Tag Archives: Manhattan

Positive Stories to Brighten your day


Want some good news?  Sure you do.  Well there happens to be plenty of it out there if you actually want to find it badly enough.  Any time we speak about the positive and hopeful, it is appropriate to recognize the tragedy that has befallen too many people since COVID-19 took off all over the world.  We need to offer our compassion and support to those who need it whenever possible. But one of the ways to help them and everyone else it to keep a clear perspective of what is happening around us, and that means to take the time to acknowledge the happier stories and the people that make the world a better place. Here are a few stories that will hopefully brighten your day.

1-Surviving Seniors


Leonidas Romero, 92, with his daughter, Carolina Romero.

Sometimes the devil is in the details, but other times only the headlines matter.  While tragically the elderly population has suffered due to COVID-19, it’s important to note that unlike what many reports might lead you to believe, it is not a death sentence.  We need to continue to take all actions possible to keep our elderly safe as it is very dangerous for them to get COVID-19, but let’s also recognize some notable stories of seniors that fell victim to it and survived.

A 92 year old man in Massachusetts returned home after weeks in the hospital.

A 97-year-old woman in Brazil survived the virus.

A 104 year old man in Oregon survived COVID-19.

And a 106 year old woman in the UK survived after 3 weeks of hospitalization.

Four random cases of which there are definitely more, and while we need to do everything we can to risk the exposure of the elderly, enough to make us feel a whole lot better.

2- A Happy Milestone

20200424-190556-Bianca Jimenez 4

Bianca Jimenez, 600th patient released from Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, NY

A little closer to home, on April 25th, Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside, NY celebrated as it released its 600th patient recovering from the Coronavirus. 19 year old Bianca Jimenez was released less than a week after being admitted with a fever of 104 and symptoms that included, cough, dizziness and shortness of breath.  We all thank our Drs. and nurses any chance we get, but if you talk with them you know nothing makes them feel better than sending people home who are recovering.  Let’s hope that number continues to grow exponentially faster.

3- Bringing joy and support through music



Broadway performer, Brian Stokes Mitchell, as a way to express his gratitude to front line workers has taken to singing from this Upper West Side window in Manhattan. Singing “The Impossible Dream”,  Mitchell says that what he is doing “is not a performance. It’s an act of gratitude.”  He also states that the song is not about doing something impossible, rather it is about trying.  To make what he is doing even more poignant, Mitchell himself has had the virus and was even sick enough to worry about whether it would have a permanent impact on his vocal chords.  I think it’s safe to say that there are many people very happy that it didn’t.

4- NFL’s Greatest Moment

Not only did the NFL Draft provide us with a fun distraction, it offered us some heartwarming stories that yes, get ready for it, had nothing to do with the Coronavirus. As serious and deadly as the illness is, it is refreshing to hear about something else, especially if it is something good.  No story struck me more than the story of Offensive Lineman Austin Jackson, picked 18th by the Miami Dolphins.  Austin’s little sister Autumn, was inflicted with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a rare inherited disorder that prevents bone marrow from producing red blood cells.  Last year with her condition deteriorating, she required a bone marrow transplant just to help her survive, let alone improve.  Without  any hesitation, Austin, who matched as a donor did what was necessary to help his sister despite the risk to himself and his career.  Around 1 year after the successful transplant, Autumn is on her way to complete recovery and Austin is on his way to the NFL.  This is probably the first time a player has become one of my favorites in the NFL before even playing a snap. Thank you to them both for their inspiration.

And on a side note, kudos to NFL commissioner to Roger Goodell, for not only giving us a really well run and entertaining draft during challenging times, but for being able to laugh at himself enough to encourage virtual boos.  Something tells me those virtual boos might just turn into more cheers in the  future than he’s ever seen before.


So there you have it, some stories I hope will make you feel just a little uplifted in a time when despair sells. We can’t control a lot of what happens, but we can control what we put out there and what we allow in.  Let’s make an effort to acknowledge and be grateful for what is good out there, because not doing so will very possibly hurt us more than any virus ever could.










Husna Ali’s Diary: circa 2020

The following is what a diary of a 16-year-old girl in Michigan might end up looking like in the year 2020. It’s a frightening testament to where the world may be going and reflects what so many think is the ambition of Muslim extremists.


I had a very busy day today. I finished my last final in school and then did more to prepare to go to my summer camp. I am very grateful that my father will let me go. He said I was good with my teachers and that he would let me go because when I get back he will have me meet my future husband and prepare to be a wife and mother.

I asked my father if we would be all be going to spend the weekend in New Mecca but he said that the hotels in Manhattan Island were too expensive in the summer and that it would be better if we go in the winter when the snow is there and the pre-Ramadan sales are happening.

Last year we went to the Islamic Republic of France for summer vacation and that was nice. I remember the time we spent in Chirac City. The Eiffel Tower was so lovely. I want to go again.

I made some new friends on the internet. There was one boy who seemed very nice but I did not talk too long. I do not want to say something wrong and put my parents in danger. I remember last year when Sumeka’s father had to spend one month in jail because she said something about sex on the internet. I don’t want to do that to my father. He is a good man and he lets my mother have friends and even read modern books. I hope he will find me a good man like him.

It is much easier now to find good people in our world since the great new age. My parents had to live through the evil times when the Zionists controlled our country and made everyone do what they wanted for the corrupt government they had in Palestine. Now, praised be Allah, we are all one people and live as decent people.

I don’t understand how anyone ever enjoyed the immoral movies and music we once had here. Now it is much better. We have movies about how our heroes who changed the world and bought the revolution that freed us from the slavery of desire and ambition. Now we are all one and the world is filled with men and women who know their place and all desire to be worshippers of Allah.

I am excited about summer camp. It is near the nation’s capital in Nasrallah, Michigan and will allow us to learn much and learn more about how to behave as good wives and mothers. I will try to write more later but now I must pray and then clean my brothers’ room.


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Another Storm, Another Delay, and Pei-Sze Cheng

More fun travelling through storms yesterday.  I got on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR)train at Rockville Centre just as the Nor’Easter Athena(apparently they name them now as well) was in full force.  The train which was already 10 minutes late, did not leave the station right away.  As I moved to a seat closer to the front of the train, pausing near the open doors, a woman in a seat nearby commented on the train’s status.  Realizing this could end up being a long and boring trip, I sat in a seat nearby and continued our conversation.

The woman was reading updates on her phone and was kind enough to share them with me.  What she was reading was that the LIRR was temporarily suspended due to overcrowding at Penn Station.  When we began to move, and the conductor came by to collect our tickets, she asked him if this train would be remaining in service.  He jokingly replied, “when I told them you were on the train they had no choice but to continue the service”.  At first I thought the conductor was just being flirtatious, the woman was definitely flirt-worthy, but then he asked me if I knew who the woman was.  He told me she was a reporter for NBC 4  in New York, at which point she introduced herself to me as Pei-Sze Cheng.  I shamefully confessed that I do not generally watch NBC which caused her to inquisitively ask me why.  A word of advice.  If you ever meet a reporter, don’t tell them you don’t watch their station.  There really is no good answer.

Although nothing she told me was particularly private, I will still give her that basic respect and not recount everything that she did tell me.  I will say that I was somewhat taken aback by how down to earth and pleasant this woman was.  We spoke of the storm, some of the issues facing the city, and debated as to what was the best way to make into Manhattan.  At this point nothing was certain because we were stuck outside Jamaica station for a solid 15 minutes and still seeing reports of system-wide suspensions.  When I commented on how we are the lucky ones, she smiled sincerely and said something along the lines of how we certainly need to constantly remind ourselves of that fact no matter how frustrating or inconvenient things become.

After 2 1/2 hours in transit I finally made it home.  My encounter with a local celebrity just another result of one of the strangest times I’ve experienced during my time in New York.  This would almost be fun if not for the fact that for so many people yesterday’s storm was a lot more than a delay on a train.  For so many others it provided the challenge of finding enough food and shelter to survive another day.

I could not have written the book Jew Face without a basic appreciation and empathy for what my parents’ experienced between 1940 and 1945.  These past few weeks in New York put things in an even clearer perspective.  Imagine a 5 year period of, at best, uncertainty.  Imagine not knowing where you are going to sleep, if you are going to eat, and what natural elements will cause you even greater obstacles to finding life’s most basic needs.  And oh yes, add to this the fact that your life is constantly threatened by the most hostile enemy imaginable, and  you have their life over those 5 years.

I want to thank Pei-Sze Cheng for the short and pleasant company and acknowledge her wonderful perspective on the situation.  More importantly, I know we all hope that those suffering today get relief soon and have the opportunity to rebuild their lives with safety, dignity and a secure future.