May/June 2000, p.17

Volunteers of the Month: Matthew Corey and Luis Roth

Ages: 28 & 27
Neighborhoods: Prospect Heights and Union Square
Occupations: Index Editor, Lawyer
T.A. Members Since: 1998, 1996
How was it stamped in the stars that T.A. would have Gemini volunteers?
LR: A pact to the death-realizing that the only the way we were going to be volunteers of the month was if we banded together; we vowed to refuse the honor unless the other person also received it.
MC: We were always laying out and editing the volunteer of the month feature and got really excited about the prospect of it being us someday.
How did you get your start in T.A.?
LR: I've always had a car-phobia-disliking the noise, pollution and the effect they have on cities, but didn't know what to do about it. I kept seeing T.A. in the NY Times Metro Section, figured I'd give a call and join.
MC: Growing up in car-dependent Fairfax, Virginia, I knew, and argued that people needed to get out of their cars. Nobody took me seriously. Then in college, I met T.A. activist Paul Harrison. On our summer breaks, I would visit him in NYC and volunteer at T.A. I finally joined in January, 1998 after I moved to the city.
When you're not forming the backbone of T.A.'s incredible magazine editing machine, what other volunteer activities do you participate in?
LR: Volunteer nights and marshalling for the Century Ride.
MC: The Bronx Zoo table at the Century, mailing parties, volunteer nights. But I don't take any credit for those, because it's fun social time and plus, I screw so much stuff up! I can't count zip codes!
What's your favorite volunteer activity?
LR: Volunteer night is the height of it all. In the midst of this car-dependent country, you get to meet people who think that there are alternatives, who bike around, who think about different ways to live. It's very relaxing, warm and welcoming. Fun people-like Hal! [Hal Ruzal, entertaining volunteer and bike mechanic extraordinaire.] Just not like anyone else I'd ever met.
MC: Definitely the magazine. We should be so proud of it-no other non-profit puts out such a cool magazine that you would want to read even if you had to pay for it.
Any downsides to Volunteer Night?
LR: I used to complain about the nutritious content. But thankfully, fruit has been introduced, which used to be totally unknown unless it was grape-flavored soda.
What would you like to see change in NYC, transportation-wise?
MC: There's a big problem with speeding cars-that makes things scary for everyone. People need to know that just because a street is wide, it doesn't mean it should be treated as a highway. These wide streets were designed as promenades, but have become freeways complete with exit signs!
LR: I would like to see NYC give pedestrian streets a chance. Down around Wall Street, they have freed up this great pedestrian space. I'd like to see that also happen around Fifth Avenue and St. Patrick's, or Herald Square-the sidewalks are overflowing!
Matt on Luis, Luis on Matt?
LR: Working with Matt is dreamy, he always brightens up the room, always so conscientious.
MC: Luis has calves like pythons, like coiled snakes. That's what brings me back...Seriously though, I want to say that even if you can't find the time to volunteer, and to be at place X at a given time, you do have the time to write an email or to sign a postcard. So watch the magazine closely-those opportunities are out there for you.