I have been upstate at my house in Accord (Ulster County) during Irene this past week, which is in the foothills of the Catskills. We got hit pretty hard, compared to New York City. I just got electricity and water last night. I look like Grizzly Adams and my cat thinks I smell like him too. Showers consist of room temperature spring water dispensed from gallon jugs…and let me tell you, room temperature is cold. I’ve been going to a local diner some 15 minutes away each day to charge my phone and have access to the outside world. It is a bit like camping, without the roots sticking in your sleeping bag. The first three photos are from roads and bridges near my house and the second three are from my yard.
I recently served as a juror on a criminal case in Manhattan. It was both fascinating and dull; not unlike shooting a TV show. In retrospect two thoughts remain with me:
1) Our judicial system is highly inefficient. There were three court officers, one judge, two recorders, and three other individuals whose responsibilities eluded me. Outside of the judge and recorders, most of the court employees sat and listened (or not) the vast majority of the time. Additionally, the number of hours worked (9:30 to 4:30) with an hour for lunch seems inefficient to me. This is one area the New York State budget could be reduced.
2) I also found it fascinating how potential jurors who did not want to serve would bend or exaggerate the truth. Those that were selected to be jurors were clearly open to serving and I found them to be thoughtful and kind throughout the process. It seemed to me that there were sufficient numbers willing to serve that instead of creating a situation where individuals feel that they had to lie, or bend, or exaggerate, they could have simply asked who is willing to serve? Just a thought…
My company, The Corcoran Group, took their top brokers two weeks ago to the St. Regis in Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico. The trip was very generous of the company and the agents were a hoot. Here are some images I took.
My fascination with cemeteries continues. On a recent trip to Buenos Aires with my friends David Osborn and Traci Corn we visited the grand city of the dead in Recoleta and the less expensive, yet equally dramatic local version in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.
According to Forbes Magazine, New York City boasts five of the most expensive zip codes out of the top 25 in the United States
- #3 - 10014 The West Village
- #9 - 10065 East 60’s
- #16 - 10075 East 70’s
- #18 - 10013 TriBeCa
- #24 - 10012 SoHo
I was in Austin again for the Lead Conference and stayed at the Driscoll Hotel, which dates from 1886. By some lucky chain of events I was upgraded to the LBJ Suite which is pictured. It is sort of Queen Anne meets Victorian meets the wild west. The ceilings were at least 15’ high, the stained glass windows paid homage to Lady Bird’s passions and the knotty pine was priceless (and perfect). I’m trying to get over my attachment to great hotel rooms; this just egged it on.
I’ve never understood why many consider cemeteries to be creepy. I find them to be peaceful, and beautiful, and on occasion other-worldly. The Lillys and Longs, my father’s family, along with my nephew are buried at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore which I visited Easter morning. The smell of spring was in the air, the scents fresh and clear. The family graves orbit a large cherry-like tree which does not produce fruit and was finishing it’s flowering stage. I love that tree and have sat for hours under its branches, just thinking and connecting and being grateful and sad and joyous; feeling a great expansion. I consider that tree my friend, an emissary to connect to my beloved departed family and to those who where loved by them. Yes, I love cemeteries very much; especially this one.
Our family has a strange and wonderful Easter tradition. We meet in Baltimore, the childhood big city of my siblings and I, where we first go to Mama’s on the Half Shell, a great bar on Canton Square that serves the best Bloody Mary’s around with Old Bay Seasoning and my favorite, Oyster Shots, which include a raw oyster, peppered vodka, old bay, and cocktail sauce. I know it sounds disgusting; but it is disgustingly good. We get there at noon because they don’t serve the shots before then. Alright, I only had one shot, but that is my limit. We then go to Bo Brooks for hard shell crabs, crab cakes, beer, iced tea, and my nephew insists on ordering Coconut Shrimp which I still don’t understand how that relates to Baltimore or a crab house, and a wide variety of Maryland desert cakes. You crack the crabs open with hammers and knives and use your fingers to dig out the soft, sweet delicacy. It is a mess and a joy at the same time. You will never get Baltimore if our tradition doesn’t sound like heaven to you.
Easter weekend began with a visit to my childhood home of Havre de Grace, Maryland. We moved in 1972 and the town has changed very little since then. The little house I grew up in is still painted barn red, St. John’s church has the same musty smell and quiet warmth, the new pastor is dealing with congregants who resist change, and Goll’s bakery is sold out of yeast rolls by early afternoon.