On The Beach
With Beverly Baxter
We Bid Adieu To 2004
Whether you were mildly amused or watched with hushed horror, for many of us, 2004 began with a frivolous pondering of an entertainer’s wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl Half-Time.
We then switched the remote and our attention to the Martha Stewart — The higher they are, the harder they fall— saga, which will end with Martha getting a new television show. We gleefully joked around water coolers about whether her Birkin bag would clash with prison garb; delighting in the sybaritic lifestyles of the rich and infamous. (If you hold MSO stock, hold on! Like a phoenix, she will emerge from these ashes. It’s the all-American come-back story that we all love to watch.)
Our distractions continued as we became fixated on an insignificant middle-class fertilizer salesman who murdered his beautiful young wife and unborn child. Would it be another O.J., or would justice scream and prevail? Kobe tantalized us for about three seconds.
Michael Jackson continued to nauseate... and the late night legal pundits bloviated “if he only had a hit record, all would be mitigated.”
We had some great sporting events like the Presidential Election and the Boston Red Socks finally won the World Series and broke the Babe Ruth curse.
Harsh reality encroached upon us and awoke us from our slumbering state as we watched the commuter train bombing in Madrid, reminding us that UBL is still lurking in our midst. And with the death of Arafat comes a renewed promise of Peace in the Middle East.
We were intermittently saddened by the passing of Ray Charles, Marlon Brando, Alistair Cooke, Tony Randall, Rodney Dangerfield, Christopher Reeve, Barry White, and Janet Leigh... We mourned with NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol and Susan Saint James the loss of their son, Teddy... And here at home in our sweet town, we lost local icons, Ann Ward and Frank Duffy...
On Beach 116 Street, we mourned the loss of the landmark, Harbor Bakery, only to welcome a new neighbor, the Belle Harbor Steak House. We applauded the stroke of genius of Robert Levine, President and Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Hospital in hiring Liz Sulik as Director of External Affairs—and welcome the emerging talent of Joanie Omeste, the new Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce.
And the excitement is building as new communities such as Arverne By The Sea are etched forever into our seascape.
It soon became the holiday season when the ads take aim and lay their claim and we wrapped ourselves up in the spirit of giving, only to be audaciously disappointed that the cashmere pajamas we received weren’t a lighter shade of pale.
And now, the tabloids threaten to hijack our attention with Chelsea Clinton’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Mon Dieu!
Finally, Mother Nature shakes us from our slumbering state with the all-too-real wrath of devastation caused by the Tsunamis that besieged South and East Asia.
If ever there was a need to call upon our greater sense of humanity and rise to the occasion of a cause that is greater than our selves, this is it.
Here are a list of web sites of agencies and ways in which one can offer succor to those tens of thousands who were impacted by the tsunami. American Red Cross and Crescent (redcross.org) actionagainsthunger. org, American Jewish World Service (ajw. org), American Friends Service (afsc. org), Catholic Relief Services (catholicrelief.org), directrelief.org, doctorswithoutborders.org, Save the Children.org, and mercycorps.org..
Somehow, neither our obsession with all things Clinton or Cashmere seem to matter very much anymore—at least not for now.
May you have a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!