January 1 marks the end of one year and the beginning of a new one.
In psychology we call this a liminal space or the doorway where we move from one phase to the next.
As humans we traditionally take a few moments to look back with gratitude and look forward with hope. So let me take this time to look back at the ten best moments I had last year as the writer for the Our Town column.
No. 10: Salk Institute: I will grant you that viewing the Salk Institute is not exactly a local attraction. It is located on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla. Calif., which is about 2,874 miles away.
You get there by starting north on Herricks Road and about 1 day and 18 hours later you arrive. I assure you it’s worth the trip.
I have seen many great things in this world but this building, designed by the master architect Louis Kahn, is one of the most amazing sights you will ever behold. Never in my life have I turned to look at a building or piece of great art and burst into tears upon seeing it. If you do not believe in God go see this building and listen to what God has to say.
No. 9 “The Last Straw:” I had the pleasure of reviewing this feature length comedy last month. It’s a lighthearted romp through the anguish and agony of high school on Long Island directed by none other than Stolis Hadjicharalambous, son of Harry of Harry’s Deli.
Now you might ask about the spelling or the pronunciation of Stolis’ last name but please do not expect an answer from me.
I recommend that before we all go to the Oscars to celebrate with him he might consider taking pity on us journalists and maybe, perhaps, pretty please change his name to Steven Harry Lambous or something like that.
No. 8: Why women spend so much on handbags: You may recall my Propofol fueled series on the New Cool following my prostate biopsy.
I can tell you my urologist was both impressed and concerned about the whole affair. The most fun feature in that series was when I explored the troubling question of why women are happy to fork over many thousands of dollars to hang a Gucci on their shoulder.
Suffice it to say that by the end of my interviews with the sales folks at Burberry’s, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Gucci I was eyeing one of the Crocodile Bucket Jackie bags for $22,000 for my wife and thinking it wasn’t a bad price at all.
No. 7: The Comic Book Men come to town: John Reilly owner of Grasshopper Comics is filled with surprises. Each year he runs a fund raiser for the John Thiesen Children’s Foundation and we all get a chance to meet a few nationally known writers and actors. This year I met Tom Walker star of the television series Daredevil and famed science fiction writer Michael Jan Freidman.
What fun. Thank you John.
No. 6: How to live a life: At summer’s end a patient of mine asked me a simple question which was “exactly how does one live each day in order to be happy?” This is more a question for philosophy rather than psychology but I am very grateful that she prompted me to write about it. What I said in the column was that each morning you ought to connect to nature, each day you ought to find the courage to act upon your daily tasks and each evening ought to be filled with reward and pleasure.
I hope it helped her.
No. 5 The Hispanic Wave has arrived: A casual walk down Hillside reveals the truth that the Hispanic Wave has arrived In Williston Park.
We all know about Jennifer Lopez, Selma Hayek, Penelope Cruz and John Leguizamo but now we see many more shopkeepers and restaurant owners adding flair, charm and magic to our streets.
No. 4 Steve Blank: You know Steve as the publisher of the Williston Times but did you know that he was also a Pulitzer Prize nominee for his work as an investigative reporter in Kansas City.
I have not written a column about Steve because he is too humble to take credit but when I had lunch with him last month and learned about his history I was duly impressed.
I may never win the Pulitzer but at least I can say I know someone who nearly did.
No. 3: Meeting Naomi Watts: Williston Park was graced with heavy weight Hollywood stars last month when the film “The Book of Henry” was shot in Hildebrandt’s. And bold journalist that I am, I managed to chat with and photograph Naomi Watts while she shopped in Peter Andrews.
Suffice it to say that she is even prettier in person than on screen. Luminescent is the word.
No. 2 “Young Frankenstein:” One of the true surprises of the year for me was going to see the comedy “Young Frankenstein” by the Herricks Community Players. One does not expect much from local theater and I was literally shocked to see the professional talent on display.
The voice of Rachel Zampino, the comic timing of Barbara Tromba-Murphy and the legs on Stacey Weinberger were all a joy to behold. I would pay large dollars to see them put on Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.
No. 1 Mother’s Day column: In May I had a chance to write about an underappreciated group of people, mothers.
This year during Christmas I planned, invited, shopped for, cooked for and cleaned up after my guests during Xmas dinner at my home. The entire affair took me about five hours in total. Exhausting and nerve wracking.
And afterwards it occurred to me that this is what my mother did for our clan of five kids every day, seven days a week for more than 20 years. And nary was a thank you heard.
My appreciation grows daily for what mothers do for their families each and every day.
So that is my quick look back in deep gratitude for getting a chance to experience and to write about the life and times of Williston Park, 2015, a town with occasional dazzle and much sweetness. Happy New Year to everyone.