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Considering how much of my life is spent at work, it’s kind of funny that I’ve never done a post about what my office looks like. Whenever I’m invited by other sites to share my workspace, I feel a little bit disingenuous sending in pictures of my desks at the house and (former) apartment. I mean, truthfully: The “office” at the house has become Evan’s music studio, and we don’t even pretend to call anything at the current apartment an office, unless you’re counting the sofa, which is where I do all of my blogging. No, my work happens in an office-office, one with bad industrial carpeting and a dropped acoustic ceiling and fluorescent lights and all of the other stuff nobody is particular interested in looking at pictures of.

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Last summer, after 15 years spent working in the same spot in the same building (with most of the same awesome people), the entire art department was moved up one floor. Same building, same corner, but 20 feet higher. Aside from the joy that came from sifting through 15 years of accumulated junk and throwing away 75% of it, I decided to commit myself to turning my new workspace into a place I like to walk into every day.

I don’t have an office with walls. All of the designers in my department sit in a big, open room—that was our choice. We like to be able to talk, and we like to have tons of light. The light, of course, is the best thing about this office—it’s a landmarked building (one of the original art deco Rockefeller Center structures, completed in 1939), and that includes the enormous, steel-framed windows. Windows that open, mind you, though I don’t necessary recommend doing that on a windy day when you’re 14 flights up!

Anyway, because I work in an open room with other people (and other people’s stuff), It’s a little tricky to take pictures that show all of my space. I promise I do actually have a computer and a chair and a phone…and a very full inbox.

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I don’t think there’s any way to fight generic office blah other than with bright colors and things that make you happy every time you look at them. “Elegance” is tough to pull off in this kind of environment, and I don’t even bother trying.

Over in this corner, I have an Alexander Girard PLYprint (these were issued by Columbia Forest Products in 2009, and sadly discontinued very sooner after), a bent-plywood “Clouds” clock from my own K IS FOR BLACK shop, a bootleg Andy Warhol poster (more on that in a minute), a letter A print from Ferm Living, and a vintage bus roll that I found at Three Potato Four.

So yeah, the Andy Warhol poster! Hah. If you read Scandinavian design blogs and frequent Swedish real estate websites, then you know that these Warhol posters—part of a series of reprints from a 1968 exhibit at Moderna Museet—are apparently issued to all Swedes along with their birth certificates. In the US, however, it’s next to impossible to get your mitts on one! I had dreams of buying one when I was in Stockholm, but the closest I was able to get to Moderna Museet was taking a longing photo from a window in a building next door.

So I decided to be a loser jerk and make my own. The real thing wouldn’t have fit in this spot anyway, and since the sentiment is pretty much the most perfect thing to be on a book cover designer’s wall, it had to happen. I knew what font they used for the poster, so…OK I’M ASHAMED. A little. But it’s not like I’m going to sell them (and no, I won’t send you the digital file), and if I ever do have the opportunity to buy a real, full-size one from Moderna Museet, I definitely will. Then I’ll hang that one in in my house, and keep the bootleg miniature at work.

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This part of my desk is usually completely covered with book cover comps, but I had to move them all out of frame since they’re for titles that haven’t been approved yet. The work you see there is what became the hand-lettering for this book (just approved yesterday, yay!). My vintage Snoopy came from Three Potato Four, and the snake mug…

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I LOVE MY SNAKE MUG!!! If you’re a fan of Craig Ferguson (and you should be), then you know Craigy is never without his trusty rattlesnake mug. I bought mine on eBay, and it’s identical to Craig’s—with the exception of the gold tooth, of course, which is a Late Late Show props department customization. (Weirdly enough, the snake mug sold by the CBS store is clearly not the same one Craig uses, which confuses me—but I’ll drop this subject now since I suspect it’s not very interesting to anyone but me…)

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Photo by Ali Goldstein/NBC

In case you ever wondered if 30 Rock was filmed on location, the answer is YES, unquestionably! Every time they showed Liz Lemon’s office, I had to smile at the 1930s radiator covers—the same ones are in every office throughout all of the old Rockefeller Center buildings. Same old windows, too.

I put those raindrops on my filing cabinet a few years ago, and they still make me happy. They’re just cut out of white paper with adhesive on the back, nothing fancy. The chair is an Arne Jacobsen Series 7 in a discontinued, terrifying shade of acid green that I love. I found it in the hallway in a storage pile during a company-wide office cleanout years ago, and I grabbed it. It still belongs to the company, of course, but I like having it in my area. The cute raindrop pillow and the triangle wall stickers are from Ferm Living.

I suspect I may be the only person working here with their own rug. It’s the same Nate Burkus Arrowhead rug (discontinued, alas) that I have in my dressing room, but in a smaller size. I would’ve gone bigger, but then my rolling chair would be getting caught on it. Office carpet is almost always a depressing thing, so it’s nice to have a tiny corner of happy floor covering to take the edge off. The bird hanging in the window is an Icelandic Krummi (raven) coat hanger designed by Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir.

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of this view! My window overlooks 6th Avenue, and I’ve been documenting what I see out there during every season for the past 16 years. Here’s a compilation of some from 2013…

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BOOKS! I can’t keep every book I’ve designed, obviously, but I hang on to the ones that are in series—multiple titles by the same author—since I often need to refer back to them later. (If you’re interested in seeing some of the covers I’ve worked on, I have a portfolio site.) Speaking of which, I have strict rules about books at this point. I don’t take ANYTHING home with me from work unless I really, really want to read it. I’ve already read most of what I worked on when it was in the manuscript stage, and if I start taking home every book that catches my eye (and there really are books EVERYWHERE when you work at a publishing company—it’s amazing), there will be no more room for people or dogs in my house. I cracked down about 10 years ago, and I’m glad. I love love love books, and (contrary to the Warhol quote) I really do love to read a whole lot, but there are limits.

And on that note, it’s FRIDAY, and I’m outta here! Have a great weekend!

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I swear I’m getting closer to having my second Stockholm post finished up (I edited my photos down from 2000+ to 66! Progress!), but in the mean time, here are some really stupid boots I bought! OK, they’re actually not stupid at all, but since I can hear the creak of eyeballs rolling out of their sockets right now, I might as well acknowledge that they do appear to be the footwear choice of complete idiots.

If you (a) live in New York, (b) following someone who lives in New York on any form of social media, or (c) live in the US and own a computer or a television, then you are probably aware that we’ve had a whole lot of snowstorms here this winter. None of them have been devastatingly huge individually, but the sum total has been…well, it’s been exhausting, even for an avowed snow-lover like myself. Sanitation trucks can’t fit down the streets with alternate side parking suspended, so there are trash bags frozen to the sidewalk layered with snow and ice and more trash bags and snow with cigarettes and coffee cups on top (for garnish). Trash bag parfaits, if you will. It’s disgusting. It’s also tough to navigate the massive slush puddles* at every corner and the ice-encrusted streets, especially with wind and snow whipping at your cheeks and eyes.

*Bill Cunningham’s photo essay of men attempting to jump slush puddles is fantastic.

Anyway, yesterday it hit 51°F, and all of these giant hills of snow started melting with a vengeance, creating rivers of salt-brine and filth. And you know what? I was PREPARED. I was prepared because last weekend, in a fit of madness after discovering that my decade-old, much-loved brown Frye boots were apparently starting to dissolve from constant exposure to salt and snow, I ordered a pair of rain boots. Super-ridiculous high-heeled rain boots, mind you—Sorel Medina Rain Heels, to be precise. Short review: They are AWESOME.

I have a pair of serious snow boots that I wear when I’m upstate, but wearing them in the city is kind of silly. They’re overkill, and I wind up avoiding wearing them because my feet get hot and I don’t feel like dealing with changing in and out of them at the office (and carrying shoes with me, etc.). I don’t find regular rain boots comfortable enough to walk in for long distances, and again, I don’t really want to sit around in them at work all day long. Basically, if I can’t wear a pair of shoes from the time I leave my apartment to when I come home at night, they’re just going to sit in the closet.

The difference with these Sorel boots is they look like regular footwear, yet are totally waterproof (aside from the gusset, they’re completely rubber—even the heel is rubber-wrapped) and have excellent traction on the soles. I walked across patches of ice, went down slushy subway stairs, and stepped in deep puddles, and my feet and ankles felt steady and stable the whole time. No sliding, no slipping. (Funnily enough, the only time I had an issue was in my office, where the rubber soles skidded on the flat carpet and I almost tripped.) Because the shoe has a hidden platform, the heel height doesn’t actually feel very high—it’s comparable to walking around in my favorite boots in the whole world.* I’ve only walked about two sidewalk miles in them so far, but I don’t doubt that I could spend a whole day on my feet in them, just like I can in my Leslies.

*For some horrible reason, Frye has discontinued the Leslie Zip Booties! Tragic. They are the best boots. You can still get them on sale in a few sizes on Amazon, though. Sigh.

I have no doubt that these guys are going to become my go-to footwear every time it’s wet outside, regardless of the season. We get a lot of rain in New York, and I’ve gotta stop killing my leather boots—which I expect to have and wear for decades—by constantly subjecting them weather conditions they’re not designed for. High-heeled rubber rain boots, welcome to my world. Let the people laugh at us, I don’t care. I hope to get many years of use out of you!

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If you’re going to be in New York City this weekend and you are a man, someone who knows a man, or a lady who (like me) wears men’s clothing, might I suggest you attend this year’s Pop Up Flea? Every December I somehow manage to miss it — either I’m upstate or I’m being lazy or I forget. Not this time! I am there.

Now in its 7th year, the Pop Up Flea is weekend-long indoor sale focused on new and vintage menswear. Some of my favorite handmakers and vendors from all over the country are going to be there this year, including my friend Matt from Wood & Faulk, Three Potato Four, Field Notes, Steven Alan, The Hill-Side and Ursa Major. It’s being held in SoHo at 82 Mercer, which is a pretty mind-bogglingly gorgeous space. I freely admit that half the reason I like going to events in NYC is getting to see the inside of fancy buildings.

Evan is a pretty snappy dresser (I’ve actually been encouraging him to start a men’s fashion blog — he should definitely do it, right??), and I’m sure he’s going to go nuts looking at all of the nicely-made button down shirts and heavyweight jeans. I don’t really like shopping for women’s clothing (that’s a major understatement…), but I love looking at men’s stuff and I love watching Evan shop. This is going to be a fun weekend!

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Photos via Pop Up Flea’s Instagram / Pigeon banner by Three Potato Four

When I was out in San Francisco over the summer, I went to visit Makeshift Society, the clubhouse/coworking space for creative people that Rena (who I totally want to be when I grow up), Victoria and Suzanne opened up last year. It’s a really, really cool space, and it immediately made me feel envious of the people who get to hang out (and, you know, work) there. A large part of the reason why I prefer working in an office environment over being at home on my sofa is that for all my anti-social tendencies, I really do thrive in the company of other likeminded people.

At Makeshift Society SF, a really nice little coworking community has come together. Aside from desk space, there’s a kitchen, a private conference room, a book lending library, bikes…even a loft space for napping if the need arises, something I often wish for at my own job. They offer classes of all kinds, too! (Seriously, look at that schedule — I want to take them ALL.)

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Photo by Makeshift Society member Sarah Deragon

See what a nice place this is to sit and work? So nice. But also really, really far from Brooklyn. But guess what? MAKESHIFT SOCIETY IS COMING TO BROOKLYN! The Makeshift team has joined up with Bryan Boyer (who wears really nice shirts), and they’ve rented an amazing (and HUGE!) space in Williamsburg to call home. In addition to all of the great stuff that’s going on in San Francisco, the Brooklyn location will be expanded to include a lending library of all kinds of tools, from cameras to sewing machines to editing software.

And yes, there will be CLASSES! And a maker-in-residence program! It’s going to be great. Even though I work in an office, I’m really looking forward to becoming a part of Makeshift’s classes and events, and maybe even sneaking some evening freelance hours in there as well.

In order to get the whole operation up and running by early 2014, Makeshift is running a Kickstarter campaign to get things off the ground successfully. These folks know what they’re doing and how to make shi(f)t happen, but they need a helping hand. The AMAZING news is that they just crossed their funding goal (!!!), but you can absolutely still donate some bucks for the next 24 hours…even if you don’t live in Brooklyn.

Check out the plans for the space below, take a look at the details on the Kickstarter page, and watch the video at the top of this post. Then maybe go fork over a few clams! We’re down to the very last day of funding, so get in there while you can.

p.s. There are great incentive rewards being offered when you donate, like punchcards for classes or a really nice tote bag designed by Lisa Congdon. (Yeah, that’s what I chose — you know I’m all about tote bags.)

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Top to bottom, left to right…

✚ I’ve been meeting my father for weekly lunches when time permits. We have great conversations, mostly about art and design theory. I do a lot of listening and try to learn as much I can. I walk away from every lunch thinking about something in a way I’d never considered before. A side bonus of our lunches is that I’ve started walking to parts of Manhattan I don’t usually have any reason to go to. I love 7th Ave above 50th St.

✚ Oh, Bruno. This guy has a super-short haircut right now, and he looks über cute. (That pillow is made by Nell & Mary in Portland. It was a gift from Jen.)

✚ Did you know Van Leeuwen has coconut/cocoa butter-based VEGAN ice cream now? Yup. Bourbon & Tahitian Vanilla and Michel Cluizel Chocolate…and they’re working on more flavors. Their Brooklyn location is right outside my subway stop, so I have to resist getting a cone every single day!

✚ My walk to the subway in the morning usually takes me down Bergen Street. When I was making this same walk ten years ago, the block between Court and Smith didn’t have much going on. Now there’s 61 Local, The Invisible Dog (pictured), Recession Art, RAD’s Beam Center

✚ I don’t need this t-shirt, but maybe you do? It’s at Aritzia. You’re welcome.

✚ I cut my bangs at an angle again. It’s always the late, sleepless nights when I start cutting my own hair. I should do it more often. (That cocoon is from RVCA, and it’s super-comfy. Too warm for this time of the year, but I’m not letting that stop me.)

✚ My dear friend Roger is in town! One of the nicest things about living in New York is that all of your friends (well, almost all of them) wind up visiting eventually.

✚ I forgot how much I love Schiller’s Liquor Bar. I know it’s fake-old and manufactured romance, but it’s beautiful all the same. Even the bathroom is perfection. They make a mean Pimm’s cup, too. (Fellow vegan-eaters, don’t be put off by the menu! Order the roasted cauliflower with a side of broccoli rabe, and maybe also a side of fries for good measure. They know what they’re doing!)

✚ I don’t drive, but if I did, I’d like to drive this. My parents had a VW Microbus when I was kid, and I’ve always thought old VW are really cool-looking. This orange one is parked outside of these two wood-frame houses on Dean Street that I’m always ogling. I know vines are bad for houses, but they sure do make for a pretty picture.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

My first apartment — rented when I moved off-campus after my sophomore year of college — was not in New York City. It was in Yonkers, a city often (wrongly) assumed to be part of NYC, probably because of Neil Simon. It is true that if I walked out of my apartment on McLean Avenue and crossed the street, I’d officially be in the Bronx, but my heart knew I was technically in Westchester County. It wasn’t until I finished school a couple of years later that I finally got myself to Brooklyn. My dad, who lived on the Upper East Side and on Staten Island when I was a kid, had moved back to Manhattan by then. Aside from Coney Island, Brooklyn was still mostly uncharted territory for me. A couple of my brothers were living in Cobble Hill, and I’d visited each of their apartments exactly once before deciding I wanted to live in the same neighborhood. If I’m being honest, there was one particular thing about the house on Henry Street I wound up moving into that really got me excited: It was a block and a half away from Cammareri Bros., the bakery for which Nicolas Cage and Danny Aiello’s characters in Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck (Ronny and Johnny Cammareri, of course) are named and in the basement oven-room of which Cher first meets her “wolf without a foot.”

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(“Now” photo via Google Earth)

Yes, Cammareri Bros. was a real bakery! It closed down soon after I moved to the neighborhood and later reopened in a different location, and the space (along with its next door neighbor, formerly the Little Chatter Box Beauty Salon) has since been occupied by a series of cafés, currently Maybelle’s, who, it’s worth mentioning, make a mean tofu scramble and an even meaner iced coffee. Both the interior and exterior are still pretty much the same as in the Cammareri days, and a portion of the old bakery sign is displayed inside. If you go, make sure you look at the floor when you first walk in — an inlay of the letters “NC” (for Nicolo Cammareri, who opened the bakery in 1921) remain in the old terrazzo floor.

EDIT: While checking on the spelling of his name, I came across Nicolo Cammareri’s 1940 US Census record. Pretty neat, right? 206 Sackett is the address of the side entrance, which leads to the apartments above. Also interesting that he had a daughter named Grace — there was an elderly Italian woman on my block named Grace. She used to sign for packages for me when I was at work, and she had a Frank Sinatra shrine in her apartment. She passed away around 2000. If she was born in 1915 like the census record indicates, that would have put her in her mid-80s when I lived there. I wonder if she was Nicolo Cammareri’s daughter! Further investigation needed…

The first time I saw Moonstruck was 25 years ago, with my mother, in a movie theater in Kingston. I was 12 years old. I remember loving it, naturally, but I mostly remember the specifics of the night because my mother’s car got a flat tire when we were driving back to Rhinebeck after the movie. Another thing that sticks in my mind from that first viewing is the breakfast Olympia Dukakis prepared:

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I had never seen anything like that before, but it looked so delicious. I asked my mother to recreate the dish at home, and up until I stopped eating eggs a few years ago, it remained a breakfast favorite for me. For all these years I’d assumed it was an Italian dish, but Googling tells me it’s usually either called “eggs in a hole” or “eggs in a basket,” and everyone everywhere knows what it is — except for Swedes and Jews, apparently, because I’m quite sure it would never have been a part of my life without that scene in Moonstruck. (As an aside, I see that V.K.Rees has come up with a recipe for vegan-friendly eggless eggs in a basket, which I will definitely have to try out ASAP.)

In the years since that first viewing, I’d guess I’ve seen Moonstruck at least 30 times in part or full. Beyond its Brooklyn-ness, it’s just a fantastic movie. I’m sure I don’t need to convince you of that, though, because pretty much every human alive has seen it. (And if for some crazy reason you haven’t, it’s on HBO GO right now. You can also rent it from Amazon Instant. It’s not on Netflix, of course, because nothing you want to watch is ever on Netflix.) Aside from Cher’s old face and Nicolas Cage’s old hairline, I’ve always had this fixation with the kitchen in the Castorini family house — which, if you ever want to take a Moonstruck walking tour, is located at 19 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights, about a mile from formerly-Cammareri’s. For years I’ve carried around a mental picture of its soft green hues, vintage subway tiles and the overall feeling of a family gathering place. Today I decided to watch the movie again specifically for the kitchen, and to finally take some screen captures.

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Two things I noticed for the first time when I was taking the screen captures were the painted-over cabinet hardware and the laminate countertops, neither of which are hallmarks of gorgeous vintage kitchens, but are indicative of the fact that this movie was filmed in an actual family home, and not on a set built for a movie. The same goes for that flocked vinyl tablecloth on the kitchen table. I guess I just overlooked that stuff the first 29 times I watched the movie! Regardless, the kitchen is beautiful, and it’s full of life. And that tile!! Ahhh, the tile. It doesn’t come through in the captures, but it’s covered with cracks and crazing. 19 Cranberry was built in 1829 so it’s not original to the house (tiled kitchens didn’t become standard until the Victorian era), but it’s clearly very old. The house sold in 2008 for nearly $4 million, and thankfully the listing photos don’t show the kitchen — I don’t think I could bear to find out if it had been gutted.

(Or you know, to discover the whole thing was actually shot on a soundstage in Toronto. Shhhhhh.)

Meanwhile, back at Cammareri Bros.…

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In the movie, Ronny’s apartment is above the bakery. The entrance was on the Sackett Street side of the building, to the right of the stairs that led to the basement ovens. I’m almost positive that’s where the apartment interior was actually filmed. I have a distant memory of a friend who used to live in the neighborhood telling me so. Judging by the position of the windows and the color of the façades visible across the street, I’m guessing it’s on the second floor of the building, with the living room facing Henry Street. In any case, this is pretty much exactly what a classic pre-war Brooklyn apartment has always looked like in my mind. Ironically, the closest I’ve ever come to finding a rental apartment in this kind of vintage condition was my first place in Yonkers! I love the beadboard, the pressed-tin in the kitchen and the moldings on the walls. And that old refrigerator with its non-safety handle, just waiting to trap small children inside when it gets put out for trash…sigh. Also, I don’t know if this is intentional, but I love that the color of the Vespa (used for storing books!) is the same as the cabinets in the Castorini kitchen.

I wonder who lives in this apartment now, and if it still looks like this. I hope so. Yesterday I stood outside the entrance for a little while, waiting to see if anyone would come out. Not that I would’ve said anything to them, but you know…just to see. Now that I live in the neighborhood again, I can do all the Moonstruck-stalking I want.

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It doesn’t snow much in the lower half of New York state anymore, so every time we do get an actual snowstorm here with a decent amount of accumulation it’s a cause for excitement! We got about a foot over the weekend, and it was beautiful in Brooklyn. Despite my never-ending bronchial unhappiness, I forced myself outside for a bit. To the dogs’ disappointment, I forced them to come along, too. Every year I somehow convince myself that Fritz and Bruno are real dogs and that they want to play in the snow just like all of the other happy dogs I see frolicking around in the stuff and having a blast.

Well, Fritz and Bruno are not real dogs, and they do not want to play in the snow. They don’t even want to walk on a wet sidewalk. After about 2 minutes, they were both wet and dirty and crying and shaking. Sigh. So, back inside…where they were both immediately subjected to baths, another thing they both hate. They spent the next 24 hours sleeping off the trauma, which is a whole hour longer than they usually sleep each day.

Meanwhile, Evan and I are packing up our apartment and getting ready to move to the new place on Friday! Evan found this company called Jugglebox that rents out reusable, stackable moving boxes. They delivered them (disinfected!) to our current apartment, and they’ll come pick them up from the new place in two weeks. Very cool. Quite a step up from our last move, which we (very stupidly) did entirely with IKEA bags and at the expense of Daniel’s youthful energy. Never again.

WE ARE SO EXCITED TO MOVE. Really. It’s going to be so good. I can’t wait to get in there and take pictures—it’s such a cool space with so much potential. In the mean time, I’ll be taking a million photos from the rooftop view we’re giving up!

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Winsome Brave Equilateral Nails

I’ve been meaning to blog about these gorgeous bronze Equilateral Nails for a while now, but now that I’ve finally gone ahead and ordered a box for myself, I have to mention them! They come from Winsome Brave, a Brooklyn-based design studio founded by Valerie Gnaedig and Annie Lenon. And they have triangular heads (the nails, not Valerie and Annie).

Winsome Brave Equilateral Nails

It probably goes without saying that these nails aren’t the kind you’d use for building furniture, but rather to use in place of a hook or pin to hang something on the wall in an extra-fancy way. I’m not sure what I’m going to use mine for, but I’m betting it’s going to involve a black wall and some necklaces! Right now my tiny collection of jewelry is just in a bowl in my bedside table, and I avoid wearing necklaces because I don’t feel like having to deal with detangling them.

Such pretty, special little things!

We arrived in Brooklyn late last night after getting word that electricity had been restored to our apartment building. The elevators were still out which meant we had a long hike up to the 9th floor, but the relief of being back in NYC was worth it. I don’t want to be away right now.

This afternoon we headed out to drop off supplies for Sandy victims. The situation in the outer boroughs, where people—many of them elderly and immobile or financially unable to relocate—are living without heat and with a diminishing food supply, is becoming increasingly dire as temperatures drop. 20,000 of the 40,000 New York City residents expected to be displaced by Sandy are public housing residents. You may have heard that there is a gas shortage in NYC right now as a result of the storm (there are waits at open gas stations of 4–5 hours, and many stations are closed because they don’t have power), but aside from the resulting transportation issues that have been reported on, people are now unable to power generators. The disparity between recovery efforts in downtown Manhattan and in Queens and Long Island is dramatic. There are people in danger who need help NOW.

My friend Jenna has written a compelling post at Sweet Fine Day about the devastation she’s seen first hand, and what she and others have been doing to help. She has also compiled a GREAT list of local organizations that are providing direct assistance to those effected by the hurricane—donations to the Red Cross aren’t bringing relief fast enough. If you would like to help, please consider giving to one of these groups. Even if you can’t contribute, I urge you to read Jenna’s post—it paints a much truer picture of what’s going on here right now than anything you’ll see on CNN.

UPDATE:
Occupy Sandy has set up a registry through Amazon to facilitate the donation of the most-needed supplies in a very simple way. If you are not in NYC and would like to help, this is a great way to do it. Occupy Sandy volunteers are making daily deliveries to priority response areas. THANK YOU!

If you’re in DUMBO, Gleason’s Gym and Superfine—both on Front Street—are accepting donations of blankets (the most-needed item!), coats, water, non-perishable food, batteries, trash bags, diapers and other supplies on-site. Donated items will be delivered directly to those in need in outer-borough areas affected by Sandy.

The community effort I saw today in DUMBO is really heartening. A lot of small, independent businesses took a real beating from the storm, and ground-floor apartments (including the ones in my building) were destroyed. Those who fared well are helping out those who didn’t by making their showers, food, water and electricity available. Clean-up efforts and fundraisers are in full swing. DUMBO has the benefit of being an area that attracts a lot of tourists, so I’m hopeful that people will continue to visit! There are a lot of tech-industry and creative jobs in DUMBO as well, and the sooner those people can get back to work, the better. The DUMBO Improvement District site has info how to donate specifically to the businesses who suffered the greatest losses.

Damage and recovery at my favorite book store, powerHouse Arena. There were piles of water-logged, destroyed books on the sidewalk outside. I took a photo, but I can’t bring myself to post it…

One Girl Cookies is closed indefinitely due to extensive damage. Today they opened a pop-up shop a local children’s clothing store.

Galapagos Art Space was completely flooded, but managed to reopen yesterday after a massive clean-up effort. The before and after photos are amazing!

Jane’s Carousel survived in spite of the water that crept under the bottom of its enclosure. It’ll be a while before it’s operational again as the underground electrics were flooded under 5 feet of water, but the horses are fine.

✚ DUMBO is a really popular destination for wedding photos (barely a day goes by when I don’t see a bride or two posing outside my building), and it was nice to see that tradition continuing today. DUMBO will be just fine.

This is the final set of photos I took before leaving Brooklyn last night. Our building in DUMBO is still off-limits per the FDNY—extensive flooding everything on the lower levels means must be completely rebuilt and inspected by ConEd before the power can be restored and residents can move back in. Our apartment is on the 9th floor and was thankfully unaffected, but the apartments at ground level were destroyed. We were allowed back in to retrieve belongings (and empty the refrigerator!), but we have no idea when the building will be habitable again.

We are, of course, very fortunate to have our house up in Newburgh in addition to the apartment, so that’s where we are now. We brought Jen from Honey Kennedy (currently visiting from Portland—possibly the worst “vacation” ever!) along with us, and everything is really fine up here. There are some downed trees and the waterfront restaurants were flooded, but it seems the Hudson Valley was spared the damage that affected New York City, New Jersey and other points south. We weren’t so lucky up here during Irene! Metro-North trains aren’t running yet (nor are subways between Manhattan and Brooklyn), so I have no way to get to work from Newburgh. It’s strange to feel so immobile.

I took these photos on the apartment roof deck last night at around 8PM—worth climbing 10 flights of stairs in the dark to take them. It’s so strange to see the lower Manhattan skyline so dark—the only lights are those powered by generators. When I walked down to the street level, I noticed that the Empire State Building was perfectly framed—and perfectly illuminated—beneath the Manhattan Bridge. I’m such a cynical person by nature, but I’d be lying if I said the sight didn’t put a lump in my throat.

Now that I’ve caught up on news and have seen the complete devastation that’s occurred in in areas like Breezy Point in the Rockaways and Seaside Heights on the Jersey shore, I feel even more grateful to have escaped without harm. Having to wait for electricity and trains is nothing next to people who have lost everything, including their homes.

PREVIOUSLY:
Waiting for Sandy (Sunday mid-afternoon)
Still waiting (Monday, early afternoon)
Sandy, during (Monday, 6:00–8:30PM)