Monday, September 1, 2008


Mike dropped me off at work the other day and as we drove into the parking lot we exchanged glances...
"What's that on the roof?!" I blurted out as I lean against the car window, my neck bending awkwardly with my cheek smooshed against the glass, my eyes squinting into the sky.
"I don't know, maybe for solar panels?" Mike hypothesized. His educated guess did make sense with the way these metal rods sort of angled off the roof, shot out into the sky, the framing for what could be solar panels.
"No..." I replied, only thinking that such a thing would be too much to hope for. SOLAR PANELS?!?!
Mike shrugged his shoulders and scrunched his face.
"Yeah... I will let you know," I said.
I strolled into Brooklyn Pizza Company: located on the alternative, off-beat 4th Avenue ( ) consisting of Mom and Pop shops dedicated to local artists, local farmers, local beers and fair trade. Brooklyn Pizza Company was started by a man named Tony who at the time was in his late twenties. He is now thirty-something, nearing forty. Tony graduated from the University in Wisconsin, and during his undergraduate years he studied abroad for two semesters in Italy. When I told him I was studying abroad in Hungary he was very happy for me, and gave me my job back right when I returned. He volunteered for Teach for America for 4 years, working two years in the Bronx and two years in Houston. Then he came to Tucson where he had a short-lived career as a middle school Social Studies teacher to gave it all up to start his own pizza place. Every year he travels back to Italy to visit family as well as Long Island, NY to visit family. Brooklyn prides itself on the quality of food at fair prices... We (I say "we" because I feel as though Brooklyn is a restaurant but also a family... I love my co-workers and I respect my boss, the owner...) anyway, so, We also hang up art around the restaurant from local artists as well as our own artists at Brooklyn. It's all for sale. We also welcome the homeless in for ice water and bathroom use (as long as this privelege is not abused), and sometimes we give them pizza. Anyway, Brooklyn is awesome, I've had lots of interesting experiences there. The food business is always exciting.
So, I strolled into Brooklyn and clocked in, still wondering what these metal rods on the roof were. Tony is a very liberally-minded man, always talks with me about politics and always asks me my opinion on current issues. Last year he specially ordered an energy-efficient toilet that does not flush for his house to test out for the restaurant. We haven't gotten one yet, but I am sure we will soon.
Tony always greets each employee individually at the shift change. He also says Goodbye to each employee individually when they clock out from their shift, or when HE is leaving the restaurant in the evening. The managers close up each night.
So, Tony greeted me after I clocked in. Instantly I asked, "So what's that on the roof?"
"It's for solar panels," he responded while checking the schedule.
"Seriously?!" I exclaimed, smiling wider than I expected.
"Yeah!" he responded, making eye contact.
"Oh my gosh that's amazing! Wow! When are they going in?"
"Tuesday and Wednesday (September 2 and 3, 2008)."
I was so shocked and excited at the idea of Brooklyn Pizza Company being powered by Solar Energy that I sent out a mass text releasing the information to at least 15 people. As I topped pizzas on the line next to Tony while he tossed out the dough in the beginning of my shift, I just could not stop thinking about the solar panels. My more predominant thought was: How is the community going to react? What kind of message is this going to send? What will people think?
I am still simply amazed at this initiative by my boss. It's about time, really, that businesses start running their companies more efficiently. And, to show that Brooklyn is right next to other buildings, other businesses, surrounded by neighborhoods, and the building itself Brooklyn is in is kinda old... that... well... this kinda energy efficient stuff IS possible... that you don't need a brand new fancy building in a secluded area to be powered by the sun... to get "off the map/grid"... Now, I do not know how much this is costing Tony initially, but I imagine that the long-term fiscal benefits are worthwhile not to mention the actual environmental benefits and political statements. SO, this supposedly starts taking place tomorrow, and Tony isn't sure what time the guys are coming to install them, but I am going to call my work, and be there with my camera...
I MEAN COME ON!!!!!!! THIS IS SUPER EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It should make state-wide news!!!!!!! I mean, it's a Pizza Place!!!!!! But really, now... more than ever, Brooklyn is MORE than a pizza place..... This is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so excited on the community response. My first assignment for my Senior Non-Fiction Writing Workshop is this kind of journalistic piece... and this is what I am going to write on... maybe I will submit it to the Daily Wildcat... or the Tucson Weekly... or the Arizona Republic... If that's okay with Tony, of course. What's even more cool about the whole thing is that Tony is not doing this for the attention. He is a true environmentalist taking a chance... progressing forward, and taking action. I really admire him for that. He's not spending his profits on a new, huge car or something else wasteful like many "rich" people do... but on solar energy. AND, actually, he JUST recently purchased a Smart Car and drives it around with the little Brooklyn logo on the car doors.
Yeah, I'm really excited. I will post my Writing Workshop assignment when I'm finished with it and I will upload photos.

1 comment:

emmapeelDallas said...

WOO HOO!!! Brooke, that is REALLY exciting, and Tony sounds like a great guy. I know he's got to be shelling out some bucks to do this...and my hat is off to him.


p.s. - I look forward to reading the writing workshop assignment!