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, November 28, 2006

Meet a New New Yorker

Meet our son, Zachary Alexander, one of the newest New Yorkers in the city. He was born at 8:31 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, November 23, 2006. At birth he weighed seven pounds two ounces, and measured 20 and 1/2 inches long.

I don't have time to go through all the details, since caring for a newborn is a 24-hour-a-day job, but here's the gist of it.

I was at work last Wednesday when Jenn called. She told me to grab our bags from home and meet me at the hospital. Bags in hand, I reported to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital at about 3:30 p.m. I met her in a delivery room on the 12th floor and we hung out together and listened to classical music on a portable radio I brought as her contractions came along. Neither of us got much sleep.

Zachary was born after a brief natural delivery the following morning. Jenn was very brave and did a great job, and Zachary is in excellent health. Jenn's been a great mother for nine months already and is continuing to be a great mother. The three of us spent Thanksgiving day in a recovery room with a nice view of Midtown Manhattan. I wasn't allowed to spend the night in the recovery room, so I went home to Brooklyn for the night.

The following morning (Friday) I went back to the hospital. By late afternoon we were discharged, and Jenn's mom gave us a ride home to Brooklyn. I've taken a few days off work and we've been doing our best to get adjusted to our new baby's feeding and sleeping habits, which has meant that our own feeding and sleeping habits have had to change quite a bit. Several people have come to visit, including my parents, which was great. I'm sure they're quite fond of Zachary. They brought big boxes of baby supplies they purchased at Costco in Virginia.

I'm feeling pretty woozy from lack of sleep, but we are both overjoyed that we have such a great new son. Welcome to the world, Zachary. I look forward to showing you around.

More when time allows.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Wilds of New York City

I took this picture last week from the window of my office on the 21st floor of the Hearst Tower to show that we have trees in the city as well, and their leaves change color just like trees anywhere. Since we moved into this fancy new building, I've been able to monitor the seasons just by looking out over the tree canopy that blankets Central Park. I think we are in peak foliage period now. I like how you can see a person in the apartment building on the left also lost in thought, looking out over the park. It's a nice view, and it's also pretty amazing to be right in the middle of the weather when a storm rolls in.

Our son is expected to arrive on Saturday, if he keeps to the schedule. The house is ready and we've got all the baby stuff we need (as far as we know) so now there's nothing left to do but wait. Jenn is feeling good and I am feeling nervous but good. It helps that I've been really busy so I'm not able to psyche myself out. I imagine the next post in this space will include a baby picture. Wish us luck!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Latvia Wins Again!

Congratulations once again to Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia for winning the women's division of the New York City Marathon for the second consecutive year. Nice work! Congratulations also to Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil for winning the men's division. He's the first South American to ever win it.

Inspired by the human drama of the race (and proud of my Latvian heritage) I went running yesterday afternoon around the track at McCarren Park. My mini-marathon was two miles long, and I averaged ten-minute miles. That's half the pace that real marathon runners keep for 26 miles, but it didn't matter, I won anyway. Hooray for me!

I offer up a hearty toast of Riga Black Balsam to all the winners. Excellent work.

We are two weeks from parenthood, and getting nervous.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Village Halloween Parade

Last night was Halloween, so Jenn and I headed to her friend Joy's apartment to watch the Village Halloween Parade. Joy lives on Sixth Avenue, so her apartment overlooks the parade route. That's great, because the sidewalks along Sixth get really crowded and rowdy.

I know the photo of the dancing ghouls above isn't very good, so I'd like to direct you to several places where you can find excellent photo documentation of the parade.

So we hung out and watched the people going by for two hours or so and it was nice. I've always liked Halloween, and it's no surprise that some people in New York really go all out. It was the first time I've had a Sixth Avenue apartment as a vantage point, and we made it work very well by having New York 1 news on the television while we were looking out the window. The TV cameras were set up about two blocks from where we were, so we always had a head's up on who was coming next. The parade's grand marshalls were Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the once-popular rock group Kiss. They rolled by in full costume on a Kiss float.

I didn't see a repeat of my favorite ensemble costume from last year: a group of about eight people formed a pie eating contest, complete with a carnival busker, fake pies, and tables. Every block they would set up and redo the pie eating contest, with a different winner. For ensemble costumes this year, I was impressed by the group of about 25 zombies that did the dance routine from Michael Jackson's Thriller. They were very good, and I was inspired by their performance.

When we made our way back home, I was left with two lessons for future Village Halloween Paraders: the streets aren't as well-lit as you might hope, so costumes that have self-illumination of some kind are very eye-catching. Second, and I can not stress this enough, if you are lucky enough to ride on a float, DO SOMETHING. Don't just stand there and enjoy the ride. You have to dance, or do whatever routine that goes along with your costume. There was nothing more pathetic than seeing a well-done float roll by with a bunch of do-nothings just standing there. You're on stage, people. Action!

Jenn and I are now three weeks from parenthood. You think Halloween is scary?