While I May Not Have Bette Davis Eyes……

Does it count that I do have Issae Miyake arms?

I noticed my new “designer” upper arms one hot summer morning after donning a sleeveless T Shirt and casually glancing in the mirror on my way out the door. WAIT, STOP, I shrieked to myself, when and how did those strange body parts get there? I wasn’t reacting to my face or my neck, (those changes, although perhaps even more alarming, have been alot more subtle). Where did those accordion pleats come from? How could yesterday’s sculpted triceps possibly have folded into origami patterns overnight and how do I iron them out before I leave for the day? Heating up the iron was, of course, out of the question so I changed into a long-sleeved shirt and sweltered as I went about my busy schedule.

Every so often during the day the thought of those pleated upper arms crossed my mind. I was sure they would be gone by the time I got home, probably due to a one-time contortionist sleeping position and while I do love my two vintage Issae Miyake outfits and my stunning red Issae Myake purse I didn’t want to be wearing them as permanent body parts.

That was two years ago. After trying every cream, lotion and miles of expensive tape advertised to do the job but impossible to apply, I discovered a very simple and effective solution, wear whatever the weather calls for but, if it involves short sleeves avoid any shiny surface that might possibly reflect my image!

Powerful Idea, Author Unknown

endorsed by me, my friend Jeanne, and Gloria Steinham!

“I want any young man who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion,” the quote reads. “Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protesters holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protester who call him a murderer. After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers.”

A Noteworthy Interchange

“Are you the first to arrive” she asked?  What may seem like a simple question actually  falls into the category of “ARE YOU REALLY SERIOUS?”!!

For those of you not familiar with NYC apartment security, if a concierge is on duty you are required to provide an apartment number in order to gain access to the building. The concierge then calls and announces your arrival.

Last evening I was invited to attend a small dinner party in my friend’s beautiful apartment in Chelsea. After walking what seemed like miles from the subway in the heat and humidity (actually only one Avenue and 2 blocks !) I entered the cool oasis of her upscale lobby. Sounds great so far, right?

However  (and there is a however)….  the concierge on duty was so completely distracted by her cell phone and a bag of Cheetos she didn’t notice my arrival. Much to her obvious annoyance I  finally got her attention and provided my friend’s apartment number. Her reply, as noted in my opening sentence, totally confused me. After I asked her to repeat the question I realized she wasn’t kidding! I took a deep breath, gathered as much patience as possible, and sweetly replied that I had just walked in the door so how could I possibly know who had come in ahead of me (or for that matter where they were going!) and that perhaps if she had been paying attention to her job rather than her cell phone and bag of Cheetos she would have realized the stupidity of her question (actually I only said the first part out loud, the second part was a thought bubble :-). After calling the wrong apartment twice she finally got it right and “voila” I was granted access and provided with some amusing dinner table conversation!

Oscar and Valeria Ramirez

When you hug your children and/or grandchildren tonight please remember the tragic story of  Oscar and Valeria Ramirez, the father and his tiny daughter who drowned after being tuned away when they tried to cross the U.S border legally. This is what happens when the President of the United States and his administration use human beings as political pawns.

With A Nod To Dr Seuss

Last Monday I unavoidably found myself heading west on W. 66th St between Broadway & Amsterdam at 4:00 PM, the same time two area high schools were in the process of   dismissal.  As I was dodging in and out of the throngs of boisterous students one of the kids suddenly picked up a signboard advertising weekly chamber music concerts held at the church next to my apartment building. He lifted it over his head pretending to throw it at a group of approaching kids. After a brief hesitation he instead hurled it violently to the sidewalk scattering signboard pieces, leaflets and frightened kids all over the street.

I hadn’t noticed the man walking behind me until I jumped aside to avoid the crashing signboard & debris. We came to a stop inches from each other and turned in unison to watch the perpetrator saunter away laughing uproariously at the havoc he had caused. As our eyes met (he looking down and me straining up to see his face) I said “should we go after him” (easy for me to act brave when my potential partner was at least 6’3, built like an iron man and, not to mention,drop dead handsome)?  He paused for a second, smiled and said “then I’d have to deck him and then I’d probably have to  do the same to all the kids who would be joining in, then it would become a free for all, then the police would be called, then everyone would recognize me and I would wind up signing autographs for the rest of the day”!  By the time he finished his commentary, instead of being angry I was laughing and thoroughly charmed as we bent down to clean up the mess together.  Who was he you ask? I‘m sorry to report I have no idea but he definitely had a presence and a great sense of humor.

With a nod to Dr Seuss, I walked away thinking to myself “and to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street”


A Few Subway Recommendations

I strongly recommend using your subway commute to practice patience and learning to rise above the occasional temptation to be a hater. I almost always find ways to practice one or both of these character-building traits on my daily subway rides.

As an object lesson and with brutal honesty I will share my most recent failed attempt. The morning after Mr. Trump’s State of the Union Speech as I was headed crosstown on the N train,  I overheard two people engaged in an animated conversation about how great the speech was the night before and what a wonderful job our underappreciated president is doing.  Ironically, as I inwardly rolled my eyes and silently repeated “practice patience” & “don’t be a hater” I noticed the sign posted over their heads, “If You See Something, Say something”. Any thoughts about practicing self-improvement were instantly erased as I wondered if these people and their annoyingly misguided conversation qualified as reportable offenses?!

Like I said, I recommend using your subway time to practice positive thinking and trying not to be a hater. This can be character building in so many ways… or not!








Look what my visiting Daughter-in-Law Amy and I discovered in the subway tunnel last night on the long walk from the 1 train at 14th street to the downtown F train. Someone had set up a table with markers and pads of small colored post-it notes for commuters who cared to stop a moment to share a thought or two.  By 5:30 PM the walls were  covered from top to bottom with hundreds of colorful notes (the ones I read were all positive and inspirational)! As we passed there were still crowds of people busily writing  their messages at what may be the busiest time of a commuters day!

My first thought was to wonder what kind of world this would be if, instead of threatening to build walls President Trump asked people to stop a moment and post messages of hope and inspiration on existing walls and signposts everywhere!



Intrigued by “my” amazing discovery I did some research. Below is the story of how “Subway therapy” was born

“About a year ago (2015), I sat with a book people could write their secrets in, and I had a little sign that said Secret Keeper. More often than not, people would just talk to me instead of writing something down. People would say “I feel so much better! This is great… like therapy”. I heard it enough that it stuck, and Subway Therapy was born.

Early in 2016 I started wearing a suit, and setting up my “office” in different subway stations in New York. I started going by Levee as a way to step out of my day to day routine, and in a smaller way, to protect myself. Today, I try to go out about once a week as “The Subway Therapist” when work and weather allows, and my temporary office is open for about 4 hours each time. Keep in mind, I am not a licensed therapist, and I have no obligation to keep what I hear confidential. I cannot provide professional advice, but I like to listen and when asked I give personal advice from my experience.

Lately, the project has evolved and I have been using sticky notes to give people an opportunity to transform their stress into something beautiful. Sometimes I write Express Yourself, and other times I ask questions.The first time I used sticky notes was after the election in 2016. With individuals feeling a myriad of ways about the results, I wanted to encourage them to let out what they were keeping inside. All I did was bring sticky notes to my table in the subway and I invited individuals to write something and stick their note up on the wall behind the table for all to see. In the first few days over 10,000 notes were written, and in the coming months an estimated 50,000 spread like rainbow colored ivy at 14th st/6th avenue and Union Square. The initiative in New York spread across the country and countless individuals wrote notes in public places, schools, businesses, and who knows where else. It was encouraging and inspiring to see this simple idea blossom into a symbol of unity and diverse expression.

I wanted to share the inspiration I felt with others, and I decided to write a book about the notes and my experience which you can find here. I can’t express how lucky I feel to be able to do this work and be there for individuals who need or want it. I encourage you to do what you can too. I don’t exactly recommend dressing up like a therapist and setting up shop in your local subway station, but maybe the wild and crazy times we live in require innovative and unconventional problem solvers. I’m happy to assist if you have an idea you need help bringing to life so don’t be shy about getting in touch.

I look forward to our conversation, Levee”

P.S As we passed by the same spot at 9PM a few people were removing the stickers, packing up the markers and post- it notes and “leaving their campsite cleaner than they found it”!!