Living life to the fullest — after September 11

first_imgLiving life to the fullest — after September 11 NYC attorney displaced by 9/11/01 disaster looking for a change of lifestyle. Former prosecutor and 21 years as general practitioner concentrating in real estate, corporate, litigation and criminal law. Seeking position commensurate with experience. Admitted to The Florida Bar.Fifty-year-old Alen Beerman placed that ad in The Florida Bar News a month after terrorist attacks reduced the World Trade Center, a block away from his law office, into hellish rubble and turned his own life upside down.When good rises from the ashes of evil, sometimes it’s as simple as one big-city lawyer’s stark realization that life doesn’t last forever, that it’s time to get off the rat-race treadmill, that dreams should not be postponed.“It’s not that I’m running away. My son is in law school here. My daughter is in undergraduate school here. It’s just that I want to be proactive. I want to do something different and see what happens. I’d like to see what greener pastures are out there. We attorneys, especially in New York, are on a particular treadmill, and we go from day to day, from week to week, from year to year. My wife and I have been toying with the pipedream for a number of years. I just want to cast my hook in the water and see what comes up,” said Beerman.Just for the heck of it, while on a vacation to the Sunshine State 25 years ago, he took the Florida bar exam in Miami and passed it.“I kept my dues up all these years,” Beerman said. “You never know when you’re going to have a mid-life crisis.”Beerman’s mid-life crisis was fueled by the national crisis that erupted September 11.“Fortunately, I had a real-estate closing in Midtown. I was intent on leaving my home at about 9:30 that morning, and about 10 minutes to 9, I’m watching the “Today Show,” and the plane is in the first building. I try to call my office, which is a block away from the World Trade Center. They heard the sound but thought it was a truck going over a pothole. They weren’t aware.“If I had not had that meeting scheduled, I could have very well been killed. I take the E train to work and the station is under the building,” Beerman said.“My major concern was for my secretary. I did not hear from her at all, until three and a half hours later. When she got out of the subway that morning, she saw the first plane in the building. She got back on the subway and made it as far as Brooklyn before the subway stopped running. She does not want to go back to Manhattan. She is having post-traumatic stress, and she is now working out of my basement.”More than a month after the attacks, Beerman said, there is still no phone service downtown. Finally, after three weeks, he got his old phone number back and calls are forwarded to his basement in Queens.After two weeks off, his secretary went to Florida to “get her head on straight,” and she is now trying to cope and answer the phones.The Thursday the week after the attack was the first day he could make his way back to his law office, and he stood in a long line with others trying to get back to business. He showed his ID and a police officer escorted him to his building, where his office was on the 12th floor. There was no electricity, so they trudged up a dozen flights of stairs.“These cops, they’re all heroes. This officer said, ‘Take your time.’ He was very happy to sit and rest for a couple of minutes. I just went in to grab my checkbooks,” Beerman said.A week after that, on a Sunday, he and his son loaded up a pair of suitcases with files. They couldn’t get a car anywhere near the site, so they lugged the suitcases, each bulging with about 150 pounds of papers, down the sidewalks.“You hear about the coldness of New York. But people helped us carry those suitcases to the train and up from the subway. It was not the New York that I’m used to. It has brought people together. There is a different sense and understanding that we are all in this together. I don’t know how long it will last.”No doubt about it, his law business as a self-employed solo practitioner has suffered.“I had four real estate deals pending, and they all collapsed, because either the buyer or seller backed out. I do some criminal work, but there have been no arrests made because the police are all downtown. The practice is markedly affected,” he said.And so is his enthusiasm for the same old grind.“I still have trouble verbalizing what my priorities are at this point. It still has not completely sunk in,” Beerman said.Neither has the horror of the tragedy.“An old dear friend is a supervisor with the NYC Fire Department, and he took me to areas the politicians didn’t go. Everybody should see this and nobody should see this. You are looking into the jaws of hell. Mangled and twisted wreckage, and there is still smoke coming from the ground. There’s a smell — a different smell — that just sits in your lungs. This is truly death and destruction.“And everyone has stories to tell. I have a client who was with the fire department, and he transferred out of the rescue unit just a year ago. He knew every one of those firefighters who were killed.“And I have a friend whose son’s wedding I went to. The bride worked for Cantor Fitzgerald who lost 700 or so people at the WTC. The bride had 35 friends from Cantor Fitzgerald. She’s on her honeymoon when this happened. And when she watched the video of her wedding, all 35 of those friends smiling at the celebration are now gone.”When life can be snatched away in a flash, it’s a sobering reminder to live each day fully now.What would that dream job in Florida be?And Beerman — who once boasted a seven-stroke handicap on the high school team — says with a laugh: “Someplace near a golf course.” Nov 15, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

2016 US Masters tees off today

first_imgWorld number two Jordan Spieth returns to defend his title with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and the in-form Jason Day looking to take the first Major of the year.McIlroy will be the last player to tee-off this evening when he takes the first tee-box shortly after 7pm, Irish time.There’s three other Irish players in this week’s field with Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke tee-ing off at 4:38pm while Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry will be among the other late starters.last_img read more

Baseball greats toast Hank Aaron for 80th birthday

first_imgBaseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron speaks at a reception in his honor, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Washington. Aaron is turning 80 and is being celebrated with a series of events in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)WASHINGTON (AP) — At a hotel overlooking the White House, Attorney General Eric Holder motioned toward a window and paid Hank Aaron a huge compliment.“The young man who lives right over there,” Holder said Friday night, speaking of President Barack Obama, “his path was made easier by this man.”Forty years ago, Aaron broke the hallowed record of Babe Ruth on his way to 755 career home runs, all while combating racism with quiet dignity.On Friday evening at a private party celebrating his 80th birthday, friends, former teammates, and baseball luminaries paid tribute to “Hammerin’ Hank.”Slugger Reggie Jackson compared Aaron to Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. Frank Robinson spoke of the thrill of entering the Hall of Fame with Aaron in 1982.Former teammate Robin Yount said he was his mother’s second-favorite player — right behind Aaron.Aaron was last to speak and grew emotional as he talked of his parents, recalling an afternoon when he and his brother were called into the house and ordered to hide under beds. Minutes later, members of the Ku Klux Klan marched up their street.“I don’t know what that could have done to me growing up,” Aaron said. “But my mother — she was uneducated and father, too — but they always taught me and all of my siblings that the thing I want you to remember is, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ That’s been my philosophy.”As the ceremony came to a close at the Hay-Adams hotel, Aaron and his wife of 40 years, Billie, beamed as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday.”Aaron turned 80 on Wednesday. His tribute continued on Saturday when he spoke as part of the Living Portrait Series at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.In addition, a painting of Aaron, done by Ross Rossin of Atlanta, was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery.Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, left, listens as fellow Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, right, speaks at a reception for Aaron, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Washington. Aaron turned 80 this weekand is being celebrated with a series of events in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)Other speakers on Friday night included Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Rickey Henderson and Ozzie Smith, who grew up in Aaron’s hometown of Mobile, Ala., idolizing the outfielder who played for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers.“He showed me the way a person should be,” Smith said. “He inspired me and thousands of others.”Bud Selig, commissioner of Major League Baseball, spoke of his friendship with Aaron, which dated to 1958.Selig also talked of the overdue acceptance of Aaron in a career in which he was often overshadowed by Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.“I’m not so sure people understand what a great all-around player he was,” Selig said. “He played in Milwaukee. He played in Atlanta. I think it was only maybe after he broke Babe Ruth’s record — and in the last 20 years — that he’s got the wonderful recognition that he so extraordinarily deserved.”NOTES: Selig had no comment on Alex Rodriguez dropping his lawsuit against the commissioner, Major League Baseball and the players’ association, referring to a press release earlier in the day. … Former teammate and popular broadcaster Bob Uecker got the laugh of the night when he spoke of meeting Aaron for the first time as a member of the Braves. “Henry dressed a couple lockers from where I was,” Uecker said. “I said hello. He said, ‘What do you do?’ I said, ‘I’m a catcher.’ He said, “For who?”last_img read more