What’s Your A to Z?

A to Z

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A few months ago, Westchester magazine asked me to submit a list of my favorite things in the county, one for each letter of the alphabet, for their recurring “A to Z” feature.  Here’s what I came up with.

Putting the list together was fun, but also harder than I expected!  Not that there is any shortage of great things in Westchester – it’s just tricky to select exactly one for each letter.  Too many S’s and T’s.  Not enough X’s and Z’s.  Like a Scrabble distribution.  Anyhow, I did my best.

Give it a try yourself and see what you come up with.

My list appears in the current issue of the magazine or you can view it in this pdf.



Rest In Peace, Spock

Spock 3As a kid, I had a pretty easy-going relationship with my parents, but there was one topic on which we regularly came to loggerheads.  The issue was television.  Specifically, whether our little black and white set would be turned on during the 6:00pm dinner hour.  Me: urgently in favor.  Mom and Dad: firmly opposed.

I would beg, cajole, pout, threaten, bargain, issue earnest promises of future good deeds, even make lofty appeals to justice. (In retrospect, this was not bad practice for politics.)  Mostly I’d lose, but every now and then, some sudden burst of parental charity — or perhaps just weariness — would lead to victory.

And what is the program that sparked our nearly daily battles?  What is the show had me pulling out every arrow in a seven-year-old’s quiver?

Star Trek, playing in reruns every weeknight on Channel 11.

Even my jaded older brothers were impressed with my ability to identify any episode within about half a second of its opening shot.

Nerd then, nerd now, nerd forever, probably.  Such is life.  And like most nerds, I liked Spock the best of all the Enterprise crew.

So I was sad today to receive the news that Leonard Nimoy had passed away at the age of 83.  He lived long.  He prospered.  And I hope he rests now in peace.


We Can All Picture Ourselves On That Train

Photo: Frank Becerra Jr. of The Journal News

Photo: Frank Becerra Jr. of The Journal News

It is hard to fathom the sense of sudden grief that the families of the victims in the Valhalla train crash must now feel.  Reading about the lives lost is a sad and moving experience.

Yet even this does not fully explain the emotional impact that this tragedy has had on many of us.  There is something more.  Maybe it’s that we can all picture ourselves on that train.   Metro-North is so familiar, so deeply woven into the fabric of our region, and so much a part of the daily experience of countless commuters.  This is the train one of my brothers takes every day, for example.  How many thousands of other people have a similar connection, direct or indirect?

So this event feels strangely close.  Less abstract and distant than other accidents.  And scarier, as a result.

The investigators will surely determine whether the crash resulted from an improbable cascade of terrible luck or from correctable systemic problems.  For now, all we can do is offer heartfelt condolences to the bereaved and gratitude for the safety and health of our loved ones.


Thank You!

45th Birthday SmallCatie and I were truly overwhelmed by the turnout earlier today at my 45th birthday brunch — more than 500 people!  And, of course, we are also grateful for the many friends who were not able to join us, but supported the brunch generously from afar.

In case you are interested, here is a copy of my remarks (minus ad-libbed comments and introductory acknowledgements.)

Sincere thanks to all who made the event a big success.


Food Blog: Roc-N-Ramen

My Shoyu Ramen

My Shoyu Ramen

First I finished my own order of shoyu ramen, a heaping portion of delicious noodles in a chicken soy broth, with egg, pork belly, scallions, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms.  I finished it down to the last salty, umami drop.  Then, disheartened by the empty bowl in front of me,  I started in on Owen’s tonkotsu ramen; it was even better!

Owen enjoys his tonkotsu.  I helped.

Owen enjoys his tonkotsu. I helped.

Our family had just finished marching in New Rochelle’s annual Thanksgiving parade.  The day was beautiful, but cold, and, as usual, I had under-dressed for the occasion (Catie says I am not a one-trial learner.  She is right.)  By the time the parade wrapped up, I was chilled to the bone, so we made impromptu plans for lunch with friends at Roc-N-Ramen.  And the steaming bowls of japanese noodles were just what the doctor ordered.

Roc-N-Ramen opened a few weeks ago on Anderson Street, the small road that links North Avenue to New Roc City, and it’s been bustling ever since.  Slabs of wood cover the walls and the noodle bar, giving the space a warm and inviting quality, which is matched by the welcome of the staff.  And the ramen!  Delicious.  We’ll be back.