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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Manuel Ramos

Thanksgiving is our most favorite holiday. The time together with family, the copious amounts of food, and the opportunity to take a step back to relax for a few days is wonderful. The word thanksgiving formed by the two words thanks and giving is at the heart of this holiday for me. It is a day to reflect and take a moment to be thankful, to give thanks, and appreciate the people and things in our life that make it special.

This year has certainly been a test on our own personal resilience and a time when families have been faced with new challenges. With the pandemic, loss of life, economic hardships, elections and all the other compounding elements of the past year it has certainly been a tumultuous time.

Set some time aside to give thanks and be thankful. I am thankful for my husband and the family that has enveloped me. I feel incredibly lucky to be a grandpa to our first grandson. I am thankful for the friends that remain close to my heart where one phone call or text conversation connects us like no time has waned between our last tête-à-tête. In our daily lives, it is so easy to give thanks and say thank you to the people you interact with at the store, at work, or even online. Thanksgiving may be my most favorite holiday but it is also a mindset that guides my daily life.

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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Manuel Ramos

It was a bittersweet decision in the sense that we loved living in NYC and our lives were fast-paced and active. We took advantage of all the things the city had to offer. Broadway theater, amazing restaurants, access to whatever and whenever, and the friends and relationships we developed along the way will be everlasting.

Covid-19 has changed the city so much and not for the best. It pains me to think of NYC not in the way I remember it. Shuttered stores and local restaurants, the theaters are dark, and many of the friends we had have moved out of the city.

Originally constructed as The Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower in 1929, One Hanson Place is one of the city's architectural icons and an officially designated a landmark building.

Our neighborhood in Fort Greene, Brooklyn was a colorful, vibrant ‘hood with every convenience a New Yorker could want or need. The rows of brownstones and row fronts were so beautiful and the architecture so classic for the city. Our view from the 12th floor was of brownstone Brooklyn, a view that I will never forget. The morning sun would peer into our oversized windows and the glimmer of the afternoon sun would drench our apartment in a warm glow. We lived in an iconic building built in the late 1920s, a bank headquarters known as the Williamsburgh Savings Bank. We were lucky to rent an apartment there where we spent 11 of the most memorable years. The parties, festive dinners, family visits, and quiet cozy evenings will never be forgotten - and always cherished.

The building's marketing always made us laugh but it rang ever so true. “When you live in a landmark, every moment is priceless,” well, every moment at home in Brooklyn was priceless and I’m thrilled I had the chance to live in the best city in the world for over a decade.

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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Manuel Ramos

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

These past few weeks, I’ve been in my head a lot – thinking, planning, sorting through old (mental) files. I guess I am just getting prepared to organize the next set of tasks my brain will need to tackle.

Building a house from the ground up is a dizzying affair. From the detailed architectural plans to the moment - just the other day - when our builder asked, “What paint colors do you want on the interior walls”? I wasn’t quite ready for that decision, it sounds small, but it’s actually quite daunting..

And, couple that with the fact that I haven’t been able to sit and write a blog post either. Writer’s block? Perhaps… Or I just didn’t have that spark of inspiration to weave a good set of ideas and thoughts together to put it out there for others to read. It can be daunting too - kind of like building a house - I don’t want to make a stupid mistake or a glaring error. It is stressful making a lot of, what seem to be, permanent decisions.

Now, back to the house. The foundation is dug, the framing is complete, the drywall is up, the walls are wired, and plumbing plumbed. Lighting and plumbing fixtures have been purchased, siding and its color decided upon - with its arrival happening next week, fingers crossed. No one wants to go back on any of those items and start over. It is not fiscally smart, nor is it time to re-do something at this stage when it should have been completed correctly the first go around.

A dear friend once said, “This is your one shot to get it right from the beginning,“ (thank you Jim that statement resonates and rattles around in my brain every day). Every decision we make matters, everything we chose in the construction of this structure will make this our own unique home. I am confident that we’ve made solid choices - from the metal roofing to the windows and doors. Everything was purposefully picked for both form and function.

We’ve dealt with delays too, of course. Delays on deliveries. Delays due to weather. Delays due to product availability. We just try to roll with it, not get stressed, and hope everything will catch up with the process and schedule. The construction started on July 20. Here we are four months later and we can honestly say a lot of progress has been made. Every time I walk through the house and take someone on a tour, I wear a big smile, and have a sense of pride as to how our vision is coming to life.

I digress - maybe this is reasoning for my writer’s block. November has been tough emotionally. With the loss of my sister-in-law earlier in the month, comes the realization the memories we will create in this new home will be without her laughter and one-of-a-kind sparkle. It makes me contemplate how fragile our lives are sometimes. Every day is not a guarantee. We are lucky to wake up every morning, move forward, try to be the best person we can be, act with kindness, and make our daily choices wisely.

We are building our home as a place where our family will always be welcome. We are building our home so our dearest friends will come visit and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us on the lake and the acres of woods.

We are building the foundation of not just our home, but the next stage of our life.

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