Stay Away from Gravity

So, this morning, this happened.

It was 8 am and I was walking around the block after walking my kids to their school bus stop. I noticed this piece of edifice on the sidewalk. I looked up wondering where it fell from. Like a jigsaw puzzle, I found the niche.

20131007-085943.jpg

So I called 311. (I did not call 911). While I was getting transferred to the building department, busybody that I am, I pointed out the brick-like piece of architecture to every dogwalker and child walker who passed.

“Look at this piece of architecture! It came from that building right there.” I was not put on hold for long. I gave the address to the building agency (grateful that our city infrastructure was intact — that the government shut down did not reduce the response time.)

And boy, did they respond! 20131007-090004.jpg

Officer Iosilevich came knocking at my door. See, my doorman, who had been tipped off by my neighbor, pointed out that I was the complainant in this edifice-falling potential disaster. I remind you. I dialed 311 — not 911. (I love 311, the city’s hotline number.)20131007-085926.jpg

This was the fallen cornice — as big as a brick. You can see the impact on the sidewalk. Within 30 minutes of my call, I got that knock on the door. I discovered that four firetrucks and two cop cars had responded. 20131007-090031.jpg

20131007-090103.jpg

20131007-090144.jpg

Officer Iosilevich told me it was a good thing that I called. I wondered if the building owners would be fined or required to make their building safe.

I went back home. It wasn’t even 9 am and I had begun my job, saving the city, one complaint at a time.

Incidentally, at lunch time, I headed down to 57th Street to the Carnegie Hall block where I was going to see the movie Gravity at the Director’s Guild. But the street was closed due to a wobbly crane atop a building. I could not get down the block to see the movie Gravity, but I appreciate the gravity of gravity.

Barnegat Lighthouse

I am a lighthouse. I stand tall, watch for shipwrecks, give light.

20130822-123038.jpg
Barnegat Lighthouse. On the night of the full moon, we climbed the 217 steps.

Earlier in the day, we’d walked to the lighthouse and I said, “Let’s walk out on the jetty.” But we didn’t.

20130822-123126.jpg

20130822-123207.jpgIn the morning, my mother stretched in the bay. I think she missed her daily Chicago yoga when she was visiting me on the East Coast. At the bay beach, mom was bitten by little bugs and wanted to go to the ocean side and so we did. She left for the airport at lunchtime.

That night of the full moon, we climbed the lighthouse steps. I told the girls, “Go ahead! Scamper up! I am going to take my time.” I got dizzy in the spiral staircase. But I love spirals.

All the metal, echo-y steps were the same. Looking up and looking down were the same. It was hard to orient myself.

I think I would like to live in a round building. When my son lived briefly in a yurt at camp, he said there is nowhere to hide when there are no corners in your cabin, so campers were more engaged in conversations. And he said, that campers were closer to nature, and could hear people talking outside the yurt.

Maybe round structures like yurts and lighthouses are more a part of the elements. Round buildings fit in better with nature, like tree trunks and whirlpools. And spirals.

20130822-123228.jpg

The girls stopped in a windowsill and asked me to take their pic. The flash blinded us.

20130822-123533.jpg

20130822-123549.jpg
We waited about an hour to climb the stairs of the Barnegat Lighthouse. It was worth the wait.

While standing in line, I thought about the last time I was at Barnegat Light with my son. We kept singing the jingle, “Stronger than the Storm.” And I thought, maybe I don’t always have to be strong. Maybe it’s okay to be weak or vulnerable. What’s so great about being strong? That’s a very male quality. How about I value a more female quality — being soft and round, like a mother?

Every night the sun sets on Barnegat Light.
Every night the sun sets on Barnegat Light.

Yes, I know the sun sets and the moon rises everywhere. I just don’t notice it. Maybe I am not a lighthouse after all.

20130822-123607.jpg
The full moon rose as we waited to climb the lighthouse steps. And then it followed us home and hung around all night.