Ralph Gardner Jr.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Labor Is A Form Of Worship

Jul 14, 2018
Columbia County Historical Society’s "Shaker Baskets from the Shaker Museum"
Ralph Gardner Jr.

It’s typically the objects not the wall text that catch the eye at an art exhibition. But a few words at the start of the Columbia County Historical Society’s new show of Shaker Baskets from the Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon resonated with me.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Heat

Jul 7, 2018
The Sun photographed at 304 angstroms by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA 304) of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This is a false-color image of the Sun observed in the extreme ultraviolet region of the spectrum.
Public Domain / NASA/SDO (AIA)

In the same way that a forecast for a major snowstorm fills me with anticipation so the news that a heat wave was on the way last week triggered similar excitement. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Go Ask Ruth

Jun 30, 2018

Every community, every town and village in America ought to have its own Piwonka. I’m referring to Ruth Piwonka, the town historian for Kinderhook, NY. Though Ruth tells me her official title is Kinderhook municipal historian.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Catching Up With Philip Marshall

Jun 23, 2018
Philip Marshall
Bobby McTigue

I couldn’t make it to Philip Marshall’s keynote address at an elder abuse conference in Newburgh, NY last week. Then again, Philip couldn’t make it to breakfast at my house the following morning on his way home to Massachusetts.

Ralph Gardner Jr: No Need For Speed

Jun 16, 2018

I’m more of the bird watching type than the racecar driving type. Beauty and tranquility, peaceful walks in the woods are my thing, rather than roaring around a race track at a hundred thirty miles an hour.

Ralph Gardner Jr: No Hostility Allowed

Jun 9, 2018
Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett and Congressman John Faso (NY-19) at guns and school safety discussion at Hudson High School
Enid Futterman

I held a debate last Friday. The debate was whether to have a drink on my sundeck on a lovely spring evening or go to Hudson High School for a discussion about guns.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Rural Resident

Jun 2, 2018
A tribute to Timothy Dunleavy
Ralph Gardner Jr

We ran into a friend as we arrived last Friday for the inaugural Design Hudson Festival. The event, spread over Memorial Day weekend, featured homes reimagined by local interior designers.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Student Of The Seasons

May 26, 2018
Callery Pear petals littering a driveway
Ralph Gardner, Jr

As someone who’s been visiting the Hudson Valley since the 1960’s, and religiously since the late Seventies when my grandparents passed away and I assumed management of the house where we live today, here’s a small insight from an old-timer: when it comes to nature no two years are alike. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Foraging With Family Members

May 19, 2018
Lucy Gardner foraging for morels
Ralph Gardner Jr

I’d been told many years back that we had horseradish down by our stream. For all I know we still do but I’ve never been able to find it. Horseradish doesn’t even rank high on my list of condiments. But it was pleasant knowing that something edible grew wild on our property, that not everything that entered our stomachs required a cash outlay. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Visionary Women

May 12, 2018
Author Andrea Barnet at the White Horse Tavern
Ralph Gardner Jr.

There were a couple of obvious questions to ask Andrea Barnet about her book “Visionary Women” when we got together at the White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village a few weeks ago.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Every Picture Frame Tells A Story

May 5, 2018
A Hudson Valley landscape by Page Curry Ginns
Ralph Gardner Jr.

I’m going public with my addiction because it needs to be nipped in the bud. If I don’t acknowledge it now there’s no telling how much it will end up costing me.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Fishing For Prizes

Apr 30, 2018
Kolby Michalak with his prize trout at the Ghent Sportsman Association’s fish derby
Ralph Gardner Jr.

Is there really any better, faster, more efficient way to build self-confidence in a child, not to mention a gentle reverence for nature, than fishing? 

Ralph Gardner Jr: An Hour Of Grace

Apr 21, 2018
Elisabeth Grace at Ooms Pond, Chatham, NY April, 2017
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

Exactly one year ago my commentary involved a walk I took at the start of migratory season with birder and WAMC contributor Elisabeth Grace. Our walk occurred at Ooms Pond in Chatham, NY.

Ralph Gardner: Counting Down To Springtime

Apr 14, 2018
Wren house
Ralph Gardner Jr.

Some years, this being one of them, spring needs a little encouragement. So I went out and bought a wren box at my local hardware store, Mario’s True Value in Valatie, NY.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Shaker Dinner Party

Apr 7, 2018
Stone Barn / Shaker Village, Mt. Lebanon, NY
Shaker Museum

These are times that test men’s, and even more so, women’s souls, especially when it comes to dinner parties. The mark of a decent dinner party with resourceful guests is one where the name of our Commander-In-Chief (I can already hear the indignation, not to mention the indigestion, rising) isn’t mentioned for at least half an hour.

Ralph Gardner Jr: King And The Comic

Mar 31, 2018
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966
Public Domain / Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

Martin Luther King Jr. and comedian Garry Shandling are rarely mentioned in the same breath. I’d venture to guess this is the first time.

Both of them are the subject of excellent new documentaries on HBO and may even have something in common.

Ralph Gardner Jr: What's The Matter With The View?

Mar 24, 2018
Photograph  airplane window
RobLa / Wikimedia Commons

Fair warning – this is a rant. But not on the subject you might expect. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Though, come to think of it, the phenomenon I’m here to discuss may actually speak to a larger vitamin deficiency in our culture, a spiritual malaise of which our current politics is but a symptom.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Yoga 101

Mar 17, 2018
Instructor Alec Butterfield at Supersoul Yoga in Chatham, NY
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

I didn’t choose yoga. Yoga chose me. Or rather my body told me there was no excuse at so youthful an age – I’ll keep my age to myself, thank you – to have legs so stiff that you have to descend the stairs a half step at a time.

Ralph Gardner Jr: When The Lights Go Out

Mar 10, 2018
mikecpeck / Flickr.com

That does it. We’re getting a generator.

The lights went out during last week’s Nor’easter. Not once. Not twice. But three times.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Ski Bum For A Day

Mar 3, 2018
Cable car on Czarna Góra, top station (Śnieżnik Mountains, Sudetes, Poland)
Marek Tomaszewski, Barlinek / Wikimedia Commons

Of all the days to go skiing we had to pick the one last week where the conditions more closely resembled those on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe (I’m using Guadeloupe but feel free to insert a different tropical locale) than they typically do this time of year in northern Vermont. That’s where we happened to be heading.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Enjoying Dinner With Our Community

Feb 24, 2018
community members dine at Eat Here Ghent community dinner
Marianne Rossant

Here’s some advice if you’ve been invited to a community dinner. Get there early. By the time we wandered in halfway through Eat Here Ghent, an event last Sunday afternoon to celebrate the farms and farmers of Ghent, NY, a town with a thriving local food scene in Columbia County, much of the feast had been consumed.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Under The Weather

Feb 18, 2018
The Sick Bed
Edward Prentis (1797–1854) / Public Domain

You’ve probably heard that this is a particularly nasty flu season. Apologies for my cough. As a matter of fact, you may be listening to this commentary with a thermometer in your mouth and a bottle of Tylenol by your side.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Our Good Neighbors

Feb 10, 2018

If you’re lucky enough to live in the country there are probably a bunch of factors that contribute to your sense of well-being. These include, in no particular order – open skies, sunsets, trees, gardens, streams and wildlife. At least wildlife that keeps a safe distance from your vegetables, shrubs, attic, etc.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Skating On Thin Ice

Feb 3, 2018
Skating at Ooms Pond, Chatham, NY
Ralph Gardner Jr

I had a small epiphany while ice skating last week at Ooms Pond, a conservation area in Chatham, New York. My epiphany was that I should switch to yoga.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Warhol Comes To The Hudson Valley

Jan 27, 2018
Andy Warhol, Self Portrait in Fright Wig, 1985, Polaroid Polacolor print,
Collection of James Curtis / ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

A great, encyclopedic museum isn’t altogether dissimilar from a world-class ski resort with blue skies and a coat of fresh powder. Climbing its front steps, at the Metropolitan Museum, or descending its glass pyramid in the case of the Louvre, resembles the adrenalin rush of reaching the top of the mountain and pointing your skis downward.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Her Gift

Jan 20, 2018
Elizabeth Field
Ralph Gardner, Jr

On New Year’s Eve I was looking forward to presenting Bruce Shenker, a friend since college, with a special gift.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Dreaming Of Sun

Jan 13, 2018
Jesse Cutaia of Hudson Solar
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

This might not be the ideal season to discuss solar panels. In particular installing solar panels. Certainly not in the listening area.

If one’s mind gravitates to sources of heat it’s more likely a roaring fire accompanied by a good single malt.

But think of this commentary as a combination of one of those year-end roundups and a resolution to become a better, more responsible global citizen in 2018.

Ralph Gardner Jr: My Repetitive New Year's Resolution

Jan 6, 2018
A walk in the woods on New Year’s Day
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

Midnight at the turn of the New Year found me where it always does. Outdoors.

No, I wasn’t winter camping.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Beauty Of Baths

Dec 30, 2017
Emmett Kelly in a bubble bath, Sarasota, Florida
Florida Memory / Wikimedia Commons

With temperatures dipping into the single digits -- and the minus single digits -- and the New Year fast approaching, the moment may be right to sing the praises of an institution that transcends time. That unites us in reverence. That puts us in direct communion with the forces of nature, as few indoor activities do.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Oh, Snow

Dec 16, 2017
Consider Bardwell Farm
Ralph Gardner Jr.

I did something last week anathema to my nature. I tried to avoid the snow.

It was traveling from south to north and I was heading from the Hudson Valley to Vermont. So I tried to get ahead of it.