My Big Apple Adventure

NYC Skyline

This weekend Mike (my boyfriend of 3 years) and I went to NYC to visit my cousin Vanessa and her husband Nick. We’ve visited them a dozen times before, but this trip was extra special. Usually when we go down to the City we hit up all of the local bars and just kind of bounce around with no set plans, however this time we decided to do something neither Mike nor myself have done before. We decided to make this an educational trip and go to the American Museum of Natural History and the 9/11 Memorial.

A T-Rex fossil at the American Museum of Natural History
A T-Rex fossil at the American Museum of Natural History

Ever since the Night at the Museum was released back in 2006 with Ben Stiller, I have craved to go. To be completely honest, the museum was packed so it was a little overwhelming at times especially once we made it to the fourth floor, which was where all the dinosaur fossils were (the part I longed to see most). No surprise though since it was a Friday afternoon and we were in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world in one of the most popular museums ever created.  The T-Rex fossil that is depicted in the photo to the left was incredible to see, it honestly left me speechless. To think that this creature once roamed our Earth is remarkable.

Of course after the museum Mike and I did take a pit stop to grab a couple drinks.  We stopped at the Beacon Bar, which was right down the street from my cousins apartment. I recommend this sophisticated cocktail lounge to anyone who is near the Upper West Side or as NYC residents call it, UWS. When you walk in your eyes completely surpass the brilliant lit bar and they go right to the black leather couches in the center of the room. It really is a quaint little place, where you can unwind with friends by drinking a couple of their signature cocktails, while occasionally listening to live Jazz.

Saturday was a day that Mike and I had been looking forward to for a very long time. We were finally going to go to the 9/11 memorial. Back in 2001 when 9/11 occurred I was in 5th grade and Mike was in 7th. For anyone that was alive during this time, it’s something we will never forget. You probably remember everything about that day, like what you did in school or work, the rumors that began to circulate, the horrifying details that came to be known, watching the twin towers crumble to the ground right in front of your eyes, and all of the overwhelming emotions that flooded your body.

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A Man With a Motive



Pave your own trail by taking the road less traveled by…

-Utility Associate: “You have two options sir, pay your bill or don’t pay it”

-Steve Erby: “If I don’t pay, you’ll turn my power off”

-Utility Associate: “Exactly”

After one man noticed that his utility bill had been continuously increasing each month with no obvious explanation, he called his utility company to get some clarification. Except he didn’t get clarification, he got something better. He got a motive to find an alternative source of energy for him and his family so they didn’t have to continue to pay into this monopoly. He turned his blazing obsession to outsmart the utilities into an astonishing passion to share with the world, which ultimately became an extraordinary example of success.

In 2009, Monolith Solar Associates, LLC was born.  The two founders, Mark Fobare and Steve Erby– one a Niskayuna-native, the other a US Army veteran– started the company out of a garage operation in East Greenbush, NY. Since then Monolith Solar has grown to be one of the most successful solar firms in New York State. Both Mark and Steve met through Hudson Valley Community College’s solar program. Mark has a background in engineering, while Steve’s background is in sales. Together they formed an unstoppable team.


From left to right: Steve and Mark. Photo credit: Donna-Abbott-Vlahos.
A photo of Steves house. This is the first solar system they ever installed and this is where the company started.
A photo of Steves house. This is the first solar system they ever installed and this is where they started the company out of.

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Don’t Exist. Live.

IMG_0188Everyday the sun rises and the sun sets. It’s clockwork. Don’t waste the precious time you have on this earth doing anything other than what you love. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”  We’ve been bred to graduate high school, go to college, choose a major that will make us a lot of money and then spend the rest of our lives working to make someone else’s dreams come true. It’s ironic that we live in a country where the national ethos is based on the American Dream. We have the resources and opportunities to achieve prosperity and success yet so few people take advantage of this. Wasn’t America founded on the basis of freedom?  So why are so many people slaves to corporate America?

We’ve been brought up to not take risks and to play life safe, to get a degree that will make us a lot of money rather than one that will make us happy, to believe that you need money to make money.

It’s time to stop living by these standards, falling victim to a mediocre, run-of-the-mill lifestyle. If you have a dream it’s time to take the leap of faith and go for it. As long as you have passion, drive and patience, nothing is impossible. Why work your entire life to fulfill someone else’s dreams, spend the valuable time you have in this world chasing yours. Remember, there is only one you, and if you’re not being yourself the world is missing out. Don’t exist. Live. -JC