Boomer & Carton in New Ro

Catie Stern, Craig Carton, Owen Bramson, and overdressed Noam Bramson, and Boomer Esiason

Catie Stern, Craig Carton, Owen Bramson, an overdressed Noam Bramson, and Boomer Esiason

Great time at last Thursday’s celebrity softball game – big crowd, terrific weather, lots of star athletes.  Plus, a win for the New Rochelle team.

Here I am (overdressed because of another commitment just before the game) with Catie, Owen, Boomer Esiason, and Craig Carton.

Thanks to everyone who organized, played, or turned out.



Weekend Hike and Engagement Memories

Jeremy and Owen Bramson in Harriman State Park

Jeremy and Owen Bramson in Harriman State Park

I took the boys on a six mile hike yesterday in Harriman State Park.  It’s an amazing place, and we had a great time.  Here are Jeremy and Owen posing a couple of hundred feet from the Appalachian Trail — in the exact spot where I proposed to Catie almost fourteen years ago.


Robert Spillane, Rest in Peace

Robert Spillane

Robert Spillane

Robert “Bud” Spillane passed away over the weekend.  Folks who have been in New Rochelle for a few decades will remember him best as our Superintendent of Schools back in the 1970s.  But Spillane’s reputation extended far beyond our borders; he was a highly-respected figure in the world of education and held important posts in several districts during his career.

His obituary in today’s New York Times has much more information.

Spillane’s daughter Katie was a kindergarten classmate of mine at Roosevelt Elementary School.  Katie was diabetic, and classroom parties were respectful of her dietary restrictions.  That meant sugar-free Fresca was always on hand.  It’s still my favorite soda.  That certainly ranks very low in the long list of Spillane’s impacts on young people, but I thought it offbeat enough to be worth reporting.

Rest in peace.



This Looks Good (and Weirdly Close to Home)

Here’s the trailer for the new HBO Miniseries Show Me a Hero.

Looks really good.

For a high-profile national series, it also feels weirdly close to home.  First, of course, it’s set in Yonkers and deals with issues that are still reverberating around the county.  Second, Nick Wasicsko, the former Yonkers mayor and the show’s central character, is someone I knew, although not well.  And if that wasn’t enough, there is even a family/friend connection, because the series is based on a book by Lisa Belkin, whose brother Gary is a good friend of Catie’s.

Anyhow, I’ll be watching.


Passing of a Hero

WintonIf you did not already know about Nicholas Winton, who just passed away at the age of 106, please take a moment to read this article.

For me, the particular brand of heroism demonstrated by people like Winton has always been especially moving.  It is the purest form of altruism — self-sacrifice for complete strangers, with no possible reward, no direct personal stake, no bonds of family or faith to serve as motivation.  Every one of us would hope to demonstrate the same courage and humanity in similar circumstances, and yet so few of us pass the test when it comes.

Two years ago, together with my mother and brothers, I visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial and Museum.  In a place filled with images and records that are simply overwhelming, it was the exhibit devoted to the Righteous Gentiles that affected me the most.

There is a well-known Talmudic expression that says “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”  It is hard not to think of this line, when reading the following description of just a few of the nearly 700 children that Nicholas Winton rescued:

Among them are the film director Karel Reisz, who made “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981), “Isadora” (1968) and “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” (1960); Lord Alfred Dubs, who became a member of Parliament; Joe Schlesinger, a Canadian broadcast correspondent; Hugo Marom, a founder of the Israeli Air Force; Vera Gissing, the author of “Pearls of Childhood” (2007) and other books; and Renata Laxová, a geneticist who discovered the Neu-Laxová Syndrome, a congenital abnormality.

May Nicholas Winton rest in peace, and may we all prove worthy of his example.