I’m somebody now! No, not really the phone book, but a nod to Steve Martin from the Jerk.
I got just as excited as Navan Johnson, though, when my membership card from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in Manhattan came last week. The quote is my favorite go to when I see my name in print. I said it when I saw my badge from the Ohio History Connection regional meeting I attended in March. Somehow it makes me feel real. It gives me some cred with other professionals. It lets visitors to Findlay Market understand that I really know what I’m talking about when I lead historic tours there.
So, Manhattan, yes! That’s the next adventure for Gigi-a-Gogo. I’m trying hard to remain calm and not spend hours on the web looking at maps of Mid-Town and the Lower East Side, figuring out how many things I can see in the few days I’ll be there. I’m going to attend a conference given by the Project for Public Spaces called “How to Create Successful Public Markets” in partial completion of my Applications I class. I also have 5 tours booked at the Tenement Museum and a docent lead tour of Grand Central Station. Get ready for lots of pictures on Instagram and daily posts detailing the excitement of my first time in NYC.
The conference is two days and will be lead by three experienced market builders. One, David O’Neil, is the former General Manager of the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Being the market groupie I am, I can’t wait bask in the glow of all this historic market bliss. I’m hoping to have some time to connect with Mr. O’Neil to speak with him about his ideas for keeping the wave of urban market popularity alive. I’ve visited the Reading Terminal Market several times. It’s sits beneath where the old terminal train sheds were located in downtown Philadelphia and has been in operation since 1892. It’s a huge indoor space filled with more than 75 vendors selling everything from fresh fish to handmade Amish doughnuts. I’m hopeful I will be able to get back there on one of my long-weekend market jaunts within the next year.
Quick side trip to Philly, back to New York…I’ve had so many recommendations from friends on where to go and what to see. The time I’m spending at the Tenement Museum and Grand Central will add to my arsenal of information about how communities function and how shared public places enable residents to form attachments to place. Think about it. Your block, your school, the park you snuck a smoke in when you were 13 all help to give a definition and sense of self. Imagine how different your life would be if these places were not there when you were growing up. As I am beginning to dig in to my thesis study I am continually amazed to find so many things that contribute to form who we are, what triggers memories of past events, and the attachment that binds it all together. Open, public places need to be prominent in all city plans to give future generations a chance to create that connectedness to place.
Lots of squee* in my life right now. Less than three week until blast-off, not sure I can stand it.
*The sound I make when there’s so much excitement I don’t know what else to do.