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Alison Stein Wellner
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Blog Entries by Alison Stein Wellner

The Auschwitz Sign Theft: An Alternate Theory of the Crime

Posted December 19, 2009 | 13:05:07 (EST)

Along with the rest of the world, I was shocked to learn about the theft of the infamous, curving sign that tops the gate to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. In the dark of night, the perpetrators unscrewed the 16-foot metal sign bearing the slogan "Arbeit Macht...

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France Hosts a Wine & Cheese Party -- In Your House

Posted May 16, 2009 | 19:40:24 (EST)

The French government is throwing a cocktail party. Is your place available? It'll be on June 4th, for an event called Apéritif à la Française, aimed at showing the world that French food and culture and especially its economically important exports, wine and cheese, are not elitist. The event will...

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Waters-gate? Alice Waters' Controversial Role in the Obama Vegetable Garden

Posted March 20, 2009 | 12:02:44 (EST)

I'm loving the news that the Obamas are planting a vegetable garden -- but I'm perhaps loving even more the compost heap of controversy surrounding Alice Waters' role in making it happen.

Alice Waters, co-founder of Berkeley's Chez Panisse, is credited with everything from launching "California Cuisine," on...

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Jewish Barbados? Tracking Down The Tribe in the Caribbean

Posted March 13, 2009 | 15:19:33 (EST)

When I first visited Barbados last year, I wasn't thinking about the Jewish people at all. I mean, I am Jewish, but, like most people who plan an island escape, my priorities were sun, rum, sand and surf -- in that order. I'd not planned on any cultural or...

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Burqas Made Into Evening Bags

Posted February 4, 2009 | 15:42:27 (EST)

I was drawn to the evening bags the moment I entered the Zardozi booth at the New York International Gift Fair last week.

The booth was filled with lovely textiles --cushion covers, clothing -- but it was the purses that I just had to pick up and...

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Why Magazines Suck

Posted January 16, 2009 | 14:32:32 (EST)


When I was in junior high, one of my favorite places to spend my allowance was at the newsstand across the street from my apartment. I'd buy a Twix, and load up on many magazines as I could afford. My favorite was Sassy, but I'd also grab Seventeen...

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Surviving Stuck at the Airport: A Las Vegas Parable

Posted December 20, 2008 | 18:25:38 (EST)

I made it home to New York City on Friday from Las Vegas, after three unsuccessful attempts to leave Sin City, which  tacked two extra nights on to my trip. 

The state of existence called  "stuck at the airport" is a special kind of hell, and in my journey through...

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The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai

Posted November 26, 2008 | 19:08:34 (EST)

I'm glued to CNN watching the terror attacks unfolding in Mumbai. I stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower this past March -- in a room with a harbor view -- and so it's incredibly strange to watch the cameras focusing on that line of rooms.

The...

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A Warning to All the Thankful

Posted November 26, 2008 | 10:50:08 (EST)

So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and already many of us are not only thinking about exactly what we're grateful for, but actually saying these things aloud. Well, it's fine to be thankful and all, but I feel duty-bound to warn you: all this talk about gratitude is gonna get you in...

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The Cruise Ship that Ate My Brain

Posted November 21, 2008 | 12:08:28 (EST)

At this time last week, I was on a two-day preview cruise for a new ship, the Celebrity Solstice. Now, I'm not a very experienced "cruiser, I'd only been on one ship before, and the mode of travel that a cruise ship offers --a floating mall that is a...

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Live Like Anne Frank -- And Other Strange Travel Fantasies

Posted November 19, 2008 | 10:44:44 (EST)

In Amsterdam, there is a two-bedroom apartment for rent, just opposite the Anne Frank House. This is the place, of course, where the Frank family hid from the Nazis for two years, until they were betrayed, arrested, and transported to concentration camps. Good family fun.

So, naturally, you...

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Anti-Condo Art in Toronto

Posted November 11, 2008 | 13:07:11 (EST)


The towers rise inexorably -- first in metal scaffolding, then in shiny glass, eventually to be lit from within by the glow of flat-screen televisions. Yes, I'm talking about new condo development, and from my apartment in Manhattan, I can see no less than six new projects, two...

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Is Ivory Always Wrong?

Posted November 7, 2008 | 11:49:08 (EST)

Yesterday, South Africa held a controversial auction: of elephant tusks, 51 tons to be exact. This auction was sanctioned by the UN body which oversees trade in endangered species; the tusks came from elephants that died naturally or were culled as part of a population control program, the...

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A Fine Time for Ruins

Posted October 17, 2008 | 21:48:21 (EST)

With the stock market lurching up and down, and with the presidential election mere days away -- in other words, with our nation's political and economic future hanging in the balance -- it seems like it's just the right time to visit some ruins.

Ruins, are, after all,...

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Plan a Swing State Trip for Obama

Posted October 8, 2008 | 15:01:38 (EST)

I live in New York State, in New York City, in Manhattan--among the blue bluer bluest geographic locations in the country. I'm voting for Obama, but I know that my vote is not going to tip this election.

So here's an idea for those of us living in safe...

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Why Do I Scare Myself Silly Before I Travel?

Posted July 15, 2008 | 16:00:52 (EST)

Last night, I watched the season premier of one of my favorite guilty-pleasure TV shows, Burn Notice. If you're not familiar with USA Networks original series, the story is this: a spy named Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) is fired and stranded in Miami until he can figure out why...

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Sandra Day O'Connor Rules Video Games

Posted June 5, 2008 | 13:23:40 (EST)

I've just come from Sandra Day O'Connor's keynote address at the Games for Change conference at the New School, an event which aims to help nonprofits and others to harness the power of digital games for social good.

Yup, the nearly octogenarian former Supreme is now in the...

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Silverjet Folds, Mass Luxury Finished?

Posted May 30, 2008 | 15:32:23 (EST)

Silverjet, the last all-business class airline flying from the U.S. to London, suspended service today. The proximate cause is the staggering cost of oil --$125 a barrel, as opposed to $55 when Silverjet started flying in 2007, according to Bloomberg. This increase in overhead has put all airlines...

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The Indy 500, or America, in the Round

Posted May 26, 2008 | 14:46:25 (EST)

Yesterday, I attended the Indy 500, the most popular sporting event in the world. This race drew an estimated 300,000 people to Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend, or actually to the town of Speedway, which is dominated by a two and a half mile race track that was once paved...

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In Praise of Imperfect Pets

Posted May 21, 2008 | 16:51:03 (EST)

Last Saturday, my husband Phil and I ran two cat-related errands. The first was to visit a cat we were thinking about adopting, who was being sheltered at a vet's office in Alphabet City.

The young man in question was eight months old, very small, and had a jet...

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