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Photo by Allen Ngai
Josh and I accepted honors from NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst CEO Israel Rocha Jr., Medical Director Dr. Jasmin Moshipur and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

The whirlwind season of galas, conferences and family celebrations begins in October and runs through the first weeks of December.

My son Josh and I were fortunate and proud to be recognized by the remarkable Elmhurst Hospital Auxiliary at their Oct. 17 gala at the Queens Museum. The hospital in northwestern Queens is making a huge impact into the lives of their patients under the leadership of its CEO, Israel Rocha Jr., and its medical director, the remarkably dedicated Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur.

Together, they inspire and lead their staff to make a difference everyday, and they’ve worked hard to turn Elmhurst into a jewel in the NYC Health + Hospitals network of city medical centers.

That evening they also honored Dr. Linda Williamson Perez, who shared her belief that every day, the hospital does well, but will always aim to do better. A great life lesson for us all.

The Queens Museum has become a party venue of choice for Queens institutions. The day after the Elmhurst gala, Parker Jewish Institute held its annual gala there, and I was happy to be there as a guest.

I can report that both days, the new caterer Abigail Kirsch, served superb meals with main courses of tender filet mignon with a grilled salmon handsomely presented together.

As a board member of the museum, I’m also so happy to see the hundreds of new people visiting the historic site of the Panorama, the football field-long, scale model of every building in New York City, along with the interesting exhibits of remarkable artists works from around the world.

Life is truly a big adventure, and Queens Museum is a great stop on that journey.

A squeeze of inspiration

To keep up with my life, I look for inspiration each day. Fortunately, I get my inspiration through the “Morning Juice” newsletter from Investors Bank.

I’d like to share with you some of the best items from this week’s newsletters:

A Place to Stand

By Dr. Charles Garfield

If you have ever gone through a toll booth, you know that your relationship to the person in the booth is not the most intimate you’ll ever have. It is one of life’s frequent non-encounters: You hand over some money; you might get change; you drive off.

Late one morning in 1984, headed for lunch in San Francisco, I drove up to one of the booths. I heard loud music. It sounded like a party, or a Michael Jackson concert. I looked around. No other cars with their windows open. No sound trucks. I looked at the toll booth. Inside it, the man was dancing.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m having a party,” he said.

“What about the rest of these people?’ I looked over at other booths; nothing moving there.

“They’re not invited.” I had a dozen other questions for him, but somebody in a big hurry to get somewhere started punching his horn behind me and I drove off. But I made a note to myself: Find this guy again. There’s something in his eye that says there’s magic in his toll booth.

Photo via Shutterstock

Photo via Shutterstock

Months later I did find him again, still with the loud music, still having a party. Again I asked, “What are you doing?” He said, “I remember you from the last time. I’m still dancing. I’m having the same party.” I said, “Look. What about the rest of the people…”

He said. “Stop. What do those look like to you?’ He pointed down the row of toll booths.”

“They look like….toll booths.”

“Nooooo imagination!”

I said, “Okay, I give up. What do they look like to you?”

He said, “Vertical coffins.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I can prove it. At 8:30 every morning, live people get in. Then they die for eight hours. At 4:30, like Lazarus from the dead, they reemerge and go home. For eight hours, brain is on hold, dead on the job. Going through the motions.”

I was amazed. This guy had developed a philosophy, a mythology about his job.

That man was having a party where you and I would probably not last three days.

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