This film was released over 71 years ago— one year before my birth. Ben Hecht wrote the screen play. Early on Cary Grant slugs Ingrid Bergman. There is no way to defend such abuse.
Otherwise, it is a great film.
Ben Hecht (/hɛkt/; February 28, 1894 – April 18, 1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist, and novelist. A journalist in his youth, he went on to write thirty-five books and some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films.
Rose Caylor (1926–1964; his death; 1 child) (1898–1979)
At the age of 16, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where, in his own words, he “haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops”. In the 1910s and early 1920s, Hecht became a noted journalist, foreign correspondent, and literary figure. In the 1920s, his co-authored, reporter-themed play, The Front Page, became a Broadway hit.
The Dictionary of Literary Biography – American Screenwriters calls him “one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures”. Hecht received the first Academy Award for Original Screenplay for Underworld (1927). Many of the screenplays he worked on are now considered classics. He also provided story ideas for such films as Stagecoach (1939). Film historian Richard Corliss called him “the Hollywood screenwriter”, someone who “personified Hollywood itself”. In 1940, he wrote, produced, and directed Angels Over Broadway, which was nominated for Best Screenplay. In total, six of his movie screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards, with two winning.
He became an active Zionist shortly before the Holocaust began in Germany, and wrote articles and plays about the plight of European Jews, such as We Will Never Die in 1943 and A Flag is Born in 1946. Of his seventy to ninety screenplays, he wrote many anonymously to avoid the British boycott of his work in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The boycott was a response to Hecht’s active support of paramilitary action against British forces in Palestine and sabotaging British property there (see below), during which time a supply ship to Palestine was named the S. S. Ben Hecht.(nl)(he)
According to his autobiography, he never spent more than eight weeks on a script. In 1983, 19 years after his death, Ben Hecht was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
2020 Update: Attention, please, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger.
President Bollinger has the power to instantly award a Pulitzer Prize to Arwa Damon.
Now, when the Covid-19 plague is upon us and the well-fed, expensively clad, overly prized White House Press Corps is sitting a safe socialdistance away from each other, it is time to recognize heroic Reporters Without Borders who are risking their lives daily to bring us news from a world far more dangerous than ours.
Wikipedia: Arwa Damon
Arwa Damon (born September 19, 1977) is an Arab-American journalist who is a senior international correspondent for CNN, based in Istanbul. From 2003, she covered the Middle East as a freelance journalist, before joining CNN in 2006.
Ms. Damon is also President and Founder of INARA, a humanitarian organization that provides medical treatment to refugee children from Syria. Born to an American father and Syrian mother, she is the granddaughter of Muhsin al-Barazi, prime minister of Syria in 1949.
This esssay appeared in Benchley’s book Love Conquers All , published Printed October, 1922.
Note 1. On personal preference: We are Penn State.
Note 2. Thanks to my distinguished webmaster Kathy Forer, this posting is available in Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, Hindi, etc. See home page, top left for the language of your choice. www.joelsolkoff.com
Note 3. This posting will be first shared on Keep State College Weird:
Sunday morning these fine fall days are taken up with reading about the “40,000 football enthusiasts” or the “gaily-bedecked crowd of 60,000 that watched the game on Saturday.” And so they probably did, unless there were enough men in big fur coats who jumped up at every play and yelled “Now we’re off!” thus obstructing the view of an appreciable percentage.
But why stop at the mention of the paltry 50,000 who sat in the Bowl or the Stadium? Why forget the twice 50,000 all over the country, in Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta, who watched the same game over the ticker, or sat in a smoke-fogged room listening to telegraphic announcements, play by play, or who even stood on the curbing in front of a newspaper office and watched an impartial employee shove a little yellow ball along a black-board, usually indicating the direction in which the real football was not going.
Since it is so important to give the exact number of people who saw the game, why not do the thing up right and say: “Returns which are now coming in from the Middle West, with some of the rural districts still to be heard from, indicate that at least 145,566 people watched the Yale-Princeton football game yesterday.
“Secretary Dinwoodie of the San Francisco Yale Club telegraphed late last night that the final count in that city would probably swell the total to a round 150,395. This is, or will be, the largest crowd that ever assembled in one country to watch a football game.”
And watching the game in this vicarious manner isn’t so bad as the fellow who has got tickets and carfare to the real game would like to have it. You are in a warm room, where you can stretch your legs and regulate your remarks to the intensity of your emotions rather than to the sex of your neighbors. And as for thrills! “Dramatic suspense” was probably first used as a term in connection with this indoor sport.
The scene is usually some college club in the city—a big room full of smoke and graduates. At one end is a scoreboard and miniature gridiron, along which a colored counter is moved as the telegraph behind the board clicks off the plays hot from the real gridiron.
There is also an announcer, who, by way of clarifying the message depicted on the board, reads the wrong telegram in a loud, clear tone.
Just as the crowd in the football arena are crouching down in their fur coats the better to avoid watching the home team fumble the kick-off, the crowds two and ten hundred miles away are settling back in their chairs and lighting up the old pipes, while the German-silver-tongued announcer steps to the front of the platform and delivers the following:
“Yale won the toss and chose to defend the south goal, Princeton taking the west.”
This mistake elicits much laughter, and a witty graduate who has just had lunch wants to know, as one man to the rest of the house, if it is puss-in-the-corner that is being played.
The instrument behind the board goes “Tick-ity-tick-tick-tickity.”
There is a hush, broken only by the witty graduate, who, encouraged by his first success, wants to know again if it is puss-in-the-corner that is being played. This fails to gain.
“Gilblick catches the kick-off and runs the ball back to his own 3-yard line, where he is downed in his tracks,” comes the announcement.
There is a murmur of incredulity at this. The little ball on the board shoots to the middle of the field.
“Hey, how about that?” shout several precincts.
The announcer steps forward again.
“That was the wrong announcement,” he admits. “Tweedy caught the kick-off and ran the ball back twenty-five yards to midfield, where he is thrown for a loss. On the next play there was a forward pass, Klung to Breakwater, which—”
Here the message stops. Intense excitement.
The man who has $5 on the game shuts his eyes and says to his neighbor: “I’ll bet it was intercepted.”
A wait of two triple-space minutes while the announcer winds his watch. Then he steps forward. There is a noisy hush.
“It is estimated that 50,000 people filed into the Palmer Stadium to-day to watch Yale and Princeton in their annual gridiron contest,” he reads.
“Yale took the field at five minutes of 2, and was greeted by salvos and applause and cheering from the Yale section. A minute later the Princeton team appeared, and this was a signal for the Princeton cohorts to rise as one man and give vent to their famous ‘Undertaker’s Song.'”
“How about that forward pass?” This, as one man, from the audience.
The ball quivers and starts to go down the field. A mighty shout goes up. Then something happens, and the ball stops, looks, listens and turns in the other direction. Loud groans.
A wooden slide in the mechanism of the scoreboard rattles into place, upside down. Agile spectators figure out that it says “Pass failed.”
Every one then sinks back and says, “They ought not to have tried that.” If the quarterback could hear the graduates’ do-or-die backing of their team at this juncture he would trot into the locker building then and there.
Again the clear voice from the platform:
“Tweedy punts—” (noisy bond-salesman in back of room stands up on a chair and yells “Yea!” and is told to “Shut up” by three or four dozen neighbors) “to Gumble on his 15-yard line. Gumble fumbles.”
The noisy bond-salesman tries to lead a cheer but is prevented.
Frightful tension follows. Who recovered? Whose ball is it? On what line? Wet palms are pressed against trouser legs. How about it?
You can hear the announcer’s boots squeak as he steps forward.
“Mr. A.T. Blevitch is wanted on the telephone,” he enunciates.
Mr. A.T. Blevitch becomes the most unpopular man in that section of the country. Every one turns to see what a man of his stamp can look like. He is so embarrassed that he slinks down in his seat and refuses to answer the call.
“Klung goes around right end for a gain of two yards,” is the next message from the front.
The bond-salesman shouts “Yea!”
“How about that fumble?” shouts every one else.
The announcer goes behind the scenes to talk it over with the man who works the Punch-and-Judy, and emerges, smiling.
“In the play preceding the one just announced,” he says, “Gumble fumbled and the ball was recovered by Breakwater, who ran ten yards for a touchdown—”
Pandemonium! The bond-salesman leads himself in a cheer. The witty man says, “Nothing to it.”
There is comparative quiet again, and every one lights up the old pipes that have gone out.
The announcer steps forward with his hand raised as if to regulate traffic.
“There was a mistake in the announcement just made,” he says pleasantly. “In place of ‘touchdown’ read ‘touchback.’
“The ball is now in play on the 20-yard line, and Kleenwell has just gone through center for three yards.”
By this time no one in the audience has any definite idea of where the ball is or who has it. On the board it is hovering between midfield and second base.
“On the next play Legly punts—”
“Block that punt! Block that punt!” warns the bond-salesman, as if it were the announcer who was opposing Legly.
“Sit down, you poor fish!” is the consensus of opinion.
“Legly punts to Klung on the latter’s 25-yard line, where the first period ends.”
And so it goes throughout the game; the announcer calling out gains and the dummy football registering corresponding losses; Messrs. A.T. Blevitch and L.H. Yank being wanted on the telephone in the middle of forward passes; the noisy person in the back of the room yelling “Yea” on the slightest provocation and being hushed up at each outbreak; and every one wondering what the quarterback meant by calling for the plays he did.
In smaller cities, where only a few are gathered together to hear the results, things are not done on such an elaborate scale. The dummy gridiron and the dummy announcer are done away with and the ten or a dozen rooters cluster about the news ticker, most of them with the intention of watching for just a few minutes and then going home or back to the office. And they always wait for just one more play, shifting from one foot to the other, until the game is over.
About a ticker only the three or four lucky ones can see the tape. The rest have to stand on tip-toe and peer over the shoulders of the man in front. They don’t care. Some one will always read the results aloud, just as a woman will read aloud the cut-ins at the movies.
The one who is doing the reading usually throws in little advance predictions of his own when the news is slow in coming, with the result that those in the back get the impression that the team has at least a “varied attack,” effecting at times a field goal and a forward pass in the same play.
A critical period in the game, as it comes dribbling in over the ticker, looks something like this:
Some one suggests that the pass was illegal and that the whole team has been arrested.
The ticker clears its throat. Br-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r
The ticker stabs off a line of dots and begins:
“UNCLE TOM’S CABIN”
A few choice remarks are passed in the privacy of the little circle, to just the effect that you would suspect.
A newcomer elbows his way in and says: “What’s the good word? Any score yet?” and some one replies:
“Yes. The score now stands 206 to 0 in favor of Notre Dame.”
This grim pleasantry is expressive of the sentiment of the group toward newcomers. It is each man for himself now.
“Here she comes, now!” whispers the man who is hanging over the glass news terminal, reading aloud:
“Yale-Princeton-Game-Second Quarter (Good-night, what became of that forward pass in the first quarter?)
“Yale’s-ball-in-mid-field-Hornung-takes-ball-around-left-end-making-it- first-down-Tinfoil-drops-back-for-a-try-at-a-field-goal. (Oh, boy! Come on, now!)”
“Why the deuce do they try a field goal on the first down?” asks a querulous graduate-strategist. “Now, what he ought to do is to keep a-plugging there at tackle, where he has been going—”
“Bet he missed it!” offers some one with vague gambling instincts.
“AS. 66.991.059 LBS..
And just then some one comes in from the outside, all fresh and disagreeably cheery, and wants to know what the score is and if there have been many forward passes tried and who is playing quarter for Yale, and if any one has got a cigarette.
It is really just the same sort of program as obtains in the big college club, only on a small scale. They are all watching the same game and they are all wishing the same thing and before their respective minds’ eyes is the picture of the same stadium, with the swarm of queen bees and drones clinging to its sides.
And every time that you, who are one of the cold and lucky ones with a real ticket, see a back break loose for a long run and hear the explosion of hoarse shouts that follows, you may count sixty and then listen to hear the echo from every big city in the country where the old boys have just got the news.
“There are some things the Baby Boom has done that we’re not proud of. We used up all the weird. It has always been the special prerogative of youth to look and act strange, to alarm and surprise their elders with peculiar dress and manners. Cicero mentioned it. ‘O tempora! O mores!’ So did my mom, although in English. But the Baby Boom exhausted the available supply of peculiar. Weird clothes, we wore them. Weird beards, we grew them. Weird words and phrases, we said them. Weird attitudes, we had them. Thus when it came time for the next generation to alarm and surprise us with their peculiarities they were compelled to pierce their extremities and permanently ink their exposed flesh. That must have hurt. We apologize.”
Joel’s commentary: Last night, I had coffee with John Harris my neighbor and friend. John suggested if I want to learn Spanish, I sing Spanish songs. Promptly, a YouTube search of Spanish songs brought me to Enrique Iglesias.
Enrique Iglesias has a substantial portion of real estate on YouTube. His cross over into English dominates the site. Vevo videos, always a sign of quality, have sensuous videos with women so beautiful it can break your heart. But the songs are in English.
The Spanish songs are organized willy-nilly. Iglesias’ voice, always engaging, appears behind a static background. You don’t go to YouTube to see a photo. You go to YouTube for video and great video. Finally, I found: ENRIQUE IGLESIAS EN EL ESTADIO OLIMPICO. VERANO PRESIDENTE. 2 DE SEPTIEMBRE 2011. MASVIP.COM.DO.
Naturally, I provide basic flight information showing a Google Map of a flight from Miami to the Dominican Republic were you to go back in time and attend the concert.
The video is astonishing, an adjective I seldom use because it is hard to know what astonishing means. The video begins with a sweaty t-shirt and jean clad Iglesias going into the audience and hugging several luscious young women. This goes on for some time amid the sound of female fans howling with delight, reminiscent of Elvis Presley’s iconic appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. Great fun.
Iglesias plucks Rena out of the crowd. She is wearing a black tank top and white shorts. Rena cannot contain her delight as she and Iglesias go on stage. He briefly interviews her, asks her what song she wants him to sing, sings it while she mouths the words. Iglesias is engaging, charismatic, just plain wonderful with her.
He sings, passes the microphone to her but she refuses to sing several times until finally…. During the performance she is constantly taking photographs of Iglesias, showing them to him which he looks at in appreciation, and then he takes photos of the two of them together.
As to why I am trying to learn Spanish, there are two reasons which I will elaborate in eccentrically multiple items:
My daughter Amelia who has been living in Pontevedra, Spain is planning to visit me in State College PA to celebrate the arrival of 2015 and take part in my community’s First Night Celebration. This is a link to last year’s celebration. Amelia will be arriving with her friend Javier who is a sergeant in the Spanish Army.
During Amelia’s multi-month sojourn to the U.S. last year, she also took a course in medical Spanish at her alma mater [ which means “nourishing mother”] UNC Ashville and took care of me before, during, and after my major and successful kidney cancer surgery in NYC, rooming with me at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge.
[Note: Commentary to be resumed after I go out and purchase coffee. All out. An apartment without coffee is a terrible place.]
Back from scooting to the store, going in the opposite direction of crowds of eager football fans en route to Penn State’s Homecoming game. We start again with my two reasons for learning Spanish with another lengthy list:
Beginning with muñeca cruel video, Spanish lyrics, English lyrics, and Iglesias’ official site:
Un dia mas y tu no estas aqui
No me concentro tan solopienso enti Dicen que basta
Que es hora de vivir
y es imposible
Ves lo quequeda de mi Aqui esta mi cuerpo
Para que hagas lo que quieras de el Aqui esta mi alma
Para quesigasensanandote Aqui esta mi nombre
Para quepongas a sulado unacruz Aqui esta el final
De mis suenos escrito en tu papel
Muneca Cruel Aqui esta mi sangre
Que aun se altera cuando
mehablen detiAqui esta por fin mi futuro
Y tu no estas en el
Muneca CruelVuelve a llover
Todo me sienta mal
Salgo a buscarte
No se como empezarHago que duermo
Porque no quiero hablar
Mira mi vida
Es un desastre totalAqui esta mi cuerpo
Para que hagas lo que
quieras de elAqui esta mi alma
Para que sigas ensanandoteAqui esta mi nombre
Para que pongas a su lado una cruzAqui esta el final
De mis suenos escrito en tu papel
Muneca CruelAqui esta mi sangre
Que aun se altera cuando
me hablen de tiAqui esta por fin mi futuro
Y tu no estas en el
Another day and you’re not here
I can’t concentrate I only think of you
They say that’s enough
That’s its time to live
And it’s impossible
Do you see what you left of me?
Here is my body
For you to do with what you want with it
Here is my soul
For it continues to follow you
Here is my name
So you can put a cross beside it
Here is the end of my dreams
Written on your paper
Here is my blood
Though it jumps when they
speak of you
Here at last is my future
And you’re not in it
The rain comes again
Everything feels bad
I go to find you
I don’t know how to begin
because I don’t want to speak
Look at my life
it’s a total disaster
Here is my body
For you to do with what
you want with it
Here is my soul
For it continues to follow you
Here is my name
So you can put a cross beside it
Here is the end of my dreams
Written on your paper
Here is my blood
Though it jump when they
speak of you
Here at last is my future
And you’re not in it
Iglesias started his career in the mid-1990s on an American Spanish Language record label Fonovisa which helped turn him into one of the biggest stars in Latin America and the Hispanic Market in the United States becoming the biggest seller of Spanish-language albums of that decade.
By the turn of the millennium he made a successful crossover into the mainstream market and signed a multi-album deal with Universal Music Group for an unprecedented US $68,000,000 with Universal Music Latino to release his Spanish albums and Interscope to release English albums.
In late 2012, Republic Records was revived after eleven years of being dormant, shuttering Universal Republic Records and taking all the artists from that label to Republic Records, including Iglesias.
In 2001, he released his single Hero, which he later performed to commemorate the victims of the 9/11attacks.
Iglesias has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best selling Spanish language artists of all time.
He has had five Billboard Hot 100 top five singles, including two number-ones, and holds the record for producing 25 number-one Spanish-language singles on theBillboard‘s Hot Latin Tracks.
He has also had 13 number-one songs on Billboard’s Dance charts, more than any other single male artist.
Altogether, Iglesias has amassed more than 70 number-one rankings on the various Billboardcharts. Billboard has called him The King of Latin Pop andThe King of Dance.
“Hero” is a single released by Enrique Iglesias from his second English albumEscape and was written by Iglesias, Paul Barry and Mark Taylor. Iglesias first released the song to radio in early September 2001 to a positive critical and commercial reception.
After theSeptember 11 attacks on theWorld Trade Center, the song was one of the few songs chosen by radio DJs in New York to be remixed with audio from police, firefighters, civilians at Ground Zero and politicians commenting on the attacks. He was asked to sing the song live at the benefit concertAmerica: A Tribute to Heroes ten days after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Iglesias broadcast his performance from a warehouse in New York alongside Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Sheryl Crow. The location of the warehouse was kept secret in case of further attacks. It was Iglesias’ first televised performance of the song.
America: A Tribute to Heroes was a benefit concert created by the heads of the four major American broadcast networks; Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS.
Joel Gallen was selected by them to produce and run the show.
Actor George Clooney organized celebrities to perform and to man the telephone bank.
The marketing and public relations was headed by Warner Bros. EVP Corp Comm with assistance from the marketing and publicity departments of all four broadcast networks. It was broadcast live by the four major American television networks and all of the cable networks in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.
Some of the musicians including Neil Young and Eddie Vedder were heard working the phone banks taking pledges. The money raised amounted to over $200 million, and was given to the United Way‘s September 11 Telethon Fund.
1. At sunset, tonight [September 24, 2014 on the solar calendar] the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah began.
2. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the new year 5775.
3. According to Wikipedia tonight “is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of humanity’s role in God‘s world.”
3. Here is The Jewish Publication Society’s translation from the book of Genesis. “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They [sic] shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth. And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female. He created them. God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.'” The creation of Adam and Eve took place on Friday, the sixth day of creation.
4. “Chabad, also known as Habad, Lubavitch, and Chabad-Lubavitch, is an Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic movement,” explains Wikipedia. According to Chabad, whose Orthodox movement inspired the first eight years of my elementary school education: “Rosh Hashanah…emphasizes the special relationship between G‑d and humanity: our dependence upon G‑d as our creator and sustainer, and G‑d’s dependence upon us as the ones who make His presence known and felt in His world. Each year on Rosh Hashanah, ‘all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,’ and it is decreed in the heavenly court ‘who shall live, and who shall die . . . who shall be impoverished, and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.’ But this is also the day we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe is dependent upon the renewal of the divine desire for a world when we accept G‑d’s kingship each year on Rosh Hashanah.”
5. A note on the spelling of God’s name. When I was a student at the Hebrew Academy of Greater Miami, (when founding Rabbi Alexander S. Gross was principal), I wrote God’s name thusly, “G-d.” To be more precise, I followed standard practice of altering the spelling of God’s name in Hebrew. The teaching was in keeping with the Commandment not to take the Lord’s name in vain. One did not say the name correctly or spell it out in English or Hebrew.
6. Subsequently, I became a member of Conservative and Reform synagogues where observance is not taken as literally as my elementary schooling.
7. I am currently a member of State College PA’s Brit Shalom, a congregation that combines Conservative and Reform practice. My rabbi is David Ostrich, a wonderful man.
8. Rabbi Ostrich has just written a special prayer-book for Rosh Hashanah and the High Holidays. It is called the machzor.
9. Wikipedia: “The mahzor…is the prayer book used by Jews on the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur….The prayer-book is a specialized form of the siddur, which is generally intended for use in weekday and Shabbat services.The word mahzor means ‘cycle’ (the root … means ‘to return’). It is applied to the festival prayer book because the festivals recur annually.”
10. Brit Shalom exclusive: Rabbi Ostrich’s mahzor has just been published this Rosh Hashana.
11. Here is a section Rabbi Ostrich emailed me yesterday from the mahzor:
12. QUESTIONS AND MYSTERIES WITH WHICH WE STRUGGLE
“As much as we are masters of our own fates—making decisions and living with the consequences, there are also times when greater powers toss us around like small boats on a stormy sea.
“Whether the “storm” is caused deliberately by God—as a punishment or a test—or by the vagaries of the natural world, we find ourselves victims or objects of the slings and arrows of fortune. Are events pre-determined, or do we have free will?
“This ominous prayer, Un’taneh Tokef, has for some 1500 years represented our people’s grappling with this question.
“We know that many of our decisions make a difference, but we also know that greater powers impact our lives in significant ways.
“We pray that the greatest of powers eases our way and makes our challenges manageable, and we pray that the decisions we make will be good ones.”
A live recording from the Vocalise Festival on November 23, 2010 in Potsdam, Germany.
Cantor Azi Schwartz and the RIAS Kammerchor, conducted by Ud Joffe. This setting of Un’tane Tokef (from the High Holy Days liturgy) by Raymond Goldstein.
I Joel wish you my readers a sweet and happy New Year. May you be recorded in the Book of Life.
People have been looking at the environment, as environment, for only a very short time. It has always been there, but it has finally been recognized as something that is terribly responsive to acts of will and judgment that have an endless impact on the state of humanity. The way we live, or exist, is the generator of many of the problems called the urban crisis. How we live, or exist, is what urban design and planning are all about. Esthetics is not some kind of optional extra or paste-on for pretty facades; it is the satisfaction of the needs of the body, the spirit and the senses through the way an environment looks and functions–two inseparable factors. Every social plan has a form, good or bad. The art of design is an unavoidable part of part of every urban decision. Until this is understood as the planning process, and design is accepted as an inescapable determinant of the result, we will simply produce more environmental failures.
1. Finally, out of the politics of despair and retrenchment, a new leader has emerged from the Democratic party unafraid to express the values in which I believe. In this, Bill de Blasio’s inaugural address, he states:
“Fiorello La Guardia— the man I consider to be the greatest Mayor this city has ever known — put it best. He said: I, too, admire the ‘rugged individual,’ but no ‘rugged individual’ can survive in the midst of collective starvation.”
2. What follows these editorial notes are excerpts from the speech I find especially relevant as well as the full text of de Blasio’s prepared remarks.
3. I am especially grateful to de Blasio for signaling out for distinction Harry Belafonte who de Blasio said, “we are honored to have with us here today.”Harry Belafonte was an early supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the years when support mattered. In my 66 years, I believe that Dr. King was the greatest leader in my lifetime. King’s non-violent approach toward racial inequality prevented a bloody civil war. See: https://joelsolkoff.com/dr-martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream-speech-on-august-28-1963/. After King’s assassination, Harry Belafonte supported King’s family and worked tirelessly to keep Dr. King’s dream alive.
4. No matter where I live, I will always think of myself as a New Yorker. I was born in the City. My mother taught Hebrew in the City and received her doctorate in Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary. My grandmother Celia Pell’s apartment in Brooklyn was my home throughout my youth. Celia was an apparel worker, for decades sewing bras and girdles by day–doing what she described as “uplifting work.” She spent her nights playing Beethoven and Mozart on her piano for hours on end. My sister Sarah Schmerler, a distinguished art critic lives in the City as well as her author husband Robert Simonson and my nephew Asher, who will be bar mitzvahed in September.
5. I am a graduate of Columbia College and will be celebrating my 45th Reunion–a reunion filled with memories of the demonstrations of 1968 which all too slowly led to the end of the evil War in Vietnam.
6. Last year, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer where my physician here in State College, PA sent me to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The brilliant surgeon Dr. Paul Russo successfully removed my cancerous tumor and saved my right kidney. The day before my first appointment with Dr. Russo, at the suggestion of my friend Kathy Forer, I visited The Renzo Piano Morgan Museum and Library–providing dramatic comfort to the cancer experience. The comfort continued during surgery and recuperation as I wrote and made videos about the Morgan and the brilliant architecture of Renzo Piano published by my editor Adrian Welch at http://www.e-architect.co.uk/editors/joel-solkoff.
7. I hope that Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to shatter the barriers between the wealthy and poor will result in government and private foundation grants to remove the expensive admission fees to the superb Morgan collection as well as the Frick, the Whitney, and other museums in the City. Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to make hospital emergency rooms accessible to the poor should lead in turn to an understanding that access to art should come without an admission fee because art’s therapeutic value has far too long been neglected.
Excerpts from Mayor de Blasio’s Inaugural Address
–We see what binds all New Yorkers together: an understanding that big dreams are not a luxury reserved for a privileged few, but the animating force behind every community, in every borough.
–The spark that ignites our unwavering resolve to do everything possible to ensure that every girl and boy, no matter what language they speak, what subway line they ride, what neighborhood they call home — that every child has the chance to succeed.
–We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love. And so today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York.
–Nearly a century ago, it was Al Smith who waged war on unsafe working conditions and child labor.
[Note: It was Al Smith who said, “The only cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.”]
–It was Franklin Roosevelt and Frances Perkins who led the charge for the basic bargain of unemployment insurance and the minimum wage.
[Note: Francis Perkins said, “What was the New Deal anyhow? Was it a political plot? Was it just a name for a period in history? Was it a revolution? To all of these questions I answer ‘No.’ It was something quite different… It was, I think, basically an attitude. An attitude that found voice in expressions like ‘the people are what matter to government,’ and ‘a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life.'”]
–It was Fiorello La Guardia who enacted the New Deal on the city level, battled the excesses of Wall Street, and championed a progressive income tax.
–When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it. And we will do it. I will honor the faith and trust you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed as One City. We know this won’t be easy; It will require all that we can muster. And it won’t be accomplished only by me; It will be accomplished by all of us — those of us here today, and millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our city.
Full remarks as prepared: Mayor de Blasio’s Inaugural Address
Thank you, President Clinton, for your kind words. It was an honor to serve in your administration, and we’re all honored by your presence. I have to note that, over 20 years ago, when a conservative philosophy seemed dominant, you broke through – and told us to still believe in a place called Hope.
Thank you, Secretary Clinton. I was inspired by the time I spent on your first campaign. Your groundbreaking commitment to nurturing our children and families manifested itself in a phrase that is now a part of our American culture – and something we believe in deeply in this city. It Takes A Village.
Thank you, Reverend Fred Lucas Jr., Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Monsignor Robert Romano, and Imam Askia Muhammad for your words of prayer.
Thank you, Governor Cuomo. Working with you at HUD, I saw how big ideas can overcome big obstacles. And it will be my honor to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with you again.
Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg. To say the least, you led our city through some extremely difficult times. And for that, we are all grateful. Your passion on issues such as environmental protection and public health has built a noble legacy. We pledge today to continue the great progress you made in these critically important areas.
Thank you, Mayor Dinkins, for starting us on the road to a safer city, and for always uplifting our youth – and I must say personally, for giving me my start in New York City government. You also had the wisdom to hire a strong and beautiful young woman who walked up to me one day in City Hall and changed my life forever.
Chirlane, you are my soulmate — and my best friend. My partner in all I do. My love for you grows with each passing year. Chiara and Dante, I cannot put into words the joy and the pride that you bring your mother and me. You are the best thing that’s ever happened to us, and we love you very much.
And finally, thank you to my brothers Steve and Don, and all my family assembled today — from all around this country, and from Italy. You have always guided and sustained me.
Thank you, my fellow New Yorkers ‑- my brothers and sisters — for joining Chirlane, Chiara, Dante, and me on this chilly winter day.
De parte de Chirlane, Chiara, Dante y yo, les extiendo las gracias a ustedes, mis hermanas y hermanos niuyorquinos, por acompañarnos en este dia tan especial.
Like it is for so many of you, my family is my rock. Their wisdom, their compassion, and their sense of humor make each day a gift to cherish.
But, what makes today so special isn’t just my family, but our larger New York family. We see what binds all New Yorkers together: an understanding that big dreams are not a luxury reserved for a privileged few, but the animating force behind every community, in every borough.
The spark that ignites our unwavering resolve to do everything possible to ensure that every girl and boy, no matter what language they speak, what subway line they ride, what neighborhood they call home — that every child has the chance to succeed.
We recognize a city government’s first duties: to keep our neighborhoods safe; to keep our streets clean; to ensure that those who live here – and those who visit – can get where they need to go in all five boroughs. But we know that our mission reaches deeper. We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love. And so today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has written our city’s history. It’s in our DNA.
Nearly a century ago, it was Al Smith who waged war on unsafe working conditions and child labor. It was Franklin Roosevelt and Frances Perkins who led the charge for the basic bargain of unemployment insurance and the minimum wage. It was Fiorello La Guardia who enacted the New Deal on the city level, battled the excesses of Wall Street, and championed a progressive income tax.
From Jacob Riis to Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry Belafonte — who we are honored to have with us here today — it was New Yorkers who challenged the status quo, who blazed a trail of progressive reform and political action, who took on the elite, who stood up to say that social and economic justice will start here and will start now.
It’s that tradition that inspires the work we now begin. A movement that sees the inequality crisis we face today, and resolves that it will not define our future. Now I know there are those who think that what I said during the campaign was just rhetoric, just “political talk” in the interest of getting elected. There are some who think now, as we turn to governing – well, things will continue pretty much like they always have.
So let me be clear. When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it. And we will do it. I will honor the faith and trust you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed as One City. We know this won’t be easy; It will require all that we can muster. And it won’t be accomplished only by me; It will be accomplished by all of us — those of us here today, and millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our city.
You must continue to make your voices heard. You must be at the center of this debate. And our work begins now. We will expand the Paid Sick Leave law — because no one should be forced to lose a day’s pay, or even a week’s pay, simply because illness strikes. And by this time next year, fully 300,000 additional New Yorkers will be protected by that law. We won’t wait.
We’ll do it now. We will require big developers to build more affordable housing. We’ll fight to stem the tide of hospital closures. And we’ll expand community health centers into neighborhoods in need, so that New Yorkers see our city not as the exclusive domain of the One Percent, but a place where everyday people can afford to live, work, and raise a family. We won’t wait. We’ll do it now.
We will reform a broken stop-and-frisk policy, both to protect the dignity and rights of young men of color, and to give our brave police officers the partnership they need to continue their success in driving down crime. We won’t wait. We’ll do it now.
We will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can offer full-day universal pre-K and after-school programs for every middle school student. And when we say “a little more,” we can rightly emphasize the “little.”
Those earning between $500,000 and one million dollars a year, for instance, would see their taxes increase by an average of $973 a year. That’s less than three bucks a day – about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks.
Think about it. A 5-year tax on the wealthiest among us – with every dollar dedicated to pre-K and after-school. Asking those at the top to help our kids get on the right path and stay there. That’s our mission. And on that, we will not wait. We will do it now.
Of course, I know that our progressive vision isn’t universally shared. Some on the far right continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics. They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else. They sell their approach as the path of “rugged individualism.”
But Fiorello La Guardia — the man I consider to be the greatest Mayor this city has ever known — put it best. He said: “I, too, admire the ‘rugged individual,’ but no ‘rugged individual’ can survive in the midst of collective starvation.”
So please remember: we do not ask more of the wealthy to punish success. We do it to create more success stories. And we do it to honor a basic truth: that a strong economy is dependent on a thriving school system. We do it to give every kid a chance to get their education off on the right foot, from the earliest age, which study after study has shown leads to greater economic success, healthier lives, and a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.
We do it to give peace of mind to working parents, who suffer the anxiety of not knowing whether their child is safe and supervised during those critical hours after the school day ends, but before the workday is done. And we do it because we know that we must invest in our city, in the future inventors and CEOs and teachers and scientists, so that our generation – like every generation before us – can leave this city even stronger than we found it.
Our city is no stranger to big struggles — and no stranger to overcoming them.
New York has faced fiscal collapse, a crime epidemic, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. But now, in our time, we face a different crisis – an inequality crisis. It’s not often the stuff of banner headlines in our daily newspapers. It’s a quiet crisis, but one no less pernicious than those that have come before.
Its urgency is read on the faces of our neighbors and their children, as families struggle to make it against increasingly long odds. To tackle a challenge this daunting, we need a dramatic new approach — rebuilding our communities from the bottom-up, from the neighborhoods up. And just like before, the world will watch as we succeed. All along the way, we will remember what makes New York, New York.
A city that fights injustice and inequality — not just because it honors our values, but because it strengthens our people. A city of five boroughs — all created equal. Black, white, Latino, Asian, gay, straight, old, young, rich, middle class, and poor. A city that remembers our responsibility to each other — our common cause — is to leave no New Yorker behind.
That’s the city that you and I believe in. It’s the city to which my grandparents were welcomed from the hills of Southern Italy, the city in which I was born, where I met the love of my life, where Chiara and Dante were raised.
It’s a place that celebrates a very simple notion: that no matter what your story is – this is your city. Our strength is derived from you. Working together, we will make this One City. And that mission — our march toward a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation. It begins today.
Thank you, and God bless the people of New York City!