Benazir Bhutto

"If it means sacrificing our lives, if it means sacrificing our liberties to save Pakistan, then we are prepared to risk our lives and we are prepared to risk our liberties, but we are not prepared to surrender our great nation to the militants," - Benazir Bhutto.


The Windows at Bergdorf's

If you only see one set of windows this season, see the windows at Bergdorf Goodman’s
on the west side of 5th Ave. Bergdorf’s windows throughout the year are consistently the best but these are totally over the top.
Made to celebrate the art of Tony Duquette they are wonderfully exuberant.

Titled “Fire”, Water, Air, with a floating elephant, Earth and Light they are dense in detail and fantasy.
The tree at Rockefeller Center is better this year with the LED’s, powered in part, by solar power and Lord & Taylor’s windows are a delight as always but the Bergdorf windows are in a league by themselves.
Along with the tree at the Met my holiday viewing is complete.
The tree at the Metropolitan Museum


JFK on Religion And The Presidency

With Mitt Romney's speach the other day on his religion it might be helpful to see JFK's speach to a room full of Southern Ministers on his being Catholic.

It is intersting to see the introduction. I can't imaging any candidate subjecting himself to that.


Prospect Park Fall 2007


Our community just planted 1000 daffodil bulbs in the new trees that line our main shopping street, see the The Flatbush Gardener for photos and info. The daffodils were donated by a wonderful project called the The Daffodil Project.

The Daffodil Project was originally created to commemorate September 11. Now in its fifth year, the annual effort-led by New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) in cooperation with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)-not only brings together volunteers and raises the spirits of New Yorkers, but also draws attention to the needs of neglected parks and open spaces citywide.

The Daffodil Project is made possible in part by the generosity of a Dutch bulb supplier, Hans van Waardenburg of B&K Flowerbulbs, who has pledged to donate 500,000 daffodil bulbs to the project each year as long as there are volunteers willing to plant them. More than 20,000 volunteers have responded to his challenge so far.

This is a great addition our community in that it brought neighbors together and will enhance the look of the new trees. But also it connects our community to the trest of the city in a remembrance of 9/11.

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All Elections Count
The elections here in NYC seemed to be, as commented on by another blog, a "NON" election. But a closer look saw that the entire State (NY) electorate had the fate of a few in their hands.

This election has been described as a "NON" election. Well...
There is a proposal for the use of State forest preserve that we, the electorate, must approve or disapprove.

“The proposed amendment would allow the State to convey one acre of forest preserve land to the town of Long Lake for public use as the site for drinking water wells and necessary related equipment for the municipal water supply for hamlet of Raquette Lake. In exchange, the State would receive at least twelve acres of land that is at least equal in value to the land conveyed to Long Lake. The land the State receives would be incorporated into the forest preserve. The Raquette Lake reservoir would be abandoned as a source of drinking water supply. Should the proposed amendment be approved?”

What is interesting is the fact that this cannot be done without the approval of the electorate. That would be us.

On its face of it looks like a net gain of 11 acres of forest preserve what I was unsure of is the value of losing the Raquette Lake reservoir.

Well after a little research it turns out this is crucial to a very small town of 125 people. The Saratogian (saratogian.com) describes the Raquette Lake reservior as being "amber colored" and unsafe to drink.
The 125 people of this little town want use a well for their drinking water but cannot do that because of the "Forever Wild" provisions in the State law governing the forest preserves. So our vote will allow this little town to trade one acre of land for 12 other acres and they will be able to sink a well that will give them clean drinking water.

So get out there and vote and help these people out.

IMHO There are no “NON” elections. Every pull of the handle counts for something.


Work Begins on Atlantic Yards

The folks over at Gowanus Lounge have their knickers in a bunch over the work that is getting under way at the Vanderbilt Rail Yards which will be part of the Atlantic Yards development.

Yes work is starting on Atlantic Yards and will continue. Neither No Land Grab, or Atlantic Yards Report will have any effect on the progress.
The naysayer’s will wail and cry but Brooklyn will get a development that will change the borough for the better.
Brooklyn is the future of New York.
Having lived in Manhattan since 75’ I saw the island transformed from a broke dirty mess to one of America’s top locations. Those that say that it lost its fun haven’t frequented 2nd Ave by Tomkins Sq. park or scene on Ave. A. The waterfront above Battery Park was long overdue.
Now it’s Brooklyn’s turn.

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*Thanks to Tracy Collins at www.3c.com for the photo above.


Stop The Nuclear Bailout - NukeFree.org

I saw China Syndrome just 5 days before Three Mile Island and turned against the nuclear power industry. The “dirty power dirty, players” mentioned in the video built quite a few of the power plants with flaws. Money talks nobody walks. Read the post below on Biofuels.
But now 70% of our power comes from CO2 producing fossil fuels. There is no plan to reduce those emissions anytime in the near future. Nor is there a plan to reduce consumption in any meaningful way.
This is not a black and white issue and needs to be looked at closely.


Italy Travel: Florence: City of the Renaissance

I can't believe it, while looking for videos for my Mothers trip to Italy I found the little, wine bar where I hooked up with an ex-pat and another friend for a night in Florence.
Great trip, great city.


As the summer slowly drifts into fall we have had a great warm weekend that I was able to take advantage of. I got on Peregrine on Saturday and didn't get off till Tuesday night.
Not much time left but it has been a glorious summer.


My Second Post Ever
Sure I am blowing my own horn but in't that what a blog is all about?
I wrote the following on April 8, 2003. I am not prescient but I think I did have a good handle on what was going to happen in Iraq.

Check out the archives for other thoughts on sailing, art and politics

Cradle of civilization.

Between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates (in Arabic, the Dijla and Furat, respectively), the first writing gave birth to history as we know it. The rule of law was written down and the three great monotheistic religions trace their origins there.
In 1992 Michael Wood hosted a series called “Legacy” on PBS. In the film he is found at dusk perched on a mound with the sun setting behind him, as the camera booms down a plain filled with mounds as far as one could see becomes visible. All of them tells, the first cities. The film carries that archaeological past into the present of Islam, showing the cultural continuity from past to present. Included are scenes from the Gulf War and how Saddam Hussein used the Iraqi past as foundation for his dominance. It leaves the question of what’s next unanswered. Latter in 1995 after the Americans were long gone he went back. He made “Saddam's Killing Fields” an award winning account of the destruction of the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq and their cultural history. It pieces together evidence of the systematic destruction by the Iraqi government of the Shia Marsh Arabs - whose way of life goes back 5,000 years. “Saddam's Killing Fields” claims that the Shia and the Kurds in northern Iraq were encouraged by the US to rise up against Saddam's regime at the end of the Gulf War and then left with no support. In retaliation, more than 300,000 Shia are believed to have been killed, risking the ruin of an entire culture. At the end of this war Iraq is going to be a pretty broken country. Between the policies of Saddam and the punishing way the west dealt with the end of the 1991 war with sanctions depriving the people of anything but poverty, there will be a certain amount of anarchy that no one will be able to quell. The surrounding country’s have their knives close at hand if America gets too possesive. America now has it’s hands around a significant part of the Arab world. First “saving” Kuwait from the evil doer and Afghanistan from the evil doers. Pakistan is a wildcard with little control over the fundamentalists and the army. Their hatred for India could be a terrible spark and nukes ARE involved.

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The Fallacy of Corn Based Biofuels

David Suzki the Canadian scientist wrote the following in his Science Matters column.

Proponents of biofuels, which are often made from plants such as corn or sugar cane, often point to their many advantages over fossil fuels like gasoline. Biofuels are less toxic or non-toxic in comparison to fossil fuels. They are a renewable resource, whereas once fossil fuels are gone, they're gone. And biofuels can be grown just about anywhere you can grow crops, reducing the need for giant pipelines or oil tankers, and potentially helping to reduce conflicts in areas like the Middle East.
So far so good. But things start to get complicated when you look more closely. Much has already been debated about the energy requirements to produce some biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol. Ethanol made from corn only contains marginally more energy than what is needed to produce it. ... Many people argue that making corn-based ethanol is more of an agricultural subsidy for farmers than it is a sound environmental policy.
Things get even dodgier for biofuels when you look at the land area that would be needed to grow fuel crops. We use a lot of fossil fuels. Switching to biofuels would not reduce the demand for fuel, just change the way we get it. And that would require a lot of land. In fact, substituting just 10 per cent of fossil fuels to biofuels for all our vehicles would require about 40 per cent of the entire cropland in Europe and North America. That is simply not sustainable.
Of course, reducing the amount of fuel we use, no matter what the type, is very important. But the authors of [a] recent article in Science say that if our primary motive in switching to biofuels is to reduce global warming, then we have to look at all our options for the land that would be needed to grow fuel crops. ...
In other words, biofuels alone are not the quick-fix answer to global warming. In fact, strong legislated policies to improve the efficiency of our cars, homes and industries is a much more effective strategy. In the longer term, biofuels may certainly play an important role. Some technologies, like cellulosic ethanol, which is made from woody debris, are very promising and they need to be supported by government and industry now, so they can be available on a larger scale in the coming years. Biofuels have many advantages, but we have to look at all our options and make sure we make the best choices to ensure a more sustainable future."

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John Edwards Feeling Pretty

As a follicley challenged person I watched this with bemusement and a touch of envy.


Food For Thought

I enjoy cooking. I have a limited repertoire but I try new things all the time.
Yesterday I got a mortar & pestle. The thing weighs 15 pounds!

Of course I started grinding everything in sight. It does a great job.

Food can certainly bring people together and since buying my apt. I have been entertaining. It’s a great way to bring friends together and make new friends. But one important thing cooking can do is to help some one.
A good friend of mine has had a doozey of a month. I won’t go into details but they say things come in threes and she has had three big ones come her way. So the only way I could help was to cook and let her chill out with no worries for an evening. I am lucky to work near the best green market in NY, the 14th St. green market recently featured in the NY Times with Alice Waters.

So dinner consisted of butternut squash soup, I ground the cinnamon of course, fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes and nectarines. Simple and tasty.
It was just what she needed and it was a great pleasure to see her relax.
Cook with a friend it will bring you together in a way that can’t be beat.

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A Picture...

Is worth a thousand words.

Thanks to VeloNews www.velonews.com


Develop Don’t Destroy Is The New Robert Moses

On a sultry August day on the porch of Gracie Mansion in 1955 there was a show down between Robert Moses and the great Walter O’Malley. On that day the Brooklyn Dodgers and the sad corner of Flatbush and Atlantic were left to their ignoble fates.

The scare tactics of Develop Don’t Destroy and other misguided blogs listed below are detrimental to a real discourse of how Brooklyn can and will grow.
The eyesore of the Atlantic Yards will be developed and will be a great addition to the borough.

Brooklyn suffered from the first time a sports arena was proposed for the site and blocked. Walter O’Malley tried to build a stadium there designed by Buckminster Fuller which would have kept the Dodgers in Brooklyn Walter O’Malley tried to build a stadium there designed by Buckminster Fuller which would have kept the Dodgers in Brooklyn
It was blocked by Robert Moses and has remained a blight ever since.
(Click on the highlighted sentence to read the story.)
The anti Atlantic Yards blogs claim this isn’t true well…
The only thing that isn’t true is actual footprints are slightly different. Their claims are lame, disingenuous and desparate.

Now there is an opportunity for an arena, shopping and housing to be designed by one of America’s better architects.
Brooklyn like all of New York is going to grow and no amount of caterwauling by self important luddites is going to stop it.

Here are some links to the blogs mentioned above.

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Luciano Pavarotti - Ave Maria - Central Park 1993

Luciano Pavarotti performed in Central Park on a spectacular summer evening in June of ’93.
I had friends out sailing on my first boat, a Tanzer 22’, and we got back to the mooring in time to run into the city, grab a bottle of wine and find a spot under a big tree. We were way back but could see the stage and the sound system was updated earlier for the “Opera in the Park” series so everyone had great sound. We had a wonderful sail and a spectacular evening
It was one those fabulous moments in NYC when 100 thousand plus people came together for something special. That he did those wonderful concerts all over the world he let so many people hear his magnificent voice and the music he loved.

I feel I am lucky to live here and have seen the Beach Boys concert, Elton John, Simon & Garfunkle and of course the incomparable Pavarotti in the great lawn of Central Park with so many other New Yorkers. It’s hard for people outside New York to realize what we have and share as a community.

He was greatly loved and will be missed.


Abdullah Gul Elected President of Turkey

Walking through Istanbul with my Turkish friend last year, a modern dressed secular woman, I watched in shock as she was shunned by women with scarves who turned their backs on her.
The rise of the AKP Party is giving the more religious Turks the support and impetus to force the country into an Islamist state.
The election of Abdullah Gul will only split the country further. He may be a moderate but he encourages and emboldens the more fundamental elements.
It could have the effect that the military will feel the need to step in again to change the government. Look at the harsh language in the warning the military issued just yesterday. That would be a disaster to their EU hopes and for the economy.

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President Bush compares Iraq War to Vietnam

OK It is now official.
Bush will say and do anything to continue his disastrous war.
The Cambodian comparison is beyond the pale. We weren’t in Cambodia, were we? That’s another story.
What a tortured misuse of history. Using veterans to spread his lies does their service a disservice.
Take a look.


Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire C-SPAN

Everything he said in 1994 has come true. He even uses the word quagmire".
The sad part is when he talks about the "worth" of lives that would be lost if we moved to take Bagdad.
Watch the video and pass it on.


Health Care OR Extortion?

Today Massachusetts requires all state citizens to purchase healthcare or face financial penalties. Laurie McGinley writes in the Wall Street Journal
Those who don't comply will risk losing their personal tax exemption, about $219. In later years, the penalty will be increased, and will top more than $1,000 for some people.”

If a group of thugs comes to a pizzeria and demands “protection money” that is extortion. For the state to demand that individuals buy insurance (protection money?) from the thieving companies that deny surgeries, block preventative care, and send people home from hospitals before they are ready this is also EXTORTION.

Extortion is NOT healthcare.

Every one of the Democrats except for Kucinich
(who has no chance of serving) are touting the same “healthcare”. The biggest disappointment is Hilary who made a mess of her efforts to confront healthcare early in the Clinton Presidency and now won’t dare face down the insurance companies.

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Summer Cooking

For past two to three years I’ve have embarked on cooking for friends and throwing parties. I’ve always cooked for myself and see it as a great urban past time. Whether it’s a cocktail party for fifteen or just a few friends for dinner I try to push myself and not poison my friends.
One thing I’ve learned is to “be prepared”. Shopping early, cutting everything and having everything ready before cooking, "mis en place", helps reduce the anxiety and makes it possible to enjoy the party with my friends.
So here is a quick tip for summer.
Roma tomatoes are just coming out and are affordable. I take a bag of them and cut them into quarters, salt and pepper them, drizzle with olive oil and broil them till almost burnt. Having them available makes salads, sauces and bruscetta easy and spur of the moment sauce should you have friends over.
Enjoy your friends and the summer bounty
Even More on the Atlantic Yards

There is loud wailing from the poor folks over at No Land Grab, Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and Curbed. Because their real last obstacle they threw up in front of the Atlantic Yards project came to an end.

Of course their argument as reported in the New York Times was a sad cry of 60's paranoia.

"The plaintiffs argued that any public benefit of the project was incidental, and the true purpose was to enrich the developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, and its investors."

Oh dear the mean developer wants to make a profit. Well yes, and Brooklyn will benefit as well.
Now let’s get on with it and get it built.



A Little More on the Atlantic Yards,

The Atlantic Yards, and the development of the Nets Arena, Housing and shopping at Flatbush and Atlantic Aves. in Brooklyn is now moving forward.
The bloggers and readers of No Land Grab, Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and Curbed continue to prattle on with their anti Atlantic Yards, views to no avail.
They are wasting their time and energies. The Atlantic Yards, are happening all for he good of Brooklyn.

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Some Good News

After losing his restaurant on Waverly Gus has reopened.

GUS’S PLACE Gus Theodoro will reopen his Greenwich Village Greek spot, which has been closed for two years, in a new location today, with a menu that is more broadly Mediterranean: 192 Bleecker Street (Macdougal Street), (212) 777-1660.

Scroll down to read the notice in the Times.

Same Gus, same great food. Go!

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