Monday, March 9, 2015

New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio Spoke at the March 6th Memorial for Deborah Darrell



Deborah Darrell was a dear friend who suddenly passed away this past December. My wife Lisa became friends with Deb soon after becoming U.S. Press Director for H&M back in 2004.

Deborah Darrell in 2009.
I had actually first met Deb several years before, at a party back in the 1990s when she was working for the U.S. Foreign Press Center, but it was after she became Lisa's friend and mentor that I really got to know her. We often met at Niles Bar across the street from Penn Station to discuss business ideas, since we were thinking of starting a consulting agency together. (Lisa would collaborate with Deb in her agency Cue several years later.)

It was always fun to meet with Deb as she had this ability to make everything sound possible and just around the corner. Which in a way made her a soul mate of Barack Obama, whom we heard speaking at Coopers Union in New York on March 27, 2008.

Bill de Blasio and guests at a fundraiser
Deborah Darrell held in her home in 2009.
Deb would campaign for Obama in 2008, holding fund raisers and knocking on doors, doing what she could to help him win.

In April 2009, she invited us to a fundraiser for Bill de Blasio in her new apartment on 110th street, which overlooked the northern edge of Central Park. We were not sure about who he was then as he was fairly unknown and running for Public Advocate in New York.

But we trusted Deb and we drove in to Manhattan from our home in the Princeton area. It was a great party and a nice mix of people. Bill de Blasio had his entire family with him. I remember Bill not only because he was so tall, but because of his intensity and for exuding honesty and uprightness. He was unabashedly progressive and spoke with clarity and force.

And he would win the election for the job as Public Advocate. Three years later he would become Mayor of New York City in a landslide election. I don't know if Deb or anybody else had any idea back then, but one thing I know and that is that she did her part in helping him move forward.

Lisa remembering Deborah Darrell.
Hence it was fitting that Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray showed up at the memorial for Deborah at the Snapple Theatre in New York this past Friday. They arrived up a bit late, which according to Deb's and Bill's friend Monsignor Kevin Sullivan is his habit, so he missed both Sullivan's, Bethann Harding's, my wife Lisa's and Benita Gold's reflections on their respective friendships with Deb.

The ceremony continued with Carol Levin singing "They Can't Take That Away From Me" accompanied by Nick Moran on guitar. Then Bill and Chirlane entered the stage.

I captured their reflections with my cellphone camera, so be patient if it gets a bit shaky now and then.

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