A Letter About the History of Cayman Brac's Divi Tiara Beach Resort

Comment

A Letter About the History of Cayman Brac's Divi Tiara Beach Resort

I received a letter from someone with more insight on Divi Tiara Beach Resort, the place documented in a short film I created in 2013.

Jordan,

My parents were looking for a vacation home in the tropics, away from the noise and bustle of Grand Cayman, which at that time was still quiet compared to the vacation mecca is has been and is today. They visited The Brac and while staying at the Buccaneers Inn not far from the airport, met a man who owned beach-front property on the south side of the island. Mom and Dad bought a large part of this property for our home from Charlie Briggs and his wife Ester not long after. Several years later, Dad, with Charlie’s help and background as NYC electrician, helped bring the first electricity to the Island.

My uncle, who was an architect, helped design the complex. The two-story building that faces south to the ocean across the pool, was a one-story building that had four rooms. If you were looking at the structure from the beach, the four original rooms were connected to a large living room and kitchen as you moved west. This was the first phase built in 1958/59. The roof on this building was a giant rain collection pan used for re-filling the cistern.

The second phase was a separate two-story building built in the mid 1960’s that was just to the east, but not connected, to the main single story structure. There was a bedroom upstairs and another large living room below with floor to ceiling sliding windows. Each level had a large deck/patio facing south to the ocean.

There were several, smaller outbuildings as well as the tennis court that were also built. There was no dock, no palapa or bar and none of the multi room structures that later became the Divi resort. I visited when my family brought my father’s ashes to spread on the water in 2002. It bore little resemblance to the place I grew up enjoying as a child. I was two years old when I first traveled there.

I hope this presents a clearer vision of how our old home remains etched in our minds. It’s not of the abandoned and forgotten structure you magnificently filmed. My hope is that Divi will sell the property at some point and perhaps a new owner can resurrect the quality and simplicity this location deserves.
— Rich

Watch the full film for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KGf4J8pcVY.

Comment

The Sidewalks of New York, Music Volume Lowered

Comment

The Sidewalks of New York, Music Volume Lowered

I have released a slightly updated version of The Sidewalks of New York, with the most notable change being that the music volume has been lowered so that the narration is now front and center. This is currently only in this Vimeo version. It is not available on YouTube.

Two other corrections include removing a reference to photographer Joseph Beal, since the name is supposed to be Joshua Beal, and also a small text change on the last title of the film. Other than lowered music and the two changes just mentioned, everything else remains as it was. The new version may go up on YouTube in the future.

Comment

Al Smith and American Healthcare

Comment

Al Smith and American Healthcare

Today is a good time to revisit a line from a 1928 speech by the great Al Smith (1873-1944).

I shall continue my sympathetic interest in the advancement of progressive legislation for the protection and advancement of working men and women. Promotion of proper care of maternity, infancy and childhood and the encouragement of those scientific activities of the National Government which advance the safeguards of public health, are so fundamental as to need no expression from me other than my record as legislator and as Governor.
— Al Smith, 1928

Smith, known as "a man for the people", was denied the presidency (most notably in 1928) by an uneducated electorate that chose to believe fear-driven propaganda.

The famous artist Norman Rockwell painted 'Al Smith was fellowman to every man' after Smith's death in 1945. In the painting, Smith is surrounded by children representing diverse backgrounds.

Comment

Al Smith and Fearmongering, Racist Propaganda in the 1928 U.S. Presidential Election

Comment

Al Smith and Fearmongering, Racist Propaganda in the 1928 U.S. Presidential Election

The images below show an article from 1928 that was published to an unknown number of voters. If you've seen my film The Sidewalks of New York, you know that the tactic of fear was used to scare people from voting for Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election. They denied him the presidency, despite history showing us today that he had the qualities and experience of someone who truly could have been one of our greatest presidents, even with the inevitable 1929 stock market crash.

To bluntly summarize, the 1928 article wrongly acts like black people are scary and not to be trusted, and that they regularly offer insults to white women on street corners in Harlem. It also says that if Smith is voted in, the White House will be sure to cater to the needs of African Americans.

Just like The Country Editor and World Press News existed in 1928 to push out propaganda, there are today "news" outlets on the internet that publish misleading stories. People in 1928 passed around the articles by hand. Today people click 'Share'.

Unfortunately, just as people 89 years ago blindly believed what they read without making any attempts to check any available sources, today many people continue to do the same, despite there being a greater abundance of information, and despite all the years of education and life experience. Add on top of that the fact that most American homes have been using the internet in their homes for around 20 years, yet they still don't seem to know how to use it to properly gather facts, data, and sources.

I believe that this comes not only from bigotry and hatred, but also it comes from a need for people to feel correct about the votes they've cast, and the parties they've chosen to support. Very often the people experiencing this are in denial that they are the problem, again because of the need to feel correct. They're stuck. They choose parties like it's the same as sports, even though the only true team is the party of "What's Best For The Country?".

The past holds lessons that can help us in the present. I hope that one day the world can understand this simple idea.

Comment

The Irish Jubilee, a song from Charles Lawlor

Comment

The Irish Jubilee, a song from Charles Lawlor

In my quest to continue posting and also creating content that deserves more attention, on St. Patrick's Day I highlight a song called "The Irish Jubilee". Why this song? It's quick, fun and fascinating. It was written by none other than Charles Lawlor, the composer of the music for 1894's "The Sidewalks of New York". He is on the right in the picture linked to his name.

Two great versions of the song are below. And check out my new trailer for The Sidewalks of New York.

Comment