Sep 19

Veronica Grazer

Veronica Grazer, photographed in her home in Los Angeles ©Tony Gale


Veronica Grazer

Veronica and I met eight years ago while I was working at an advertising agency and she was my client leading marketing for the Caesars Entertainment portfolio.

During my decade working agency-side, I partnered with my fair share of marketers. Veronica always struck me as someone who in addition to intellect and an impressive resume, had a keen sense of instinct and gumption. Agency ideas became bigger and more exciting with her client stewardship, defying any known paradigm for how the agency business typically worked. She had a vision and perhaps even more importantly, the moxie to take calculated creative risks that would pay dividends for the business.

In addition to business savvy, Veronica epitomized the idea of an empathetic leader years before the term was coined. She is the ultimate champion of other women, a solutions-oriented collaborated, and a naturally curious person that seeks to make the world a better place through her work with non-profits.

Nominated and described by Melissa Lentz

Jan 13

Courtney Hamm

Courtney Hamm, ©Tony Gale

Courtney Hamm

Canada or USA, that summarizes Courtney Hamm. Views of imagery and creativity flow no matter what the question. Courtney has passion for what he thinks, that is transferred through what he sees.

nominated and described by Kayla Lindquist

Jun 12

Minako Yoshino, artist

Minako Yoshino, artist ©Tony Gale

Minako Yoshino

My precious friend Minako first visited New York from her native Japan in the summer of 2001. While attending classes at The Art Students League; her keen eye for color matching and mixing of paints caught the attention of a fellow student. He was in need of help with the painting portion of a landmark building restoration job for the City of New York in the financial district of Manhattan. Minako happily and very successfully complied.

The following day at JFK, bags checked and awaiting her departure flight back to Japan, she received a call on her cell phone. The construction company wanted her, and made a considerable job offer.  A whirlwind trip back home to say goodbye to friends and family, she found herself returning to NYC, just days before the 9/11/2001 tragedy.

Toward the end of the restoration project Minako noticed large blocks of beautiful marble being trashed as part of the demolition of the building. This proved to be the source of raw materials for her initial attempt at sculpture.  Incredibly her first finished piece sold almost immediately and brought her an award from the National Sculpture Society, and birthed her career.

She has since successfully restored the landmark sculptures of the Hearst Tower façade, and was featured in the New York Times. Her paintings have been commissioned by the United Nations.

Minako lives and works in her Bushwick, Brooklyn studio, carving marble sculpture and painting. She has received a letter of recognition from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 2012 she completed the marble statue series “For Japan”, a tribute to her mother country following the 3/11/2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis. Her compassion and warm smile add to her amazing gifts she freely shares with all the people she encounters.

Nominated and described by John Dessereau Sr

May 12

Vic Calise, athlete

Vic Calise, paralympian, Accessibility Coordinator NYC parks ©Tony Gale

Vic Calise

Vic is a paraplegic; he was injured in a mountain Biking accident almost 18 years ago in Forest Park, Queens. We became friendly about 2 years after his injury.  When you speak to Vic for about 2 minutes you forget that he is in a wheelchair and you think of him as someone who can do anything that you or I could do. And he does.  We have two young daughters, 9 and 6, and they think their Dad can do or fix anything. He is a disabled athlete who competed in the Winter Paralympics games in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and who has stayed involved in the sport of sled hockey since.  He works for NYC parks as  the ADA coordinator to make all parks accessible to people with disabilities.  He also organizes events throughout the 5 boros for kids with disabilities. He is frequently asked to speak at different events and organizations around the city.  He is also about to complete his Masters degree all while being totally involved in our daughters activities (soccer coach) and working full time.  And he has a great personality, most everyone who meets him is drawn to him in some way.

Nominated and described by Susan Calise

Oct 10

Robert Ripps, Mr. New York

Robert Ripps, photographed in TriBeCa. ©Tony Gale

Robert Ripps, photographed in TriBeCa. ©Tony Gale

Robert Ripps

He has an insatiable curiosity about the world around him.

He has a witty, quirky and fun sense of humor.

He’s able to make the family next door or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Lady Margaret Thatcher or Mikhail Gorbachev or the 1,000 other celebrities feel equally comfortable in front of his lens.

He loves a good meal whether he is in Kyoto, Paris or whipping one up in his own kitchen.

His love of travel, desire to share his experiences and views of the world around him has brought him around the world as a professional photographer.

But no matter where he has gone, one thing is for certain.

Robert A. Ripps always comes home to his native New York.

This love of Gotham has lead Robert, or Bob as he is known to his friends, to take an avid interest in the history of the City of New York. While walking, or preferably biking around the streets of the Big Apple, Bob can tell you pretty much the history of any neighborhood in the 5 boroughs.  He is often at every major museum in the city and regularly attends exhibits, especially if they relate to the subway, architecture or NYC history. His passion for the history of the subway and his knowledge of its vast network is unmatched by anyone I’ve ever met.  In fact, Bob knows the city and the history of its architecture so well, he is able to point out historical inaccuracies in TV shows or films that take place or are filmed here (much to the annoyance of his friends).

It is this love of New York that has also lead him to document life in the city, whether it is the streets of his beloved Tribeca or the underground culture of New York’s craziest night club Webster Hall.

Robert A. Ripps, he’s definitely Mr. New York.

Nominated and described by Michelle Kawka

Jun 09

Adam Mathias, Librettist

Adam Mathias, photographed at the 42nd St studios. © Tony Gale

Adam Mathias, photographed at the 42nd St studios. © Tony Gale

Adam Mathias

By day Adam is a database developer — he creates databases that help art galleries and artists track their artwork. But by night, on weekends, and whenever he can grab some time, Adam is a brilliant librettist and song writer. He has written a play called See Rock City that ranks as one of my top five most favorite musicals, in the same league with Rent, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, and Mamma Mia. Two years ago, he wrote another splendid musical called The Passion of George W. Bush that premiered at the NY Fringe Festival. Written in a few short months, the work was genius and hysterical.
What fascinates and inspires me about Adam is his ability to make time for his passion – musical theatre, while holding down a demanding, responsible job; being a supportive and loyal friend and boyfriend; staying current with movies, plays and books; and making time to contra dance. I guess the dynamic mix feeds his spirit and helps him create musical works that feed our spirits.

Suggested and described by Tali Shmulovich

Apr 09

Cliff Hausner, Everywhere…

Cliff Hausner, In the Photo District. © Tony Gale

Cliff Hausner, In the Photo District. © Tony Gale

Cliff Hausner

He is everywhere. It seems as though there is no one that Cliff does not know, there is nothing Cliff has not seen. Cliff is the backbone of the Photo World in New York and a damn friendly guy.

Nominated and described by Stephen Sagmiller.

Mar 09

Robert Honeywell, co-artistic director, and founder of the Brick

Robert Honeywell, in front of the Brick © Tony Gale

Robert Honeywell, in front of the Brick © Tony Gale

Robert Honeywell

Robert is co-artistic director and founder of the Brick Theatre, a playwright, a librettist, and an actor.  He is also a corporate lawyer who speaks a few languages and has traveled to many interesting places.  He has a great face, quirky charisma and stage presence. He recently  bought a cabin upstate.  I find him interesting because he manages to balance a heavy-duty career with his creative endeavors, and not in that waiter/day player way so common in NYC.

Nominated and described by Mikki Baloy