Every birthday is a gift

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Finally, blue skies, with beautiful cloud coverage. Photo: JH.

Monday, October 2, 2023. Well, the rain stopped. At least around these parts. We had a sunny Saturday and Sunday, and somewhat cooler although not cool enough to turn on the heat. So we were lucky. Today is a very special day in some parts of the city as it is the birthday of our co-founder of the NYSD, JH himself.

JH’s latest golf adventure at Fishers Island Club, pictured with his brother and faithful golf companion Jason. As JH shared after being called off the course due to unplayable conditions: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers golfers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

JH and DPC have been working together on a daily basis for a quarter century, five days a week and never in the same building. I hired him to be my assistant when I was editor of Judy Price’s Avenue Magazine. There wasn’t enough office space for another so I gave him mine and started working at home. It worked out well. We were in constant communication whenever needed, and he was easy to work with.

He’s naturally good natured and came into this world with a deep sense of responsibilities that he’s taken on in life. That includes the game of golf; where he steals away from this real world to the heaven on the links.

Back in the late ’90s when the internet was just beginning to grow, I’d wanted to have a website for the NYSD because I knew from personal experience that there is a huge audience out there for what goes on in New York and what the people are like. At the time, when corporations and big investors were getting involved, the word around that you needed a million bucks and a good business plan for investors to consider. I knew I’d never be able to raise that kind of money for my idea, which was discouraging because I was certain the web was going to be The Place not only in New York but in the world.

One night I had dinner with my boss Mrs. Price and her husband, and at table she said, with the excitement of youth in her announcement, “We’re gonna have a web site!”

Inside I was groaning, thinking I’d have to do a web site for someone else which wasn’t in my plan so I said in response: “I’m gonna have a web site, too.”

Turning serious, Mrs. Price said sensibly and honestly: “Where will you get the money??”

And I replied, matter-of-factly, “I don’t need any money.”

I can’t recall Judy’s reaction to that reply although I thought my reply was as silly as she no doubt thought. I was being the 14-year-old asserting his will.

DPC and JH at Swifty’s, the day after leaving Avenue magazine to start up the NYSD in 2000.

However, I went home that night and immediately started thinking about it; how long I could live on what I had in the bank. Savings and all income from the next two months at Avenue, I figured I could go for a year.  The next day I went back to the office to check on messages, etcetera; and I told Jeff I was leaving in August (it was mid-June 2000) to start my own web site.

DPC and JH a few years into the NYSD.

His reaction was like all of his reactions to someone else’s thoughts for themselves. More or less very politely congratulating me on the venture. It was then that it occurred to me that Jeff, a guy in his early 20s, a kid really to this oldster, already knew all about the internet and how it worked. 

So I asked him if he’d like to join me. And he in his characteristic manner simply said something like “Sure, why not.” And so, mid-August we both went into to Mrs. Price’s office to tell her we were leaving. It turned out, we later learned she was leaving too, selling her magazine which she created a quarter century before very successfully.

When it came to physically creating the website, neither Jeff nor I knew “how” to do it. But in short time, he knew, understood, and practiced what he was learning, designing the site and putting it up online for our first Diary in late September of 2000. Since we had no office and we couldn’t afford one, we worked at our own homes in our own environment and the thought of doing it differently never came up. 

We communicate every business day, and continue whenever necessary by phone or web; and confer frequently about our objectives and what we’re doing on a daily basis. He handles everything for our business, except the copy – which he can jump into when necessary. He’s an excellent writer too when needed. It turns out he’s also a good editor and expresses his thoughts very diplomatically to us writers who can’t think of something.

DPC and JH discussing the holiday luncheon logistics at Swifty’s, 2011.

But he also was our first and only official photographer and with his eye for beauty – that being the beauty of life and nature – we get to see the natural beauty of this great city, from the roadways to the tops of the towers. 

Personally I consider our business partnership God’s gift because my objective could never have been realized. Without Jeff, this beautiful website would never have happened. Several years ago Jeff married the beautiful Danielle, and they have a beautiful and very smart and clever little son. In fact when I called Jeff to tell him the contents of this Diary I was writing, he was busy preparing dinner for the little guy.

JH and DPC — still crazy after all these years.

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