Author Archives: gracienycity
Pope Francis Arrives in New York City
There is such a buzz in New York City, the East Coast, and perhaps the whole of America, surrounding the arrival of Pope Francis. I wouldn’t say that I’m a terribly religious person, but I come from a Colombian-Italian family (can’t get much more Catholic than that!) and I retain a certain peace and comfort in some of the traditions I grew up with. I still accompany my elderly aunt to church every Sunday, I “light candles” for my deceased loved ones, I “say grace” on occasion before meals, and I pray for guidance when I need it. And I can say that I have never been prouder to be a Catholic under the reign of Pope Francis, and especially during this papal visit. Watching the coverage of this event has been equal parts exciting, comforting, and inspirational. He is a welcome respite amidst the noise of mudslinging political debates and nonsensical agendas. He has been the voice of reason and an advocate for the common good and of “doing the right thing.” He’s discussed climate change, war, and the basic rights and freedoms of our people. His message is clear and simple—remember where you came from, be tolerant, and above all, be kind.
Hearing Pope Francis close with “God bless America” after each of his speeches has brought me to tears—even though it’s something we’ve grown up hearing, it has become a trite statement. But his delivery and the sincerity of his words is a great reassurance against the fear and uncertainty of our future, and a gentle reminder of the greatness of this country and the hope that it was built upon. But it’s not just his words that have resonated with me and so many, it’s watching him stop and interact with people on the street, especially children and the sick. It’s hearing him turn down dinner with politicians in favor of dining with the homeless. It’s listening to him say what’s right in favor of what’s popular.
I’ve heard people say many times over these past few days, “I am not a religious person but I love this pope.” And at the end of the day it’s because this really has nothing to do with religion; it has to do with being a decent and just human being. As my aunt always says, the best religion is simply to be a good person.
Fourth of July
Love is Love
It is an exciting time to be alive and to witness today’s historic event. The decision by the Supreme Court to allow gay marriage in the United States has erupted on social media with comments and opinions for and against this emotionally charged decision. My Facebook newsfeed has been on fire all day with coverage from the news media and with posts from elated friends and people I love who will finally have the opportunity to live their lives in this country as equals.
As many of you know I love taking pictures. I love New York. I love candid shots of people. I take a photo everyday of my travels and adventures called #TodayinNY or if I’m not in New York, #Todayin…whereverIhappentobe. It started as an attempt to show my love for New York City and the beauty I witness everyday. It is a lot of iconic buildings and general attempts at recording things I find interesting. It is a practice I try and stay loyal to, especially now that I think I have a modest (read small) following.
I am no Ansel Adams and my pictures are not the most technically flawless. I am not paid and I am not in it for the glory yet I take great pride in trying to get a decent shot everyday. It is a practice in gratitude, discipline, executive decision-making, passion, and believe it or not, hard work.
What I strive for and admire most in an image is one that says a lot with little or no explanation needed. There is nothing more powerful. I did not take this but this photo of the “running of the interns” captured today made me cry. The raw emotion and implication of it goes beyond words. Even though this is a practice that happens each time an important Supreme Court decision is passed down, I admit it is the first time I learned of it and, somehow, it seems to carry more weight.
In a world of technology overload, information saturation, and instant gratification there seems very little left in the way of good surprises. Remind me that if I ever have a baby that I will refrain from learning the sex beforehand so that someone will run from the delivery room with the same urgency to announce the momentous news to my waiting friends and family. Preferably, this will be performed by my smokin’ hot husband.
#Equality #LoveWins #JusticeLikeAThunderbolt #TodayinNY
Even Hollywood Legends Buy Groceries
When I was 16 years old I worked part-time as a cashier at IGA grocery store on Long Island. In the summers, the managers would ask for volunteers to drive out with them to the Hamptons to work in their locations that were short-staffed. I was always the first to raise my hand. Even though it was only for the day and I would be working, it was an adventure and an exciting place for a 16-year-old to be—the premier summer playground of the rich and famous!
The Amagansett store was always bananas-busy, so busy in fact that I barely had time for a bathroom break, much less to even look up to see who I was ringing (remember, this was before scanners, when everything needed to be rung up manually). Because we were in such a wealthy area, many of the “regulars” had “house accounts” with the store so they could send their housekeepers to do their grocery shopping and be billed later.
My Year in Travel
It’s been over a year since I was laid off from my job as managing editor at American Express Publishing. It’s been a trying time both personally and professionally, filled with highs and many lows, laughter and heartache, self-discovery and uncertainty. Ultimately, I learned a lot about who I am and that a job does not need to define me. I learned that I am more creative than I ever knew and that it’s important for me to make room for creativity in my life. I learned that I am strong and determined and that I am not interested in just another “job” but rather, something that fulfills me. I feel blessed that I was able to take this time to figure it all out, and I am now on a path that feels right. In the meantime I’ve been reflecting on all I’ve accomplished during this journey and a lot of it involved, well, journeys. Some were road trips, short and sweet, and a few involved an airport, and always, my trusted camera…
Assateague Island, Maryland
Portland and the Oregon Coast
Colombia, South America
Upstate New York
Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania
Niagara Falls, New York
The Palisades, New Jersey
Rhinebeck and Saugerties, New York
Palm Springs and Los Angeles, California
Last Night at Carnegie Hall
Do yourself a favor and Listen. To. This. I heard it performed by The New York Wind Symphony last night at Carnegie Hall. It is a piece by Arturo Marquez called Danzón No. 2, and was inspired by Marquez’ visits to the dance halls of Mexico. I damn near embarrassed myself by getting up in the aisle to shake what my momma gave me.
In the words of my 88-year-old Aunt Gom, “it sends me.”
It’s been seven months since my last post about a breakup I was going through, and a very dark time in my life. I’ve been kind of hiding out since then and having all sorts of bad associations with my blog. Bad associations with my own blog! The blog I worked so hard to get going. The blog that was born of my getting laid off from work, which became a productive little way for me to spend my time, and get back to my writing and myself.
But really that’s not the whole story. I stayed away out of shame, because after writing my grand Breakup Manifesto—filled with heartache and despair and Gloria Gaynor-isms (I Will Survive!)—I wound up getting back together with my boyfriend. Yes, the one who withdrew and acted shady but didn’t have the decency to admit to me that something was “off.” The one I badmouthed and felt mistreated by. The one I twisted myself into a pretzel for to get back with…well guess what? It worked! I managed to milk another four months out of it. Continue reading
Are You Breaking Up With Me?
I’m going through a breakup. Not the kind where you have a fight and he says, “Listen, I can’t do this anymore. It’s over.” And then you scream and yell, have makeup sex, text wars for days, then let’s-take-a-break’s, then more makeup sex. And then maybe after all that you do really break up or maybe you don’t. But no matter the outcome it’s fiery and dramatic and full of “Eff you”s (“No, eff you!”) And what you are is an active participant—an equal player who refuses to go down without a fight—all the while sporting an “Are-you-serious?” attitude. “You wanna give up all this?” (Sweeps hand up and down body). Continue reading
Google’s Tribute to Claude Debussy