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When I heard that my 21-year-old son, a student at Harvard, had been stopped by New York City police on more than one occasion during the brief summer he spent as a Wall Street intern, I was angry.
On one occasion, while wearing his best business suit, he was forced to lie face-down on a filthy sidewalk because—well, let’s be honest about it, because of the color of his skin. As an attorney and a college professor who teaches criminal justice classes, I knew that his constitutional rights had been violated.
As a parent, I feared for his safety at the hands of the police—a fear that I feel every single day, whether he is in New York or elsewhere.
Moreover, as the white father of an African-American son, I am keenly aware that I never face the suspicion and indignities that my son continuously confronts. In fact, all of the men among my African-American in-laws—and I literally mean every single one of them—can tell multiple stories of unjustified investigatory police stops of the sort that not a single one of my white male relatives has ever experienced.
On the evening of February 1st, 1924, the New York Symphony Orchestra played Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York, conducted by Walter Damrosch. Thankfully for those who couldn’t attend, the performance was broadcast live on the radio. A couple of days later, the orchestra received a stunning letter of thanks from the unlikeliest of sources: Helen Keller, a renowned author and activist who had been deaf and blind from a young age. It can be read below. Eight years later, Keller wrote an equally evocative letter in which she described the view from atop the Empire State Building.
Click to read her text: Letters of Note: My heart almost stood still
New York: Hey, so what neighborhood do you live in?
One cold winter day in 1964, I got a call from a young French woman inviting me to dinner in SoHo. Her name was Jeanne-Claude and she was married to an artist named Christo. I think they called me because Leo Castelli told them I could speak French. They had just arrived from Paris, where they created a scandal by barricading a street with barrels. Even then people called them “ChristoandJeanne-Claude,” as if the two names were one word. Later I learned they were born on the same day in the same year (June 13,1935). After a delicious dinner prepared by Jeanne-Claude of ketchup on white bread served on a paper plate, they explained how they worked, what they wanted to do, and why they were moving to New York. Already it was obvious they were two of a kind who had become one. Jeanne-Claude, a vivacious, beautiful redhead, would begin a sentence, and Christo, an intense, fast-talking fugitive from Communist Eastern Europe, would finish it in his Bulgarian-accented French, or vice-versa.
Their story was very romantic, and the work they planned to do seemed preposterous in the mid-’60s. But they were brilliant, charismatic, generous, and funny. They were also very courageous. Even if at the time it seemed they were building castles in the air rather than art objects, it was impossible not to like them or listen to their tales of fantastic projects and voyages. Already they had figured out a way of working, conceptualizing the projects together, which Christo—an extraordinarily gifted and academically trained draftsman—would then draw. The money to realize the vast projects, which became more and more ambitious as time went on, came from the sale of Christo’s drawings and collages; but the concrete realization of the projects depended very much on Jeanne-Claude’s amazing organizational skills learned, perhaps, from her step-father, a four-star French general under de Gaulle.
Not surprisingly, rats of a feather nibble together. Gothamist has a map that shows the concentration, by neighborhood, of restaurants that have a C letter grade and have rodent violations. In some parts of the city, it’s a majority of restaurants.
-Jody, BL Show-
While declining tax revenues and increasing costs mean that many municipalities have slashed spending on quality-of-life programs for people, domesticated canines fared quite well: The number of dog parks in the country’s 100 most populous cities surged from 353 in 2008 to 617 in 2013, according to new data provided to Newsweek.
“It’s just growing by leaps and bounds,” Peter Harnik, who directs the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and compiled these statistics, told Newsweek.
There has been a steady increase in these recreation areas since Berkeley, California’s Ohlone Dog Park (billed as the world’s first) opened in 1979, but this recent surge reflects a shift in American attitudes about canines, who are often perceived as members of the family rather than mere pets.
The latest U.S. Census figures indicate that more households have dogs than kids – 43 million compared to 38 million, respectively– and the American Pet Products Association estimates that spending on pets hit at least $55 billion in 2013, a 4.1 percent increase from 2012.
Says Harnick: “It’s becoming like France.” [The rest of the story.]
Ray Bradbury, to Newsweek, Nov 12, 1995. We’re totally going to borrow this page from the Book of Bradbury.