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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

  1. Frances Ha and Middles

    July 1, 2013 by Carley

    Screen Shot

    Sorry blog, I’ve been ignoring you for a while.  But I do miss you and I’m back!

    So, like a lot of people, I’m a little obsessed with the new movie, Frances Ha, directed by Noah Baumbach.  I like that it’s about a love affair between two twenty-something best friends, Frances and Sophie–it’s so rare to see a movie with smart women at the center.  I like too that it’s about becoming an adult, finding your way through New York city real estate, and figuring out if you can and should make art.  When Great Gerwig runs/dances/skips/turns through the streets of Manhattan to David Bowie’s “Modern Love,” my heart runs/dances/skips/turns too!  I recognize this exuberance, the kind of dancing joy that finding one’s place in New York (even if only for a minute or a month) can induce.  But mostly, I think I’m obsessed with Frances Ha because it feels to me more like a movie about the middle of things, of getting stuck and moving forward and of finding one’s way in the world alone.  At one point Frances and Sophie decide that in the future they’ll  be like middle age women who re-discover themselves after a divorce.  Sophie deadpans, “My mom did that.”

    Maybe I’m projecting.  But these moments, for obvious reasons, are dear to me right now.  I love that Frances gets her own apartment and sets up her desk in it.  Baumbach has always been good at the chaos of re-inventing oneself or of finding one’s way in an urban landscape with a severed, “middle-aged” psyche (watch Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels in The Squid and the Whale).  It’s Sophie we worry about–she’s going to marry Patches, a well-meaning banker guy, and has given up her publishing job.  She spends the second half of the movie drunk, belligerent, and sad.  But Frances, who chooses to go it alone, who is repeatedly, jokingly called “undateable” by one of her pining, dickhead roommates, is gonna make it.  I dunno, the movie gives me blind, stupid hope, and everyone needs that, especially in New York, in the midst of a divorce. Right?

  2. What To Do When There’s Light

    November 20, 2012 by Carley

    So we live in a residence hall at NYU, and I suppose there is a lot to say about THAT (but I’ll save that for a whole other blog post).  For now (as a placeholder I guess) I will say that yes, every night I am the oldest person falling asleep in the building.  The oldest, yep, that’s me, and with the exception of Matt we’re talking about a lot of years.  I am a lady, so I won’t say how many.  Also, I don’t like to embarrass our residents.  Anyway, one of the best things about living in a residence hall and being a Faculty Fellow is that you have a whole bunch of able-bodied, excited, and fun young people around who are eager to work on projects that you dream up.

    Since our residence hall, Goddard, was one of the few buildings in all of lower Manhattan to have power during Hurricane Sandy (thanks NYU generator!), we had a lot of time and light in which to brood on the effects of climate silence and our own very lucky position.  Lower Manhattan was a strange place that week.  Many of us wandered around the empty streets and tried to scheme our way into Brooklyn or midtown for food and wine.  My friend Zach Michaels’ wrote a nice little essay about it, if you’re curious. Anyway, by the end of the week we were all stir-crazy, and ready to do something.  Our friend and chef, Scott Bridi, the man behind Brooklyn Cured started to cook for folks out in Red Hook.  I heard from poet friends on Facebook who were driving supplies to the Rockaways and Staten Island with their last bit of gas.  And then it seemed like it was our turn.  Our residents went down with us to the Lower East Side to work with the Center Against Anti-Asian Violence to distribute water, food, and batteries to the elderly who couldn’t get down the stairs in their building.  In the week after, our residents and our neighbors in other residence halls donated seven giant boxes of supplies to take to one of the Occupy Sandy drop-off sites.  And this last weekend, a big group of Goddardites went with Matt to the Rockaways to help clean up.  Anyway, I share this because we’ve done a little and there is still so much work to be do and a lot more need for volunteers and donations (see links throughout).  Also, I’m proud of our residents and I promised I would blog about them.

    Here’s what Matt had to say about the day in the Rockaways, “We didn’t know what to expect, but Bridget O’Connor, our Residence Hall Resource Manager, who lives in Rockaway and whose home had been hit hard by the storm, led us to where she knew we’d be useful.  She dropped us off at the makeshift headquarters of Team Rubicon, which is dispatching crews of volunteers to individual homeowners who have requested help.  Our group–16 Goddard residents and myself, plus a couple that joined us–spent the day at the home of a man who had already moved out his family and precious possessions.  He asked us to remove everything in the house, including all his family’s furniture and things, but also floors, tile, baseboards, sheetrock–everything that had been destroyed by the flooding.  We took everything to the street, where construction equipment scooped it up and brought it in endless loads to the enormous dumpster at the end of the block (which would itself later be carted to the enormous pile of debris near Jacob Riis Park).  In 4 or 5 hours, we were able to empty the house and do some demolition, though we could only make a dent in the waterlogged basement and the piles of ruined items that filled it.  Our team was amazing–they worked like crazy and barely took a break for granola bars and water.  They kept their spirits up despite the heaviness of the situation.  How many other houses in the area need a whole crew to do a whole day’s work?  It’s a big mess, and a big job that may take a long time to get done.”

    And for those of you looking to donate or volunteer, here are the links again to places we’ve worked with who are doing amazing things:

    Occupy Sandy

    Team Rubicon

    YA for New Jersey (this is new and a cool way for book lovers to help out in New Jersey)