Monday, June 8, 2020

Give Our Children A Future


For the past seven years, I have provided a perspective on what Binghamton and the surrounding area offer in terms of events and the people who call this community home. I've done my best to keep anything that could be construed as political or controversial out of my posts. This post will be an exception. 

Over the last several weeks, hundreds of thousands have been making their voices heard in the pursuit of racial equality and the end of racial injustice. The following images are the faces of our community's future; our nation's future. 

In order for change to happen, the adults need to work together to make the future of these children equitable and just. If we can't do it for ourselves, we must do it for them. Their future and the future of our community depends on it.

May these innocent souls grow up not knowing anything other than the joy they were so obviously experiencing when these photos were taken.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Smile A Day Project

On March 22, 2020, the State of New York entered what would be known as “New York on Pause.” We were being overrun by deadly novel coronavirus or COVID-19. New York was not the only state being affected nor was the United States alone in this battle. It had become a global pandemic. A health crisis like we have never experienced. Locally here in Upstate New York, the closing of businesses and the stay at home orders were creating frustration and fear.

In the week leading up to New York on Pause, I was stricken by what I was hearing from those in my community. Messages of fear and frustration of what was to come. So I decided to begin posting a photo or two a day, calling it the Smile A Day Project, to serve as reminders of memories from the past in the area and, more importantly, as sources of hope of what we have to look forward to when this was all behind us. At first, I was optimistic that this would only last a week; two at the most. I was wrong.

As I write this, we are now on day 56; eight weeks; or two months. I honestly do not know how long this will last or for how long I can keep the project going. The good news is that we began phase one of a four phase plan to reopen the economy yesterday. If all goes well, we will be back to our new normal in six to eight weeks. Yes, our new normal; unfortunately, we must come to terms with the fact that things will never be as they were.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Celebrating the Faces of Binghamton

As Patti Loves Bing quickly approaches its four year anniversary, it seems appropriate for a moment of reflection. Since May 5, 2013, I have written about the many organizations and businesses in this area who have worked to make Binghamton shine.  Honestly, though, it's the people of Binghamton who are the beacons of light and hope for our community.

We have all heard that old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Well, how about 10,345 pictures from 110 distinct events in 12 months? That is how many have been shared on our Facebook page in 2016 alone. Over 10,000 photos of the "Faces of Binghamton", with an occasional dog, giraffe and parrot thrown in. 

I get it; just as many of you do. Binghamton is not perfect. However, for every negative there are always several positives to be found. We just need to look into the eyes of these "faces" to see the excitement and wonder that exists among us.

As with any city going through change, there are many things about Binghamton that will be in a state of constant flux. Businesses will open and close; crime rates will fluctuate; and buildings will be torn down while others are built in their place.  The one constant, in my opinion, will always be the people that call this area home. 

As we enter our fifth year, I have just one request. Take a moment that next time you are feeling down about our hometown and check out the "faces". Whether they be old, young or in-between; they are truly the beacons of our community and definitely need to be celebrated. I know that I will continue to celebrate them and Binghamton as long as they will allow me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Celebrating the Spirit of the Season

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah. These are just days on a calendar. It is the spirit behind them that we should be embracing and celebrating. We all have our own interpretation of what that spirit is or should be.  

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. Having been raised Roman Catholic, I am well versed in the religious aspects of the holiday; however, Christmas for me encompasses much more than religious imagery. It is the spirit of Christmas that I embrace. Not necessarily the spirit of giving of presents; but the giving of kindness and good cheer.

There are the images of the season; in particular, Santa Claus, that remind us of this spirit.  Santa embodies the spirit of kindness and goodwill. He sees beyond a person's economic, religious, political and social background. He does not care what your nationality or race is. All he is concerned with is whether you have been naughty or nice.

Okay, so let's be frank here. Everyone has at one point in their life found themselves on the naughty list. Anyone who claims to have never made one mistake in their life should automatically be put on the naughty list just for that lie alone. I honestly believe that Santa takes into consideration the effort we make to learn from our mistakes. Santa Claus is a forgiving soul and always seems to find the goodness in everyone.  Although the spirit of Santa Claus is usually associated with children; as adults, we should never lose sight of what his spirit embodies. 

Santa, for me, ranks right up there with snowflakes, twinkling lights, reindeer and sleighs as things that remind me of what makes this season so magical. Visiting with family and friends, recapping the year's events over hot cocoa and cookies, can be more rewarding than opening any present found under the tree. Being greeted at the door by a group of Christmas carolers is more satisfying than fighting a mob of people at a store in the mall. Taking a ride through the neighborhood admiring the lights on the houses reflecting off the new fallen snow can be in itself a "religious" experience.  

So, let's take a moment to embrace and celebrate the spirit of the season. Let's put religion and political correctness aside and appreciate the various holiday greetings for the spirit in which they are extended. Just as I am not offended by having someone say Happy Hanukkah to me because I have a common Jewish last name; I find it hard to believe that anyone would be offended having the words "Merry Christmas" being directed to them. They are given in the spirit of kindness and goodwill.

In the spirit of the season, I wish each and every one of you a Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus and, of course, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

This Is Where I Belong

I have a confession to make. I allowed myself to be caught up in a little something people like to call having a swelled head. I found myself both honored and humbled by the positive feedback I was receiving from the photos being posted on Facebook. Rather than taking the compliments for what they were worth, I decided to try my hand at selling prints at both Binghamton Pride Palooza and this past weekend's July Fest.

In doing so, I became so wrapped up in myself that I lost sight of why I began this blog and the Patti Loves Bing Facebook page in the first place. It took two things to bring me back to my senses.

First, it was the number of people who stopped by my tent and spoke to me about how much they enjoyed the Patti Loves Bing page. Showcasing the area in a positive light has been and will always be the focus of Patti Loves Bing. Having people thank me for doing just that was worth more than any number of photos I may or may not have sold.

Second, it was finally sitting down to review the photos taken on Saturday of the Parlor City 5K Run. I had not realized until that moment that I had been feeling anxious about getting them posted for all to see; especially the participants in the race. Thinking back, I was probably the most relaxed taking the photos than I had been all weekend. Putting the focus on the event and the participants came naturally. I was in my element.

I owe you all a huge apology for straying from what made Patti Loves Bing what it is today. Binghamton and the surrounding area, along with its people, businesses and community events, will once again be my primary focus. Shining the spotlight on all things positive.

This is what I was meant to do. This is where I was meant to be.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

It's Up To Us

In a recent message from a friend; one that I have known for close to a decade, he stated, "Tell them you're from the media." Well, let's be honest here. I am not in any way the media. Not in the true sense of the word.

I am simply someone who shares the positive aspects of the greater Binghamton area across various social media platforms. Even then, I cannot begin to compare Patti Loves Bing to the likes of What's Goin' On Binghamton or Bingpop with regard to the number of followers and coverage.

However, my friend's six words did get me thinking. 

Our traditional media outlets have their hands full reporting on the more serious side of life here in the Southern Tier such as crime, the heroin epidemic and, of course, the ever popular politics, both local and national. Their resources in terms of staffing has been stretched to the limits. They cannot possibly report on each and every event, concert, play or fundraiser happening in and around Binghamton.

Why shouldn't we be the reporters of good? In a way, we all have the ability to share the positive aspects of our community; especially via Facebook. It's up to us to be that collective voice heard over all the negative and hateful posts about our hometown and its residents. 

My challenge to all of you is to share the positive about our area. Whether it's a Facebook event, photos from the event, or simply a message of a job well done toward a member of the community. The more we collectively share the positive, the less the naysayers will have to stifle our voices.

While I cannot be at each and every event nor share every bit of good news, please feel free in sending me photos or links to be shared on my page. As for upcoming events, What's Goin' On Binghamton and BingPop have the mechanisms set up to get your events posted on their websites.

It's up to all of us to spread the good news.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season's Greetings, Binghamton

On this unseasonably warm Christmas Eve, let us all keep in mind that it is not now much money you spend or how many presents you receive. The true spirit of the season is found among our family, friends and neighbors. 

Over the last twelve months, I have seen this spirit permeate throughout our community at each and every event I have had the pleasure and honor of attending. Our community has come together in both good times and bad. Thankfully, 2015 had more good than bad. However, no matter the circumstances Binghamtonians have proudly stood by and with each other.

I wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus and a Very Happy New Year.