The Street Cart is in the Mix

 The Bike-drawn steet cart in Union Square, NYC.  (Photo: Miguel Ibarra)

The Bike-drawn steet cart in Union Square, NYC.  (Photo: Miguel Ibarra)

I.  

The handmade Street Cart took its maiden voyage this past week.  I biked it from its storage location in mid-town Manhattan over to Union Square.  The bike ride was smooth and the cart looked great, with its fresh light blue paint and dark black lettering. 

This cart has been my labor of love for the past three months or so.  Every night I would spend a few hours working on the process:  design, carpentry, staining, painting, lettering.  But this past week, it was finally ready to be driven and parked in the great urban flow.    

We set up shop in Union Square Park in Manhattan.  The first day was a tremendous success.  We had a great crew (thanks Katherine, Chris, and Christine) out there engaging people and talking about emotional health.  We asked people, “What does emotional health mean to you?”  The answers were impressive and thoughtful.     A few dozen interviews were recorded along with many clips that captured the day in the life of the city.  

The documentary will end up being not just about emotional health but also it will be a snapshot of Union Square Park on a November Tuesday afternoon.  With the cart parked along a busy pedestrian way, it felt as though we had set up our own little island and camped out there.  We had snacks.  We talked with all kinds of people.  We created something of value and we really engaged the city.  

The plan is to produce a few of these small street documentaries that will support our small  street books.  You see the theme here?  I guess this is the poet in me coming through: I love density.  I love crispness.  I love brevity.  Not in all things, but with the Urbanmonks’ projects this makes sense to me, for I feel that whether a page in a book or a minute in a documentary, the viewing or reading is only the first part of the conversation.  These materials are meant to function as companion to you the reader, you the thinker, you the observer. 

II. 

Within forty-eight hours of our impressive first day, the coldest week in November in the past t years slid into much of the country and the next two days on the street were cold and grey.  These days were a bit physically challenging.  Not only was it exhausting to stand out in the cold all day, but the amount of people stopping by the cart slows as well: people are completely different when it is fifty-five and sunny versus forty and overcast.  

But good news:  more seasonable weather is returning in a few days. 

III.  

All books will be available online by next week.  At this time the chai homebrew kit (book and a bag of spices) is available for 12 bucks.  What a great gift!  Please consider supporting the Urbanmonks Thinktank this gift-giving season by giving your ten best friends chai homebrew kits!  

I am going to try signing off this piece like a letter and see how it feels,

Doug  

(felt pretty good)  (i am always drawn to letter writing) (there is a wonderful reflective thoughtfulness in letters; this is where i find my most natural writing voice)