Ralph Gardner Jr.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Is That Old Rake In Your Barn Art?

Nov 16, 2019
Early Hand Tools at the Columbia County Historical Society
Ralph Gardner Jr

One might think that someone with Lisa Weilbacker’s pedigree – she’s the former executive director of Historic Hudson, an organization dedicated to preserving Hudson, New York’s heritage; she was also curator at the 7th Regiment Armory on Park Avenue in New York City and has a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania – would have better things to do than rummage around old barns and tool boxes.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Generating Music

Nov 9, 2019
House concert at the Gardners
Ralph Gardner Jr

That does it. We’re getting a generator. We’ve been saying that for years, approximately every time the lights go out, which in our neck of the woods is pretty much when the wind does much beyond whisper through the woods.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Strange Magic Of A Favorite Mug

Nov 2, 2019
Ralph's favorite cup
Ralph Gardner Jr

There was nothing remarkable about my mug. It was white and tapered – wider at the top than the bottom – with a sturdy handle that offered a comfortable, confident grip as I sipped my morning coffee.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Getting In Tune

Oct 26, 2019
Piano tuner Richard Lapo
Ralph Gardner Jr

I was reluctant to ask Richard Lapo too many questions since he was in the process of tuning my piano. It was an inherited Steinway baby grand that we recently decided to put to better, more strenuous use than during the previous seventy or so years that it shared my parents’ apartment.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Guarding The Herd

Oct 19, 2019
Georgia Rainey of Kinderhook Farm with Wink and Sarge
Ralph Gardner Jr.

Our dog is a dismal guard dog. She barks all right, but at all the wrong times. For example, in the middle of the night, set off by sounds such as the furnace. On the other hand, a burglar could walk through the front door and she’d barely bat an eyelash.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Botswana Behind The Scenes

Oct 12, 2019

If things like impeachment inquiries, trade wars and climate change are getting you down I’d like to suggest a good nature documentary. Actually a three-part miniseries that PBS is airing starting October 23rd.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Who Says Cities Are More Civilized?

Oct 5, 2019
Ralph Gardner

The word civilization is related to “civitas,” the Latin word for city. It’s one of the few things I remember from 7th grade Latin, that and my grade point average – hovering somewhere in the mid-sixties. Flunking out territory.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Moby Dick In Performance

Sep 28, 2019
Ros Kavanagh

There’s no need to feel inadequate if you haven’t read Moby Dick. And now you don’t have to in any case. Conor Lovett, Judy Hegarty Lovett and Ireland’s Gare St. Lazare theater company are bringing their adaptation of Herman Melville’s epic whaling novel to Hudson, NY’s Hudson Hall next Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Tennis, Anyone?

Sep 21, 2019

There’s the official, legal, annual, I don’t know what you call it calendar. The one that starts on January 1st. And then there’s my personal calendar. Call it the academic year calendar even though it’s years since I’ve been in school. That calendar starts on or about a week after Labor Day.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Milestones You Don't See Coming

Sep 14, 2019

There are all those well-known milestones – births, marriages, deaths. But then there are the ones that come upon you suddenly, that you hadn’t given any thought to, that nobody warned you about.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Crimes Against The Earth

Aug 31, 2019
Workers using high-pressure, hot-water washing to clean an oiled shoreline. In this treatment method, used on many Prince William Sound beaches, oil is hosed from beaches, collected within floating boom, then skimmed from the water surface
NOAA / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

I recently clicked on a CNN.com opinion piece by Jeffrey Sachs, the director of Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development. The title of the story was, “Trump’s Failure to Fight Climate Change is a Crime Against Humanity.”

Ralph Gardner Jr: I'm Honored

Aug 24, 2019
Great Stone Barn
Lisa Malone Jackson / Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon

The clouds were low and billowing, and that apocalyptic steel grey color that in science fiction movies portends the arrival of alien invaders and the end of life as we know it.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Dancing To Nature

Aug 17, 2019
Stephen Petronio at Crow’s Nest, the Petronio Residency Center in Roundtop,NY
Ralph Gardner, JR.

There are studies coming out every day about the therapeutic benefits of nature. A walk in the woods, besides being pretty and good exercise, increases mental health, not to mention spiritual development.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Jamesian Era Ends At Vassar

Aug 10, 2019
James Mundy, Director Emeritus of Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
Ralph Gardner, JR.

Some didactic panels – those identifying placards to the side of paintings in museums – are more descriptive than others. But few, to my recollection, are as revealing as those currently on view at Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

Ralph Gardner Jr: My Personal Moonwalk

Aug 3, 2019

I realize I’m a little late to the “where were you during the moonwalk?” party. If I were going to write on the subject I should have done so a few weeks ago.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Robert Morgenthau

Jul 27, 2019
Robert Morgenthau at Fishkill Farm's store in 2016
Ralph Gardner Jr.

I don’t remember when I first met Robert Morgenthau, the legendary district attorney who passed away on July 21st, but he would have. His memory remained sharp well into his late nineties.

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

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.