received was not a present (though I do like all those that I received). The best gift I was given was a suggestion from a friend. For my birthday, I went out to dinner at Carmine’s, a family-style, Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with my friends Kristen and Mary. After randomly discussing people going out to dinner and intentionally buying more than they could eat in order to have food left over to take home, we quickly realized that we had too much food for the three of us. Even though all we had ordered was a bottle of wine, a salad and a plate of penne alla vodka, the wine was the only thing the three of us were able to finish. The salad and pasta could have easily fed 4-5 people instead of just the 3 of us that were there.

We knew that we would not be able to take the leftovers with us since we didn’t live nearby and we were heading from dinner to Joshua Tree in Murray Hill and no-one wants to head to the bar with a doggie-bag in hand. Mary came up with a wonderful idea during dinner — at the end of the meal, we should ask for a doggie-bag and give our leftovers to a homeless person on the street. At once I knew that I loved this idea and I wanted to do it. So once we could eat no more, we asked the waiter to please wrap up the remaining salad and pasta for us to take with us. After dinner, we left Carmine’s and headed for the subway to Grand Central Terminal. Since I take the train into GCT everyday, I knew that we’d be able to find someone in need of dinner right outside, and that’s what we did. When we were walking down 42nd street right in-front of the station, we passed a girl and guy, not much older than ourselves, looking rather glum and disheveled sitting on the sidewalk with their dog and a sign saying they would work for anything. You could tell they had been on the streets for a bit of time, but that they were sit somewhat new to being out there — or at least, that was my take on them. Once we passed them, I turned around and asked them if they would like our leftovers from dinner. They both looked up with relief across their faces. The girl’s face lit up and she responded very simply, “yes, please”.

Her very simple and polite response nearly made me cry. I am fortunate enough to not only have a roof over my head and food on my plate, but I also know that I will never need to think about they day I could end up on the street. I am blessed to know that there are enough people in my life that would take care of me if a reason ever arose in which I found myself homeless and/or hungry. As soon as she said yes, I placed the bag on the ground in front of them and their belongings and turned to continue walking. I was not looking for a thank you. Nor did I want to make it into a production and draw any unnecessary attention to these people who were just trying to survive.

Not only did this make me feel good because I know I did a good deed, but I have been trying to discern lately what I’m called to do and earlier this week I decided that I am called to serve others. The last three things listed on my bucket list are to make a difference in someone’s life, inspire someone and to be a good person. I have these all marked off as a “continual work in progress”as even if I do make a difference or inspire someone, I hope I can continue to do it and make an impact on someone else’s life. And doing a good deed doesn’t make you a good person, being a good person involves a sum of good deeds and actions done by someone over the entirety of their life…

Once I turned to keep walking, I noticed that almost everyone within 20-feet of me on the sidewalk had stopped to look at me. I wish I could say I don’t know why they looked shocked, but I know why. We don’t often enough see others doing kind actions to others. People in Manhattan don’t tend to take their leftovers with them to hand them out to a stranger. I want to change this. It’s not that hard. From now on, whenever I’m out in the city for dinner, I am going to ask to take any leftovers that I may have and give them to someone who most likely won’t have dinner otherwise. Maybe if you and I all start doing it, by the time I have kids they can learn to do this as well. And hopefully by the time that happens, they won’t have to turn around and have a sidewalk full of people staring at them with judgmental looks. Hopefully our generation can reinstitute chivalry and manners into society. Maybe if we can do that, we truly can make the world a better place…

Mary came to visit!

So today I didn’t exactly “travel”. My friend Mary flew out from Denver to visit for a week. Mary and I met while studying abroad in Ireland, details of that adventure can be found here. I spent last night on Long Island at my grandma’s house so I would be closed to JFK to get Mary since she flew in on the red eye. So I picked Mary up and we drove back to CT so she could shower and drop her stuff off at my house.

After that I took Mary on a mini drive through Ridgefield, I mean, what could I really show her besides Main Street? We grabbed breakfast at Steve’s then got coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts before heading to Goldens Bridge to get the train to the city. We spent all morning catching up, which wasn’t too much since we’ve kept in pretty good contact since we’ve been home from Ireland.

The first thing we did in the city was to go down to Wall Street. Mary’s in finance and it made me excited that she wanted to see the financial district (tell tale sign that I’m growing up? I think so). So we saw the NYSE, Trinity Church (commonly known as being the church from National Treasure), the Wall Street bull (which is actually at Bowling Green), Battery Park and Ground Zero. It was weird being at Ground Zero, especially since its in a state of disarray and in my opinion it looked more like something when there was still a pile of debris there, not a construction site that we have sitting there.

We then ventured a walk uptown to SoHo and were fortunate to beat the rain to our location. it started to drizzle a few blocks from where we were headed and we walked into SoHo Park maybe 30 seconds before it began to downpour. SoHo Park is a great little burger joint that is so reasonably priced; I suggest you all try it someday if you ever need a burger in the area.

Then we headed to midtown and took a walk down 5th Ave. we saw the Empire State building and I showed Mary where I work. After our little walk, we headed to Grand Central to take the subway up to the new Yankee Stadium. We were going to the game with another friend from Ireland, Tim, his girlfriend and some of their friends from home. We first went over to Billy’s before the game started and I must say, I rather liked the bar. It’s a great place for drinks near the stadium. Unfortunately the Yankees did lose on Thursday, but I had a good time nonetheless.

Not only was it my first time at the new stadium, but it was my first time taking the train home from the stadium. I was a bit skeptical of how well the whole system would work since I’m not on the Hudson line, but it was really easy and I have definitely found my new way to get to and from the stadium.

society as it drives me crazy

so this week i have decided that there are a few things that i really don’t get about people in society…

one, why don’t people understand how to use umbrellas without driving everyone else crazy? are golf umbrellas that could easily fit 3 people under them really necessary when it is barely drizzling? i understand that people want to use golf umbrellas instead of the little compact ones when it is pouring and you have a computer bag and everything else that you lug to work, but if you use one, then please know how to use it. watch where you are swinging your umbrellas when you use them. and watch where they are swinging when you are using your gold umbrella as a make shift cane because you really don’t have any other place for it, but please never carry it under your arm so it hits everyone when you take a step in any which direction. and if you have a golf umbrella and are 6′ 2″, then you can raise your umbrella the whole 3 inches so that you don’t hit my umbrella when i’m walking down the sidewalk.

why does everyone find it necessary to use elevators in the city? to get onto and off of the train track at my station, you need climb the stairs to get into the waiting area and then go down another set to get to the track. it’s really not that many stairs and it really bothers me to see people not use the stairs. i understand if you have a stroller, or if you are elderly, or if you have a bunch of bulky stuff or anything, but really, if you are not using the stairs for the mere fact that you are lazy and slightly overweight, please give me a break. really, if you used the stairs every once in a while, you could loose some of that weight and then the stairs wouldn’t be as difficult for you. it also bothers me that i work on the 8th floor and have to take an elevator every time i go to and from my office.  yes, 8 floors is enough to use an elevator. especially when you have to go to the lobby and into a different elevator well to get to the rest of our offices on the 26th floor, but it would be nice to be able to use stairs once in a while. and yes, there are stairs, it’d be illegal not to have some, but they are not easily accessible nor are they able to be used unless there is actually a fire. and if i really think about it, i don’t even know that there are stairs in most public buildings in the city, the only place i could even tell you there are stairs is grand central and any two story bars.

do you really not know that the blue bins with circular holes cut out on top are for recycling glass, plastic and cans, not for garbage? they say that it is for recycling on the bins. i mean, people get that those huge metal crate things in grand central that say “newspapers only” are for newspapers only. i hate watching people throw their random garbage out in recycling bins. do you not get that we all need to be more green? and when there are recycling bins available, can you not take an additional two steps to throw your soda bottle in there instead of in the garbage?