Tag Archives: new york city

beginnings&endings // arrivals&departures

Today is my 1 year anniversary of moving to New York. I love it here.

Today is also the day I start my first art residency, at The Wassaic Project in Wassaic, NY.

My friend Joe graciously offered to assist me and be my co-pilot driving up there. We rented a car and packed up all my fabric and sequins and bike and clothes, and drove 2 hours out of the city to Wassaic, arriving just in time for dinner.

We made a mini-video-series documenting our road trip! I love it. Watching this is almost like hanging out with us along the trip – being right there in the car talking about art, relationships, snacks, friendship, the pursuit of happiness…. really great stuff here. A lovely portrait of a friend, and of a time of transition — moving into a new realm of art making and living in new york!!

(don’t worry I edited it so you don’t have to sit through all of our blabbering….)

Joe And Aliya go to Wassaic, the Web-Mini-Series

PILOT EPISODE: “I think our movie is going to be better than Portlandia.”

EPISODE 1: “The Manhattan Bridge: There’s a little park in the corner where you can pee”

EPISODE 2: “Biker Lady Pursuit”

(there is no episode 3)

EPISODE 4: “Come on down to Joe and Aliya’s Style Station”

EPISODE 5: “”We’re Talkin’ about Love”

EPISODE 6: “Mellow, Reflective Episode”

EPISODE 7: “The Dessert Episode, inspired by Nature Goodness”

EPISODE 8: “The Adorable Episode”

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nyc christmas tourist

Christmas time is a bizarre time for a Jew (for anyone?). I feel like all month I’ve been wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas!” or almost worse, a “Happy Holidays!”. I vaguely hate the “Happy Holidays” because it’s pretending that there is actually another set of important holidays at this time of year. Really it’s just Christmas. We all know it, ok? stop pretending. Chanukkah is not a big deal. if you want to get excited about a Jewish holiday, let’s get gung-ho about Passover! or Rosh Hashannah! or Yom Kippur (oh wait, there’s no big present buying rush then? oh never mind.) anyways, we’ll get some mad passover fun going on in about 4 months but until then we’re here in December with Christmas.

So, having seen my amazing family during Thanksgiving I thought, there’s no reason for me to come home for this holiday I don’t celebrate. I’ll just stay in NYC and do some awesome sewing projects or catch up on work I’m making or get some good money-paying gigs while there’s no one here to distract me. Little did I know that the HOLIDAY MALAISE would descend upon me in a most epic way, reinforced by my new york setting.

Lonely and a bit homesick for a home beyond just the cinder blocks in Florida, I knew this was prime art-making time.

My companion for this adventure was a fellow non-celebrator, Davey Davis, who I found out was also around the city for the holiday, and who had been pumped about the idea when we ran into each other on the Williamsburg Bridge the other week (photoshoot!)

December 25, we set off to really feel the full extent of Christmas Spirit inside the city that many frolic to for just that feeling at this time of year. We collected objects, patterns pictures, feelings, sandwiches to document here. I also documented the project in real-time via twitter (<– a backwards stream of all my tweets from the day).

1. Breakfast at 473 St. Johns Pl, 9:40am:

Oatmeal (rolled oats, not steel cut), frozen berries, walnuts, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, yogurt, honey. Chai tea. We talked about routines and moving to new york and our individual adventures of late.

2. Train ride uptown, 10:35am:

Botanical Garden Shuttle to Franklin Ave, Manhattan bound C to Jay Street, Manhattan bound A to 125th Street, west to 490 Riverside Drive. We talked about outsider artists and traveling with intentions to make a difference and being the life of the party.

3. Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, 2nd floor balcony, 11:55am:

The Riverside Church is a historic church, the church where a friend told me that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to / preached at (? facts not checked). A church which, “commits itself to welcoming all persons, celebrating the diversity found in a Congregation broadly inclusive of persons from different backgrounds of characteristics, including race, economic class, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family status and physical and mental abilities. ”

We got here late, but caught the end of the sermon which surprisingly mentioned #occupywallstreet, being thankful for their cause and for the way they have brought up OWS issues into the public sphere, in a non-violent way. The sermon called to support their cause and have the mission of OWS be clearly articulated to all in the coming year, and that non-violent protesting be protected and continued. I was really impressed and moved by this endorsement, re-contextualization of the OWS movement into this religious context — makes it more viable? more credible with the weight of religious conviction, without scaring me because of this collapse of the religious and secular worlds? I hope this makes sense.

We also ended up on part of a tour of the church. We went to the top balcony, and the 20th floor, which for some reason was so impressive to me. 20 floors! in a church! that seems like a lot, but then I think about NYC and 20 floors is like nothing. It was beautiful regardless, and the room reverberated with the vibrations of the bells of the building, non-stop ringing.

4. Deli Sandwiches, Broadway Ave bodega, 1pm:

Hunger sets in. Davey advocates for his favorite NYC universal eats, the Bodega Deli Sandwich. Turkey and Ham, respectively, with “all the veggies you got” –  pickles, tomato, lettuce. Surprisingly delish and effectively filling lunches. Beautiful abstract-geometric-landscape setting. We talked about religion and Judaism and Atheism vs Agnosticism. We talked about families.

I picked up this interesting set of anthropological field samples on our walk through Morningside Heights.

5. 1 train south to Times Square, 1:35pm:

this train structure amazed me. It was beautiful. I also loved the tiny 1-person wide escalators.

The LED sign felt poetic, and foretelling of futures.

so many patterns. We talked about Cindy Sherman and the effectiveness of advertising on trains.

6. Bryant Park, kettle corn and not ice-skating, 2:00pm:

On our list of “maybe” was ice-skating. My mom said, “You gotta go ice skating on Christmas in NYC!” but the $35 ticket was a bit of a hesitation. But more-so than that, once we got there, it didn’t look very fun at all, and everyone just looked really silly.

7. New York Public Library steps, looking out on East 41st Street, 2:25pm:

Walking from Bryant Park, we came upon some folding chairs on the mall (promenade??) of the New York Public Library. IT was a lovely place to sit, watch people taking pictures of each other, and look out on the city. We talked about how we ended up in NYC, what we liked about it here, and what we saw as our futures here.

We saw these two kids posing for their dad, and they looked so funny in their posed faces. As soon as they finished their photo-shoot, I asked the dad to take a picture of Davey and myself posed in just the same way as the kids had posed.

8. Walking up 5th Avenue, 2:45pm:

So many people told me our tour HAD to include looking at the fabulous Christmas windows of department stores along 5th avenue. They were great! We saw Minnie Mouse! and then paid $1 for this damn photo:

The problem with this part of the tour was that between all the other Christmas Tourists, the hot dog vendors, the dudes selling Louis Votton purses, and barricades put up to control the crowds I was a part of, I kinda wanted to scream. The claustrophobia set in. I couldn’t move. everyone was so slow and leisurely and there wasn’t even that much to look at. I like that we couldn’t even take a photo in front of the windows without a million people moving into the picture too. That is more interesting to me than a picture of a fancy department store window.

Davey ended up going back another day to look at the better windows of Bergoff Goodman that we apparently missed because they were a few streets up from when we got too pooped out to continue (BUMMER).

9. Rockefeller Park/ Rockefeller Tree, 3:10pm:

“I’m gonna take a picture of you as you in front of the Rockefeller Tree — your first time seeing the tree!” Davey said to me as we neared 50th st. Some of the a million people next to us said, “Aww!” — our first Christmas!

But actually, it wasn’t so cute. It was entirely overwhelming. SO MANY PEOPLE AAACKCKKKK!!!!

All of this crazy was made better by impersonating the statues. We talked about bike races and how Davey has never met someone shorter than 5’4″ before (he says).

10. Train ride home, 3:30pm:

The crowds and ultra-tourism really wiped us out. and it was time to head home anyways for our separate evening plans. “We have to take a photo of you next to this fire-hydrant to end the project.” I don’t know why really but I guess it was a fitting end.

Downtown E to 42nd Street, Brooklyn-bound 2. We talked about potlucks and small-frame bikes.

Arrived home around 4:30pm. Parted ways. I ate all of the remaining toffee that my roommate Zoe had made for presents. Felt slightly sick from too much toffee and still a bit Christmas-lonely. But with a new friend and a great day of conversation and adventure gained.

Project End.

*all photos by Davey Davis. Except some less fancy ones by me on a phone camera.

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becoming a new yorker

I haven’t posted in a while as I’ve been settling into my New Yorker self. I look back to 2 1/2 months ago when I moved here and I can’t believe how I was operating and making so many things happen even when so much of my life was unsettled. now I feel way more at ease in a way I didn’t know that I wasn’t before.

some transitional/big-girl things & news!

  • I got a real job! Creative Time will begin paying me in my role as Community Organizer / Assistant Producer for Living As Form, the big exhibition/show/commission/project we are working on for this fall. I am SO EXCITED! We have a great team of incredible people working on this project, a great cast of incredible artists and projects to present, and a fun summer ahead. as my co-worker Kevin and I have been joking, it will be a summer of short-shorts and tank-tops as we sweat it out in the Old Essex Street Market (the site of the exhibition) getting the space and the projects and the artists ready for the big show.
  • I got into the Laundromat Project Create Change Professional Development Fellowship program! a mouthful. I’m really honored & excited to be a part of this program and working with this incredible organization who’s motto is: “Wash Clothes. Make Art. Build Community.” I see this as an incredible resource to combine social justice work and art making in one conversation — not separating out the making and the ideas / impact behind the work. I also see this jump-starting my art making this summer and beyond! It’s been almost 2 years since my senior thesis project. It’s time for the next big piece!
  • I organized my room and I am IN LOVE WITH IT! we have a new summer-only roommate moving in this summer into the little room we were calling the “art room” but never set up/ it became the storage junk room by default, and so I cleared out my stuff and used the opportunity to really create my magical studio/bedroom/creation space! I’m most excited about the wall of supplies: a wall of (currently) 12 hooks (and some folders) each with a big plastic bag with a hole in it hung on the hook. there’s a bag for zippers; a bag for buttons; a bag for earring making supplies; a bag for weird stuff I’ve found; a bag for ribbons; a bag for journal-making supplies. one of my old Art-Barn mailboxes is filled with “Delicious Sandwich” bags. the hott-pink embroidery hoop hangs on the buttons hook. There’s a mini-bulletin board for idea sketches, and Corita Kent’s Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules tacked next to that. My beautiful sewing machine has a permanent home on the SEWING desk and I am attempting to keep it clear always.

first project was turning mom’s old “babyblanket” jacket into a poncho.

so excited for some more sewing tomorrow.

the machine even announces it’s place in my new home! (side note: she needs a name!

  • i’ve adjusted to using the subway, not making phone calls while traveling, and have even gotten around without using the map or my phone’s map/guiding force that directs me everywhere. I even got refunded the balance I had left on my 30-day metro card I lost back in April!!! BEURACRACY IS AMAZING SOEMTIMES!!
  • the silly-version of my business cards is real now!

  • I put my name on our mailbox!

  • I put up a picture of my family in my room!


  • tomorrow i’m going to buy a mattress! WOAH!
  • tomorrow I’m also having a spring barbeque in my beautiful backyard! so excited for so many circles of lovely people to collide. and eat barbeque.
  • NYSSSA starts in July…. welcome back to Residential Life, aliya!!!
  • gotta create a creative personal project for this summer to keep me sane within all these training development programs and producing other people’s amazing artwork. maybe it’ll be as simple as setting aside 2 hours for sewing each week.

sleeping with the window open and no knit hat on my head. this florida girl is loving spring.


Filed under thoughts

unleash your (New Yorker) Florida Side!

[Queue infinite number of “discovering New York” songs!]

Hello and welcome to New York. How fun! you all get to travel with me as I move so many places. But you don’t even have to bother trying to find a dresser or packing a box!! That must be exciting.

One of the first things I saw when I arrived (lugging through the subway with so many bags… sometimes I really have to remember what my wise friend Eliza said, “BusinessLadies take Cabs”) was a whole slew of Fabulous Florida advertisements.

I’ve seen so many advertisements on the subway for Florida, it’s very silly and I’ve been trying to anthropologically dissect them. There’s this Unleashed, Free, Fabulous, Totally Gorgeous Fleet of Floridians (I think that would be a good collective noun for Floridians) that exist in the minds of cold, cranky, tired-of-winter New Yorkers. I’m just going to go with that, and let them assume that under my giant sleeping-bag mushroom-cloud of a winter coat I am that Fabulous Floridian of their dreams. (which I am, obviously)

Crazy to think I’ve been here almost a month (since march 1!) but I’m really loving it. I love so much going on, so many cool things and people and places and being a grown up lady, commuting to work with my coffee (ok, tea), discovering my new neighborhood, making new friends, pretending to understand the train system, going to fancy art openings, organizing the pantry, going grocery shopping (vaguely becoming an obsession? still figuring out how to shop for one person. And how these two items got shelved in the same asile:


solving toilet overflow crisis, and worrying about money and My Future.

There’s so much going on I had to start limiting myself because I was going crazy trying to do everything. This last week I was a crusty old lady New Yorker: there’s at least 3 awesome things (great art show openings, folksy intimate concerts, a great happy hour deal, a friend visiting in town, just the boring old Central Park for that matter) going on but they’re “too far away” (a 15 minute train ride to Manhattan — or worse a complicated transfer / longer train ride to Williamsburg (life as a hipster is so hard when your bike is still in 4 parts)) but I chose to stay home and make phone calls and cook chili and organize the bathroom. It’s been a strange transition. I feel like I just hit this point where it was no longer ok to just keep running, living out of a suitcase and rushing rushing everywhere to try and do everything, which I usually push myself to do. So things are slowly getting in order, slowly making sense.

Being at Creative Time is wonderful! Its got this supercharged energy buzzing around that reminds me so much of Elsewhere, except I’m in a clean white office with lots of computers and everyone wearing high-heels and there’s “Hollywood Cookie Diet Cookies – Diet of the Stars” (a joke-present I believe? they just taste like bad spongy cookies) in the office kitchen (instead of a full fridge of $300 groceries/week). The similar energy is the intense energy around producing a project and a vision and a piece that when I step outside of it, sometimes seems a bit silly maybe. Silly is not the right word. Its like, when I was an office Admin, it was ok and normal to be crazy and frantic and rushing to finish a really important powerpoint presentation, getting the graphic arrows just right and making sure the text had no typos and that it got to the right person at the right time. Now there’s the similar energy and intensity but it’s around producing a huge month-long community based project where one of our artists is interviewing and collaborating with all different spiritual leaders in the Lower East Side neighborhood. I love that intensity and importance — it’s being in an environment where art makes a difference and is valued and that value is known and assumed. It’s ok to be spending the same energy as someone would on “business” on a crazy project that is going to provide a whole new way of looking at that issue for viewers and the participants.

Its amazing how I can be so happy and feel so good about this step (working with great people, surrounded by incredible artists and friends that “get it”, in a beautiful place) but I can also feel crazy and stupid and insane (“how is this ever going to work? I’ll never make it, I was crazy for moving here without a solid plan”). I think I just have to keep moving and making things happen instead of listening to all those thoughts.

Here is a glimpse into my semi-settled in life:

here’s my florida key-chain pride:

my wall of support & little art:


my Fabulous F train arriving to take me home!!!:

Oh whoops I guess that was me hoping it was my train.

I’m almost at a point where I can set up a sewing area and start sewing and making… the Year of the Sexy Romper (or Anytime Romper – Sleeping Romper, Gym-Romper, Office-Romper, Night-On-The-Town Romper, GNO-Romper…) continues soon I promise…

Some New York highlights!!

  • friends! so many lovely friends all around. and they just keep coming/visiting too!!! crazy.

Joe leading an epic journey across Brooklyn carting a shelf & table on his bike-mule

hanging out with lily-bean all the time all around town!!

And even the friends I don’t get to see in person, I keep seeing in all the signs around me too!!

  • packing myself super-cute lunch/dinners (they didn’t fit inside the FACE (Florida Association of Code Enforcement Lunchbox though….)not pictured: sweet potato chili with quinoa and salsa! and (separately) homemade pancakes with strawberries and bananas, made by ms. Amber Phelps-Bonderoff and eaten in good company with roommate Lindsay and Joe.
  • going AWESOME goodwill/flea market shopping with Lily! We’ve gone about every Saturday under the pretense of “getting stuff to set up my apartment” but we’ll look at the shelves and lame dishracks, and then just go to the clothes. A.) she is an ACE thrift store shopper and always good luck, and B.) so many great spots to shop! Some highlights:

BRKLYN CYCLONES (electric yellow) t-shirt! I mean, I am a proud Brooklynite now.


So you see this coat from afar, it’s kinda cute, maybe “funky”, nicely cut and with an overall air of “business”. You come up a bit closer. What’s that written on the buttons? slightly rose-colored? just a bit different from the white of the rest of the coat? Oh yes. That is the Barbie logo.

This is a Barbie Jacket. This is the jacket that Barbie wears when she is running for Cute President.  I LOVE IT.

  • A NYC favorite past time: staring intensely at cuties in the subway. Making up instant romance stories where we lock eyes once in the subway and fall hopelessly in love and start a cafe/art/community space together and live happily ever after just because I stared at them once and caught their attention.
  • it snowed yesterday! I’m not quite as sick of winter as everyone else seems to be (guess I was too busy hanging out at the beach in January?), so that was exciting.

So that’s where I’m at! Figuring out what works. I’m gonna not be quite such a crusty old lady new yorker this week.


p.s. my brother loves me:


Filed under thoughts

lil’ lady/big city/yeah i’m ready.

Dear Friends: I’m moving to New York City! The City of Dreams. or at least, that’s what I’m calling it right now.

I got an internship as part of the Programming Team at CreativeTime, a really amazing public art and socially engaged art non-profit organization producing really big exciting thought provoking social art in NYC and beyond. (I’ve blogged about them previously here and here (scroll down to #2) and also here — mostly about Nato Thompson who I didn’t realize at the time but he’s the Chief Curator of CreativeTime). They’ve supported some of my most admired socially engaged artist idols (to name a few) who use art as a medium for addressing big real world problems and conflicts in a personal and inspiring way. This will give me real experience and connections in producing big big events and projects, working with real artisty-social-arty-lets-make-this-happen people!

I know, this blog and this blogger has announced and then rescinded previous announcements of this sort. And while I can’t completely promise this is different, this is different. Since the new year I’ve been feeling big projects and ideas and puzzle pieces falling into place, all with ease and grace. I’ve only had one freakout-panicky crying. I’ve been in action creating that something would come through and make sense. I feel like I’m ready, and it’s time for the Bonar Family Residency to morph and pack and unpack newly. No I’m not moving my blog don’t freak out. I’m moving myself!

I’m scared! what if this isn’t the right thing? what if I’m cutting out all kinds of other opportunities? New York City is too big for Little Aliya! New York City is too expensive for Artist Aliya! What if I’m really cold? What if it’s really time to do this on my own and stop waiting for everything else to decide my life?

I’m excited! So many amazing people I love live in NYC! Not only that — but more are moving there all the dang time! And so many amazing things are happening there — all the time!!! not just that one time when randomly something cool happens! or just during December when there’s a 100 foot fake tree in the downtown ((TRUE STORY: Sam (my brother) was talking with a friend from NYC who was talking about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. They were bragging how their tree was about 70 feet. Sam says (with true Delray Beach Pride), “Really? That’s nothing. Delray’s tree is 100 feet.” He then realizes that NYC’s tree is REAL, whereas ours is… metal and plastic. but whatevs.))! I get to live in a big real city — not forever, but for a few months! the perfect amount of time! I get to challenge myself in a new way, take it to the next level, expand to fill up this new bigger city, bigger challenge! I get to wear my delicious winter coat.

It’s time!

Time to:

  • finish projects
  • pack
  • sell/get rid of so many things
  • find a room and pay my own rent!
  • find a part time job balances great with the actual reason I’m moving…
  • make more rompers
  • practice my “being a cool biker hipster chic” skills
  • sew and alter my “i’m totally fashionable and hott 24/7” outfits
  • be a big girl grownup BusinessLady Adventurer!

Some goodbyes I’m already sad about:

  • my amazing friends and supports and coaches in the Florida-Jamaica Team Management Leadership Program who have caused me to love being in Florida this past year, and to grow up and step into my bold courageous outrageous leader self.
  • the beautiful 24/7 tropical paradise vacation that is living in South Florida. It’s so beautiful here. I never appreciated it until this year.
  • reconnecting with old friends and creating new ones; creating new relationships with old friends.
  • the awesome if not bizarre and always surprising Bonar Family Residency Refrigerator
  • being “home”: knowing the back roads, knowing the histories of each place, knowing the secrets, knowing “how it goes ’round here”
  • everyone kissing on the cheek when you meet them/see them
  • hearing Spanish everywhere I go (although I’m not sure that will totally change in NYC)
  • the snazzy glorified flair of South Florida; the fact that you can wear high-heel rhinestone encrusted flip-flops to the gym and that is normal/ok;
  • tank tops and tiny dresses in January
  • starfruit trees right in the backyard.
  • my tan… 😦
  • my parents who have been incredible cheerleaders, stern-talkers, and friends, going to movies and coffee shops, indulging in my photoshoots and bossiness, allowing their house to become a stuffed animal farm/quilted landscape construction zone, loving me and creating me as a powerful lady up to big things — seeing me only as that and not as my little whiny pathetic I’ll never make a difference self I try to be sometimes.

But before I leave (end of February) there is still so much excitement to be had here in Delray Beach at the BFR!!! Upcoming and still just as exciting (if not more):

  • having not one but TWO birthday parties in two different states!!! what a luuuuckkkyyy lady!
  • going to Israel! on Monday. omg. more later this week on that.
  • Haley’s Residency! (the original Washbowl idea has been declined. Luckily, we are going to make something even better happen)
  • Not-Fully-Confirmed Juliet’s BusinessLady(tm) Residency! where we will be performing as BusinessLadies(tm) all weekend, empowering each other in seizing our futures, filling out applications, revising artist statements, making lists, wearing blazers, and being friends.
  • completing my last quarter with the Florida-Jamaica TMLP team and beginning on the New York City team!!!

HECK YEAH, 2011!!! so far you are TOTALLY ROCKING.

I’m so excited to have you all along with me for this adventure of a magnanimous year. Let’s cross paths soon. Let’s talk on the internet and in real life. Let’s make our dreams come true.




Filed under thoughts