After spending a few years in northern New Jersey, Ilene's family moved to Orchard Park, New York, a suburb of Buffalo, and home of the Buffalo Bills. If you listen closely, you can hear her accent creep in every once in a while. Be careful not to call it "upstate" though, as she'll quickly correct you that it's known as Western New York.
Ilene attended Brandeis University, and studied abroad for a semester in Sevilla, Spain. She received a BA in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish Literature, in 2001. She then made the move from Waltham, Mass to the bright lights of New York City to study Organizational Psychology at the Teacher's College at Columbia University. Many business cards and companies later, she now does the "reverse commute" from our apartment to her position as the Director of Human Resources at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Ilene is what can be described as a true "Upper West Sider." She knows the location of every shoe and bag shop on Broadway, can tell you what movies are playing at the indie theater on 62nd Street, and has an uncanny ability to spot celebrities from several blocks away!
Gabe grew up in Spring Valley, New York, a diverse suburb of New York City. After sneaking through the Johns Hopkins University with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 2000, he worked briefly as a market research analyst for W. R. Grace. Deciding he'd much rather take it easy and ski, he combined his love for the slopes with his love of learning by enrolling in the Mastering in Engineering Management program at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.
Finishing grad school in December, 2001, Gabe entered the working world in earnest. He landed a job as a Project Manager with a boutique medical education agency, and is now a Senior Account Manager with The CementWorks, LLC, a fast-growing pharmaceutical advertising agency located in midtown Manhattan. However, the lure of academia came calling again, and in January, 2005 Gabe begin taking part-time courses purusing a MA in Statistics from Columbia University.
In what little free time he has left between work and classes, Gabe is involved in 3GNY, a NY-based group for grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. He is a self-admitted NYC subway geek, an avid reader, and will accept any and all challenges to a game of Trivial Pursuit. He's also a die-hard NBA junkie, spending entirely too much time discussing and analyzing its finer points through his membership in the Association for Professional Basketball Research.
Our first date was on September 11, 2003. After exchanging a few e-mails, we spoke on the phone for the first time and agreed to meet up in person. Since we both had plans for the upcoming weekend, it was suggested that we meet up the following Thursday. We met for ice cream at Ben & Jerry's on Third Avenue, and then walked around a bit. Gabe helped Ilene buy a CD she had been trying to remember the name of, and we sat in Union Square and talked. During the conversation, we realized that our "plans" the previous weekend had been the same party, and that we already had a few friends in common!
Ilene's most vivid memory from their first date was seeing Gabe for the first time and thinking "Oh no, he's wearing flip-flops with pants...I don't know if I can date him!"
Gabe's most vivid memory from their first date was finding out that they both enjoyed Phish Food.
To date, Gabe still enjoys wearing flip-flops with pants, but promises not to wear them with the tux, and Ilene has since become lactose intolerant.
Starting in May, 2005, Ilene and Gabe had been planning a vacation to Ogunquit, Maine, Burlington, Vermont, and Montreal for the end of the summer. Little did Ilene know that Gabe had also been in touch with Ilene's parents for most of the summer, enlisting their aid in picking out the perfect engagement ring to propose to her during the trip. Thanks to a great suggestion from Gabe's uncle Miky, they dined at Arrows Restaurant their first night of the trip. After dinner, they strolled down to the cliffs by their hotel overlooking the Maine coastline. While sitting on a bench with waves crashing in front of them, Gabe popped the question, completely to Ilene's surpise. Thanks to both of our families (and a few of Gabe's friends) for being such great secret-keepers, everyone knew except Ilene!
The newest addition to our family is Gracie Whiskerson. After many months of Gabe campaigning to get a cat, Ilene finally agreed to start the search. The first day she fell in love with Gracie outside of the PetCo on 92nd and Broadway. After waiting two days for permission from our landlord and visiting three other shelters, Gracie was still patiently waiting for us to come back and adopt her. The shelter told us that she would be shy for the first week and we shouldn't be alarmed if it took her a while to warm up to us. After bringing Gracie home it took her about three minutes to warm up to us and she has been our constant companion ever since!