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News from Anna in Long Island City

I was quite surprised Wednesday afternoon (9 January) to hear sirens and see a multitude of fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars converging on the street near our apartment. I couldn’t tell at first what was going on – then I realized a giant crane which was being used for the construction of another apartment building nearby had collapsed. Ironically, I’d just photographed the crane that morning, pre-accident (see photos below). I was sad to hear in the news that some of the workers were injured in the collapse; for the past week I’d been admiring the speed and efficiency with which they were working.

1) Crane in the morning. 2) Ambulances and fire department arrive. 3) View of the collapsed crane. Click photo to enlarge.

On telecommuting, and moving to New York:

It has been an adjustment at first going from working on-site at Berkshire Publishing in the Berkshires to telecommuting from our apartment in Queens. Being able to interact in real-time through Skype with my wonderful colleagues certainly helps combat feelings of isolation. Music also helps! I learned some other things that are handy when telecommuting:

  1. Make sure you have internet before you move – if possible set it up two weeks before you’re due to move in. Otherwise be prepared to schlep to the nearest wifi hotspot for a week until it’s installed (learned from experience)!
  2. Make the effort to get outside of the house/apartment at least once a day to avoid going stir crazy and prevent becoming a hermit. (I have been least successful with this step so far, as I am naturally a homebody).
  3. Setting up your work space near a window, with a view, if possible, is really helpful. It’s great to have some natural light and to keep the feeling of connection to the outside world.
  4. Tea, lots of tea. (Mar also recommends chocolate, and I wholeheartedly concur).

Living in a city has also been an interesting adjustment. Having lived in an area where a car is necessary to go pretty much anywhere, learning to buy no more than you can carry has been a lesson. Used to doing one large grocery trip a week, I filled a cart with groceries in a nearby store, only to discover to my chagrin that I could barely carry it all back. But I love the easy availability of public transportation; the ability to hop on the subway with Frank and be in Central Park, or  to see jazz, or visit a museum, in such a short time – or to get on the Metro North Train and head back to the Berkshires for a visit (but at the same time wishing that it extended all the way to Great Barrington and beyond – see the petition to Bring Back the Trains to the Berkshires). I also love that I can see a public sports field nearby. It should be inspiring when working on the 3rd edition of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of World Sport. Usually inhabited by soccer players in the evenings and on weekends, in the afternoons I sometimes see a troop of children from a nearby school walk over and play, always a cheery sight, although it now also brings a bit of sadness to my heart to think of the children in Newtown who will not be joining their friends at play – I guess we can all only hope for a more peaceful world in the new year.

Photos from our first months in the city: 1) Anna and Frank. 2) Snowy rooftops. 3) Jazz in Central Park. 4) Long Island City Sign. 5) Frank at the Metropolitan Museum. 6) Anna in front of the Pepsi-Cola sign. 7) Manhattan skyline at night. Click photo to enlarge.

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