Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — About Faces

The Slush

The dawn of a new millennium, the advent of sophisticated technology, and my family’s coincidental relocation to Seattle, WA were all possible factors that contributed to my mother’s pivotal change in careers. I remember as a child I would awaken to the sound of her tinkering with a computer, and I would fume over my expulsion from her study. She had to go back to school for computer science, and by the time I was ten she was working for large corporations. In my mind she had always occupied a place on the rising tides of technology, and I rarely asked about her enigmatic history as a book editor for Knopf and Pantheon. I have come to realize, however, that her time spent at Knopf shaped the woman I know as my mother. She was just a Midwesterner straight out of New York University, naïve to the inexorable madness of the city, yet she was always loyal to her own moral probity. This is my effort to articulate her story. [Read more →]

December 13, 2008   Comments Off on The Slush

My Mother: A Pioneer at Heart

Who was my mother before I was born? This is a question that I have not really confronted before, probably because I am always so busy with the present, and especially busy with thinking about what the future holds for me. While our country is in a deep recession, it is important to think about certain changes that I might possibly have to make to prepare myself for a grim future. However, this does not mean that the past holds no importance. Why do we study the past? Many historians might argue that learning the past can help us prepare for the future, because history repeats itself. Although this might hold true, this trend usually occurs every half- century or century at least. My mother is only 38 years old, so her past is not so far away. Nonetheless, memories can easily be forgotten, and in order to salvage these precious memories, I decided to learn more about what life was like during my mother’s childhood in the Soviet Union. All I can remember is the struggles of my parents during immigration to the United States, but was this future already in my mother’s mind in the 1970’s and 1980’s? Probably not. As I grow older, I begin to understand what kind of a person my mother is. She is caring and loving as a mother should be, but at the same time she is a fierce competitor, leader, and perfectionist. These qualities must have been instilled in her before I was born, so I wanted to delve into her past and see her growth, as she became the person that she is today. [Read more →]

December 12, 2008   Comments Off on My Mother: A Pioneer at Heart

An American Experience-Who She Was/Is


     Today, my grandmother, Jeannie lives in a condo in Florida. Most of her neighbors are originally from the New York area. Among her friends, there are many who also grew up on the Lower East Side and the Bronx.

       Jeannie was born on Feb. 21, 1933 on the Lower East Side. Her parents were both immigrants. Her mother, Tillie , came from Lizhensk, a village in Eastern Europe, and her father Joseph came from Russian controlled Poland. Jeannie spoke Yiddish at home, and only learned English once she went to public school. She also grew up with her maternal grandparents living in their apartment.  They were very religious people; Baba Raizl wore a wig, and Zeida Shmeil had a long beard. However, her grandmother did not think religion was as important for the younger generation; she felt there should not be that burden upon Jeannie and her two younger sisters, Sally and Sharon.

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December 12, 2008   1 Comment

Who She Became

            “Run and hide,” everyone told her. Run and hide. Revolution had descended on the USSR and with it came murder, destruction, and chaos. Its bloody cloak enveloped the entire nation including her hometown of Poltava. The royal family had been murdered and other members of the royal bloodline awaited their execution. A hunt was on for anyone related to the monarchy and Anna Dehktyar knew that with her nobility status and her husband’s former position as a high-ranking officer in the imperial army, she and her husband toped the list of most wanted. All she could do now was run and hide. [Read more →]

December 11, 2008   Comments Off on Who She Became

The Importance of Friendship

Me and my best friend Maria

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”  – Anon

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” – Aristotle

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”  – Anon

“If you have one true friend, you have more than your share.” – Thomas Fuller

“When it hurts to look back, and you’re scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friend will be there.”

“A true friend is someone who knows there’s something wrong even when you have the biggest smile on your face.”
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December 6, 2008   6 Comments

I Used to Go to France

We were on the top of the world.  Encapsulated in a tiny pod of yellow the three of us watched the lights get close and farther, closer and farther as we swayed in our make-believe rocket ship.  Sea-shanties echoed across the port, if you could call what that crazy Romanian chick in her red sparkly dress was singing sea-shanties.  Charlotte, in her French-accented, somewhat broken English, told a story constantly interrupted by our laughter.  She told a humorous horror story about our Ferris wheel breaking and the three of us falling to our deaths and the next day in the newspapers it would tell of the Englishman, Frenchie and American who died together in a tragic accident.  The Englishman, Ben, turned to me and smiled, and I smiled back.  After Charlotte went back to the boat that night we would lean against one of the warehouses and kiss while drunken French people made rude comments in the darkness.  [Read more →]

November 24, 2008   Comments Off on I Used to Go to France

An About Face, About Time Too.


"art for arts sake"

"art for arts sake"


            My mentor once told me, “Artists need an ego to protect them from the cold, cold world”. That being said, I feel that one of my proudest achievements is in my ability to continually paint things in a good light. Pun intended.

However it wasn’t always that way. [

November 14, 2008   4 Comments

About Face

          Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the Merrill Lynch Atlantic Fellowship. Selecting ten students from the US, and ten from the UK, the Atlantic Fellowship offered a comprehensive overview of the financial markets, while also enriching us with the cultural aspects of both London, and New York City. Although I knew there would be several cultural differences in England, I would soon be surprised at the type of encounters I had.

            On the first day we traveled to Merrill Lynch’s headquarters in London. As we entered the building, I went to quickly quench my thirst at a nearby water fountain. The group continued along, and since I knew we had to go to the sixth floor, I didn’t think there would be any issues getting there. However, I soon found out that I was very wrong. I asked one of the passing gentleman where the elevators were, and he drew a blank and confused face. I assumed he didn’t hear me clearly, I repeated, “can you tell me where the elevators are please?” His eyes pierced back with a dismayed and scornful look. He glanced at his watch and seemed to calculate that he wasted five precious seconds trying to decipher what I said. He snarled and I heard him say under his breath, “stupid American.” [Read more →]

November 9, 2008   2 Comments


I was born in a small town near city Wen Zhou, China. Opportunity was limited. People were expected to work in the fields or seek minimum payment jobs in the city. My mother was the exception. She, dropped out of middle school in order to support her family, started a successful door knob manufacturing business when I was three years old. By the time I reach eight years old I was rebellious. I was fascinated with the city life and envied those that who attended elementary school in the city their parents would bring them to KFC. I begged my mother to let me go to school in the city and promised her I would behave. She finally succumbed, “promise me you will study hard.” It was my mother’s determination to provide the best learning environment for me that I entered the most prestigious elementary school in the city at the age of eight. [Read more →]

October 16, 2008   1 Comment

About Faces

Rome was like no place that I’d ever seen and even though it sounds cliché it really was more striking than any pictures or descriptions that anyone could imagine. It is not at all what people imagine it to be. There are no people running around in togas singing “O Sole Mio”. Each day was filled with endless amazement and jaw-dropping wonders of the ancient world. I was stunned by the shear volume of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Last Judgment. [Read more →]

October 16, 2008   3 Comments