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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

WebMD – Chefs’ Diet Secrets

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

How top chefs manage their weight.
By Lisa Zamosky
WebMD Feature

If you think managing your weight is tough, imagine if your job was to spend all day cooking, thinking about, and tasting food. That’s the challenge professional chefs face each day when they go off to work. In spite of being around tantalizing food all the time, however, many professional cooks manage to keep themselves in great shape. How do they do it?

WebMD talked with three working chefs to learn about their weight management strategies, and with one nutritionist to determine if these methods make sense for those of us cooking at home.

Managing Hunger

How is it possible to eat all the time and still be hungry? Most chefs say they taste small amounts of food all day long but rarely sit down to a full meal.

Chef Dale Talde, director of Asian concepts for the Starr Restaurant Group, which is based in New York and owns many restaurants on the East Coast, says it’s a requirement of his job to taste every dish that leaves the kitchen to make sure it’s up to standards. Talde, who has been featured on the Bravo’s Channel’s Top Chefs and Top Chef All-Stars, figures that amounts to eating thousands of calories each day.

“But you never eat a full meal,” he says. “You’re not hungry but you’re not totally satisfied either.”

Talde works nights and says he’s lucky to get home before midnight. By then he’s ready to eat. “It’s that sense of a hard day’s work finished off by a meal,” he says.

Over the past two years, Talde has packed on about 30 pounds. His blood pressure has risen, too. This has caused him to get creative in finding ways to reduce his caloric and salt intake, but still perform his duties as a chef.

One of his biggest tricks is making sure he doesn’t let himself get too hungry.

“I don’t [usually] like to eat before noon, but now I wake up earlier to get something healthy in – some cottage cheese with salsa and arugula, for example – that way I have something in my stomach before I go to work. It’s easier to maintain what you’re eating when you’re not starving,” Talde says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: Talde’s approach is smart, says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, assistant director of UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition.

“The night is over and it’s not even a question that they’re famished at 11 p.m. or midnight,” Bowerman says of chefs working the dinner rush. “It’s how they unwind at the end of the day.”

For chefs and home cooks alike, scheduling time for a good breakfast — with some protein (such as a protein shake or some protein-rich cottage cheese) and healthy carbohydrates such as fruit — helps keep hunger at bay, making us less likely to overeat. The key is to fuel up adequately and make sure you’re getting nutrients earlier in the day.

Limiting Alcohol

Drinking fine wines and liquors often goes with the territory of being a chef. “It’s often 2:00 in the morning when we get out of work, so there’s not much else to do but go to the bars,” Talde says.

For many chefs, fine wine – and plenty of it – is the natural accompaniment to a good meal. But alcohol adds a lot of calories to your day. Half a bottle of wine, for example, is approximately 250 calories, Bowerman says. Drinking also loosens one’s resolve to eat well.

Talde says he recently began alternating a glass of wine with a glass of sparkling water at dinner to cut back on the calories. He also found that drinking water from a wine glass made the experience feel more special. “Then I really don’t notice and it doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on anything,” Talde says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: “Alternating an alcoholic beverage with a calorie-free beverage is a tip I always make for people,” Bowerman says. And putting the nonalcoholic drink in a wine glass is a great psychological trick that for some can make sparkling water just as satisfying as drinking wine. “The wine glass idea makes sense,” Bowerman says. “It may be something just about feeling the stem of the glass that elevates the meal to something more special.”

If drinking only half the alcohol you normally would with each meal seems unsatisfying, take a different approach. Bowerman suggests adding up the total number of drinks you have in a week and then cutting it by a third. “Can you cut out one night, rather than cutting back every single day?” she asks. For some people, that approach is more successful.

Keep It in the Bowl

Chef Nikki Cascone was a contestant on the Bravo Channel’s fourth season of Top Cheftestant and owns Octavia’s Porch, a restaurant in New York. She’s among the lucky few with a naturally fast metabolism that has kept her slim for most of her life. But after having a baby four months ago, managing her weight has become a new challenge.

Like Talde, Cascone finds that the chef’s lifestyle makes it difficult to eat well. “You’re never really off when you get to a certain level, especially when you own a restaurant. There are late-night hours and it’s a very tense environment. You’re dealing with the public, high stress, and high temperatures. I’ve had to train myself to eat healthy,” she says.

One trick that’s worked well for Cascone is keeping all her meals confined to one bowl, and consciously filling the bowl with lean protein, such as chicken, legumes, seeds, and vegetables. Packing it full of healthy foods helps her to feel satisfied. Limiting the meal to one bowl helps her to not overeat.

The Nutritionist’s Take: “She’s practicing portion control,” Bowerman says of Cascone. The size of the container we eat from can determine how much we eat, according to Bowerman, and for the average dieter at home, that’s a great tip.

But if you don’t care for the idea of eating every meal from a bowl, control your portions instead by using a smaller plate. “It’s about the visual impact of looking at a full plate of food,” Bowerman says.

Swap Ingredients

Diane Henderiks, RD, is a personal chef and culinary nutritionist who frequently appears on Good Morning America. Her goal is to raise the culinary bar for healthy cooking. “I switch up ingredients to maintain the integrity of the dish without fat and sodium,” she says.

Henderiks’ motto is that any dish can be made healthier. She cooks with fresh and dried herbs, citrus juices, and nectars to make dressings that are lower in fat and sugar. Ground turkey substitutes for ground beef, applesauce or yogurt are used in place of butter, broth or wine instead of oil, and she uses marinades and rubs to add flavor to meat without adding calories.

Similarly, Cascone uses a balsamic vinegar reduction (balsamic vinegar cooked on the stove top until it’s reduced to a syrup) for a very low-calorie salad dressing, and has replaced all table sugar with agave syrup as a way of eliminating refined sugars from her diet.

The Nutritionist’s Take: For the home chef, these are great techniques and they all add up, Bowerman says. “Cutting fat and calories becomes habit.”

Just be careful when replacing sugar with natural sweeteners like agave syrup, because “you’re not saving any calories,” Bowerman says. Still, she concedes it could be a small change that works for some people because the taste of agave syrup is more complex than table sugar, and it often blends better in things like ice tea. “Sometimes these replacements, although not saving calories, are more satisfying, and so people use less of it.”

Focus on Grains

Cascone says when she’s building her bowl of food she grants more space to grains than to protein. “I’m big on grains like quinoa. That’s a priority over fish or meat,” Cascone says.

The Nutritionist’s Take: Whole grains (as opposed to refined grains) are a very important part of our diet, Bowerman says, and few of us get enough of things like barley, brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, popcorn, or wild rice.

Still, she says, protein is the most satisfying type of food when it comes to keeping hunger in check. Whole grains are high in fiber and filling but can be high in calories too, so it’s important to watch portion size carefully. “When I have people look at a plate of food, one-third should be filled with lean protein. The rest of the plate should be vegetables and salads,” Bowerman says.


©2005-2011 WebMD, LLC.


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NY Times – How 10,000 People Keep a Secret

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Diner en Blanc De Paris

POP-UP The Dîner en Blanc, or impromptu “dinner in white,” in the Cour Carrée at the Louvre in Paris. New York is having its own.

Published: July 5, 2011


THERE are picnics, and then there are picnics.

Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

DRESS CODE Notre Dame was one of two sites for Paris’s Dîner en Blanc. Guests, all in white, brought their own tables and food.


Three weeks ago, in the golden light of an early-summer evening, thousands of Parisians dressed entirely in white converged on two of the city’s most picturesque locations — 4,400 of them in the plaza at the cathedral of Notre Dame; 6,200 in a courtyard of the Louvre — for a feast that was neither advertised nor publicly heralded. They had brought along not only their own epicurean repasts but also their own tables, chairs, glasses, silver and napery.

At midnight, after dining and dancing, they packed up their dishes, stowed their empty Champagne bottles in trash bags brought for that purpose, stooped to pick up their cigarette butts from the cobbles and departed. The landmarks were left immaculate, with no traces of the revelry of the previous three hours.

This annual event, called the Dîner en Blanc — the “dinner in white” — is like a gustatory Brigadoon, equal parts mystery, anachronism and caprice. Now attended by thousands at some of the best-known Parisian spaces, it began humbly in 1988. That year, François Pasquier, now 67, returned to Paris after a few years abroad and held a dinner party to reconnect with friends. So many wanted to come that he asked them to convene at the Bois de Boulogne and to dress in white, so they could find each other.

But while in certain circles in Paris, everybody knows about the Dîner, many Parisians have never heard of it. And despite the precision that goes into its planning, it retains an air of surprise.

For the first time, New York will have its own Dîner en Blanc, on Aug. 25, rain or shine. A thousand people — half invited, the others drawn from an online waiting list ( — will participate in this refined flash-mob feast, at an as-yet undisclosed location in Manhattan.

The New York event is being spearheaded by Mr. Pasquier’s son, Aymeric, who lives in Montreal, where he inaugurated the Canadian version of the Dîner en Blanc in 2009. But can brawny Manhattan, with skyscrapers from top to bottom, innumerable regulations and a dearth of public spaces on a Parisian scale, possibly approximate the romance of the French pique-nique? The New York organizers, Daniel Laporte and Alexandra Simoes, are hopeful.

“The emphasis is on spontaneity, but we are making absolutely sure to be completely in accordance with all city rules,” said Ms. Simoes, an elementary school director at the Lyceum Kennedy, who volunteered for the Dîner organizing job. “But we don’t want the guests to be impacted by our concerns. The guests should only be concerned about the dress code, and the tables they’ll carry, and what kind of food they will prepare.”

Mr. Laporte, a Canadian-born architect whom Aymeric Pasquier asked to participate, said: “Everything is extremely carefully organized, because to seat a thousand people at the same moment you need a lot of planning. But the most important thing is for everyone to have the best memory of the night.”

In New York, as in Montreal, the Dîner en Blanc is being conducted openly, facilitated by Facebook and Twitter and other online aids, and coordinated with municipal authorities. But in Paris, despite the tacit approval of government officials, the Dîner is private — a massive demonstration of the power of word of mouth, and the strength of social connections. The guest list is made up entirely of friends, and friends of friends. And despite the dinner’s vast and visible attendance, it has remained discreetly under the radar. Paris is still a class-stratified society — “It’s horizontal, whereas Montreal is vertical,” Aymeric Pasquier explained — so unwritten rules of privilege have allowed secrecy to surround the event. Nobody is sure who decides, year in, year out, which people are invited to create tables for the evening.

François Pasquier calls the party-list formation a “pyramide amicale,” a friendly pyramid; trusted friends invite their own trusted friends. The event’s exclusivity was evident just before the Dîner en Blanc in Paris on June 16. As I hurried with my dinner companions along a bridge to Notre Dame last month, passersby stopped us.

“What’s going on?” a man asked. “Haven’t you heard?” joked my friend Aristide Luneau (who had invited me). “It’s the end of the world.”

One tourist asked, “Do they do this every night?” If only.

At 8 o’clock, clusters of diners emerged from the Metro or chartered buses to gather at rallying points, where they had been instructed to meet their “heads of table,” the organizers who had invited them. The site is revealed at the last moment, both to avoid gate-crashing and to preserve instantaneousness. The guests, decked out in white suits, dresses, skirts, feather boas and even wings, carried heavy picnic gear and delicacies like pâté de foie gras, poached salmon and fine cheeses — each table brings its own meal.

At about 9, with the sky still light, the site was announced. Guests hurried across bridges and side streets to reach their destination. By 9:30, all the tables had been deployed in orderly rows, according to diagrams in the possession of the heads of table, with men all along one side, women along the other. The guests quickly covered their tables with white cloths; laid out the crystal for Champagne, wine and water; the plates for hors d’oeuvres, main course and dessert; and began tucking in.

As night fell on Notre Dame, a clergyman appeared and blessed the throng, and church bells rang out overhead; at the Louvre, opera singers serenaded the diners. At 11 in both places, diners stood on chairs and waved sparklers — signaling the end of dinner and the beginning of the dancing (to D.J.’ed music at Notre Dame, and to a brass band at the Louvre). An hour later, the frolickers switched off the merriment and packed up their tables to depart, like Cinderella, on the stroke of midnight.

Needless to say, New York presents its own challenges. As in France, the organizers have created a fleet of “heads of table” who will collect picnickers at various meeting points around the city and shepherd them to the location. But some differences will apply. For one thing, it’s likely that Champagne will not be permitted, if the Dîner is held in a public location. For another, the proceedings are expected to end at 11.

“Even if we can’t have Champagne, it will be nice still,” Ms. Simoes said.

Mr. Laporte said, “After this year, the city will know the beauty of the Dîner,” adding, “We can show them that a big group can be very respectful.”

As in Paris, guests in New York will have a strong incentive to uphold the code of conduct. If they misbehave — for example, by bringing uninvited guests, getting too rowdy or not showing up or helping to clean —  they will receive a punishment worse than any police fine: being barred from future dinners.

“Any guest who doesn’t respect the rules of behavior will be put on a blacklist and never invited back again,” Aymeric Pasquier said.

Initially, Mr. Laporte and Ms. Simoes worried that New Yorkers would find these rules too demanding.

“But the more we talked to our New York friends,” Ms. Simoes said, “the more we realized that they were fascinated by the idea that it was difficult and special, and that you have to build your own dinner and bring your own table.”

Mr. Laporte added: “Our first impulse was to rent tables for the event, so people wouldn’t have to carry them.  But we realized that would change the spirit of the dinner too much. Part of the event is the journey there.  To think ahead, to get ready, to get the table, to prepare your picnic, to choose your outfit.  Not making it easy is part of the allure.”
© 2011 The New York Times

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Huffington Post – Bunions: When Do They Become Something To Worry About?

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S.

Chief of Foot Surgery and Associate Chairman of Orthopaedics, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in New York

Posted: 07/5/11 08:36 AM ET
Look down at your feet — would you know if you have a bunion?

Many people know the term ‘bunion’ and that it occurs on a foot, but don’t know exactly what a bunion is.

Most people think a bunion is an abnormal growth of bone at the base of the big toe. This is incorrect (at least in most cases). A bunion is actually a structural problem where the big toe joint becomes subluxed and drifts towards the smaller toes. A displaced bone, called a metatarsal, becomes prominent on the inside of the foot. The bunion simply refers to the enlarged prominent ‘knobby’ area.


Bunions may progress in size and severity. A bunion may start of as minor issue and, over time, may develop into a severe disfiguring foot deformity. See below:

So if you have bunion, here are 10 important things you should know, as you consider treatment:

  1. Not all bunions are painful.
  2. The medical term is hallux abducto valgus.
  3. They come in different sizes: small, medium, large or severe.
  4. Genetics. You may have inherited your grandmothers feet.
  5. They occur more often in women than men.
  6. Pointy-toed shoes and high heels may result in bunions.
  7. Bunions may get bigger over time, or not.
  8. The bunion may cause problems with the lesser toes.
  9. Non-operative treatments are mostly aimed at treating the symptoms.
  10. Surgical treatment goals are to realign the natural position of the toe.

When to seek treatment?

There is not a specific point when bunion sufferers ‘must’ start treatment despite the bunion severity. Some people begin treatment with the smallest bunion while others neglect the condition until severe. Reasons to seek medical treatment are:


  • Presence of Pain? Pain and discomfort is the most common reason to seek treatment. Pain directly on the bunion is a symptom of direct shoe pressure. Joint pain suggests arthritic degeneration. Pain on the ball of the foot is concerning for altered foot biomechanics and a sign of a bigger problem. Pain should not be ignored.



  • Interference with Activity? Some people wait until a bunion interferes with activities before seeking medical treatment and I think this is a mistake. Impact activities (such as running, tennis) may be more challenging to perform. If left ignored, simple everyday walking may become problematic. You should take measures that keep you active and healthy.



  • Inability to Wear Certain Shoes? In this subset of patients, it’s the sheer size of the bunion preventing fashionable shoes that motivates treatment — not pain. These patients have learned to live with discomfort but chose fashion over foot health. Clearly, inability to wear shoes is a valid reason for intervention.



  • An Unsightly Bunion? Foot care experts are less concerned with cosmetic appearance as they are about pain, activity restrictions and overall foot function. Often insurance companies only cover medical bunion treatments if pain is present, regardless of size.



  • Overlapping toes? When the second toe has overlapped the big toe, it’s an obvious indicator of a global foot problem, and is often associated with collapse of the foot. Interestingly, these problems are not always painful as the condition develops overtime and the pain may be muted, or patients have accepted a certain amount of foot discomfort. The driving force for treatment becomes secondary problems such as metatarsal stress fractures or inability to fit shoes.


How to limit progression of a bunion?

It is important to understand that not all bunions become worse (or bigger). Some bunions never change in size. Others may progress onto a major foot deformity. Genetics play a big role and you may be ‘destined’ to develop a ‘bad’ bunion. Below are non-surgical measures to mitigate pain as well as limit the progression.


  • Smart Shoe Selection: Avoiding shoes that are bad for your foot health may be the best preventive measure you can take. Pointy toes shoes directly pushes on the big toe inappropriately, and in my opinion are ‘bunion formers.’ If the bunion becomes irritated, then spot stretching the shoe limits symptoms. High heels may also contribute to bunions due to altered foot mechanics — so limit time in them. Flip flops are considered a “poor footwear” choice by most health care professionals. Minimalist shoes seem to be a better lightweight alternative.



  • Counteract Muscle Spasms: Muscle spasms within the foot are often due to a muscular imbalance, and an important warning sign that muscles are trying to stabilize bone structure. Strained muscles are less effective at stabilizing the foot and a bunion may progress. Deep massage and mineral foot soaks ease tension in the foot.



  • Foot Strengthening: It’s important to keep your foot muscles strong to counteract the muscular imbalance. Perform simple toe exercises daily — such as picking up marbles (or a handkerchief) with your toes. Commercially available toe exercising devices may have therapeutic benefits but studies do not exist demonstrating efficacy.



  • Arch Supports: Bunions and foot deformities tend to occur in people with flat feet and/or ligamentous laxity. Arch supports provide extrinsic structure and promote a more ‘proper’ alignment and may limit bunions from getting bigger. Over the counter inserts are a good first start. Doctor-prescribed molded orthotics have the benefit of being custom to your foot and therapeutically tweaked.



  • Pain Medication (Oral & Topical): Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is commonly recommended to decrease pain and inflammation. Topical treatments also help manage inflammation and pain symptoms. Capsaicin cream/ointment (derived from spicy chili peppers) is a potent pain reliever that works via a neurochemical pathway. Be sure that the skin overlying the bunion is intact, otherwise capsaicin will cause an intense burning sensation. Topical products containing methyl salicylate distract the pain perception by causing cooling/warming skin sensations. Topical corticosteroid cream may temporarily reduce inflammation and should be used intermittently because it may cause thinning of the skin as well as hypopigmentation.



  • Bunion Padding: A pad limits direct pressure and may prevent the pain cascade altogether. Chronic bunion inflammation can result in deeper bone problems, so prevention is beneficial. More importantly, a properly placed pad may provide a physical blockade that prevents the bunion from pushing out. Pads may be composed of felt, moleskin or gel.



  • Toe Spacers & Bunion Splints: The purpose of this intervention is to physically place the big toe in a more normal position. A toe spacer (often made of silicone) is worn while walking. A bunion splint is a useful device (worn while sleeping) to physically realign the big toe.


If you have a bunion, do what it takes to take care of your feet and prevent progression. If the above measures don’t help, then surgery may be inevitable.

~ Dr. Neal M. Blitz

To learn more about Dr. Blitz, please visit

Follow Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S. on Twitter:


© 2011, Inc.


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Pop Eater – ‘Road Trip’ Actress Mia Amber Davis Dies at 36

Posted by 4love2love on July 2, 2011

By Kiki Von Glinow  Posted May 11th 2011 01:40PM

Mia Amber Davis, known for her role in ‘Road Trip,’ in which she plays a voluptuous woman who seduces the geeky main character, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to a TMZ report. She was 36.

Plus Model Magazine, where Davis worked as an editor, took to their blog to comment on her death.

“Mia was a super model and industry leader because it was her love for the women she represented that kept pushing her when the industry itself did not embrace her … Today we lost our dear friend, plus size model, industry leader and colleague but we have one more heavenly angel watching over us.”

The cause of her death has yet to be released, but TMZ has learned that Davis underwent a routine knee surgery in Los Angeles on Monday, a day before her death. Her husband, in New York at the time, tells the site that he spoke to his wife on Tuesday and she sounded fine, but hours later heard from a cousin that she was taken to the hospital with dizziness.

Not long after, he was informed that his wife had died. “I want to know what happened to my wife.”

© Copyright 2011 AOL Inc.

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N.Y. Times – Among Bodies Discarded on a Beach, One That Doesn’t Fit

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

Published: May 29, 2011

The little girl had lived, at most, 730 days or so. Someone had hidden her body in the thicket of branches and poison ivy off Ocean Parkway on the South Shore of Long Island. By the time the police discovered her on April 4, the remains had turned skeletal.

About 250 feet from the toddler’s body, the head, right foot and hands of a woman yet to be identified were found. More than a mile away, the head, hands and forearm of another woman, a 20-year-old missing prostitute, were discovered in the brush. And farther down Ocean Parkway, even more bodies were found, including those of four prostitutes who had advertised for clients on Craigslist.

Investigators have long been searching for the serial killer, or killers, responsible for the murders of the prostitutes. But a mystery of a different kind shrouds the death of the toddler, who was found on the same scrubby and desolate stretch of land, a tragic, nameless footnote in the case.

While the other victims had clearly been murdered, Suffolk County officials said, the toddler’s body showed no sign of injury or trauma, and her death has not been classified as a homicide.

The other bodies were found stuffed into burlap sacks or dismembered, but the toddler was found intact, wrapped in a blanket. The cause and date of her death have not been established, and investigators believe that her death was most likely unconnected to any of the other bodies.

“For all its beauty though, the parkway and Jones Beach can hold many secrets I guess, and this is another,” said Kristine Enfield, 40, whose home in Wantagh is perpendicular to the parkway. “I’m surprised, but in this day and age, I’m not shocked.”

A spokesman for the Suffolk County Police Department said that DNA tests had not yet been completed, and that if the tests did not lead to an identification, officials might seek the public’s help.

The girl was between 18 months and 24 months old at the time of her death, older than in typical abandoned-infant situations, in which mothers with unwanted pregnancies discard or kill their newborns in the minutes or days following the births.

Criminologists and other experts said that it was unlikely that the toddler had been abducted by a stranger, and that the details about the case suggested that the girl’s parent or caretaker placed her in the brush to conceal her death for reasons that are still unknown.

“It is not simply that it is a toddler’s death,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a criminologist and law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “It is that it’s a toddler’s unreported death. Whether it is accidental, intentional or something in between, when the death of somebody that young goes unreported to the authorities, the lack of reporting suggests that this is intimately linked to events involving the custodial parent. Sometimes it’s abuse. Sometimes it’s neglect. Sometimes it’s an accident.”

One clue suggesting that the toddler’s parent or guardian was involved is the blanket. Cheryl Meyer, a psychology professor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a co-author of “When Mothers Kill: Interviews From Prison,” said wrapping the toddler in a blanket suggested an emotional connection between the child and the person disposing of the body. The gesture itself was something a mother might do.

Often, mothers who kill their children dispose of the body close by, like in their backyard or even in their house, unlike in many cases involving fathers or stepfathers, who often discard the body far from home, Professor Meyer said. She recalled an Ohio case where a child died of a fever because the mother and stepfather did not take the child to a hospital. The mother agreed not to report the death, but wanted the body nearby, so they hid it in a crawlspace of the house.

“It would just be odd for a mom to bury a child at some place that she had no connection to,” Professor Meyer said of the toddler on Long Island, adding: “Transporting the body somewhere else for a burial — that doesn’t sound to me like a mom. But wrapping the body in a blanket does. So maybe you have a couple.”

It is not clear if the little girl was ever reported missing. A vast majority of missing-children cases in New York State involve not toddlers but suspected runaways age 13 or older. Of the 20,309 reports of children missing last year throughout the state, only 190 were of children 5 or younger, according to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Most of those 190 cases involved children abducted by relatives. Out of the thousands of missing-children reports, many were resolved either by the child’s voluntarily returning home or by the work of law enforcement agencies.

Last year, only five children who had been reported missing in the state were later found dead, and all but one of them were teenagers. Marc Bookal, 4, was the exception. His body was found a few blocks from his apartment in Newburgh, N.Y., in early 2010. His mother’s boyfriend, who had been watching him and who said he had vanished from their apartment, was charged with second-degree murder.

“Many of us who worked on that case, we all had young kids,” said Charles Broe, a retired Newburgh police lieutenant who is now chief of police in Hyde Park, N.Y. “You know certainly at that age that these kids didn’t have a choice in it. They didn’t have a say in how things go, and that’s what makes it so hard.”

Marc’s body was discovered by police dogs in a bag in a small wooded area near a factory. Though the girl on Long Island was found on Jones Beach Island, she too was essentially discarded in the woods.

At the site where she was found, the tangled and thorny branches stretch so high and thick that they form a kind of impenetrable wall. There is neither surf nor sand nor the sound of waves. It is one of those forlorn places on the side of the road where bits of trash and car parts and license plates end up.

The police cut a path into the brush and made a small clearing where the body was found: She appeared to have been laid on a patch of dirt about 50 steps from the edge of Ocean Parkway, at the foot of a thin tree, leafless and largely branchless.

Angela Macropoulos contributed reporting.


© 2011 The New York Times

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The Times & Democrat – A vulnerable voice is heard

Posted by 4love2love on June 23, 2011

By STEVE and COKIE ROBERTS | Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 8:00 am

They listened to the woman. That is the most remarkable part of the sordid sex scandal ensnaring Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who stands accused of attacking a maid in a New York hotel room.

Powerful men have always manhandled vulnerable woman and gotten away with it. Victims often chose silence over justice because they feared that the criminal system would reject their accusations or, worse yet, blame them for the assault.

The “blame the victim” syndrome is so pervasive that even an honorable institution like the Peace Corps fell into that pattern. A former volunteer, Karestan Koenen, recently told a congressional hearing that after she was raped in the African country of Niger, the official investigating the case told her, “I am so sick of you girls going out with men, drinking and dancing, and then when something happens, you call it rape.”

“The treatment by the Peace Corps was worse than the rape,” said Koenen. If you replace “Peace Corps” with “military” or “university” or “police” or almost any other institution in our society, Koenen’s statement would apply to countless women who have been victimized twice: by a man who felt free to assault them and a system that felt free to ignore them.

So the events in New York represent real change. The alleged victim had the courage to speak out. Her bosses took her seriously. The cops pulled Strauss-Kahn off a plane 10 minutes before it left for Paris. The district attorney charged him with attempted rape. The judge denied him bail.

Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn, a major figure in French politics known as DSK, claim he’s innocent. But an assistant DA gave the court a graphic account: “The defendant restrained a hotel employee inside of the room. He sexually assaulted her and attempted to forcibly rape her.” For emphasis, he added: “The victim provided very powerful details consistent with violent sexual assault committed by the defendant.” Forensic evidence supported her “version of events.”

Strauss-Kahn has gotten away with abusive behavior for years, protected by a French code that tolerates — and even admires — potent politicians. He clearly follows the ancient tradition of “droit de seigneur” (yes, ironically, a French phrase) that literally means “the right of the lord.” In medieval times, a nobleman could claim the virtue of his vassals’ daughters. In the modern version, a hotel maid will do if no virgins or vassals are handy.

After years of coverups, the stories are now spilling out. Actress Danielle Evenou said on French radio, “Who hasn’t been cornered by Dominique Strauss-Kahn?” Writer Tristane Banon claims he came after her “like a chimpanzee in heat” during a 2002 interview. As she told French TV, “I kicked him several times, he unbuttoned my bra … and tried to unzip my jeans.”

On the advice of her own mother, an official in DSK’s Socialist party, Banon never filed a complaint. “I didn’t wish to be the girl who had a problem with a politician for the rest of my life,” she explained. But her lawyer says she is now likely to bring charges because “she knows she’ll be heard and she knows she’ll be taken seriously.” That’s progress.

Piroska Nagy, a Hungarian economist at the IMF, consented to a brief affair with Strauss-Kahn but felt she had no choice, given his stature and influence over her career. In a letter to the fund’s board, she echoed the lament of many women faced with a predatory boss: “I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t.”

Any American who wants to feel superior to the French should stifle the impulse. As that congressional hearing revealed, the Peace Corps has a poor record in dealing with sexual abuse. According to an ABC investigation, more than a thousand volunteers reported attacks between 2000 and 2009, but many others stayed silent because the Corps’ response to their complaints was often “callous, dismissive or woefully insufficient,” according to Koenen, the former volunteer.

The army, if anything, is even more protective of predators. A recent lawsuit filed by 17 female soldiers against Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, alleges that they “ran institutions in which perpetrators were promoted … in which plaintiffs and other victims were openly subjected to retaliation … and ordered to keep quiet.”

We don’t expect the world to change because one brave woman refused to keep quiet, and one powerful man found himself in a Manhattan courtroom, facing the consequences of his actions. But it’s a start.

Steve and Cokie’s new book, “Our Haggadah” (HarperCollins), was published this spring. Steve and Cokie Roberts can be contacted by email at


© 2011 The Times And Democrat

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New York Times – Why So Many Serial Killers on Long Island?

Posted by 4love2love on June 23, 2011

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

SEARCH Police officers on Long Island canvass a beach where remains were recently found.

Published: April 9, 2011

Some towns and counties have cancer clusters. Others have high rates of traffic fatalities or foreclosures. In New York, Long Island has been grappling with its own disturbing demographic: Three serial killers who targeted the same type of victims have operated in the same tidy suburbs in the span of 22 years.

Since 1989, when the first victim was killed, the three have been active in Long Island’s two counties — Suffolk and Nassau — in apparently unrelated cases. Joel Rifkin, a 34-year-old unemployed landscaper from East Meadow, confessed to killing 17 women he said were prostitutes following his arrest in 1993. Robert Shulman, a 42-year-old postal worker from Hicksville, was convicted of killing five prostitutes after he was arrested in 1996. The third killer has yet to be apprehended, but the police know that he or she exists: the bodies of eight people — at least four of them female prostitutes — have been found in the thick brush near a Suffolk County beach since December.

It is a phenomenon that, though rare, has occurred elsewhere. Beginning in the early 1980s, at least five serial killers terrorized the South Los Angeles area, including Lonnie Franklin Jr., whom the police accused of being the so-called Grim Sleeper (he took a hiatus from 1988 to 2002).

Serial-killer experts and others offered a host of theories for the cluster phenomenon. Several said it was a fluke of geography. Still others said it was, in a sense, an illusion: Other cities and regions could have just as many or even more serial killers in their midst, but their patterns have not yet been detected by the police.

Scott Bonn, a serial-killer researcher and assistant professor of sociology at Drew University in New Jersey, said the explanation was simple. Because serial killers often prefer to live in densely populated areas — for easy access to potential victims — it is not a surprise that three of them who specialized in sex workers had turned up over two decades in a place with a population of 2.8 million. “The odds that you would have these three guys in rural Mississippi in that time period are far less likely than in a densely populated area like Long Island,” he said.

Fred Klein, the former Nassau County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Mr. Rifkin, said the frequency of Long Island’s serial killers was “just an anomaly.” The Rifkin and Shulman cases, it turns out, shared strange coincidences: Mr. Rifkin and Mr. Shulman lived a few miles from one another, and they committed some of their murders at the same time, though they did not appear to know one another.

Vernon J. Geberth, an author and former New York Police Department homicide commander who has analyzed more than 300 serial killings in the United States, said popular culture, not the locale, was to blame.

“I don’t think it’s strange at all,” Mr. Geberth said. “I think that people fail to realize that we have more serial murders today than ever before. We’ve taken the most reprehensible members of society and given them star status. We’ve raised a generation of psychopaths. As a result, we have an increase in serial murder.”

Long Island’s latest serial killer could have been not the third but the fourth in recent years, if the definition of “serial killer” was looser. In 1990, Allen Gormely, 37, a carpenter, confessed to killing prostitutes. Several experts define the serial killer as someone who kills three or more people on different occasions. Mr. Gormely was convicted of killing only two.

© 2011 The New York Times

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New York Times – Serial Killer in L.I. Case Is Seen as Versed in Police Techniques

Posted by 4love2love on June 23, 2011

Uli Seit for The New York Times

Police searchers concentrated this week on an area of Long Island where four sets of unidentified remains were recently found.

Published: April 8, 2011
Whoever killed four prostitutes, and possibly four other people, and then dumped their bodies in heavy underbrush along a beachfront causeway on Long Island appears to have a sophisticated understanding of police investigative techniques, according to people briefed on the case.

A series of taunting phone calls made to the teenage sister of one of the victims — calls that the police suspect came from the killer — were made from in or around some of the most crowded locations in New York City, including Madison Square Garden and Times Square, according to the people briefed on the case and to the mother of Melissa Barthelemy, that victim.

The locations, detectives say, were probably chosen because they allowed the caller to blend into crowds, so that if investigators pinpointed his location from the cellphone’s signal, they would be unable to pick him out of the crowd using any nearby surveillance cameras, one of the people said.

This fact, as well as the killer’s use of disposable cellphones to contact the four victims who have been identified — women in their 20s who advertised their services on Craigslist — suggested to some investigators that the killer was well versed in criminal investigative techniques, gleaned either through personal experience or in some other way, and could even be in law enforcement himself.

“He is a guy who is aware of how we utilize technology,” one investigator said. “Frankly, people are thinking maybe he could be a cop” — either one still in law enforcement or one who has moved on.

“Without question, this guy is smart, this guy is not a dope,” the investigator continued. “It’s a guy who thinks about things.”

Also, the caller kept each of his vulgar, mocking and insulting calls to less than three minutes, according to the dead woman’s mother, Lynn Barthelemy. The caller made about a half-dozen calls over roughly five weeks to the victim’s sister.

One investigator said the brief duration of the calls thwarted efforts by the New York Police Department to use the signal to pinpoint the caller’s location and find him, something Lynn Barthelemy said they told her they tried to do four times.

New York investigators began those efforts about a week after Melissa Barthelemy, a 24-year-old who lived in the Bronx, disappeared around July 10, 2009.

The investigator, and several others, emphasized that the idea that the killer could be an active or former law enforcement officer was just one theory being examined by homicide investigators in Suffolk County, where the bodies were found.

The Suffolk Police Department’s chief of detectives, Dominick Varrone, would say only, “Our investigative team is considering many theories and all possibilities.”

The police commissioner, Richard Dormer, said in a statement late Friday that “no suspect has been identified in the Gilgo Beach homicides.”

Ms. Barthelemy’s body was one of four uncovered over the course of three days in December in the thick undergrowth along Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach, in the town of Babylon. All were dumped in burlap sacks.

It is unclear whether the county medical examiner’s office, working with its counterpart in New York City, has determined the causes of death in the four cases.

The discovery marked the third time in two decades that a serial killer of prostitutes had stalked Long Island.

After the snow melted, the Suffolk police intensified their search in the area. On March 29, a Marine Unit officer discovered a fifth set of remains, and two days later, three more sets of remains were found, more than a mile east of where the first bodies were found clustered.

Two officials briefed on the case said it appeared that those additional sets of remains had been dumped many years prior to those found in December, and there were no burlap sacks.

They said there were other differences that set them apart from the four bodies that have been identified, but they would not describe them.

Both of the officials suggested that the differences raised the possibility that remains found in the past two weeks — the police have yet to identify them or even say whether they have determined the gender of the dead — were unrelated to the four Craigslist women.

But they also said the differences could be ascribed to the development of the killer’s technique over time.

On July 10 nearly two years ago, Ms. Barthelemy saw a client and then deposited $900 into her bank account, her mother said. That night she called an old boyfriend, but he did not pick up. Then she disappeared.

Melissa Barthelemy’s teenage sister, Amanda, was preparing to fly to New York from Buffalo and visit with her sister, but the trip was called off because the family could not reach Melissa. Concerned, the Barthelemys pleaded with the New York police to help find her.

Then Amanda began to receive calls, about one each week, from her missing sister’s cellphone. The voice on the other end was calm and bland, and never yelled or laughed, her mother said.

Lynn Barthelemy would not say what was said in those calls. She said the authorities told her not to disclose details so that they could use that information, which they believe only the killer would know, to weed out false confessions.

The family’s lawyer, Steven M. Cohen of Buffalo, said the caller had made remarks that were “disparaging of the sister, because of her lifestyle.”

“We can’t for certain make the leap that the person who called the sister was the killer, although I believe that to be the case,” Mr. Cohen said. “If you accept it was the killer calling, he certainly had feelings of anger towards prostitutes.”

Lynn Barthelemy said detectives had told her they rushed to several locations during the calls, which never lasted more than three minutes, but were unable to identify a suspect.

In one instance, the police learned that Melissa Barthelemy’s phone had been turned on near Massapequa, on Long Island, and that someone had gained access to her voice mail, the victim’s mother said, but that happened only once.

The caller did not ever say that Ms. Barthelemy was dead or suggest that she was alive, Lynn Barthelemy said.

“He kept us hopeful,” she said.

She still wonders what prompted the calls. It was as if he was “trying to finalize things,” she said.

Al Baker contributed reporting.




© 2011 The New York Times

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Huffington Post – Long Island Serial Killer Search Expands In New York After Eighth Body Found

Posted by 4love2love on June 23, 2011


Oak Beach

FRANK ELTMAN   04/ 5/11 09:09 PM ET   AP

OAK BEACH, N.Y. — Detectives searching for a missing New Jersey prostitute have uncovered the remains of eight possible victims of a serial killer along a remote New York beach highway, but said Tuesday that none is the woman they have been looking for.

“I’m just shocked,” Sherre Gilbert said in a brief telephone interview after learning from Suffolk County detectives that her sister, Shannan Gilbert, was not among the eight bodies found along Ocean Parkway on Long Island in recent months. “I am still hoping for the best outcome.”

Shannan Gilbert, 24, who worked as an escort, was last seen last spring in Oak Beach, near where the latest remains were discovered, after apparently meeting a client she had booked through Craigslist. The bodies of four other prostitutes, all of whom advertised their services on Craigslist and were in their 20s, were found along the same highway by police searching for Gilbert in December.

A fifth body was located last week about a mile from where the first four were found and police on Monday said they uncovered the remains of three more people. Police have not identified any of the most recent victims and have not definitively linked them to the remains found in December.

Detectives suspect a serial killer but so far have no suspects.

The four dead prostitutes were found amid a 4-foot-tall tangle of sea grass punctuated by scrubby pine trees. Authorities have identified them as Amber Lynn Costello, 27, originally of Wilmington, N.C.; Megan Waterman, 22, of Scarborough, Maine; Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 28, of Norwich, Conn.; and Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y.

Although officers have searched the area several times since December, they intensified a search of the 7.5-mile area on Monday. After searching almost exclusively on the north side of Ocean Parkway, which leads to the popular Jones Beach, police academy cadets, K-9 units and other investigators moved to the south side of the roadway on Tuesday, searching a wide swath of sandy beach down to the ocean.

The north side of the highway has proved a challenging search for investigators, who have had to contend with a thicket of underbrush and evergreens, peppered with a variety of trash, from helium balloons to car tires to beer cans and bottles.

Although police were able to quickly rule out Gilbert as a victim because of forensic evidence they had on file in her case, identifying the four recently found bodies could take weeks or longer, officials have said. The New York City medical examiner’s office is assisting Suffolk County officials with their investigation.


© 2011, Inc.

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