Thursday, May 29, 2014


JJ Byrne Playground is a Home Away from Home

First thing in the morning, I pedal out to either a local park or the lounge-lobby of a small neighborhood-based hotel.  Doing so helps me clear my mind and start the day on an upbeat and note and energized mood.

There's something useful about finding a spot that's away from home, to get a bit of distance from day-to-day routines, but not go too far away, so I can return to my abode with some fresh ideas and inspiration for living.

When I was very young, and not able to go far away on my own, there were a few homes away from home.  One was the forts I built with my brother in our living room.  We took hours to fashion these structures where we could have our own space, a place to fill with sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals.  A little bit later, maybe during middle school years, I sometimes pitched a camping tent in our backyard to create the same kind of thing, only I would use bring a short wave radio in there to listen to music.

During college and post-college years, when I was became an east coast transplant from CA, my refuge became the Doylestown, PA  home of our dear family friend Rosie McVay.  Rosie, who gave me my own cozy room to sleep in, would include me in fun projects like making chocolate chip scones, washing down her patio furniture, and working in the local community garden.  She was like a Godmother to me, and I regarded her as a more laid-back, socially conscious version of Martha Stewart.  Rosie was so active in her community, that the mayor declared her 50th birthday "Rosie McVay Day" there in Doylestown.

Now, in midlife, I have several homes away from home.  One is my graduate school library, which is where is where I go to write and think.  While the local branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is much closer to where I live, it's a bit too wild and woolly for real concentration and reflection.  Plus, the school has a cafeteria with gluten-free options!

Another retreat spot is a local boutique hotel.   The staff there is relaxed about having non-guests hang out in their lounge, so I often pedal out there very early in the morning to have a glass of water and read out of an inspiring book before heading home to eat breakfast.

A third spot is 2 places rolled into one.  It's The Old Stone House, a historic site in the center of Park Slope that also encompasses J.J. Byrne Playground.  It's a super short bike ride away from our place, and a great place to start the day:  it's filled with quick, mischievous black squirrels that are fun to watch; early-rising parents with their young children; and a few folks doing their a.m. exercise routine.

What are your favorite homes away from home, and what do you love about them?

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Dear Friends,

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying Spring! I am excited to be celebrating the 10th year of my blog, Creative Times.

If, after taking a look at the info below, you have an idea of someone who you think I should meet, or an opportunity I should know about, please send me an email. I value your creative input!

I am looking for part time work close to my home in Carroll Gardens. Ideally, it would be a bike ride or short subway ride away.

I would love a job that allows me to use some combination of these talents:
  • Community- and team-building
  • Writing/researching/promoting the arts and culture scene in NY
  • Connecting people of different generations
  • Facilitating hands-on, interactive learning experiences
Specific settings that appeal to me are ones which center around these themes:
  • Arts- and culture- related (especially the performing arts!)
  • Literature/books (especially children's books!)
  • Local community work
  • The natural environment (e.g. parks and gardens)
Here's a little bit about my background: I'm a seasoned, Bank Street-trained educator and Brooklyn-based arts and culture writer with a history of providing hands-on, inquiry- and play-based learning experiences in school, nonprofit, and museum settings, including The Brooklyn Museum, The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and The Brooklyn Children's Museum.

Currently, I am a docent in the Education Department at The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. There, I welcome parents, caregivers, tourists, and children into The Fragrance Garden and help them connect to opportunities to learn about the natural world. I also help run children's activities for members-only and special events. I would like to do similar work in a similar setting.

My appreciation of the rich cultural landscapes of Brooklyn and Manhattan is reflected in my work as Editor-In-Chief of the blog Creative Times. Now in its tenth year, Creative Times shines the spotlight on the performances and projects of New York's literary, performing, and visual artists and cultural institutions.

Here are some sample work projects:

  • Collaborated with a team of 25 organizers to plan and oversee GO, a historic borough-wide open studio weekend designed to foster personal exchange between 1700 Brooklyn artists, their communities, and The Brooklyn Museum. Resulted in 147,000 studio visits in a single weekend.
  • Conceptualized and Co-produced The Brooklyn Blogfest, an annual event for 300 bloggers, journalists, and community leaders. Recruited and managed 30-person volunteer staff. Organized monthly, neighborhood-based gatherings of Brooklyn bloggers.
  • Consulted with Bank Street College of Education to use social and new media platforms to publicize alumni events; galvanize alumni activity on LinkedIn group and Twitter accounts; and strategize content areas and recruitment of writers for alumni blog.
  • Managed PlayNet, a grant-funded project at The Brooklyn Children's Museum designed to increase educators', parents’, and caretakers’ understanding of play and capacity to facilitate play with children.
Thanks so much for your support! Please feel free to email me with questions or ideas.

How to Contact Me

Eleanor Traubman