Victoria’s Diary: Brooklyn Hospital celebrates 175 years

Terry Hardaway, Judith Mennonna, Geatano Mennonna, Gary G. Terrinoni (CEO of Brooklyn Hospital), Swaminathin Chennareddy, Vasantha Kondamudi, Sarath Reddy and Armand Asarian.
Photo by Corazon Aguirre
Lucky me, I got to return last month to one of my favorite restaurants in New York City: the River Café, snuggled under the Brooklyn Bridge on the waterfront.

The proud, respected and popular café owner “Buzzy” O’Keeffe was one of several people recognized for their contributions to Brooklyn. The River Café’s sparkling setting looks out onto the Manhattan skyline and it was a perfect place to make the honorees feel special.

Brooklyn Hospital President Gary Terrinoni introduced the board president Lizanne Fontaine and together, they gave medals to the honorees. I was particularly impressed to meet Kristian Roebling, who expected the reward on behalf of the late Emily Warren Roebling, who led the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The full list of honorees includes: Keith Kinch (co-founder and general manager of Bloc Power); Robert Catell (chairperson of the Advanced Energy and Research Technology Center); the late Seth Faison (a trustee and former board chair of Brooklyn Hospital); George Harris (trustee emeritus of Brooklyn Hospital); David Henry Hwang (Tony-winning playwright, screenwriter, television writer and librettist who serves as associate professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts); Barbara Just (director of nursing at Brooklyn Hospital); the late Albert Kronick (former chair and CEO of Abraham & Straus); Dr. Yvonne Riley-Tepie (vice president and senior regional giving manager at TD Bank Charitable Foundation); and Michael “Buzzy” O’Keeffe (founder of the River Café).

The curtain has fallen…for now

What a world! I always say “life is a great adventure “ and what a ride it is — and now changing by the hour.

As a fearless “traveler” (except real roller coasters and zip lines), I tackle life and mine has been filled with great heights — the birth of my six grandchildren — and the low of losing my first child Lara.

Now, we are all learning to cope during these anxious, historic times.

I’m raring to go, fearless of the coronavirus, but my kids are sitting on me, figuratively.

I feel lucky that two of my grandchildren live with me and my daughter.

Being captured in my house — I am self quarantining — it is a great chance to be home with my family.

My 8-year-old granddaughter Addy decided to rummage through her room and then bring the items down to sell them to me. She loves shopping and, knowing I wasn’t going to take her to a store, she made her own and I was her best customer! I’m a sucker for her!

She found lipstick, stuffed animals, necklaces, a magnifying glass, a pretty star ruler, and best of all, a willing customer: me!

Calling friends and family was a great way to pass the time on Sunday. I think I may wear out my iPhone! 

My company is operating mainly remotely — everyone who is capable of working from home is doing so. We will all do what we have to do to stay healthy.

As my mom would say, “this too shall pass.” We are all behind the curtain of our home, but in the meantime it will take creativity to get through this challenging experience.

My friend Todd Shapiro shared with me the words of Albert Einstein, which I wanted to share with you. His words are true and wise, even today! Enjoy!

Albert Einstein’s words of wisdom

“Let’s not pretend that things will change if we keep doing the same things. A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, to any nation. For all crises bring progress.

Creativity is born from anguish, just like the day is born from the dark night. It’s in crisis that inventiveness is born, as well as discoveries made and big strategies. He who overcomes crisis, overcomes himself, without getting overcome. He who blames his failure to a crisis neglects his own talent and is more interested in problems than in solutions. Incompetence is the true crisis. The greatest inconvenience of people and nations is the laziness with which they attempt to find the solutions to their problems.

There’s no challenge without a crisis. Without challenges, life becomes a routine, a slow agony. There’s no merit without crisis. It’s in the crisis where we can show the very best in us. Without a crisis, any wind becomes a tender touch. To speak about a crisis is to promote it. Not to speak about it is to exalt conformism. Let us work hard instead. Let us stop, once and for all, the menacing crisis that represents the tragedy of not being willing to overcome it.” 

— Albert Einstein