Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Cuomo’

Letter From New York 08 30 2016 Headed south…

August 30, 2016

The train moves south along a placid Hudson River.  I am only forty minutes out of New York and as we pull into Croton Harmon, sailboats dot the river and bob lightly at anchor.  I am in town for two days to see friends, shoot a pilot with Howard Bloom and then to head home.  I am feeling very mellow this morning.

Relieved I know what I am going to do my first day of class, I am now plotting out the rest of the semester.

It’s been a few days since I’ve written, days that seemed more hectic than I would have expected, with more to do and with unexpected delights.

Claire and Leonard, who almost always sit in front of me in church, offered for me to come by and take vegetables and flowers from their garden.  They are off for two weeks in Greece.  I went over on Friday and harvested from their garden beans and squash, flowers and potatoes, luscious tomatoes, garlic and fresh rosemary.  As we gathered, a light rain fell and it seemed right to be in the garden just then.  For a moment I was much in touch with my body and nature.  A monarch butterfly floated by and rested on a flower near where we stood.  How rarely I see them so closely.

Lionel and Pierre came for the weekend which meant long, delightful dinners with a finish of cleansing vodka and a good “chin wag.”  It feels peaceful in my world.

The rest of the world, not so much.  IS has killed fifty plus in Yemen, a country that has seen 10,000 die in its civil war, according to the UN, a number higher than previously thought.  A suicide bomber struck the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. 6500, sixty-five hundred, migrants have been rescued from the sea near Libya, including a pair of newborn twins.  The number staggers my mind.

Refugees

Venice, it appears, is being destroyed by tourism.  In 65 years, the population has dwindled by two thirds and landmarks are lost to hotels.  The UN may take away its status as a world heritage site.

Gene Wilder, star of one of my favorite films, “Young Frankenstein,” passed away yesterday, of complications from Alzheimer’s.   It saddens me to think of his brilliance falling away, victim to the disease. Who can forget him in “The Producers?” That generation is leaving us.

Gene Wilder

Today in politics, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz must win primaries if they are to stand in the fall for election. At this moment, while the voting goes on, all three are expected to win.

On the way to the train station, I listened to “Democracy Now” with Amy Goodman as she and others did an exegesis of the EpiPen scandal. If you somehow have missed it, EpiPen, a life saving device and drug for those with allergies, has seen its price increase 400% over the last nine years.  There is a public hue and cry about the issue.  One of the women on “Democracy Now” has seen her insurance co-pay for EpiPens swell from $50.00 to $300.00, a price she cannot afford.

There is going to be, I’m sure, a Congressional investigation.  The woman who runs Mylan, the drug company selling EpiPen, is the daughter of a Senator from West Virginia.  She is fighting the demonization of her on social media.

The train is sliding into New York, we have entered the tunnels and will soon be in Penn Station, a place called by New York’s Governor Cuomo, one of the seven levels of hell in Dante’s “Inferno.”

As I exited this “hell,” a lovely middle aged woman stood between Track’s Restaurant and McDonald’s, playing lovely classical music.  I stopped and gave her a dollar for the smile she had given me as I entered the subway.

Letter From New York 05 11 15 Of glittering sun and charming princes…

May 11, 2015

Today dawned gloriously, bright shiny sunlight came barreling down from the east, casting a disc of yellow/white onto the creek, glinting up at me as I stood on the deck for a moment before heading for the city.

The Hudson looked peaceful as I rolled south on the train, giving no evidence that there had been a fire at Indian Point, the nuclear reactor forty miles north of midtown Manhattan or that oil from there had seeped into the river, causing environmental concerns. Governor Cuomo was there over the weekend, being briefed on the happenings. It makes him and many others nervous about a nuclear plant that close to the city.

Anything nuclear makes me nervous.

For those who have a fond spot for Britain, it may be time to be nervous. While last week’s election has saved the political career of David Cameron it might just herald the beginning of the end for “Great Britain.” The SNP [Scottish National Party] won 56 of 59 seats that Scotland has in Britain’s Parliament. They also are very much in favor of holding another vote about Scotland going its own way from the rest of the United Kingdom [England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland]. Just doesn’t seem right but it could happen.

What does seem right is the idea of a truce in Yemen that is supposed to start tomorrow to allow aid to reach the Yemenis. Fuel resources are almost exhausted and food is scarce. Days ago it was estimated that 80% of Yemenis were going hungry. It’s only become worse since then.

As the time for the truce draws near, the Saudis are deploying a strike force near the Yemen/Saudi border. Trucks carrying tanks have been traveling through the night to take positions. The Houthis say they will honor the truce as long as the Saudis do but if there are infractions they will immediately respond.

One UN official felt five days would not be enough time to get aid to the Yemenis but it is all they have, if they manage to hold the truce for that amount of time.

Secretary of State John Kerry is off to Sochi, Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria, Ukraine and Iran. I wonder what that conversation is going to be like?

In more Washington news, writer Seymour Hersh has written a piece for the London Review of Books claiming that the story of Osama Bin Laden’s death was a lot of bunk and the truth is quite different. Seems he thinks that it was an American/Pakistani conspiracy and that OBL was actually a Pakistani prisoner at the time of the raid and the raid was a cover-up for Pakistan’s involvement.

Pretty far fetched and, like most conspiracy theories, pretty hard to prove.

From The Moscow Times, an English language newspaper in Russia not known for partisanship to Putin, claims that Russian soldiers have, in small numbers, quit the army after being forced to serve in Ukraine.

According to Vladimir Putin, no Russian soldiers are in Ukraine, only volunteers.

While the migrant focus has been on the thousands attempting to cross from Libya to Italy, another migrant drama has been playing out. Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshi immigrants have been rescued at sea attempting to reach Malaysia since Thailand has been cracking down on human trafficking. The Rohingya are not allowed citizenship in Myanmar and as Muslims are a minority in that mostly Buddhist country and have been singled out for ethnic violence. Because of the Thai crackdown, aid workers are concerned that many have been abandoned at sea by their smugglers.

George Zimmerman, he of the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, is back in the news today, having been himself slightly wounded in a road rage incident.

And Tom Brady, Quarterback of the Patriots, has been suspended by the NFL for four games while the Patriots were fined a million dollars and two draft picks in coming years. Seems a slight slap on the wrist though it is almost assured that Brady will appeal his suspension. Ah, Deflategate!

Prince Harry, now fifth in line for the British throne after the birth of his niece, Charlotte, is in New Zealand, learning about the aftereffects of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. By all accounts he is charming the New Zealanders to no end.

And that brings me to the end of today’s Letter From New York. I am about to do a conference call and then see about some dinner. That sounds charming.

Letter From New York 01 02 15 A week ends in a New Year…

January 2, 2015

The day dawned drab and dreary here in Claverack, a grey day, the kind that made you want to roll over and bury your head in your pillow. Grabbing my teddy bear to my chest, I did just that, the boy in me not wanting to face the day. But not long later, I was up and had my morning coffee and had a good hour perusing the New York Times.

The news today was filled with yesterday’s passing of Mario Cuomo, father of the current Governor of New York and a former Governor of the State himself. He was a big man who filled the rooms he was in and flirted with running for the Presidency more than once.

When he was Governor, I was always aware of who he was even though I wasn’t living in New York then. He died, interestingly enough, only hours after his son, Andrew, was sworn in for his second term as Governor of the State of New York.

He was a staunch voice for the liberal side of the Democratic Party, often stymied in his plans for the State by the dire finances New York endured when he was first elected. He served three terms, went into the private practice of law after being defeated by George Pataki in his fourth attempt for the office, became wealthy and watched his children grow into politicians and newscasters. Chris Cuomo of CNN is another son.

The day did not stay grey and in the early afternoon, the wonderful golden light that blesses the Hudson Valley showed and transformed the landscape. The deer crossed my yard.

Earlier in the day, I went out and walked the circle upon which I live with my friend Lionel. A squirrel perched on a tree branch, so steady as to seem a statue. We noticed trees that had been uprooted by some wind event in the last two weeks, including a birch tree in his yard and an oak in his neighbors.

We live on a circle, Patroon Street, a scattering of a dozen houses on lots from one to four acres, broad and spacious with scatterings of trees and wild overgrowth. During the summers I cannot see my neighbors as my two acres is all woods except for the clearing where the cottage stands. On the east side of my property is the Claverack Creek and on the other side there are only wild woodlands. Behind the northern edge of my little universe is a long open field belonging to a farm. Once when traipsing across my “back forty” I encountered a cow that had wandered onto my land.

There has been much stability here since I moved here thirteen plus years ago. I am sure that to all of us who live here, Rosemary’s Cottage will always be Rosemary’s Cottage even though she has passed and it has been sold, gutted and is being rebuilt by a couple up from the city.

Tonight’s sky is tinged with pink. What’s that saying? Red sky at night, sailor’s delight? If true, we will have a gentle day tomorrow. I have loved being here this fall and winter, having time to notice the rhythms and pacing of my little world.

The New Year begins. I will have more to pay attention and will probably be spending more time in the city than I have but probably less than I was. It will be an interesting thing to see how the New Year plays out.

Every Friday, I have a conversation with two friends who live in California, whom I have known now for twenty plus years, Medora and Meryl. When I met Medora she was Vice President of Development for USA Network and Meryl was about to become the Chairwoman of the Television Academy.

We gather by phone on Friday to support each other in life. Each of us shares and each of us supports and it has been a blessing. We have been doing this since early in 2001 and it is one of the constants of my life.

When we were talking today, I was realizing how blessed I am to have this ongoing support group. Exactly how we started is now lost in the mists of time but it is a great joy for me to stop for half an hour each week and share the joys and tribulations of the past week with two people who have known me so long and so well.

The sun fades. The barren trees stand stark against the light. The deer are now coming back across the land. A week ends. All is well in Claverack.

Letter From New York 01 01 15 Passing from one year to the next…

January 1, 2015

The sun is setting again, just like it did last year and as it was when I finished the last Letter From New York, 2014. Just yesterday. Today, it is 2015 and, frankly, I started the day on the cranky side.

Somehow, during the day, I managed to work myself out of crankiness, a not usual feature of my personality. I listened to Zubin Mehta conduct the New Year’s Day performance of Vienna’s Philharmonic.

The day was spent unproductively except for a couple of loads of laundry and some other mundane household tasks. I took a short nap and felt better.

It is a brilliant first day of the year, chill but not really cold, with golden light playing across the woods outside my window. Unusually, there have been no deer sightings today.

Here in the little town of Claverack, all is peaceful.

It’s not so peaceful out there in the world.

A year ends and another begins in sadness. A transgender teen took her life; it appears, by putting herself in the way of a tractor-trailer. Such despair breaks my heart. In Florida, a schizophrenic man decapitated his mother with an ax because she was nagging him to take boxes to the attic. In Syria, the death toll from the war there climbed in 2014 to 76,000 and in Shanghai 36 people died in a stampede in the waterfront area not long after midnight. The bodies of victims of the AirAsia crash have started to be identified.

Life has a way of going on, flowing from one year into the next and stories from the end of 2014 continue to play out while new ones begin.

It is nearly two years until the Presidential election but the contenders are jockeying to be THE contender. Jeb Bush has resigned from board posts and Marco Rubio is seriously considering challenging Jeb Bush for the GOP top spot. And there is Chris Christie, too. The Democrats have Hillary and Joe Biden and maybe Elizabeth Warren. It will be interesting to watch the year unfold in politics.

Hillary has slipped a bit in some Democratic polls causing worry that she might be wearing out her welcome a bit as the Democratic front-runner. She hasn’t declared her intentions yet. I suspect she is being coy. And, of course, there is our own Governor Cuomo, who was inaugurated today for his second term as Governor at the newly built World Trade Center. He was sounding rather like he was interested in being something more than Governor of New York State.

Standing next to him was his long time girlfriend, Sandra Lee, whom I knew a bit back in the day in Los Angeles. She was dating a friend of mine then.

As I have been writing this, it has turned dark, the golden light has faded and I will turn on the Christmas lights in a few minutes. My tree still stands and will for a bit more time. I always have a hard time taking it down and surrendering the Holiday season to the fullness of the new year.