"I've been in the restaurant business for about seventeen years. The guys here at River Grille are great. Great family."
"What got you into the business initially?"
"Uhhh, high school. I was a bus boy and I went right into waiting tables. I love the money, I love the instant gratification, and just serving people. You know, how you see the smiles. Having them come back asking for me is very nice as well. Also, I love food. I'm a big food geek, so I love plating food and trying to help people out."
"I used to be a trainer, so I expect that soon I'll get back into training: fighters, boxers. But right now I'm on dialysis, so I'm waiting to be more comfortable with that and then get back to training fighters. Try to be the best trainer in the world, man."
"What does it take to be a good trainer?"
"Dedication! Cuz somebody's always trying harder, somebody's doing more. You gotta do the most you can and nothing's easy if it's worth it."
"Was there any person you trained who you were like, 'This person's a star'?"
"Oh, wow. Well, I started training under my father and we took in a guy (he's a lot older than me). He was on the streets and not doing that well, let's put it that way. My dad took him in and through fighting he learned discipline and responsibility and he really, really changed his life. So, when I saw how much that fighting could give you something to wake up to and how much it changed his life, like, that was it. Like, I wanted to be a trainer forever. And I was like eight years old."
(Him): We met back in 1988...
(Her): Yeah, in Walter's Park Pool (in Phillipsburg). We were going for a walk and that's how we met up.
(Him): July 4, 1988.
(Her): Now we come to Easton to hang out and ride our bikes, and we take Gracie with us. I just love enjoying the scenery, the water...
(Him): ...and the bands they have every week.
(Right): "We moved over to Phillipsburg about a year ago and we love Easton. We come here all the time with our children."
"How did you meet?"
(Left): "We worked in the same town. I was bartending and it was love at first sight. It was incredible."
(Right): "Yep. We thought we knew each other when we first saw each other. Right away."
"I'm a native of Easton. I lived in California for fifteen years and after 9/11 I moved back because I wanted to be closer to family. In fact, everybody I knew from California that was from someplace else began to navigate back to where they came from. So I navigated back, and my wife and I (unfortunately she passed away about five years ago), we wanted to find the oldest house we could and do the 'This Old House' thing. We actually purchased a house on Fifth, right around the corner, and completely gutted it, restored it, and everything, so it's been an adventure. Now my son is back with me, and I have a grandson, and we frequent Downtown on a regular basis: I have a year pass for my grandson with Crayola, and we check out Frozenlandia and all the ice cream shops. We really like the renaissance that Easton has provided for us."
"I'm retired. Worked forty-something years working with kids. I had a great time and a good run and now I'm just looking to enjoy myself."
"What was your job with kids?"
"From A to Z. From three-year-olds to twenty-something-year-olds, providing a safe environment, providing opportunities to grow and learn different ways to go from city life to suburban life. It was a commitment. It's how fathers treat children and how they need to be involved, at least that's what I think."
Ian Schwartz is an artist whose works are on display at IF (International Fusionism) Gallery, 107 North Fourth Street. He uses plastics and other items that have been thrown away for his artwork. He has been in Easton since July.
I grew up in Brooklyn, and I'm walking around, and I'm seeing changing architecture as well as a lot of plastic stuff in the streets, and I started associating milk crates with architecture and the city in general."
"What made you start using found trash as art?"
"Recycling and unnecessary melting down of plastics when they can be reused for other things. It's an environmental statement, but also a decorative statement in terms of reusing patterns that are functional and can be reused for decorative purposes. You can make art with any type of material; that's the fusion aspect."
Terry Wolfson-Tighe is the Gallery Director at Ahlum Gallery, 106 N 4th St. She creates intricate works of art that look like prints, but they are made of little pieces of fabric held together with glue. She told me she uses a pair of tweezers to put the fabric in place. Ahlum Gallery is open on Fridays and Saturdays.
"I started working here about a year ago and showing my own work. I do have a studio at home, so I didn't need a place to make my art; I needed a place to showcase my art, and I do showcase other artists at the same time. So, right now I have ceramics in here and some watercolors. And the owner of the gallery shows her own work here, too. I'm originally from New York and I lived in New Jersey and I've been doing art since college--it's been about 40 years! I started doing the fabrics about 37 years ago when I couldn't paint anymore because I was a painter originally. I started doing fabrics because they told me not to paint while I was pregnant, and I started dabbling in the fabric and I kind of took it to another level. I'm very influenced by painters and by quilters. I love the fact that quilting uses lots of little pieces, but they're all sewn, and I was really trained to paint, so I took the two things and molded it together and made my own thing."
"I'm so happy right now, sitting and enjoying the moment for what it is. Soak it all in. It's about the moments for me.
"What keeps you going?"
"So, I'm a UXUI designer: user experience, user interface. It's about digital design, digital experiences, so, you know, designing websites, apps. Translates to different platforms."
"So what are you going to do with your English degree?"
"Actually, I kinda use that already, because you do presentations, you document your work, you communicate all the time so English is important. But I also have my art degree, my graphic design degree, so I do a lot of writing. That's why I sit and soak in moments like this, where I can go and write."
"I came here from Syracuse for my mom. The difference between there and here is that there's no bullets to dodge and cars to hide under. Easton's a calm town.
I'm really active in my church. I love running Bible studies and helping people in their walks and their faith. I also love my cat. His name is Truman, named after my favorite president.
I grew up here in Easton, North Seventh Street. I joined the service at 19 and I was shipped off up in New England. I have not been back here for 40 years. I just got back. My dream was always to move to Colorado, so I moved up there, and then my daughter made me a grandpa so I moved back to Connecticut for a little while. Then I lost my father December 23rd, a year ago and I didn't want to get that same call about my mom from some stranger, so I came back.
Shalom Neuman is a fusion artist. His work is currently on display at the IF Museum and Academy, 107 N. Fourth Street.
"We're mulit-sensory beings. We hear, smell, touch, feel at the same time. So, my question is, 'Why can't art be multi-sensory?' For 50 years, I've been developing a methodology to fuse all art forms and to use what's available: technology, motion detector, projection, lights."
"I'm Muslim and I have three girls that are ten, eight, and two, and this is just not the America I grew up in. I just never saw this kind of hate; I see it online and it's unbelievable. When 9/11 happened, I really didn't think I was one of the terrorists. I married a Muslim man. He's not verbally abusive, he doesn't make me cover my hair. I was racist against the Middle East then, when 9/11 happened, even though my dad's from there. My husband changed my mind and I think that to just generalize and categorize that this one community's bad; I've been proven wrong by my husband and I really support this idea now. This is causing way too much hate than it needs to. It's just too much. Like, I guess the education system is really flawed to spread such hate; I guess when you lack education, maybe? But this really hurts me for my daughters. It's for my daughters, basically, because I didn't grow up in this kind of America. I was Muslim all my life and I played with regular kids. Some guy told me that we behead people. I don't know, I never beheaded anyone, so this really bothers me. There are extremists, yes, there are bad people, but my husband taught me one thing and he always said it: 'There's bad people and good people in every community. Hate is in every community but we have to minimize it as much as possible.'"
"I sing and I'm a young entrepreneur, just trying to let everybody know that it's most important just to love yourself regardless of who you are. My mom saved me from a dangerous situation; I'm adopted so she saved me from what I could've been, the worst side of me. But I'm blessed with this singing talent that's a curse and a gift at the same time--it's so frustrating. I'm a perfectionist and whatever I do, I have to make sure it's perfect. It's a love/hate relationship."
"My daughter is one year old; her name is Aila Rose and she likes to copy everything I do. She likes to sit there and do her makeup with me, she'll do her hair with me and she's on this baby doll kick where she wraps it up in this little blanket and she makes me change her diaper..."
My guitar helps take away scars that I've been going through. My mom passed away in January, so it takes my memory away from that. I play music to get out of my head, really. Keeps my mind off of things and focused on the future.
"My friend and I were 16 and it was actually after a big basketball game. He wanted me to go out to a party with him. I decided not to go out to the party and I guess driving back home, there was a drunk driver on the road and my friend tried to swerve off to get out of the way because he was in his lane, and he hit a tree and died on impact. That was almost ten years ago now. One thing that I remember about him was his shoulder line. He had really broad shoulders, but the only reason it stands out to me is because when I first met him, he transferred over from a rival school when we were in eighth grade. And when we went to ninth grade, I was a basketball star and I decided to play football, and he was a big football star. So when I was on the field, I didn't know jack squat about what was going on. He was beside me because of our last names, they made us line up in order. So, he was beside me telling me what to do: 'Spread out this way,' 'Open up this way,' because he was a receiver and I was just learning how to be a receiver. So I always remember the width of his shoulders. It was hard to get around him when he was going for the reception."
"A buddy of mine was planning this road trip and wanted to buy a van. He wanted to go from Boston down to Jacksonville. Jacksonville is a fairly horrible destination, like, the most, just bougie, like suburbia... Like, WHO ENDS UP IN JACKSONVILLE? But, anyway, we find this van in Baltimore so we decide to buy this van halfway through our road trip. We started in a Jetta, which, like, stuff doesn't fit in Jettas. Bought this van halfway through the road trip, but since we're in Baltimore and he was from Florida and I was from Jersey, he couldn't get the thing titled and registered anyway. 'Cause, like, Baltimore has this thing like, 'We want a police officer to sign off on the title' and all sorts of weird things, and Florida wants a notary. So we had to mail the paperwork out. We FedExed it overnight, trying to get it there, and he messes up everything. He ended up messing *that* up and had to leave Baltimore early... It was either we both leave Baltimore and leave the van or one person leaves and one person stays with the van. Since he was the one who needed to be in Jacksonville, I was the one who needed to be with the van. So I spent like three or four days in a van in a parking lot outside of Baltimore, cooking on, like, a camp stove, full-blown camping style. It was February, too, and it was *cold*! So, that whole time period was crazy--there were all these little random interactions with people wondering what I was doing, like 'What you cooking?' That was the big question I got asked the whole time, 'What you cooking?' I was just some weird guy sitting in the back of a Dodge van cooking spaghetti on a camping stove."
"I've just recently turned 60 years old, but I'm born and raised in the Phillipsburg/Easton area. So, as a kid, we lived in Phillipsburg and we didn't have a car, so we used to walk across to Easton to come shopping and take part in everything. And at Christmas time, I always remember the Peace Candle in the Circle, although it has changed; mostly I remember the Christmas music blaring out of these big white speakers on the street corners. And throngs of people, having to hold my mom's hand because there were so many people shopping ot Woolworths. Then growing up as a teenager, going to Shoe Scene and Upper Story, and being able to walk from 15th Street to Carmelcorn to get my popcorn to go to the State Theater and watch a movie. Now I'm working at the Easton Public Market; I moved back from California about two years ago where my sons and grandchildren are, but my folks are still here and I was too far away. I'm thrilled that I've been here since day one of the market. I live just a half a block from Spring Garden Street and I'm an Easton person. I love it here."
"The best present I ever got for Christmas was family recipes. Like, Christmas is a lot about being together with family and putting family recipes together, stuff we only make once a year. I have memories of my great grandmother, my mom, my grandmother, my sisters, and my brothers and everyone just being together and making food. Just having a really good meal together."
"What's one recipe that comes to mind, without giving any secrets away?"
"We make something called lababki and mushroom soup. We have it once a year. It's sweet and savory, and it's to remind us of the special times in our life throughout the year and the sad bittersweet moments, and to recognize them both as blessings and to hold them close to our hearts. And we also make a nut roll recipe, which is a family secret..."
"I got this a couple years ago, based off of my favorite camera, a Canon AE1 program. It was one of the most advanced of it's time. Not many people shoot film anymore, so I just carry that around as one of my favorite things."
"I loved living in the Caribbean. First of all, we have no humidity because it's an island with a breeze. We have no winter; we just have six months of sun, six months of rain. But I have family here in Easton, which is why I'm here. My son and my daughter-in-law. I miss everything. Food. The beaches. No snow."
"What's one thing you like about Easton?"
"I like everything about here. There are much more activities to do, being that I retired. I used to take care of the elderly, a CNA. Since I move here, I decide not to do that. Now I work at Crayola."
These are the stories of the people of Easton, PA