SVCinNYC's Blog

What does Mayor de Blasio have against horses? Why is he intent on putting us out of work and out to pasture? He says we are mistreated, but what does he know about a horse’s life? He has neither walked a mile in my shoes nor spent a night in myRead full post »





My parents were charming, cultivated, hospitable, and enticingly foreign, attributes that on their own guaranteed a wide berth of new… Read full post »

Just came from a tour of the Whitney Biennale led by Stuart Comer, one of the three guest curators. Accuse me of golden age thinking, but so much contemporary art leaves me angry, but not productive 50s Angry Young Men angry, more irritation at having to look at self-indulgent and often… Read full post »


My reaction upon receiving an email invitation March 20th to attend the NYC Council Women's Herstory Month Celebration on March 31st at City Hall was two-fold.  How did they get my alma mater email address?  And why would they celebrate Women’s History Month on the last day ofRead full post »

MARCH 26, 2014 4:13PM

Is My Family Home Still Standing?

Old Damascus, Jews Quarter by Sir Frederick Leighton (1830-1896)

This painting, “Old Damascus, Jew’s Quarter” by Sir Frederick Leighton (1830-1896) is a representation of the interior courtyard of Beit Stambouli, the house my father was born in.  Leighton visited the family circa 1873, but may have painted it in

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MARCH 24, 2014 10:55AM

My Dinner with Desmond


In the early 70s, my next door neighbor in the five floor walk-up on east 61st Street I paid $97 a month for, was a handlebar-mustachioed Monegasque coiffeur with whom my first husband and I had dinner every night.  Each evening Mario would make grilled skirt steak and endive and/Read full post »

DECEMBER 13, 2013 12:42PM

9 Things You Need to Know

  • The worldwide population of refugees and displaced persons living in temporary camps has risen to 45,000,000 according to the UNHRC.  The average length of stay in a refugee camp is now 12 years.  The Ikea Foundation is partnering with the UN to produce flat-pack pop-up solar houses with a
  • Read full post »
DECEMBER 12, 2013 4:21PM

Old Friends

I hadn’t thought of Pencil Prick in ages, and, honestly, why would I, but I went to a funeral and ran into a woman I hadn’t seen in 40 years, not since I was matron of honor at her wedding in 1973.  We’d been very good friends, but lost touch, asRead full post »

It wasn’t easy for a bunch of francophone Egyptian Jews to pass themselves off as residents of a Norman Rockwell painting, but we gave it our all.  My family’s transformation from stateless political refugees to naturalized Americans began in earnest with our first Thanksgiving in 19Read full post »

MAY 22, 2012 11:50AM


I’m still not sure whether my childhood friends liked me or my mother’s rice best.  We’d be sitting on the floor after school playing Parcheesi, Clue or Risk when the aroma genie would waft a beckoning curl from the kitchen to our noses.  “What is that smell?”… Read full post »

 “the city must never be confused with the words that describe it,

and yet between the one and the other there is a connection” 

                        &nbRead full post »

I used to spend a lot of time plotting complex scenarios where I evaded adults and got locked after closing in the Metropolitan Museum.  This was years before E.L. Konigsberg won the Newbery Medal in 1968 for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  After that everybody wanted… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 17, 2012 11:41AM

Confessions of a Headhunter

It’s likely that I violated every Federal, State & City law meant to prevent discrimination based on race, age, religion, sex and gender during the 15+ years I worked as a placement counselor in employment agencies in Manhattan.  Over the last years of crushing national unemployment, t… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 16, 2012 10:13AM

Obama at Barnard

Meryl Streep delivered a brilliant address in 2010 when my daughter graduated from Barnard College.  A hard act to follow.  On Monday, Barack Obama was the speaker for the Barnard class of 2012.  Within moments of his final inspiring words, the pundits slammed the speech as ‘poli… Read full post »

MAY 15, 2012 6:57PM

Travelling for Take-Out

Ten years ago we moved out of delivery range of Tang’s Garden, our favorite Chinese restaurant.  It was a tough decision: four bedrooms, fireplace and washer/dryer vs spring rolls, crispy beef and Singapore mai fun.  The fourth bedroom did it; seriously, had it been three, I wouldn&rs… Read full post »


It’s ridiculous for a bathroom to have such a great view. It’s not like you can sit on the john and look out and admire it, Isabel thought, as she tried to do just that.  Looking up and out beyond the peeling green paint of the exterior window frame, she could/… Read full post »

It is not an exaggeration to say that between the 1870s and the end of WWII  the great minds of the world were preoccupied with four concepts: race, science, nation and degeneracy.  But the evil flowers that bloomed from these thoughts grew into very different plants in Germany and the UnitRead full post »

APRIL 24, 2011 6:14PM

Zahi Redux

After Napoleon conquered Alexandria in July 1798, he advanced to Cairo and slaughtered thousands of Mamelukes at the Battle of Chobrakit.  It was there Bonaparte uttered his famous words, "Soldats! Du haut de ces Pyramides, 40 siècles nous contemplent" (“Soldiers! From the tops ofRead full post »

The archaeology and Egyptology worlds are abuzz with questions, gossip,  and rumor surrounding the resignation of Zahi Hawass,  Egypt's Antiques Minister, yesterday in Cairo.  Dr. Hawass is a man about whom it is easy to have mixed feelings.  Everyone loves Indiana Jones, and ZahiRead full post »