Archive for June, 2012

Spanish Harlem

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

6-23-12El Barrio’s Bravest is the Firehouse on 3rd Avenue and 102nd Street. I was lucky enough to visit this Firehouse when they were in, as this is one of the busiest houses in the city. Two years ago when I visited all 49 Firehouses in Manhattan, I had to come back 3 times to find anyone in. There was huge interest The Kindness Bicycle Ride for Heroes the moment I rolled in.
I also visited the 23rd Precinct around the corner from the Firehouse. They are extremely busy as well. It was a 20 minute wait to see anyone. It gave me time to peruse all the postings on the walls. One showed the 23 members of the New York City Police Department who were part of the total of 72 law enforcement officers killed on 9/11. Clearly I was in a place of Heroes.

First Firehouse Visit, NYC

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

6-22-12Two years ago this week, I began visiting all 49 Firehouses in Manhattan in The Kindness Bus. It was the 2nd day I believe that I visited the Firehouse on East 85th Street. I remember climbing out of The Kindness Bus to this Firehouse that houses Engine Company 22, Ladder 13 and Battalion 20 and seeing the photos of the 9 faces on the front of the structure. It was the first time I saw one of the memorials on a Firehouse. I had to retreat back in The Kindness Bus to compose myself for several minutes.
Today, I decided to make this 85th Street Firehouse my first visit of all 212 Firehouses I will visit this summer. I stopped here today with a very busy residential street of people interested in The Kindness Bicycle. Two Firefighter Heroes, Chris and Mike met me as they opened the big overhead door. I will always remember this visit as it is a full circle back for me. We talked for quite a while over coffee and cookies sent over by Gracie Mansion. There was a buzz on 85th Street as we posed for today’s picture. The local residents walking past this Firehouse realize this is where Heroes are.

Summer in a Hurry

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

6-21-12Today is the first day of summer and if today’s weather is the harbinger of what to expect for the next 100 days or so, I better get some air conditioning for The Kindness Bus. Knowing that that it was going to heat up quickly today, I was on The Kindness Bicycle by 5:30. It is so easy to get around this town at this hour. Waiting for my visits until later this morning, I headed from the Upper East Side to Times Square and Rockefeller Center to interact with as many people as possible. It was then that what felt like a blast furnace descended on Manhattan. It seems like it went from 80 to 103 degrees in a half hour’s time, with humidity just as high. With the sun baking the concrete, and me as well, I decided to “set of shop” in the relative comfort of the shade. I accomplished lots of necessary deeds today, as there always seem to be with all the connections I am blessed with every day.
Today I met a Landon Wickham, a teacher at Columbia Grammar – prep School in Manhattan. He is a “get things done” kind of guy. In about 10 minutes time, he offered me a complete “whatever you need” for The Kindness Bicycle. He also offered to redesign the look of the flyer I hand out to people as I ride. Within 24 hours he hand delivered 500 color flyers, complete with a photo and my itinerary for the 3 month long ride through the 5 boroughs of New York City, all at no charge. Huge help Landon!! Thank you!!!

Central Park Precinct, NYC

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

6-20-12The Kindness Bicycle Ride for Heroes began its 100 day ride in the five boroughs of New York today. I will visit over 300 Firehouses, Police Precincts and Veterans organizations in the five boroughs of New York City this summer.
I decided that the newly refurbished Central Park Precinct was the perfect place to begin this summer ride. I was met by Detective Julio and Public Affairs Officer Tombari at this recently refurbished Precinct and was given a tour of the facility. Built in the 1800s, the building served as a horse stables and carriage storage. The update is amazing!
Charles Kaczorowski the Police Unit Structures Division Project Manager gave great insight into the minute details of the project and some of the history and stories of the precinct.
During my visit, I talked with two other officers who I met on separate occasions this past week. Big city, small world.

Wounded Brain

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

For some Wounded Warriors, coming back home from Afghanistan and Iraq can be a lifetime of trying to come back home to some semblance of a previous life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an oft times diagnosed condition of extremely stressful situations individuals experience. It takes control over the lives of those affected and creates unknown challenges of varying degrees.
I met an incredible man today. Dr. Benjamin J. Sadock Professor of Psychiatry New York University School of Medicine who stopped by The Kindness Bus to talk about the curative benefits of kindness. We also talked about those with PTSD returning to society and the difficulties of transitioning back to a mentally, healthy life. Those coming back with physical injuries, some needing lifelong care to those with just a scratch, are all Purple Heart candidates. Those with PTSD are not. I thought to myself of a wound being something you can see. I then asked Dr. Sadock why isn’t someone with a “wounded brain” eligible? He said he had never heard of that term previously, but found it very interesting. To me, any wound, physical or cerebral, are both wounds. Properly treated, all physical wounds heal, the wounds you don’t see are another matter.
Thank you to a wonderful woman named Susan, who is from the Upper East Side, for her work with the Firefighters after 9/11 and for the big support for The Kindness Bicycle Ride for Heroes. Thank you to the sales associates at L’occitane for the product donation. Thank you to all of the Upper East Side residents who welcomed me with the inspiring words.

New York City Heroes

Monday, June 18th, 2012

6-18-12The city of New York is filled with safety forces everywhere you look. There are Heroes on every block. The old adage of “when you need a Police Officer, you can never find one,” is certainly not true here.
The Kindness Bicycle is getting rave reviews every revolution of its sprocket. The Kindness Bicycle Tour for Heroes arrived in NYC ten days ago and I am starting to hear from people that they have spotted The Kindness Bicycle previously. I am so excited for this summer and the prospect of helping to create an awareness of who the real Heroes are in today’s society.
With the amount of time I will spend in NYC, I am so pleased that the terrain is relatively flat.

You’re One Lucky Dog, Bogart !!

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

6-17-12Wow!! When I received this photo of Bogart, I nearly flipped. He has a way of charming people to dote upon him, big time! Last summer he had his own inflatable pool. This year a few more amenities have been added to his pampered lifestyle. An umbrella and a float ring are over the top!!  Surely, in September when he rejoins the Kindness Bus Tour, he will be in for a culture shock of epic proportions. Having a big support group of people who love him is part of the reason he is friendly to everyone. Every dog should lead the life Bogart lives.