First-Generation NYC Students Develop Business Skills to Help Harlem Business Owners

In a time when anti-immigration rhetoric is scaling new heights in the US and the EU, there is a bright spot in the U.S. migration story. A New York City pilot program teaches first-generation high school students financial literacy and entrepreneurship. It is a win for all communities involved.

First-Generation Entrepreneurs Trailer
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Ski Butternut Celebrates 60 Years of Delighting Families

More than 40 ski and snowboard instructors braved the frigid New England evening temperatures to participate in the 60th anniversary celebration of Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, MA.

Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Cap the Ski Butternut Celebration

As one of the many part-time ski instructors, waiting for nightfall was a bit of a heavy lift after teaching all day on one of the coldest weekends of the year. But once we lit the torches and started skiing down the mountain together, it was a thrilling reminder on how great it is to be part of such a dynamic community doing what we all love to do: ski.

Spotlight: Chateau Suau Leads Bordeaux’s Organic Reign

Full disclosure: My cousin Tom is married to Monique Bonnet, the founder of Chateau Suau.

Monique is one of the few successful woman leaders working in wine in Bordeaux. She has been running the family vineyard since the 1980’s.

Around 2007, she noticed her workers were developing rashes, runny eyes, and other symptoms. After a few conversations she learned they were impacted by the pesticides that treat the grapes. Most vineyards still use toxic pesticides today. She said, “That’s it. We are going organic.” At a huge cost, they lost almost three years of production to convert their more than 150 acres into an organic vineyard.

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Is The Women’s Hijab Iran’s Berlin Wall?

We were traveling in Iran, 2014. We were in the designated world heritage’s Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Esfahan. I met a group of young travelers. As you can see from this short video, it was a robust and ebullient group. Suddenly a woman shrouded in black, with her four male colleagues, tapped on one of the woman’s shoulder instructing her to correct her headscarf. She had too much hair exposed. In less than three seconds the woman shut down from an urbane cosmopolitan to a mix of shame, frustration, rage, resignation and protective humor.

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From the PEN Archive: Salman Rushdie and Writers on the Selfie, Fatwa, Freedom of Expression and More.

Writers, Orhan Pamuk, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie taking selfies, pre-iPhone with Pamuk’s new camera. PEN World Voices, Cooper Union, New York City, 2007.

Selfies before the iPhone with Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk and Margaret Atwood, Cooper Union, NYC, 2007.
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My Buddy, Everett Quinton

Everett Quinton, 71, was a downtown/uptown theater icon, unofficial mayor of the Greenwich Village and one of my dearest friends for more than 35 years. He died from glioblastoma on Monday, January 23.

Everett Quinton, left, Greenwich Village, NYC

When I first came to New York and heard about him, and his partner, Charles Ludlum, of Ridiculous Theater fame, I was terrified. Men in drag, performing in basement theaters for predominantly gay audiences. As a closeted gay man, there was nothing more threatening.

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Sanitation Entrepreneur Takes on War and Climate

Last fall we had the pleasure of speaking with entrepreneur Bara Wahbeh, Co-founder and CTO of Akyas Sanitation, from his home in Amman, Jordan.

Bara Wahbeh on the urgent need for sanitation

Wahbeh, with his team of four, created a sustainable toilet system after Wahbeh worked in Izmir, Turkey. For many months he witnessed thousands of displaced Syrian people live in make-shift camps around the city. With no access to food, healthcare, education or work opportunities, he witnessed thousands spiral into unimaginable poverty. To hear his inspired story, please watch the origin story below.

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Link Ensemble Wows the Wedding Crowd

Full disclosure, the Link Ensemble Vocalist, Madeline Jentsch, is my niece. But we still wholeheartedly endorse and recommend these wildly talented artists. Rounding out the trio are Madeline’s life partner, Phillip Goist, Cello, and his identical twin brother, David Goist, Violin.

They are alumni of the prestigious and rigorous, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, (CCM), undergraduate and graduate programs.

During the pandemic when orchestras and opera houses shuttered their doors, these talented entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands and started performing online at churches, weddings, holiday parties, whatever the occasion, they were game. Now that they can perform live, and are on the road again, they have become so popular they are booking events almost two years from now. We got lucky and captured this song on our phone at Madeline’s brother, Max’s, wedding to his wife, Maggie.

To learn more, check out The Link Ensemble.