Category Archives: Blog
Ivo Van Hove’ production of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” at the BAM brought back to my mind the same inspiring ideas that I discovered when I read for the first time all of Rand’s novels. At the time I was living immersed in a sea of mediocrity crafted by the Communist system of Romania and Ayn Rand’s central characters were looking to be forged of an other-world alloy than the ones that were surrounding us. Their ideals and integrity was a far cry from what we were used to. Some years later, arriving in the never sleeping New York on lookout for these type of characters, I found out that few embraced Rand’s ideas, her entire philosophy of “objectivism”, that was actually profoundly personal and lacking social applicability, was considered by many a menace, promoting even more the American selfishness and ego-centrism. In spite of all possible checks and balances, any system can be gamed and the American system that I discovered entwined in the financial world on New York City was gamed vigorously and, under corporate speak and a tremendous amount of money, many Peter Keatings were promoted as stars and despicable characters like Gail Wynand, despising the uneducated but playing to them and resembling so much a current accidental president, became temporary heroes. Luckily, besides them cushioned comfortably in the system’s down pillows, there are a number of real Roarks that can move things ahead with probably less ego-centrism and fight, as in the play and the novel, with the surrounding mediocrity, lies and cheats. The powerful women that Ayn Rand puts in the heart of her novels are like vestals serving the temple of creation and integrity. The play comes in New York in a wave of sexual allegation and its take about the powerful sexual scenes, typical for all Ayn Rand’s novels, was misinterpreted by many as I could see in several of the comments after the play.
Just several miles outside of The Bronx, in Yonkers, an American lawyer and hobbyist horticulturist created a beautiful garden on the shore of the Hudson River. Samuel Untermyer bought the property in 1899 and hired the same architect who designed the Rockefeller’s gardens at Kykuit to design it.
Money was no issue for the famous lawyer who was known as the first who was able to receive one million dollars as a fee in a single legal case at the beginning of the 20th century. But he wanted for people to enjoy his gardens so he opened them for visitors on a weekly basis.
The original land he accrued for his gardens was of more than 150 acres but only a small part of it, about 43 acres, remained incorporated today as a city park in the City of Yonkers.
Ai Weiwei’s “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” exhibit deploys installation all over New York City in about 300 locations. The exhibits are a manifest for the more than 65 million people who lost their home in the current world instability and they are migrating to other more safe countries of the world.
Ai Weiwei produced the documentary “Human Flow” about refugees of the world shot during a period of two years in more than 40 refugee camps and along numerous border crossings.
The Orange Heritage Rail Trail is listed on sites as starting in Harriman, NY and going way beyond Goshen, NY. It’s kind of this way but not exactly. The trail starts in Harriman, right when you enter Grove Road but is getting lost into the woods on an overgrown path. A down the path bridgeis completely blocked after that, making the further foray impossible.
Because there are no parking places along the trail in Harriman, except at its beginning, the next best place to park is in Monroe, NY, about 3 miles up the road. From there you can back track the trail for about 2-3 miles to the closed bridge that is very well marked as end of the trail.
When biking back to Monroe the trail again is closed temporarily by some constructions right in town on Rt 208 that detours the ride on the main road for about 1/4 mile. From there the trail becomes uninterrupted and relatively well paved all the way to Goshen crossing corn fields and skirting beautiful ponds and lakes.
On the way, there are two old train stops, the most picturesque being in Chester, a small rural community that became affluent while the train was crossing through its center, just to fall again to its original status after the rail went bankrupt and did not carry anymore freight and passengers through town.
Goshen is a beautiful town and its rich past can be seen all over its center. From the numerous and beautiful churches, to the elegant inn, the revival style courthouse and the hippodrome, Goshen had them all. The paved trail ends in Goshen with no signs pointing to a continuation. But after several inquiries, we were able to follow the Main Street till the cemetery where we took a hard right that put us on an unpaved trail through the woods that goes for another 2.5 miles all the way to Hartley Road, for a total of about 32 miles round trip from the closed bridge off Harriman.
Popolopen Torne trail is a beautiful hike of about 5.6 miles that brings you on top of a peak overlooking the Hudson Valley. The trail is named after the creek that you follow for most of the first part, a name like taken from Harry Potter; say it three times and you turn yourself in a hedgehog.
The trail starts in Fort Montgomery right off Route 9W after the roundabout near Bear Mountain Bridge – parking is just a little bit up the road – and follows the creek on a red marker for about an hour till it meets a blue marker where you turn and cross the creek.
After crossing the creek the path starts climbing the mountain reaching an area of large boulders that are piled one on top of the others all the way to the top. So you have to scramble them.
On top of the mountain is a monument dedicated to many fallen American heroes who lost their lives in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The path that continues behind the memorial and goes down to the Mine Road was renamed as “The Path of the Fallen.”
At the end of the trail a lake, or rather a large pond, comes on your left side that can be surrounded or skipped in your way back to the car.