Ralph Gardner Jr.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Visit To The Lampshade lady

Jul 20, 2019
Judy Lake at Lake’s Lampshades in Pawlet, VT
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

My wife Debbie and I have been feuding over lampshades recently. We’ve done so occasionally throughout our marriage but the arguments have grown more heated of late.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Mixed Blessing Of Online Banking

Jul 13, 2019
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

If Elizabeth Warren or some other Democrat who isn’t in the pocket of Wall Street (talk about winnowing the field), who makes consumer rather than high donor protection a central plank of her platform, becomes the next President of the United States the reason will have something to do with my credit score.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Day After

Jul 6, 2019
The pond, the morning after
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

So the wedding at our house – my daughter’s wedding – is over. I feared its aftermath might feel anti-climactic but the general sensation is one of happiness, satisfaction and perhaps most of all relief.

Ralph Gardner Jr: F. Scott Fitzgerald's Advice

Jun 29, 2019
Wedding tent
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

Since my wife Debbie, daughter Lucy and my daughter’s fiancée Malcolm have done most of the heavy lifting when it comes to Lucy and Malcolm’s upcoming nuptials – it’s this evening as this commentary airs – the least I can do is offer a decent toast.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Summer's Scourge

Jun 22, 2019
Poison Ivy
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

Communing with nature comes at a cost. There’s lawn care. Pool care. Tree care. And I haven’t even gotten to our house and all its geriatric needs.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Family Meal

Jun 15, 2019
Gracie Gardner, center, surrounded by friends and Blue Hill at Stone Barns co-workers
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

Let me stipulate that the food was sublime, the service to match when we were invited to Blue Hill at Stone Barns last week by my older daughter Lucy and her fiancée Malcolm St. Clair as thanks for throwing their upcoming wedding.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Shooting Practice

Jun 8, 2019

I recently inherited a gun. Actually, a .22 rifle. I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing: Get rid of it. Sell it. Donate it. This will not end well.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Books, Books, Books

Jun 1, 2019

Cleaning out the apartment where my parents lived for the last sixty years after my mother died in February, and where I grew up – the task was completed last week -- presented various challenges. Logistical, sentimental, financial, political.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

May 25, 2019
Malcolm St. Clair, center, and Lucy Gardner, right, planting a tree in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

Other than having a baby – perhaps even including having a baby – what’s a more profound vote of confidence in the future than planting a tree?

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Charm Of A Sparkling Dashboard

May 18, 2019
1947 Ford dashboard
Joe Ross / Wikimedia Commons

There are two kinds of people in this world. I know, I know: those who don’t divide people into two groups and dorks who do.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Lure Of Garage Sales

May 11, 2019
Pamela Salisbury
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

The last thing I need at this moment is to spot a garage sale. I have enough material in our own basement to stock a dozen garage sales of my own – furniture, clothing, glassware, antiques, electronic equipment, tchotchkes of every imaginable permutation. And that’s not even counting the crap, though some of it is respectable crap, that I recently inherited from my parents.

Ralph Gardner Jr: We Appreciate Your Feedback

May 4, 2019
Ralph Gardner Jr.

Our Honda CR-V feels like a member of the family. Our first one, purchased in 1997, was the second CR-V on the East Coast. We could have had the first but it came in black and we wanted silver.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Stages Of Spring

Apr 28, 2019
Early spring in Central Park
Ralph Gardner Jr.

I have this theory that the season when you were born is your favorite season. Perhaps that’s because if you came from a reasonably happy family your parents made a big fuss over your birthday and you got lots of presents.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Earth Day 2019

Apr 20, 2019
Ralph Gardner, celebrating Earth Day
Liz Neumark

I use Earth Day – this year it’s Monday, April 22nd – as an excuse to clean up the garbage that’s accumulated along our road over the previous twelve months. Actually, it’s not an excuse. That’s the point of Earth Day at least as I understand it, to respect and repair the planet.

Ralph Gardner Jr: One Giant Soap Ball

Apr 14, 2019
The giant soap ball — found!
Ralph Gardner Jr.

As I go about cleaning out my parents apartment – my mother passed away in February, my father in 2005 -- two objects elude me and may well no longer exist, victims of those tidal forces that have a way of making things vanish over time, the equivalent of the human-induced shifting of tectonic plates.

Ralph Gardner Jr: I Brake For Salamanders

Apr 6, 2019
Spotted salamander
Ralph Gardner Jr.

One should always exhibit caution when driving at night. But especially during March and April in these parts. That’s when some of our favorite amphibians – though I should probably speak only for myself – can be spotted crossing the road to get to the other side.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Cleaning Up

Mar 31, 2019

I have trouble throwing things out. No matter what it is I can usually find some excuse for why it must be kept. How it will come in handy, return to breathless relevance, due to seen or unseen and even unseeable circumstance months or even years from now.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Runway Less Travelled

Mar 23, 2019
Bibhu Mohapatra fitting a model
Courtesy of Bibhu Mohapatra

There’s a TV commercial from a while back – I can’t remember whether it’s for a car company, cigarette manufacturer, or Metamucil – but it shows a lone automobile forking off a busy superhighway and heading off into the wilderness.

Ralph Gardner Jr: My Manager, George

Mar 16, 2019

For reasons I can’t quite explain, I don’t regularly check out the obituaries in the New York Times but I do in the Columbia Paper, our local paper in Columbia County.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Singular Mother

Mar 9, 2019

My mother passed away a couple of weeks ago and the situation couldn’t have been kinder. I don’t mean her death. That was sad, remains so, and shall for months and perhaps years to come. But at 94 years old she’d lived a long and gracious life.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Alpaca Fluff

Feb 23, 2019
Suzanne Werner among her alpaca
Ralph Gardner Jr.

Empty nesters typically move from the city to the country in search of a quieter, more contemplative, perhaps even more sedentary lifestyle. Suzanne Werner is not one of those people.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Presence Of Pets

Feb 16, 2019
Ralph Gardner Jr.

There are words in other languages that nail aspects of the human experience and for which there are no English equivalents.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Perpetual Valentine

Feb 9, 2019
Jim and Kate Vasilow
Ralph Gardner Jr.

If a child were looking for convincing proof that magic exists in the world, and that one need never relinquish the passions of youth, that kid would have to travel no further than the local candy store.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Art Of The Croissant

Feb 2, 2019
Chef Cody Fitchett at Bartlett House
Ralph Gardner Jr.

This part of the world has a lot going for it: verdant nature, great vistas, a world-class river. But one of the areas where it cannot pat itself on the back is an abundance of good, let alone, great bakeries. 

Ralph Gardner Jr: Snow Day

Jan 26, 2019
picture of trees in snow

Snowstorms are more complicated than they used to be. I’m not referring to the weather, though that, too. I read that because of global warming we can expect more balmy winters, or at least balmy Decembers, followed by blizzards and bone chilling polar vortexes, or is it vortices, later in the season.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Newspaper Of Record

Jan 19, 2019
The writer’s father and brother in the 1970’s
Ralph Gardner Jr.

I was filled with sadness the other day when I got off the phone after cancelling my 94-year-old mother’s New York Times subscription.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Can Trees Talk?

Jan 12, 2019
Ralph Gardner Jr.

Snap quiz. What are the large organisms that surround us, that provide beauty and shade, fuel and shelter, but that we know least about? I guess I gave it away with the shade part.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Clark

Jan 5, 2019
FRIENDS OR FOES? (THE SCOUT) 1902–05  Oil on canvas
Frederic Remington / The Clark Art Institute

I hadn’t visited the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA for a while since my last trip occurred before their 2014 renovation. The changes include thousands of square feet of additional gallery space, a new entrance with an all-glass pavilion, and ambitious landscaping that incorporates a three-tiered reflecting pool, lawns, meadows and expanded walking trails.

Ralph Gardner Jr: An Insomnia Cure

Dec 29, 2018
Leo Tolstoy
Public Domain / Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been sleeping with a woman named Anna. She’s even cured my insomnia. And my wife approves.

Ralph Gardner Jr: No Tinsel Required

Dec 22, 2018
man dressed up as Santa Claus holding a sign that reads, "Help send Santa down 10,000 chimneys" on the sidewalk of a commercial street in Chicago, Illinois.
Public Doman - Wikimedia Commons / DN-0001069, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society

If you’re in the column or commentary writing business (I’m still not sure I understand the distinction between a commentary and a column if there is one) it’s expected that come a major holiday – Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Fourth of July – you’ll acknowledge the event with a certain amount of verbiage.