Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

After Sandy

Long Beach, NY  November 2012 photo by Lauryn McDermott

The clean up efforts in the metropolitan New York/New Jersey area continue, but for many, recovering from Hurricane Sandy will take months, if not years. Life at Bouler Pfluger Architecture has also changed in the aftermath of the storm.  To help people rebuild after the devastation of many coastline communities on Long Island, the firm has teamed up with Sims Steel to form the South Shore Lift Project, in order to raise many damaged homes off of their foundations and onto ones that meet new FEMA flood elevation guidelines. Hopefully the process of rebuilding will be swift as many homes are currently open to the elements, often without heat or power. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The New Parrish Museum

Olivia and Jackson with artist Malcolm Morley and his wife Lida

Jackson in front of a Ross Bleckner painting

The new Parrish art museum is a brutal version of a long house filled with an engaging mix of paintings, from hundred year old visions of the East End to modern color fields.  The exhibition rooms now feature the work of British artist Malcolm Morley, for whom James was a studio assistant while in graduate school.  During that time, Malcolm had just started his series of images dedicated to model planes, so it was particularly exciting to see some of those paintings again, as well as how Malcolm went on to develop the imagery.  A WWII history buff, Jackson was completely impressed with Malcolm's fighter planes, as well as Malcolm's red plaid suit.  While exploring the museum, Jackson's own fashion sense was rewarded with an impromptu photo shoot with the local paparazzi. When visiting the South Fork, make sure you stop by this nifty new version of the Parrish Art Museum.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sadly, Sandy

East Village, November 2012

This week I thought about the woman whose arms are now empty for babies 
Swept away by the storm.
I learned to listen to the stories of others.
I watched my fellow educators make sense of our lives, while reaching our students like a life raft.
I  heard about friends grandbabies pets lost dreams and a widow who clutched her husband's slippers because that's all she has left.
I watch neighbors battle the storm recovering slowly in baby steps, while comforting their children in the cold quiet darkness under dusty quilts from the attic.
Texts, calls, posts, tweets, face to face.
How are you?
Thank God we are fine.
Grateful and guilty. 
My parents under my roof, rolling meatballs and making coffee.
The inlaws, with us every step start to finish, reminding us to fill up our gas cans, remembering Katrina, Ivan, and all the others before.
Armed with canned food, extra boxes, warm coats, we battle to help, but feel helpless to give true solace for what was lost.
Over the phone, a voice bravely facing pain-- can you put me on your list to rebuild?
Dumpsters filled with a lifetime
Long lines of cars and polling booths snake through Election Tuesday
Awaiting the next storm; turn off the radio.
A collective gasp for air.air.air: a reminder that it could be our last.

Book Nook

from Dwell Magazine
Birding Nook at Potic Cottage

As I clip decorating ideas, inevitably I pull a picture which includes bookshelves.  This pic from Dwell Magazine, however, is truly unique-- almost a book 'womb'.  In a NYC apartment of 240 sq ft, what you don't have in space, you must compensate for in clever ideas.Those hidden spaces, used more often for storage than habitation, are rife with possibilities. It reminds me of the birding nook James created for the kids at Potic Cottage. Now I'm tempted to add a few bookshelves in the far corner.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Angry Landscape: Reality

The Angry Landscape Series Spring 2012
Long Island 1938

As you know, many past entries on this blog have chronicled our relationship to the environment, either through energy efficient and sustainably sourced architectural design by James and Nick, native plantings by Jackson, saving the gulf by Olivia, and angry landscape paintings by Nadine. It's been a passion of ours to explore ways to save the planet's resources.

The blog had taken a respite, not from the work we were doing, but the chronicling of it.  But in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I feel compelled to hit the keyboard again to dash off an entry.  I am astonished to see the battle in the news as to whether or not climate change is real.  Despite scientific and anecdotal evidence otherwise, far too many reject the responsibility we humans have to the environment.  The argument is like trying to convince a brick wall it needs mortar.  It's only realized when the mortar fails and the wall crumbles.  As the Northeast watched our homes succumb to the powerful storm at our shores, climate change is finally on the lips of some powerful politicians.  Unfortunately it takes a tragedy to remind us the precarious relationship we have with nature.  And the more you learn about our changing earth, the more you know has to be done.  When I meet people who have dedicated their lives to saving the environment, whether it be birds, trees, or oceans, I ask them, how do you keep up the fight?  How do you persevere when everyone else turns a blind eye?  Their answers remind me of Anne Lamott's inspirational text Bird by Bird, where she recommends tackling big tasks step-by-step, or bird by bird.

So that's what I'm going to continue to do.  I am going to try not to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task at hand.  After all, saving the planet isn't the work of one person, or one community, or even one country.  It's a movement that's going to require each one of us to work bird by bird until we hold off the momentum we've already set in motion.