Passions are a beautiful thing, and while I am certainly passionate about my teaching, my research, and my role in the academic community, I also enjoy my leisure pursuits. Work is necessary, but what we choose to do with our free time is discretionary, and there is something wonderful and pure about these passions of choice.
Family is clearly my most important personal pursuit. I am lucky to have a wife, two daughters, and a son; we have a lot of fun together. I enjoy being a father as much as anything else in my life, and have been very fortunate to play a very prominent role in the upbringing of all three of my children. I can be pretty domestic: I actually enjoy cleaning up around the house, and cooking and baking are two home-making tasks that I spend a lot of time on. Family vacations are a highlight of every year, but we also greatly value our home in Astoria, Queens.
I have been a dedicated bicyclist since I was really young. On suburban Long Island I rode my bike to junior high school every day after deciding that riding the bus was too much torture, and I have been a bicycle commuter ever since. Almost every day you can see me riding into Pratt on my trusty tour/commute bikes. I have done a few big rides and tours, but mostly I use my bike to get from place to place, as Queens and Brooklyn present the ideal environment for bicycle transport. I am an experienced bike mechanic and I enjoy building my own wheels, keeping my bikes tuned, and periodically reconfiguring my rides. I have also been into mountain biking since the early eighties, and I have done a bit of 24 hour and downhill racing. Queens is a pretty bad location for a mountain biker to live, so of late my mountain biking escapades are pretty limited.
Beyond cycling I also enjoy a great variety of other outdoor activities. I have done a fair amount of hiking, backpacking, and camping, and I am looking to expand the range of these adventures. I have done a bit of rock climbing, mostly in the gym but also a few times outdoors. I used to do some kayaking in the summer, but my access to kayaking has decreased. And when winter permits and lift tickets are not too obscenely expensive, I try to get in a little snowboarding as well.
Skateboarding was a huge part of my youth. Skating has waxed and waned for me over the years because there has not always been great terrain available where I lived, but since returning to New York City in 2007 I have taken advantage of all the great skateparks we have. When the spring semester ends and there is a little more time on my hands, you can find me at Pier 62, Astoria, McCarren, or Owl’s Head.
I used to play in a bunch of bands, do a radio show, publish zines, run a record label, and put on shows. These days I don’t have the time to be actively involved in music, but I am still a big music consumer and try to go to the occasional show. I also have been having a lot of fun trying to become halfway decent at the drums.
I also dabble in collage. I have been working in a particular style for a long time now: using old National Geographic magazines, I cut out abstract shapes and then create concentric layers using additional colors and textures. I have participated in a few art shows, but most of my work is used to decorate personal notebooks and to create gifts and thank you cards for friends and family.