ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) held its 76th annual convention in New York City this year. Originally scheduled to be held in Barcelona, Spain. ASTA decided, after the tragic events of Sept. 11, to support New York and hold the convention here in New York City. And support it they did. Agents from all over the country milled around the Jacob Javit’s Center for three full days. The members were educated and entertained and dined.
Former President George Bush, Sr., showed his presence with his wife, Barbara Bush who spoke eloquently about the times and struggles of the Travel industry. Members attended the huge travel trade show and seminars and were given privy to travel trade special deals.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line invited the families of the World Trade Center victims on board the brand new Adventure of the Seas cruise ship for a two night sailing out of New York to Boston and back. Bermuda Board of Tourism invited these same victims to vacation in Bermuda at the expense of the Bermuda Tourist Board. It was very heart warming to see how members of ASTA are contributing in their way to help relieve some of the sadness of these terrible times. And, while doing that, they are sending a message that we must get up and out and do the things that give us pleasure again. The airlines have lowered rates to try to allay the fears of flying. People are coming back and the travel business is picking up. The ASTA members flew in from all parts of the nation to New York on airlines that gave them up to 90% discount. They are all working to help us overcome our fears and bring happiness back into our lives.
The Royal Caribbean Cruise line is also offering alternative means of transportation, such as trains and chartered buses to bring passengers to the designated departure and arrival ports of their ships. The other lines will follow suit.
So, get yourself in a new frame of mind. We have mourned and mourned and mourned. It is now time to get on with our lives, be cautious but bury our fears and do the things that make us happy. And, if travel is part of it there is no better time than right now to take advantage of the lowest fares and rates you will ever find in the travel business. Life is to be lived while we are alive. And, while we are doing that keep God in all that you do. We can pray anywhere, on a plane, in a bus, in a car, so let’s keep peace in our prayers wherever we go.
Our nation has come together and it is beautiful to see the kindness that can emanate from human beings who are willing to sacrifice for one another. Real love.
And, speaking of love, a word about Kevin Ryan who gave a very large portion of his own healthy liver to his brother, Richard Ryan who is now recovering nicely from the liver transplant operation. Is this true brotherly love or not? Kevin is doing nicely as well. A nice, nice story. Good luck, good health to both of you.
Jim Brady is also doing well in a hospital in Staten Island after an operation to heal his stomach ailment.
On a happier note, Maria Levh, who organized the beautiful Kennedy’s Anniversary party, with her two sisters, Lanie and Christine for her Mom and Dad, Helene and Peter Danzilo, is expecting twins. And, believe me, you wouldn’t have known that she was carrying a boy and girl to be born in just a few weeks time last week. She looked simply marvelous! Good luck, Maria. And, all you girls did a great job.
"Harlem Hammer ", James Butler from New York City is the super weight contender on Friday night , November 23, on the DiBella Entertainment "Fighting for America: A Night of Thanksgiving " at the Roseland Ballroom. 100% of the purse will go to the Twin Tower Fund. Michael Buffer will be the Ring Master and is flying himself in for the big event. Other contenders are: Jeffrey Resto from the Bronx; Paulie Malignaggi from Brooklyn; Brian Adams from Brooklyn and Regilio B. Puur from Amsterdam, now in America. Champions will be there to sign autographs. Tickets are on sale at Ticket Master for $100 -$150. Also, $300 and up. The bouts will be broadcast on ESPN2 . Teddy Atlas will call the fights. His nephew, Greg Atlas, is among hundreds New York City Firefighters missing.
Architectural Digest Home Design Show was at the Javit’s Center this past week to bring to the consumer the very best in interior design, free cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, seminars with design luminaries and popular one on one consultations with professional interior designers. They displayed kitchens of the future and this Hi-Tech kitchen pictured here with the under counter combo Computer/TV.
At Grand Central Station, the Saveur Passport Magazine hosted a wine and food festival that created the authentic flavors, sights and smells that are in every issue of Saveur and allowed guests to taste the dishes, sip the wine and meet the fascinating personalities behind its many stories. Over 20 chefs from premier restaurants offered their culinary dishes for tasting. Passport also showcased the new book Saveur Cooks Authentic Dishes.
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Dorothy Dunne at Gallagher’s with, from left, Brian Adams, Regilio B. Turr and Paul Malignacci.
Dorothy at the Kitchen of the Futures booth at the Design Show staged at the Javits Center.
Photos by Joe Ballaris