Tag Archives: The Village Beat

One week later…

13 Jun

So, since I last blogged, I’ve had a six hour class ending in three major assignments and a very busy week, gone to a show that I’ve been wanting to see for years, and had an epiphany that is benefiting me as I speak.

Needless to say, there’s a lot to catch up on. Here we go…

On Tuesday, I had class. Six hours of class, to be exact.

Now, a lot of you are probably reacting just as a normal person would. I mean six hours is insanely long, right?

Surprisingly not.

We always workshop our stories from the week before. By that, I mean we pick them apart and help each other make them even better. Sometimes, if the whole class is having a similar issue, we discuss that.

In this case, we were all guilty of being hijacked.

Yep, I said it. We were hijacked. A character in our story took the story right out of our hands and ran with it.

I guess I can explain now…

A problem that many young writers have is the tendency to let one character kind of dictate the entire story. By this I mean the writer loses the point of the story in the character’s quotes.

Stephen, one of our professors, really stressed that we can’t let characters “hijack our stories.” We have to take charge, say what needs to be said and move on to the next one.

Definitely something to work on in stories to come.

On Wednesday, we got to see the Blue Man Group. (One perk of doing the summer program: you get to experience things students in the normal school year don’t!)

As a side note, the blue people were a bit frightening, but the momentary fear was worth it in the end.

Jackie, Annamarie and I with a Blue Man!

The show was about 2 hours long, and I can’t even begin to describe all of the visual effects they used.

The audience was involved the entire time and I can honestly say I would hands down recommend the show to anyone who has the opportunity to see it.

At the end of the show, I HAD to get a picture with one of them. If you know me, you know I don’t play around when it comes to pictures.

So, I made my way to the front of the line and got the picture. Score.

That’s one more thing I can cross off my NYC bucket list!

Our assignments for this week were to profile an interesting person in the East Village, work on a photo story for Stephen, and my classmate Taylor and I were assigned the Man on the Street project for this week.

I’ll cover the profile in another post.

As for the photo project…a very common business in the East Village is frozen yogurt shops. (literally, they’re everywhere, and due to their frequency in the neighborhood, I am now addicted.) Along with frozen yogurt, banks and cafes are everywhere too.

To demonstrate just how many of each of these businesses there are, our assignment was to take photos of every single frozen yogurt shop, bank and cafe in the East Village.

Every. Single. One.

All of them.

And let me tell you, there’s a LOT. The village was split between the 5 of us and we had to walk our areas and snap pictures and record the addresses of the places.

In the end, all of the pictures will be put on an interactive map that pinpoints the locations of each of these places and gives the addresses. It should look pretty cool, plus we’ll all get a byline in the Local!

Now for the Man on the Street interviews.

Taylor and I were the victims…I mean…reporters for this week.

We had to check out video equipment and literally go into the streets of the village and ask passers-by what businesses excluding bars and restaurants they thought were the most common in the East Village. Then, we had to edit all of the responses together and create a 2 minute video clip that answers the question.

The boys who did the Man on the Street the week before had a really REALLY terrible response. People wouldn’t talk to them at all. They told us they talked to hundreds of people and ended up with around 9 interviews.

Needless to say, Taylor and I were dreading this project.

We headed out really early on Wednesday to start the project. We were fully prepared for rejection.

As it turned out, we got more responses than we thought. (Sorry boys, maybe your people skills aren’t up to par? Kidding…)

We headed back to the institute to start editing and promptly sat there for over 7 hours. What’d we end up with?

30 seconds. I kid you not.

As we struggled to edit the video together, we learned so much more about video editing than we could have imagined, and we’re very proud of the end result.

So, here’s the grand premiere! After 12 hours of video editing….

Oh…as for the epiphany?

I realized since the one opportunity I had to get a roommate came and went, I had an extra bed. Naturally, I pushed them together, threw some blankets on the empty bed, and have been lounging in the lap of luxury ever since.

Life’s good.

Plant sales honor beloved local florist

10 Jun

Note: This story was published in “The Village Beat” in June 2011. I’m recording it here, however, because the site will no longer be live once this internship ends. Here’s Bill Curry and Cornell Edwards’ story:

In a bittersweet tribute to a local florist’s life, his partner has raised close to $4500 through the sale of his plants to locals who revered him as an active, kindhearted member of the community.

Cornell Edwards died suddenly on March 29 due to a stroke, and for the last seven weeks, Bill Curry has opened the doors of the Flower Stall on 143 East 13 St. to accept donations for the plants to go towards one of the pair’s favorite causes: the Seneca Village Restoration Project.

Started in the 1820’s, the Seneca Village was Manhattan’s first community of African American landowners. Short-lived due to the construction of Central Park, there have been efforts ever since to rehabilitate the community. Edwards was very passionate about this project.

“Cornell was an advisor on the board for the Seneca Village,” Curry said. “He was very involved. Anything he was part of, he was not passive.”

Also involved the community board in the seventies as well as heading up the housing committee, Edwards’ role in the community was admired.

“Cornell was a lovely, gentle person with a good sense of humor who truly enjoyed being around people, and that was evident due to his community involvement,” customer Diana Wall said.

As Curry slowly lets Edwards’ plants go, he finds comfort in the fact that “the plants are being converted into something substantial.”

The shop, an eclectic mix of things the pair had purchased together over their 50 years of partnership, was a staple in their neighborhood and brought locals together.

“Cornell’s flower shop was one of the few places that anchored the neighborhood as a place of neighbors,” long-time customer Claire Moed said.

As locals make generous donations in honor of a beloved community member, the future of the shop has come into question.

“As I sell plants, I’m really throwing [Cornell] away piece by piece,- again- but I can’t take care of all this,” a tearful Curry said.

Curry, who still evokes deep emotion when discussing the passing of his partner, is currently looking for a tenant who will bring something unique to the Village and do some good for the community.

“[Whatever business goes here] has to be something that can contribute to the community,” he said. “I want to find something that would carry on Cornell’s vision.”

As Curry works tirelessly to sort papers, sell plants and keep the shop running, locals have been contributing in the form of donations as well as spending time in the shop and helping Curry out.

“I come in here all the time,” Moed said. “He was a neighbor. I don’t think people understand that word today. I mean neighbors, like, who know your kids and care about your family and have your extra set of keys. That’s what we are.”

While Curry opens the shop each Saturday to continue his sales, locals realize the end of the Flower Stall era may be near.

“This is a rare New York store,” Moed said. “And once it’s closed, there’s not another New York store like it.”