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The website feature "Up Close and Personal" began just about 2 years ago. Classmate Ron Fox was one of the first people to respond with a submission. Intrigued at how a New York City boy could end up living in the City of Lights I asked Ron to elaborate in “Of Human Interest” story. Nuisance that I am, and with my continued passion for participation in our website, I finally got Ron to set down the arc that led him from Manhattan to Paris.- KS

Ken has asked me to provide a short summary of my life over the last 45 years indicating how a Cornelian from Manhattan transformed to a Parisien.

After Cornell, I graduated from NYU Law, along with John Striker, Harold Bank, and current judge Roger Hayes among others. While I went to NYU Law School I even knew then that my "chemistry" with "the Law" was not that strong.

While at Law School, and afterwards, I was involved – immersed is really the word- in Democratic politics and campaigns on the East Coast, from Maine to Mississippi all the way from City Council races to Presidential campaigns. Those were politically active times and I remember them and the friendships that still endure with deep affection and a touch of melancholy.

To be specific after one semester of Law School, I knew there had to be something more to life. I walked into Robert Kennedy's New York Senate office and became a volunteer, that summer I was hired as an intern and in the Fall I was hired as a part time staffer. I worked on urban development, community relations, constituent services and from time to time did advance work either in NYC or in other states. In March of '68 I went to DC to work on the campaign. After the assassination I went to Mississippi to help organize the challenge delegation and was with them at the convention in Chicago. I helped organize the '69 demonstration against the war in DC and had the pleasure of being tear gassed in the DC Police HQ alongside Leonard Garment (of the Nixon White House) and the chief of police. They panicked more than I did.

Ultimately, I left the political sphere. The reasons are many. But, basically after the Muskie campaign I more or less had enough. For me to continue on I would have had to make a move to DC and I really did not have Potomac Fever that badly. I was asked to work late in the Carter campaign and was slightly tempted to for Bill Bradley, but since '72, that was it.

From being a "politico" I transformed to businessman and entered the world of real estate in 1974, working for a firm, in which classmate Arnold Rabinor was a principal. In the words of that great New York politician, Boss William M. Tweed- "I seen my opportunity and I took it.". It was time to work for myself

However, before starting work, I spent a week in Paris and then sailed back, on the last western crossing of the SS France. It was on that wonderful (for me) voyage that I met Claudine, whom I married two years later, (friends in real estate say it's the best deal I ever made)-a true shipboard romance.

Claudine and I were married in 1976 and settled in New York City, always knowing that a return to France was the plan.

I first came to France when I was 16, travelling with my father. Even then this Paris felt comfortable. I remember that trip to Europe so well. I being amazed at seeing a Coca Cola sign when we landed at Naples, I had no idea it was everywhere, even then. I remember Italy also, the Amalfi Drive and the hotels on the cliffs above the black sand beaches of Sorrento. I remember Rome, in all its splendor, Venice, the canals and the beaches of Lido.

But, best of all I remember Exploring Paris with my father and dining at his favorite restaurants (yes, we revisited one last year), and on and on. Both at Horace Mann and at Cornell I took French, studied French Literature and was infatuated with French culture. But, I never thought then that I would actually end up living in Paris.

I came back to France after my Junior year at Cornell and spent some happy times in Paris . Les Halles, Pied de Cochon are fond memories, along with all of the typical tourist sites.

After Claudine and I were married we returned to France on vacation every year.

When I retired, the decision for Claudine and me, was easy. We would live in France.

The logistics of the this trans-oceanic move were actually not that daunting, rather mundane. You cancel your local contracts one by one, telephone, electric, cable etc. and hire a mover, undeniably overpriced, who in several hours packs up everything you own. Most of it did, in fact, arrive in Paris as promised, if not on time. The government formalities for a residency card were bureaucratic, but not burdensome

Did I find cultural differences? Of course. However, they were mostly speed bumps, not roadblocks. Claudine, her family and our friends helped ease the way.

We found a beautiful space under the Mansard with wooden beams and views over the rooftops of Paris overlooking St. Sulpice and Notre Dame, a stone's throw from St. Germain.

Paris has proven to be an idyllic city in which to spend one's retirement. You start with the physical beauty, the history- add on the diversity of neighborhoods -add on the Seine and the Quais and you have a beautiful frame for your chosen life style. The rhythm of the language adds to the charm.

There are an unending series of enjoyable and educational things to do. The museums, in all their variety, always have several good shows. This season there was an outstanding exhibition of 17th Century Holland art, a Renoir exhibition, a show entitled from Byzantium to Istanbul, a history of art and life in that city from the age of the Greeks onward, and a Fellini show with Anita Ekberg, larger than life, on an endless film reel, saying over and over, from the Trevi Fountain, "Venga aqui, Marcello."

I often just stroll through neighborhoods and drop in on art galleries, to see what the flavor of the day is. I have taken buses to the end of the line, just to find my way back through as yet unknown districts. Strolling in any part of Paris is an unadulterated pleasure. Market days are 5 days a week and somewhat folkloric. We even have a Marche bio that sells natural sausages and fish among other things.

As the line goes "Paris is a moveable feast."

Paris has an untold number of Associations, continually sponsoring events, some are even of interest! This month we attended a dinner with the Afghanistan Ambassador to France, sponsored by Democrats Abroad. -I can tell you there is no love lost between the Afghan Government and Pakistan.

So, there is much to do and when it is really cold and really wet, there is always a good book. We spend summers and short "vacations" in the spring and fall in Houlgate, a beachside town in Normandy, where Claudine grew up. It's not far from the landing beaches of 1944. It is a charming town with 2,000 year round residents a number that swells in the summer, but the beachfront is frozen in time- almost as it was in 1910. In fact, nothing has been built in the town center since I started going there in 1975.

Claudine and I have traveled extensively in France and are always pleased to find how diverse the Departments are in a relatively small country. We've also been lucky enough to take advantage of our proximity to the rest of Europe.

All this and I haven't mentioned restaurants wine or cuisine! But perhaps Ken will make me do this in a future article

I leave you now to begin the application process for an extension to my 10 year residency permit.

However, before bidding you au revoir I must mention that we do visit NYC once a year and see Carl Hollander, John Striker and Jeff Sussman. Furthermore, Doron Weinberg visited us in Paris-all 65ers. And that I see Mike and Linda Weinstein Brimm who are also residents of Paris.

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