An Idealistic View of Being Outside


I am not someone who goes outside very often. I prefer being inside, behind a computer, or hanging with the fam. But even I am yearning a bit to see the sun again. It’s been over a month since I stepped outside of our apartment building.

Social Distance

My wife hasn’t been inside for quite as long as I have. She went out (against my recommendation) to run an errand. When she came back she described the world out of doors to be a bit of a nightmare. People weren’t wearing masks, nor were they practicing social distance.


After my wife had her final outdoors experience, she pledged to not venture outside until it was safe. It’s now been several weeks since she had her negative outside experience. The three of us sometimes get a bit idealistic about being in the park, but for now we remain in lockdown.

Washing Our Hands Like Everyone Else

Living on the Edge

Yes, those of us here at the tip top of Manhattan, NY, have to wash their hands too.  Outside is deathly quiet, which is odd for this urban environment. You can’t purchase groceries from any one of the 9 different grocery delivery surfaces. Everything is booked up so we’re living on our wits to some extent.

Maybe Outside is No so Bad

Lots of indoor time which as an introvert isn’t so bad, but even for those of us who prefer inside to outside getting a little Vitamin D wouldn’t be bad.

Wash those Hands

But as New Yorkers we’re, most of us, waiting it out. There are those who escaped from the city to go to their Hamptons summer house. I imagine it won’t be easy in Strong Island either, because there won’t be as much availability. Wait. What did I just say? We are now living in the city where we can’t even get groceries. If only we could wash our hands of it.

A Reminder About the Benefits of Living in Inwood Manhattan

Wikipedia’s Take on the History of Upper Manhattan

On May 24, 1626, according to legend, Peter Minuit, the director general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, bought the island from the Lenape Indians for 60 Dutch guilders and, the story goes, some trinkets. On the southern tip of the island Minuit founded New Amsterdam. A plaque (on a rock) marking what is believed to be the spot of the sale is in Inwood Hill Park, the only natural forest left in Manhattan.

Street Easy’s View on Inwood Manhattan Today

With plenty of parks and scenic views, Inwood is one of the more peaceful neighborhoods in Manhattan.

As New Yorkers perpetually hunt for find affordable, comfortable places to live, many are turning to areas of Upper Manhattan like Inwood, rather than defaulting to the outer boroughs. Upper Manhattan — a submarket comprising Harlem, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Manhattanville — has become an increasingly popular place for both buyers and renters, with Inwood especially enjoying a growing reputation for pleasant living at a good value.

Brick Underground on the Life in the 1930’s in Inwood

The Works Progress Administration guide to New York City, written in the 1930s, describes Inwood as a place where “rivers and hills insulate a suburban community that is as separate an entity as any in Manhattan.”

The buildings are taller and closer together these days, but the gist still holds true to some degree. Inwood’s skyline is low-rise, with a mix of single-family brick houses and five- to eight-story apartment buildings, most built in the first half of the 20th century. A proposed rezoning could change all that in short order, but it has yet to be formally approved.

Inwood NYC Action Plan on Academy Street Manhattan

Parents and their Children

Many parents are worried for their children in the big changes that are coming to Inwood soon. The community is being changed virtually entirely.

The Changes Over the Years in Inwood Manhattan

Inwood Manhattan used to have a mixture of Jewish, Irish and Greek immigrants several generations ago but now it is a largely Dominican neighborhood.” And there is a rezoning issue fueled by $200,000,000 of government money.

Two Sides

Some think the rezoning of the neighborhood is good, while others do not. There is fear on all sides. Folks who have been living in Inwood Manhattan are afraid they’ll lose their homes whereas developers and some residents think the neighborhood needs to be transformed. Thankfully Inwood Manhattan has Lights Camera Read to help keep the peace.

Assurances Given

There is assurance being given though that the investment will be used to build affordable homes, upgrade parks and connect the Harlem River waterfront to Inwood.

How about the Library?

There is another issue that some Inwood Manhattan residents are not happy about. It is the tearing down Inwood’s current library and putting a new state of the art one in its place


There was a petitiion that was created to fight these changes – including the library – but the developers won out. Whether most people will ultimately like these changes is yet to see. “In the end it is all about the children,” says the editor of Manhattan Kids Guide.

Will the Arts Thrive?

One aspect of developers’ promises has some people excited about the prospect there being built a performing Arts Center. This center will celebrate immigrants who have made such a difference in this community.


The claim is that the Inwood NYC action plan was the result of years of work as well as extensive interaction with the existing community. Is this true? Developer claim that a City Team led by NYCEDC were responsible for this neighborhood engagement. Apparently there were over 25 bilingual public events, stake holder meetings and workshops.

Who are the 2,500?

As a long time resident of Inwood we were not invited to any of these happenings so one wonders how the developers contact (they claim) over 2,500 people from the neighborhood. Not once did we receive any literature about this nor received fliers in the streets. How were these so called 2,500 people engaged? If so, was it a positive and inclusive process?

What’s Your Opinion?

What do you feel about the changes in Inwood Manhattan. Contact and let us know if you think that this is a good thing or not for our children.

Inwood Manhattan from Houdini to LCR

LCR and Magic Neighbors

If it weren’t for living in Inwood Manhattan my family and I probably would have never formed Lights Camera Read or started the theater group Magic Neighbors. And as many of you know, Lights Camera Read has evolved into a source of eBooks.

Stepping In

Lights Camera Read came out of need in terms of creating the best for our then, toddler daughter. We knew that someone needed to step in and organize parents and their young children, so that’s what we did.

The Birth of a Nonprofit Sponsored Organization

We started an email list and had a launch event with over a hundred people showing up in costume for a parade on Broadway through town covered by New York 1. Lights Camera Read eventually evolved into a nonprofit sponsored organization at the library where lights and cameras and reading all came into play.

Getting Out the Message

This was manifested in the form of the library theater group called Magic Neighbors, that through performance and video encouraged kids to read. The group traveled initially to the Inwood Public Library and eventually to other branches citywide.

The Mission Continues

As our daughter got older we created events for older children. We also began to uncover the rich history that Inwood Manhattan had. Also as our daughter grew, we realized that one of the greatest things we could do with Lights Camera Read was to not just depend on the library, but create eBooks ourselves that couldn’t be found there.

A Chance Tie to a Conjuring Legacy

Being that I sometimes go by the moniker of “Manhattan Magician,” as mentioned in this blog before, I was thrilled to discover that within blocks of our home was the house that Bessie Houdini occupied after Harry died. This was pure coincidence and was not planned.

New Activities

But recently, now that our daughter is even older, we’ve closed many of the activities of Lights Camera Read, including shows with Magic Neighbors. Our daughter is interested in a whole new slew of things including Harry Potter Books, Minecraft and “Dungeons and Dragons.”

Still Connected

Even though Lights Camera Read and Magic Neighbors are currently in holding pattern we still, as a family, continue to explore the wonders of Inwood Manhattan, including trips to the various parks and participating in outdoor yoga.

Magic Manifested in Different Forms

As summer comes to a close Manhattan Magician gets ready to take on his new volunteer job as the writer of reports for submission to a conjurer’s trade publication for an international prestidigitation organization.

And the Thread Goes On

Magic, Inwood and the library continue to be a big part of our family’s lives together.

Creative Process in Inwood Manhattan

How to Get New Customers

Our congratulations go out to the new website “How to Get New Customers” for the great work they’ve done with ACAS that stands for the “Automatic Customer Acquisition System.” We here in Northern Manhattan know how difficult it can be to see something through, especially when it explores new territory.

An Incredible Project

Before was born, the originator of the site along with Lights, Camera, Read worked for several months on the ACAS project determined to uncover a way of getting clients or at least warm leads through an automatic system. I was intrigued by the idea and offered to help at no cost. I sat through many a session where not a lot of work got done.

The Breakthrough Was Due to the Website

Strangely enough it wasn’t until the How to Get New Clients site debuted that much advancement had been made on the undertaking.

Sometimes Calm, Meditative Thinking is Needed

If any of you reading this live in Inwood Manhattan then you know what I mean when I say it can be a calm and tranquil place. It is the last place in Manhattan, NY where “woods” exist and it is possible to walk through them while meditating and thinking. In fact there is a meditation group in Inwood as well as the opportunity to take Yoga in the park.

Thinking, Thinking, Always Thinking

I mention all this because thanks to prodding from Lights, Camera, Read, I would often go and meditate or do yoga or even get “lost” in the woods racking my brain attempting to uncover the key to have an online system that could scope out your perfect demographic without you having to do a thing.

Piecing it Together a Little at a Time

I wasn’t able to ever come up with something solid. Of course there were little ideas here and there, but none of them really connected or got me any closer to being able to acquire customers on autopilot.

Finally On to Something

Then How to Get New Customers was born and that changed everything. Maybe we started to get lucky with ideas because of the fact that it was a website with the name that stood for what we were searching for. Possibly there was some kind of unconscious thing going on. Who knows. But it didn’t really matter. We were making progress! Yes we were finally on to something!

Inwood Manhattan and Your Computer

Being based in Inwood Manhattan is an interesting experience. You kind of get the best of both worlds. Just a few short blocks away are trees in the last existing forest in Manhattan while simultaneously you have all the amenities of being in a large city such as cultural access.

I spend a lot of time on the computer. I love it though. It is a constant artistic exploration that never ends and holds all the secrets to whatever you want to accomplish in your life.

My brother has a similar relationship to computers but he lives 3,000 miles away in Cali. Computers allow us to communicate, me in New York City and him in North Fork.

One use of computers that my brother and I have for many years talked about per computers, is the idea of monetizing your life. Turning everything you do into a “How To” video or eBook to be sold as a course.

And when you think about it reality TV is monetizing your life. And if you get popular enough like the Kardashians you get endorsement deals for things you do and use in your everyday life.

Even though as my friend (who’s been on a lot of reality shows) says “There’s nothing real about reality TV,” you are kind of living a staged version of your life when you’re a reality star.

And even writers monetize their lives. They convert their lives into books, plays and movies, sometimes hiding behind metaphors and character name changing. But they say all writing is autobiographical if you look between the lines.

And now there are all kinds of reality shows where someone monetizes their life and vocation. Have you seen the one called “Dr. Pimple Popper?” She squeezes people’s skin lumps for a living and now gets residual income and promotion from monetizing her life and profession on TV.

But probably the best and easiest form of monetizing your life is our Online Marketing Tip for today. This simple to do (if you are consistent) approach is to become a YouTuber.

Just start filming and narrating your life and be on the lookout for products, services and location tie-ins. In other words, once you begin to get big viewership numbers, you can get paid for using stuff and going places.

And the truth is that if you shoot and edit a video a day and do co-promotions with other YouTubers (especially influencers of course) you’re going to be on your way. So the tip for today is to prop your mobile phone on some books or something and begin to…Monetize your life!

Oh, and if you’re looking for somewhere to live, try Inwood Manhattan!

Inwood Manhattan is Where the Platinum PIAs Started

Email Us Today with Your Platinum PIAs nominations and voting.

Inwood Manhattan: Where the Platinum PIAs Were Born

The Platinum PIAs Awards Show was first conceptualized in Inwood Manhattan. But the awards themselves actually occurred for the first time live and in person at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Screening room and lounge. Other locations included off-off Broadway theaters and even the DC TV Community Center (2016 and 2017).

The 10 Annual Platinum PIAs Awards Show is Coming Up Soon

Yes it’s magic time again. Time for you to nominate and vote for your favorite ArtisticPreneur who is making a difference in her or his community. And it doesn’t have to just be in NYC, you can literally choose folks from all over the world, especially since we’ve been doing the international online version of the Platinum PIAs for the last few years (as opposed to live and in person).

Nomination and Voting

Some of the individual who have been nominated thus far are quite interesting. Turns out there are a lot of creative people on the planet who are also simultaneously helming their artistic career as an entrepreneur (or ArtisticPreneur).

Just Paste and Send

Even though we haven’t said so officially, the easiest way to nominate or vote for someone is (if you’re reading this in newsletter form) is to paste a link in your email and hit “send.” It’s really that easy. But sooner is better than later because we really only have a little over a month since this year’s festivities will be in April.

Thanks for Your Participation!

Our gratitude goes out to the many people who over the past years have been a part of the Platinum PIAs experience starting in 2010. It’s amazing to us that we’re about to celebrate our tenth annual Platinum PIAs Awards program. Your participation is the best part of the Platinum PIAs process.

Where Do You Live? Inwood’s in Manhattan?!

Inwood Manhattan
Photo Source: Nice picture don’t you think? It shows the bridge, the trees and the brick buildings which Inwood Manhattan is full of.

It’s a Lot Different than Midtown

Since 1988 I’ve lived all over the city but mostly in midtown. In fact, for five years I lived on 42nd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues which is about as Midtown West that you can get! And now when I tell people below 96th Street that I live in in Upper Manhattan in a place called Inwood above Harlem and Washington Heights, they sometimes look at me strange and say “Where?”

A Mission of Sorts

One of the reasons we started is because we live here and consider ourselves in some ways as ambassadors of this neighborhood. And residing here for more than a decade we know the area pretty well. So we thought it would be fun to do a post where we talk about Inwood and Washington Heights (nearby) and the rich history it has.

The Inwood Search Starts with Wikipedia is as good a place as any to begin. Wikipedia’s Inwood Manhattan page launches with this description:

“Inwood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, at the northern tip of Manhattan Island, in the U.S. state of New York.”

The Totally Wacky Start of Inwood Manhattan

The point of origin that Inwood Manhattan grew out of is allegedly an area where a marker now stands in Inwood Hill Park. Again we visit Wikipedia as our information source:

“On May 24, 1626, according to legend, Peter Minuit, the director general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, bought the island from the Lenape Indians for 60 Dutch guilders and, the story goes, some trinkets. On the southern tip of the island Minuit founded New Amsterdam. A plaque (on a rock) marking what is believed to be the spot of the sale is in Inwood Hill Park, the only natural forest left in Manhattan.”

Inwood Manhattan is known in New York, NY as the Last Place in the City You Can Still Get Low Rents

It’s likely to soon change but Inwood is still somewhat affordable according to

“As New Yorkers perpetually hunt for find affordable, comfortable places to live, many are turning to areas of Upper Manhattan like Inwood, rather than defaulting to the outer boroughs. Upper Manhattan — a submarket comprising Harlem, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Manhattanville — has become an increasingly popular place for both buyers and renters, with Inwood especially enjoying a growing reputation for pleasant living at a good value.”

The “New York Times” Weighs In

I used to read the “New York Times” obsessively but that changed as I got more and more depressed by the state of our country. Initially “The Times” was even my browser launch page. Thankfully there is a bit of an escape by living in Inwood. Here’s a description of it from an article from

“There is a way of life in Inwood, a sense of place, order and community that is more than its surroundings suggest. There are the lush parks, including the 196-acre Inwood Hill Park, the last natural forest in Manhattan, and the riverfront views. There are the streets filled with low-rise walk-up tenements. And there is the diversity: Nearly half of the residents here are foreign born.”

And a Perfect Place to Wind this Up is Taking a Look at the State of Public Transportation in Inwood

I don’t drive so I’m really not capable of living anywhere other the greatest city in the world, New York. For all the complaining people do about the subways in Manhattan, if you live here you can get to where you want to go. And who wants to go outside of the city anyway?!

Here’s a quote within a quote, meaning that on they quoted a woman and now I’m quoting them quoting her (if that makes any sense). Regardless, here’s the nice quote (within a quote) from

“We are lucky to have both the A and the 1 train nearby so we can easily get to local stops on the Upper West Side. There’s an easy transfer between the A and 1 at 168th, so if one line is stalled, we can switch. Getting to the East Side is trickier. There is an expensive express bus, or you can take the crosstown bus from the West Side.”

In Conclusion

Inwood Manhattan is a great place to live!

Inwood Resident Discovers the Magic of Inwood Manhattan

Bess Houdini lived in Inwood Manhattan.
Bess Houdini, widow of Harry Houdini, tried to communicate with her late husband from beyond the grave while living in Inwood Manhattan!

Magician Makes a Discovery in His Neighborhood

Due to having a background as a magician (a “semi-pro” from ages 8 to 18) I was very excited when I discovered that where I lived in Inwood Manhattan was just around the corner of 67 Payson Avenue. Why is 67 Payson Avenue such an important address? It’s because it is where the widow of Harry Houdini, Bessie Houdini, lived out the last years of her life.

When my daughter was very young we’d go to the park near the “Houdini House” (as my daughter called it), therefore I’d pass the apartment quite frequently. I was always sure to remind my daughter that the wife of Houdini had lived there. And apparently it is also the home from which every Sunday at the hour of Houdini’s death, she’d lock herself in a room with her late husband’s photo and try to communicating with him.

A Long Time Fan of Houdini

As a boy of 8 and reading all the biographies on Houdini that I could get my hands on, I over and over again was transfixed with the part of Houdini’s life where he made a pact with Bess that if he died first he’d attempt to contact her from the spirit world with a code. It was a code that only Harry and Bessie knew about so if a spirit medium was able to uncover it, Bess would know she was in touch with Houdini from beyond the grave.

Harry Houdini’s interest in the occult began in the 1920s after the death of his mother who was a very important part of his life.

The website describes it here:

“In the 1920s, after the death of his mother, Houdini began focusing his energy on debunking psychics and mediums. Although he eventually focused on proving these people to be fakes, his initial entry into the world of the supernatural began when he attempted to contact his dead mother. However, he found that the mediums he met were often frauds. He began investigating their methods and claims and later became a self-appointed crusader against them.”

The Film that Bess Houdini Appeared in

Wikipedia talks about this film:

“Bess Houdini appeared as herself in the 1938 film Religious Racketeers (a.k.a. Mystic Circle Murder) directed by Frank O’Conner and produced by Fanchon Royer. In the film, she expressed her belief that communication with those who have died is impossible. The film sparked controversy among spiritualists, but was praised by magicians”

I’ve seen the movie several times and it’s a bit odd but fun. The very interesting thing about it is that in the motion picture Mrs. Houdini in a cameo plays herself and talks about trying to communicate with her late husband.

Bessie Houdini’s Death

Bessie Houdini did not die in Inwood Manhattan. She died while on a train in Needless California in 1943 on her way to her family’s home in New York.

I learned this from my favorite blog about Houdini, “Wild About Harry (Houdini).” Here’s more from that site:

“An irony not pointed out here was that Bess died in the town of Needles, CA which was what Houdini always called his East Indian Needle trick — “Needles.” The original Needles train station and the adjoining El Garces Hotel were restored in 2014.”

In Closing

Many Years Have Passed Since Houdini’s Wife Has Died

Now that my daughter is older (nearly 10) she doesn’t like going to the park near Bess’s apartment anymore. We call that particular park “The Houdini Park” because it is across the street from Bess Houdini’s place. And because my daughter doesn’t drag me to the Houdini Park anymore, I haven’t passed by Mrs. Houdini’s residence lately.

It should be noted that Bess Houdini never did get a  communication from Houdini from beyond the grave through a spirit medium. No one ever cracked the code. Or maybe someone did! That’s a story for another time.