Today’s W42ST Daily presented by TFC — W42ST Daily 6/17/2020
So what’s a story without people?
When we are creating the newsletter, posting to the website or engaging on social media — we always try to think about people. Our readers, our neighbors, our business owners, our fellow workers.
Yesterday, when we wrote a story about the challenges facing local businesses — and the crowds gathering to drink, it was about people. The stories of business owners, the challenges of getting groups not to congregate and the frustration of people not wearing masks.
Alexis Ohanion, the ex-CEO of Reddit (you’ll remember he gave up his role and asked the board to replace him with a black candidate) yesterday shared his story. It throws into perspective the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
2005, just a few months before graduation and starting @reddit, a police officer on campus found me asleep in my car, keys on the seat next to me. I was drunk with an eighth of weed in my pocket. I’d had some fun with friends that evening and when I got back to my car, I knew there was no way I was driving anywhere, so I reclined the seat and passed out.
The light of a police officer woke me up some time later, he asked me to step out of the car, so I did the best I could to stabilize my 6’5″ frame as he asked how much I’d had to drink and then asked if I was capable of driving home.
I was pretty drunk (and high), so I couldn’t say anything terribly coherent other than “No dRIvE. nO DrIVe.” and I just repeated that to answer every question until he got frustrated and asked me to call some friends to pick me up.
While we were waiting, the cop said how lucky I was that I didn’t have the keys in the ignition, even with the car off, because it would have been way worse for me. I thanked him (I think) and got home safe except for a bad hangover the next day.
For years, those friends and I would tell that story + laugh about that night… It was just a stupid college story.
#BecauseIWasWhite. I walked away + entered Y Combinator–not a jail cell…or worse. I became an entrepreneur, not a statistic. I’m grateful for that police officer’s tolerance with me + disgusted that it’s so obviously not afforded (and never been) to everyone just because of their race.
We are in one of the most challenging times we will face in our lifetime. Whether that’s as residents of Hell’s Kitchen, New Yorkers, Americans or just humans. We will learn by sharing our stories and listening to those of others. What’s your story?
Brandon Doman is the founder of the Strangers Project. For 12 years he’s celebrated, collected and curated the New York stories that we are surrounded by every day — both from the strangers we share our space with, and the stories we carry. He creates spaces where people can discover stories, and if they choose, share their own.
You might have seen his work inside Fountain House Gallery over the years. This year, in the time of pandemic, it’s a little different. Read more — and find out how to add your story here.
In half a century, TF Cornerstone (TFC) has transformed the Long Island City waterfront, developed some of the first residential buildings in the Financial District & Hudson Yards, and revitalized the Meatpacking District. TFC continues to cultivate the surrounding community long after a project’s completion date. Learn more…
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