I am in the midst of making plans to visit New York City this spring after having stumbled across The High Line Park website earlier today. Few things catch my interest as much as this incredible idea for a park built on an abandoned rail line elevated to pass over city streets full of traffic below. What a brilliant solution to a tough problem.
As the city takes the shape of the needs of the current residents, there are bound to be problems that arise. Instead of investing good money into tearing down the elevated rail, it was thought that this could be the site of a public park in a locale where real estate is a commodity few can afford, and where green space is scarce.
Here is a history of the High Line as it is posted on their website:
1847 The City of New York authorizes street-level railroad tracks down Manhattan’s West Side.
1851 – 1929 So many accidents occur between freight trains and street-level traffic that 10th Avenue becomes known as Death Avenue. For safety, men on horses, called the West Side Cowboys, ride in front of trains waving red flags.
1929 After years of public debate about the hazard, the City and State of New York and the New York Central Railroad agree on the West Side Improvement Project, which includes the High Line. The entire project is 13 miles long, eliminates 105 street-level railroad crossings, and adds 32 acres to Riverside Park. It costs over $150 million in 1930 dollars—more than $2 billion today.
1934 The High Line opens to trains. It runs from 34th Street to St. John’s Park Terminal, at Spring Street. It is designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, to avoid creating the negative conditions associated with elevated subways. It connects directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods come and go without causing street-level traffic.
1950s Growth of interstate trucking leads to a drop in rail traffic, nationally and on the High Line.
1960s The southernmost section of the High Line is demolished.
1980 The last train runs on the High Line pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys.
Mid-1980s A group of property owners lobbies for demolition of the entire structure. Members of this group own land under the High Line that was purchased at prices reflecting the High Line's easement. Peter Obletz, a Chelsea resident, activist, and railroad enthusiast, challenges demolition efforts in court and tries to re-establish rail service on the Line.
1999 Friends of the High Line is founded by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the High Line neighborhood, to advocate for the High Line's preservation and reuse as public open space.
2001 - 2002 The Design Trust for Public Space provides a fellowship for architect Casey Jones to conduct research and outreach for "Reclaiming the High Line," a planning study jointly produced by the Design Trust and Friends of the High Line, which lays out planning framework for the High Line's preservation and reuse.
March 2002 Friends of the High Line gains first City support—a City Council resolution advocating for the High Line's reuse.
October 2002 A study done by Friends of the High Line finds that the High Line project is economically rational: New tax revenues created by the public space will be greater than the costs of construction.
December 2002 The City files with the federal Surface Transportation Board for railbanking, making it City policy to preserve and reuse the High Line.
January – July 2003 An open ideas competition, "Designing the High Line," solicits proposals for the High Line's reuse. 720 teams from 36 countries enter. Hundreds of design entries are displayed at Grand Central Terminal. (View Competition Entries)
July 2003 Friends of the High Line and the City jointly testify before the Surface Transportation Board in support of High Line reuse.
March – September 2004 Mayor Bloomberg announces City funding for the High Line. Friends of the High Line and the City of New York conduct a process to select a design team for the High Line. The selected team is James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an architecture firm, and experts in horticulture, engineering, security, maintenance, public art, and other disciplines. (View the High Line Design)
September 2004 The State of New York, CSX Transportation, Inc. (the railroad company), and the City of New York jointly file with the Surface Transportation Board to railbank the High Line.
April 2005 An exhibition showcasing the preliminary design by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro opens at the Museum of Modern Art.
June 2005 The Surface Transportation Board issues a Certificate of Interim Trail Use for the High Line, authorizing the City and railroad to conclude railbanking negotiations.
November 2005 The City takes ownership of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc., (which donates the structure), and the City and CSX sign a Trail Use Agreement. Taken together, these two actions effectively preserve the High Line south of 30th Street.
April 2006 Groundbreaking is celebrated on the High Line with the lifting of a rail track. The first phase of construction on Section 1 of the High Line begins. Construction begins on Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street). Tracks, ballast, and debris are removed, and the tracks are mapped, tagged, and stored (some will be reinstalled in the park landscape). This is followed sandblasting of steel, repairs to concrete and drainage systems, and installation of pigeon deterrents underneath the Line. (View Construction Photos)
2008 Landscape Construction begins on Section 1, with construction and installation of pathways, access points, seating, lighting, and planting.
June 2008 Final designs are released for the High Line's transformation to a public park. (View the Final Designs)
June 9, 2009 Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) opens to the public.
June 8, 2011 Section 2 (West 20th Street to West 30th Street) opens to the public.
April 25, 2012 The New York City Planning Commission votes unanimously to approve a zoning text amendment that secures the eastern portion of the High Line at the Rail Yards, including the 10th Avenue Spur, as public open space.
July 25, 2012 The High Line at the Rail Yards is saved. The City of New York acquires the title to the third and final section of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc., which donated the final portion of the structure to the City.
September 20, 2012 Groundbreaking is celebrated on the High Line at the Rail Yards. Construction proceeds in three phases, with the first phase projected to open in 2014.
Spring 2014 Nick's first visit to The High Line. (Hopefully Mike will join me--I haven't asked him yet!)
I really can't wait to visit. Spring can't come soon enough! The main images above and below this entry link to The High Line Organization website. All the information you need can be found there.
The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
U.S. to Recognize Utah Gay Marriages Despite State Stance
The Obama administration on Friday said that it will recognize as lawful the marriages of 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah, even though the state government is refusing to do so.
Wading into the fast-moving legal battle over same-sex marriage rights in one of America’s most socially conservative states, the administration posted a video on the Justice Department’s website. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that the federal government will grant federal marriage benefits to the same-sex couples who had rushed to obtain marriage licenses after a federal judge last month unexpectedly struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” Mr. Holder said in the video. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds.”
Click the article title for full coverage by the New York Times.
My feeling is one of cautious optimism. I think it's great that the U.S. government is going to step in and recognize these marriages, but I'm afraid how this will be viewed by those who advocate state sovereignty. That aside, I think our country is heading in the right direction in terms of recognizing the rights of homosexuals in general. When is Pennsylvania going to join the party?
Angelo Merendino Documents His Wife's Fight with Cancer
My Wife's Fight With Breast Cancer
by Angelo Merendino
The first time I saw Jennifer I knew. I knew she was the one. I knew, just like my dad when he sang to his sisters in the winter of 1951 after meeting my mom for the first time, “I found her.”
A month later Jen got a job in Manhattan and left Cleveland. I would go to the city – to see my brother, but really wanting to see Jen. At every visit my heart would scream at my brain, “tell her!!” but I couldn’t work up the courage to tell Jen that I couldn’t live without her. My heart finally prevailed and, like a schoolboy, I told Jen “I have a crush on you.” To the relief of my pounding heart, Jen’s beautiful eyes lit up and she said “Me too!”
Six months later I packed up my belongings and flew to New York with an engagement ring burning a hole in my pocket. That night, at our favorite Italian restaurant, I got down on my knee and asked Jen to marry me. Less than a year later we were married in Central Park, surrounded by our family and friends. Later that night, we danced our first dance as husband and wife, serenaded by my dad and his accordion – ♫ “I’m in the mood for love…”♫
Five months later Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the exact moment…Jen’s voice and the numb feeling that enveloped me. That feeling has never left. I’ll also never forget how we looked into each other’s eyes and held each other’s hands. “We are together, we’ll be ok.”
With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, “You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.” We loved each other with every bit of our souls.
Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.
Throughout our battle we were fortunate to have a strong support group but we still struggled to get people to understand our day-to-day life and the difficulties we faced. Jen was in chronic pain from the side effects of nearly 4 years of treatment and medications. At 39 Jen began to use a walker and was exhausted from being constantly aware of every bump and bruise. Hospital stays of 10-plus days were not uncommon. Frequent doctor visits led to battles with insurance companies. Fear, anxiety and worries were constant.
Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and at certain points we felt our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we had to live with everyday?
My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love. These photographs do not define us, but they are us.
Cancer is in the news daily, and maybe, through these photographs, the next time a cancer patient is asked how he or she is doing, along with listening, the answer will be met with more knowledge, empathy, deeper understanding, sincere caring and heartfelt concern.
“Love every morsel of the people in your life.” – Jennifer Merendino
Published on Mar 30, 2013
The thing Jen loved the most about my camera was when I would hold it at arm's length and make a photo of the two of us. This video is a collection of some of these photographs. Since Jen passed passed from breast cancer, in December of 2011, I have looked at these photographs a countless amount of times. I still struggle to believe that Jen is not here with me. A few years ago I was the drummer in a band called Jonka, a group started by husband and wife duo Jon and Annika. Of all the bands I played in this was Jen's favorite, she loved Jon's quirkiness and Annika's beautiful voice. Aside from the catchy 80's pop hooks and dance beats, Jonka's lyrics make me think. The song in this video, Ever After, could easily have been written for Jen and me and it has become my anthem over the last few months.
1 in 88 children have Autism, but Derek Roach is one in a million!
"More than 15,000 people participated in Philadelphia on November 2nd at Citizens Bank Park in what turned out to be a beautiful fall day. CBS 3 Evening News Anchors, Chris May and Jessica Dean, emceed a great event that featured longtime Autism advocate and Philadelphia City Councilman Dennis O’Brien, Nina Wall-Cote, the Director of the Bureau of Autism Services, Miss Pennsylvania, Jessica Billings, and of course the Phillie Phanatic. Families and friends from across the Philadelphia region enjoyed a day full of moon bounces, face painting, character photos, dancing and more at the home of the Philadelphia Phillies in South Philadelphia.
To date, the event raised more than $610,000 in support of Autism Speaks’ mission to fund research, increase awareness and family services and advocate for individuals with autism and their families."
After putting on our Team Derek t-shirts, and getting our faces painted with Autism awareness puzzle pieces, we set out on a walk around Citizens Bank Park with people on the sidelines cheering us on.
Wawa was on hand to energize the crowd with coffee and doughnuts, and several news anchors were there to say a few inspirational words. Derek, the little super hero in the picture to the right, was the biggest inspiration. He has such a wonderful personality, and is wise beyond his years. Liz and Terry, Derek's parents, were taken aback by the enormity of the crowd and the number of different team t-shirts. There were hundreds of different t-shirts designed to support each team, and the love and care put into them brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
The purpose of this walk wasn't to find a cure, but to raise funds for awareness and research for this fairly new diagnosis. There shouldn't be any kind of stigma attached to Autism, and the children who are diagnosed are proof of that: amazingly intelligent and unique individuals who are unaware that they're different from anyone else.
You may continue to donate to Autism Speaks on behalf of Derek on my official donation page: Donation Page of Nicholas Emeigh for Team Derek. I know that when he's old enough, Derek will appreciate it!
Photos of Team Derek at the 2013 Philadelphia Autism Speaks Walk
CBS Philly's Coverage of the Event
Autism Speaks to Washington
The "Greatest Love of All"
Don't Fear the Diagnosis
"1 week before the autism walk, my little buddy got an official PDD-NOS diagnosis. We all knew it was coming, and it's what we expected, but it has still been rough. I'm trying to look on the bright side of things because of all the possibilities and services and therapies that have opened up to him because he's on the spectrum. Derek is still Derek to me and I won't love him any less regardless of what's in his medical chart. He is still the sweet snuggly goofball that wears a cape 24/7 and loves to 'thpin' in the computer chair." —Liz Rouse, the blessed mommy of an Autistic child
✉ E-mail me with any questions, donations, or kind words. Everything will go directly to Liz and Derek.
The woman on the left is a mother from Miami who was so desperate to feed her hungry family that she was trying to steal a lot of food.
The woman on the right is Miami-Dade County Police Officer Vicki Thomas. Officer Thomas was about to arrest Jessica Robles but changed her mind at the last minute.
Instead of arresting her, she bought Robles $100 worth of groceries:
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem with her children being hungry.”
And there’s no denying they were hungry. Robles’ 12 year old daughter started crying when she told local TV station WSVN about how dire their situation was:
“[It's] not fun to see my brother in the dirt hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘There is nothing here.’"
Officer Thomas says she has no question that what she did was right:
“To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas. That $100 to me was worth it.”
But Officer Thomas did have one request:
“The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out. And she said she would.”
And guess what? The story gets even better.
After word got out about what happened people donated another $700 for Jessica Robles to spend at the grocery store.
And then best of all a local business owner invited her in for an interview and ended up hiring her on the spot as a customer service rep.
She started crying when he told her:
“There's no words how grateful I am that you took your time and helped somebody out. Especially somebody like me.”
And to think it all started with one veteran police officer trusting her “instinct” instead of going “by the book”.
Courtesy of WSVN Miami
I have been living in constant worry about what might happen if our economy collapses, which almost happened yesterday. Luckily, the government came to an agreement to put a stop to the shutdown, averting an economic crisis. The citizens of Venezuela, whose economy collapsed in the early 90's, were not so lucky, and were forced to find means to live where there were no means. In this TED Talk video, we find incredible ingenuity in the Venezuelan people, who took to an abandoned tower to build their homes. The "Tower of David" is a small city within a city, becoming home to hundreds of people, stores, taxis, and services like barber shops and electronics repair. It's rough around the edges, but it is so inspiring to see how these people adapted to the changing times, and utilized everything around them to make a "new normal." Here's one of my favorite TED Talks, "Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places," given by Iwan Baan:
This is the best article I've read in a long time. It's written on a touchy subject: cheating. I don't do it, and I wouldn't be with anyone who did it to me; and I think there is a different dynamic in the gay world. Gay guys are especially promiscuous, so to find one who isn't is like finding the Holy Grail of gay guys, and you hang on to him with a vulture's grasp.
This article is thought-provoking. Is that how you really are, or know your boyfriend to be? You will hope not, certainly, but after a minute, it sets in. The truth. You'll know, mainly by your Spidey senses, that you or your boyfriend fits into one or both of these roles. What's more interesting is if you're the person who identifies with the role of the writer.
Here is the full article, written by Anonymous, from the Thought Catalog website:
I Will Sleep With Your Boyfriend And This Is How It Will Happen
I will meet him somewhere neutral: a coffee shop, a bar, a bookstore.
I will be cute, but in the way that you never are. With a light sundress that grazes the mid-thigh and a smile that says, “It’s okay, you can talk to me, I don’t bite.” Lately, you have been stressed with work and errands and family problems — you have forgotten that layer of sex appeal that you used to lacquer on before your dates together, the way it used to glimmer in the light and catch his attention from across the room.
He is not a bad person, and neither are you. Times are just difficult and everything loses its shine after a while. The first time he will touch me, his hands will burn because they are still used to the temperature of your body.
When he talks to me in the coffee shop, or the bar, or the bookstore, he will have forgotten how to talk to girls. What once used to come naturally to him, a language he felt he had created himself, will now be stilted and uncomfortable. Everything, he thinks, is going to be a giveaway that he already has a girlfriend and that he shouldn’t be doing this. I already know, of course, but that’s part of why I want him. That’s most of why I want him. He will edge around what he really wants to say, and I will brush my hand against his forearm and he will remember that it wasn’t words at all.
When we go back to my apartment, everything will look different to him, and different has replaced actual sex appeal as the most attractive thing in his world. In my apartment, there are no problems. There are no fights. There is no going to bed in some ugly tee shirt and forgetting to touch one another because you have better things to do, such as play around on your phone. Everything in my apartment will be for pleasure and for now. There won’t be any more complicated subtext.
My friends ask me why I always go for men who are in relationships. I tell them that I don’t know, but that there is something about all the sneaking around they have to do which makes me feel special and rare. I know that it means I am a secret that they need to keep hidden, but the more childish part of me still thinks that secrets are special. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I know that it can never work, and I don’t really want it to.
As soon as our fucking becomes like the sporadic encounters he has with you, as soon as it carries with it even the slightest note of drudgery or repetition or obligation, he will leave. He will make up a reason and go back to you, a cleansed man who will probably find someone new to replace the monotony with. He thinks that I thought he would leave you, but I knew he wouldn’t. They never do. You are his mother, in many ways, and will one day be the mother of his children. I am a placeholder in the shape of a vagina. Madonna and whore.
You think that he cheated on you because you weren’t hot enough. That’s not true. He cheated because he was the kind of man who cheats, and I sought him out because I like men like that. They thrill me even in the predictability of their deception. You let your love run cold, yes, but only in the way that humans do. A more decent man would have stayed with you through the tougher times, stayed honest, and worked with you on building something that can create sexiness in its stability. He would have found you both comfortable and exciting, because he would be capable of seeing more than one facet of your humanity.
You would be better off without him.
I will sleep with him by reminding him of everything he can no longer have with you, and I will lose him by showing him that, after the warmth of the first couple of fucks dies down, I am just like you are. I am just another partner who gets colds and looks messy in the morning and snores after drinking and argues with her mother over the phone. I will sleep with him as a pixie, and I will lose him as a human.
> New York Times Article "New Jersey Judge Rules State Must Allow Gay Marriage"
> Official Ruling/Decision Summary from the State of New Jersey (PDF file)
> The Garden State Equality Organization Website
I don't see myself getting married in the foreseeable future, but I do eventually want to get married. Hopefully that doesn't scare my boyfriend Corey off. Haha! Great news, though, from the courts in New Jersey. On Friday, September 27, 2013, a New Jersey judge ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry. Refusal to do so would be a defiance of the United States Supreme Court's June ruling guaranteeing the rights of same-sex couples across the country. Finally, a state close enough to Pennsylvania is allowing me to marry whomever I choose. Don't you think it's about time Pennsylvania started allowing same-sex marriages too? I do. And while we're at it, let's legalize marijuana. It's bound to happen sooner or later. Let's just get it all over with. Pennsylvania needs to modernize. We're stuck in the dark ages. What do you think? Leave comments below, like and share on Facebook and Twitter, or send me an e-mail.
A Touching Display of Support for LGBT Community by Italian Government Officials when told "Gay People are Inappropriate"
Italian Government Officials took to a creative protest when they were faced with the sentiment that "gay people are inappropriate." They began holding up signs, kissing and hugging members of the same sex, and kept this up for a few minutes. Take a look at the video here, and read the article in Upworthy here.
This young man was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was determined to get his thoughts and feelings into songs his family and friends could remember him by. You have to watch this video, it's so inspiring. Just a warning, it gets pretty emotional. So if you're not in a place that's conducive to spontaneous sobs, save this video for later. If you're not comfortable with the subject matter, try to get past that for a positive message.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.