The Week: What Caught Our Eye

August 1, 2020

Storm clouds and setting sun over the Saratoga Performing Arts CenterA summer of sound and fury captured at the quiet Hall of Springs in Saratoga Springs’ Spa State Park. (John Bulmer)

Good Morning Colleagues and Friends:

And just like that July takes her leave, slipping away on a wisp of cool. And now August, the month of overflowing harvest, of sweatered mornings and shirtless afternoons, and that nagging sense that these wondrous days may end too soon.

FAREWELL, DEERLANDS: Sometimes in the very quiet of an Adirondack evening, Marylou would turn to her husband John and whisper, “Do you hear that?” And John would say, “What?’’ ‘‘Exactly,” Mrs. Whitney would reply to Mr. Hendrickson. Such was the serenity of Deerlands, the deep backcountry home where Mr. and Mrs. Whitney spent many happy days in the early years of their marriage. The Whitneys own 36,000 Adirondack acres — an escape near Long Lake where generations of Whitneys hunted, camped, fished and plied Little Forked Lake in guide boats and canoes. Alas, Mrs. Whitney has passed, and soon an Adirondack tradition will pass as well.

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STRIKE A CHORD? Marvin Hamlisch is one of only two people in history to have won the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer. (The other PEGOT holder is composer Richard Rodgers.) Surely, on hearing just the opening piano notes, you’ll recall Mr. Hamlisch’s 1970s ragtime classic The Entertainer. When he needed a break, Mr. Hamlisch repaired to a 40-acre estate in the Hudson Valley featuring a four-bedroom house built in the 1830s and renovated circa 1850s barns. The House of Marvin is now on the market.

REMOTE WORK: Working remotely would take on a whole new meaning if your office jutted into the wild beauty of Upper St. Regis Lake and had its own dock. Upper St. Regis, of course, has had a special charm for decades as a magnet for affluent families. The Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts found their peace there, and their friends followed. A wealthy Baltimorean found his way to Upper St. Regis in 1883 and built Camp Woodmere; his family owned it for more than a century. The current owners are the founders of YouTube and Restoration Hardware. They’re selling.

KINDNESS FROM THE HIUDSON VALLEY: Charles Kuralt created the home-spun “On the Road” series for CBS News, but Steve Hartman has given his own sensitive touch to slice-of-life stories from across the nation. But as popular as the three-time Emmy winner and Hudson Valley resident has become for his network pieces, his Kindness 101 initiative — a series of online classes teachers and parents may use to spark discussions about important values such as character, friendship, fortitude and compassion — may yet become his greatest legacy.

FINDING BEAUTY IN THE WORLD: Bob Woodruff hit the television news lottery in December 2005. He was chosen to succeed Peter Jennings as co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight. A month later, covering the war in Iraq, he was hit by shrapnel from a roadside bomb. He and his cameraman were nearly killed. Bob and his wife, Lee, summer residents of Silver Bay on Lake George, refused to accept the possibility that Bob would not survive. But survive and thrive he did. He went back to work at ABC News, and Bob and Lee formed a foundation to help injured servicemembers when they return home. Now Bob and Lee’s children have grown up. With all their kids have seen, the Woodruffs did not want them to think of the world as a scary place.

Horses and riders on a racetrack silhoutted by the rising sun and cloudy skyAt Saratoga, the colors of the jockey’s silk are just the beginning. The beauty stretches from turf to treetop and beyond, waiting to be captured by photographer Skip Dickstein.

HE NEVER SKIPS A BEAT: If you’ve ever admired a photograph of horses at Saratoga, it’s a good bet the photographer was our friend Skip Dickstein who’s covered the track for more than 40 years. Great photographs are the product of skill, timing, patience, hard work and experience. Skip arrives at the crack of dawn and spends the day scouting the best places to capture a moment resplendent with Saratoga’s timeless beauty and the people and thoroughbreds who make it famous.

THE SWEET TASTE OF ADVERSITY: From their Willy Wonka workshop in North Creek, Barkeater Chocolates is sending sweet treats across the fruited plain. Deb Morris founded the company in 2008 – in the middle of a recession – and now is expanding it during a pandemic. Turns out, even in the worst of times, America can’t resist a good peanut butter cup.

ON THE BOARD: There will be little rest for retiring State Sen. Betty Little. Gov. Cuomo has named Sen. Little to the Olympic Regional Development Authority board that oversees the state’s Olympic facilities in Lake Placid and North Creek. Joining Sen. Little is Kelly Cummings, who will chair the authority and who currently serves as Director of New York State Operations and Infrastructure.

A SCOOP OF ACTIVISM: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, friends since junior high who went on to found the eponymous ice cream chain, have never been shy about their commitment to progressive political causes, and they’re not about to start now.

LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND SHAMELESS: For the parents who have everything but perspective, the London-based Little Car Company has just what you’re looking for — a miniature electric car that starts at about $35,000.

FORGET IT; YOU’RE NOT TOPPING THIS: Wedding proposals run the gamut from the time-honored and simple dropping to one knee to elaborate, public productions that involve lots of people coordinating in secret to hatch the big event. Then there was the Central New York couple who were engaged in a manner that cannot be replicated for 6,800 years.

HUMANITARIAN REWARD: Actor Ryan Reynolds, known for his superhero roles in Deadpool and Green Lantern, is playing one in real life, offering $5,000 for the return of a lost teddy bear that plays the voice of its owner’s mother, who died last year of cancer.

HIT THE ROAD: Hotels, seeking desperately to replace lost revenue, are betting big on nostalgia, building marketing campaigns around the familiar feeling of seeing the country by car.

NATIONAL TREASURE: Michigan’s Isle Royal is one of America’s least-visited National Parks, which is a shame, because what you’ll find is a slice of pure, natural heaven on earth.

MAN OF THE MOMENT: Topps, the company synonymous with sports trading cards, issued a limited-edition card featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci’s somewhat forgettable first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ delayed season opener last week. In the 24 hours that the card was available, Topps sold more 51,000 — more than twice the previous record for a Topps NOW card.

STILL PRODUCING: Mae Krier was one of the original Rosie the Riveters, the iconic name given to women who went to work in factories during World War II, producing the machines and munitions that would win the war. She helped make warplanes in a Boeing factory, and today, at 94, she’s back on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.


“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.’’
— Congressman and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis in an essay published on Thursday, the day of his funeral.


CELEBRITY IN DEATH: Carole Scarsella’s family wanted the world to know a few things about her after she died in suburban Buffalo. Among them: She liked Stephen King books, loved to smoke and — understandably for a Bills fan — despised Tom Brady.

FACING OUT is what we do. We help companies, organizations and individuals work effectively with their most important external audiences – their customers, their shareholders, their communities, the government and the news media.

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value or interest to you, our friends and business associates. Some items are good news about our clients and friends, others are stories that we hope will leave you a bit more informed or entertained than you were five minutes ago. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. 

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