Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 25: The Mayor

Photo of the Day: Hooray for Service

My supervisor took me down to New York City Hall today to witness the swearing-in ceremony of the NYC Civic Corps, a local AmeriCorps-based volunteer program that aims at tackling pressing municipal issues like economic opportunity, health, education, clean energy, and the environment. Aside from "strategic partner development," I don't think there was any real reason for us to go other than to get out of the office for a few minutes on a gorgeous day. My supervisor is also old friends with many of the people in the NYC Service program, so I got to meet and chat with a lot of really smart, influential, and down-to-earth leaders, including Diahann Billings-Burford, the city's first chief service officer, who also happens to be my current supervisor's former boss. The ceremony was short and sweet, taking only 30 minutes to offer a handful of recognitions and a few inspiring remarks. They also recited the AmeriCorps pledge, which gave me flashbacks to last year's NCCC ceremonies. Oddly enough, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also used his time on the podium at the end of the event to rail against faulty voting machines that were "screwing up" the primary elections that start today. 

After work, I attended the Midtown small group hosted by Tim and Talida that meets near Bryant Park, but unfortunately, there was very low turnout today with only four people in attendance. We started a new series by Tim Keller called Gospel in Life and watched an opening video, followed by some good discussion about the New York lifestyle. We learned that, as Christians, we must strive to love and edify our city, not just use it for our own selfish and gluttonous ends. I was especially convicted by Keller's observation, taken from the Israelite exile in Babylon, that we should not 1) flee the city in order to retain our spiritual identity or 2) remain in the city and lose our spiritual identity. On the contrary, God requires that we 3) both remain in the city and retain our spiritual identity. I think it is far too easy for me to slip into a comfort zone by isolating myself amongst fellow Christians, and it is far too easy for me to forget about my faith in the midst of the city's pleasures and indulgences. Neither is preferable, and there is a fine line that must be walked to remain in the world, but not of it.

The NYC Civic Corps induction in front of City Hall.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg with municipal Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford.
Standing up to recite the AmeriCorps pledge. I had flashbacks.
Mayor Bloomberg gives his closing statements.
Mayor Bloomberg used the last few minutes of the ceremony to make a political statement denouncing the voting problems in NYC during today's primary elections.
I cut through the lovely Bryant Park tonight, which is having a free fall festival and featured the Five Boroughs Music Festival this evening.
The lovely Bryant Park at night.
The very small showing at tonight's Midtown fellowhsip group. We're starting an exciting new study by Tim Keller!


  1. This is nerdy, but great job at using links in your blog! =D

    And glad to see you are getting plugged into a fellowship group. It's funny b/c isn't that how Epic started a long time ago...? Just a handful of ppl who love God?

  2. Haha, thanks, Rach! I love linking in blogs because it's such an easy thing to do, but it makes the content so much fuller and more dynamic and is so unique to this medium. It also allows the readers to decide how engaged they want to be--they have an option to dive deeper if they so choose, or just read the existing content.

    Haha, so true about Epic! It's AMAZING to see how much it's grown. I'd feel like such an outsider going back now, but at the same time, it's so encouraging to see new generations taking over and making it their own. It really feels like a legacy, and one we should be proud of. =)

  3. Thank you. If you want city night shots, New York's the place to do them. It's the lights that make the shot beautiful, and NYC is always awake and glowing.

  4. weird.. the people in the orange shirts standing in front of the orange backdrop- they almost look two-dimensional. the two guys in suits really pop out in contrast.

    i agree with Laura.. i love the Bryant Part pictures! esp the vertical one.

  5. Good, that's the effect I was going for! I actually had a larger photo, but then I realized if I cropped it down to only show the yellow, it would be much more interesting. By the way, the guy in the suit on the right is NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    I'd passed by the outer edges of Bryant Park, but I never really stopped to explore it. It's a really beautiful part of the city! I hope to stop by again and just relax and enjoy it soon...and document the whole thing, of course!

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