August 14, 2020

Assess improve online communication

In today’s business climate, it’s more important than ever to assess and improve your online communications. Improving basic tools like your website, social media presence, and email marketing can help your business put a stronger foot forward.

Evaluate How You Present Your Business Digitally

As the old chestnut says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In a business climate that is more digital than ever, your first impression is probably more likely to be virtual.

Consider where and how customers might be meeting you and interacting with your brand – your website, elsewhere online, social media, email, text, phone, print, and so on. Also consider the form: image, video, audio.

Now think about what the “first experience” is and consider if it’s how you ideally want to be represented. If you find yourself compelled to explain or defend why your current experience is the way it is or why it’s not as ideal as it could be, you may be onto something that might benefit from improvement.

Be sure to evaluate both the presentation and ease of interaction. Each is equally important.

Assess and Improve Your Website

Assessing and improving your website is an ongoing discipline that successful businesses employ. Advances in technology, programming, and devices demand that businesses stay current in this area or risk having a less than optimal user experience.

If it’s been over a year since you’ve stepped back and evaluated your site, it might be wise to do so.

Take an objective look at your website – its appearance and functionality. Below is a preliminary checklist of things to evaluate to see where you and/or a website expert might need to put some attention.

Overall Appeal: Appealing graphics, visuals, and easy-to-read copy are important. Few people have tolerance for long, complicated, or visually unappealing pages. Make sure the language and visuals feel current and true to your business.

Navigation: Keep it simple. If it takes more than a few clicks to get to anything important, think about what might be simplified.

On a broader level, you can get a good deal of information from page analyses available in Google Analytics, including mapping of visitor behavior throughout the site (here’s how to set up Google Analytics). Also, watching someone who is unfamiliar with your site navigate it can be very informative.

Mobile Optimized Design: Data shows that it’s more and more likely that the majority of user interaction is on a phone. So look at your site on a smartphone, tablet, and desktop. If your site doesn’t look or function well on a phone, you may need to address your site design.

Load Time: If it feels like it’s taking too long for a page to load, it’s probably too long. Few have the patience to allow a site to load – it should feel instantaneous. There are ways to decrease load time, including reducing image size or using more updated script.

SEO: SEO is something most everyone has heard about, yet few can explain simply. Mastering SEO can be never-ending, since search engine algorithms are constantly changing. SEO tools and/or experts can help you know where to start and where to focus first. A list of popular SEO tool you or your SEO expert might consider can be found here.

Get Social

Focus on the Appropriate Social Channels

Not every business needs to be on every social media platform. Focus on the appropriate social channels for your business. Where is your target most likely to be active? Look at the overall demographics of a particular platform to help you decide. Another simple way to triangulate where to focus is to look where your customers are active and where your competitors are active.

Many times, there are a few key social media platforms for an industry. You can focus your efforts there. On other platforms, a small presence may be enough. However, be sure to let those who find you know where they can interact with you more or find more information.

Create a Social Media Communication Plan

Once you decide where to focus, create a communications plan, including hashtags and tagging policies, so that you can build your audience.

Later.com explains, “Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts and stories is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences. And this can translate into more engagement, more followers, and more customers for your business (for more in-depth strategies, click here)”

Consistency of Voice

As you execute your plan, consistency of voice, as well as regularity in posting is essential. Remember, every post on social media is communicating something about your brand and your business (and it may be the first time someone is introduced to your business/brand).

Interact with Followers and Build Your Contacts

Social media is only as good as your contacts and followers. If you’re putting time and resources into social platforms, make the effort to connect and interact with the clients and influencers in your industry.

Remember that social media is social. The most successful brands and influencers not only post regularly, they interact with their followers via sharing, reacting, and commenting.

Be sure to respond to comments and @mentions in a timely manner (within a day, if possible). Keeping the dialogue going and reinforcing activity will help to garner more response and interaction in the future. A quick click to see who is behind a comment will often reveal if they are truly involved with your message/business or someone with more mercenary intentions.

Look at industry leaders and what accounts they are following, as well as who your competitors are following. If you find appropriate followers who are not among your followers, start interacting with them by following and/or commenting on their posts. A simple “like” is a start, but may not be enough to ignite an online connection – especially if your “like” is one of numerous likes.

For more in-depth tips, Todd Clark of Hootiesuite outlines 14 Social Media Best Practices You Should Follow in 2020.

Email and Direct Marketing

Relationships and contacts continue to be important in every business. Last century’s influencers guarded their Rolodex as a source of power, connectedness, and sway. While the Rolodex is a thing of the distant past, contacts have never been more important. Do not underestimate the power of an up-to-date contact list.

Email Addresses

Email lists may feel vintage, but they can be powerful, targeted ways to communicate news, broadcast updates, and continue connections with people important in your industry. Eblasts and newsletters are cost-effective ways to reach the people who want to hear from you.

Make time to enter the most current email you have for contacts, paying special attention to your core target. Most email programs will alert you to bounced emails (those emails that are undeliverable).

Mailing Lists

USPS mail may feel even more vintage, but it too can be a memorable way to get your message noticed and remembered – especially if it’s executed in a special, distinguished manner. Make sure your list is current. You don’t want your efforts wasted by arriving at an old or defunct address.

Combine Efforts for Stronger Results

A classic Harvard Business Review case study found that on average, the combination of email and direct mail provide stronger results than using either mail or email alone. Blue Mountain Media provides further tips for using direct mail with email marketing.

Analyzing Performance

Analyzing performance is important. How else will you know what is working and what isn’t? Take the time to look at analytics and interaction with websites, social media, and e-blast campaigns. This will help determine what’s working best and what’s not. When you identify what is effective, you should be sure to incorporate that element or approach in future efforts. You can also eliminate what’s less effective.

As mentioned above, Google Analytics can help with analyzing website activity. Buffer offers their list of the top 25 social media management tools for creating and tracking. E-blast programs like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp provide reports on e-blast campaigns, including open rate, bounce rate, click-through, and more detailed segmenting.

Additional Resources

There are as many ways to assess and improve your online communications, as there are companies to help. If you are looking for NoMad resources to help support your online efforts, below are two neighborhood experts that can offer their expertise and services.

Hudson Creative

Hudson Creative helps clients increase traffic to their website and convert users searching online into actual customers, Offering a proprietary process to build, track, and improve ROI, Hudson Creative executes online marketing strategies that reach target audiences and increase online traffic.

SocialCode

SocialCode is a leading digital marketing partner that turns the possibilities of digital marketing into performance. Its team of 300+ SocialCoders and partnerships with nine of the world’s premier digital platforms, can grow with any business at any size.

(by Keith Gordon)

August 11, 2020

Digital improvements help business

Digital Improvements to Help Business

As face-to-face interaction across industries has become less commonplace, even more of business is moving online. It will be time well spent to assess your digital infrastructure and identify what might help your business. Whether you are a startup or have been in business for quite some time, consider taking a step back to evaluate this aspect of your company.

In this article, we offer initial considerations and the beginning of a checklist to assist you in assessing and improving your digital operations.

Make Time for Digital Assessment and Improvements

You can’t improve what you don’t take time to identify. Dedicate time to evaluate digital improvements that may help your business. If this feels too big to address in one sitting, designate a series of realistic blocks of time to evaluate your situation (though don’t space these time blocks too far apart or you may spend the bulk of your time recapping what has already been assessed).

Take A Critical Objective Look at Your Business

Take a critical, objective look at your business. Use a digital lens as you evaluate the digital state of your business. Identify where it is current and robust, and where it is outdated or unaddressed. If your business has different departments, ask them for a shortlist of possible areas where the business may be lacking and suggested improvements or include representatives from each.

Your first pass may reveal what you and your team have known all along, but have not yet addressed. It may also point out where competitors are stronger or weaker. This assessment is less about creating a long exhaustive list and more about identifying what might be improved.

Prioritize Your Digital Needs

Next, prioritize your digital needs. At this point, don’t feel obligated to come up with solutions. Also, realize not everything identified needs to be addressed. It’s helpful to identify any issues or areas for improvement in order to begin to prioritize and upgrade your digital situation. Once identified and prioritized, it’s easier to pursue realistic, manageable solutions that will help your business most.

Confirm Who You Are and What Is Your Business

Confirm who you are, what your brand stands for, and what is your core business. Try your best to be objective and constructively critical. This helps in two ways:

  1. Every improvement you pursue should relate directly back to supporting your business.
  2. If improvements have an impact on consumer-facing, customer-facing, or corporate culture/identity, they should be made with your brand in mind.

Be judicious regarding what you choose to pursue. Avoid bells and whistles that do not directly affect your business.

Armed with your prioritized evaluation and a confirmation of how potential improvement relate directly to your business, you can better assess what resources and investment may be required. Then, you can begin to address and improve your business accordingly.

Additional Resources

There are as many ways to assess your digital presence and implement digital improvements to help business. If you are looking for NoMad resources to help support your digital efforts, below is a list of businesses in the neighborhood who can offer their expertise and services. There are always new developments in technology and these firms can alert you to solutions you may not be aware of.

Bluewolf

Bluewolf partners with clients to attain business transformation across people, process and technology. They are positioned between classic management consultants and breakthrough technical designers.

Boyle Software

Boyle Software is a custom software development company delivering custom technology solutions for clients in many industries, including Advertising, Entertainment, Financial Services, Government, Media, Medicine, Non-profits, Pharmaceuticals and Scientific Research

Custora

Custora is a marketing software company that offers the leading predictive marketing platform for e-commerce teams, helping retailers acquire valuable customers and improve customer retention.

Gust

Gust provides the global SaaS platform for founding, operating, and investing in scalable, high-growth companies. Its online tools help entrepreneurs start, run, and fundraise for companies and provide deal flow and relationship management for investors.

Looker Data Science

Looker Data Science brings data-driven decision-making to every facet of business. Its data platform allows users to save and mine data without the need of technical expertise.

PILLAR Support

PILLAR Support is a firm providing unique IT services company that provides technical support solutions for both sides of the tech coin: backoffice networks as well as software engineering (programming, web development, mobile solutions).

Pypestream

Pypestream offers unparalleled conversational AI built for scale. Its customer-centric messaging elevates customer experience with seamless ease. It goes beyond single-task chatbots without the need to combine technologies from multiple resources.

Signpost

Signpost offers dynamic management of online interactions between businesses and their customers. Its software automates the essential elements of building better customer relationships, helping local businesses get more reviews and grow revenue.

Stride Consulting

Stride Consulting is an Agile software development consultancy that embeds and co-locates with tech teams to help businesses perform at their best. Stride partners highly skilled Agile developers with development teams across a myriad of industries.

ThoughtWorks

ThoughtWorks is a privately owned, global technology company with 42 offices in 15 countries. It provides software design and delivery, and tools and consulting services.

(by Keith Gordon)

August 6, 2020

The bathrooms in the historic St. James building in NoMad have been gut-renovated and updated by Kew Management. Tenants and their guests now enjoy private non-gender amenities with up-to-date COVID-compliant technology for safety, including touch-free lighting, sinks, toilets, and hand dryers; improved ventilation; and handicapped accessibility on every floor. The new bathrooms are also more ecologically efficient. Eleven floors of this ambitious project are complete, with the final four scheduled to be finished in the Fall.

Kew enlisted the services of NoMad architect and interior designer, Barry Goralnick, who completely reconceived and redesigned the spaces. Goralnick worked with limited area to create four separate bathrooms per floor that fit perfectly with today’s culture and recommended safety protocols. He accomplished this while honoring the original architecture of the St. James, which was designed in 1896 by iconic architect Bruce Price (Goralnick also redesigned the elevators at Kew’s Townsend Building).

Goralnick took design inspiration from The St. James lobby – its vaulted ceiling with classical rosettes, and mirrors at each end of the vault that give the appearance that they continue endlessly. He reinterpreted the lobby’s rosettes into a gear motif. The forms are Classical, but the details are more industrial and hearken back to the era of the original St. James building of 1896.

The gear motif is found in the faucets, lighting, wallpaper, and St. James monogrammed hardware.  Large-scale porcelain tiles are modernized in scale and pattern to reflect the spirit of the building’s mosaics and complement the gear motif.

 

Goralnick Bathroom St James Building Nomad
Photographs: Alan Barry Photography; Lighting: Barry Goralnick for Currey & Company

Safety-Forward and Environmentally Conscious

The infrastructure was updated to be cleaner, more efficient, and more environmentally sound. Modernized venting and all new plumbing risers were integrated. High-touch surfaces were minimized with touch-free amenities for improved sanitation.

Eco-minded elements incorporated are automatic water limiting faucets, self-flushing water-saving toilets, state-of-the-art paperless hand dryers, and LED lights that are timed to turn off to avoid wasting energy.

The renovation provides four private all-gender bathrooms on every floor. Each floor has one bath that is ADA compliant.

Additionally, each floor now has a chilled water fountain with a spigot for filling water bottles that saves the need to recycle thousands of water bottles a year.

The end result is more than a simple cosmetic update of the existing bathrooms, it’s a completely rethought and reconstructed amenity for the St. James. Four private bathrooms per floor offer tenants and their guests optimal flexibility, privacy, and a better experience for all. Combined with thoughtful safety and eco-minded details, the St. James bathrooms are at the forefront of office building amenities in Manhattan.

The renovation of all bathrooms in the building is underway with eleven floors already completed and the final four well along to completion. The project is slated for completion by this Fall.

In today’s world where peace of mind and safety in the work place are paramount, tenants of the St. James building in NoMad can find a private, moment to revive and refresh.

Goralnick Bathroom St James Building Nomad
Photographs: Alan Barry Photography; Lighting: Barry Goralnick for Currey & Company
July 23, 2020

Work from home time management

Work from home time management tips are more useful than ever  Here are some ways to help manage your time as the demands of work life and home life merge.

For many people, time has become more amorphous than ever. Several of our usual time markers have changed or temporarily disappeared, such as the commute to the office, lunch hour with team members, arriving home, and TGIF.  As the year marches on, countless people are left wondering, where did the time go? What day of the week is it? How is July almost over? Or simply how did it get to be this late in the day?

The tips below are not uniquely work from home time management tips.  They are tried and true time management approaches that can help wrangle your time into productive units during this demanding period when work life and home life are melding.

Manage Your Schedule: Days, Weeks, and Months

Avoid letting your schedule freefall. Take a few minutes each day to evaluate what needs to be accomplished in the short term and in the long term. Look at the days and the months ahead and plot what small and large projects you’d like to accomplish.

Look at your schedule and make sure there is time allotted for you to accomplish what’s required. Of course, your schedule is dynamic and unforeseen demands and meetings will hit your calendar. If you start with a plan, then when your schedule does change, you will be able to adapt and be sure to re-allot time for what was displaced.

Simultaneously, your calendar may be more populated than ever with online meetings and updates (Really? Another Zoom call?). Without in-person check-ins, increased online interactions and conference calls are inevitable. Accept this new reality and don’t let it debilitate you from managing your own calendar. Continue to mange your schedule to ensure there is time allotted to accomplish what’s required of you. Then, importantly, protect and respect that time.

Some find it most useful to do this at the beginning of the day or week. Others find it more useful at the end of the day or week before “closing the office.” It may even help you feel that you have better control of tomorrow and allow you to psychologically leave work more completely at the end of the workday or workweek and help you sleep better.

Prioritize Your Time

Prioritize your time as you evaluate your schedule. This not only involves assigning priorities on your To Do List and determining how much time you need to deliver. Also, think about the nature of the task and when is the best time for you to do it.

Pay attention to when you have your best ideas, when it’s easiest to write or work on a presentation, when you usually flag, and when you will likely have periods of uninterrupted time to focus on more comprehensive projects. You are likely to notice times of day you’re best at certain types of undertakings. Prioritize and allocate your time accordingly.

For example, if your mind is clearest and most focused at the start of the day, try to work on things that demand your full brainpower at that time of day. Save the more clerical, menial tasks for other times when you’re less dynamic in your thinking.

Work from home time management

Prioritize Your Energy

Similarly, but just at important, prioritize your energy. Just like your time is finite, so is your energy. Know your strengths and limits and plan accordingly.

Manage your day according to your own energy stores. If you’re not a morning person, try to avoid attacking things that demand your full energy first thing. If you start the day firing on all pistons, try to put your high-energy demands early.

Accommodating other’s schedules and demands is an ongoing balancing act in any work situation. You may not be able to reserve and take advantage of all of your prime time, but being aware or when you’re at your peaks and then leveraging them, may help.

Don’t Break Meetings with Yourself

It’s easier to create a schedule than to keep it – especially when working from home. The times most at risk can be when you’ve scheduled time for yourself to work on something specific. If possible, think of this time as a meeting you’ve made with yourself and keep it.

When others ask for your time, respect the meeting you’ve made with yourself. If you’d had a meeting with others during that time, you might simply respond, “I have a meeting then” or “I’m booked at that time, when else works?” Try taking this simple approach. It may help you to set boundaries with co-workers, clients, and family and protect the time you need to be productive.

Don’t Let Smaller Chunks of Time Go Unused

A day is made up of larger and smaller chunks of time – that’s no profound secret. Whether you’re working from home or an office, the smaller chunks can add up. Pay attention to and take advantage of these smaller amounts of time. Think about what might be accomplished in short bursts or a series of short bursts. You’d be surprised what can be taken care of in these brief sprints.

Many people schedule half-hour or hour-long meetings. If those meetings or calls end early, rather than letting those found 10- or 15-minute chunks of time be used checking social media or shooting out a few texts, try getting a jump on something else — organize your desktop, papers or contact information or return a phone call.

Work from home time management

Be Conscious of Time Spent on Social Media

Speaking of social media: The aggregate time spent (almost unconsciously) on social media can be eye-opening. A quick check in here, a post there, a funny meme or video watched, and the trip down the rabbit hole begins.

Many smartphones have screen time trackers that let us know by the day and by the week how much time we’re spending on social media. Most track overall time spent, as well as time spent on specific platforms. Check it out.

While social media may feel like a stress-reliever during the workday, consider the overall time spent per day on apps like Instagram and Facebook. Think of other projects you might complete or things you’d like to accomplish and how they might progress if they were given the same amount of time. Then, decide which improves your overall sense of wellbeing and accomplishment more. Your answer may change week-by-week – in your gut, you’ll know what’s the best use of your time at any given point.

Make Time for Breaks

As you attempt to stay focused on your work – proving to yourself and your colleagues that you’re just as productive from home – don’t forget to take a short break a few times a day. It can provide a welcome refresh in mindset and make you better equipped to meet the task at hand (just make sure you don’t drift from break to something else non-work related or before you know it, another hour will have passed without your workload being addressed).

Evaluate What Works, Then Keep What Works

Not all work from home time management tips will work for everyone. Different approaches and methods may work for some and not for others. Give the techniques above a try to find which work best for you. Then, keep employing those techniques.

Other Resources

If you want to read more, Head of Content for Thrive Global, Marina Khidekel, has gleaned lessons learned from others on time management tips for working from home. Read the article here.

In this video, Kamini Wood, a certified life coach talks with PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz about time management in a shifting world of working-from-home, unemployment and school closings.

If you’re interested in how others feel about working from home versus working in an office, read research results here

July 21, 2020

benefits physical office space

The benefits of physical office space are under renewed consideration across industries. Companies have had to initiate or broaden work-from-home options to keep employees safe and productive. As businesses begin returning to office spaces, the positive aspects of working together in an office are being weighed against the benefits of virtual scenarios.

Benefits of Working Together in an Office Space

Many of the benefits of working together in an office space touted by experts prior to the pandemic still hold true:

  • Encourages team building
  • Contributes significantly to creating and defining corporate culture
  • Facilitates social interaction and bonds between employees
  • Allows for more spontaneous idea sharing and problem solving
  • Strengthens professional development through on-site role modeling
  • Enables mentoring, especially with new hires and interns
  • Provides ability to monitor employee performance
  • Helps in fostering of social skills required in business

Jia Wertz, a contributor at Forbes, wrote in late 2019, “By creating a welcoming work environment, companies bolster team morale, increase employee retention and enhance overall productivity in the workplace.”

The wisdom of this still resonates. Wertz recommends six ways companies can enhance their company culture through their office space (full article here).

Although they’ve proven invaluable, virtual meeting tools like Zoom have shown there is no virtual substitute to replace the benefits of physical office space.

Do Americans Want to Work from Home?

Now that a significant portion of the workforce has had to work virtually, it’s important to know how people truly feel about working from home vs. working from the office.

The Gensler Research Institute, part of the world’s largest global architecture, design, and planning firm, recently released results from its “U.S. Work from Home Survey 2020.” Below are some insightful findings from their survey of over 2,300 American workers who were full-time office-based employees now working from home (the research was fielded between April 16 and May 4, 2020 across ten industries).

Only 12% of U.S. Workers Want to Work from Home Full-time — Most people want to return to the workplace, though they expect change to the workplace before they’re comfortable returning. This includes issues of safety, density, and challenges related to unassigned seating. (Interestingly, only one in ten office workers had worked from home regularly before COVID-19.)

What People Miss Most About the Office? The People

A majority (74%) say it’s the people they miss most about the office. Meeting and connecting with colleagues face-to-face and having access to the tools and spaces that support their work are the things people miss most. Employees come to the office for collaboration and social connection. Below are the top reasons people want to come to an office:

  • Scheduled meetings with colleagues (54%)
  • Socializing with colleagues (54%)
  • Impromptu face-to-face interaction (54%)
  • To be part of a community (45%)
  • Access to technology (44%)
  • Scheduled meetings with clients (40%)
  • Professional development/coaching (33%)
  • Access to amenities (29%)

Collaborating from home Is harder — The value of physical togetherness in an office is notable when compared to working from home. More than half (55%) of workers feel that collaborating with others is harder at home. Also, half (51%) feel staying up-to-date on what others are working on is harder at home.

Changes expected at the office — Gensler reports that, “Workers want their workplaces to adapt to new paradigms – but how workplaces should adapt is still open for debate. The most important workplace changes appear to be policy-based and include stricter policies about staying home when sick and increasing opportunities to work from home. Cleaning and other efforts to establish social distancing rank next.”

  • Stricter policies against coming in sick (55%)
  • Increase opportunities to work from home (52%)
  • Increase office cleaning (50%)
  • Increase distance between workstations (35%)
  • Provide hand sanitizer (35%)
  • Touchless bathroom fixtures/doors (33%)
  • Install air purification system (31%)

Many new systems and technologies like Amazon’s free software can help businesses to maintain a healthier workspace.

Innovation and In-person Office Interactions

Adam Gorlick, Director of Communications at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), speaks with Nicholas Bloom, an economist known for his research showing the benefits of working from home. The economist, who is a proponent of work from home, fears productivity may suffer without the in-person collaboration an office provides:

“In-person collaboration is necessary for creativity and innovation,” Bloom says. His research has shown that face-to-face meetings are essential for developing new ideas and keeping staff motivated and focused. “I fear this collapse in office face time will lead to a slump in innovation,” he says. “The new ideas we are losing today could show up as fewer new products in 2021 and beyond, lowering long-run growth.”

The benefits of physical office space cannot be underestimated. Moving forward, it seems inevitable that that work from home options will be a permanent component of work life in many industries. However, savvy businesses will not only pursue viable work from home scenarios, they will find the right combination of working in-person at the office and virtual participation that keeps employees happier and more productive, while keeping businesses healthy and viable.

July 14, 2020

Just Mercy

Set in the 1980s, this film is a true story based on the life and work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is a Black attorney who graduated from Harvard, started the Equal Justice Initiative, and took on cases pro bono defending imprisoned inmates on death row in Montgomery, Alabama.

Just Mercy is based on Stevenson’s memoir, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, which chronicles the cases of several prisoners who Stevenson defends, and most prominently the appeal trial of Walter McMillian. McMillian was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death on the basis of a sole allegation by a White man, despite having many alibis proving otherwise.

Starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, this powerful film demonstrates the huge injustices that have plagued African Americans in the past and continue to persist. Equal parts frustration and empowerment, this story needs to be heard.

Many streaming sites have made Just Mercy available in order to support and promote the message of the Black Lives Matter movement by educating the public on the longstanding history of racism in America. See Just Mercy on any of these streaming services and more: Apple TV, Prime Video, Fandango, Vudu, Redbox, YouTube, Cox, DirecTV, Google Play, Optimum, Xfinity, Fios.

13th

If you want to educate yourself on the criminalization of Black lives in America, watch 13th. Learn about the centuries-long struggle of African Americans for freedom. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery of Blacks has continued in a new form. In this documentary, you will hear from some of the most influential activists of our lifetime, including Angela Davis, about how the laws that have been passed since 1865 have directly perpetuated the era of mass incarceration of Blacks that rose significantly in the last quarter of the 20th century and now eclipses all other countries in the world.

Today, we live in a nation where an enormous percentage of the population lives behind bars. The U.S. is home to less than 5% of the total world population, yet holds nearly a quarter of the world’s imprisoned population. Moreover, a disparate 33% of incarcerated people in America are Black, when African Americans only make up 12% of the nation’s population.

Blacks have been, and continue to be, criminalized by lawmakers, politicians, the media, private corporations, police, and the courts. From the clause in the 13th amendment, which freed citizens from the bounds of slavery and involuntary solitude “except as a punishment for crime,” to the Jim Crow laws in the 1870s, to Nixon and Reagan’s War on Drugs, to Clinton’s Crime Bill, the legislation that has been instituted and enforced in this country has led us to where we are now.

Today, Black males having a 1 in 3 chance of being incarcerated within their lifetime. After slavery was abolished, the prison system began to expand dramatically and prison labor was used to benefit private industries. Now, prisoners continue to be used as a labor force, often manufacturing items for private companies. However, corporations are also able to make money off of high prison populations with for-profit prisons. For this reason, private prison corporations are heavily incentivized to continue the perpetuation of mass incarceration and work to ensure that legislatures increase minimum sentences and the length of prison terms, while limiting parole.

In addition, there are many pre-conditions that lead Black men to this fate, including the failure of educational institutions, inadequacy of social services, and the indoctrination into the acceptance of their own lack of self-worth. Further, structural racism can be seen in the criminal justice system at many levels, including the tolerance of police brutality, biased mandatory minimums, and intimidation tactics which lead 98% of incarcerated individuals to plead guilty before ever seeing their day in court, regardless of whether they are innocent or guilty.

If you want to see change, educate yourself on the past and current state of our country. Watch 13th on Netflix.

When They See Us

This four-episode miniseries follows the 1989 Central Park jogger case in which five young African American boys, known as the Central Park Five, were wrongfully convicted in a rape and assault case, despite a clear lack of evidence.

The police blatantly manipulated and intimidated the boys, most no more than 14 years old at the time, into false confessions. Scandalmongering rag journalism and even a full-page ad from Donald Trump calling for their execution helped to push public opinion to the point where justice was overwhelmed. The devastating racism that rained down on these boys, who were sentenced and served 5 to 15 years, is heartbreaking. Convicted in 1990, they were finally exonerated in 2001 when the DNA of convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes proved a match.

Additional information can be seen in interviews with the victims in Oprah Winfrey Presents When They See Us Now, which is also available on Netflix.

More Movies and Documentaries to Watch:

  • 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  • The Hate U Give (2018)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
  • The Help (2011)
  • Fruitvale Station (2013)
  • Malcom X (1992)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
  • Moonlight (2016)
  • Get Out (2017)
  • Whose Streets? (2017) 
  • Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement (2016)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Precious (2009)
  • Waiting to Exhale (1995)
  • Boyz N the Hood (1991)
July 13, 2020

There are two things NoMad residents have been looking forward to this summer:

  1. The re-opening of the one and only Rizzoli Bookstore in NoMad.
  2. Finding great summer reads that engross and transport.

 Well the wait is over! Rizzoli Bookstore is reopening its doors today on the fifth anniversary of residing in its current flagship location on Broadway between 25th Street and 26th Street. New summer hours are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Rizzoli has worked to meet all safety protocols following NYC.gov parameters:

  • Staff and shoppers are required to wear masks.
  • Hand sanitizers are available throughout the store.
  • Social distancing will be maintained.
  • Large sneeze guards have been installed at all registers.
  • Rizzoli limits the number of shoppers to 20 at a time in its 5,000 square-foot store.

If you’re unable to visit in person, Rizzoli ships direct to home or office. Curbside pickup is available, too. Details can be found on the Rizzoli website.

Summer Reading List Recommendations

Rizzoli has put together recommendations across genres to satisfy the tastes of most any reader:

Page Turners

DEVOLUTION
By Max Brooks

The #1 bestselling author of World War Z returns with a horror tale that blurs the lines between human and beast, and asks, “What are we capable of when we’re cut off from society?” 

BLUE TICKET
By Sophie Mackintosh

From the author of the Man Booker Prize longlisted novel, The Water Cure, comes another mesmerizing, refracted vision of our society. In a world where women can’t have it all, don’t underestimate the relief of a decision being taken away from you. “Blue Ticket is a wonder…Be sure to read everything Sophie Mackintosh writes,” says Deborah Levy.

Gardens

GARDEN DESIGN MASTER CLASS  (a gorgeous favorite, not to be missed)
By Carl Dellatore

The author of Interior Design Master Class brings together essays by 100 landscape architects and garden designers reflecting on universal gardening questions, illustrated with photos of each designer’s work.

Literature

BELLADONNA
By Anbara Salam

A hypnotizing coming-of-age novel set in 1950s Italy which stares into the heart of longing and at the friendships that have the power to save and destroy us. “I was utterly captivated, from first page to last,” says Anton DiSclafani, New York Times bestselling author of The After Party.

AU REVOIR TRISTESSE
By Vig Groskop

A lighthearted look at how to bring more humor, happiness, and joie de vivre into our lives through French literature. Like many people the world over, Viv Groskop wishes she was a little more French. A writer, comedian, and journalist, Groskop studied the language obsessively starting at age 11, and spent every vacation in France, desperate to escape her Englishness and to have some French chic rub off on her.

Pop Culture

MODERN LOOK
By Mason Klein

This stylish and engaging book explores how mid-century photographers and graphic designers transformed America’s visual landscape on the pages of popular magazines.

DOLLS! DOLLS! DOLLS!
By Stephen Rebello

Screenwriter-journalist-film historian Stephen Rebello has conducted archival research and new interviews to draw back the velvet curtain on the behind-the-scenes intrigue, feuds and machinations that marked the  production of Valley of the Dolls. In doing so, he unveils a rich, detailed history of fast-changing, late-1960s Hollywood, on screen and off.

Art

ENGINEER, AGITATOR, CONSTRUCTOR
By Jodi Hauptman

This study examines how the modernist avant-gardes from Dada to constructivism reconceived their roles, working as propagandists, advertisers, publishers, graphic designers, curators and more, to create new visual languages for a radically changed world.

DAN COLEN: HIGH NOON
By Douglas Fogle

This book celebrates two new performance pieces and a recent body of paintings by the artist, drawing on desert landscapes, Road Runner cartoons, and Hollywood Westerns.

PICASSO’S WOMEN
By John Richardson

A tribute to the renowned Picasso biographer Sir John Richardson (1924-2019), whose intimate account of the artist’s life forever changed the understanding of Picasso’s art. “The inspiration of nearly all his work comes from his daily life,” the acclaimed Picasso biographer John Richardson wrote of the artist in 1962.

Design

BRUCE MAU: MC24
By Bruce Mau

24 global, generous, and galvanizing principles to overhaul the way we think and to inspire massive change. Bruce Mau has long applied the power of design to transforming the world.

SOVIET SIGNS AND STREET RELICS
By Jason Guilbeau

Russia’s forgotten world of avant-garde public signage – the latest in Fuel’s collectible Soviet series. For this volume, French photographer Jason Guilbeau has used Google Street View to virtually navigate Russia and the former USSR.

Fashion

WOMEN WHO REVOLUTIONIZED FASHION
By Petra Slinkard

Celebrated and hidden figures from First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress to Elsa Schiaparelli and Chromat revealed through their stories and most compelling works. Diane Von Furstenberg, Vivienne Westwood, Sarah Burton, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Donna Karan, and Iris van Herpen are among the great women designers to emerge in the last few decades.

CHANEL: HER LIFE
By Justine Picardie

As Justine Picardie shows in this elegant book, the figure who introduced simplicity into women’s wardrobes was far from simple. The Chanel uncovered by Picardie is a storyteller.

Architecture

A-FRAME
By Chad Randl

The heyday of the national A-frame craze saw tens of thousands of these easy and affordable structures built as vacation homes, roadside restaurants, churches, and even pet stores.

GIO PONTI
By Taisto Makela

The only book devoted to the sole building ever built in the United States by the mid-century Italian master architect and designer, whose brand has a cult following and ever-growing popularity.

BEAUTIFUL BEACH HOUSES

This book is a captivating glimpse into the irresistible world of modern and stylish contemporary living in homes that take full advantage of their beachside settings.

 

With so many interesting offerings, it’s impossible to choose just one – so feel free to get as many as you like. Explore Rizzoli in store or online and find what’s right for you. And enjoy the experience that only a great summer read can deliver.

July 10, 2020
Kristen Bell who was the voice of Molly in ‘Central Park’

As a nation, we have heard the call for racial justice over the past few months and many individuals and businesses have pledged to be better. If we are going to find a way to improve ourselves, we need to take a close look at harmful representations, language, and stereotypes that have been ingrained in popular culture.  Being better on a national scale begins with an in-depth evaluation of societal institutions in place. Entertainment and the media are one realm that has a huge impact on the perceptions of Americans, and therefore, it is a good place to begin.

A Longstanding History of Racism in Entertainment

Entertainment has had a deep-rooted history with racism, in particular with the norm of white actors voicing black characters. Instances of white actors impersonating black characters have origins dating back to blackface minstrelsy in the early 19th century. Minstrel shows perpetuated terrible stereotypes, depicting African Americans as lazy, buffoonish, and dim-witted.

Although times have certainly changed, and we all now realize the incredible harm that such performances had, many of the ideas originating in these shows have been subtly perpetuated down through generations and continue to infiltrate our popular culture today. Whether this is through the widespread use of stock characters often given to people of color or particular diction used that derogates non-whites, it is harmful and needs to change.

White Voice Actors Playing Non-White Characters in Animation

In animation, today and in the past, there have been many instances where white actors voice black characters. Even though it is clearly good to have greater representations of African American characters included in films and TV shows, if the actors who voice these characters are white, this becomes problematic, because these actors may rely on implicit stereotypes when crafting their tone and idea of who their character is.  After all, they are not basing their portrayal on their personal experiences of what it is like to be African American, Asian American, Latino/a, etc. Certainly, a black actor can relate better to the experience of being an ethnic minority in America and is a better candidate for the role.

Mike Henry who was the voice of Cleveland Brown in ‘Family Guy’
Recasting Efforts So That White Actors No Longer Play People of Color

Recently, many animated shows have been questioned for having white voice actors playing non-white characters. This includes some wildly popular and successful shows such as The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Central Park, and Big Mouth.

Several of these shows have recently announced that they will be recasting their white actors who have given voice to characters of color.  The Simpsons will likely replace the white actors who currently voice Dr. Hibbert, Carl Carlson, and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. White actress Jenny Slate announced that she will no longer voice Missy in Big Mouth. In addition, Kristen Bell, who currently voices Molly from Central Park, will be stepping down from her role. Lastly, Mike Henry, voicing Cleveland Brown in Family Guy, will be replaced as well.

Jenny Slate who was the voice of Missy in ‘Big Mouth’
A Time to Reflect and Reevaluate

This is a time to reflect and recognize that there are in fact deeply rooted behaviors within our society that hurt individuals on a daily basis. Although they may be subtle, media practices allow racist ideologies to be perpetuated and magnified through the media’s powerful and wide reach. We should challenge what we see and push our popular culture and entertainment industry to change for the better. 

Additional Resources:

This is a Good Time for All of Us to Take an Implicit Bias Test

 

July 3, 2020

The Fourth of July weekend is coming up! Even though it is a strange time due to the pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate in New York City. In an effort to balance safety and fun, we have compiled a list of activities to fill your weekend. Whether you’ll be staying at home or enjoying some fresh air, keep these activities in mind to make your fourth weekend special and find some normalcy by celebrating in a traditional way.

1. Watch the Fireworks!

This is a Fourth of July classic, whether it is in person or on TV. While the Macy’s fireworks show has been a bit different this year, you have hopefully been able to spot one of the five minor firework displays that have been set off across the five boroughs throughout this week. If not, don’t worry! NBC will be broadcasting the short displays as well as the finale, which will likely be set off from the Empire State Building, on July 4th. Macy’s Firework Spectacular will be broadcast on NBC from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. on the fourth.  It will include performances by John Legend, Tim McGraw, Amanda Gorman, The Black Eyed Peas, and the Young People’s Chorus of NYC. The broadcast will also include a special salute to frontline workers. Learn more about the broadcast .

2. Grill or Picnic in the Park

The forecast is for  beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday! This is the perfect time to get outside and have a socially distanced barbeque with friends and family. Whether it is being together with your quarantine buddies or sitting six feet apart from additional friends and family members, you can still enjoy a meal in good company, surrounded by NYC’s beautiful park scenery.

  • Here you can find a list of some of New York’s best parks to grill out!
  • Find grilling recipe inspiration here or ideas on how to pack the perfect picnic here.

3. Watch Broadway Play Hamilton

In the case of rain, the live performance of the famous Broadway play, Hamilton, will be released on the Disney Plus streaming service on Friday, July 3rd. If you are looking for ways to learn more about the beginning of our nation, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant musical is the most entertaining way to do it. From the incredibly talented, primarily black cast to the catchy songs and witty raps, this play is sure to leave you captivated and humming the songs for weeks!

4. Fourth-Inspired Activities for Kids

 Here are some fun group activities to keep your children engaged.

  • Make your own popsicles, see here for a recipe!
  • Painting flower pots. You can find a list of supplies you might need here.
  • Fourth inspired cupcake decorating! Check out this page for inspiration.

5. What American Cooking Means to You

America is an amalgamation of cultures, and nowhere is that more true than in New York. As we celebrate our nation’s origins, we should also recognize each person’s own version of what American is to them. One way to do this is through food! Because there is no single “Classic American Dish,” create your own personal “Classic.”  Challenge your friends and family to do the same! Compare your efforts afterwards and explain to each other what meaning the dishes have had for you and your family.  A great idea for a pot-luck, socially distanced get together, or a progressive outdoor picnic.

6. Outdoor Games and Tournaments

There are plenty of outdoor yard games that could be a leisure activity to accompany your barbeque, or as my family likes to make it, an intense competition with brackets, scoreboards, winners, and prizes. Cornhole is a family favorite backyard game, played just with two boards and some bean bags! If you’re not familiar with the game, check out the rules here.

Up for an arts and crafts mission as well? You could sew your own bean bags and paint your cornhole boards. If you’re bored and feeling extra ambitious, you could even try making your own cornhole boards from scratch.

7. S’mores!

Whether you have a fire pit you can use, want to roast your marshmallows over the stove burner, or feel like trying a s’mores dip recipe, this classic Fourth of July treat never disappoints!

We Should Also Celebrate by Remembering and Learning

As we celebrate this year, we should be especially aware that July 4, 1776 did not mean independence for all.  On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. Since then, the day has been annually observed as “Independence Day.” However, for the millions of slaves imported to America before and after this decision, the secession from Britain meant very little in terms of freedom.

Enslaved African Americans were not technically free and independent of an overarching ruler until almost a century later when, on January 1,1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Even then, however, freed slaves continued to be caught in schemes that returned them to similar situations of oppression.  Wider rights didn’t arrive until 100 years later when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Bill on July 2, 1964, which was the most sweeping civil rights legislation passed by Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.  The Civil Rights Act prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public places such as schools, buses, parks and swimming pools.

Change has come slowly, and racism continues to be a huge problem. As we enjoy the holiday, let’s take time to commit to the social changes the past few months have made us aware are so necessary.

Reference

Books that Illuminate the Black Experience

This is a Good Time for All of Us to Take an Implicit Bias Test

June 26, 2020

No one can fully understand an individual’s or community’s experience unless they’ve lived it themselves. However, reading can help promote better understanding and provide perspective. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research division of the New York Public Library, offers a reading list of 95 titles that foster a better understanding of the Black experience.

The Schomburg Center is located in Harlem. It is a leading cultural institution committed to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. The Schomburg Center provides programming and collections that help shed light on and share the richness of Black history, arts, and culture in the United States and globally.

The Schomburg Center explains more about its list: “The 95 titles on the list represent books we and the public turn to regularly as activists, students, archivists, and curators, with a particular focus on books by Black authors and those whose papers we steward.” Find the full reading list here.

There are many places one could begin. Below is where we’re starting:

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

The Bluest Eye: A Novel
by Toni Morrison

Fences
by August Wilson

The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
by Angela Y. Davis

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

My Song: A Memoir
by Harry Belafonte

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
by Toni Morrison

A Raisin in the Sun
by Lorraine Hansberry

Sister Outsider
by Audre Lorde

The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

The Ways of White Folks
by Langston Hughes

You can easily find your own way to approach this important list of work. Writings can be searched by category:

  • Biography and Memoir
  • Essays
  • Fiction
  • Graphic Novels
  • History (Nonfiction)
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Science Fiction
  • Short Stories

Most of the books are available digitally for free via the New York Public Library’s SimpleE (available on the App Store or Google Play). Or you can find them at the Schomburg Shop.

If you’d like to support The Schomburg Center and its invaluable contributions, you can donate here.

The Schomburg Center describes this collection of works best: “These books speak to our time and are destined to be classics, addressing liberty across history, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.”

June 24, 2020

America has struggled with race for much of its history, and much of the struggle has been the result of biases, overt and subliminal.  For too long all of us have admitted to some degree that we have inbred prejudices, but were unwilling to delve into those biases and know just how deep and broad they are. If you don’t know the problem, you can’t begin to solve it.

These biases are often subconscious and long-standing. People are influenced by their upbringings and those around them, which leads our brains to make certain associations. These factors, along with large scale societal structures, influence a person’s ideas of what is normal, desirable, right vs. wrong, etc.

The experiences we have over a lifetime contribute to these implicit biases. An article by NPR explains it this way: Oftentimes white children grow up in households where they are taught that everyone is equal, but there is never a discussion of racism.  This “white silence” may lead to a decreased capacity for those children to recognize the deep inequalities that exist within our society.

Scenarios like this may result in associations that we are not aware of. Hence, these implicit associations are difficult to understand and often uncomfortable to confront. Consequently, we don’t always have control over these biases.

Ohio State University Implicit Bias Research

Ohio State University completed a study of implicit bias and defines it as “the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.”

The OSU study explains that people are likely to hold implicit biases favoring their own ingroup, however, it is possible to hold biases against our ingroups as well. In addition, our implicit associations may not align with our declared beliefs or reflect perspectives that we think we agree with and endorse. That is why implicit biases are so challenging to recognize and critical to understand.

Harvard Implicit Association Tests

Recognizing our implicit biases is the first step towards understanding the systemic racism that prevails in America and how we might fit into that equation. Taking the Harvard Implicit Association Tests can reveal implicit biases and help us realize how systemic racism is subtly perpetuated throughout generations.

While these tests generate results that can be uncomfortable, they demonstrate the importance of such assessments and underscore the lack of widespread recognition of these biases. The test on race indicates if Americans have an automatic preference for white people over black people by measuring their response rates when black people are associated with “bad” things and white people with “good” things.

Take the Harvard “Project Implicit” tests here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/index.jsp

Understanding and Changing Our Biases

It does not mean that we are bad people if our implicit biases do not match our explicit beliefs. But this does give us the chance to recognize how our subconscious mind differs from our conscious one. Once we realize this, we can pay attention to these subconscious beliefs and be aware of them going forward.

The past few weeks have once again highlighted America’s need to address racial biases, deeply and comprehensively — perhaps more forcefully than ever before, and we can only hope with more long-term effect.

This isn’t only the work of “society,” but requires that each individual look at his or her implicit prejudices.  The good news is that the OSU report explains that implicit biases are not rigid, but in fact quite malleable. Just like certain associations can be learned, they can also be unlearned. Understanding our minds and working towards subconscious disassociations is the first step towards racial awareness and tolerance that will have a generational reach.

Take an implicit bias test; you’ll be surprised as we all were, but it is the first step in understanding where we all are and just how much we have to do to rebuild the social contract in our country.

Reference Sources:

npr.org – Read Article
kirwaninstitute.osu.edu – Read Article
implicit.harvard.edu – Read Article

June 15, 2020

In a year like no other, celebrate the person in your life who’s like no other: Dad. We’ve put together ideas from some of NoMad’s finest resources so you’re sure to find something unique that lets him know he’s special.

Todd Snyder: Madras Weekend Short

Don’t let the name mislead you – this short is actually perfect for any day of the week.  Made of premium Italian cotton linen, it’s designed for ease of movement. Go ahead, make Dad’s day.


Johnston & Murphy: Driver: Cort Perf Venetian

Hand-sewn details, genuine moccasin construction, and a Nappa leather lining provide the highest quality inside and out.


Heyday: Image Skincare – Prevention+Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturizer SPF 50

How many times has Dad saved your skin? If so, return the favor with this daily SPF that moisturizes while it protects. It’s a daily reminder that says thanks for everything he’s done to look after you.


Rizzoli Bookstore

Rizzoli offers a broad selection to satisfy the interests of all different types of dads.  You are bound to find a gift that fits Dad perfectly.

Ballparks Then and Now by Eric Enders

Ballparks Then and Now explores ballparks across America. It captures the development of America’s national pastime with archival and modern photography of the fields of dreams where legends were made.

100 Letters that Changed the World by Colin Slater

Portraying the world as witnessed through some of the most inspiring, heartfelt, and momentous letters written throughout history, this collection includes Henry VIII’s love letters to Anne Boleyn, Beatrix Potter’s correspondence with a friend’s son that inspired Peter Rabbit, the scrawled note that brought about Oscar Wilde’s downfall, SOS telegrams from the Titanic, the telegram informing the president about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s open letter from a Birmingham jail, and Nelson Mandela’s letters from prison.

World of Whiskey by Neil Ridley, Gavin D. Smith, and David Wishart

This authoritative book gives advice on how to enjoy the diversity of whiskies, how to become more adventurous with choice of flavors and styles, and how to organize a whisky tasting. It includes a selection of classic whisky cocktails and advice on food pairing comes that Dad will find handy, too.


TUSK: Amsterdam Men’s Compact Billfold Wallet

This wallet made of natural Buffalo keeps Dad organized with style – with eight card slots, a double billfold, and two extra slot for whatever else wants to keep inside (get 10% off your first purchase).


Fellow Barber: Summer Wash

If Dad is a head above, Fellow Barber has just what Dad’s hair needs for the season ahead. Summer Wash is specifically designed with summer in mind – no harsh detergents, alcohol-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free. Bonus: The Strategist says it’s also the “best beard wash for sensitive skin.”


Bonobos: Retro Knit Polo Shirt

Keep Dad fashion-forward with this 70s/80s throwback Retro Knit Polo.  Its breathable lightweight cotton linen makes sure he’s as cool as he looks.


Whatever you give for Father’s Day, the best gift is one from the heart. So give it some thought, and let him know there’s no one else like him in your life.

June 12, 2020

Paraphrasing Kahlil Gibran, “Do not seek hours to kill, but hours to live.”  It is easy to see the COVID lockdown as restrictive, but in the right light it presents an opportunity to improve yourself and spend quality time with family. Fitness, music, and general entertainment are all available with the convenience of online social media platforms like those below, see what you can do to make the most out of your quarantine at NO COST.

Fitness

YogaWorks

YogaWorks is offering classes from 60 to 90 minutes on the YouTube accounts of several studios.

Have a little more time? You can find the full schedule here. You can also find them on social media presenting live workouts throughout the week. The social media handle is @yogaworks.

Rumble Boxing

The trainers at rumble Boxing are offering virtual full-body HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts through Instagram live videos each week.  For this week’s schedule, there is a workout on Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT with @aliyahsims and another on Sunday at 12 p.m. EDT with @noahfloods. Check out their social media handle @doyourumble on Instagram to see the schedule for each week.

Women’s Health Magazine

Women’s Health is hosting two live workouts every day on its Instagram page. Each week, they feature several different popular fitness trainers, like Megan Roup and Charlee Atkins. The workouts typically range in length from 20 to 40 minutes and are generally full body and require no equipment. Check out their social media handle @womenshealthmag on Instagram to see the schedule for each week.

Energi

The instructors at Energi are hosting daily live workouts at 11 a.m. EDT on Instagram. They post the lineup every week, with classes ranging from HIIT to dance. Try classes from some of the most talented NYC instructors for free – this is your chance. Check out their social media handle @energilife_ for more!

You can also check out other trainers for various workouts/live videos to incorporate into your day or overall workouts for the future: @hannaheden_fitness, @getfitwithgiddy, @olimccann, @coacheugeneteo, @athkeanx

Music

Songland

Tune in very Monday night at 10 on NBC to experience the creative process behind the newest songs. In the show, songwriters present their songs to a featured artist and several music legends and receive  feedback on how to improve it. The featured artist choses one person’s song to produce, and the song is uploaded to Spotify immediately after the show ends. Featured artists in the past have included Macklemore, Boyz II Men, and Julia Michaels.

NPR Music

NPR Music is continuing to compile a list of live audio and video streams from around the world with links out to streaming platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Some will require registration or a subscription, but most will be free. They are categorized by date and genre, so pick out something you like here!

Coldplay

Chris Martin has not had a live video in a while, but there’s no reason why you cannot catch up with his virtual concerts on YouTube like this one. Get insight into the real talent behind the talent with his #TogetherAtHome videos.

James Corden Carpool Karaoke

Do you like singing and driving at the same time? So does James Corden. Catch up with all of the famous pop stars and celebrities he has sung with in his car from Adele and Bruno Mars to LeBron James and Michelle Obama. Check it out on his YouTube channel here.

Spotify

Having trouble keeping up with the latest singles and albums? The “New Music Friday” feature on your Spotify account can solve that by helping you discover new top hits and superstars.

June 9, 2020

We’ve heard and memorized the importance and efficacy of simple everyday practices to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like coronavirus (see NYS Department of Health Sidebar below). Something that is equally important, but doesn’t receive the same amount of attention, is that we need to address and take care of our mental health.

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis affects everyone in different ways. Be sure to also address what’s going to keep you mentally healthy now and in the future. Here are resources you may find helpful.

New York State Department of Health Mental Health Services

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) at the New York State Department of Health provides resources to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. New Yorkers can learn about managing anxiety in these difficult times, as well as other things. You can find out more here.

Below are two of the important mental health services that The New York State Department of Health offers:

  • Mental Health Counseling and Emotional Support: You can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling. 
  • Emotional Support for Front Line Health Care Workers: If you know someone providing front line healthcare, let them know that the state is partnering with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to provide a 24/7 emotional support service for frontline health care workers: workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to access these emotional support services.

Governor Cuomo Teams Up with Headspace

New Yorker State of Mind

Headspace, an online resource for meditation and mindfulness has teamed up with Governor Cuomo’s Office to offer New Yorkers free meditation content as a mental health resource.

This scientifically backed content can help in coping with the crisis. Its meditation and mindfulness techniques may help you to reduce stress, boost compassion and resilience, and reduce negative emotions.

Special content for New Yorkers can be accessed here

Free For Healthcare Providers and Educators

If you know a healthcare provider,  let them know that Headspace has made Headspace Plus free through 2020 for all U.S. healthcare providers working in a public health setting who have an NPI (National Provider Identifier). Learn more here.

If you are an educator or know someone who is, Headspace is offering free access to all K-12 teachers, administrators, and supporting staff. Learn more here.

CDC Tips for Coping with Stress

The CDC points out that everyone reacts to stressful situations differently, depending on a person’s background, personality, and the community in which a person lives. The CDC suggest these ways to help cope with stress:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

There are many other helpful suggestions, techniques, and resources on the CDC website.

World Health Organization Guidelines for Coping

The World Health Organization (WHO) also provides guidelines for coping with COVID-19

Included in its recommendations is that individuals “find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories.”

Actively seek out positive stories, people, and influences. An example is actor John Krasinki’s Some Good News YouTube channel. Check out his first episode and you will be hooked.

Most people we know have expressed, “I’m doing OK with it all until I’m not.” Be sure to take care of yourself mentally and physically as we move forward through these challenging times. Access and use whatever resources or techniques help to maintain mental health.

June 3, 2020

Even though the economic downturn in this global pandemic has left many feeling helpless, Inday, our Indian-inspired eatery, has risen to acts of altruism by feeding surrounding communities.

Faced with a rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ordered all bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16th.

“We were shocked,” said Inday founder and owner Basu Ratnam (referring to himself and his staff) when they were notified of Cuomo’s order. Ratnam has three Inday locations: the one in Kew’s building at 1133 Broadway, 708 Third Avenue, and 570 Lexington Avenue. He is preparing to open another in Bryant Park. Although Ratnam had to shut down all of these locations, Ratnam kept his employees on the payroll for a time after closing to make sure that they had some sort of steady income.

However, Inday’s generosity and kindness for others did not stop there. On April 13, Ratnam opened his 708 Third Avenue location, not for pick-up or delivery for the general public, but solely for first responders. With only eight employees working in this location, Inday has been routinely serving from 300 to 500 meals per day to those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response at Weill Cornell and NYU Langone medical centers. Ratnam has also made it a part of his initiative to partner with Rethink Food, a nonprofit organization that works to recover excess food to provide low or no-cost meals to families during times of crisis.

With the continued shutdown due to COVID-19, thousands of restaurants have been dealing with numerous setbacks: staying open for only limited days and hours, furloughing 75 percent or more staff members, and even permanently closing. According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, four percent of New York’s restaurants had permanently closed after the start of the pandemic, with more expected to close in the near future.

Having steered Inday through the difficult NYC restaurant market for four years, Ratnam understands what it is like to put one’s heart and soul into a restaurant. He also understands the struggle that restaurant and small business owners are going through now to survive, and he had this advice: “Top down is less important” at this time. Ratman recommends listening to your team, preparing for the long haul, and working out deals that help others in business during these unique times.

By putting these strategies into practice, Ratnam re-opened Inday’s Midtown East location at 708 Third Avenue for takeout and delivery for the public as of June 1st. To keep the restaurant safe and in the best condition during this pandemic, Inday has rented a car and hired a driver to pick up and drop off employees so that they avoid public transportation. There are also several different shifts a day, a safe zone, and a policy for employees to take their temperature each day. All of these steps encompass what Inday has shown itself to be: a restaurant that is there for its employees, customers and community.

“There is a lot of opportunity for innovation, for change. We are going to come back from this. We all have to do our part,” says Ratnam.

Looking forward, Ratnam hopes to reopen the other Inday locations, including the 1133 Broadway location, at some point in late July to early August. As we return to greater normalcy, let’s remember to support the heroes who helped our medical community, innovated their way through this time and made sure their staff and customers were and continue to stay safe.


Click here to order online from Inday’s Midtown East location at 708 Third Avenue.
Open for pick-up and delivery, with pick-up hours 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

You can also download their mobile app, “Inday App,” through the app store.

Visit their website here or call 646-928-0027 for more information.

May 26, 2020

Times are difficult, there is no question about that. Local communities are feeling especially hurt as small businesses struggle to adapt to the dramatic changes that have taken place over the past few months. In order to strengthen these small businesses as they transition, adopt new strategies, and fight to survive, FedEx is giving away grants to help in this process.

In an effort to promote resilience in local communities, FedEx is giving away a total of $1 million to small businesses. Each grant recipient will receive $5,000 as well as a $500 credit to FedEx Office. You can apply for a grant here. As small businesses try to find creative ways to transition their work to meet the current challenges, the monetary grants will hopefully aid in the development process. The FedEx credit can be used for printing banners, posters, floor graphics, custom branded boxes, and more. So, prepare your “We’re Open” graphics and begin applying!

Small businesses that are eligible must fulfill these requirements:

  • The grants will be given to for-profit businesses based in the U.S. with less than 50 employees.
  • The business must have been in operation and selling for more than one year and have less than $5 million in annual sales revenue in 2019.
  • FedEx understands that its success is tied to the success of these companies. Therefore, the businesses must have shipped in the last 12 months or plan to ship in the coming 12 months.

Those who are not eligible include non-profits, franchised businesses, direct seller/reseller businesses, independent consultants, and previous Small Business Grant Contest winners.

Applications are open from May 25th, 2020 through June 12th, 2020 at fedex.com/supportsmallgrants. A total of 200 grants will be awarded and distributed to the recipients through June and July of 2020.

This is a small step in a long battle of resilience, but hopefully these grants can help small businesses get a boost when they need it most.  We encourage all tenants who believe they are eligible to apply now!