Second Hand Rose

The Lower East Side Conservancy Tour‘s meeting site, “the former Yiddish Arts Theater (now a multiplex)” is Second Avenue in a nutshell. And while the tour of the Jewish Rialto is one I’ve wanted to do for about three years, it felt even more timely in light of the recent fire.

The arts & culture of the neighborhood was the draw of this tour for me, but in the end it was the architecture & history that I found just as appealing and intriguing. The tour began at the aforementioned former Yiddish Arts Theater. The 2000+ version of Joni Mitchell’s Taxi appears to be “they tore down paradise and put up a multiplex.” Or in NYC, a Chase Bank or a Duane Reade. On this half mile of Second Avenue alone that applied to:

  • the Yiddish Arts Theater
  • the original Second Avenue Deli
  • the Filmore East, among other theaters in that building

I fear the same may ultimately true of the vacant lots formerly known as 119-123 2nd Avenue.

The buildings and stories I found most interesting along the tour were:

  • the former Loew’s Commodore, later the Filmore East. “The neighborhood died hard: drugs, thugs, murders and so did the Fillmore. It will live forever in my memory.” The Apple Bank that now stands there was closed today, but I’m definitely going back when it’s open to see the ghosts. I truly wonder if the Lower East Side/East Village has undergone more change than any in the city
  • the Saul Birns building, the site of Ratner’s 2nd Avenue (history and Delancey ties here). Although I’m an NYU grad, I’m glad they  didn’t win that battle. More on the man here and the building here.
  • the Community Synagogue, former St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church whose congregation was decimated in the Slocum Disaster but which partially lives on in Yorkville. While this is generally considered to be an unknown disaster despite being the largest loss of life until 9/11, I was familiar with it. I don’t recall where I learned about it, but I’ve thought about it in the last few years since I moved to Yorkville and walk past the “new” church nearly daily. I was pleased to find the plaque a few weeks ago when I discovered the Community Synagogue. After the tour, I walked to Tompkins Square Park in part to see its memorial to the sinking (easy to miss) as well as to cross it off my NYC Bucket List. For some reason it retained its 1980s status in my brain. Nope, oasis definitely fits

Oh and the blog’s title. She and Sophie Kalish aka Sophie Tucker, the Last of the Red Hot Mammas.

Everyone knows that I’m just Second Hand Rose
From Second Avenue

Q1 #GoTheDist in the books

so… remember that mileage I planned to pick up in April or May or maybe Q3? I did. In March!

My March totals:

  • 365,682 steps
  • 151.93 miles walked
  • 64.55 miles biked

HoLY SHIT. This is my best month ever and one of only two above 350K steps. That was about 11,800 steps/day and included 31 straight days (27 Feb-29 March) in which I hit 10K+ each day. While I fizzled out the last two days, 13K today is a good start to April /Q2. I ended up a little short on the bike, but I’m OK with that.

Q1 totals:

  • 927,589 steps
  • 384.45 miles walked
  • 221.53 miles biked

Yep, I exceeded my revised bike goal even with falling short in March. I hit 102.52% of my #GoTheDist mileage goal and I like being at par/slight cushion going into two less than ideal for walking months (travel). Very proud of myself so far in 2015

That said, #GoTheDist goals for April:

  • 283,000 steps (personal goal, 300K but remaining reasonable due to travel)
  • 117 miles walked
  • 75 miles on the bike

Q2 goals:

  • 850,000 steps
  • 375 miles walked
  • 150 miles biked

The latter represents a decrease but hopefully one that correlates with walking home more. I may revise it if I hit April goals.

On to Q2

Q1 Update: 2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge

With one quarter of the year about gone, I’ve read 24 books! Yep, my no crap before Memorial Day went out the window, but oh well, it’s reading. I’ve also left 17 unfinished. I’m in very good shape to knock out the challenge with only the following letters remaining:


  • E
  • J
  • L
  • O
  • Q
  • R
  • U
  • V
  • W 
  • X
  • Y

In addition to possibly completing two loops through the alphabet, I’m also challenging myself to read the books initially listed. AKA, not finding another book with that letter as a reason to pass on reading a book I should finish. Yes, Gone Girl, I’m looking at you.

Q1 has also been good for #GoTheDist. More on that later


Confessions of a Designated Fat Taxi Driver?

aka a two-in-one review because I started and finished two books in the last three days

Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver by Eugene Salomon and Jennifer Joyner’s Designated Fat Girl. Two very different subjects but the right level of reading depth I was in the mood for this weekend. I started with Joyner’s on Friday and packed a dead-tree copy of Salomon’s for a walk when I knew my iPad battery wasn’t charged. I finished that this morning and then Joyner’s this afternoon. At the gym, no less.

I enjoyed both equally, but I found that I connected more with Joyner’s book, although my weight struggles luckily never went so far. I’m so glad to see she’s still working at the radio station and it’s nice to put a face to the name after reading about her personal struggles. Unlike many who publish a book about their struggles, Joyner doesn’t appear to blog. I think that’s what made for a more intriguing and cohesive narrative. It wasn’t cobbled together from a series of blog posts. There were a few moments where I was confused as to when a moment was during her weight gain-loss-gain-loss-gain-loss “for good” but overall it was a quality, eye-opening read.

Eugene Salomon, on the other hand both blogs (including on hot-button topics like Uber) and writes for TIME.I hoped his photo blog would have one of the infamous llama, alas no such luck. Converting from a blog wasn’t an issue in this case as the book was mostly an anthology of his stories grouped by themes. It was a very good and quick read and I loved that Salomon put a date in each story to set the context for his story.  Although this was only published in 2013, it’s mostly the story of an NYC long gone. Jackie O being gone for 20+ years though is just sad. As an aside, I got this at the wonderful Tenement Museum Shop-great place to direct deposit your wallet when looking for your next good read.

Oh and both titled counted for the A-Z challenge. 1/6 of the way through the year my totals are:

#GoTheDist: February 2015

Well I knew February was going to be a challenge, and it was. But two strong days on the last two days of the month made it better than I hoped/expected.

February Totals:

  • 276,898 steps
  • 114.9 miles walked
  • 75.44 miles biked

Q2 totals

  • 561,907 steps
  • 232.52 miles walked
  • 156.98 miles biked

I’m a little off track, but Q1 is still within range. To hit those goals I need to achieve the following in March.

  • 288,093 steps
  • 142.48 miles walked (not sure about that one, but I know I can pick up in Qs 2 and 3)
  • 43.02 miles biked

As it’s a 31 day month, I”m comfortable in steps. I’m going to maintain the bike goal at 75 miles, which I hit this month. This will continue to put me ahead of pace for the revised goal, while still being attainable due to work commitments.

On to March…

Winter Wonderland rescues February

The shots of the frozen Hudson have been awesome this winter. I got a few I liked last weekend on the train, at sunset and on the Intrepid but decided this weekend was likely my last chance to go exploring with a warm-up coming this week. Coupled with a prediction for snow tomorrow, I realized today was likely it and I set off around 1pm.

Like the last time I went to the Lighthouse, the best laid plans went awry. I knew ice was going to be an issue and I realized that almost as soon as I hit Bennett Park. When I took this photo I was standing near the marker for the highest point but it, like everything else, was covered in snow. Luckily, I’d been there before. While the Pinehurst stairs were OK, it was smooth skating as soon as I crossed Riverside Drive. It was COLD (but no wind), but I knew I wasn’t going back the way I came.

The Lighthouse was just as spectacular as I knew it would be but the un-planned walk south was even better for the ice floes. I kept changing my mind as to my final destination and when I hit Riverbank I was ecstatic to realize there was a Park-level path to Riverside Drive. I would finally have the opportunity to see the Lee Brothers Warehouse that has caught my eye for years. Not for its history, but for its current role as a hub for Manhattan Mini ads. Although I walked that stretch of Riverside Drive across the Valley, I missed the building’s famous clock.

I still need to:

I seem to have my spring mapped out. In the mean time, this long walk saved February’s mileage totals. More on that later…

Fire Inside: Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City Memorial, Survivor Tree and Reflecting Pool from site of former Murrah Building

Oklahoma City Memorial, Survivor Tree and Reflecting Pool from site of former Murrah Building

I’m reading The Fire Inside by Steve Delsohn after reading about it in an AskMe that was recently linked in Meta Talk.  I have no interest in becoming a firefighter, but it got me thinking. I knew it was somewhat dated as it didn’t cover 9/11, but it was only when I went to add it to my LibraryThing that I realized it dated to the mid 90s. Unsurprisingly, there was significant attention paid to Oklahoma City.

I was recently thinking about OKC, again when I found the postcard I bought that I was, sadly, using as a bookmark. 2014 was definitely a year of dark tourism for me, which I briefly touched on as it related to Charleston. I subsequently visited the 9/11 Museum before it opened to the public and followed both of those with a visit to the Oklahoma City Memorial during a visit to that city in July.

I haven’t yet read the books I mentioned after the Charleston trip (Kindle versions, people!) but I’m going to read  Marita Sturken’s Tourists of History:Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero when I’m done with the Fire Inside. Clearly OKC is still lurking within my brain.

From ground zero in New York and Katrina’s destructive force in New Orleans to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and the Killing Fields in Cambodia, witnessing places where horrific deaths have occurred has for many become an integral part of experiencing a destination. ~ Michelle Baran

That was true for me, although it took five? visits to OKC before we went downtown. During my first visits in the late 90s, the Memorial wasn’t open. My friend’s husband, stationed at Tinker, told me of being rostered down there for clean up. By the time I went back in 2003, the Memorial was open, but I wasn’t ready. This year, I was. Like the 9/11 Museum, I like that the OKC Memorial is free while the Museum provides additional information/education for those who choose/are able to pay. We spent about 2-3 hours at the Memorial and Museum and it was eye opening. It felt like a pilgrimage.

I cannot believe it has been 20 years. When 9/11 happened, I was an adult and living on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I’d never been to Oklahoma City but Terror in the Heartland stuck with me both as a high school student when it happened and 19 years later when I finally made it to the Museum.

Oddly I feel different about the 9/11 Museum and OKC then I do about Auschwitz and Charleston. I wonder if that’s a matter of them being within my lifetime?

It’s this impact that draws us to dark tourism. It is this impact that leads us to the realization of the sad reality that exists around the world. And it is through this impact that we feel compassion for our fellow human beings. ~ “Dark” Travel as a Way to Pay Tribute

Further Reading:

book’em messy shelves






AKA two friends’ organized shelves make me feel guilty. I really don’t read dead tree books all that often and I had some that I’ve long since replaced with e-books.  Speaking of books, I’ve upped the ante on the A-Z challenge. I’m going to try for two loops through the alphabet. With 11 books read (and 9 unfinished) so far, I think that’s doable.

#GoTheDist 2015: January totals

my final January totals are:

  • 285,009 steps
  • 117.62 miles walked
  • 81.54 miles biked

I’m most proud of the biking goal because it represents a return to the gym which was something I really wanted to do. 13 gym visits. Also ahead of pace to get my gym reimbursement.

Re: steps, to hit the 3.4m goal, I need 283,333.333 steps month and am glad for that slight excess as I’ll be short in Feb. The math just doesn’t work for a 28 day month. I’m a bit off pace for mileage, but I think I can make that up in Qs 2 and 3. I may have some issues due to a long-haul train trip in May but I’ll try to get back ahead in April to get ahead of that.

I think the only change I’m going to make for my 2015 goals is revise bike goal up to 500 miles. I’m going to leave Qs 2/3/4 mini goals at 100 as I likely won’t go to the gym as much in nice weather. So February monthly goal is 75 miles and Q2 is 200.

Time to do this.

sometimes I should try that listening thing

“Why are you beating yourself up? You know you always bounce back.” ~ @FatGirlvsWorld, #GotheDist fearless leader

This was the end of a two-day freak out during which I was worrying about not hitting my January 2015 #GoTheDist steps goal due to the impending  Juno-pocalypse. After a slow start to January with some sub 5K step days, I was bouncing back, and then snowpocalypse. Snowed in. Office closed. MTA down. A “pocalypse” of first world problems indeed.

And then Juno missed NYC while walloping New England and I ended up with almost 9K steps on a walk through the frozen tundra that made up Central Park. My handy spreadsheet tells me I need 42,280 steps (not yet counting today’s) the next four days to hit that goal and 44,280 to hit mine. Doable? I think/hope so but I’m not going to be able to bank any for February where 283/285K is a mathematical impossibility. Pooey.

But January wasn’t all bad. On the #GoTheDist front I:

  • switched to RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal (from MapMyFitness and LoseIt, respectively) and am so happy with both. Much better apps. The “Map” family didn’t age well into the mobile era and the “new” os8 LoseIt was just awful. I was tired of paying for Fitbit integration and didn’t care much for the challenges or fora
  • I have been to the gym 12x for a total of 76.56 miles on the bike. My goal was only 33! so I’ll be revising that for Q1 this weekend.
  • My Jan 2014 (Jawbone) totals were 185,545 steps/80.3 miles walked/69.3 miles walked and I’ve beat those. For me that’s what #GoTheDist is about so I’m happy.

On a reading front I:

  • Have read 8 books for the A-Z Challenge and six of the eight are non-fiction. Also, 8 books in January is a good start to the year.

So maybe I should stop freaking out. FGvW probably is right.