Tom delights in the legends of the Fall

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I went for a long swim at a pond near my house an hour north of the city last week. The sweltering heat and warmth of the water belied the impending breezes of autumn and the back-to-school rush.

I glanced up during my swim and saw I was surrounded by lush green trees — except for one outlier that prematurely exhibited leaves fiery red, and this got me thinking about the fall.

I’ve always marveled at the western calendar which gives us two chances (fall and New Year’s Day) each year for rebirth and starting over.

After Labor Day, we dive into work and school afresh and the city’s cultural machine revs up again. It is a time to relish the gentle breezes and the city’s wide array of offerings after a slow, sleepy, lugubrious summer.

Even in my 50s, I have a childlike feeling of anticipation and mild dread that summer’s forgiving days are ending and the high stakes fall is just around the corner.

This fall, there’s so much to look forward to in New York.

The high-charged and high-stakes final lap of the presidential marathon begins on Sept. 26 in Long Island, at Hofstra College, as Hillary and Donald (they are so well known by now that they could go by first names only like Madonna or Cher) debate our county’s future.

The next 60 or so days will mercifully bring to an end this coarse campaign, but like watching the aftermath of a car wreck, I am among many who can’t stop watching this fascinating and troubling spectacle.

What gives me hope and ballast is that I’ve watched so many campaigns now and I’ve wondered how our republic could survive a Reagan or a Bush (or two) and because of our unique and balanced form of government and national resilience we have overcome, as MLK would say.

So, fasten your seat belts and pass the popcorn. It is going to be a wild ride in September and October.

On the less consequential sports front, we’ve got two baseball teams generating fun buzz going into September. After a spring and summer of mediocrity, both the Mets and Yankees are streaking and making a spirited run for the post-season. The extreme makeover Knicks start their new season in late October and the gladiators of football are about to light up Sundays next week. Late October is probably the closest to nirvana local sports fans get.

I’m eager to see what Hollywood and Broadway and the networks offer up to lure us into their web.

There’s always high-quality stories in autumn to transport us from our daily quotidian lives and steel us against the harsh winds of winter.

Perhaps most importantly for those like me who celebrate the Jewish New Year, late September is a time to take stock, reflect on the deeds (and misdeeds) of the past 12 months, and try to learn from them so we can be our better angels in the next 12 months.

As the Chinese proverb says: Fall down seven times, get up eight times.

There are many lessons to be gleaned from the fall.

Tom Allon, president of City & State NY, mayoral candidate in 2013 before he left to return to the private sector. Reach him at

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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