The Bronx: A Home & Path To Transformation
Hello, readers. It’s been a while.
I’m back in NYC, having spent the last week of August packing and moving to a temporary residence in the Bronx.Â Why such an extreme move, you may ask? Like many young people affected by the economy, I no longer have a staff job with company subsidized benefits. Unlike many of my peers, however, I chose to leave.
Yes, I am from crazytown, but this was my first step in taking charge of my future — through strategic freelancing assignments, building professional relationships and contributing to causes that I am passionate about. The Lair is in for a major redesign over the next year and will reflect these changes.
From now on, anything I do is in support of my life plan and will be a small step towards reaching specific goals. Heavy stuff, but true.
As I previously mentioned, I am also going to primarily use the next few months to produce my first short film. There are a lot of costs involved with the production/distribution/marketing of a short, so I needed to make a choice:
What was more important, maintaining my usual lifestyle and achieving the same results, or altering it for a short while and achieving my dream?
The answer was easy.
I decided to move out of my one bedroom apartment in a trendy part of Bushwick, Brooklyn (where I was paying $1420 + utilities) and relocate to …
A temporary apartment share with friends in the Bronx. Right now, I don’t have my own room and I live with three other people. This probably doesn’t sound like heaven, but it’s actually not that bad.
The location ended up being ideal because I will be spending one day a week co-teaching a media literacy workshop in the Bronx for the LAMP (they recently interviewed me), so it’s useful to have personal knowledge of the area. I’ve lived in other areas that carried a supposed stigma (Washington Heights, Bushwick, Jersey City) so I know that things aren’t always what they seem. I love the Bronx, for what it is, what it’s not and what it can be.
Just as important, I’m saving over $1500 dollars in September. You can’t beat that with a bat.
This is just for a month or two at most, because after months of research, I’ve also decided that I will be relocating to a spacious loft (no roommates!) in Mott Haven in October. I’m going to transform it into my dream work/living space. It’s a block from the 4/5 and is actually closer to midtown than my apartment was in Bushwick. I can reach Union Square in 15-20 minutes. I love the building’s amenities (modern interior, free gym, laundry on every floor, etc.) and the neighborhood is diverse — artists and professionals who like a lot of space without breaking the bank.
The New York Times recently produced a story on NY residents who were moving, to save money and start new lives. I would embed it here but, you know, they sometimes suck like that (no embed code). The gist is that my decision appears to be part of a developing trend.
Before I start thanking everyone under the sun, I have to mention two things that happened in Cali:
1) I cracked my head open while jumping from rocks and
2) I discovered that PBS “Digital Nation” had already uploaded a portion of the interview they did with me at BlogHer to their YouTube account. I talk about ma’ daddy and his dislike of the internets.
(embed won’t work on FB if you’re reading this from there, sorry.)
I watched it for the first time on my BlackBerry Storm, while hanging out at the CA State Fair with my mom. We laughed about streaming video on my phone, while eating corn on the cob.
I believe that this interview will end up in their aired documentary sometime in 2010. It was always a dream of mine to appear on PBS, so woOters.
I need to give some shout-outs now. As the kids like to say, “big ups” are in order. None of my recent, positive actions would have been possible without the help of these amazing folks. I’m only including people who actually use Facebook and will see this, others I have already thanked in person:
* To Julia, my East Coast BFF, for helping me coordinate getting the Russian subletters into my place, showing them around and tolerating (to an extent) their weird racism. Womp. But thanks to you, I was able to save a shitload of money and use it to … give it to my school. Yay! Wompers. Love ya. THANK YOU.
* To Jenny, who is watching my cat Fellow for me until October because I couldn’t take him with me. Without you, I would have been forced to give him away to an old lady or possibly *sniff* some sort of cat rescue outfit. *shudder* Words cannot describe my gratitude. THANK YOU.
* To Rose, my West Coast BFF, who gave me so much encouragement and let me stay with her while I was in Cali in August. She also took me to the ER when I cracked my head open. She supports everything I do and is my oldest friend. THANK YOU.
* To Lance, who used his car on the crazy streets of NYC to help me get my shit from Brooklyn to the Bronx. He also once built me a shopping cart out of scrap metal and is a young McGyver. THANK YOU.
* To Angela, who I consider a mentor and who’s never hesitated to introduce me to people or send me feedback on my ideas. She is generous, supportive and inspiring. THANK YOU.
* To MTV News peeps, who never once made me feel like shit for leaving and threw me a sweet going away party. You guys are, individually and as a collective, so mind blowingly talented and your words of encouragement have meant a lot. Sometimes, just a tiny bit of support is the catalyst for something huge. THANK YOU.
* To all the folks from MTV who were laid off and continue to thrive, you are all an inspiration to me. THANK YOU.
* To Mom, who (besides birthing me and putting up with my nonsense) up until recently, paid my cell phone bill for 5 YEARS. THANK YOU. Holy crap, that ‘ish is ‘spensive.
Guess I’m officially an adult now.
* To Sherise, who, through her own journey, reminds me that people are uprooting their lives and starting over all the time. She’s a rock star, has found an amazing job and is doin’ big things since moving here from D.C. last December. She didn’t let the recession keep her away, and for that I say THANK YOU.
If I forgot to add you to this list and you know you helped me out recently, please send me a message and yell at me. Tanx.
A Special Message From The Lair To Your, Dear Readers:
If you’re my friend on Facebook, Twitter, or FriendFeed, then you may already have a sense of what’s been going on in my life. If that is the case, then this post (especially when imported into Facebook) might have felt a bit redundant. No worries, this recap post was more for me and family members who choose to only check up on my life through danielacapistrano.com.
Lastly, I need to talk about my blog for a second (I know, heavy sigh). But you deserve fair warning: The Lair posts for the rest of the year will probably be more on the “evolving life” side. Be prepared to see a mix of increasingly personal updates, along with my thoughts on industry trends, technology and youth activism.
Over the years, I have watched some of my colleagues evolve the focus of their blogs to a specific topic, for the purpose of career advancement, monetization and personal branding. I don’t see myself doing this anytime soon.
The Lair has been — and will continue to be — a place for me to share whatever happens to capture my attention and feels worth writing about. I will continue to tag personal entries with “brain leaks” however the tag doesn’t imply that 100% of the content is strictly of a personal nature. It’s never all going to fit into one simple category, so let me put that out there right now, OK? 🙂
Oh, and I will try to update at least once a week. These long posts can be exhausting, right??? 😉 Thanks for reading.