Singing in New Jersey

Here’s an NPR piece about singing in a choir that predates my book. I don’t know how I missed it when I was doing my research. My favorite point that writer and NPR commentator Michelle Mercer makes:

“When you submit to an ensemble, streamlining your own voice to the mass of sound around you, you lose your ego and your sense of separation from others. That’s singing’s deepest, most convincing happiness, I think, the real reason choristers keep coming back for more.”

I couldn’t agree more. Michelle sings with the Harmonium Choral Society in Morristown, NJ. I’ve posted about them before, they’re a wonderful group. If you go to their site, click on the link to a video about what it was like to perform Annelies.

This seems to be my week to hear about choral groups in New Jersey. I’ve talked about the fact that there’s a group for anyone, and the Concord Singers is a women’s community chorus that you don’t have to audition in order to join! Their first open sing and rehearsal is on Monday, September 8th.

And, in case those groups are not convenient, or they rehearse on a night that doesn’t work for you, the Vocal Area Network includes links to singing groups in New Jersey (and Connecticut). There are a ton of them.

New York City as seen from the Staten Island Ferry. I live in there.

New York City Skyline from Staten Island Ferry


2nd place trophy: I can kick your ass.
3rd place trophy: I am not worthy.
2nd place trophy: Bow down before me.
3rd place trophy: Yes, your swimming-greatliness.

Then, in a stage whisper …

3rd place trophy: Nice weight-lifter shoulders there, 2nd place.

NYC Parks & Recreation Lap Swim Program

NYC Parks & Recreation Lap Swim Awards Party, 2014

NYC Parks & Recreation Lap Swim Program
Woohoo!! For those who don’t follow my blog regularly, every summer the Citywide Aquatics department of NYC Parks & Recreation sponsors a lap swim contest. People who swim 25 miles get a tshirt proclaiming their accomplishment. There’s also a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophy for the man and the woman who swim the most miles in their division at their pool in the first five weeks.

I came in 2nd place in my division (Night Owl swimmers, women, at the Tony Dapolito pool). That’s me draped in my tshirt and holding my trophy.

There’s a party at the end of the year when the tshirts and trophies are given out, with music and food and a relay race. (More pictures below.)

NYC Parks & Recreation Lap Swim Program

My pool, Tony Dapolito, apparently has a tradition of always coming in last. Last year was my first year in this program, and I swam in the race that summer, doing my part to keep up the tradition. But this year it was up to Adolfo, Diana, Anna and Daniel.

NYC Parks & Recreation Lap Swim Program

This is Anna Jardine, the 1st place winner at my pool, waiting to swim her leg in the relay race. Anna also came in 1st place citywide. She swam more miles than any woman in the entire city (115.8!! I know, insane, right?). And please look at how freaking long this pool is! (Olympic-size.) I remember when I raced last year, halfway through the race I looked up to see how I was doing and I couldn’t believe how much longer I had to go.

NYC Parks & Recreation Lap Swim Program

This is Anna with her trophy, a beautiful art deco-like work of art.

NYC Parks & Recreation Lap Swim Program

Finally, I made a short movie of part of the race. I didn’t get Adolfo’s leg (I’m sorry!) but I got a little of Diana’s, Anna’s and Daniel’s.

Thank you so much NYC Parks and Recreation Citywide Aquatics! This is a fabulous, wonderful program. It’s fun! It’s healthy! I can’t tell you how grateful I am.


I only just recently heard about Medium, a blog platform and now investigative journalism site. My friend Steven Levy had written us all to say he was moving there to become the editor-in-chief of a new tech hub that he will establish, and to continue to write about science and technology. Because of that I started paying attention to Medium. Thank you, Steven! Everything I’ve read on that site has been seriously excellent. This article about scientists convicted of manslaughter after an earthquake is next on my to-read list there. If you want to start exploring Medium you might as well start there. I’m that confident it’s going to be great.

Medium and the whole new news-gathering world they are creating contributed to an idea of mine that’s been brewing for a while. It all came together for me last weekend at the We Will Not Go Back March on Staten Island. In the days leading up to the march I’d been going over some of the research I’ve been conducting at the Municipal Archives, material that had a direct bearing on the march. I was standing there listening to the speakers, and they started naming names of victims like Eric Garner and Michael Brown, going back to Eleanor Bumpers. In my head I picked up where they left off and I continued naming names going further and further back. That’s when I got an idea for a new history/investigative journalism project of my own. More to come!

Another shot from the march. These are people watching from a deli across the street.

We Will Not Go Back March, Staten Island, New York, 2014

I Want to Post about the New Doctor

But that will have to wait until tomorrow. I need to get ready for the library. I’m spending the day at the Manuscripts and Archives division at the New York Public Library, my favorite kind of day as readers of this blog know. Hopefully there will be an interesting post about what I find!

This is a picture of press photographers from the We Will Not Go Back march on Staten Island last Saturday.

Photographers at We Will Not Go Back March, Staten Island, New York