Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another Reason I Miss My NYC

Summer is starting to wind down. The temperatures will be dropping a bit. Football season is starting. Hey, we may even get a few pretty orange and yellow trees this fall (though that is not the norm in sunny L.A.).

Fall is coming. My favorite time of the year. When I was a New Yorker, I loved the fall. There was a particular kind of "bite" to the fresh air in Central Park. The trees all changed into the most amazing colors. I got to rescue my favorite coat and gloves from the back of the closet. The city seemed to wake up from it's lazy summer days and begin to really move again. Of course, New Yorkers are never lazy. It just gets too damn hot to do anything in August.
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After 9/11, it just sort of lost that magical quality. I guess I associate clear blue skies and crisp air with airplanes falling out of the sky now... and other things. Damn it.

Still, autumn always makes me a little wistful for the upper west side and H&H Bagels...maybe a stroll through the park to the carousel.
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Here's another cool thing about New York City that I stumbled across the other day. They have a program called Nontradional Employment for Women, or NEW. This program trains women for jobs like "sheet metal worker", "electrician" and "train operator". When you figure that many of these women are heads of household (read: single working moms) and working at traditional minimum wage jobs, this is pretty kick ass. You can make a lot more money working in construction than you usually can waiting tables. Not to mention the total lack of health care and nifty things like pension plans that you suddenly get when working in unionized, skilled labor jobs. Why should we deny ourselves the opportunity to earn a living wage because girls don't lay bricks?

NEW is New York City's top training program for women in the
trades. After completing NEW's curriculum, graduates enter local apprenticeships
or begin nontraditional jobs in the building and construction trades, the
utilities and transportation fields, or facilities maintenance and repair.

Skilled blue-collar work
is an excellent choice for women who are fit—or ready to get in shape—and who
like active, physically challenging work: It offers high wages (a journey-level
worker generally earns over $35 per hour); excellent medical benefits; pensions,
annuities, and paid vacation time; and the opportunity for further education.

I just love this. It's so New York. I'm sure programs like this exist in many other cities (at least, I hope so) but there is something very gritty and "gettin' our hands dirty" about this program that reminds me of the atmosphere around town after that September day. Yes, we grieved. Yes, we were afraid. But we also rolled up our sleeves and started taking care of each other.

That's what this program made me think of. New Yorkers are so refreshingly real, compared to some of the people in the entertainment biz that I meet out here. These people at NEW are giving women the tools to make a better life for themselves and their families .

I like that.

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Marz said...

Wow, what a great program. Thanks for sharing it.

When I win the lottery, I'll take us both out there for a fall stroll through the park, a carousel ride and H&H bagels. (Sorry, didn't win this time).

Ms. S said...

I think it's wonderful that you were able to live there and experience such a city!

KleoPatra said...

Cool post, i'm with you all the way, Meesh.

I visited NY many years ago; my sister was married in Brooklyn 24 years ago and my parents took me to a few places while we were there.

Love it.
Love the people.

But i love SoCal more...

The Nontraditonal Employment for Women excites me though, i must tell you!

Lora_3 said...

Ok I'm crying. I really miss the trees changing color.

Damn I miss Indiana.

Be safe...

trac said...


My daughter is a student at FIT and I will admit, when I go down to visit her and the sky is that pure, cerulean blue, I feel a shiver, a cold wave in my being. I would rather it be cloudy and overcast....I sometimes wonder if a sunny, blue sky day in NYC will ever be free of our emotional baggage.....

Anyways the NEW program sounds awesome - I love when women step out of society's expectations and limits.

Urban Vegan said...

You know, it's funny...I hate fall and any harbinger of colder weather. And I'm a born-n-bred East Coast girl who used to work in NYC. Guess I should move where the weather is warmer.

But I hear you--east or west--home is best.

The Lone Beader said...

I am so sad that summer is almost over. But, fall is my favorite time of year, too:)

Vicki said...

you & i have several things in common, my dear: fall is also my favorite time of year. when i lived in so. cal (13 years) i severly missed the fall colors & crisp air.
i always thought the "man" jobs were the best! as a kid, i wanted my brother's jobs instead of mine... to be mowing the lawn instead of doing the dishes. to drive the tractor instead of weeding the garden. the list goes on & on. i'm so pleased that some of those barriers are being broken.

ps -- my word verification is "chaoge" when i glanced at it, i thought it said "change" how appropriate.