Why You Should Care About A NYS
Every 20 years, New York State voters are given an opportunity to convene a Constitutional Convention to overhaul or amend the New York State constitution. In 1957, 1977 and 1997 New York voted against holding a convention. This November, New Yorkers will again be voting on the question. Many former New York employees are concerned that should a convention be held, New York State pension rights could be adversely impacted.
To read a recent article in Governing Magazine about the process,click here
To view, "Convention-Land - New Yorkers' Road Map to the Constitutional Convention," a guide prepared by the New York Public Interest Research Group and the New York State League of Women Voters,click here
FOLEY BROTHERS BUSY IN HOLLYWOOD
& NEW YORK
NYSID alum Kevin Foley's brothers have been quite active lately. Director James Foley's new film "Fifty Shades Darker" opens on Valentine's Day, 2017. James has directed many films in his 30-year career, including "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "At Close Range." He also directed several episodes of the hit television series, "House of Cards" starring Kevin Spacey.
Meanwhile, Kevin's other brother Jerry was the director of "The Late Show with David Letterman" for 20 years and recently directed Tony Bennett's 90th birthday special broadcast on NBC television. As a result of his efforts on the Bennett show, Jerry was nominated for a 2016 Directors Guild Award.
View the trailer for "Fifty Shades Darker" below
REMEMBERING ANN FEMIA
We were saddened to learn of the recent death of Ann Femia, NYSID's beloved principal clerk who ruled with an iron fist and a heart of gold. Ann, who retired years ago, had three sons, all of whom dabbled in show business at various times in their lives. In fact, her middle son Tommy has more than dabbled. He's been a world-famous Judy Garland impersonator for the past 25 years! For a peek at Tommy's act,click here
VITO BRUNO HOSTING TV SHOW
Former NYSID fraud investigator and NYPD detective Vito Bruno is now hosting his own show on Madhouse TV! The show airs live on Madhouse TV at 4 p.m. every Wednesday. Each show will feature Vito interviewing a law enforcement officer from the Greater Metropolitan area. The show offers a unique perspective on the critical issues facing law enforcement today. To view Vito's first two episodes,click here
Linda Chanda's Big African Adventure
Linda Chanda and her husband Ed just completed a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For their story and photos,click here
Brother of NYSID Alum Rich Lynde Goes Viral!
David Lynde's stepdaughter, Gabby, presented him with a very special present on his 53rd birthday. The YouTube video of the event went viral with nearly 500,000 views. After the video's success, Gabby and David were featured on Good Morning America, World News Tonight and Fox and Friends. Inside Edition also aired a heart-warming segment on David & Gabby, To View,click here
James Maluk's Big Fish
James Maluk, who worked more than ten years for the NYS Liquidation Bureau, has been fishing since he was a youngster growing up in Staten Island. He starts on opening day (April 15) and fishes until the weather gets too cold (early November). He fishes anywhere from the Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey to the Rockaways. His latest striper, caught this summer, weighed in at 46.6 pounds! (see photo) James now works for the New York State Office of the Inspector General and looks forward to another summer of excellent fishing.
Matson's "Sitting Couple" Featured in Online Gallery
As many of you know, NYSID alum Gary Matson is a long-time photographer with a keen eye for the unusual and offbeat. For a number of years, Gary's photographs have graced Photo Review, a photographic journal publishing since 1976. Photo Review recently selected one of Gary's photos, "Sitting Couple," to display in its online gallery. Gary photographed the couple about two years ago near the Staten Island Ferry while walking to the subway after work.
In addition to his photography, Gary has been volunteering at a Manhattan soup kitchen since he retired in 2015. His volunteer work recently intersected with his photographic efforts when he saw a familiar face arrive as a guest at the kitchen. Who was that guest? It was the woman in his "Sitting Couple" photo. To view the photo, click here
NYSID Alum Liz Barrett to Headline
Caroline's - May 25
Liz Barrett worked as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the NYSID for several years until she realized her true calling was comedy, not insurance law. Since then, Liz has worked hard honing her comedic craft and on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 she’ll be headlining at Caroline’s on Broadway in the club’s Breakout Artists Comedy Series.
Tickets are $20 each (with a two drink minimum), however if you use the code “BARRETTHEAD" when buying tickets, your admission price drops to $12. Few comedians - especially female comedians - are featured in Caroline's "Breakout" series. So come out and support NYSID alum Liz Barrett and perhaps former NYSID attorney Sam Wachtel will even buy you a drink.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to: Click Here
Many alums are unaware that our friend and former co-worker Stewart Krieger passed away in early February 2016. We have very little infomation regarding the circumstances surrounding Stew's death, but thought it fitting to memorialize his passing on the NYSID alumni site. Stew's friend, Mike Scharff, was pleased to share his remembrances of his friend, Stew. For Mike's Tribute to Stew,Click Here
The State of Washington is undergoing a unique experiment. It is attempting to introduce "holacracy" into the state workplace. What is holacracy? Under holacracy, an organization's traditional hierarchal structure is replaced by a new form of employee goal-setting and responsibilty. In other words, no bosses! It's an idea many of us would have welcomed in our working years. To learn more, Click Here
Most people are unaware that when you try to pull someone out of a frozen lake, it's best to lay face down on the ice. Thankfully for one New Yorker, former NYSID Superintendent Eric Dinallo remembered that life-saving technique when he recently lifted a man off the subway tracks just before an M train came barreling through. For details, Click Here
It was 1990. Sal Curiale was sworn in as NYSID Superintendent in June following his nomination by Governor Cuomo. The year also saw Vin Laurenzano become Chief of the Property Bureau, Stewart Keir become Chief of the Property/Casualty Bureau (remember when those two bureaus were separate?) and Joe Dickler assume the reins at the Consumer Services Bureau. To see photos from that memorable year, Click Here
It may sound like a Seinfeld script, but it really happened to our friend NYSID alum Alvin Kaufman. It all started around 2002 when Alvin - always on the lookout for a bargain - bought a pair of deeply discounted pants in Florida. When Alvin arrived back in New York, he noticed the store had failed to remove the security tag from his garment. Enter his dry cleaner who offered an intriguing solution, and then . . . well why spoil the ending? Suffice it to say that this landmark case of dry cleaning jurisprudence will be studied in American law schools for decades to come! Check out these videos of Alvin’s appearance on "The People’s Court" and see if justice was served.
"The Walk" Opens Sept. 30 in IMAX 3D; Oct. 9 in Theaters
Most NYSID alums know that our own Barry Greenhouse was essential to Philippe Petit's incredible tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers in August 1974. And many of you enjoyed the Academy Award winning documentary "Man on Wire" which featured Barry. Soon, a major feature film based on the event will be at a theatre near you.
"The Walk," directed by Robert "Forrest Gump/Back to the Future" Zemeckis, opens in Lincoln Center and other IMAX 3D theatres on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. The word is that the IMAX 3D version makes you feel like you are with Philippe on top of the Trade Center. The film opens throughout the country on October 9, 2015.
The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit and Steve Valentine as Barry Greenhouse. Veteran actor Ben Kingsley is also featured.
For a sneak peek of the film (look for Barry's character in the elevator),
Click Here, or watch below
Go to any Insurance Department retirement luncheon and you'll invariably hear the honoree liken his or her colleagues to "family." And it's true. For decades, the Department was a source of close friendships and numerous marriages. Of course, employees of many organizations can make similar claims, but they are apparently doing it less frequently. Making friends at the workplace is no longer a priority for most Americans.
In fact, in a recent three-country survey, only 32% of Americans reported inviting colleagues to their homes. Comparable percentages in Poland and India were 66% and 71%, respectively. Certainly one reason workplace friendships are dwindling is that fewer Americans stay at their jobs very long. What's the point of getting chummy with the guy in the next cubicle when either he or you will be history next year? Of course, other reasons have also contributed to American workers keeping it "strictly business" on the job.
A recent New York Times piece "Friends at Work? Not So Much" attempts to explain the underlying reasons behind the phenomenon.
And the article's author, Adam Grant, cites one possible solution - strengthen alumni associations. We certainly agree with that.
To get a better understanding of how unique our NYSID/DFS experience was, Click Here
Attention High Earners: You Can be Reimbursed for Additional Medicare Part B Premium
As a retiree, does your Modified Adjusted Gross Income exceed $85,000 (or $170,000 for a couple)? Then you are probably paying more than $104.90 per month, per person in Medicare Part B premium. Many retirees do not realize that our New York State Health Insurance Plan (NYSHIP) reimburses participants for these additional premiums. To Learn More, Click Here
Some alums may remember that NYSID alum Gail Keren was “recruiting” kidney donors on behalf of her husband Zvi during her retirement luncheon in May. The good news is that Zvi received a kidney transplant in July 2015 thanks to a wonderful donor and an organization called “Renewal.” Zvi is currently recovering slowly and steadily.
Gail and Zvi would like to thank “Renewal,” a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization that does miraculous work finding generous live kidney donors. They also send special thanks to Dr Lloyd Ratner, the masterful surgeon and head of renal transplant program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and the staff that worked almost 16 hours between the two operations to achieve this miracle.
Gail asks those who are so inclined to consider making a donation to Renewal. If you want to reach out to Gail or Zvi, their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On June 10, 1965, before most of our current alum members began their own NYSID careers, Paul Cohen was hired by the New York State Department of Insurance. The difference between Paul and the rest of us is that Paul is still at it, still behind his desk, five days a week, at the Department of Financial Services in downtown Manhattan.
We salute Paul for his remarkable achievement and are honored he agreed to share his thoughts with NYSID alums as he moves into his second half-century of regulating the insurance community. For those thoughts, Click Here
One summer in an undisclosed year (prior to the Eisenhower Administration) NYSID alums Richard Liskov and Wayne Cotter were born within a month of each other at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut. However, the link goes much further back than that. For details, Click Here
Scott LoBaido, who calls himself "America's Artist," has embarked on a 50-state tour to paint a flag mural on one veteran's post in every state. Scott,who is NYSID alum Steve Maluk's nephew, began his tour in North Carolina in late February 2015 (in freezing weather). To get details and read Scott's blog chronicling his tour, Click Here
Over 20 years ago, Paul Zuckerman devised "The Great Insurance & Arts Trivia Quiz," which was published in the NYSID's monthly newsletter. We've resurrected ten brain teasers from that quiz to test your insurance & arts acumen. To see quiz, Click Here
Christo Beat Odds to Win New Yorker Cartoon Contest
The New Yorker cartoon caption contest is a national institution. Every week the New Yorker magazine runs a cartoon in need of a caption, and readers submit their best efforts.
How hard is it to win a New Yorker caption contest? Well, the late Roger Ebert submitted captions for 107 consecutive weeks before winning. Other notables - such as Maureen Dowd, Stephen Colbert and Zach Galifianakis - have never won. Michael Bloomberg has been heard to complain that the captions he devises are so lame, he refuses to submit them.
With the magazine receiving 6,000 – 7,000 entries per week, the odds of winning are incredibly small. So we tip our hat to DFS Frauds Bureau Senior Investigator Christo Phillips who managed to win Contest #222. Here’s the cartoon:
What would be your caption? To compare to Christo’s and the runner-ups, Click Here
"The Walk" is only ten months away from release. The Robert Zemeckis film, which chronicles Philippe Petit's walk across the Twin Towers (and NYSID alum Barry Greenhouse's role it the historic event), will be released in October 2015 in 3-D and IMAX 3-D. To see the amazing trailer Click Here
Although Taylor Swift's new best selling album "1989" fails to reference the NYSID even once, we've got some memorable photos from the Department's 1989 Yearbook. It was a very good year for the NYSID. For photos, Click Here
We're interested in getting NYSID alumni reaction to a recent controversial article authored by bioethicist Ezekiel ("Zeke") Emanuel (yes, he's Rahm's brother). The article, "Why I Hope to Die at 75," appeared in the October 2014 issue of Atlantic Magazine.
DFS staffer Mike Scharff has a habit of running into celebrities. For example, he ran into Paul Simon and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels at the Mohonk Mountain resort in New Paltz, NY and began discussing basketball with the two of them. He also shared an elevator ride with Joe Torre in Chicago and met Michael Douglas in the waiting room of his wife's gastroenterologist.
His most noteworthy celebrity sighting, however, came when Mike and his wife attended the Broadway show, Joe Turner's Come and Gone. As the curtain was about to rise, President Obama and Michelle were escorted into the theatre. When Mike and the First Family were leaving the show, Mike noticed Meryl Streep standing near him. For Mike's latest celebrity sighting, Click Here
It was 40 years ago this summer that Philippe Petit walked across the Twin Towers. As chronicled in the "Man on Wire" documentary, NYSID alum Barry Greenhouse was instrumental in the planning and execution of the operation. Now Director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) has completed filming "The Walk," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit and Steve Valentine as Barry Greenhouse (see photo). The film is currently in post-production, scheduled for release in October 2015. For more information Click Here
Steve Valentine as Mr. Greenhouse
Fern Summer is Passionate
(about her new job)
NYSID alum Fern Summer is passionate about her new job. She works for Long Island Cares, an organization founded by the late Harry Chapin. The organization’s primary mission is providing food to those in need, while promoting self-sufficiency and public education. However, Fern specializes in veteran counseling. To learn more Click Here
Yes, another alum has written a novel (see below for details of books by Steve Mulrooney and Al Hamby). This time it's NYSID alum Bob Mackin with a WWII thriller, "Jackhammer: A Novel." The book is available through Amazon.com. No doubt about it, our alums are a prolific bunch!
Last month we featured a video of a rare M.C. Kool rap performance at Barry Greenhouse's 1995 retirement party (see below). We've now located five other shining performances from that memorable day. They are:
On May 6, 1995, New York Insurance Department staff gathered at downtown Manhattan's "Beaten Path" to pay poetic tribute to the Department's poet laureate, N. Barry Greenhouse. For decades, Barry had penned poems for departing NYSID staff, so on May 6 - in honor of Barry's retirement - more than a dozen NYSID staffers returned the favor.
A few weeks later, on May 26 the event was restaged (this time at the Department), with many of the same staffers paying tribute. One of the featured artists for both sessions was legendary rapper M.C. Kool.
Sadly, Mr. Kool no longer performs. He is currently residing in the "Hip-Hop Home for Retired Rappers" located in Rappingers Falls, New York.
We are fortunate, however, to have come into possession of the only known video of an M.C. Kool performance. To view the video and lyrics, Click here
NYSID alum Kevin Foley recently won several New York Press Association awards for his reporting for The Paper, a Philipstown, N.Y. weekly. Kevin is managing editor of Philipstown.info and its hard copy counterpart, The Paper. In all, The Paper captured ten awards in its first year of eligibility. Kudos to Mr. Foley! For details, Click here
When the Ax Comes Down:
Middle-Aged and Unemployed
It's hard to lose your job at any time, but when it happens around the holidays, somehow it feels worse. Learn how one NYSID alum is coping in "Home for the Holidays -- Middle-Aged and Unemployed." Click here
It was 1988 and the NYSID was exploring medical malpractice reform. Remember "A Balanced Prescription for Change?" Collision damage waivers, flex-rating, and AIDS testing for health insurance were other major issues that year. For a look at some of the faces of 1988, Click here
NYSID alum Linda Chanda and her husband Ed were one of the thousands of families devastated by Superstorm Sandy. By sharing the Chanda's story, we hope others may benefit from their experience. To read her stirring account of the storm and their ongoing struggles to deal with its aftermath, Click here
Star Trek Into Darkness: Paul Zuckerman's Latest Movie Review
Whether or not you are a Trekker (Paul informs us that Star Trek enthusiasts prefer the term "Trekkers" to the disparaging "Trekkie"), you should enjoy Paul Zuckerman's latest review on Star Trek Into Darkness. Click here
"Ann" is Holland Taylor's one-woman Broadway show about legendary Texas Governor Anne Richards. The show brings back memories of the Governor's visit to the New York Insurance Department in March 1991. Governor Richards had campaigned on the issue of insurance reform and wanted a first-hand look at the country's premier insurance regulator before proposing changes to Texas law. For photos and more please Click here
NYSID alum Steve Mulrooney, at the age of 63, has begun a whole new career as a published author. His first book, "Normal?" chronicles the coming-of-age journey of Gene Poole-Hall and is now available as an e-Book. Steve, who is enjoying his retirement beyond anything he ever imagined, sends his good wishes to all NYSID alums. To read more about Steve's first literary endeavor,Click here
Yes, we were finally able to squeeze Anne's retirement luncheon between Hurricane Sandy and Snowstorm Nemo. It was worth the wait. Click herefor photos. Click here for Barry Greenhouse's poetic tribute
Joe Fritsch recently became the sixth New York insurance regulator to win the NAIC's prestigious Robert Dineen Award. Joe retired soon after capturing the award and is now working with NYSID alum Don Carbone at INS Regulatory Services.
Don't fall victim to the Medicare Part B trap! Many NYSID-DFS employees who retire in their mid-50s begin working for other employers while covered under their New York State retiree health insurance coverage. When such a person turns 65 he needs to file for Medicare Part B (doctor visits and other outpatient services) between the three months preceding his birthday month and the three months following his birthday month (a 7-month time period).
After 36 years of service, former Consumer Services Bureau Chief Mitch Gennaoui retired from the NYSID in March 2011 and took several months off to catch up on his “to do” list. During those months he was reading about the new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts’ newest U.S. senator. Mitch was intrigued with the mission of this new agency and applied for a position, was interviewed and began on July 31, 2011, just after the agency got off the ground.
NYSID alum Kevin Foley has returned to his publishing roots as managing editor of both Philipstown.info, an electriconic newspaper, and its hard-copy weekly companion publication, The Paper. Both serve the Village of Cold Spring and Philipstown, N.Y. areas of the Hudson Valley. Gordon Stewart, former head of New York's Insurance Information Institute, is founder and publisher.
Kevin began working for Philipstown.info in January 2011 and became its managing editor in June of that year. In 2012, Kevin's responsibilities expanded to include producing weekly editions of The Paper.
In addition to meeting the imposing deadlines associated with a weekly publication, Foley continues his consulting work with Foley/Myers Communications, the firm he co-founded with his wife Mary Anne in 2003.
So if you find yourself in the Cold Spring area this fall, look for The Paper. It's available just about everywhere and is considered Cold Spring's hip alternative.
For more information on Philipstown.info,
This month we introduce a new feature: movie reviews by long-time film buff Paul Zuckerman. Paul is not quite an alum, but may be looking to reinvent himself as a film critic after he completes his DFS stint.
As his first entry in "Zuck at the Movies," Paul takes on the most recent Batman blockbuster, "The Dark Knight Rises." As many of you know, Paul is also a comic book collector, so this film is a natural fit for the first intallment of "Zuck at the Movies."
Robert O'Malley: First Living Marine Vietnam Vet to Win Medal of Honor
New York Daily News journalist Denis Hamill recently profiled Robert O'Malley, the first living Marine Vietnam Vet to win the U.S. Medal of Honor. Mr. O'Malley, who currently resides in Texas, is alum Michael Moriarty's cousin. For more Click here
NYSID alum Linda Chanda and her husband Ed recently completed a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica. For photos and incredible tales of icebergs, mountains, humpack whales and Gentoo penguins, Click here
Looking Back - 25 years
Some alums may remember the "Yearbook" that the NYSID issued for a number of years in the late '80s and early '90s. The publication highlighted the Department's regulatory achievements and the NYSID staff members that made them possible. It was also loaded with photographs from our New York City and Albany offices. Click here to view a collection of photographic memories from the 1987 edition, 25 years ago. Click here
Two More Tier Twos Say Goodbye:
Benita Hirsch and Jim Carroll
Tier 2 employees are becoming a rare breed at the Department of Financial Services. The Tier 2 retirement bracket was in effect for only three years (July 1, 1973 through July 26, 1976) so many Tier 2 staffers have already left the fold. Two more Tier 2s retired from the DFS in early 2012: Benita Hirsch and Jim Carroll. Jim celebrated in Albany and with an intimate NYC gathering. Benita chose Leap Day 2012 for her get-away bash. For photos, Click here
Many alums remember Al Hamby who for years worked at the NYSID in various bureaus. Al apparently devotes a great deal of his retirement time to writing historical adventure novels. He is the author of Three Brothers Plus One series which includes "Three Brothers Plus One" and seven follow-up novels, each of which follows the three brothers plus one (and their descendants) on a series of adventures. For more information or to order the books, Click here
Many alums fondly remember Ann Femia, a no-nonsense Principal Clerk at the NYSID who retired several years ago. Ann and her husband Cosmo have three sons, all of whom have dabbled in show business at various times in their lives. For nearly two decades, Tommy, their middle son, has been regularly transforming himself into Judy Garland. As a result, he's developed quite a following at New York cabarets. A recent New York Times piece focuses on Tommy's act, but also provides tidbits about Tommy's two brothers, Bobby and John, as well as Ann and her husband. Now in their early 80s, Tommy's parents never miss one of his shows. For more about Tommy and to view photos of Ann and Cosmo, Click here Click here
Yes, it's true. The agency for which we gave our blood, sweat and tears
is no more. On October 3, 2011, the New York State Insurance Department
ceased to exist. It has now merged with the New York State Banking
Department into the New York State Department of Financial Services
For those wondering whether the NYSID alumni site will change its name,
it will not. We will, however, consider a name change once the number of
retirees from DFS exceeds the number of NYSID retirees (that should give
us at least a couple of decades to mull it over).
NYSID alum Mike Moriarty's brother-in-law, Tommy McCann, was a Midtown Manhattan firefighter (Engine 65) who lost his life on 9-11. Click here for the video tribute to Tommy, featuring his brother George. As many of you undoubtedly remember, the NYSID was preparing to conduct a Department-wide seminar at 55 Water Street on September 11. Click here for articles focusing on the events of that day and the Department's response to
After 29 Years, Mulrooney & Van Wert Marry in New York
On Sunday, July 24, 2011, NYSID alum Steve Mulrooney and his long-time partner Jerome Van Wert were one of the first couples to exchange wedding vows under New York's new same-sex marriage law. The couple now calls Kansas City their home, but once New York State's law changed, they knew they had to return to New York City (where they first met) to tie the knot. Our congratulations to Steve and Jerome. The New York Times covered the event, for details CLICK HERE.
Greenhouse Tribute Poems Uncovered in Bing Crosby's Cellar!
You may have heard that film footage of the classic 7th game of the 1960 Yankees-Pirates World Series, long thought lost forever, was uncovered in 2010 in Bing Crosby's wine cellar. Crosby had been a co-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960 and arranged to have the broadcast recorded. What was not widely reported was what was also uncovered in Der Bingle's wine cellar: a tattered and wine-soaked collection of poems in honor of our own Barry Greenhouse. The poems had been delivered by friends and co-workers as a tribute to the Department's poet laureate on the occasion of his 1995 retirement. To view these long-forgotten masterpieces please click here
Susheila Elahie has been an executive assistant to New York
superintendents since the early '80s. On April 26, 2011 four former
superintendents returned to wish Sue well at her downtown retirement
party. Pictured below are (from left to right) Greg Serio, Sal Curiale,
Susheila, Jim Corcoran and Howard Mills.
Some NYSID retirees spend their time at the beach or on the golf course; others may work a few years for the insurance industry. Very few, however, have completely reinvented themselves like Janet Glover has. click here
We all know Howard Mills was a former NYSID Superintendent. Many of us also know he was a New York legistator. Some even know that his long-time political role model is Teddy Roosevelt. Very few, however, are aware of how closely linked our former superintendent is to the legendary Woodstock Music and Art Fair. To Learn more about the connection
Man on Wire, featuring Philipe Petit
and our own Barry Greenhouse has won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
To view a video of the acceptance speeches from the Director, Producer
and Philippe Petit, click
The film also won the prestigious outstanding
British film of the year from the British Academy of Film and Television
Arts. Click here to see British director
James Marsh and producer Simon Chinn accepting the award.