New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Vertical Campus

I didn't have to work yesterday because we just closed our November issue, and there is a bit of a lull before the big crunch on our December issue. As I am wont to do, I used my day off to get a haircut, go to a daytime karate class, and run some errands.

I got my hair cut at a barbershop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Union Avenue. I spoke a few words of rudimentary Russian to my barber, who was from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He was impressed at my Russian language skills and told me that I speak better Russian than he does English.

That's not true. I fool people into thinking that because I have very good pronunciation, but my vocabulary and diction is actually quite poor. He's a better English speaker than I am a speaker of Russian. Anyway, I gave him $15 for a $9 haircut because I liked him and I liked the Russian folk music that he was playing on the stereo. Also the haircut is good. Ironically, my former barbershop on 23rd Street in Manhattan (which I have now shunned because they were jerks) was also staffed by Uzbek barbers (not to be confused with Berbers of Northwest Africa).

I headed into Manhattan and took a 1:30 p.m. black belt class, which was excellent. One of our fellow black belts, a woman in her mid-thirties who I won't name to respect her privacy, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to take time off of her karate training to undergo chemotherapy.

She took yesterday's black belt class, her first class since completing her chemotherapy. She had lost all her hair and was completely bald. When the class began our teacher made an announcement welcoming her back, and we all gave her a very warm and sustained round of applause, and told her how happy we were to see her back at the dojo. I saw her wipe a tear from her eye. After class I made sure to say hi and to wish her well. I'm proud to be involved in a dojo that is so supportive of its members. Her fight against cancer is a perfect example of the essence of the karate we study. Fall down seven times, get up eight.

After karate, I walked across town to the Baruch College campus. I earned an MBA in International Business from Baruch in 2001, after several years of night classes after work. Baruch is part of the excellent City University of New York, and is one of the biggest business schools in the world, as well as one of the most highly rated when cost is a factor.

I was there to renew my alumni ID card so I can have access to the library, and I also wanted to pick up a course catalog for the Continuing Education program. I am thinking about taking a class. I miss being in school. The photo above is of Baruch's newest building, which is called the Vertical Campus. It's a really cool-looking building, I think.


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