NYC, Boats in Maine, and Sandy

New York / Nov. 4, 2012 / by Gelb
NYC, Boats in Maine, and Sandy

Whew. The past two weeks have been pretty intense for us here on Bus 52. We've had to dodge hurricanes and snow storms, travel all across the northeast, and even had to spend a night at sea. Due to there being no power where we were this time last week, I'll fill you in on the past TWO weeks of road life on Bus 52.

We start our story up again in New York City - right after doing some more shooting for the Happy Post Project, we spent a couple of days working back near our base out in Long Island. We were staying at the Battle Run Campground in Old Bethpage - a very nice place and very convenient to NY transit. I would heartily recommend anyone interested in staying in the area to check it out.

On Tuesday, we made our way up to The Bronx to do a story on Rocking The Boat - a fantastic organization that offers extracurricular programs for high school kids that involve building wooden boats. Think that sounds awesome? You can't even imagine. During our shoot I was filled with a mixture of awe and jealousy. They are doing such great work not only in providing something for high school kids to do in one of the toughest neighborhoods, but are also working to help their local environment. Lots of river clean-up and environmental education going on. I think you'll love this story when it comes out.

After the shoot, we made our way back to the campground. Steven was getting set to leave us for a while. We will certainly miss him, but as he has had to leave us before, we are in a bit of a better position this time in knowing we are capable of shooting good quality material. Amy Wallace, who is the chief shooter when Steven is away, is definitely looking forward to trying to showcase her skills. Steven will be away for three shoots. 

He left in the dark of night and forgot to say goodbye.

Tears were shed briefly the next morning, but then work got on as usual. Steven made it in alright and life went on. We had another day of work and then the start of a mammoth drive planned for Thursday. We needed to get from Long Island to Ellsworth, Maine in time for a story starting Saturday. 

On Thursday midday, we started out from Long Island. Because the traffic was moving pretty well, we decided to just try and get the drive done in one day. 11 hours later, we arrived in Ellsworth - at the Forest Ridge campground. The campground owner hauled out a really bright sign in order to make sure we didn't miss the turn when we came in.

Friday we slept and worked. Because we had gotten in early, we had a full day to attempt to re-charge before a pretty complicated story. That evening we went around to the house of our film subjects for the following day - Nielsen and Christina. We had a wonderful meal and planned out the craziness that was to be the next few days.

On Saturday at 7:30am, we met back with Nielsen and Christina at the docks in Blue Hill, ME. We were about to get on their 52 foot boat for two days. Their organization is called the Heart Of The Storm - it is a program that takes teenagers on a 9 day sailing trip. The focus is on kids who might not be able to afford the trip on their own. During the 9 days, the teens and their captain get to know one another while learning about lots of different things about their community. They will take the first three days and go out to one of Maine's island communities, meet members from that community and help repair a house or clean up a beach. The point is to not only help a local community, but to expose the young people to new kinds of learning while also encouraging them to learn about themselves. This is a fascinating story, and one that we hope we can do justice.

On Saturday evening we reached Long Island, ME, about a half-day's boat trip from Blue Hill and we camped. In the morning, we shot footage of a beach clean-up and then various interviews. We started moving a bit quicker because Hurricane Sandy was on her way, and we were on a boat off the coast of Maine. Something didn't seem right about that!

After saying goodbye to Nielsen and his family, we made our way back to the bus. Because the extent of Sandy wasn't yet known, we decided not to take any chances and head for a hotel for a few days. We made our way to the Fairfield Inn in Bangor, ME and hunkered down. If you are ever in Bangor, the Fairfield Inn is a great choice. Loved the always-available coffee!

For the next few days we got caught up on work and watched as Sandy tore through New York and New Jersey and the mid-atlantic. All our friends and family seemed to weather the storm pretty well. I hope it does much less damage than they are expecting!

On Thursday morning, we said goodbye to luxury and hopped back on the road. We needed to make it the four hours down to Kingston, NH for an afternoon shoot on Girls at Work. There, we met Elaine, the founder of Girls at Work - this organization, and her personally, is such an inspiration. I cannot tell you how much this story touched us. Girls at Work takes at-risk young girls who have been abused, neglected, or forgotten, and sticks a power tool in their hands. The results are extraordinary. I can't wait for this piece to come out - this has to be one of my all time favorites. Elaine is such a character, and her warmth and determination are just so infectious. 

After saying goodbye to Elaine, we started driving towards Buffalo, NY. Our plan was to get as far as we could and then sleep in a truck-stop and finish the drive on Friday. We managed to make it to around the middle of Massachusetts, then found a Pilot and got some sleep. Midmorning, we then got back on the road and headed to Buffalo!

We managed to get into Buffalo around 8 that night. We'll be here for the weekend and the first part of next week before heading down to the Philadelphia area. We are managing to just miss a big snowstorm that is headed for the northeast (right where we were). Let's hope everyone is okay afterwards!