It takes a Brooklyn village

Brooklyn is one of the largest communities in America with a population of over 2.6 million. With a high density of people living fast lives full of hustle and bustle, one would think that nobody here has the time or motivation to help their fellow human being. Recently, I experienced an event in my community that made me think otherwise.

While reading messages posted through my community message board on, I came across a lady in my neighborhood named Tami. She asked if anyone knew of a free turkey giveaway event that also provided ingredients for a complete Thanksgiving meal. I immediately thought about my friend Steven Patzer, a community activist who was conducting an upcoming free turkey giveaway. I shared his flyer with her and she appreciated it. I continued reading the rest of her request which stated the following:

“…I am a disabled mom of 5 and my food stamps got cut off for November because of covid and not being able to recertify. I’m having difficulty this month. All these months I’ve been holding my own. But now I must put pride aside and ask for help. I’m unable to pick anything up as I’m homebound. My address is xxxxx. If you also have food for a dog, I would truly appreciate it…”

Once I read this, I became compelled to do more than simply share the turkey flyer with her. I added that I would buy all of her Thanksgiving fixings if she sent me her shopping list via email. Within hours, other neighbors read my offer and wanted to help out too. I got offers from two women who were willing to pay for Tami’s grocery bill, one of them willing to pay as much as $150. Another neighbor responded to her dog food request by delivering a large case of dog food directly to her home. The next day, I went shopping for Tami with Laurie, another lady in my neighborhood who wanted to help. That morning when I opened my front door, I found a case of juice boxes delivered from Jenny, another woman living in my neighborhood. Soon, others throughout the community offered assistance to Tami and personally delivered care packages to her address. Some even offered to buy her a bunkbed, something she needed for her cramped apartment. After I purchased her Thanksgiving groceries, Stephanie and Charyn, two local ladies who I didn’t know until now, split my grocery bill.

As I type this, Tami is enjoying a complete homecooked Thanksgiving meal with her five children while Mr. Snowflakes enjoys his dog food. It took a Brooklyn village to help make that happen.

Tami’s latest message to the Brooklyn community that helped her during a time of need

Boy, This Race Was A Real Pisser!

Peeing Runner

During my Sunday long runs with the Staten Island Athletic Club, our masters captain Gus noticed I finished each run with a noticeable layer of thick salt across my forehead.  “Josh, you gotta hydrate more before, during and after your long runs”, was his response.  Keeping this in mind, I made sure I took his advice when I ran The 2013 Brooklyn Half Marathon.  The day before, I loaded up on several glassfuls of water.  The morning of the race, I had a big cup of coffee, then a few more cupfuls of H20.  I think I was hydrated enough and ready for the race.

We were in our start corrals and just moments away from the start of the race.  I was looking for an available port-o-potty, but they were all occupied.  I decide to hold it in; how bad can that be?

I was bent on breaking my pr (personal record) of 1:41:13 for this race.  I’ve run many times with my friend Jennifer, a dedicated runner who has been continually improving in her running since I first met her several years ago.  Jen and I planned on starting and finishing together.

The race starts.  After running with Jen for the first seven miles and filling up on even more water at each water station throughout the race, the urge to urinate is growing in me.  Jen tells me to go ahead of her since my pace was picking up, so I start pulling away from her.  I am now on Ocean Parkway, a flat, wide thoroughfare going through the heart of Brooklyn.  As the miles pass and my speed increases, the need to urinate increases.  At Mile 10, it becomes unbearable.  I decide that the only way I can finish the rest of the race comfortably is to get rid of all the urine.  But stopping to pee was out of the question; I wanted to save as much time as possible in this race so I can give myself a chance to break my pr, for even seconds count.  My bladder was in pain holding back the floodwaters, so I decided to urinate in my running shorts.  The only problem was that I couldn’t do it.  I was conditioned since childhood not to pee in my pants.  I had to mentally motivate myself to pee.  Like a pathetic cheerleader awkwardly chanting things like, “Josh, you can do it!”, and “Pee! Pee! Pee!”, I was determined to achieve success in this matter.  After much self-motivation, the floodgates opened up and a giant sense of relief filled my being.  “Hallelujah! Now I can focus on finishing this race!”, I thought to myself.  And thank the Lord that I was wearing black running shorts.  I looked at other runners to see if they noticed my ‘situation’, but they were all in their own little  world focused on getting their race done.

After relieving myself, I was able to focus on increasing my pace, for I was bent on breaking my pr.  The last few miles were my fastest, especially Mile 12.  I crossed the finish line on the Coney Island Boardwalk with a new pr of 1:40:08; over a minute faster than my previous half marathon record.

Boy, this race was a real pisser!