The God Box

I work in a big solid square building known affectionately as the God Box. The building has this nickname because when it opened, so many Christian religions were housed here. Now Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Bike New York, and a lot of other nonprofits, are housed here too.

The best part of my workplace, besides my lunchtime Pilates and Yoga classes and my camarades in the cafeteria, are the monthly art openings.

Last night’s show was especially swank because the show profiled 12 artists from the Bronx. For each of the next five years, a new borough will be profiled. This year’s show is: the art of the 5: a shout out from the bronx.  As someone who studies and practices visual art, seeing the variety of these works inspired me. I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard a rumor that a live snake lives in one of the window boxes of art. (A snake in the God Box? So appropriate!)

Here are some photos from last night’s party. Yes,  at the monthly art openings, the wine and beer flow, which is, I’ll admit, kind of a draw (except, probably for the AA folks). But the appetizers are lovely too. Last night there were crabcakes and steak bites. And as you can see below, I snagged that last salmon appetizer.

The artists assemble for a photo while the sculpture Sirena sits idly by.

Hanging out with my coworkers in the lobby, schmoozing with artists, sipping wine, talking about art — kind of a perfect way to end a work day.

My colleague, left, Liz Lee, talks to the artist, Jeanine Alfieri, who is the sculptor who creates casts from life.



The artists from the Bronx gather.

Room for Bikes

With no fanfare a bike room opened in the basement of 475 Riverside Drive, the Interchurch Center.

Bikes now have their own bright room. (Thanks, I think, to the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and Bike New York who have both moved into the building within the last five years.)

Bikes used to live in a corner overshadowed by the exhaust fumes of the cars. The bikes knew they were second class citizens to the cars. Heck, I knew. And I didn’t really want to admit tell my bike.

The bike racks were in a dusty corner. On more than one occasion, I bumped my head against the fire alarm and knocked my shin against my pedal getting the bike in or out.

I know I shouldn’t anthropomorphize my bike any more

— the way I anthropomorphize ice cream

or my creativity

Bikes aren’t human. They don’t get crushes on other bikes as I’ve previously reported.


But I can’t stop. My bike is my child. As my real children get older, I still have my good old bike. It will live with me always. It needs its own room. As a teen it needs privacy. But, as a parent, I still need know what it is doing in there.

Like children, biking in New York City has grown up without me noticing. Mine used to be one of a few bikes in the basement. But now there are more than a dozen — more fun for my bike to play with.

Sacred Chow

At lunch time, the author and pastor Donna Schaper spoke about creating community and communion through food. She was awesome.

The discussion reminded me of last summer when I taught the the adult spiritual study, “Food & Faith” in the schools of mission at Western Connecticut State University and at Dillard University in New Orleans. I loved hearing people’s rich stories of food memories.

One older woman remembered being on the farm, sitting at a picnic table with relatives of many ages after a barn raising. Food was definitely both a fueling and a feasting. Donna wrote about this kind of communion in her book, “Sacred Chow.”

Food has the capacity to bring us together. But there is also, as Donna mentioned, a divisiveness or a righteousness when we discuss food. We’re right about the way we eat and others aren’t.

There are small, good, spiritual things we can do with food, including writing about food, teaching about food and faith, saying grace, opting out of corporate food manufacturers’ offerings, choosing farmstand foods. We can also remember our childhood dinner tables.

When I was a kid, we took the phone off the hook. All seven of us ate dinner together in the dining room every night. We argued, we discussed the day, we ate. I’m going home to get that party started right now.

Donna Schaper spoke as part of Raising Women’s Voices, workshops on women and health offered by the Interchurch Center. Interesting that the event came on the heels of the healthcare legislation.

Schools of Christian Mission are dynamic adult learning opportunities offered in thousands of venues usually in the summer for United Methodist Women and their friends.