October 27, 2012


Well so here we are. The end of October hangs in the air like a thick breath, and normally this time of year finds me wistful and lustful for fall and breeze and leaves crunching beneath my feet. But the last 3 months leading to the opening of the Arena rather nullified whatever romantic feelings I usually experience during autumn. I feel empty, instead. I almost long somehow, and strangely, to relive what the past 3 months have been: frenetic, inexplicably exhausting, empowering. Throw much stress into that formula but all toward the conglomerate cause of opening Brooklyn's new multi-use facility. Life just keeps tricking me into thinking I know my way around.

Shortly after my last post, we began meeting daily at 11:30 as a staff, 40 +/- of us, lunch was served, to discuss strategy. This went on for the greater portion of August and September. Additionally, the previously mandated 6 days a week became 7. Allow me this declaration: 7 days a week for right around 60 days can definitely drill fatigue into a human's brain. And it did. Right into the lobe of mine, at least, that used to hatch creativity, inspiration, desire, love, rainbows, unicorns. That lobe shattered like the Bunker Suite glass partition wall did last week, when accidentally drilled (painful story for another time.) And so I fell away from everything I thought I knew, joining a different force, a construction one: thinking, breathing, walking, talking and knowing nothing but construction. It remains a problem.

Don't get me wrong. Loving your blossoming career is entirely energizing. But in doing so, I feel as though I've entered into a realm, much like in a relationship, where I await, instinctively, a let down of some variety. I'm not sure in what capacity that might present itself, if at all? But things in my life now have taken a new turn which I've been tasked to spend my weekend contemplating. Incredible, the things we go through as people.

Before I go into all of that, above shown are 2 of my most major prides/joys of the project. I can't remember the time frame specifically...no, I can, it was mid-August, what was formerly known as "Beers of Brooklyn" on the Architecturals became the "1876 Budweiser Bar" and what was formerly shown on the Architecturals as "Champagne Bar" remained "Champagne Bar" only with a freshly designed "floating Champagne bottle feature wall." At some point in some meeting it was elected that we'd "sub out" the Project Management of these late changes to another company, to a guy named Mark, who, bless his soul, was thrown into a shit storm. The contractors involved in these changes would be my Main Concourse tile guy, my sign guy, Andy's millworker guy, a new vendor we'd never dealt with based in Jersey (for the "fin" wall to receive the 24-carat gold dipped Champagne "floating" bottles) and my interior glass & glazing guy. So here's the deal: these people had been working closely with me and Andy for going on 2 years. They were all, Mark who? At a certain point when life speeds up to open these buildings, you selectively take calls. You don't take calls from some strange 212 number with a voicemail left by a guy identifying himself as "Mark, new to the project." You in fact delete that voicemail and move on. So what I experienced was this: Mark couldn't get my guys on the phone, so he'd call me. I'd then call the guys and they would answer and I'd identify the question/problem and get resolution and call Mark back and deliver resolution. Complete cyclical waste of Project Management time. This went on for much of August.

Labor Day range: Mark goes ON VACATION! WTF!? I learned this info and it heated my blood and I marched right into my coworker John's office and demanded that this guy be off the Bud Bar and Champagne Bar spaces and that I'd take the lead (dragging Andy into it too, ha.) John was just as surprised as I to learn Mark had a week's vacation tucked into the most critical time of these spaces, so he called the right people and deleted Mark and said, Alright, KB, it's all you.

So I did it. Proudly, with many laborious meetings to discuss, with lots of headaches and frustration and temptations to throw myself headlong from a bridge, I managed (with so much assistance from my coworkers and subcontractors of course) to get these spaces fit out. I love them both. It was, indeed, like bearing children, maybe without an epidural. Sorry, parent friends, but it's the best analogy I've got.

So okay. I loved this job. I loved being given actual Project Engineer responsibilities, I loved the phone calls, oh did I love the phone calls. The identifications of problems and the subsequent collaborative solutions to said problems. The energy it all required. Opening night with my people. Subsequent Suite offers for other events (I've seen Jay-Z twice, basketball once, Sensation last night [WTF] and have Smashing Pumpkin tickets for Halloween - nice) which leads me into my real point for posting at all today, other than to blah blah about construction vocabulary, my new favorite lexicon, ever, thanks to this job.

(this is where i pause to meditate on just how many stories i have accumulated over the past 3 months that have been left untold, and how desperately i don't want to let them go...the night shift i pulled where i watched the canopy sign be installed, the handful of long days i spent watching legends lounge powder coated aluminum ceiling and wall cladding be installed, the day i told the sign guy who had been tasked to wrap some structural supports in vinyl in the main lobby, "no more lifts in the main lobby!" just as a honda accord drove by...wtf! hilarious...and more, so many, so many tidbits)

They want me to move to LA.

That's all I can say on it for now, because my energy levels just sunk typing something that can be translated as "they want me to leave New York."

More to come.