hurricane sandy

Thankful

Is it just me, or did Thanksgiving fly by?

Though the last few days were fleeting, they were filled with so many moments that reminded me how much I have to be grateful for. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family—and ate a ton of delicious food. And last night, my parents and I attended a benefit dinner for the family of two Hurricane Sandy victims in Staten Island. Though the occasion was sad, the event garnered a great turnout; it was truly wonderful and uplifting to see how many people came together to offer their support.

But the biggest highlight, for me, was dancing in another showcase at Ailey. This time, we performed the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” from the Nutcracker—my favorite number from the ballet and a piece I’ve always wanted to dance. I’m not in holiday mode yet, but the piece was the perfect way to kick off the season. And I was thrilled—and appreciative—that so many of my friends and family came out to watch. That, alone, made my Thanksgiving! (Thank you all! <3)

The “Waltz of the Snowflakes” never gets old—I’m surprisingly not sick of it, despite hearing it hundreds of times over the past few weeks. So I’m kicking off the holidays here, too, with a clip of the Royal Ballet performing it. (Just a tad better than we did. ;)) I’m always amused at their blonde wigs!

How was your holiday? I hope you have lots to be grateful for, as well!

A Gorgeous NYC Calendar (That Benefits Sandy Relief)

A NEW YORK CALENDAR TO RAISE FUNDS FOR SANDY RELIEF

It’s no secret how much I love my hometown. So I was thrilled when I came across this gorgeous 2013 calendar of NYC images, by Jenna Park, a Brooklyn-based designer. The photos are just breathtaking. I love their dreamy feel and how they represent a variety of local places.

In a very nice gesture, 30% of proceeds of calendars purchased this month will go to NYC organizations that are aiding Hurricane Sandy victims. Now that’s definitely a reason to feel good about buying one now—especially since parts of the city are still struggling with the aftermath.

And while I’m on the topic of Sandy: Tragically, a friend of our family was one of the hurricane’s victims. Jeffrey Chanin was a retired NYPD sergeant who was killed when a tree fell through his house the night of the storm. He leaves behind a wife and four children. If you’re interested in making a donation to the family, it can be sent to The Chanin Family Fund, P.O. Box 739, PearlВ River, NY 10965.

(Image via Sweet Find Day, found via A Cup of Jo)

Off to Atlantic City!

atlantic city

I’m headed out of town for the first time in a few weeks—to Atlantic City for a friend’s bachelorette party. (Congrats, Lauren!!!)

AfterВ Hurricane Sandy hit, I’d heard the area suffered a lot of damage. The news kept showing scary images of flooded streets and a ravaged boardwalk. But since then, I’ve learned that while parts of the boardwalk and municipality were, sadly, destroyed, other areas escaped largely unscathed—including the main (i.e. touristy) part of the boardwalk and many hotels, like the Revel, where we’ll be staying.

But the area has taken a hit, financially. Atlantic City has lost an estimated $55 million in tourism from the hurricane, according to the Wall Street Journal, a combination of the casinos having to close during and after the storm, and from people canceling their plans to visit because they believed there was widespread destruction.

Now that I know the city isn’t in ruins, I’m excited to have a fun, celebratory weekend there—especially since it’ll really support the community. I know they could use it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Photo via Metro SHU)

NOLA to New York

While we’re on the topic of the kindness of strangers after Hurricane Sandy, here’s another example that gave me the warm-fuzzies. Andy Kopsa currently lives in NYC but once called New Orleans home. She was in New Orleans this past week when Hurricane Sandy hit and left her unable to return to the Big Apple. While waiting and worrying about her husband, friends and city, she created “NOLA to New York,” a Tumbler where Katrina survivors offer hope and words of wisdom to New Yorkers.

As Andy describes it:

Who better than the people of New Orleans to talk to the people of NYC right now. They know, they lived through Katrina. They are still living with it seven years later.

Each entry features a New Orleans resident’s tale of living through Katrina and a photo of him or her holding a sign with a handwritten message to New Yorkers.

A few of my favorites:

it's not about the material things

inner strength

be resilient

Have a safe and dry weekend!

(Images via NOLA to New York)

The Kindness of Strangers

It’s been days since Hurricane Sandy hit, but we’re still feeling the effects of it, here in NYC. Downtown Manhattan and many other neighborhoods are still dark. Mal and Peter and lots of my friends and co-workers are still without power and hot water. And, very tragically, one of the storm’s victims was a friend of the family and another was a friend’s former classmate—which has made this event all the more sad.

As for me, I was definitely one of the lucky ones. Sure, I wasВ cooped up in my apartmentВ for a few days, trying not to go stir crazy. But I never lost power, hot water, cell phone service or the internet—so I really have nothing to complain about.

Throughout all this, I was touched by the ways New Yorkers helped each other out—like in the photo below. I heard many stories of friends who opened their apartments to others and offered showers, dinner, flashlights and electricity to those who’ve been going without.

free power

I had a moment of my own yesterday, when a stranger’s words made my day and helped me forget my hurricane-related stress. Since buses were running in Manhattan, I felt that I had to go to work, despite the fact that I live way uptown on the west side, not anywhere near my midtown east office. Plus, I wanted to get out of my apartment. So in the morning, I boarded a bus and hoped for the best.

I walked into my office 4 hours later.

Traffic was insane. I stood for hours and listened to episodes of “This American Life” as the bus crawled through Harlem; we spent more than an hour going from west to east on 110th Street, alone. At 86th and 5th, I finally gave up and walked the home stretch to 50th and 3rd.

I was fried from that commute. The thought of having the same experience going home was so daunting that I decided to go to ballet and head back late, after rush hour was over. It turned out to be a good plan. At 10:30 p.m., I was tired, hungry and worried about how long it would take to go the 130 blocks home, but I managed to squeeze onto a packed bus. The driver was super-nice and, at every stop, implored everyone to move back so he wouldn’t have to “leave any New Yorker behind.” At one point, I scored a coveted seat, but then gave it up when I saw an older gentleman and his female companion get on.

While I stood next to their seats, the woman turned to me and said, “I would be happy to take your bag on my lap. It looks so heavy!” And then, when she saw that it was full of ballet stuff, she asked if I was a dancer at the Met.

I declined her offer but was so touched by her kindness (not to mention flattered that I’d been mistaken for a professional ballet dancer) that I was smiling for the rest of my trip home—which included waiting in the cold for another bus, dealing with a very not-nice driver who cursed at every rider who got on, unexpectedly being dropped off at 135th Street when that driver decided he was done for the night, waiting for another bus, then finally giving up and hailing a gypsy cab that almost got into a fight with another gypsy cab who bumped our car.

It’s amazing how powerful a few unexpected, kind words are.

How have you weathered the storm? I hope you stayed safe and dry. And if you were affected, my thoughts are with you.

(Photo by Velojoy via SwissMiss)

Housebound

rainy day

Like millions of others along the east coast, I’m housebound today—and probably the next few days, too—thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

It’s crazy windy now, but I’m still hoping that this storm won’t be as bad as predicted. I don’t want anyone to be in danger, or for any places to get destroyed. (Though, it doesn’t look too good for Atlantic City and the Maryland coast, where Mal used to live right now…)

And on a more selfish note, I don’t know how many days I can last in my apartment without going stir-crazy!В I don’t deal well with excessive amounts of downtime. I’ve already cleaned my entire apartment, washed all my dirty clothing, worked from home, chatted with friends and family on the phone and on gchat, read (I’m really sucked into this book right now) and baked a huge (healthy-ish) mac and cheese. I’m not sure how many more things I can come up with to do tomorrow.

Though I suppose there is an optimistic way to look at it:

monday frankenstorm

But in all seriousness, stay safe and dry! And if you have any book or movie recommendations, or other ways to beat housebound-boredom, please let me know. рџ™‚

(Top photo via The Little Hermitage via Pinterest; bottom photo via someecards)