Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Will cities survive the coronavirus?

May 20, 2020

Will cities survive the coronavirus?” was the headline that I read in a section of the New York Times called ‘Debatable‘, written by Spencer Bokat-Lindell.

In the article it mentioned that: “nearly 40 percent of adults living in cities have begun to consider moving to less populated areas because of the outbreak”

It went on to specifically mention how in some of the main cities in the U.S. that populations had already decreased, mainly due to lack of affordable accommodation, pre-Covid (New York, LA and Chicago were mentioned).

While the headline about the “demise of cities” might scare everyone and cast a dark cloud over city living, maybe it should be viewed in a positive light?

We should be living or commuting to our cities because we choose to or because it is absolutely necessary for our work or study – we shouldn’t be living or commuting to our cities to complete tasks that could just as easily be done anywhere else.

Is this the time for us to decompress our cities, allow them to breathe again, and allow us to really enjoy them, living and visiting, not because we have to, but because we choose to?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

What I didn’t know about the 9/11 Memorial

September 11, 2014

911 Memorial

We were very recently in New York (late August 2014) and on a very sunny, gorgeous Saturday we decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial site, which is nearly fully completed.

We had mixed feelings about going there as it feels a little ghoulish and after all when you are on holidays do you really want to visit some place that could upset you?

For those who haven’t been there the site is dominated by a nearly complete huge new building, One World Trade Centre, which will be the tallest office building in the US soon to be occupied by thousands of workers. Alongside this building there are other smaller new office buildings along with the Memorial, which consists of two pools set in the footprint of the original twin towers with a museum close-by. These pools feature 30 foot waterfalls each descending into a centre void. The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze parapets, which surround the pools.

The idea is simple and impactful even though  I felt the centre voids were quite depressing and should instead have captured something more positive and uplifting. This didn’t stop the huge crowds visiting and taking photos, some strangely posing as if it were an exotic holiday location and not a place where victims were being remembered.

The whole development unfortunately turned out to be a well documented troublesome political football. The final design was selected through an international competition that received 5,210 submissions. This must have been an impossible task – how can you properly and respectfully remember the victims. highlight  the awfulness of the attacks and at the same time capture a resilient and positive spirit that will comfort and inspire all who visit?

Much of what I saw I was expecting but a few things really surprised me, which I felt were really worth sharing.

The Victims

The memorial features the victims of both the September 2001 attack and the attack on 26th February, 1993. In 2001 there were 2,977 victims from over 90 nations. The oldest was 85 years old and the youngest was two. More than 400 of these were first responders who died performing their jobs. Six people died in the 1993 attack.

Meaningful adjacencies

When we walked around the two pools we noticed that there seemed to be no obvious sequence to the names that were inscribed on the surrounding bronze parapets. Reading the names you get a sense of the huge mix of nationalities that were working together on that tragic morning including plenty of Irish names. Some names had flowers inserted in between the lettering and some of the names were women who were carrying unborn children who were specifically mentioned, which was very poignant bringing home the reality of these terror attacks.

We discovered that the names were arranged carefully based on what was described as ‘layers of meaningful adjacencies‘. People’s names were arranged depending on where they were on 9/11 and the relationships they shared with others who were killed on that day, honouring requests from victim’s families for specific names to be next to each other.

This must have been a very complicated undertaking but it is a beautiful sentiment that reflects the togetherness of the victims and their surviving families.

Survivor Tree, 911 memorial

The Survivor Tree

In between and around the two pools there are swamp white oak (I read the brochure!) trees carefully planted softening the whole area. In the middle of all of this there is one particular tree, which is a little different as it stands there with some unusual straps and supports around it.

This tree is a Callery pear tree, which was found after 9/11 by the workers who were clearing the wreckage at ground zero. At this point in time it was reduced to a eight-foot-tall stump. This stump was nursed back to health in a New York City park and with much care it grew to 30 feet sprouting new branches..

There is a discrete little sign near this tree, which is rooted in its new home and it is attracting a lot of attention. Many of the visitors take photos near the tree but there is a huge desire by everyone to touch the ‘survivor tree‘. We touched it ourselves and it feels strangely reassuring and uplifting as it embodies the story of survival, resilience and hope.

In some way maybe this simple tree is the very best way to remember the 2,983 people who perished in 1993 and 2001?              

The 9/11 memorial site will no doubt attract millions of tourists every year reflecting on the victims names around the two pools and reliving the tragic events as shown in the memorial museum. Next to them the offices will once again fill up with thousands of ‘suits‘ going about their busy jobs, just as the victims did before them showing how the world and New York does move on.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Time to stop roaming!

September 3, 2014

Train from New 'York to New Jersey

I’m on the train heading from from New York, Penn Station to Metro Park in New Jersey.

I have no online access so what do we do ?? No Twitter, no Facebook, no checking email… I’m twitching , I’ve read the New York guide book and the magazines.

Maybe I’ll relax, look out the window, explore the interesting sights on the route that is new to me … Maybe I’ll chat with Dee or just relax and sit in peace?

The teenage girl we are squeezed next to alongside our bags and baggage is busy on her Mac doing something while munching on a cream cheese and tomato roll. I wonder if she is working or just doodling.

Instead of enjoying the view I decide to write this blog remotely on my iPhone complete with one finger typing.

My brother who lives out here is picking us up at the station and we’ll spend some time with him and his gang, which is really cool.

If I could get online I could tweet something, check if anyone has tweeted me or mentioned me in a post or responded to one of my tweets, I could check my email quickly and delete any of the non-important ones to save me having to do it when we get home. I could even respond to some of the emails.

That roll is lasting her forever … I’m starving !!

Maybe I should just look out the window and enjoy the new sights..

Smartphone, I guess so … Well mostly !

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Strawberry Fields forever?

September 2, 2014

Imagine - Central Park

Four days in New York …where do you start?

We were staying quite close to Central Park so that was a good place to start. Looking at our tour guide I was drawn to a quiet little area called Strawberry Fields, which was described in our guide book as a peaceful spot dedicated to John Lennon who was murdered close-by outside his New York apartment, the Dakota building in 1980.

Interesting ..

Off we headed on foot winding left and right through the park in between joggers, cyclists, skateboarders and even cars … Through the park there were footpaths and wider roads all winding in different directions. Eventually we exited the park and this maze of roads and paths onto the Upper West Side and decided to first find the Dakota building, his apartment which was located directly opposite the Strawberry Fields location in the park.

Yoko Ono still lives in this opulent apartment building, which looks majestically over Central Park. The friendly security guards in their smart grey uniforms stand for photos in front of the impressive building for tourists… behind them you can see the obvious wealth and you can just ‘imagine‘ what it was like having famous neighbours John and Yoko pass you everyday going about their everyday business.

We passed on taking photos (tacky!) and headed across the way into the park and within two minutes we were at ‘Strawberry Fields‘ which effectively is a discreet circular mosaic set into the walkway with the words ‘Imagine‘ in the centre. People were walking by, some were stopping and taking photos, taking it in turn to stand on the mosaic and others were sitting on the park benches located next to the mosaic taking it all in.

An enterprising busker was sitting on one of the benches in prime position next to the mosaic playing (quite badly!) one Beatles cover after another.

Yoko Ono donated the mosaic in memory of her husband and it gives us all a tangible way of remembering this talented, thought provoking Liverpudlian and reflecting on the needless violence that ended his life.

John LennonJohn Lennon wanted us to ‘Give Peace a Chance‘ as he sang in his immortal song of the same name that became an anthem for the anti-war movement in America in the 1970’s.

In the mosaic the word ‘Imagine‘ reminds us of his message in that timeless song of how simple life could be if we just lived in harmony:

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…..”

Just as we quietly reflected on John Lennon and his simple messages of peace we heard raised voices.

What the f**k, you have been here for an hour man, you know we all get an hour. Now it’s my turn so get the f**k out of here

Apparently busking here is lucrative business and the busker next in the rota wasn’t going to lose out to the guy who had prime position. He wasn’t shy either and gave the other guy as good as he got:

F**k you man

The mood was now quite aggressive and these two had no bother putting on a performance for all of us that was slightly against the spirit of John Lennon!

We politely moved on before the temperature rose any further and went about our day and wondered if John Lennon’s simple idea of living in harmony is just impossible?

Isis. the Ukraine, human nature, consider what’s going on in the world today ….maybe we just can’t help ourselves?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Bird in the sky

September 2, 2014

plane in the sky

Today I am that bird in the sky phenomenally shooting through the air at high speed ..look up it’s me up there!

We have no control as we sit here taking for granted the technology, the skill, the craft and the engineering that has us seemingly suspended but in reality powering at high speed towards JFK Airport in New York.

There is nothing anyone of us can do but hand ourselves over and trust in the journey, that we will all be taken there together for whatever our reason… Going home, going on holidays, going on business, visiting friends, visiting family ..we are all in it together.

We’ve had the drinks and the pretzels, we’ve had the chicken sweet and sour, we’ve had the coffee and the ice cream and we’ve watched the movie.

The guy sitting next to me is a New Yorker travelling with his family after 12 days in Ireland playing golf and visiting different spots. The poor fella accidentally forgot to pay for petrol near the airport and they tracked him down just before take off …he was mortified as he scrambled for euros. He is a member of Ballybunion Golf Club but just got to play a few holes, he did Doonbeg and he stayed in Kildare for a few days and spent one day in Killarney.

Plane - view from the cabin

He was pleasantly surprised by Killarney and he would come back ….the last time he was there in the eighties he swore never again but it had changed just like the rest of Ireland. The last time he was in Ireland he reckoned all the young people were emigrating. He’s going to take tomorrow (Friday) off work and make it a long weekend.

He spots my ‘Rough guide to New York‘ and helpfully scribbles out a 5 day itinerary of places we should visit ..it’s a cracking list and we must try our best to do it.

We watch a great movie ‘About Time‘ about family, fathers and sons and being able to go back in time …. There’s no controlling time here, we just have to go with it even though we are going back 5 hours!

We are meeting our buddy Ciara who is celebrating her 40th birthday, we are meeting Jane Maas, the New York ad legend, the author of ‘Mad Women‘ for brunch on Sunday and we are hooking up with my brother Colin and his family who are living in New Jersey. He is working in New York so we are meeting him for a pint when we get in …how cool is that?!

He’s been there for 20 years and it’s sad that any of your family are so far away. I love him to bits but often I do sadly feel ‘out of sight out of mind‘ kicks in and we have all missed out on so much together.

We were busy up until the minute we left closing off on some various client things, finishing a proposal that must be submitted tomorrow and caught up in so many other ‘life‘ things.

For now we must leave it all behind because there is nothing we can do but sit with so many others including my helpful New Yorker and let that bird in the sky take us on our journey.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork