More

They're naming a Greenwich Village street corner after this guy. Here's why.

Larry Selman was a prolific fundraiser and a genuinely nice guy.

They're naming a Greenwich Village street corner after this guy. Here's why.

If you've ever watched "Friends," you've seen the building at the corner of Bedford and Grove Streets in Manhattan.

See those buildings in the back? Yep, those ones! They're iconic. Image via Warner Bros. Television/ Getty Images.


That building was used for many years as the exterior of the hit 1990s sitcom. But earlier this month, some real life friends gathered there, too, to honor someone else: Larry Selman, a legend in the Greenwich Village community.

Larry Selman was known to the folks in Greenwich Village as the Collector of Bedford Street.

Photo provided by Alice Elliott, used with permission.

Why the "Collector of Bedford Street"? Selman collected an estimated $500,000 for charity before he passed away in January 2013 at the age of 70. He was also developmentally disabled.

“I believe there's a god, and I believe that he put us here for a reason," Selman told his Bedford Street neighbor, Alice Elliott, in her 2002 Oscar-nominated documentary about him.

“I see Larry as a philanthropist and a fundraiser and a community activist, and he had an IQ of 60 or less," Elliott told the gathering of friends earlier this month as they honored Selman at the corner of Bedford and Grove by naming the street corner after him.

A short pudgy man with thick prescription glasses, Selman lived in a cramped apartment with his beloved pets.

He quickly became involved in his local block association from the very beginning of its creation. He was helpful to his neighbors, accepting deliveries when they couldn't be home, sweeping the sidewalk, and in one case even reminding neighbors of other neighbors' birthdays.

He was, in that sense, Facebook before Facebook even existed. "He just made it his business to know who you were," Elliott said.

In the ultimate of neighborly acts, the local block association even raised money to care for Selman themselves after his elderly uncle passed away.

“If you measure people's hearts instead of their IQs, Larry would've been completely off the charts," Elliot said.

The trust fund was built up with contributions from people who lived in the neighborhood and even some who had retired and moved away to distant states. After Elliot's documentary was released, the Kiwanis Club adopted it as a tool for teaching "service leadership" to high school students. Students in high school Key Clubs sold buttons with a drawing of Selman to raise money, sending checks of $500 and $1,000 that also went in to the trust fund.

To say that Selman was a persistent fundraiser is like saying that Bruce Springsteen occasionally rocked the house.

Selman was a relentless force on the streets of Greenwich Village, raising money for AIDS, the fallen firefighters of 9/11, and in his final days of solicitation, a group that provides pets for seniors.

He was a familiar sight in the neighborhood, always approaching passersby for contributions. And neighbors said that one of the Selman's greatest charms was that he never found it inappropriate to ask for a contribution.

Producer Darren Star gets buttons from Selman at the Jewish Image Awards in Film and Television in 2003. Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images.

In "The Collector of Bedford Street" we see Selman hitting up a doctor who is examining him, asking for a contribution. At a ceremony in 2009, Selman was honored by The Caring Institute along with Colin Powell. During a photo op, he promptly asked the former Secretary of State if he'd like to contribute a little something, too. Powell placed a $100 bill in Selman's hand.

When I attended Selman's 70th birthday party not long before his passing, he asked me in that unmistakeable nasal New York accent, "Would you like to make a contribution?"

Selman suffered a stroke in 2007, meaning that he was destined to spend the last six years of his life in a wheelchair.

But even this didn't stop his fundraising. Although his speech was slurred, he still wheeled around Bedford Street collecting. Home care attendants, paid for by the community, stayed with him 24/7 in the one-room apartment whose walls were covered with greeting cards bearing pictures of puppies and kittens.

He passed away in June 2013, but he'll be remembered as the founder of an unmatched community in his neighborhood.

After the unveiling of the street sign that will now mark the corner of Bedford and Grove as Larry Selman Way, Elliott told a gathering of neighbors and local legislators:

“We feel that Larry actually created this community and that we are all beneficiaries of that. I hope we can pass it forward."

Pexels / Julia M Cameron
True

In the last 20 years, the internet has become almost as essential as water or air. Every day, many of us wake up and check it for the news, sports, work, and social media. We log on from our phones, our computers, even our watches. It's a luxury so often taken for granted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, as many now work from home and children are going to school online, home access is a more critical service than ever before.

On the flip side, some 3.6 billion people live without affordable access to the internet. This digital divide — which has only widened over the past 20 years — has worsened wealth inequality within countries, divided developed and developing economies and intensified the global gender gap. It has allowed new billionaires to rise, and contributed to keeping billions of others in poverty.

In the US, lack of internet access at home prevents nearly one in five teens from finishing their homework. One third of households with school-age children and income below $30,000 don't have internet in their homes, with Black and Hispanic households particularly affected.

The United Nations is working to highlight the costs of the digital divide and to rapidly close it. In September 2019, for example, the UN's International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF launched Giga, an initiative aimed at connecting every school and every child to the internet by 2030.

Closing digital inequity gaps also remains a top priority for the UN Secretary-General. His office recently released a new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The UN Foundation has been supporting both this work, and the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, which made a series of recommendations to ensure all people are connected, respected, and protected in the digital age. Civil society, technologists and communications companies, such as Verizon, played a critical role in informing those consultations. In addition, the UN Foundation houses the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), which advances digital inclusion through streamlining technology, unlocking markets and accelerating digitally enabled services as it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Keep Reading Show less
via 1POCNews / Twitter

We're more than nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic and things are only getting worse. On Wednesday, December 2, America had its deadliest day yet with nearly 3,000 people succumbing to the virus.

America is experiencing its greatest public health crisis in generations and the only way we're getting out of it is by widespread administration of a vaccine.

However, if people don't take the vaccine, there will be no end to this horror story.

Keep Reading Show less
True

This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

Plus the video someone shared to go with it is fantastic. It's gone crazy viral because how could it not.

Keep Reading Show less

With vaccine rollouts for the novel coronavirus on the horizon, humanity is getting its first ray of hope for a return to normalcy in 2021. That normalcy, however, will depend on enough people's willingness to get the vaccine to achieve some level of herd immunity. While some people are ready to jump in line immediately for the vaccine, others are reticent to get the shots.

Hesitancy runs the gamut from outright anti-vaxxers to people who trust the time-tested vaccines we already have but are unsure about these new ones. Scientists have tried to educate the public about the development of the new mRNA vaccines and why they feel confident in their safety, but getting that information through the noise of hot takes and misinformation is tricky.

To help increase the public's confidence in taking the vaccine, three former presidents have volunteered to get their shots on camera. President George W. Bush initially reached out to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to ask how he could help promote a vaccine once it's approved. Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton have both stated that they will take the vaccine if it is approved and will do so publicly if it will help more people feel comfortable taking it. CNN says it has also reached out to President Jimmy Carter to see if he is on board with the idea as well.

A big part of responsible leadership is setting an example. Though these presidents are no longer in the position of power they once held, they are in a position of influence and have offered to use that influence for the greater good.

Keep Reading Show less