Five Updates to Previous Posts

Time moves on and things change — one hopes for the better. I try to keep up with current news and trends, some of which applies to posts that I have written in the past. Here are five updates to previous posts with the most current information added.

The Gurlitt Collection: Germany Returns a Painting — Finally

Riders on a Beach by Max Liebermann

Riders on a Beach by Max Liebermann

In several posts I wrote about the discovery of two troves of art purloined during World War II by Hildebrand Gurlitt and kept secret by his son Cornelius. When Cornelius Gurlitt died last year, he left his contested “collection” to the Kunstmuseum in Bern, Switzerland.

As a condition of accepting the collection, the Bern Art Museum’s directors signed an agreement that they would return any stolen work of art to its rightful owners or their heirs.

As a step in that direction, German Culture Minister Monika Gruetter has signed a restitution agreement to return “Riders on a Beach” by Max Liebermann to the descendants of David Friedmann, its original owner. Finally, some justice. Unfortunately the heir, 89-year-old attorney David Toren of New York City, is blind and cannot see the painting once he has it in his possession. He will have to depend on his childhood memories of Riders on a Beach.

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Living and Working in Boston

I have written several posts about the paradox of companies moving to Boston so they can hire the hip young people who prefer urban life at the same time the high cost of city living is driving the hip young people out into the “commutable suburbs.” That commute works some of the time — like when the snow isn’t piling down — but this winter certainly highlighted the T’s problems with reliability. Meanwhile the Seaport District continues to be both more expensive than other parts of the city and even less commutable.

Necco Street Garage Boston MA, Seaport District, parking garage

The Necco Street Garage
(Globe Photo)

Now the in ” A New Age for an Old Town,” by Casey Ross, the Boston Globe tells us that multiple new office towers are going up in the city with 14.2 million square feet of new buildings underway by the end of 2014. Some of that is office space and some residential: the Boston Redevelopment Authority says that 68% of the 72 projects currently in construction are residential buildings.

Meanwhile, the high cost of those residences in the Seaport District has reached, well, new heights. It turns out that hip young people probably can’t even afford to pitch a tent in a Seaport parking garage. The Globe’s Beth Healey tell us in “At Seaport, Even Garages Now Valuable Real Estate,” that the building boom has created a severe parking shortage. New construction for office towers and $7 million condos has eliminated about 3,000 parking spaces. The Necco Street Garage has changed hands several times, sending the value of each space up to $85,000. Even the hippest of young people might have trouble swinging that for their own use, forget putting a car there.

Is it too much to ask that the Boston Redevelopment Authority do some planning in the midst of this building boom? That planning should include what it takes to move people around and deal with their cars if they own one.

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Parenting Free-Range Children

I have written several times about our increasingly caged-in children who now spend less than five minutes a day playing outside. Clemens Wergin, a continuing op-ed writer at the New York Times, recently added his weight to the movement for free-range children. In his article “The Case for Free Range Parenting” Mr. Wergin says, “A study by the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that American kids spend 90 percent of their leisure time at home, often in front of the TV or playing video games. Even when kids are physically active, they are watched closely by adults, either in school, at home, at afternoon activities or in the car, shuttling them from place to place.”

Like me, @clemenswergin urges parents to get over their terror of letting children play by themselves and teach them how to make wise decisions about free time and safety without parental oversight.

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Getting Men to Dress Up

I have lamented the sad state of the clothes men wear when they go out for the evening and readers agreed with me. Now even restaurant chefs are fed up with men who come to their establishments dressed like limp salad. If the chefs put all that work into cooking you a fine dinner, the least you can do is put some time into your appearance.

When you’re eating in a nice restaurant, dress the part. Show up looking like a grown-up, not a little boy on his first trip to the ball park. Watch what the chefs have to say on this Chef’s Feed video: “Guys That Are Dressed like Crap in a Nice Restaurant.”  Note: the crude language is theirs, not mine.

Do some research. Take the advice of @chefsfeed and put some effort into it. As Chef Staffan Terje says, “Just because we have a white tablecloth doesn’t mean you have to wear an Armani suit.” But ditch the hoodie and the baseball cap, put on a shirt with a collar and look like an adult.

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General Girl Boss

Co-Author Susanne Skinner’s friend and high school classmate, General Ann Dunwoody, has written a book called “A Higher Standard” with an introduction by Sheryl Sandberg.  The book contains leadership strategies from America’s first female four-star general.

A Higher Standard by Gen. Ann DunwoodyHere’s Strategy Number 1: Meeting the standard will always suffice if you want to be average or just get by. Exceeding the standard and living to a higher standard can lead to success and the achievement of your dreams.”

You can read more of Gen. Dunwoody’s leadership advice and buy the book on her website:

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