Thinking about Mother's Day

by Joanna PlucinskaStav Ziv, and 
As Mother’s Day approaches, New Yorkers from all walks of life  ponder how they would like to celebrate their moms. Some say they would spend time with their mothers, others cherish memories.  Some send greetings from afar through Skype or over the phone. New York City Lens asked passersby about their favorite moments with their mothers, what they have planned for this year and why Mother’s Day matters to them.

Lionel Custodio

Construction worker from Portugal. Custodio’s mother passed away from cancer at age 67 two years ago. He used to visit her in Portugal every year.


“I would buy a dozen red roses and go out for dinner.”


James Michael Angelo

Designer and writer who studied at Fashion Institute of Technology  in New York City. Originally from Boston.

“I think my favorite memories are picking lilacs out of our front yard tree and putting them on the tray when I would make her breakfast every Mother’s Day.”

Akira Saito

A father of four. Originally from Japan, but now lives in Westchester with his wife and children.
Family Edit

“It’s a day off. We do all the things around the house. I have a 10-year-old daughter, she’s probably planning something.”

Ted Alt

A father who lives in New York City. His daughter just graduated from Columbia.
“Her birthday was almost the same as Mother’s Day – her birthday was on the 8th of May… I love Mother’s Day. Because I love my mother.”

Tiffany Pham

She grew up in California, where her parents now live. Her parents moved there from Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1980s.
“My school would have yearly festivals, for Vietnamese New Year. My mom had two jobs then… I didn’t see her that much. She would usually be sleeping when I got home. I didn’t expect to see her when I was singing a Vietnamese song, but then I look out into the crowd and see her at the entrance, leaning on the door.”

Pietro Canetta and his daughter

A father, husband and son from New York City. 
Italian dadEDIT
“She never gave a lot of overt advice. A lot of what she taught was by example. The value of selflessness. She raised five kids.”

Guillermo Menendez

Works for the MTA. His mother lives in the Bronx.
“I’m working tomorrow until 2:30. [But after,] I’ll get some flowers and a little gift… I got her some Pandora charms.”

Jennifer Dyck-Sprout

Finishing her MBA at Columbia Business School.
“My mom passed away a couple years ago…I remember I was on a trip with her in Italy. We were having such a good time that we forgot it was Mother’s Day.”

John O’Leary

Finishing his undergraduate degree in East Asian studies and Computer Science at Columbia.
(Joanna Plucinska/NewYorkCityLens)
“I’d like to think she instilled a particular attitude about work life balance… She was pre-Lean In I guess, but she figured it out. I think she did a great job.”