When (Jury) Duty Calls

New York City is a pretty good place when it comes to jury duty.  You are notified a couple of months out that your number is up, and that you can expect a summons to arrive.  Once received, if you cannot make your assigned date, you simply call and use an automated system to designate a replacement date.  Easy peasy.

I did just that the two previous times I was called.  This time, however, my summons actually fell on Monday of the only week between now and September that I am not already scheduled to travel for work.  

So, I did a little happy dance, packed my oversized tote with my newspapers, iPhone, iPad, charger, and bottled water, and got ready to fulfill my responsibility as a citizen of the greatest city in the world.  And, as New Yorkers will tell you, do a little celebrity spotting, because nobody but nobody is excused from reporting.  The jury rooms downtown on Centre Street are known for hosting famous - and infamous - folks who are appearing to do their civic duty.

Full disclosure: I am one of those people who likes jury duty, so this is not a post about trying to avoid it.

(Cue "Law & Order" theme music here).

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A bit of background.  Since moving to New York 20 years ago, I have been called twice. The first time, I was picked for a civil case, a trial that lasted a week.  We reached a verdict on Friday night, and I was back in the work saddle in Monday morning.

The second time, I learned something very important when it comes to jury service.  If you have served on a jury that reached a verdict, your odds of ending up on future juries increases dramatically.  In this instance, when I was in voir dire for a criminal case, the first thing they asked potential jurors was whether they had served previously, and if so, did they reach a verdict.  Everyone who could answer those two questions in the affirmative were seated for that jury.  Every. Single. One.  Including yours truly.  Because hey, trials are time consuming and expensive, and judges and attorneys like people who can deliberate and reach decisions.

So yesterday, when I was immediately called into voir dire along with 84 other Manhattanites, I was ready to spend the week in Criminal Court.  (In Manhattan, you are only required to be available to serve for five days, since judges recognize that many people cannot serve for longer trials).

However, far from being one of the "minor" cases I served on previously, this was a murder trial in a very heavily-publicized case, and expected to last three to four weeks.  Since I am already scheduled to travel each of the next six weeks - not to mention the fact I remember some facts about this case - the judge dismissed me, and sent me back to the jury pool for other cases.

By 3:30 p.m., the clerk announced they did not need the rest of still sitting in the jury room, handed us our proofs of service, and sent us on our way for the next six years. 

Have you ever served on a jury?  If so, how was the experience?

Springtime in New York

New York City winters can be long.

Even if we don't get a lot of snow (this winter was fairly mind on that front), the cold, damp weather often hangs around until May.

So, it's always a treat when we have a few warm, sunny days - and flowers start to spring forth!

When returning from a media tour last week, I emerged from Penn Station to find this beautiful sight along 34th Street.  The real "miracle" on 34th Street that day was that the crowds were sparse enough for me to stop and snap this pic.

If you come to New York this time of year, the tulips along Park Avenue are also a must-see. 

Happy Spring!

Reflecting

On a clear, calm morning, the Reservoir in Central Park is a beautiful place to reflect.

It's always darkest before the dawn, and I love the reflection of the lights of midtown on the calm surface of the water just before the sun begins to rise.

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Now, we do not make a habit of going to Central Park in the middle of the night, but at the hour this was taken - about 5 a.m. - it is not uncommon to find runners and walkers already making their way around the track. On this particular morning, Scott and I were "sleep training" for an overseas flight - that is, getting up half an hour earlier every morning for a week to ensure we could sleep on our redeye flight to Europe later that week.

Have a beautiful - and peaceful - Wednesday.

 

Sunrise in Manhattan

Scrolling through the zillion pictures on my iPhone this weekend, it is apparent that I take lot of pictures at sunrise and sunset.

(And that I seriously need to clean out my phone).

There are a lot more sunrises than sunsets, however, because I am an early bird and often out and about the city - or heading to the airport - bright and early. A few of my favorites:

The East River, from Carl Schurz Park.

Carl Schurz Park.

The Upper East Side, looking south from our living room.

One of the many sunrises I have watched from the American Airlines Admirals Club at LaGuardia Airport.

Central Park, 5:30 a.m.

East 72nd Street, between York Avenue and the East River.

Early morning view of the Jenga Tower in Tribeca:

Where are your favorite spots to enjoy sunrises and sunsets?

Sunday Stories: "BBC Mum," Ina Garten's Apartment, and Oxford Commas

Ina Garten's Upper East Side pied-a-terre is for sale. Not surprisingly, the kitchen looks amazing.

Any of my Nashville friends scored fabulous designer deals at this store? Maybe I will check it out on my next visit. 

Sure, you can dress like her. But do you really want to tell people she is your fashion inspiration?

I have totally jumped on the cauliflower rice trend - even Scott loved this recipe and described it as tasting like couscous. 

Looks like a dreamy vacation to me.

Time to starting using the Oxford comma again.

I can't even. The writer of this heartbreakingly beautiful essay passed away this week.

Still laughing at the "BBC Dad" interview? This "BBC Mum" spoof is even funnier. 

Have a lovely week!