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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

First Day of School ...

As a kid, the month of September always made me a bit sad. While it was fun to head back to school and see all my friends and classmates, it was always a little tough to bid farewell to another summer. I would always look back at the fond memories, the days at the beach, days in the park and other great times. Whether it was barbeque in the backyard or listening to FM radio belt out the top tunes of summer, the summers spent as a kid were all wonderful.

When school started, I always wondered what the dogs thought?

They had their kids to play with all summer long and all of a sudden. Poof. It would come to an end.

I used to drive to the park and look at all the empty space in the late afternoon. Spaces filled with picnics and kids playing ball all summer long were empty. It was always a bit depressing.

But, that depression was offset by a spirit of new hope. A new beginning each year. Maybe new teachers, new subjects or even a new school or new kids joining my school. The weather was always great in September in NYC. I loved that.

The Jerry Lewis telethon would be on TV, coupled with the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the start of football season. It was all great stuff. Connors vs. McEnroe, The JETS.

As I start this blog, I have sent the URL to only a handful of friends. To get it started, I thought it was best to write a little over the summer and to figure out - step-by-step, brick-by-brick, day-by-day - what form this blog would take.

I found it was best to think of subjects but also let the news of the day take the lede. That way, I would write what was in my mind or in my heart. Maybe a deep thought or some analysis on a news item. Maybe just some random thoughts, like I am doing today.

I might ask, with today's blog, anyone with a great memory of early September send it in as a comment.

I want to leave a little comment of my own: While we are fortunate and everyone I know attends or attended a great school, I look around in my NYC neighborhood and see a pretty serious crisis. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. In a city that many call the 'greatest in the world.' Yet, schools are in crisis. Poor facilities. Over-crowding. Difficulty paying and keeping good teachers. School buildings and infrastructure at an all time worst.

Government officials always campaign with great promises and policy.

I remember when I first voted at the school (pictured above) in 1999. Soon after, the building was declared unsafe and it was closed. Scaffolding was erected and it became a community catastophy and eye-sore for seven and a half years. Each Election Day, the city officials would stand out on the corners and shake hands, promising that the school was under review. They would blame it on Governor Pataki and Albany red tape. If we voted for them, they would fix it.

Well, when Pataki was out the door, the scaffolding came down and a deal was struck with a local real estate developer to build a new middle school. Above the four or five floors of the school, the developer would build his high rise apartments and make some money. The valuable land was turned over and the community will have a new school in 2 or 3 years.

I can't wait to watch the first day of school that year.

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