“My Own Strength” – My Thanksgiving Playlist


Dear Readers:

Greetings on this cold, but beautiful, Saturday afternoon.  Next week we will celebrate Thanksgiving and I so excited.  This is one of my favorite holidays!  However, I am mindful of those who will be alone on this day.  I will keep them, along with my family and friends, in my thoughts and prayers.

A few years before her death, Whitney Houston performed My Own Strength on the Oprah Winfrey show.  This song clearly resonated with the audience, and with me.  In my attempt to provide a bit of encouragement, I have decided to share it for today’s post.  This is one of the top songs on my Thanksgiving play list, which means there are more to come.  Until then, please enjoy this treasure from the great Whitney Houston.

Have a wonderful weekend!




Brooklyn Legends Reading Room – Vintage Black Glamour

IMG_0121Dear Readers:

In late September, I arrived home from work to find my copy of Vintage Black Glamour waiting in my living room. This was truly a welcome treat after a stressful week. As a follower of the Vintage Black Glamour blog, I could not wait to peek inside.  The book was printed in London, so it took some time to reach the United States but it was truly worth waiting for.  I love everything about it.

Just think back to the days when ladies were exquisitely put together from head to toe.  Her hair was neatly coiffed, her dress was pressed, her makeup was perfectly set and her gloves were always close by.  With just one look, it was easy to see the quiet, elegance that each woman conveyed.



This as an admonishment to the ladies we see today; this was simply a different period in our history — yet it really wasn’t that long ago.  I was a little girl who was trying to figure out how to remove my gloves when I got to church without causing too much trouble. After a few stern looks I knew what to do.  Now that I am an adult, I cannot stop looking at pictures from those days.

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Keeping this era of elegance alive for us today is Nichelle Gainer, author of the book Vintage Black Glamour.  It rests on my coffee table, along with a few other favorite items.  Among the pictures of the beautiful women featured in this book, you will find performing legends Lena Horne and Josephine Premice who were born in Brooklyn.  A biography is also included with each entry.

If you are looking for a great holiday gift, or that perfect coffee table book to add to your collection, I highly recommend this one.  For those of you who are close to me, you can guess what you will be receiving for the holidays!

Happy Reading.


Vintage Black Glamour by Nichelle Gainer

Who Am I & Who Do I Want to Become by Lisa Price


Dear Readers:

For the past 6 months, if not longer, I have been intensely focused on plans for LDF’s annual fundraising gala, which held on November 6, 2014 in New York City.  LDF honored three exceptional business leaders and visionaries, and commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.  More than 600 guests were present.

At different stages during this process, I asked myself – am I doing what I really want to do in my career?  Am I comfortable with who I am?  Do I know who I want to become?  I am working on the answers to these questions.

Lisa Price/Tony Cenicola The New York Times

Lisa Price/Tony Cenicola The New York Times

Frequently I come across articles that I find to be inspirational.  If I cannot read them at that moment, I file them away for the future.

One article was an August 21, 2010 interview between Adam Bryant, a New York Times writer who talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and managing for his Corner Office series, and Lisa Price, President and CEO of Carol’s Daughter, a successful hair, body and skin-care corporation headquartered in Manhattan and one of my personal favorites.

The title of the feature – Don’t Take It Personally – really spoke to me.  Ms. Price discussed her leadership style and how it has evolved over time.  She also gives examples of how she no longer takes challenging business encounters so personally.  I will speak more to her points in a future Brooklyn Legends post.

Also in my “future viewing/reading” pile, I bookmarked a 3 minute where Ms. Price discusses the start of Carol’s Daughter, which was originally located in Brooklyn.  In this segment she touches upon two important questions – Who am I?  Who do I want to become?

I am pleased to share this video with you.  I look forward to sharing more of Ms. Price’s sage leadership advice in future posts.

Have a wonderful day and week!


Adam Bryant of The New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com
Carol’s Daughter – Lisa Price – http://www.carolsdaughter.com

Architectural Gems in Brooklyn’s Crown – Lefferts Manor

Lefferts Manor Limestones - Fillmore.com

Lefferts Manor Limestones – Fillmore.com

Dear Readers:

Now that fall has arrived, I am more inclined to stroll along Brooklyn’s beautiful tree-lined streets and admire the stunning architecture; one of the borough’s best kept secrets.  As a Brooklynite, this one secret I am proud to share.  Today I will provide a glimpse of some of the architectural gems in Lefferts Manor, which is a short walk from my apartment on Hawthorne Street.



A Brief Overview of Lefferts Manor

Lefferts Manor, an eight-block parcel of land located within Prospect Lefferts Gardens, has been described by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as one of the finest “enclaves of late 19th, and early 20th century housing in New York City.”  Lefferts Manor’s architectural structure as a row house neighborhood has remained unchanged since the first four homes were constructed in 1899.  From 1900 – 1905 there was a six-year hiatus, but the years that followed more than compensated for the lull in activity.  Between 1905 and 1922 an impressive 507 homes were built.  The final three homes that would complete this unique enclave were built on Maple Street in 1952.

Great care was taken to ensure these homes were unique from other houses that were built throughout the city.  Historians and preservationists attribute the neighborhood’s unique style to the manner in which brick, brownstone and limestone were used in different combinations, and colors, to create contrast.

Here are a few pictures of Lefferts Manor’s stunning architecture.


This is truly one of the most beautiful times of the year.  Be sure to take a few moments out to enjoy beautiful Brooklyn.

Have a great week.




Lefferts Manor Association – Leffertsmanor.org
Fillmore.com – Real Estate listings in Prospect Lefferts
Mary Kay Gallagher Real Estate
The Secret Is Out In Prospect Lefferts Gardens – online.wsj.com
The Weekly Nabe – online newsletter and blog
The Brownstoner – online newsletter and blog
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Brooklyn Legends Inspirations VI – Be Encouraged



Dear Readers:

The past few weeks have been extremely challenging for many of my friends and colleagues.  Some of have lost loved ones, others have experienced health-related setbacks.  Regardless of the form, the loss and pain are apparent.

In a few weeks we will usher in the fall, which is truly my favorite time of the year.  For me, it is a time of renewal and rebirth.  Lately, I have been in a quiet space as I contemplate the recent losses many in my circle have experienced, and the sadness that has crept in.  Despite these trying times, I rest in knowing that there is still hope and all is not lost.  I came across this quote and decided to share it with you.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and there you will see that in truth you are weeping for
that which has been your delight!
Khalil Gibran

Be encouraged.


Image – Rgbstock.com



The People’s Champion and The Fight to Save Brooklyn’s LICH

LICH - Archpaper.com

LICH – Archpaper.com

Dear Readers:

Last month, I introduced to some (and re-introduced to others) New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James. At that time I provided a broad overview of the important items on her agenda: good work for fair pay, access to healthcare, a common sense public education policy, universal school lunch and a constituent services plan.



Today I will focus on Public Advocate James’ determination to preserve one of Brooklyn’s venerable health care institutions – Long Island College Hospital (LICH). This has been a public fight and some New Yorkers have been critical of her stance around this issue. The plea was to keep the hospital running as a full service medical center – a noble aspiration but one without any real takers.

LICH was a financially troubled institution for many years.  In 2011 when SUNY raised its hand, and agreed to partner with the medical center, there was a collective sigh of relief and another health care crisis seemed to be adverted.

IMG_0084All of this changed in 2013 when SUNY decided to sell LICH, which was losing anywhere from $6 million to $10 million per month. On October 9, 2014, after a lengthy RFP process and many setbacks – including a labor dispute with the New York State Nursing Association (NYSNA) – Fortis Property Group would be successful.

What does this all mean?  Fortis has been given the green light to redevelop the site to include condominiums and a state of the art medical center to be operated by NYU Langone Medical Center.  In 2018, if all goes according to plan, a new housing development will be on the market and the residents of south Brooklyn will have a free-standing emergency room department. This is not the deal community residents and public advocates originally lobbied for, but sometimes success comes in small steps. Here is what the structured settlement will call for:

  • $5 million to upgrade the interim emergency department that NYU Langone Medical Center will operate until the new facility is complete.
  • $175 million to build a new facility with 125,000 square feet of space.
  • A medical treatment plan that will employ 70 doctors.
  • A total staff of 400.

I must admit there were times when I felt this would be a hopeless fight, and the residents would end up with little or no hope for quality health care.  In the early stages it was easier to call for an all or nothing proposition, but as we all know life is rarely this simple.  There are always challenges seen, and unseen, that further complicate financial deals of this magnitude. Not to minimize the daunting challenge of operating LICH, but my sense of why this fight was so important for James, and former Public Advocate now Mayor Bill DeBlasio, comes down to one word – ACCESS.  This was their way of ensuring an open dialogue around access to health care, during a time when the need is so great.  Perhaps, one day plans for a full-service hospital will show up in another form.

Outlining her agenda - wn.com

Outlining her agenda – article.wn.com

For me, this does not mean that Public Advocate James’ fight was lost or not needed.  I’m glad to know that we have elected officials who want to win for the people they represent.

While standing in opposition to a huge business deal such as this was may not always be practical, it is indeed admirable. This was not an easy process for Public Advocate James but she stood by the community and saw the debate through to the end.

To me, she still a champion and, from time to time, everybody needs one.

Have a great week!



SUNY, Fortis reach agreement on LICH – Crainsnewyork.com
The End for Long Island College Hospital – New York Time – nytimes.com
LICH Deal Collapses After Hiring Dispute – Crainsnewyork.com
University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital – wikipedia.org
LICH History – Dr. Hugh Gilgoff, LICH Pediatrics, Brooklyn, New York

We Will Never Forgot – September 11, 2001

The Twin Towers - New York Times

The Twin Towers – New York Times

Dear Readers,

In a few hours we will commemorate the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States.  I am surprised at how vividly I can recall everything I was doing that day, even the outfit that I was wearing. This was truly one of the saddest days I can remember as an adult. So many lives lost, so much pain and tragedy.

Via imgls.com

Freedom Tower – imgls.com

Today I work a few blocks from the new Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan.  Whenever I walk past this stunning building, I am amazed at the tremendous progress that has been made. This is a true testament to our resilience as Americans.  However, there are times when an eerie feeling comes over me; just for a few moments and then it passes.  I imagine the time will come when I am less emotional, so I will continue to be patient.

For now, all that I can offer are my prayers.  I pray for the men and women, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters who lost their lives on that day.  I pray for their families as there are some painful memories that time may never erase.  I pray for those of us who work within walking distance of the new Freedom Tower, for life can change at any moment.

When I arrive home safely each night I am truly grateful, and count it as one of my greatest blessings.  In honor of the men and women who will never again be able to say “I’m home”, we will never forget you.


9/11 Memorial dedication - nydailynews.com

9/11 Memorial dedication – nydailynews.com