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Artist Date: The Andrew Freedman Home

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Gosh, it’s been ages. I’m still doing Artist Dates though and I’ve decided to share my weekly creative adventures here. I’ll be sharing other stuff too. So, for last week’s Artist Date, I was really getting two things done at once. A friend decided to read at another friend’s event and it was the first friend’s very first time reading in public. She did a phenomenal job and I’m so looking forward to her debut novel hitting the shelves. So, one part of that was supporting two friends. The other part was (duh) getting in my Artist Date.

The venue, the Andrew Freedman Home was a place I had never been to and in fact I had never heard of this particular Bronx destination. Intrigued by this, I Googled it beforehand to get a sense of the space and be able to spot it once I emerged from the subway.

Turns out, the Andrew Freedman Home is pretty fascinating. It’s a humungous, ornate, limestone building that takes up an entire city block. Andrew Freedman was this really rich guy who was one of the first investors in the New York City subway.  He also owned New York Giants at one time.

When he was a child, his parents lost nearly everything through a series of bad financial decisions and the story goes that young Andrew vowed to never allow rich people suffer the indignity of being poor. As such, when he died in 1915, his will left his considerable fortune for the establishment of the Andrew Freedman Home. The ornate, stately palace was built specifically as a retirement home for former millionaires who had fallen on hard times and had no more money.

Residents of the home did not pay a dime for food or housing, but they lived like the kings and queens they once were. A delightful 1924 article  published in the Evening Tribune soon after the home opened, describes the immaculate space in great detail.

Inside, the building is equipped with every comfort which a modern millionaire would put in his own house. Telephones, radio, phonograph, soft-voiced servants, tiled private baths, billiard rooms, card rooms, a library, and a living room so luxurious that even a modern millionaire could find no lack in it.

When it opened in the 1920s, it was pretty much right on time for the soon-to-be poor millionaires who lost their fortunes during the Great Depression. But just like its residents, the home ran out of money in the 1960s and could no longer operate as it had. It re-opened in the 80s as a “regular” retirement home for any person who could pay the fee to stay there. The space was reinvented again in the 21st century, operating as an event space and daycare, which it remains today. It also offers 10 guest bedrooms that are attended to by locals who are being trained in hospitality and culinary arts.

I find it most interesting that this wealthy man’s dying wish was to use his fortune to help other (formerly) wealthy people. I think most everyone is deserving of help, but to use one’s immense resources to help other people with long money? Hmmmmm. Seems a tad insensitive and by “a tad” I mean very. Especially considering that in Freedman’s lifetime, New York was an extreme example of the haves and have-nots. The New York City Zoning Resolution did not come to pass until 1916 (a year after Freedman’s death), which means that there were deplorable living conditions for poor people that included a lack of basic amenities like light, air and disease-free water. With all of that going on, he chose to leave his money to people who he felt would feel poverty more harshly than those who had lived a lifetime of it. How noble. Not.

But all is well. The Andrew Freedman Home today does indeed tend to a multitude of demographics and specifically the poor and disenfranchised of the South Bronx. So there, Mr. Freedman. I shall visit there again soon.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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40 Days of Dating: Homie Lover Friends

40 Days of Dating: Homie Lover Friends

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There’s this beautiful and amazing project called 40 Days of Dating. In a nutshell, two single friends decided to date each other for 40 days straight and see what happens. They have rules such as they must meet up every single day of the 40 days, they can’t date/hook-up/have sex with other people and they see a therapist together once a week. They also document each day via a questionnaire type thing that is illustrated by their fellow designer friends. It’s a very aesthetically pleasing project and thought provoking too.

These two friends, who have “opposite” relationship problems (she dives into relationships too quickly and he is committed to not committing) decided to come together and just kind of see where their experiment leads them. What a concept!

The twosome completed the project earlier this year, but they are rolling out each day everyday currently as they have enlisted the help of friends to illustrate their experiment.. It’s a little more than half-way up now. I go to 40 Days of Dating every morning now as part of my rotation of blogs and social media routine.

I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will just say that their project is very enlightening about how men and women relate and how men and women can view the exact same set of events in vastly different ways. Oh and the video the dude makes for the woman on Day 8 is quite possibly the sweetest and most thoughtful thing I’ve ever seen.

They are both designers, which means they are both creative types. I think that factors in as well with their interactions and responses to one another. As a writer and maker of “things” (jewelry, vision boards, shadow boxes, calligraphy, etc) I consider myself to be a creative type and I seem to attract other creative types too. I’ve had painters, DJs, graphic artists, actors, musicians and the like all make attempts at being my suitor or some companion-like person in the past several months. Creative types definitely know how to come up with unique and fun dates. That’s for sure.

But anyway, check out the site.

Have you/would you ever date a someone who has been a friend for years? If you have, how did it work out?

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in Creativity, Love

 

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Transit Worker Was Also A Great Artist

An NYC Transit worker was killed on the job, but his art will still live on. Marvin Franklin’s paintings will be shown at Gallery 1199 in Manhattan from Nov 9 to Dec 7. Proceeds from sales will go to a union fund for widows and orphans.

To see more of his work and to learn more about the art gallery showing, click here.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

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