“My Name is Emmett Till”

The most controversial work in the biennial show at the Whitney Museum in New York is “Open Casket,” an oil painting by Dana Schutz. It depicts the mutilated face of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who was tortured, beaten beyond recognition and lynched in Money, Mississippi, in 1955, after a white woman accused him of flirting […]

Peace After Terror

By Daniel Blaine Saturday, I went to the spot where the Swedish terrorist attack took place. Incredibly powerful. Behind us was a kids’ toy store, which is on the ground floor of a large building and had apparently been the target of the driver of the stolen truck because it had a big pillar he […]

In Praise of Cherry Trees

Sakura Park lies just east of Grant’s tomb above the Hudson River on New York’s upper west side. Its two acres are dominated by tall cherry trees, which is fitting, since sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom and the trees were given by Japan to the people of New York in 1912. Our […]

One More Thumb in the Nose

It’s fitting, I guess, that yesterday’s evisceration of Barack Obama’s environmental and climate achievements came four days after the 28th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez’s 11-million-gallon crude-oil spill into Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay. Fitting, too, that Donald Trump signed his executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency, an office he intends to dismantle along with much […]

A moment to cheer, not a time to gloat

Donald Trump’s two major initiatives to date have failed spectacularly, and Democrats have yet to cast a vote. Instead, the courts put his travel bans on hold and the Republicans defeated their own health-care plan. When the bully loses a fight or two, it can be liberating for everyone else in the schoolyard. It can […]

American Weekend (RIP)

“If you had tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’” – John Lennon “If you want to know about American greatness, go back and read all the work that Jimmy [Breslin] wrote” – Michael Daly “I would have the knees of a twelve-year-old now if I hadn’t danced […]

Beauty and the Shopping Piece

In “the transformative power of classical music,” Benjamin Zander describes and plays a two-minute piece by Chopin. He asks his audience to “think of somebody who you adore who’s no longer there [and] bring that person into your mind and at the same time, follow the line all the way from B to E, and […]

Animal Kingdom Farm Plantation

“In wildness is the preservation of the world,” Henry David Thoreau One of the often-uncounted costs of human progress has been the replacement of wild places with a world completely subjugated by humans. But consider what we are losing with the vanishing wilderness – from its value as a garden of medicinal plants to a […]

The Rebirth of Hubris

We appear to have reached the end of a 50-year era of environmental awareness, a time that had its coming of age on Earth Day 1970, and that spawned the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts, as well as the EPA, which is now itself on the endangered list. It was a bipartisan […]