I moved back to Buffalo in March 2006 after a year of living on a farm and travelling all over the damn planet. At this point I knew Steve and I were going to actually make good on our "house idea" and so I did what any rational person would do: I tried like hell to make friends.
One day at the coffee shop, I picked up a copy of Artvoice, Buffalo's free weekly, and on the cover was a group of men and the headline, "Here Comes the Neighborhood." I quickly understood that it was about housing in the city--something I knew I should learn about because hey, I was looking to buy a house in the city--and began reading the cover story. The project sounded interesting and necessary, the issue riled me up, and after reading that PUSH Buffalo needed volunteers to help clean out its first cooperative house, I dialed their number.
Aaron picked up that day and gave me the run down on volunteering. I showed up, got really dirty while tearing out some old flooring, and met my dear friend Michael Gainer for the first time. Michael not only told me about this thing called deconstruction and this organization he hoped to start--tentatively called Buffalo ReUse--but he also told me about NACA. I went home that day and called Steve.
The rest is history.
I have a point though in retelling this history: I owe PUSH Buffalo my every happiness! Steve and I quickly identified PUSH and its members, organizers, and supporters as the community of which we wanted to be a part. Through volunteering five or six Saturday mornings at the PUSH house--Steve would drive an hour and a half just to paint some walls--we then found other communities, other friends, other paths. I'm sure we would've eventually found our ways to where we're respectively at today but the process probably would've been longer and less fun.
Hell, I met my boss at a PUSH barbecue!
With all this mind, I implore anyone in the New York City area to come on out to the PUSH fundraiser party in Manhattan on June 9th:
I will be there, working off my debt this amazing organization. If you're interested in hopping a bus from Buffalo to Manhattan for the party, give me a shout: firstname.lastname@example.org.