urbanter

Student blog of the Stanford University Urban Studies Department

The story of how I nearly broke both ankles

Written on Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Huzzah, I made it through my first gallery opening on Thursday night–the weekend has never felt so deserved!

It’s a perfect Saturday morning in New York. I woke from the dead around 10:30AM, and after a shower, managed to watch three episodes of Gossip Girl while packing up my stuff and sorting through the trash I needed to take out. Gossip Girl has been an unfortunate constant in my NYC free time; it started out as a guilty pleasure, and now I’m in a hurry to finish the last season so it stops ruining my life and making me pick up bad habits like speaking in hyperboles.

I’ve been in the Lower East Side for about a month, but I’m moving out of my apartment today. I’ll be in Nolita now, which is nice, because it’s a lot closer to many of the things I enjoy about the city—including my internship.

In other news, Saturday vibes are the best thing ever; the city has a very relaxed and nap time aura this afternoon. Sunday has the tendency to feel pretty dismal because of the impending workday, but Saturday is like the prime of summer.

I’m checking out this café in LES called “el Rey” this morning. I’m munching on some salty coconut granola and downing my first green tea in over a month. I’m reflecting on this past week of work, and thankfully Friday was a pretty chill day—that is, after the madness and excitement of Thursday.

Our office has been working hard to prepare for the opening of our current exhibit, Measure, and it’s maintained a very easy-going workflow up until Thursday when everything exploded. The best way I can describe the feeling is like when you’re holding your baby nephew for the first time and he’s all smiling and gorgeous right before he poops, pees and throws up on you all at the same time. Beneath all that mess between you and the baby, there’s still an incredibly beautiful bond forming–however much of disgusting mess it is. I digress.

The day of the opening —

I came into work thirty minutes early. My supervisor gave me a list of items we needed for that night and I made some calls at local stores to see if they had what we needed in stock–A table runner to display fruit in increasing size, and 400 plastic wine cups.

After calling ten different places, I found a party store in NoHo that carried just what we needed. I walked to the gallery to pick up an associate’s credit card and headed for the party store. Amid the fifteen-minute walk, the sun was shinning, there were plenty of tourists out, and I was pretty happy to experience NYC during a time I normally would be in my office space. For the same reason, I didn’t mind when I headed in the wrong direction three times before getting on the right track.

I get to the party store, and chose a tablecloth, piled on 400 wine cups into a cart and checked out. Between my workbag and my purchase, I carried 30 pounds back to the office.

I get back to the office, I sit down, and then the phone rings.

I have to go back to the gallery and return the credit card.

I go back to Nolita, drop off the card, and go back to the office.

The phone rings again.

Apparently someone left an art piece at the office? I deliver the piece, the 400 wine cups and the table runner… but I give in and take a Lyft this last time.

Before coming back to work, I get food and coffee. I need it.

The office gets ready to go to the gallery around 4:30PM but I need to go pick up fruit for the table display, so I leave early and stop by the grocery store with an associate. Someone told our director about an app that provides a system of measuring baby development by comparing its increasing size to a different fruit. So at the third week, the baby might be the size of a blueberry, and several months later, a grapefruit, a squash, and then at last, a watermelon! Our director thought it was cute—and since our exhibit has to do with all things measurement, it was appropriate for the table where we sold books, served free drinks, and gave out bits of fruit to munch on.

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By the time I got to the gallery I finished setting up the fruit display and took a hold of the camera to shoot pictures for the night. I’ve recently shot photos for A Little Fawn, an episode we were filming for one of our television productions on Storefront TV.

Although I’m good at plugging away and doing logistical things, I love shooting. It’s so much fun for me to be in a crowd of people and catch reactions like laughter, conversations, and random things like someone twirling their mustache or taking a nap on the street—yes that happened (there was free wine, after all).

The gallery went from an intimate private opening, to a crowd of 300+ people coming in and out of the gallery, sweating, laughing, and merrily sipping wine. It was crazy—but controlled. Fighting the crowd was difficult, but the greatest challenge of the night was taking photos in 6-inch loafer heels and climbing up a stepladder for photos.

I left with my supervisor at 8pm to go to the private reception, and after another long trek in heels—carrying ice and seltzer—I shot more photos and was essentially done for the day.

I decided to take a Lyft home, and at 10:45 I arrived at my apartment. I collapsed on the bed, peeled my feet away from my shoes, and melted the layers of sweat off my skin in a steaming hot shower.

Nothing makes me feel more grateful than being able to rest and take care of myself. I’ve been so appreciative of the little things lately: like not having to wear flip-flops when I take a shower, having toilet paper, sunglasses… small things a lot of people aren’t privileged to have. I’m even incredibly thankful for this internship because I’ve learned so much! It’s given me a lot of insight into the non-profit arts sector and helped me see how all the logistics and planning fit together.

The photos I shot for Storefront for Art and Architecture’s, Measure, ft. 30 drawings from 30 architects around the world, is on display on our flickr page. You may view the photos here, but please enjoy the sampling attached to this post.

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Measure is now open and will be on display until September 12th, 2015. Our gallery space is located on 97 Kenmare St. in Nolita/SoHo. Please feel free to come, take pictures, and of course talk about it on social media using the hashtag #MeasureStorefront.

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