Let Us Talk

November 12, 2008

The Night Obama Slept In A NYC Alley: From Alley Way To The White House


Barack Obama’s story is truly about strength of mind, perseverance, courage and audaciousness.  This man – from he was young – was determined to be a success and did all he had to and remains grounded. Barack Obama is truly an inspiration. This man has my respect!

This post was written on Tuesday, November 4

If the election goes the way the polls predict, every school kid should see the Manhattan alleyway where a future President spent his first night in New York.

Just across the street is the fire hydrant where young Barack Obama washed up with a homeless gentleman after waking that morning a quarter century ago.

Obama had come to New York as a transfer student at Columbia, having arranged to take over a friend of a friend’s apartment on W. 109th St. He arrived with his luggage just after 10p.m., only for nobody to answer the door.

Obama sat on the building’s stoop, rereading a letter he had received before he left California. The letter was from the father who had long since moved back to Kenya. The father urged him to carry through with plans to visit Africa after his graduation.

“The important thing is that you know your people, and also that you know where you belong,” the long-absent father had written. “Please look after yourself and say hello to your mum.”

Obama refolded the letter and gazed along what was then a row of boarded-up buildings on W. 109th St., keenly feeling the absence of a guiding paternal hand in a country where there seemed no clear place for a young black man.

“I looked down now at the abandoned New York street,” Obama later wrote in his autobiography. “Where were the fathers, the uncles and grandfathers who could help explain this gash in our hearts? Where were the healers who might help us rescue meaning from defeat? They were gone, vanished, swallowed up by time. Only their cloudy images remained.”

He waited past midnight before wiggling through a gate into an alleyway that by his description is almost certainly the one adjacent to 200 W. 109th St.

“I found a dry spot, propped my luggage beneath me and fell asleep, the sound of drums softly shaping my dreams,” he wrote. “I woke up to find a white hen pecking at the garbage near my feet.”

He rose and stepped from the alleyway.

“Across the street, a homeless man was washing himself at an open hydrant and didn’t object when I joined him,” Obama recalled.

Twenty-five years later, the hydrant has been given a cheerful coat of red paint by the Dominican superintendent of the building across from the alleyway.

The alleyway is no longer garbage-strewn but swept clean, the six trash cans kept in a neat row by the Montenegrin super in the adjacent building.

The supers were taking the extra care because that is their nature, just as the once-abandoned buildings along the block now fly American flags as a signal of the neighborhood’s restoration.

Nobody seems to have been aware that the alleyway and the hydrant might become one of the city’s most unlikely historical sights.

Here slept and washed up a future President who propelled himself beyond the soft drumming of his dreams, who appeared before us suddenly and so vividly, showing a young black man’s place is where he strives to be, presenting himself as a healer who can help black and white rescue meaning from defeat.

“It’s a privilege to live in a neighborhood where once a future President has spent the night,” the Montenegrin super, Ruzdija Jarovic, said in his native language.

Happy shouts rang out from the recess yard of Public School 165 just down the block. A whistle sounded and the youngsters filed inside past a bank of voting machines delivered for the election that could have such an impact on their future.

The man who slept in the alley just up W. 109th St. was on every ballot in the country. Obama’s father and mother died long before his nomination. His grandmother died yesterday, a day before she could have seen more than dreams come true.

Maybe the homeless guy who shared the hydrant is still around. The hydrant and the alleyway remain, and to visit there on Election Eve was to feel how audacious hope can really be.



Author: Michael Daly – NY Daily News.

Link: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/11/03/2008-11-03_how_far_obama_and_us_have_come_since_he_.html

October 16, 2008

Videos: 63rd Annual Alfred E. Smith Fdn Dinner Featuring Obama and McCain (Roast)

63rd Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner

When:         Thursday, October 16, 2008
Where:        The Waldorf=Astoria, New York City
Time:           6:30 p.m. 

Keynote Speakers:
Honorable John McCain, United States Senate, Arizona
Honorable Barack Obama, United States Senate, Illinois




Barack Obama and GOP rival John McCain traded their boxing gloves for formal wear – and some self-deprecating humor – at Thursday night’s Alfred E. Smith Dinner. The annual see-and-be-seen political roast, named for the famed 1920s New York governor, is “the last time they’re going to be together before the election,” said Smith’s great-grandson and namesake.

The dinner has a storied history, having featured luminaries from Winston Churchill to George W. Bush.

And with the excitement generated by the presidential candidates at the top of the marquee, this year’s sold-out soiree has surpassed its goal of raising $2.5 million for Catholic causes. Alfred E. Smith was the first Catholic to run for president of the U.S. and a former 4 time governor of New York.

Both McCain and Obama were very funny in their roast.


June 23, 2008

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem


The title of this post is misleading; indeed, the name of the museum itself is misleading. Because as of yet, there is literally no such monument to be found, physically, in New York City. Sadly, in spite of its rich jazz history, New York City does not have a jazz museum. Even with the present dismal state of the NEA this is a really egregious set of circumstances. NYC and jazz are in some minds almost synonymous. Dating back to the Harlem Renaissance, informal jazz monuments abound – the Cotton Club, The Blue Note, Lennox Lounge, Birdland, and the Village Gate are just some of the iconic houses of jazz that have come to represent the smoky, bluesy tones of New York City’s rich music history. So the absence of an official home to celebrate, perpetuate and commemorate the city’s jazz was, to say the least, surprising.

Happily, that’s about to change. After a prolonged search, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem is now scheduled to be housed in the soon to be renovated and refurbished Victory Theater in upper Manhattan. Explains founder, Leonard Garment,

In 1996, Art D’Lugoff, then proprietor of the Village Gate, the historic Greenwich Village jazz club, suggested the idea of a jazz museum to his friend David Levy, who is director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, a sometime saxophonist and a lifelong jazz enthusiast. The two of them enlisted me. Before entering the practice of law, I had spent some time as a jazz musician; my performing career was brief, but my love of jazz proved permanent. Daryl Libow, a Washington lawyer and amateur jazz historian, joined us. We had lots of enthusiasm and no funding. We soon discovered the limitations of the former and the importance of the latter.


June 21, 2008

Bloomberg to Jews: Obama Is Not A Muslim; Don’t Believe The Lies

  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is urging Jewish voters to condemn the online rumor that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim with a hidden agenda.

Bloomberg was speaking to members of a Jewish group in Boca Raton, Florida on Friday, June 20.

The mayor says the rumor campaign is “cloaked in concern for Israel” but threatens to undo the strides that Jews and Muslims have made together.

Obama is Christian but has noted that some of the rumors about him have also been insulting to Muslims.

Political independent Bloomberg has not endorsed anyone yet in the presidential race. His defense of Obama could help the Illinois senator in Florida, which is home to many Jewish voters.

As mayor of New York City, Bloomberg declines to receive a city salary, accepting compensation of $1.00 annually for his services. He maintains a public listing in the New York City phone directory, residing not in Gracie Mansion, the official mayor’s mansion, but instead at his own home in Manhattan, he also takes the subway to work most days.

Bloomberg was born to a Jewish family of Russian and Polish descent and was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts.  Bloomberg is among the world’s richest people with a net worth estimated at $11.5 BILLION.


Blog at WordPress.com.