Since the coronavirus outbreak, however, Mr. Ben David has added masks to his collection. He is also volunteering: Every Sunday, he teams up with the Lower Eastside Girls Club to distribute food and Sprayground apparel, like masks and hoodies, to New Yorkers in need.
Mr. Ben David splits his time between Manhattan and Teaneck, N.J. Before the pandemic, he and his family spent weekdays in New Jersey and weekends at his Midtown apartment. For now, they are adjusting to life as suburbanites. Mr. Ben David, 33, lives with his wife, Rina, 32, and their four children: Aden, 11; Liana, 9; Elisha, 7; and Tehillah, 4.
SET THE MOOD I’ve trained myself to wake up in sync with the sunrise. I like to see the colors. It helps me as a creative person. My moods are like the weather: If it’s cloudy, it’s going to be a bad day. If it’s sunny, it’s going to be great.
RITUALS I’m Jewish. I pray three times a day. Pretty much I have some coffee and then I pray, and then I read The New York Times before the kids get up. I let them stay up one night a week, and that’s Saturday night, which gives me some peace when they sleep in on Sunday morning before the chaos sets in. When my youngest daughter gets up, we make sloppy pancakes together.
PERSONAL DELIVERIES One of the people on my team knows one of the employees at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, which is how we got together with them. They thought it was a great idea. There are these big cloth tote bags I make, and we decided we’d fill them up with food and add in some of our comfy clothes, like hoodies and joggers. Some of the food comes from companies that agreed to donate, and some of it we’re buying. Lately we’ve been buying organic rice and pasta. Sometimes the bags are packed and ready to go on Sunday; sometimes I’m still packing them early in the morning with two of my team members, Sandflower Dyson and James Ferrell. When they’re full, we bring them to the Girls Club.
EVERYBODY GET DOWN Rina likes to cook, so she’ll prepare dinner for us. I’ll get everybody down on the floor painting on these big canvases. I don’t want them getting sucked into an iPad or TV. Since the virus, I’ve had to get more creative to keep them busy, so I’ve bought supplies from Amazon like Popsicle sticks and glue and a bunch more Legos. Also I’ll challenge the kids to come up with bag designs, put them to work.
JUMPSUITS I end off the night preparing for the week. I go to my office and work on this program called Asana, which is artist management software. It’s also my time to be creating. Each season we’re producing 150 different art pieces. But lately I’ve been working on a jumpsuit that has a face cover mask, a cool Tyvek suit, because I’ve been seeing people walking around in those white suits and it doesn’t look cool or fashionable. I’ve gotten a lot of requests to improve it from a fashion standpoint. I’ll listen to tribal beats, or something low-frequency. Then I pray one more time before I go to bed, maybe around midnight.
Read the article on the New York Times, here. And don't forget ti pick up your print edition on Sunday!