Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Fourth of July from Richard Zampella at Idylease

Richard Zampella at Idylease wishes you a happy and safe 4th of July this year as we celebrate our 125th anniversary as West Milford's First Historically Designated Landmark.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lest We Forget: Ronald Reagan's Evil Empire Speech

The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past. For example, the long struggle of minority citizens… for equal rights, once a source of disunity and civil war is now a point of pride for all Americans. We must never go back. There is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country. 

I know that you’ve been horrified, as have I, by the resurgence of some hate groups preaching bigotry and prejudice. The commandment given us is clear and simple: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 

Ronald Reagan, 8 MARCH 1983

In 1988 I was an intelligence analyst serving in the United States Army. In my lifetime, Ronald Reagan was, and will forever be my definitive commander in chief. Ronald Reagan’s determination to destroy communism and the Soviet Union was a hallmark of his eight-year presidency. He stunned the Soviet Union with his tough stance, calling it an “evil empire” whose leaders gave themselves the “right to commit any crime.”

Yelena Bonner, the widow of Soviet dissident Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, praised Reagan for his tough course toward the Soviet Union. “I consider Ronald Reagan one of the greatest U.S. presidents since World War II because of his staunch resistance to Communism and his efforts to defend human rights,” Bonner said, “Reagan’s policy was consistent and precise, and he had a great talent of choosing the right people for his administration.” His phrase, ’evil empire,’ became a household word in Russia. Russians like a straight forward person, be he enemy or friend. They despise a wishy-washy person.

Throughout the 1950s, Ronald Reagan gave hundreds of speeches against Communism. His dramatic conversion from being an FDR Democrat to becoming a conservative Republican was rooted in his life-long convictions against Communism. Even during this early time, he showed keen foresight with the aim of containing Soviet aggression and global communism. Nothing about Russian or Communism has changed today as documented by well over 11 U.S. intelligence agencies. The Russian government engaged in a concerted effort to influence and undermine the results of our recent election.

If Ronald Reagan were alive today, he’d have good reason to go after Vice President Mike Pence for defamation of character. The vice president was one of several participants at a CPAC conference who claimed that President Donald Trump reminded them of Reagan. Trump is like Reagan in the same way that a card table is like a racehorse: They have the same number of legs, but after that the similarities are sparse.

The fact that Donald Trump even serves at the same capacity as Ronald Reagan is disdainful to me.

I post this 1983 excerpt from Reagan’s “Evil Empire Speech” for those that seem to have forgotten Ronald Reagan's unwavering position against Russia. Lest we forget.

Richard Zampella

Sunday, May 14, 2017

100 Years: Commemorating the Birth of Dr Arthur Zampella

From Negatives Found in a Box Left Behind: Like Fragments of Worthless China
The hands of time have turned a year once more, and I find myself marking the passing of time. Not at the start of another summer, but rather, at the anniversary of my father’s birth. May 15th, marks 100 years since Erminio and Filomenna Zampella welcomed Arthur Dante Louis Zampella into a world that he was destined to make a better place.

That fact he has been a focal point in my world in the decades since his absence is a testament to the profound impact that he had on my life. My dad is the one person in my upbringing that had absolutely faith in my abilities. At various milestones in our time together, he was always my ardent supporter who saw things effortlessly when I could not. He had ultimate faith in me, even when I expressed self doubt. Several days before he left me, he shared with me that one day Idylease would be under my stewardship and all the dreams and aspirations I had for the property would become so. When things looked bleak in my endeavors to realize his prophecy, his words kept me moving forward to its rightful conclusion.

My father represents the legacy that has been drawn over my life. But while a legacy can carry tremendous responsibility, it can also be an unexpected safe harbor—think of a child from a story, who is heartened to find that the older hero-kid is the one who has snuck up behind, to protect him.

Whatever we know about the fate of the dead, it is the tradition of Christians to pray for them and to commemorate them at regular intervals.

I have even come to know my father deeper in his absence. It is not unusual for fate to place me in the path that some inexplicable force brings people to me that knew him at various times in his life. I would venture to say, he has willed certain things to be and I take full advantage of these opportunities. Knowing him thus has given me a way and a role of knowing him in a way that my siblings, did not.

For them, he is the soft-spoken, country doctor—walking slowly in his white bucks, sitting at the kitchen table at night opening mail and reading the Sunday Times. This is the comfortable version of what they chose to remember.

I remember this father, too, and in the 25 years I knew him, he provided an astute example of fathering that I have never lost the memory of or the significance of his gift of making the world a better place: The phone ringing in the dead of night, and my father dressed within minutes with his shirttail hanging out, ready to head out on a medical emergency. He would tell me to grab his bag. He never asked if I wanted to go with him, but rather it was unspoken and understood that I should accompany him.

Sometimes, we would find distraught family members that had been robbed of a loved one. I know that these calls bothered him deeply. Even at an early age, our conversations on the ride home were about the fragility of life.

I saw him in situations that my siblings never saw and for inexplicable reasons, they refuse to acknowledge this. Vivid memories of valiant efforts and fighting to save lives with a defibrillator and adrenaline needle injected directly into a patients un-beating heart. There were triumphs and there were disappointments. It was a metaphor for life and something he wanted me to understand.

My father would often make house calls: at nights, on weekends. When he died, I found drawers full of unpaid bills from dozens of patients, of all backgrounds and standing in life.

I hope that my siblings will tell their children these stories of their grandfather. Perhaps knowing him more fully, they do not have my desire, interest or self awareness to recall in such detail.

The Apostle Paul’s disappointment of bearing witness to the resurrected Christ he had never seen was such, that he spent the rest of his life inhabiting and reconstructing. I like to think my desire is akin to his; I collect details as though reassembling broken china.

If nothing else, I can be custodian of those shattered fragments.

Richard Zampella
May 15, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Why I Like Old Things

“Once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.”

Richard Zampella
Restored American Empire Dresser leaving my workshop at Idylease and resting in it's rightful place in the Historic Landmark located in Newfoundland, NJ

I like to surround myself with old thing. They have character. There’s something to be said for having a sense of history. Old music, old movies, old cars and old furniture to name a few. Old things are just more interesting

There is something special about old things. The incredible craftsmanship, the quality materials, but most precious is the history behind them. If these things could tell stories, imagine what they might share. Everything has a story. Often, many old things end up in the trash. Well, it’s said that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Surrounding yourself with traces of history is a way of connecting to the past. Old things also tell the story of another time. They have an innate history.

I also like to restore things that are forgotten. I like the idea of preserving objects for future generations. Perhaps with the hope that one day someone like me will appreciate that something from another era survives.

As a preservationist, I am a proponent that the past can also educate. Architecture as an example, is a direct and substantial representation of history and place that can teach us about our collective past. By preserving historic structures, we are able to share the very spaces and environments in which the generations before us lived.

Historic preservation is the visual and tangible conservation of cultural identity. There is something about running your hand down a banister that previous generations have held in their hands for centuries. It gives you a intrinsic sense of place and time and a perspective on where you fit in this impersonal world. Old things ares. a part, a small part, but an important part of a much greater story.

Preserving historic buildings―whether related to someone famous or recognizably dramatic―strangers or longtime residents are able to witness the aesthetic and cultural history of an area. Old buildings maintain a sense of permanency and heritage. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future. This reality brings to light the importance of locating and saving buildings of historic significance―because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.

About Richard Zampella

Richard Zampella is a preservationists that own and operates Idylease, a former resort hotel located in Newfoundland, NJ. He is also a documentary film producer who has produced and edited several films with writer and director, John Mulholland. His productions include skillful use of archival materials such as film footage, photographs, periodicals and correspondence, narrated by actors including Len Cariou, Sam Waterston, Frank Langella and Liam Neeson.  Production credits include Sergeant York: Of God and Country, Inside High Noon and Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen which was awarded a Crtics’ Pic by the New York Times.

His upcoming projects include a documentary on author/screenwriter Elmore Leonard, the release of the Director’s Cut of Inside High Noon and a BluRay of Margaret Mead’s New Guinea Journal written, directed and produced, written and directed by Craig Gilbert, the creator, writer and director of the landmark PBS series, An American Family.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Skipperdee’s Gets the Nod as Best Ice Cream on Long Island

Yup, it’s official. Skipperdee’s has been selected as the Best Ice Cream on Long Island. The store was nominated for this year’s Bethpage Best of Long Island in the “Best Ice Cream” category and was awarded the top honor on February 21, 2017.

 Together we brought this title to Point Lookout, the place we call home. The official announcement was made after 780,243 votes were cast and tabulated. The public has spoken to name Skipperdee’s Best Ice Cream in the Food section!

Skipperdee’s is located at 26 Lido Boulevard located in Point Lookout and is a celebration of all things sweet and fun. Drop in for a scoop of ice cream in flavors like sweet and salty pretzel or carrot cake, or warm up with an espresso, cappuccino, or other specialty drink. Or stop by for afternoon tea, where they serve hot cups of tea alongside finger-sandwiches and desserts. Bakers work tirelessly to whip up cupcakes and other baked goods like macarons, while classic candies like Goobers and Chuckles await to delight kids young and old.

Richard Zampella worked in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. He has managed the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel and served as Food & Beverage Manager of the The Essex House Hotel on Central Park South. For 15 years he worked 65 floors high atop Rockefeller Center at the Rainbow Room under legendary restauranteur Joe Baum. In 2010, he created the concept and design for Skipperdee’s Ice Cream Shop in the seaside hamlet of Point Lookout, NY.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Transmultimedia 2016 Video Retrospective

Richard Zampella is a documentary film producer who along with Writer/Director John Mulholland has created content for Warner Home Video and Paramount Pictures. Among their production credits are Sergeant York: Of God and Country, narrated by Liam Neeson. Inside High Noon narrated by Frank Langella and Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen narrated by Sam Waterston. The later was chosen by the New York Times as a Critics’ Pic in October of 2013.

In early 2017 both Mulholland and Zampella have begin post production on a brand new documentary which explores the life and works of Author Elmore Leonard and his place in the American literary pantheon. The documentary discusses how he started, why he wrote what he did, how he arrived at his lean, terse minimalist style of writing.

Get social with Richard Zampella at:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New Elmore Leonard Documentary Begins Post Production

Elmore Leonard
Image(s) courtesy of: "The Elmore Leonard Archive, Irvin Department , University of South Carolina Libraries"​

Documentary Writer/Director, John Mulholland has wrapped production on his new feature documentary on "Hollywood's Favorite Writer" Elmore Leonard, and has begun post-production on the film.

The documentary is produced by Richard Zampella , who shot the interviews and will be editing the film with Mulholland. Central to the film, adding depth and resonance, is more than half-an-hour of never-before-seen interview footage with Leonard in which he analyzes and discusses how he started, why he wrote what he did, how he arrived at his lean, terse minimalist trademark.

Elmore Leonard is an American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Among his best-known works are Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Swag, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk, and Rum Punch (adapted for the movie Jackie Brown). Leonard's writings include short stories and original screenplays that became the films 3:10 to Yuma and The Tall T, as well as the FX television series Justified.

On camera interviews include:

Author, James O. Born, Producer & Writer, Wendy Calhoun, Retired LAPD Sergeant, Cheryl Dorsey Writer, Kate Dries, Author, Rachel Howzell Hall, Author, James W. Hall, Elmore Leonard Children, Peter, Chris, Kate and Jane Leonard, Elmore Leonard Wife, Beverly Leonard, Author and Sports Writer, Mike Lupica, Author, Alphie McCourt, Family Friend and Leonard Advisor, Bill Mertz Family Friend, Eliza Mertz, Author, Friend & Bookstore Owner, Otto Pendler, Virginia Tech Film Studies Professor, Stephen Prince, Bailbondsman, Mike Sandy, Author & Leonard Researcher, Gregg Sutter, Washington Post Columnist and Author, Neely Tucker and Producer & Writer, Graham Youst

Director John Mulholland & Producer Richard Zampella's last film, "Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen"  received a New York Times Critic's Pick which opened in theaters in New York & Los Angeles in 2013 and is currently in distribution nationwide.