March 14, 2021 – Today was declared a day of remembrance in New York City. It was on this date one year ago that the first person in the Big Apple died from COVID19.
We posted as best we could the early weeks of this shock – an emotional and civic trauma unlike any other in my lifetime – in our “No Place BUT Home” series.
Words were not of much use as this city was hollowed out and whipsawed in a perfect storm; one where all of its cultural jewels and unique assets – bound together for generations like a Sicilian family – were unraveled so spectacularly that religious people proclaimed this novel corona virus the author of a “biblical epic.” It had its own exodus as 300,000 people fled the terror of ending up in a crowded or non-existent ICU. While some relied on religious analogies, readers of Sartre, author of The Plague (copies of the 1947 novel sold out in weeks), noted that life is tenuous, viruses have unimaginable power and that communities and societies can be overturned, transformed or even eviscerated in the time it takes to cough, lose your breath and die. In a few weeks, it appeared that our public health networks, our technology and our sophisticated rituals could not sustain us.Read more
When Sgt. Dominic Zacharilla and his armored group crashed through the gates of a Nazi death camp in 1945, they were followed by my Uncle Pete and his team of U.S. Army medics. While neither saw each other during the horrific campaign both were similarly shaken. Even General George Patton, leader of the American Third Army, threw up at the sight of the death camp.
Both of my uncles came home from war decorated and honored. They settled into unremarkable but decent lives in their hometown. Uncle Dominic went to a trade school and learned to become a barber, where he opened his own shop. Uncle Pete, a big brawny guy, worked in a family lumber business. Both loved fishing in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. Both raised families. Their children were educated, competent, successfully solid members of their communities. Two left the village and settled in other states.Read more
It was just Yesterday, or 25 years ago, as some people call it, that John, Robert and I produced an event in Toronto called “Smart95.” Most of you attending or downloading the video from this year’s ICF Summit were not there. But there were two features of that event that have withstood the test of time because their arrival was inevitable.
ICF produced the world’s first “smart” conference in the world in 1995 in Toronto.
Above image of Toronto is used under Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.
The event in Toronto (a city that went on to become the Intelligent Community of the Year in 2014) was the first event in history to use the word “Smart.” You can look it up. John Jung named it and a search revealed it was not in use anywhere. It gives us bragging rights for life, I guess. Most important, it triggered a movement and a way of thinking that has spread out far and wide, from East to West.Read more
The Big Apple is the wrong name for New York this summer.
No one knows what will come to New York this autumn and beyond. It will not be the World Series, Tracy Letts’ new play or a fraction of our 65.2 million annual visitors. New York will not be as fine as apple pie by Columbus Day or Thanksgiving. These two holidays might not even be around by Christmas! Without its theaters, restaurants, museums and the everyday energy of vendors and street life, New York is a harsher, more hollow place, and no place for epicureans hungry for its unique slice of American culture.Read more
She hears it every night precisely at 7:00 PM.
But tonight, she was running late for her shift and talking on her phone as briskly as she was scurrying to confront what is left of “The Beast” inside New York Presbyterian Hospital. She and her colleagues – and those of us shouting our thanks at her from balconies, windows & the street - have managed to put this son-of-a-bitch of a virus on the run and bend it with the authority of a blacksmith pounding hot steel to a more desired shape.
“If you’re going through Hell, keep going,” Winston Churchill supposedly said.
For sure, we took that advice in New York. Some of us stayed here but kept going, grinding away in what now is recalled as an exhausting attempt to keep some shreds of the familiar life in the Great City close. But as a friend who left, returned for a few days recently but left again said, “Lou, I could not stay. It’s too heartbreaking.” Many left town to flee far away from what appeared to be Hell. The Epicenter is either the worst place to be or, for some, the only place to be. It depends on your core and your love of your town. You can leave it and still love it. I understand. I just have a hard time grasping or respecting it.Read more
In this video, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla speaks with James Stifler, Chief Economic Officer of Hudson, Ohio, USA - a Top7 Intelligent Community of 2020.Read more
No Place BUT Home: The New Abnormal - Episode 1, with Joe Berridge, Luigi Ferrara and Ibrahim Almufti
What will our cities look like post-COVID? Will we ever trust our cities again? Is "density" the new enemy of urban planning? In this new segment of No Place BUT Home, we look at issues of vital importance that relate to the health, design & economic future of the places we live.Read more
In this episode of The Intelligent Community, Lou Zacharilla interviews Jon Milos, Professor of Business at Lambton College, about the ENACTUS Lambton Program.
In this episode of The Intelligent Community, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla talks with Ema Hsieh about the upcoming Top7 Announcement in Taoyuan, Taiwan in February. Then, we go to last year's Summit to learn more about Taoyuan, the 2019 Intelligent Community of the Year.Read more