The Flight Deck Brings Back Some Memories...
I came to New York City some 18 years ago from my home in Trinidad in the West Indies having never seen snow. Without a proper coat, gloves, boots or any understanding of what it is to be in temperatures under 65 degrees, my first job was working as a security guard/tour guide at the Intrepid Museum. I had enlisted in the Navy with the goal of becoming a SEAL and securing a way to take care of my then pregnant wife. We lived in a single room with a mattress on the floor as a bed and I had a total of $500 to my name. I signed up for the Navy soon after getting here and since my wife was expecting, they gave me a job at the Intrepid to hold me over so I could be here for the birth of my son before I shipped out to basic training.
I was completely unprepared for the cold, both phyiscally and mentally- and my first day of work saw me shoveling snow in a storm bereft of gloves or a warm coat. To keep my socks dry I tied a garbage bag around my feet and I willed myself to keep going for those long shifts of snow shoveling and braving the harsh winter winds on the flight deck of the Intrepid. Not surprisingly, I developed an asthmatic condition not too long afterwards, which destroyed all hopes of my enlisting.
I remember standing on the flight deck completely devastated that my life dream of being a Navy SEAL wasn't going to happen, and dealing with the dread of how I was going to support my familiy. I had no friends and was very much alone in this cold and foreign city and I remember being surprised at how cold the tears would be when they ran down my face. It was there on this very same flight deck that I resolved that I was not going home, and that I would indeed make it here in New York no matter what.
Standing on the flight deck all those years later, I wanted to show the sense of hope and beauty that New York can inspire in us, and the resolve that I felt myself that day. My son, now in his late teens and almost off to college and I went to star gazing event at the Intrepid- and I couldn't help but take the time to reflect on how far I had come. I hope you enjoy my photos.