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Schubin Chronicles

About today’s disaster

September 11th, 2001

WCBS-TV is, indeed, on the air, apparently from the Empire State Building. All other major analog TV stations appear to be off the air. WCBS-DT and WNYW-DT were located at the Empire State Building. The others were at the World Trade Center. I am located about four miles north of the disaster, but, even here, […]

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More about the disaster

September 11th, 2001

Lower Manhattan, as you might expect, is a disaster area. The two plane crashes affected primarily the World Trade Center. The collapsing south tower affected the immediate neighborhood. But the collapsing north tower sent a cloud of smoke and dust that has completely enveloped lower Manhattan and has yet to clear about four hours later. […]

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September 12th, 2001

Having spent much of last week at the World Trade Center, I wasn’t there yesterday, so I am fine. The wind doesn’t seem to be carrying the smoke and dust north, so we are physically unaffected in midtown Manhattan, but, even aside from emotions, we are certainly affected. I cannot yet make any long distance […]

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Another New York Update

September 12th, 2001

Most things are getting back to normal. Traffic was allowed into Manhattan today, so I got both today’s New York Times and yesterday’s. Most stores are open. Theaters are opening tonight. The smoke plume seems to be blowing out to sea again. On the other hand, some subway service is worse. Reports as to why […]

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New York Update

September 12th, 2001

The bad news is that, after the latest collapse this afternoon, the wind shifted. The acrid smoke is now heading north. It burns the eyes and the throat rapidly. I first encountered it at 122 Street, about eight miles from the disaster; it’s not fun. All subways are running now, but slowly. I still can’t […]

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Yet Another New York Update

September 13th, 2001

I am continuing these reports by request. The “frozen zone” was shortened today by about a mile and a half. It is now roughly equivalent to the area of lower Manhattan that has no electric power or telephone service, but crews are working on both, and the New York Stock Exchange, right in the heart […]

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PLEASE be careful!

September 14th, 2001

A horrible crime was committed on Tuesday morning. Those who committed it are criminals. They are murderers. They are terrorists. Those of them who remain alive should be brought to justice. Anything that can be done to prevent such atrocities in the future should be done. BUT Whatever ethnic group or groups those criminals/murderers/terrorists belong […]

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The Fifth Day

September 15th, 2001

It was really good to be with friends last night. The Long Island Railroad operated absolutely normally and on time. The subways were something else. Service below 34th Street on the 7th Avenue lines has been suspended, making the Times Square Station the last useful transfer point. The platform there was the most crowded I […]

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September 16th, 2001

Karen (my wife) got home tonight, only an hour-and-a-half late. YAY! Alitalia gave everyone printed apologies for the plastic cutlery, saying that’s all the FAA would allow. The first of the televised memorial events went off pretty well (though all the clergy exceeded their time allocations). I now have THREE more to look forward to […]

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Marks’ Monday Memo

September 17th, 2001

– I am typing this while sitting inside a TV truck outside the Metropolitan Opera House. I’ve been booked for this show for months. The avenue outside is packed with noisy traffic. The sidewalks are crowded with school kids, shoppers, dog walkers, and office workers. Inside, chorus members in hoop skirts and make-up are singing. […]

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New York Continues

September 18th, 2001

New York City, where both James Cagney and Colin Powell spoke Yiddish, is a city of immigrants. The newly arrived often end up in the businesses of their established relatives, and thus it is that an ethnic group comes to dominate a segment of city life. Italian grocers have given way to Korean grocers. Greek […]

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One Week Plus a Day

September 19th, 2001

The weather has been too beautiful in New York; it doesn’t seem right. Tomorrow is supposed to bring thunderstorms — unfortunately the first day that we are doing an outdoor event. We’re feeding opening night of the New York Philharmonic tomorrow as a special “Live From Lincoln Center.” It’s a benefit concert — the Brahms […]

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A Rainy Day in New York

September 20th, 2001

I expected to end these reports on Sunday, but you keep asking for more, so I’ll keep grinding them out. Please let me know when you want me to stop. I promise not to hold it against you. The weather is lousy today, which seems more appropriate, though I feel bad about the rescue crews, […]

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New York – The Good Planes are Back

September 21st, 2001

In the early 1970s, I lived on West 48th Street, just west of Eighth Avenue. Across the avenue was a firehouse, near the bus stop I sometimes used (and where, if I was going to an early morning call, the local prostitutes would usually come over for a chat while I waited). I have always […]

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A Central Park Morning

September 22nd, 2001

Ah! A night’s sleep! It works wonders! The latest word is that the number of missing may be too large. Some may have been counted twice (or more). I had the morning off today; I just had to deal with a few calls and e-mails about tomorrow’s Yankee Stadium memorial event. So, my wife and […]

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Another day , another memorial

September 23rd, 2001

Just when you think things are getting back to normal in New York, you encounter the strange. Last night’s Metropolitan Opera benefit was, by all accounts, a huge success. The company’s general manager announced more than $2.5 million raised by the beginning of the event. The house was packed with 4,000 people (not unusual at […]

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Justice, yes, but . . .

September 24th, 2001

In Colorado, one often encounters a license-plate-looking bumper sticker touting the driver’s “NATIVE” birth in the state. In some parts of the world, not even natives are considered part of the community. Sometimes it takes many generations to be accepted; sometimes even that is not enough. New Yorkers are different. We figure that, if someone […]

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My World Trade Center

September 25th, 2001

First, I want to apologize for something in yesterday’s report. Even though my point was that we cannot blame an ethnic group for the acts of some of its members, I attributed the 1975 LaGuardia Airport bombing, as have some news sources, to members of one such group. I’ve done some more research since into […]

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A new kind of politics?

September 26th, 2001

Ever since the attack, Mayor Giuliani has given the impression of being willing to answer all reporters’ questions truthfully and fully, with certain exceptions. He didn’t want to dwell on figures of the dead or missing. He held back certain information he thought might be a security risk or jeopardize the rescue work. He avoided […]

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A different hero

September 27th, 2001

In Central Park today, I passed a hot-dog vendor whose umbrella said “Historic Battery Park.” That’s located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, near “Ground Zero.” Business must be better farther north. There is much concern here about the businesses affected by the attack. Outside of New York, most of the concern seems to […]

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Beyond New York

September 28th, 2001

This morning was the first time since the 11th that I can recall hearing a siren. That wasn’t the only noise. The jackhammers started at about 7:30 am. I don’t think there’s any connection to the attack. Our power company, Con Edison (or, as their web address so amusingly puts it, coned), used to have […]

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A quiet Saturday

September 29th, 2001

It’s a quiet day in New York. It’s Saturday, and the weather is less than wonderful. I’m in a TV truck outside the Metropolitan Opera again, this time for “Wozzeck,” not a benefit or a memorial. There are still flowers and candles and other memorials at the firehouse up the block (including a large mural […]

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American freedom

September 30th, 2001

It’s cold today in New York. I mean that strictly from a weather standpoint. The primary election runoff is heating up, with one candidate trying to fling World Trade Center mud on the other. Prior to the first primary, all of the candidates were on their best behavior. The only one to be flinging mud […]

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47th Street

October 1st, 2001

Walking past the firehouse at 48th Street and Eighth Avenue at 6:30 this morning, two things brought me to a halt. The first was ladder truck 4 leaving, its rotating beacons illuminated. (Contrary to popular misconception, New York’s emergency services don’t blare their sirens as soon as they roll. In our noisy city, firefighters, ambulance […]

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What’s in a name?

October 2nd, 2001

There is a well-read periodical in New York City called the Chelsea Clinton News. It is not devoted to the activities of the former First Daughter. Long before she was born, the newspaper had already been reporting on two adjacent New York neighborhoods: Chelsea and Clinton. Clinton was, I believe, named for a very popular […]

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October 3rd, 2001

As we were heading home from the TV truck late last night, near the Lincoln Center firehouse memorials we passed a man walking a very large horse down the sidewalk. New York is always interesting. People are very devoted to their pets in New York, and these are not just birds, cats, dogs, and fish. […]

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Reasonable doubt

October 4th, 2001

Many New Yorkers in lower Manhattan are lucky this week. The odor from the World Trade Center site has been replaced, or at least augmented, by the sweet smells of palm, myrtle, river willow, and a lemon-like citrus known variously as esrog, etrog, or citron. Those are the “four species” that are used ritually in […]

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October 5th, 2001

There has been a lot of heroic effort lately in New York. You’ve heard, of course, about the firefighters, police, emergency medical personnel, ironworkers, and others involved in the rescue efforts. But there have been many, many others. Subway workers have not only toiled day and night to get their system working but also intentionally […]

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Who supports terrorism?

October 6th, 2001

It’s getting cold again in New York. Tomorrow could be as cold as December 30, 1999, the day we were setting up for the huge Times Square 2000 celebration. Back then, a car filled with explosives had been stopped at a border crossing, and the driver said they were intended to go off during a […]

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One month

October 7th, 2001

I intended to visit “ground zero” today, but I didn’t make it. It is now hot — WAY above normal for this time of year. But it is not as hot in my neighborhood as it is at the site of the World Trade Center. Today an ironworker reported that his colleagues had this week […]

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October 7th, 2001

I don’t know what’s going on in cities in Afghanistan right now. I know that the U.S. and Britain attacked today. I know what happened in New York when we were attacked on September 11. I cannot wish that on anyone. My heart goes out to any who have been injured and to the families […]

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Eight million stories

October 8th, 2001

As the announcer would say at the end of each episode of the old TV series, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City.” And, because any two New Yorkers usually have at least five opinions on any given subject, I have no doubt that some of us wanted military action. One sign seen […]

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Like us, they all had names

October 9th, 2001

A few years ago, I was setting up a live international press conference at a theater where I often work. As usual, I was wearing a T-shirt, pepper-pattern pants, and sandals and had my usual scruffy beard. The wife of a VIP at the theater showed up. Watching others check with me about the positioning […]

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Access to information

October 10th, 2001

In this new era of photo-ID requests, one of the forms in my wallet is a reader identification card from the Library of Congress. It has a color photo, a signature, and a bar code leading to more information about me, and all three are covered with a special laminate that, when tilted appropriately in […]

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The last word

October 12th, 2001

New York is a village. I sometimes see a customer discover at a cash register that he or she doesn’t have enough money for a purchase, promise to pay later, and get an okay to take the goods from a shopkeeper who has never seen the person before. One day this week, I bought a […]

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Sightseeing and entertainment in New York

October 17th, 2001

My eyes are still burning. My throat is still raw. I visited the site today. The smoky air was noticeable even before I emerged from the subway. I was not surprised to find people wearing face masks; I was more surprised that most weren’t. The view to the north was pretty much the usual. To […]

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On hate

October 18th, 2001

“New Home, New Life,” an often humorous soap opera broadcast from Pakistan, reportedly reaches 80% of its target audience of radio listeners in Afghanistan. “Live with Regis and Kelly” doesn’t get nearly that rating here in New York. But there was still a large crowd this morning waiting to get into the studio, even though […]

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Autumn in New York

October 20th, 2001

This morning we ate apples that had fallen off a tree in Central Park. Yum! When you visit New York, you can take edible-flora tours that will introduce you to many more delicious plants in our urban oasis. I saw neither palanquin nor rickshaw nor anyone riding a camel or elephant in the park today, […]

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Bad terror and good terror

October 22nd, 2001

Chuck is not doing very well these days. He is one of the homeless people who hang around our block. We try to get to know them by name. Chuck reads all the time and offers good critical assessments of books. He sometimes wears eyeglass frames without lenses. He’d been coveting my pepper pants, so […]

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A little information

October 24th, 2001

The tiny hardware store on Park Row, a couple of blocks from the World Trade Center site, had a good number of customers yesterday afternoon. The whole block seems to have returned to life since J&R, the electronics retailer, reopened on Monday. Even the street vendors had returned. I was at J&R to patriotically make […]

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Flu season

October 25th, 2001

The weather report ended up, unusually, in the business section of today’s New York Times. It says Kabul will be much cooler on Saturday. Here in New York, we broke the old record-high temperature by two degrees yesterday. And on Monday we might hit a record low. It’s confusing. In Central Park, there were sunbathers […]

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The Friday before October 31

October 26th, 2001

The front page of yesterday’s New York Times quoted an “administration official” as follows: “The lesson we’re learning is that you can bomb the wrong place in Afghanistan and not take much heat for it. But don’t mess up at the post office.” I brought some mail to the post office today. It was empty. […]

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Spring forward, fall back

October 27th, 2001

I awoke today to the news that there had been a small earthquake — 2.6 on the Richter scale, enough to smash some dishes — at 1:42 this morning in Manhattan. What’s next, locusts? I heard the news on our local public-radio station, WNYC. It was one of the four FM stations broadcast from the […]

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Being secure

October 29th, 2001

You’d probably recognize one of the other residents of our apartment building. He’s been in some movies and has appeared on TV. He’s a very good actor but is not particularly famous. There are a few other actors in the building, as well as producers, directors, writers, dancers, artists, teachers, health-care workers, businesspeople, students, retirees, […]

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All Hallows Eve

October 31st, 2001

The residents of a block near me have adopted Halloween as their holiday. They get the police to close the street so kids can run back and forth, they decorate various buildings, and they create a dark, haunted house that is scary fun even for adults. That block is one of the many tiny neighborhoods […]

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“Evil Ones”

November 1st, 2001

Ground Zero” is an even more compelling sight at night than during the day. The rising smoke plumes are well defined by front, back, and side lighting. The twisted steel wreckage is more starkly defined. Workers were washing the dust off the sidewalks as I walked by. The amount that accumulates every day is astonishing. […]

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Colors of New York

November 2nd, 2001

Years ago, there used to be searchlights forming a powerful rotating beacon on the Empire State Building. The beam could be seen sweeping through the sky miles away — even where the building wasn’t visible. Unfortunately, the light confused birds, so the beacon is no more. The tower is now normally lit to match the […]

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The wilds of New York

November 4th, 2001

A wild deer was hit by a car a few days ago. Normally there wouldn’t be much that’s newsworthy about that statement. But it took place in Manhattan. Actually, it was in northern Manhattan, which is very different from the southern end. There’s a stand of virgin forest in northern Manhattan. There’s a real medieval […]

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Today is Terrorist Day

November 5th, 2001

In New York, the conversational phrase “You’re welcome” is almost invariably spelled “Sure” and pronounced as a variant of either a synonym of farrier or the verb for baking eggs. Although millions of people use the term, I have yet to find a single dictionary that lists that definition, so I don’t know its etymology. […]

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Dates and places

November 10th, 2001

There was a terrible smell in parts of Central Park today. It wasn’t a broken sewer line or a chemical-warfare attack. It was the female ginkgo trees, what we refer to as the “stinko ginkgoes.” Older Asian Americans have been gathering the trees’ malodorous “fruit” or seed. I understand it’s considered a treat. Oh, well. […]

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An island again

November 12th, 2001

Today, hundreds of people lost their lives in the crash of a jet aircraft in New York. And today ALL New Yorkers felt the impact. It wasn’t just that the neighborhood where the plane crashed had already lost many of its residents — both financial workers in the World Trade Center and emergency personnel. It […]

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Buttercup’s lament

November 14th, 2001

The city is still repairing the sidewalk outside our apartment building. That has meant hearing jackhammers and pavement saws when decent (and indecent) New Yorkers are still trying to sleep, breathing and walking through concrete dust, and learning a new maze every day to leave and enter our front door. This week it has meant […]

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The twain have met

November 15th, 2001

Rudy Giuliani now has just a month and a half left in office. I don’t think it’s going to be enough time for him to realize his master plan. Aside from his being prevented from selling off our water supply and our hospitals, our prosecutor-mayor’s greatest failure in eight years as the city’s chief executive […]

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Not “until”

November 16th, 2001

Taliban shmaliban. Many aspects of New York have been influenced by Jewish culture, including such speech patterns as the dismissive repetition of a word with the initial consonant (if any) removed and the repeated word begun with shm. Concert shmoncert. Taxi shmaxi. Latte shmatte. There are other interesting forms of New York speech repetition, including […]

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The formerly hirsute

November 17th, 2001

Sometimes a picture does seem worth a thousand words. When the Northern Alliance forces headed towards Kabul, the New York Times ran a photo sequence of someone being beaten, stripped, and shot by the advancing fighters. Then, when Kabul had been freed from Taliban rule, photos showed women revealing their faces, a VCR being purchased, […]

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Fortunately, humor is hard to translate

November 18th, 2001

Responses to our Thanksgiving Dinner invitation are trickling in. So far, it’s just a large dinner. It’s not yet at the “Yikes!” level. The biggest one we did had 34 sitting down to eat at some point or another, not counting deliveries to those who didn’t want to (or couldn’t) leave their apartments. That was […]

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November 19th, 2001

I accidentally stuck an extra “firmly” into the end of the last report. It was a mistake. It wasn’t my first, and it’s unlikely to have been my last. I’m not alone. To err is human. In a recent radio report on Vladimir Putin, the commentator compared him to “subsequent” Russian leaders. When American Airlines […]

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Just reward

November 21st, 2001

In Central Park on Monday, we watched a red-tail hawk eating a pigeon. A crowd gathered, but, knowing we had little interest in eating raw pigeon, the hawk ignored us. It’s a bird-eat-bird world out there. Even more surprising to us than the hawk (we had recently finished reading “Red-Tails in Love,” a book about […]

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Amazing Aviation

November 23rd, 2001

How many Americans woke this morning in a food-, alcohol-, and triptophan-induced stupor, found their furniture abnormally arranged, saw strange substances in their kitchens, and thought there had been another attack? The morning after Thanksgiving is rarely as much fun as the day before, especially if one has to go to work. Yesterday was fun […]

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After “them” comes us

November 25th, 2001

I went to my brother’s house in Connecticut today. His 2-1/2-year-old granddaughter was running around minimally clothed. The temperature was in the upper 60s. One of his trees is starting to bud. So, I cannot blame the weather for the chill I felt watching the first story on “60 Minutes” tonight. It was about what […]

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The author, the reader, and the listener

November 27th, 2001

“Once upon a time there was a person who ended wars forever by murdering 42 Santa Clauses.” That’s the opening line of one of my favorite short stories. It’s called “The Santa Claus Murderer.” It was written by Spencer Holst. It can be found in his books “The Language of Cats” and the later collection […]

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Marx territory

November 27th, 2001

The Dow Jones Industrials Average is higher now than it was on September 10. Another sign of a return to the way things were is George W. Bush talking about human embryo research. On Saturday, I participated in an annual all-day test of the Metropolitan Opera radio network. Last week we finally got back the […]

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New York parks

November 29th, 2001

Having to share the Central Park Drive with motor vehicles has led me to think about New Yorkers’ love-hate relationship with cars in Manhattan. On the one hand, we hate them. On the other hand, we’d love to see them gone. Some New York events involve street or highway closures. They are among our best […]

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I have hope

December 1st, 2001

A colleague of mine often says, “I make television; I don’t watch it.” I’m not so absolute. I don’t get to watch MUCH television, but I do watch some. I don’t often get to see commercials. That’s not because I restrict my viewing to public television. It’s more that I like to watch cable channels […]

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Fickle fate

December 4th, 2001

According to next week’s New Yorker cover (by Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz), the place where I rode my bike today is Central Parkistan. It’s south of Notsobad, northwest of Kvetchnya, west of al-Zheimers, and north of Mooshuhadeen. The cover is called “New Yorkistan” As I was coasting the Great Hill, I passed three young […]

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The search for intelligent life in the universe

December 6th, 2001

“The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe” is a theatrical wonder. Not only is it a great play (written by Jane Wagner), but it allows Lily Tomlin — alone but for some sound effects — to fill the stage with virtual scenery, props, and characters. In one scene, you could almost swear you saw […]

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December 7th, 2001

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, American survivors of that attack literally embraced some of the Japanese pilots who tried to kill them. Adjectives of “evil” and “inhuman” weren’t used. No one seemed to care what allegiances were sworn back in 1941. On October 19, Mayor Giuliani said “Pledge of […]

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The most important person on earth

December 11th, 2001

There has been an ongoing story in the local news. It has nothing to do with September 11, anthrax, non-citizen rights, Islam, the Middle East, firefighters, Afghanistan, or our mayor. It doesn’t even have anything to do with New York, which is why you’re unlikely to have heard of it unless you avail yourself of […]

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Dorothy didn’t cheer

December 15th, 2001

Back when it was still in East Germany, we found ourselves in the Leipzig railway terminal (at the time Europe’s largest) at an end-of-workday rush hour. As New Yorkers, we were not at all bothered by the crowds of people scurrying every which way all around us. It was actually rather enjoyable. After the commuters […]

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Unintended consequences

December 18th, 2001

Cleveland Browns football team president Carmen Policy made a good case for apathy on Sunday. That’s my take on his statement anyway. After an unpopular decision by officials at a game between the Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars, fans began throwing beer bottles (and other things) onto the field. American professional football players are big, […]

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Funerals are not for the dead

December 21st, 2001

Perhaps the most intense moment of the 1995 movie “Sense and Sensibility” comes towards the end. Colonel Brandon (played by Alan Rickman), the movie’s kindest character, has just rescued a woman from certain death, but she’s still dangerously ill. He’s not a doctor, and he’s in anguish from his helplessness. “Set me a task!” he […]

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Getting away

December 26th, 2001

The second time I went downhill skiing was in New York City. I make no claim as to the glories of our slopes, but one could rent boots, skis, and poles, get instruction, ride a lift, be rescued by the Ski Patrol, AND ride the subway from Manhattan. I am writing this much closer to […]

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The day before the end of the Gregorian year

December 30th, 2001

Things are done differently in different parts of the world. Here in the U.S., there is discussion of trying John Walker for treason and executing him. In Sweden earlier this month, four people were convicted of treason (the first such conviction anyone could remember); they’re being fined up to about $370 each. Their crime was […]

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A new beginning

January 6th, 2002

New Yorkers are a hearty bunch. There have been profiles in the local news media of the good-hearted (but shrinking) band who have been standing near the World Trade Center site and cheering all the rescue and recovery workers. It’s not surprising that people would want to cheer the rescuers; it IS surprising that they […]

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Food, entertainment, and tiger repellent

January 12th, 2002

Due to a monetary crisis, Argentina has had quite a few presidents recently. This week, New Jersey is going through five governors (six in less than a year), but there’s no crisis of any sort — well, nothing NEW anyway. Normally, in that state, the governor-elect replaces the one in office a week after the […]

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od, entertainment, and tiger repellent

January 12th, 2002

Due to a monetary crisis, Argentina has had quite a few presidents recently. This week, New Jersey is going through five governors (six in less than a year), but there’s no crisis of any sort — well, nothing NEW anyway. Normally, in that state, the governor-elect replaces the one in office a week after the […]

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Radio, radio, radio

January 17th, 2002

Randee Mia Berman presented one of her talents on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” yesterday. The segment is available on the NPR web site. It lasts five-and-a-half minutes. She sang what one of the hosts characterized as sounding like the Estonian national anthem. Then the audio was played back in reverse, and what came […]

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Fighting hate

January 24th, 2002

This is not the chronicle I had intended to write, and this is not when I had intended to write it. I had planned to send a happy piece about New York penguins yesterday. I didn’t get around to it. I didn’t get around to much yesterday except for one task. I made myself a […]

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Nondescript habiliments

January 25th, 2002

The news media seem to love reasons. The stock market doesn’t just go up or down; it “reacts” to some military action or strike or weather condition. Sometimes it “ignores” a major news story. Elections, media pundits would have us believe, are won or lost based not on politics and character and record but on […]

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New York words

February 3rd, 2002

On Tuesday, the weather was so glorious as I rode around Central Park that I could almost forget the lack of snow. The waterfowl were here in force. There were swans and ducks in the lake and Canada geese in the meer — in January! The geese avoided the small pile of plowed snow at […]

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Transports of delight

February 12th, 2002

On Sunday morning, a man arrived at the departures level of terminal C at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. He had no baggage to check. He had a one-way ticket, purchased two days earlier by a distant third party. His reservation had been changed twice. He was travelling to Washington’s National Airport, theoretically the most […]

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Presidents Day

February 17th, 2002

I saw Marty on Wednesday night for the first time in years. We used to spend a lot of time together. Marty used to live in what is now my office, and we used to ride the subway a lot or squeeze into the back of a hatchback together for longer trips. Most Wednesday nights […]

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Farewell, flighty February

February 28th, 2002

New Yorkers are very friendly. I flew 11 times this month. Number 10 was on Monday, the US Airways Shuttle from LaGuardia in New York to Logan in Boston. At the security point, I was juggling my bags and some charts I was carrying and fumbling to extract my driver’s license from my wallet. “Oh, […]

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I read the Times today, oh boy!

March 10th, 2002

The “Sunday Styles” section of The New York Times is not about Sunday and not much about styles. It’s as close as the Times gets to gossip. I don’t mean gossip in a negative sense; I mean gossip as in finding out what neighbors are doing. The New York Times views itself as America’s “newspaper […]

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March 14th, 2002

Like almost everyone I know, I have a conditioned reflex to another person’s sneeze. Some people say “bless you” or “God bless you;” I was taught to say “gesundheit” — health. We don’t respond similarly to coughs, falls, or other problems, just sneezes. My parents also tried to teach me to consider cancer a dirty […]

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The Ideas of March

March 31st, 2002

Today is Easter. Today is also Passover. That’s not an unusual circumstance. Easter currently falls on the first Sunday after the paschal full moon. Paschal is the adjective for something having to do with Passover. It’s a strange form but no stranger than gubernatorial for something having to do with a governor. Gubernatorial is from […]

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Happy Patriots Day!

April 15th, 2002

Last week I had to attend a business event at the “New York, New York” complex in Las Vegas. At one corner, there is a reproduction of the Statue of Liberty. In front of it is a fake fireboat constantly spraying water from its nozzles. In front of the fireboat is a fence. And attached […]

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Boo, not boom

May 11th, 2002

Once again, I am in a TV-production truck outside the Metropolitan Opera House. That’s less usual now than it used to be. Even before September 11, the Met had been cutting back on its television production, and, of all of New York’s performing arts institutions, it seems to have been hardest hit by the fall-off […]

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A different anniversary

October 26th, 2002

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a deadly act of terror. I’ve been thinking of the citizens paralyzed with fear and the suspect (apparently of Middle-Eastern heritage) positively identified by eyewitnesses and linked to the act by forensic evidence. I’ve been thinking of the subsequent trial and what the Attorney General of the United […]

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Chronicles Introduction

August 14th, 2009

Early in September of 2001, my wife was working in Sicily, and I happened to be in New York’s World Trade Center a number of times, returning each evening to our Manhattan apartment.  On the morning of the 11th, a couple of days before I was due to attend a European conference, I was in […]

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