Hey folks, I know it has been a while, and I miss you all! It has been a busy year and a half, if I have the count correct. First, I had a bit of writer's block. Second, I was busy with business. That's not a bad problem to have. I have also been busy with community activism in my local neighborhood of the East 80's on the Upper East Side.
I'm not sure where to start. A Fine Blog, put me on the path to community activism. The following was immense. I've had over One Million unique viewers over the years. The blog gets attention, and I had issues that I wanted addressed. It worked. The blog drew attention to all sorts of issues from crazy rules at Chuck E Cheese's (which eventually ran the viral gauntlet all the way up to Weekend Update on SNL) to piles of garbage on the Upper East Side. The latter, and specifically local sanitation issues, is one that I am uniquely obsessed with. In any case, the blog worked. Local news media picked up my stories and drew attention to my issues and brought them into the spotlight, and forcing them to be addressed. I'll admit, as a blogger, I grew somewhat frustrated. There were several instances where my stories were big hits, but there was zero attribution to the source, A Fine Blog. There were instances where my words on grifted virtually word for word and ended up in local tabloids and claimed by the writer to be his/her own. There were news crews showing up on the same day shooting video of the precise location of a quality of life infraction that I only shot photos of earlier in the day. Again, no attribution. On the other hand, publications like Curbed, The Real Deal, and reporters with integrity, like Tom Llamas, were more than willing to share the source of a compelling story. I guess I have digressed from the story here though. All of this comes with the territory of blogging, and the greater good or purpose of drawing attention to issues was served. On balance, I will settle with this result any day!
So, I went away from the blog, but that didn't mean that I wasn't busy. Actually, I got busier. I started attending Community Board 8 meetings, City Council meetings, meetings with my local (and admirable) Councilman Ben Kallos. I started getting tangible results. I was invited to join the board of the East 86th Street Association, where I serve with pride. My interest in reviving the blog grew, but before I could tackle that project, I had one big project in mind- to completely revamp the website and social media presence of the East 86th Street Association. I started in December and it turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated. Sure, I've authored a Blogger-based blog for a decade, but I hadn't built a website from scratch since the early 90's. We are talking way back with Microsoft Front Page, before there was social media! Anyway, it was a beast of a chore, and I could only do it in my spare time. I wanted to build the best community organization website around, which made the task even tougher. I was fortunate for three things- my friend William Mallick, a coder that I hired to help, Squarespace, and a friendly bar with decent wifi and a tolerance for geeks sitting around over laptops on a regular basis.
The end result, East86th.org is alive, and thankfully finished! Well, the base site is finished, it will remain a work in progress as new content is loaded on a regular basis. Items that relate to the East 80's will also appear here. Items that don't relate to my local hood will only appear here. I have also revamped East 86th Street Association's social media platforms- Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, all easily found under the moniker @East86th. Please have a look!
So, next up, an A Fine Blog makeover and reboot. Again, this will be a work in progress, but I hope you enjoy all of the insights and content. It is great to be back!