Saturday, August 1, 2009

Launch | Roofscape Reflections . 1

Today is our official launch. But there will be no big party, fanfare or champagne breaking over the bow. In fact, I feel it's a time for some quiet reflection. Which I'd like to share, if you'll indulge me. To look back on where we've come from and and perhaps see where we might be headed.

Our soft launch, or rather re-launch as I'll explain, was on June 1. To me that feels like years ago, so much has happened so fast. At last.

I began working on Roofscape roughly ten years ago in 1999. This is also the time, I'd like to note, that Shoestring Magazine got its start, so I don't feel like such a total loser for taking so long to get things together. We've been through every imaginable up and down - and a lot of it down.

Our first launch was on New Years Eve, December 31, 1999 at 12:00 mindnight at Boston's First Night celebrations, the culmination of about a year of work. Here's how it happened.

Through the grace of a wonderful client, Ronni Casty, I had a little rooftop office on Beacon Hill overlooking the Fiedler Footbridge (spanning Storrow Drive to the Hatch Shell) and up the Charles River. It was probably about 36 square feet, but the roof must have been about 2,000 square feet, over part of which I built a deck.

I used to sit out there staring over all the rooftops and think ... there's a whole other city up above the city and it's mostly empty. As a designer and builder, one of my favorite projects had always been roof decks and gardens, so I decided to write a book about developing and settling this demanding environment to be called Roofscape. Except the Web intervened and I immediately knew that's where I wanted to be.

The original concept was Roofscape - the magazine of rooftop living. But I was pitching the project to Ronni one day over coffee at Panificio and she said, I like it, but it's kind of limited. See if you can open up the idea. Great advice, thanks girl!

Anyway, we got taken down in the great Web wipeout early in the century, came back and got slammed again, this time by being diverted from our main mission and getting involved with music - as if I shouldn't have known better. Thanks Brian!

Meanwhile, I moved to Dorchester, started a new business - designing and building again, this time in the South End - and got a life beyond sleeping on friends' floors to get this thing going. And that consumed two years of doing nothing but thinking. Which wasn't all bad, but way too long. And here we are ... again. Which is where?

Well, an absolutely gorgeous first day of August on a Saturday in the city on a hill for starters. That alone is reason to rejoice. Plus the raccoons visited late last night, someone's moving the lawn with the push mover (probably Freddie), dogs are barking and church bells ringing. But tommorow?

... To be continued.

Image ... Snowhill Street. The North End, Boston.